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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

 
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 program | 5:30PM | November 7

Opening BEIT Parent Program & Family Learning for 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th grade students and their parents. Reflect on your family’s Jewish values with your children in the context of the story of Abraham, next week's Torah portion. View the BEIT Parent Program here
 

beit CAFE | 6:00-7:00PM

Dine at our new and improved BEIT Café! You may register online for dinner $8 in advance, or $10 at the door. From 7:30 to 7:45 pm enjoy coffee, conversation, and nosh during our BEIT Break. Sign up for dinner below:

fall 2019  beit experience I | 6:30pm

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.
 
Women Talking with Women
Renee Ravich and Sandra Block
November 7 & December 5
Explore what it means to be a Jewish woman today within relationships, community and family-traditional and nontraditional- in a safe and supportive environment. We will provide text from various books and resources as discussion prompts. Women only, please.
 

BEIt tefillah: ma'ariv minyan | 7:30PM

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.

ReJEWvinate
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.
 
Why Eight Nights of Lights? Hanukkah Lore to Explore
Rabbi Ron Shulman
December 12
Join Rabbi Shulman to figure out why we celebrate Hanukkah for eight days and nights. More important, from the lore and memories of Jewish history, come figure out what Hanukkah can mean for us and our families this year.
 
*Please note, “American Political Theatre in the Age of Terrorism” with Dr. Allan Havis, originally announced for this evening, is postponed and will be rescheduled for the spring.
 
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!
 

winter 2019-20 beit experience i | 6:30 p.m.

Rebellion, Rupture, Renewal: A Journey Through Modern Jewish Literature
Rabbi Philip Graubart
January 16, 23, 30 & February 6
What is the essence of Jewish identity? What are the challenges to living a fully realized Jewish life? How should modern Jews respond to intermarriage, assimilation, Israel, the Holocaust, alienation, anti-Semitism? We often look to sacred Jewish texts for responses to these existential questions, or to political writings, or even sometimes to rabbis. But in Modern Jewish Literature – a hidden and essential source of wisdom - brilliant Jews have been producing a body of work for over two centuries responding to our deepest dilemmas. In this course, we’ll study some of the most interesting and valuable works of Modern Jewish Literature, from Sholem Aleichem to Peretz to Philip Roth to Cynthia Ozick, Ayelet Tsabari and more. We’ll study this exciting genre for its own sake, but also to develop a richer understanding of the challenges of modern Jewish life.
 
Rabbi Philip Graubart served as our Senior Rabbi at Congregation Beth El for fifteen years. Most recently, he was a vice president at the Shalom Hartman Institute, and director of Jewish life and learning at the San Diego Jewish Academy.
 
Together and Apart: The Future of Jewish Peoplehood
Dr. Ray Fink
January 9, 23, 30, & February 6
Using the latest iEngage curriculum from the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, we’ll explore a new narrative regarding the significance of Israel for Jewish life. This narrative serves as a foundation for a new covenant between Israel and world Jewry, elevating the existing discourse from a crisis-based focus to one rooted in Jewish values and ideas.
 
Dr. Ray Fink is a Past President of Congregation Beth El, a respected physician in our community, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Shalom Hartman Institute.
 
Freud, Adler, and Frankl: Thinking About Existence
Dr. Oded Shezifi
January 9, 16, & 23
Come explore the insights of three great 20th Century psychologists, Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, and Viktor Frankl, who influenced the way we understand human existence.
 
Dr. Oded Shezifi is a clinical psychologist who also teaches at UCSD-Extension. He is a play therapist supervisor and a certified Jewish mindfulness teacher. Oded has served as a medic and aviation physiology instructor at the IAF and has worked as a clinician at Jewish Family Service where he supervised and taught clinical interns the History of Psychotherapy.
 
Creating An Art Piece with Sustainable Objects
In Honor of Tu B’Shevat
Shana Lew & Helen Siegel
January 16, 23, & 30
The holiday of Tu B’Shevat (Jewish Arbor Day) is the impetus for this art class . This holiday reminds us of our connection to the earth as well as our responsibility to the environment as caretakers. In this three part class, participants will have the fun and challenging opportunity to create a piece of art from used, found, and sustainable objects. The instructors will provide materials but participants are encouraged to bring in small pebbles, sea glass, or small found objects to include in their piece.
 
Shana Lew has a BA in Jewish Studies from UCLA and a MAED from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. She is on the board of the Woman’s Philanthropy (UJF) as well as the Board of the Wheelchair Dancers Organization. Shana also spends time creating sustainable art for Jewish and Medical causes. Shana and her husband Bill are members of Congregation Beth El and they have two grown sons.
 
Helen Segal graduated summa cum laude in Fine Arts. She has been inspired by the vibrant colors and patterns used by artisans around the world especially by how beautiful objects can be made from the most mundane of materials. She works in all media and her artistry extends from creating large architectural installations and murals to smaller idiosyncratic and imaginative pieces.
Appreciating Jewish Art: Gutman, Rubin and the History of Tel Aviv
Guri Stark
January 9
In this session we will discuss two Israeli artists who were the pioneers of a new, distinctive Eretz Israel art style in the days prior to the foundation of Israel.
 
Guri Stark is a unique artist and musician trapped in the body of an engineer who has been painting in watercolors for over 30 years. Born in Israel, Guri moved to the United States 32 years ago. With his distinctively strong and brilliant watercolors, Guri made a name for himself as an artist in Israel, Denver Colorado, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.
 
Creative Writing Workshop
Dr. Sandra Block
January 9, 16, 23, & 30
A writer is someone who writes. In this 4 week workshop we will explore our creative writing skills with the use of Jewish poetry, stories from the Torah and inspiring verbal and visual prompts in timed writing sessions. Participants may choose to share their writing with others or not. All workshop feedback is respectful and, most importantly, non-critical. The workshop is modeled on the Amherst Writers And Artists model pioneered by Pat Schneider. For more information on the philosophy of this writing method please see amherstwriters.org
 
Sandra Block, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, a university instructor and a certified AWA workshop facilitator. She has led creative writing workshops nationally for medical and mental health professionals, creative writing workshop leaders, women’s groups in work and social service settings and for senior citizen groups. Her fiction and nonfiction writing has been published in the San Diego Union Tribune, The Writers’ Ink Anthology and local and national newsletters.
 
Aging in the 21st Century
Jon Schwartz
February 6
What can we do to enhance successful aging? What does it take to live happy and healthy in advanced age? What is the secret of a few regions in the world where there is a high concentration of people that live beyond 100? These questions and many others will be answered in a collaborative, informative and humorous discussion.
 
Jon Schwartz has a business degree in Entrepreneurship from Indiana University and a master’s degree in Gerontology from USC. At USC, his emphasis was how to reduce admissions to institutionalized care facilities. From 2014-2017 Jon was a contributing writer for the San Diego Jewish Journal where his pieces consisted on a variety of aging issues. At the beginning of 2019, Jon took his decade plus experience in the field of aging and started a company, Partner in Aging.
 
Synagogue Skills & Song
David Lipsitz
Begins January 9 and continues each week BEIT meets
Learn the melodies and meanings of the weekly Friday evening Shabbat service, Kabbalat Shabbat. Grow in your ability to participate with us and enjoy synagogue prayer and community.
 
Hebrew Reading
Robin Shulman
Begins January 9 and continues each week BEIT meets
Learn basic Hebrew reading for synagogue services. Discover or rediscover your ability to read Hebrew and participate in synagogue prayer and community.
 
Intermediate Hebrew Reading & Conversation
Orli Moses
Begins January 9 and continues each week BEIT meets
Strengthen your Hebrew reading and conversation skills.
 
Torah Reading
Dr. Ran Anbar
Begins January 9 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.
 
Women Talking with Women
Renee Ravich and Sandra Block
February 6
Explore what it means to be a Jewish woman today within relationships, community and family-traditional and nontraditional- in a safe and supportive environment. We will provide text from various books and resources as discussion prompts. Women only, please.
 

BEIt tefillah: ma'ariv minyan | 7:30PM

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.

What’s Trending?
Rabbi Ron Shulman
January 9, 16, & 23
Explore current concerns within the Jewish community. Each week we’ll take a look at a #timely topic and study Jewish sources to guide our discussion. Our goal is to learn about Judaism, Jews in the larger world, and our personal connections to all of it. Join in for any session, or all three.
 
January 9
Religion
#Are ancient texts still relevant?
#Secular and Religious
 
January 16
Human Relations
#Jewish Values and Political Community
#Jews and Non-Jews
 
January 23
Jewish Identity
#Post-Denominational Judaism
#Our Jewish Identity SWOT Analysis
 
Here All Along: A Reintroduction to Judaism
Sarah Hurwitz
January 30
A renowned political speechwriter rediscovers Judaism, finding timely insights and profound spiritual connection in its ancient practices and ethical traditions.
 
From 2009 to 2017, Sarah Hurwitz served as a White House speechwriter, first for President Barack Obama and then as chief speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama.
 
Insights from Biblical Archaeology
Dr. Thomas Levy
February 6
New archaeological finds intrigue us as research and discovery cast new light on Biblical lore and history. Join our good friend, Dr. Tom Levy, to learn about the latest finds and their meanings for our understanding of the Bible today.
 
Dr. Tom Levy is Distinguished Professor and holds the Norma Kershaw Chair in the Archaeology of Ancient Israel and Neighboring Lands at the University of California, San Diego. He is a member of the Department of Anthropology and Judaic Studies Program, and leads the Cyber-archaeology research group at the Qualcomm Institute, California Center of Telecommunications and Information Technology.
 
 
Mon, December 16 2019 18 Kislev 5780