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beit: Adult jewish learning

Adult learning at Congregation Beth El welcomes everyone, aware that we each come to Jewish learning from our different personal backgrounds. For us, adult Jewish learning is about applying our intellectual and spiritual curiosities in order achieve new personal insights and Jewish literacy. For each of us to strive according to our own interests for deeper understanding about our Jewish identities, renewed religious or spiritual character, heightened ethical awareness, and a love of Judaism. As we each may desire, to be able to see the experiences of our lives through the lens of the Jewish People’s story, ideas, and values.

Beth El Is Thursday, our BEIT Midrash program, offers courses that tell the Jewish story. Classes rotate throughout the year selected from a variety of subjects including Bible, Rabbinic Texts, Jewish Ethics and Values, Liturgy and Synagogue Skills, Celebrations and Observances, History and Modernity, Jewish Thought, Arts and Culture, and the Hebrew language. Throughout the year we welcome and learn with a variety of scholars and guest speakers.

We hope our courses intrigue, our teachers inspire, and our learning is meaningful.

beit: beth el is thursday - fall 2019

Welcome to BEIT: Beth El Is Thursday

All are welcome to join us for our BEIT Midrash on Thursday evenings. On each Beth El is Thursday evening you’ll choose from a variety of experiences and courses. Come for dinner at our BEIT Café, create your own schedule, do as much or as little as you like.

Sign-up to dine on a weekly themed menu at our BEIT Café, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. You may register on-line for dinner $8 in advance, $10 at the door. From 7:30 to 7:45 pm enjoy coffee, conversation, and nosh during our BEIT Break.

BEIT learning experiences take place during two time slots. At 6:30 pm choose one from a number of experiences. At 7:45 pm attend the weekly BEIT feature: Rabbi Shulman’s class, a guest lecture or presentation, or a special program.

Weekly schedules are available online and are emailed. Session locations are available at the BEIT Café each week.

BEIT is sponsored in loving memory of Paula & Jerry Mandell, devoted to Congregation Beth El and dedicated to Jewish scholarship.


beit parent programs

5:30 p.m.

Watch for periodic sessions with Rabbis Shulman and Libman in which we’ll explore topics of Jewish interest for ourselves and our families. Parents will be able to learn with our rabbis, learn together with their children, and stay for dinner or other BEIT experiences as desired. Students will be welcome in study hall (6:15-8:30pm) while their parents are learning.

beit experience I  6:30 p.m.

Studying Torah from Iberia to La Jolla
Ian Merles
November 7, 14, December 5, 12
This class will look at the weekly Torah Portion with the commentaries of three great Sephardic Medieval Biblical commentators: the poet Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra, the Kabbalist Rabbi Moses ben Nachman (Ramban or Nahmanides), and the Renaissance philosopher Rabbi Don Isaac Abarbanel. We will examine what lessons these Spanish Sages learned from the Torah 1,000 years ago and compare those lessons to how we understand the Torah today in San Diego, CA.
Ian Merles has a BA in Religious studies, Philosophy, and Jewish studies from SUNY Stony Brook and an MA in Rabbinic literature from the Shechter Institute in Jerusalem. He is currently the West Coast Annual Giving Officer for Hadassah. Ian lived in Israel for ten years where he served as a lone soldier in the Nahal infantry brigade of the Israeli army during the 2nd Intifada.
American Jewish History: 1654-1800
Professor Joellyn Zollman
November 7, 14, December 5, 12
The genesis of the American Jewish experience contains many of the building blocks that continue to shape and define the community today. Come learn about the adventurous Jews who settled in the British colonies, fought in the American Revolution, and launched American Jewish life.
Joellyn Zollman, Ph.D has taught Jewish history at SDSU, UCSD, and the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture. She recently curated Celebrate, Commemorate! The History and Heritage of San Diego’s Jewish Community, an exhibition at the San Diego History Center.
Martin Buber: The Person and His Writings
Professor David Barzilai
November 7, 14, December 5, 12
Come explore the thought of the important 20th century Jewish thinker Martin Buber.
Dr. David Barzilai has been teaching philosophy courses for over twenty-five years at Virginia Tech, at UCSD and SDSU. Professor Barzilai holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and Jewish thought and an MA in Jewish history and Holocaust studies and a BA in education and Jewish history from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This course is based in his book Homo Dialogicus: Martin Buber's Contribution to Philosophy.
Gender and Judaism
Rabbi Yael Ridberg
November 7
Jewish tradition has long engaged with gender diversity and the idea of gender beyond a binary concept. This lecture & discussion will explore the difference between sex and gender, looking at Jewish texts and various interpretations of gender fluidity from the Torah to today.
Yael Ridberg is the Rabbi of Congregation Dor Hadash and the immediate Past President of the Board at San Diego Jewish Academy. She and her husband, Mark Laska, are also members of Congregtion Beth El, and live in La Jolla with their 4 daughters.
Beginning Hebrew Reading
Prayer Book Hebrew Reading
Robin Shulman
Begins November 7 and continues each week BEIT meets
Learn basic Hebrew reading for synagogue services. This is a comfortable first step for discovering or rediscovering your ability to read Hebrew.
Intermediate Hebrew Reading & Conversation
Orli Moses
Begins November 7 and continues each week BEIT meets
Strengthen your Hebrew reading and conversation skills.
Torah Reading
Ran Anbar
Begins November 7 and continues each week BEIT meets
Learn to read Torah or grow your Torah reading skills. If you wish, read Torah on occasional Shabbat mornings as member of our Torah reading squad. We meet on a regular basis to teach Torah trope to beginners, review trope with more experienced readers, and practice upcoming Torah readings.

BEIt tefillah: ma'ariv minyan

7:30 p.m. - each week BEIT meets

We gather in the BEIT Midrash for Ma’ariv, an evening prayer Minyan. Join us for a brief spiritual break between sessions followed by coffee, conversation, and nosh during our BEIT Break.

beit experience II - 7:45 p.m.

Rabbi Ron Shulman
November 7
Rabbi Shulman’s Yom Kippur message is for us to rejuvenate Jewish life, or to ReJEWvinate. In order to do this we need to be engaged in the 21st century multi-faceted Jewish conversation swirling around us about our values, our people, and our traditions. We must learn to speak with one another not at each other. We need to unpack our beliefs and assumptions while reclaiming authentic Jewish visions of social ethics, communal purpose, and personal meaning. To ReJEWvinate includes conversations about prayer and celebration, theology and social justice, Israel and the Diaspora, technology and individuality, the individual and the community. Join with Rabbi Shulman and synagogue friends to engage in the conversation.
Light and Truth (Urim VeTumim)
A Screening and Conversation
with Screenwriter Shuki Ben-Naim
November 14
The Israeli television series “Light and Truth (Urim VeTumim)” takes viewers deep inside the secret world of a yeshiva, an elite Orthodox boarding school devoted to producing the next generation of scholars of the religious Zionist movement. The series follows the lives of the yeshiva's teachers, rabbis, students and parents through a series of twists and turns as they grapple with changing times, declining enrollment, financial hardship and soul-searing scandal. The series creator and head screenwriter Shuki Ben-Naim is an Murray Galinson San Diego Israel Initiative Visiting Professor at SDSU this fall. Ben-Naim has also written for the series ”Nuyork,” ”A Touch Away,” ”Meorav Yerushalmi” and ”Five Men and a Wedding.” He is currently writing for a new HBO show called “Our Boys,” based on the true story and the aftermath of the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teenagers by Hamas militants in the summer of 2014.
CRYING HANDS: The Deaf Experience Under Nazi Oppression
Marla Petal and Michelle Baron
in collaboration with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
December 5
In the 1980s, motivated by the uncovering of remarkable information in Germany, Marla Petal and Michelle Baron embarked on a journey to rescue the history of the Deaf Holocaust Experience. They have recently entrusted their extensive collection to The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, sparking a groundbreaking collaborative effort with the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and researchers in Israel and Europe to gather dispersed testimonies and artifacts, ensuring the most complete archive possible is preserved and accessible for generations to come.
Through video testimony, contemporaneous photographs, and compelling works of Deaf artists, Marla and Michelle, Museum staff, and members of Temple Beth Solomon Synagogue for the Deaf, introduce audiences to the once-vibrant European Jewish Deaf community and invite all to witness the cunning immorality of Nazi eugenics and extermination efforts through their eyes. Those who once suffered the deadly stigma of disability have much to teach us today as we strive to create a more just and inclusive society.
BEIT Talks
Heard of TED Talks? Welcome to BEIT Talks! Periodically we meet a member of our synagogue community who reflects on the wisdom of his or her personal and/or professional experiences. BEIT Talks celebrates the diversity and achievements of our synagogue family.
American Political Theatre in the Age of Terrorism
Dr. Allan Havis
December 12
Allan Havis’ plays have been produced at the nation’s leading playhouses and overseas. He has 20 full length plays published, and is the editor of three American Political Plays anthologies beginning in 2001. He writes opera libretti in collaboration with renowned composer Anthony Davis. His first publication was a novel for young readers – Albert the Astronomer –from Harper/Collins. His book on Cult Films came out ten years ago. His most produced play – Morocco - received HBO Playwrights USA Award, Foundation of the Dramatist Guild/CBS Award, and Kennedy Center production grant. He is the recipient of Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and National Endowment of the Arts fellowships. Half of his plays are sharply political with several on Jewish identity in the world and life in Israel. He received an MFA from Yale Drama School, and is the Chair of Theatre and Dance at UC San Diego, where he has taught playwriting and film studies for 30 years.
A Dreidel in Time: A New Spin on an Old Tale
Marcia Berneger
A Hanukkah story session with the author for our children and their parents.
December 12
Devorah and Benjamin are excited to open their Hanukkah present, but it’s only an ugly old dreidel. It’s a big disappointment, until it transports them out of their home town to join the Maccabees!
Wed, October 23 2019 24 Tishrei 5780