Adult Education

Fall 2021

The Adult Education programs in Fall 2021 will be held in-person and online via Zoom.

Beth Shalom offers learning opportunities throughout the year, sponsoring speakers, discussion groups, classes, and holiday programs. Programs are held at various times to accommodate congregants’ different schedules, including Shabbat, holidays, and weekdays during the day and evenings. These programs are open to the public.

Fall 2021 Adult Education Classes

Judaism 101

When? Tuesdays starting October 12 at 7:00 p.m. Ever wonder why Abraham is considered the first Jew? What do Jews mean by covenant? How does Judaism view Jesus? Or other similar questions? If so, join Rabbi Grossman for a  weekly exploration of Jewish belief, practice, and history.

This class is perfect for non-Jewish parents of Jewish children, those considering conversion and their Jewish significant others, and anyone who wants to strengthen their basic knowledge of Judaism. Participants are asked to complete an open book review of Jewish knowledge in preparation for the class as a basis upon which to begin discussion. (Don’t worry if you can’t answer the questions!) Answers can be found online at jewishvirtuallibrary.org and myjewishlearning.com and/or in the recommended reference book: Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs, and Rituals by George Robinson.
Available from smile.amazon.com. Please list Beth Shalom as your charity of preference.

Preregistration Required. Email your full name and contact information to rabbi.assistant@beth-shalom.net to register and receive your open book review.

Talmud Zooom!

When? Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. Come explore stories from the Talmud about courage, decency, deception, and fear. Everyone is invited to this weekly class, and you may join at any time.,

Conversational Hebrew

When? Tuesdays beginning October 6 at 2:00 p.m. This intermediate level class, with emphasis on grammar, conversational Hebrew, and vocabulary acquisition, is led by master teacher and native Israeli Ora Fisch. This class continues previous classes, but newcomers are welcome.

Give My Shaloms to Broadway with Cantor Rebecca Apt

When? Tuesdays October 12, 19 & 26 at 7:45 p.m. Come join Cantor Apt as we discuss and listen to music highlighting the great contributions of Jews to musical theater.

Cantor Rebecca Apt received degrees in Music and Midrash from Columbia University and Albert A. List College, and her Master’s degree in Sacred Music from the H.L. Miller Cantorial School. Prior to joining Beth Shalom, Cantor Apt served as Hazzan of Shaare Tefilah Congregation in Olney, MD.

Fees: $15 members; $30 non-members

Women Who Dared: How Ancient Jewish Women Took on the Rabbinic Courts and Sometimes Won with Rabbi Grossman

When? Tuesdays, November 9, 23 & 30 at 7:45 p.m. Over 15 centuries ago, a woman in ancient Babylonia sought court protection for what today is called marital rape. Another sought redress for malfeasance by a court high official. These are just two of dozens of unnamed women whose court cases are preserved in the Babylonian Talmud. Identified simply as “a certain woman,” each advocates for herself before a named male rabbinic judge, protesting seemingly unfair decisions and sometimes winning reversals in their favor. Rabbi Grossman will explore how a gendered reading of these cases within the context of ancient Babylonian rabbinic society and its legal system leads us to reevaluate women’s role and degree of agency in rabbinic society.

Rabbi Grossman earned her doctorate in Ancient Judaism at Jewish Theological Seminary. She is co-editor of Daughters of the King: Women and the Synagogue and Etz Hayim Torah and Commentary and is the among the longest serving rabbis on the Committee of Jewish Law and Standards. This will be the last formal Adult Education class Rabbi Grossman will teach before she retires and transitions to Rabbi Emeritus.

Appropriate for all levels. No Hebrew necessary.

Fees: $15 members; $30 non-members

Jews in the Supreme Court with Professor Mike Myerson, JD

When? Tuesdays, December 7 & 21 at 7:45 p.m. This class will explore the special role of Jews in the history of the Supreme Court.  We will discuss the biographies and impact of Jewish Justices, from Louis Brandeis and Benjamin Cardozo, to Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Elana Kagan.   We will also discuss the impact of cases that involved discrimination against, or accommodations of, the Jewish religion have had on the development of Constitutional Law.

Professor Myerson is the  DLA Piper Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore School of Law and the cofounder and director of the Fannie Angelos Program for Academic Excellence.  I am the author of several books on the U.S. Constitution, including  Endowed By Our Creator: The Birth of Religious Freedom in America (Yale University Press 2012). 

Fees:  $15 members; $30 non-members

Friday Night Speakers

Cry Witch: Women, Magic, and the Rabbis with Rabbi Grossman

When? Friday, October 29 during services. The Babylonian Talmud is filled with stories about women whose magical incantations confound the Rabbis, often using spells the Rabbis themselves use. Hear these women’s stories and what their stories may mean in this fascinating talk by Rabbi Grossman about the uses and misuses of magic in ancient rabbinic Judaism. This talk takes place during Friday evening Sabbath services. All are welcome to come in appropriate costume.

Saturday Morning Speakers

Upcoming talks during Saturday morning Shabbat services

Torah Talks

When? Saturdays, October 16, December 18, March 12 and May 14.  Rabbi Amy Scheinerman leads us in this participatory Torah study on the weekly parsha (Torah reading) occurs during regular Saturday morning services.