Winter/Spring 2021

The Adult Education programs in Winter/Spring 2021 will be online via Zoom or streaming services. 

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. 

Annual Author Series

Sponsored by: Beth Shalom Congregation’s Adult Education Committee and Shaare Tefila

Join us for one or all of these amazing authors.

Florence Adler Swims Forever: A Novel by Rachel Beanland

When? Sunday, January 10 at 7:45 p.m.

We welcome Rachel Beanland as she discusses her first novel. Rachel has a MFA in creative writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. USA TODAY lists this novel as one of the “Best Books of 2020.” Good Morning America refers to the novel in “25 Novels You’ll Want to Read This Summer.” You are in for a treat!

This compelling debut novel, set in Atlantic City, 1934, is about a multigenerational Jewish family whose summer starts off with a tragic accident. The family tries to keep the bad news under wraps, resulting in layers of secrecy and deception. This book has many discussable elements including relatable characters, historical events and family traditions.

Purchase this book from Amazon Smile here.

Purchase this book from Books with a Past, a local bookstore, here. Enter discount code HARMEL2021 at checkout.

Searching for Bubbe Fischer: the Path to Mah Jongg Wisdom by Karen Gooen 

When? Sunday, February 7 at 10:00 a.m.

Join Mah Jongg instructor and writer Karen Gooen from Randolph, NJ as she delights us with her engaging stories about her passion.

Part Mah Jongg manual, part memoir, this book tells the story of how the author searched for the ultimate mentor, learned to play the game, and eventually became a Mah Jongg aficionado. The book, filled with humorous anecdotes along with helpful tips and strategies, is enjoyable for both beginners and more experienced players. n.

Purchase this book from Amazon Smile here.
Or, contact the office to purchase a discounted copy. (limited supply)

Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

When? Sunday, March 14 at 11:00 a.m.

We are excited to have Kristen Harmel, NY Times Best Selling Author, join us as our third author. Kristin has been writing professionally since age 16 beginning with sports writing covering major league baseball and NHL hockey for a local magazine in Tampa Bay, FL. Kristin is a former reporter for People magazine, and has had stints writing for many other magazines, covering everything from the Super Bowl to high-profile murders to celebrity interviews. She also contributed to numerous TV shows and has appeared on Good Morning America. Kristen currently lives in Orlando, FL.

This World War II novel is by far the most popular book that Kristin has ever written. A young Jewish woman is recruited to forge documents to assist in the escape of Jewish children, giving them a chance to live under a new identity. But how will the very young ever regain their original identity? This heart-wrenching, well researched novel goes into great detail to answer this mystifying question while taking readers into Nazi occupied France on a journey which includes many twists and turns.

Purchase this book from Amazon Smile here.

Member price for the author series: 1 session ($10); 2 sessions ($18); 3 sessions ($25)
Non-Member price for the author series: 1 session ($15); 2 sessions ($27); 3 sessions ($38)
 Zoom links will be emailed to all who register.

 Winter/Spring 2021 Adult Education Classes

Talmud Zooom!

When? Wednesdays beginning January 6 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 February 2 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. 

A Mi Shebayrach and a Pill 

When? Thursdays, March 4, 11 & 18 at 7:45 p.m. This course will review and discuss the traditional prayer texts Jews recite to promote spiritual healing. At least one text per class will be reviewed, and there will be a musical/meditative component to each class. If the participants agree, the course will conclude with a brief Jewish Healing service. Rabbi Philip Pohl received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Hebrew Literature, Master of Arts in Judaic Studies, and Doctorate of Divinity from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Beginning in 1978, he served as Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Shalom of Olney for 27 years. He has served as Jewish Chaplain for Montgomery General Hospital and Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, and co-founded the Washington Jewish Healing Network..

The Listening Room: Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest

When? Tuesdays, April 6, 13 & 20 at 7:45 p.m. Come and relax by listening to some wonderful Israeli songs—submissions for the Eurovision Song Contest. We will learn about the immensely popular and ever-changing competition and see how Israel’s musical submissions have been viewed on an international stage! 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 Tefila Congregation in Olney, MD.

Friday Night Speakers

Torah Ethics for our Times: A Monthly Mini-Lecture Series with Rabbi Grossman

When? Fridays, February 12, March 12, April 23, May 14 & June 18 during services. When faced with difficult choices, how do we determine the right course of action for ourselves, our families, our community? As Jews, we begin by understanding the ethical values that appear in our foundational document, the Torah, upon which all Jewish values ultimately derive. 

Shabbat Across America with Mazon – a Jewish Response to Hunger

When? Friday, March 5 during services. Please join us for a very special presentation from Mazon, a Jewish Response to Hunger. Samuel M. Chu is the National Synagogue Organizer for Mazon, guiding synagogue partners in leading local and regional advocacy campaigns around issues of food insecurity. In addition to his work at Mazon, Samuel is a fellow at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at University of Southern California and teaches at the Episcopal School at Claremont School of Theology. He is a frequent speaker and presenter at conferences and training institutes hosted at the Hebrew Union College, American Jewish University, the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute, and the United States Student Association, among others.

Ask the Rabbi – Passover Edition

When? Fridays, March 16 & 23 during services. Rabbi Grossman answers all your Passover questions in this annual Ask the Rabbi event. Because Passover begins Saturday night, March 27, there will be two weeks of Ask the Rabbi, to allow people to prepare based on the answers received.

The Seders Are Over, Now What?

When? Friday, April 2 during services. There is a lot more to Passover than the first two nights’ seders! Join Rabbi Grossman for an exploration of well-known and little-known traditions for the last days of Passover and the beyond. 

Saturday Morning Speakers

Upcoming talks during Saturday morning Shabbat services

Sermon in Song

When? Saturday, March 13 at 9:30 a.m. Cantor Rebecca Apt will lead an in-depth exploration of the meaning and music of a particular prayer.

Torah Talks

When? Saturdays, January 9, March 6, April 10, May 8 & June 19 at 9:30 a.m. Rabbi Amy Scheinerman leads us in this participatory Torah study on the weekly parsha (Torah reading) occurs during regular Saturday morning services.

Are We What We Eat? Jewish Views on Veg-ism and Healthy Living

When? Saturday, May 22 during services. Join us during services for a D’var Torah and a discussion after services with our guests Sara Eifler and Jodi Graber as they address the Jewish basis for a plant-based diet. Hear about what our texts and rabbinic traditions tell us, what the leading nutrition studies say about the benefits of a plant-based diet, and what steps we, as individuals and collectively, can take to adopt healthy habits and embody compassion for all living beings.

Jewish Veg, founded in 1975, educates Jews about the highest ideals of our religion, especially as they relate to our relationship with animals, our physical and spiritual health, and the environment. Sara Eifler, Jewish Veg Program Director, has been vegan since she was 14 years old and is dedicated to activism and social change in both her personal and professional life. She is currently a rabbinic student at ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. Jodi Graber, Jewish Veg East Coast Engagement Manager, combines her passion for health, well-being and her Jewish heritage through her work as a health coach and her role at Jewish Veg.