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Adult Learning

Havurah's Lifelong Learning Committee coordinates Havurah's Adult Education. The committee is co-chaired by Eve Berry and Joel Beinin. 

Adult learning falls into three broad categories: Expressive (hands-on, experiential learning, like cooking or constructing ritual garments); Culture (classes in history and literature); and Spiritual Practice (prayer, Hebrew, Torah study). Members of the committee reach out and listen to the interests of the community, mindful to be responsive to changing needs and interests over time. The committee offers regularly scheduled foundational classes along with other creative learning opportunities. You can read the committee's charter and specific tasks here.

Havurah's adult learning opportunities are available to all members free of charge, though a materials fee may apply. See our online calendar for details. Non-members are welcome as space allows, though we ask that you consider making a donation to Havurah Shalom. Materials fees may also apply. Classes with participant limits will open to non-members one week before the start of class, if space is available.

If you're interested in a multi-year learning process focused on Torah and prayer, please see our Adult B'nei Mitzvah program by clicking here

2022-23 Classes

Please check our online calendar for updates and to register. Classes are free to members; others may attend, but a $10 donation is requested.

Book Group
The Havurah Book Group is a venue for discussion of complex, controversial issues. We encourage members to engage one another through sharing ideas and knowledge. Books chosen by the group are discussed in monthly meetings. Members come to discussions that interest them. 7 pm, Tuesdays, Sept. 20; Oct. 25; Nov. 22; Dec. 27; Jan. 24; Feb. 28; Mar. 28; Apr. 25; May 23; Jun. 27; Jul. 25

Creative Writing Sessions
Writing prompts and short writing sessions will get your creative juices flowing in this nonjudgmental environment open to writers and non-writers alike. Participants can (optionally) develop a piece from the workshop and share it at a reading at the end of the session. Led by Yuvi Zalkow. 7 pm, Thursdays, Sept. 29; Oct. 13, 20, 27; Nov. 3, 10, 17; Dec. 1, 8, 15

Intermediate Hebrew
Practice Hebrew and learn new vocabulary by listening to Israeli songs and watching video clips. We will discuss lyrics, make connections to different topics, and practice using the new vocabulary through games and conversations. Led by Racheli Ross. 7 pm, Thursdays, Oct. 27; Nov. 3, 10, 17; Dec. 1, 8

Defining Jewish Identity: Communal Responses to Interfaith Marriage & Families
Starting with biblical texts and finishing with contemporary responsa from a variety of Jewish movements, we will explore how Jewish communities have defined Jewish identity and the boundaries of who is a Jew in response to interfaith families. Led by Sarah Liebman. 8 pm, Thursdays, Oct. 27; Nov. 3, 10

What is Reconstructionism?
A three-part series on the history, beliefs, and practices of the Reconstructing Judaism movement with which Havurah Shalom is affiliated. Led by Rabbi Maurice Harris, Associate Director for Thriving Communities and Israel Affairs Specialist at Reconstructing Judaism. 5 pm, Wednesdays, Oct. 26; Nov. 2, 9

Art of the Hamsa
We will study the history and meaning of the hamsa symbol and its part in Jewish life and culture. Then we will design a piece for our homes from clay, mixed media, drawing, painting, or fabric. Led by Carolina Martinez. 3:30 pm, Sunday, Nov. 6

Music of Jews of the Middle East and North Africa
A māqam is an Arabic and Ottoman Turkish musical mode used in Mizraḥi and Sephardic Jewish communities. We will learn historical background, hear it live on the oud, and even sing and play it together on instruments. Led by Channing Dodson. 2 pm, Sundays, Oct. 23, 30; Nov. 6, 13

Voices and Visions
Let's explore Jewish identity and philosophy through contemporary art! The Grinspoon Foundation (of PJ Library fame) asked contemporary artists to visually interpret key quotations from great Jewish thinkers. The results are rich and thought-provoking. Led by Sarah Liebman. 11 am, Sunday, Dec. 4

Tallit Class
We will learn how the tzitzit, or fringe, of a tallit transforms a simple cloth into a sacred garment. And then you will create your own tallit by tying the tzitzit, learning the meaning of the gematria wound and knotted into the holy fringe. Led by Laine Barbanell Schipper. 1 pm, Sundays, Dec. 4, 18

Design Your Own Chanukah Card!
Create beautiful Chanukah cards to give to friends and loved ones! We will look at various Chanukah symbols to discern what we want to adorn our cards with and use colored pencils to illustrate them. Led by Carolina Martinez. 3:30 pm, Sunday, Dec. 11

Palestinian Voices
A selection of Palestinian voices in their own terms—unmediated by Western or Israeli media or organizations with a political agenda—using a selection of films, poetry, prose, and music (and depending on Covid conditions, food). Led by Joel Beinin. 7 pm, Wednesdays, Jan. 11, 18, 25; Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22; Mar. 1

Seeking God’s Face: An Overview of Mystical Judaism
Delve into the history of Jewish mysticism, sample ancient Kabbalistic texts and contemporary mystical writings, become acquainted with Hasidic rebbes and their enduring stories, and explore selected mystical concepts and practices. Led by Tivona Reith. 7 pm, Mondays, Jan. 23, 30; Feb. 6, 13

Learn Trope
This beautiful, ancient system is a treat to learn and inspiring to sing. Learn everything you need to become a proud leyner (Torah chanter). Led by Ken Lerner. 7 pm, Thursdays, Feb. 16, 23; Mar. 2, 9, 16

Finding Your Way In to Jewish Ritual and Practice
We will be riffing on tradition with the freedom that comes with Reconstructing Judaism. Sam Sirkin will share his approach to making Jewish practice accessible while allowing participants to share their experiences. We will also reflect on a few pieces by thinkers such as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Art Green. Led by Sam Sirkin. 7 pm, Mondays, Apr. 10, 17, 24

Knitting Kippot Class
Learn to make a kippah like the ones the b'nei mitzvah class is wearing! This class is for knitters who have intermediate knitting skills and a desire to get to know other knitters in the community. Led by Marsha Green. 10 am, Sundays, Apr. 16, 23, 30

Conversational Hebrew Through Song
Join us in learning beginner-level Hebrew through children’s and other simple songs. In class, we will practice the new vocabulary in games and conversations, and at home you’ll listen to a premade playlist to help you learn the words while singing along. Led by Racheli Ross. 7 pm, Thursdays, Apr. 20, 27; May 4, 11, 18

Grappling with White Nationalism as Jews
Through readings, writing prompts and discussion, this class will explore and help us grapple with where Jews fit, as individuals and as a community, on the minority/majority and oppressed/privileged continuums. Please bring your openness to new ideas and your capacity to engage in experiential learning. Dates TBA

Reparations: An Opportunity to Learn, Discuss, and Act
Offered by the Havurah Racial Justice Committee, this 5-session class will help us gain a more accurate historical narrative about intentional government policies that led to the wealth gap, the lack of equity in housing and education, and the over-representation of people of color in the criminal legal systems. Jewish values and texts will be integrated throughout. 5 sessions in the spring, dates TBA. For more information, contact 5 sessions in the spring. Dates TBA

Sacred Action: Spiritual Practice for Community and Justice
Work In these cohorts, we engage with Jewish spiritual wisdom and practices that nurture and guide our efforts in community and for a more just and loving world. In trusted community, we explore middot, or “soul traits”—through practice, study, and reflection—and examine how they manifest in our relationships and actions. Cohorts meet for several weeks, with direction for ongoing practice in between sessions, including connection with a learning partner. Contact Rabbi Benjamin if you are interested in participating. Dates TBA

Tue, May 30 2023 10 Sivan 5783