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Adult Education

Adult Education 2016-2017

The Great Debates: Hillel and Shammai

Taught by Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann

Thursdays December 1, 8, 15, 22

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

The "School (literally, "house") of Hillel" and the "School of Shammai" are names of the most famous schools that flourished -- and bitterly disagreed-- in Palestine during the first century and which contributed to the development of the oral law.  In this class, we will explore more about the legends, Hillel and Shammai, and their and their “schools’” famous arguments.  We will go beyond the simple stories that are nearly ubiquitous in contemporary Jewish life to discern:  What kinds of issues did they debate about?  What worldviews did they represent and how did their arguments--and the outcomes of those  shape our Judaism today?  As we search, we will look for echoes of their tropes in our current conversations about approaching Judaism, tradition and modernity.

Note: A light nosh will be served at 7:00 PM, and we will begin the study by no later than 7:15 PM.

RSVP's helpful: Click here to let Rabbi Lauren know you'll be attending.

Adult Education 2015-2016

Spring 2016 Adult Ed Course

"The Original Text Message: The Torah and Other Jewish Texts"

Class Taught by Rabbi Michael Strassfeld

SAJ Rabbi Emeritus

Wednesdays, 7:30 PM

March 2, 16, 30

April 6 & 13*

*Note date change


This is an invitation to study Jewish texts. The engagement with Jewish texts has been a central part of Judaism for centuries. Why? Because generations of Jews found wisdom and guidance in those texts that helped them face the difficult challenges of life. Truth, choice, suffering, disappointments, envy and mortality are just some of those challenges. The study of Torah is not about acquiring knowledge or getting a degree. Wrestling with Jewish texts may enable us to discover insights that will help us lead our lives with more meaning and awareness. Torah study can provide resources for moments of crisis and moments of the everyday.

This class will look at a broad range of Jewish texts that over the years I have looked to for guidance in my own life. Recently, I have gone back to study these texts again and wanted to share them with you.

Register here to join this free course.


Fall 2015 Adult Ed Course

"The Jewish People & the Covenant: Explored & Reconstructed"

Taught by Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann

Wednesdays, November 4, 11, 18

December 2, 9, 16

7:00 PM light nosh

7:15 PM - 8:45 PM class 

The notion of covenant is a central idea in traditional Jewish thought and a foundational idea of the Torah. We invoke covenant today primarily when we welcome baby boys into the covenant through brit milah and celebrate the Jewish people's covenant with God on Shavuot. 

But what exactly do we mean when we talk about covenant today? How have our ancestors thought about covenant? What are the theologies underpinning these ideas? How has the idea evolved over time and in reaction to the circumstances of our history? From a Reconstructionist vantage point, what does covenant mean if we do not necessarily subscribe to a belief in a supernatural God?

In this class, we will look at biblical and rabbinic texts to understand what our ancestors may have meant when describing the Jewish people's     relationship with God as a "covenant." We will examine ideas from modern and contemporary theologians who wrestle with and re-work this concept. Throughout, we will consider what  covenant might mean to us personally and as a people today. This class will be highly participatory and text/article based, with some materials given as reading between classes. 

To discuss further or if you would like to talk about whether this class is right for you, please contact Rabbi Lauren at or 212-724-2721

Registration is available by clicking here.

Sun, 23 October 2016 21 Tishrei 5777