Increase your Jewish literacy. Strengthen your Jewish identity. Newcomers welcome!

Join us for dinner at 6 p.m. Classes will be from 6:30-8 p.m.

2017 Schedule

Judah the Birth of a Hero: Uncovering the Wisdom of the Torah
Wednesday, January 11, 6:30 p.m.
Judah is one of the most enigmatic heroes of the Torah. His story begins at a low point when he and his brothers sold Joseph into slavery.  He begins to redeem himself as the leader over the next 20 years as he becomes a spokesman for righteousness to save his family. King the greatest leader of the Jewish people is a descendent of Judah.   We will explore how Judah evolves from sin to salvation.

bindingThe Binding of Isaac: 2,000 Years of Struggle with the Torah
Wednesday, January 18, 6:30 p.m.
God’s call to Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mount Moriah is one of the most troubling stories in the Torah. How could a loving God make this demand? We will explore responses to this dilemma from the time of the Rabbis until today. Questions to be considered include: Was Abraham really going to sacrifice Isaac? How does of Abraham relate to the test of Job? What happens to Isaac after his ordeal on Mount Moriah.

Let’s Meet our Tri-Faith Neighbors
Wednesdays, January 25 and February 1, 6:30 p.m.
Before we know it the American Muslim Institute and Countryside Community Church will be moving into their new buildings on Sterling Ridge.
January 25, Rev. Eric Elnes, Ph.D., Senior Minister of Countryside, will help us gain an understanding of the beliefs and principles in the their movement, the United Church of Christ.
February 1, a representative from the American Muslim Institute will aide us in learning more about the principles and practices of Islam.

How to Deal with the Stories in Torah that We Did Not Study in Religious School with Emeritus Rabbi Aryeh Azriel
Wednesdays, February 8 & 15, 6:30 p.m.
Often when children learn Bible stories much of the story is not taught because it may not be deemed appropriate at their age. This course will review some of those stories and try to analyze their purpose in Torah.

Jewish Influences in Modern Comic Books with Barry Grossman
Wednesdays, February 22 and March 1 & 8, 6:30 p.m.
An overview of how Jewish comic book writers and artists influenced the comic books which are a major part of pop culture in the U.S. today through books, movies, and television.

CantorLinsky webFrom Depression and Addiction to Recovery: A Cantor’s Personal Journey
Wednesday, March 15, 6:30 p.m.
Cantor Patti Linsky will share with us her personal journey through addiction and depression. She is Cantor Emeritus of Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge, California.

Modern Jewish Lives and Choices: Personalities and their Times with Dr. Moshe Gershovich
Wednesdays, March 22 & 29, April 5 & 19 and May 3, 6:30 p.m.
Biographical sketches of famous and not-so-famous 19th and 20th centuries Jewish personalities, using their life stories to explore the periods and countries in which they lived.


2016 Schedule

My Israel: A Virtual Tour to Israel
Wednesdays, August 24 & 31 and September 7-28, 6:30 p.m.
No time to visit Israel this year, no problem. Each week during this course, we will take a virtual tour of major cities, everyday life and archaeology dig just to name a few with members of our community who have recently traveled or lived in Israel.

Yom Kippur “For the Sins we have Committed:” The New High Holyday Prayerbook II
Wednesday, September 28, 6:30 p.m.
How do we renew our souls on Yom Kippur? What is the meaning of the Kol Nidre prayer? How do we understand the confessions of sin in the prayerbook today? This year Temple Israel is introducing Mishkan HaNefesh, the new High Holyday prayer book for the Reform movement. Join us as we explore the Yom Kippur service.

worshipwithjoyWorship with Joy: The Mystery, Majesty, and Ecstasy of Prayer
Wednesday, October 5, 6:30 p.m.
How do I find meaning at services?  Do I need to believe in God to pray at the synagogue? How do I get the same inspiration from services as my Orthodox friends?
This workshop will help you explore the services as a guide for spiritual renewal.  We will discover the hidden stories of the prayerbook and the ways its wisdom can bring inspiration to our lives.  The Rabbis from the Talmud, Jewish mystics, and modern thinkers will be our guides as we explore the traditional structure of the service and the experience and way we can make prayer a meaningful experience today. 

The Lost Art of Jewish Cooking!
Wednesdays, October 5, 19 & 26 and November 2-16 & 30, 6:30 p.m.
We all love traditional Jewish cooking. Each week we will learn and cook a Jewish recipe with different members of Temple Israel.

The Art of Writing a Torah Scroll: Majesty and Meaning
Wednesday, October 19, 6:30 p.m.
Rabbi Crystal has helped congregations across the United States restore Torah scrolls. He works with a photographer from Johns Hopkins University to document historic scrolls. These include a Torah that came to the United States in 1733 and scrolls from Europe which are 150 to 300 years old. These scrolls contain unique embellishments on some letters to highlight important passages in the Torah. Rabbi Crysral learned about scribal arts. Dr. Ray was a Master Sofer who knew over 2,000 styles of Hebrew script and earned his PhD at Hebrew University. 

What’s It All About God: An Introduction to Jewish Mysticism
Wednesdays, October 26 and November 2 & 9, 6:30 p.m.
Jewish mysticism, Kaballah, and spirituality stand at the forefront of American Jewish life. This search for meaning in Judaism has flourished during the past twenty-five years. Jewish mysticism began with the visions of God as experienced by the Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel, flourished in Spain in the 13th century and spread through the Jewish world with the Hasidic movement in Eastern Europe. Today, exploration of mystical texts in Judaism is combined with insights from meditation, world spiritual traditions and modern visions of the self and the soul.  We will explore mystical texts from the Bible, the master work of mysticism called the Zohar, Hasidic masters and modern rabbis and teachers, including Rabbi Larry Kushner, Sylvia Boorstein and Rabbi Art Green. 

A Taste of Talmud: The Most Important Rarely Studied Text in Reform Synagogues

Wednesdays, November 16 & 30 and December 7, 6:30 p.m.
The Talmud was written from 200-500 of the Common Era. It discusses every aspect of Jewish life ranging from contracts and capital punishment to holidays and kashrut. The Torah states a law, for example, “You shall honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy.” The Talmud talks about how we live the law. The Talmud is the standard upon which modern Jewish life is based. This class will introduce major themes in the Talmud including guidelines for constructive debate, the Rabbis’ vision of an ideal society, and the importance of affirming human dignity.

Modifying Genetic Disease: Lifestyle and Nutrition with Dr. Bruce Buehler
Wednesday, December 7, 6:30 p.m.
Building on his class from last winter, Dr. Bruce Buehler continues his discussion on modifying genetic disease.