Adult Education

The Adult Education Committee annually presents an array of thought-provoking programs and classes designed to expand and enhance the collective Jewish education and Jewish conversation among members at Congregation Beth Sholom.

Adult Education is a well-known gem on the Congregation Beth Sholom calendar. In a synagogue known for a population filled with rabbis, cantors, and Jewish educators of varying kinds, the Adult Education program transcends these defined roles and allows everyone to learn about a central topic, in many cases educating one another in the process.

Regular programs include:

  • Rabbi Barry Schaeffer Scholar in Residence – lectures and Erev Shabbat dinner and Shabbat lunch with an invited scholar. Some recent guests have included:
    • Dr. Arnold Eisen, Jewish Theological Seminary
    • Rabbi Jonathan Slater,  Co-Program Director Institute for Jewish Spirituality
    • Dr. Steven M. Cohen, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and Director, Berman Jewish Policy Archive at NYU Wagner
    • Dr. Arthur Green, Hebrew College
    • Dr. Shaye J.D. Cohen, Harvard University
    • Dr. Allan Nadler, Drew University
    • Dr. Gershon Hundert, McGill University
    • Dr. Jenna Weissman Joselit, George Washington University
    • Dr. Anne Lapidus Lerner, Jewish Theological Seminary
    • Rabbi Elliot Dorff, American Jewish University
    • Mati Lazar, Founder/Director, Zamir Choral Foundation
    • Dr. Barry Holtz, Jewish Theological Seminary
  • Beth Sholom Shabbaton – Initiated in 1992 as a local “retreat” for synagogue members, the annual Shabbaton has become a highlight of our annual communal activities. Families come together to study at the synagogue on Friday night and all day Shabbat. Three sessions of classes are offered with a choice of many different topics, led by scholars from the community. Our families join together for Friday night dinner and Shabbat lunch. Children’s activities and baby-sitting are available during the sessions.
  • Lunch and Learn – Approximately five times throughout the year, lunch is served at the synagogue after the Shabbat morning service, followed by a lecture on either textual or contemporary issues.
  • Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah course – a two-year program which culminates in a festive Shabbat morning service, conducted by the graduates of the course. The course is taught by members of the synagogue.
  • Hug Ivri – an informal study group which meets periodically for reading and discussion of modern Hebrew texts. Meetings and discussion are in Hebrew on selected days one hour before ma’ariv. Check the announcements for meeting dates.
  • Rose and Albert Buchman Memorial Lecture on the Fine Arts – lectures on Jewish artists and Jewish influence in art. Some recent guests have included:
    • 2006: Mark Godfrey, a curator at the Tate Modern, discussed his book, Abstract Art and the Holocaust.
    • 2007: Mierle Ukeles, one of the featured artists in that year’s New York Armory Show, addressed her work from both ecological and Jewish perspectives in Trash Talk.
    • 2008: Irving Sandler spoke about the Jewish Museum’s Action/Abstraction show in his talk, The Triumph of American Painting and The Jewish Presence.
    • 2009: Daniel Libeskind, in conversation with the publisher of the Forward, discussed New Jewish Architecture: From Berlin to San Francisco.
    • 2010: Joachim Pissarro discussed the life and work of his great-grandfather, in a talk entitled Judaism, Impressionism, Atheism, and Anarchism: Camille Pissarro’s Paradoxes.
    • 2011: Kenneth E. Silver spoke on Rediscovering the Circle of Montparnasse: Jewish Artists in Paris, 1905-1945.
    • 2012: Ofri Cnaani overviewed the history of Israeli art in her talk, Between Promise and Possibility: Israeli Art Now.
    • 2013: Norman Kleeblatt described the history of the building and its collections and presented his Confessions of a Curator: 25 Years of Exhibitions at the Jewish Museum in New York.

In addition, Congregation Beth Sholom regularly features other discussions, movies, and musical activities.

The year also includes a number of weekly and regular programming:

  • Sunday
    • Adult Education Class with Rabbi Michael Chernick on Major modern Jewish thinkers and the ideas that have shaped Jewish life today at 9:45 a.m.
  • Monday
    • Adult Education Class with Arthur Konigsberg on the Books of Hosea, Joel and Amos at 8:15 p.m.
  • Tuesday
    • Adult Education Class with Rabbi Pitkowsky at 9:45 a.m. on The Book of Genesis through a new lens
    • Adult Education Class with Rabbi Pitkowsky at 8:15 p.m. on The Siddur — Dare we make changes?
  • Wednesday
    • Basic Hebrew Reading Class with Renah and Mayer Rabinowitz at 8:15 p.m.
  • Thursday
    • Beginning Torah Reading for Adults with Cantor Ronit Wolff Hanan at 8:15 p.m.
  • Friday
    • Talk Torah with Rabbi Joyce Newmark at 9 a.m. in the Library.
  • Saturday
    • Weekly shiur during Seudah Shelisheet.

Click here to download a copy of this year’s Adult Education Program of Events.