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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.

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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 online 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.

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BEIT SPRING SCHEDULE

EXPERIENCE I | 6:30PM

Together and Apart: The Future of Jewish Peoplehood
Dr. Ray Fink
March 5, 12, 19, May 14 & 21

Together & Apart: The Future of Jewish Peoplehood explores how we tell stories of Jewish belonging. It addresses the difficulties of understanding “Peoplehood” in an era when we have moved from a reality of no home, to a reality of two homes: an established nation-state for the Jews and a diaspora that includes the diverse and powerful North American community.  we consider what it means to be a member of the Jewish people, the core values that animate Jewish peoplehood, and the contemporary challenges to Jewish unity.

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.

Timeless Torah: Ancient Midrash and Modern Meaning
Ian Merles
March 5, 12, 19, May 7, 14, 21

This six-part class will look at the weekly Torah Portion and the classic Midrashic texts that explain, expand, and enrich it. We will see what meaning the rabbinic Sages gleaned from the Torah 2000 years ago and compare this Rabbinic exegetical lore and the lessons contained therein, to how we would explain, expand, and enrich it today in 2020.

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.

Don't Tread on Us: Flags in Jewish Tradition and Modernity
Dr. Bard Cosman
March 12 & 19

Come understand the role flags play in Jewish tradition and the role Jewish tradition plays in modern flags. What do they symbolize? What are their origins? Dr. Cosman bases this fun class on an article of his that won the 2019 best paper award from the North American Vexillological (study of the history, symbolism, and usage of flags) Association.

Bard Cosman, MD, FACS, FASCRS, is a board-certified surgeon and professor in the Department of Surgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine. He teaches students and residents and trains fellows in surgical procedures. He has authored or coauthored more than 50 articles that have been published in a variety of journals. Bard is an active member of Congregation Beth El who often teaches following morning minyan and delivers occasional sermons on Shabbat. 

Talmud Torah - Text Studies
Rabbi Gary Oren
March 5 - Are We Allowed to be Drunk on Purim?
March 19 - A Close Read on How We Left Egypt

Join with Rabbi Oren to revisit themes of Purim and Passover by a careful reading of the Torah and Talmudic texts describing them.

He is a former Vice President and Dean of AJU’s Whizin Center for Continuing Education. Rabbi Oren is an alumnus of California State University, Fullerton where he completed his undergraduate degree, and Tel Aviv University where he studied towards an M.A. of Middle Eastern Studies. In 2008 he received rabbinical ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. Prior to his time as Dean of the Whizin Center, Rabbi Oren spent 7 years serving as a Rabbi of Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills, California.

Dancing Between Identities
Rabbi Chaya Gilboa
March 12

A session about new trends in Israeli society of the younger generation that seeks to expand the discourse concerning identity including various components within the definition of identity. We will begin to study a Talmudic episode and from there we will move on to contemporary poetry of young people of Mizrahi identity and Russian identity, if possible we will view a few videos.

Chaya Gilboa is the Director of Jewish Engagement at the Leichtag Foundation. Chaya was born in Jerusalem to an ultra-Orthodox family. Her B.A. in Jewish Philosophy from Ben Gurion University in 2008 was followed by a stint as a Hillel International Israel Fellow at Berkeley University and an M.A. in Public Policy from Hebrew University in 2013, where she wrote her thesis on Haredi women, religion and state. In 2012, she was scholar-in-residence at the Paideia Institute in Sweden, where she taught Talmud and established an educators’ track. In 2014, Chaya became Founding Director of Hevruta, a pluralistic, integrated gap-year program for Israeli and North American post-high school students at the Hartman Institute.

American Jewish History: 1800-1880
Professor Joellyn Zollman
May 7 & 21

The 19th century saw 250,000 Jews come to the United States from Central Europe. How did these new American Jews shape American Jewish life? Join us as we follow the American Jewish experience out west, through the Civil War and into the rag trade. 

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.

 

Synagogue Skills & Song
David Lipsitz
Begins March 5 and continues each week BEIT meets

Learn the melodies and meanings of the weekly Shabbat services. Grow in your ability to participate with us and enjoy synagogue prayer and community.

 

Hebrew Reading
Robin Shulman
Begins March 5 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. 

 

 

 

Torah Reading
Dr. Ran Anbar
Begins March 5 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. 

 

Intermediate Hebrew Reading & Conversation
Orli Moses 
Begins March 5 and continues each week BEIT meets

Strengthen your Hebrew reading and conversation skills.

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION TO JUDAISM | 7:00PM

Rabbi Avi Libman
March 5, 12, 19, & April 2

Join us for an educational journey for Jews and non-Jews interested in gaining knowledge of Jewish History, life, and culture. In this course we cover topics like Jewish history, theology, and philosophy, as well as holidays and life-cyle events, practices, and rituals. The course is geared to anyone who wants to learn more about Judaism, in addition to those considering conversion.

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 | 7:45Pm

The Path to the 2020 Election
Professor Samuel Popkin
March 5

Following the California Primary, and in the midst of “election season,” we hear analysis and insights from a leading political scientist, and Congregation Beth El member.

Dr. Samuel Popkin is an active participant as well as an academic analyst of presidential elections. Dr. Popkin is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at UCSD. Before coming to UCSD, Prof. Samuel Popkin taught at Yale, Harvard and the University of Texas. He received his B.S. in Mathematics and Political Science and his Ph.D. in Political Science from MIT. Dr. Popkin is author of The Republican Crackup and the Future of Presidential Politics  (forthcoming). He is also author of The Candidate: What it Takes to Win — and Hold — the White House. He has also served as consultant to political parties in Canada and Europe and to the Departments of State and Defense. His current research focuses on presidential campaigns and the relationship of public opinion to foreign policy.

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Israel Advocacy
March 12
Nicole Bernstein

AIPAC San Diego Director, Nicole Bernstein, interviews our own Beth El members about their experiences at the AIPAC Policy Conference. What did they learn? Who did they meet? What insights can they share about American-Israeli relations?

 

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What is Jewish Spirituality?
Rabbi Ron Shulman
March 19
Join Rabbi Shulman to explore and discuss these questions:
• What is spirituality in Judaism?
• Is Jewish spirituality connected to belief in God?
• Is Jewish spirituality an expression of Jewish identity?
• Is being spiritual different than being religious?
• Is there a relationship between prayer, ritual observance, and spirituality?
• What are the sources of Jewish spirituality and how do we access them?

 

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Love Your Neighbor
Scholar-in-Residence Rabbi Shai Held
March 26

No words in the Torah are better known than "love your neighbor as yourself" and no words are generally seen as more significant. And yet for all its manifest centrality in Jewish spirituality and ethics, the precise meaning of the verse is actually quite elusive. What does it mean to "love" your neighbor? Does the Torah command our emotions as well as our actions? Given emotions can't be controlled, can they even be commanded at all?

 

The Ethiopian Jewish Community and Israeli Society
Etzleinu: Film & Discussion with
Roey Yamin of the World Zionist Organization
April 2

We’ll watch, and then discuss, a film about Assegedu, a 40 year old Ethiopian woman, who makes her living cleaning the homes of rich people. Her 17 year old daughter Haile joins her after school. One afternoon Assegedu and Haile find a microphone and play with it, listening to the sound of their voices. Soon enough things go wrong and Assegedu finds herself in a moral and economical dilemma that will decide her future and her relationship with her daughter.

The Ethiopian Jewish Community and Israeli Society
Etzleinu: Film & Discussion with
Roey Yamin of the World Zionist Organization
April 2

We’ll watch, and then discuss, a film about Assegedu, a 40 year old Ethiopian woman, who makes her living cleaning the homes of rich people. Her 17 year old daughter Haile joins her after school. One afternoon Assegedu and Haile find a microphone and play with it, listening to the sound of their voices. Soon enough things go wrong and Assegedu finds herself in a moral and economical dilemma that will decide her future and her relationship with her daughter.The Ethiopian Jewish Community and Israeli Society
Etzleinu: Film & Discussion with
Roey Yamin of the World Zionist Organization
April 2

We’ll watch, and then discuss, a film about Assegedu, a 40 year old Ethiopian woman, who makes her living cleaning the homes of rich people. Her 17 year old daughter Haile joins her after school. One afternoon Assegedu and Haile find a microphone and play with it, listening to the sound of their voices. Soon enough things go wrong and Assegedu finds herself in a moral and economical dilemma that will decide her future and her relationship with her daughter.Update this content.

Ask the Rabbi
Rabbi Ron Shulman
May 7, 14, & 21

Join Rabbi Shulman for three open and unscripted question and answer sessions. He will provide the initial study subject and text each week, after which participants may choose the topics and ask their questions. Rabbi Shulman looks forward to frank and revealing discussions about Jewish beliefs (God, Afterlife, Messiah, Human Purpose etc.), Jewish traditions and ritual practices (Lifecycle ceremonies, Home and Synagogue Rituals), and issues in Jewish life today (there are so many!). 

May 7   | Questions of Jewish Belief 
May 14 | Questions of Jewish Customs & Ceremonies 
May 21 | Questions of Jewish Life & Community 

 

Mon, April 6 2020 12 Nisan 5780