We are excited to announce the courses for this Spring. All classes are at Temple B’rith Kodesh (2131 Elmwood Avenue) unless otherwise noted.
Registration begins on February 12, 2018.
When possible, please register at least THREE (3) weeks prior to the start of the class.
Classes can only be confirmed when six (6) people have registered.

Walk-ins are welcome. It is important to note that the students planning to walk in should contact the Kollel office prior to the class (2 to 3 days before is preferred – same day contact may not be in time) in order to confirm that the class is taking place.  Additionally, the walk-in students should register and pay through the Kollel office, not through the instructor.

Please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at (585) 244-7060 x242.

If you are in need of financial assistance, please contact Herb Skerker. All information will be kept strictly confidential.


Jewish Living (Co-sponsored with the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester) with Elliot Fix
This course and inclusion program is designed for adults with special learning needs. Participants will be actively engaged in learning about Jewish holidays, prayers, songs, rituals, Torah lessons, and Israel.  Class sessions also include crafts, baking projects, and guest presenters.  Participation in relevant Jewish community events is scheduled throughout the year.
Wednesdays: 7:00pm-8:15pm
Sessions and programs are scheduled on Wednesdays throughout the year from September through June. For fee information and information about joining, please contact Elliot Fix via The Rochester Kollel.
Yiddish and Yiddishkeit: Language, Literature, and Culture
with Deborah Rothman
Born in post-war Vilna, Deborah Rothman is a native Yiddish speaker, a long-time instructor of the cultural and literary heritage of mameloshn, and a translator for the Yiddish Book Center. Discover the world of Yiddish in this Yiddish language course for intermediate and advanced learners.
Tuesdays April 10 – June 5 10:30am-12:30pm
Fee: $120 ($90 for JCC Members)
Register with the JCC at 461-2000 or jccrochester.org
Class held at the JCC (Yiddish Culture Center)

Job's Dilemma and Ours: Biblical Reflections on the Problem of Evil with Dr. Joseph Kelly
For those of us who believe in God, we are still asking the same question that Job asked in the Scriptures: God is a Good God, why do bad things happen to good people? Why do innocent people suffer? Is God responsible for all the evil in the world today?  This four-week series will explore the fascinating insights provided by both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures to this very perplexing question. By exploring these insights, it is hoped that we who are believers be better to cope with the pain and suffering of life.
Mondays: 10:30am-12:30pm Apr 9, 16, 23, 30
Fee: $60

Soundings: Lively Spiritual Book & Film Discussions with Thomas Driscoll
Explore societal issues, moral values, passions and grief.
March 12 The Moth Presents all these Wonders: True stories about facing the Unknown
by Catherine Burns (book)
May 14 Lion a 2016 biographical film directed by Garth Davis based on the non-fiction book 
A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley (film & book)
Mondays: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Fee: $10 for each date in advance, $12 for each date at the door
Full Metal Jacket: 30 years later
with Jenna Silpe
Jewish-American filmmaker Stanley Kubrick has been called one of the greatest directors in history. In this course we will view, critique and examine his critically acclaimed penultimate film, Full Metal Jacket. Full Metal Jacket is based on the novel “The Short-Timers” by Gustav Hasford and follows the events of the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam. The story of a Marine Corps platoon bonding and surviving boot camp on Parris Island paints a rich portrait of military structure and culture. Following the shocking conclusion to the film’s first act, we will discuss mental health issues within the armed forces as well as focus on the dehumanizing effects of war.
Please note: This film includes profanity and realistic wartime battle images.
Mondays: 10:00am-12:00pm
Mar 5, 12, 19, 26
OR (choose one)
Wednesdays: 6:30pm-8:30pm
Mar 7, 14, 21, 28
Fee: $60

This Isn’t your Daddy’s Rock ‘n’ Roll: Protest Music from the 1980’s to present with Jenna Silpe
Why is “modern” protest music so different from the folk songs of the Vietnam era? Why is this music so angry? What different genres of protest music have risen to prominence in the past 30 years? We will listen to and discuss songs with political, social and economic commentary and discover why rap, hip-hop and metal protest music is still important in today’s world.
Mondays: 10:00am-11:30am 
Apr 9, 16, 23, 30
OR (choose one)
Wednesdays: 7:00pm-8:30pm
Apr 11, 18, 25 May 2
Fee: $40

Torah Through the Voice of Women with Rabbi Kelly Levy
Since its publication in 2008, The Torah: A Women’s Commentary has brought the voices of women out of the shadows of our Biblical text. Join us for a close reading and exploration of Torah, enhanced by the commentary and poetry of notable female scholars. This class is open to men and women. New and returning students are welcome.
Tuesdays: 12:15pm-1:15pm Mar 13, 27 Apr 10, 17 May 8, 22, 29 Jun 12, 19
Fee: $60

Removing the Fences Around God with David Orange
This content-heavy course is daring and provocative. It is intended to challenge and expand one’s thinking and reasoning as we explore the magnificence of God and reveal the fences that separate us from knowing the Creator and ourselves. We will contemplate the creation of the Universe from theological, philosophical, and scientific perspectives. Finally, we will examine the distortions, myths, and illusions created by man that gave rise to the world’s major religions that now obscure humanity from knowing the divinity and unity in everything. This course will appeal to those who are spiritually inclined or seeking alternative insights to religion. The students should have an open mind and an ability to comprehend complex science. Attendance at the first class is required.
Tuesdays: 6:30pm-8:00pm Mar 6, 13, 20, 27 Apr 3, 10, 17, 24
Class meets at St. John's Meadows. No fee.
Registration required. Generously sponsored by St. John's and the Ames-Amzalak Foundation.

Can Prophets Give Us Hope? with Ayala Emmett (please note that Paul Gongloff will not be teaching)
Current affairs in the United States and across the world are cause for many to ask, “Where are the prophets? Oh, how we need them now.” In this class we will explore the purpose of prophets in their time and the ways that their message has been understood across centuries. The central question for discussion will be whether prophets offer ways for hope in stressful and uncertain times, then and now. Readings will be announced before the first class.
Tuesdays: 10:30am-12:00pm Apr 3, 10, 17, 24
Fee: $40

Mussar: The Jewish Spiritual Path Toward Becoming a Better Person with Barbara Grosh
Mussar is a spiritual practice of studying one character trait at a time and working to make tiny incremental steps toward acting in the world more as one wants to act, becoming more purposeful and less reactive. The character traits are things like humility, patience, kindness, gratitude, judging favorably, compassion, common decency, trustworthiness, trust, and modesty. The group meets every other week and participants are encouraged to meet in pairs on the off weeks to deepen their work on the character trait under consideration. We will use writings from various sources, including The Mussar Institute to motivate our study. Open to all. No prior Mussar experience necessary.
Tuesdays: 9:30am-10:30am Mar 27 Apr 10, 24 May 8, 22 Jun 5, 19
Fee: $40

Four of the Best Recent Israeli Films with Thomas Driscoll
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (2014) 
A woman appeals to her husband's compassion to obtain the desired divorce document in court, which proves to be more challenging than she
expected. 115 minutes.
Laavor et Hakir/The Wedding Plan (2016)
An original Israeli romantic comedy. Michal is 32 and about to get married in a month. But then her fiancée bows out.  110 minutes.
The Women's Balcony/Ismach Hatani (2016)
An eccentric portrait of an already devout
community suddenly under pressure from a more conservative rabbi to observe their faith in a more rigid way. 96 minutes.
One Week and a Day/Shavua ve Yom (2017) is an incredibly tragicomedy about two parents
figuring out what to do after their son dies. 98 minutes
View the entire film and be a part of the
20 minute discussion --- snacks provided.
Tuesdays: class begins at 6:30pm and ends after the discussion May 1, 8, 15, 22
Fee: $60

BuJewism 101 with David Orange
This course asks whether Judaism was influenced by Hinduism and/or Zoroastrianism, and whether Jesus was influenced by Buddhism and other religions. The course will explore the mystical commonalities between Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and the teachings of Jesus. Drawing from the Sanskrit texts, Torah, Kabbalah, and the Synoptic Gospels, the course will weave together common themes.
Tuesdays: 6:30pm-8:00pm
May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Jun 5
Class meets at St. John's Meadow. No fee. Registration required. Generously sponsored by
St. John's and the Ames-Amzalak Foundation.

Lies my Teacher told Me – What your American History Textbook got Wrong with Thomas Driscoll
This class is based on the research of James Loewen on the challenges of teaching with books biased by blind nationalism, mindless optimism, and sheer misinformation.  We will explore the  truth about Columbus, white supremacy, oppression of women, Thanksgiving and the myth-making we do. Connections to today will be clear.
Tuesdays: 6:30pm-8:00pm Mar 13, 20, 27 Apr 3
OR (choose one)
Thursdays: 9:30am-11:00am Mar 15, 22, 29 Apr 5
Fee: $40

Islam 102 with Andrea Gluckman
Islam 102 will elaborate on the topics and themes explored in Islam 101.  The emphasis for Islam 102 will be on the social teachings of Islam, Islamic law, and the social and political structures that have grown out of Islam.  Current hot-button issues related to Islam such as jihad, the hijab, and polygamy will be discussed in proper context.  Any required texts will be provided. Prerequisite: Islam 101
Wednesdays: 7:00pm-8:30pm Feb 28 Mar 7, 14, 21 Apr 11, 18, 25 
Fee: $60

Jews and Mah Jongg for Beginners with Juleen Squires
How did a 19th century Chinese parlor game come to be a favorite pastime for Jewish women? Learn how they kept the game alive and learn to play!  No experience necessary. Men and women are welcome.
Wednesdays: 1:00pm-3:30pm Mar 7, 14, 21, 28 Apr 4
Fee: $50

Reverend King and Rabbi Heschel - Religious Leaders in Pursuit of Justice with Rabbi Peter Stein
During this mini course we will explore the biblical texts that provided the inspiration for Martin Luther King and Abraham Joshua Heschel. This course is offered in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which occurred on April 4, 1968.
Wednesdays: 10:00am-11:00am Apr 4, 18 May 2, 23 |
Fee $30

Islam 101 with Andrea Gluckman
This class aims to give a broad and informed context to Islam as a holistic tradition. The course will begin with unpacking headline stereotypes and then move into the origins, theological premises, prophetic tradition, and sacred texts of Islam. Additionally, divisions within Islam will be discussed within the context of the development of the Islamic empire. There is no general required text, but articles will be provided throughout the course.
Wednesdays: 7:00pm-8:30pm May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 Jun 6, 13
Fee: $60

Don’t be scared of the subtitles: Foreign films you may have missed with Jenna Silpe
Too many people say “pass” when offered the chance to view a foreign film. Why? In this course we will watch and discuss several foreign film selections, all of which have won numerous awards and honors.
Maria Full of Grace (2004, Colombia) 101 minutes
Downfall (2004, Germany) 155 minutes
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006, Spain) 119 minutes
City of God (2003, Brazil) 130 minutes
Wednesdays: 6:00pm-8:45pm May 9, 16, 23, 30
Fee: $80

Israel Vacation 101 with Orna Korn
In this class you will learn tips and tricks to navigating your visit to Israel. You will learn basic Hebrew conversation, do's and don’ts in Israeli culture, history and cultural highlights of Israeli landmarks and off-the-beaten-path suggestions. Your Israeli instructor will give you the basic tools to prepare your journey to the Holy Land. Materials will be supplied.
Wednesdays and Thursdays: 10:00am-12:00pm Mar 7, 8, 14, 15
Fee: $60

The Five Fears We All Share with Andrea Evans and Thomas Driscoll
Medical experts tell us that the anxious feeling we get when we're afraid is a normal biological reaction. Fear is basically information. It offers us knowledge and understanding—if we choose to accept it. According to Dr. Karl Albrecht there are only five basic fears, out of which almost all of our other so-called fears are manufactured. These are:
Extinction—the fear of annihilation, of ceasing to exist. Dying and not being remembered, life having no "meaning", no family to carry on a legacy or name.
Mutilation—the fear of losing any part of our precious bodily structure. Medical procedures where we are powerless, attacks on our person.
Loss of Autonomy—the fear of being restricted, overwhelmed. Paralysis, life support, rape, etc.
Separation—the fear of abandonment, rejection, and loss of connectedness. Becoming a non-person. Divorce, abortion, excommunication from family or religion.
Ego-death—the fear of humiliation, loss of lovability and worthiness. Being a victim of a crime, bullying, failure of any kind.
Our goal is to discuss all these topics, to reach an understanding of triggers, and how these fears have an impact on physical health and mental well-being.
Thursdays: 6:30pm- 8:30pm Mar 22, 29 Apr 12, 19, 26
Fee: $60
Hebrew Classes - Call or email the Kollel office regarding appropriate placement
Learn to Read Hebrew for Beginners
with Gene Spiro
Learn the basics to read Hebrew. Letter and vowel recognition and development of phonetic skills.
Mondays: 6:30pm-7:30pm Mar 5, 12, 19, 26 Apr 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 May 7, 14 Jun 4
Fee: $80
Hebrew Prayer Reading and Comprehension
with Gene Spiro
For those with a basic knowledge of Hebrew literacy. Improve reading fluency of prayers and learn basic Hebrew vocabulary to facilitate prayer comprehension.
Mondays: 7:30pm-8:30pm Mar 5, 12, 19, 26 Apr 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 May 7, 14 Jun 4
Fee: $80
Basic Beginning Hebrew with Orna Korn
Focuses on comprehension of basic two-word sentences and progresses to the understanding and usage of complex sentences. Note: maximum of 12 students per class
Basic Beginning Hebrew Tuesdays am:
11:00am-12:00pm Mar 6, 13, 20 Apr 17, 24 May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Jun 5, 12
OR (choose one)
Basic Beginning Hebrew Tuesdays pm:
6:30pm-7:30pm Mar 6, 13, 20 Apr 17, 24 May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Jun 5, 12
Fee: $80
Advanced Beginning Hebrew
with Orna Korn
This class uses the vocabulary learned in Basic Beginning Hebrew to construct short stories of four to six sentences in length. A great variety of learning experiences are provided. Note: maximum of 12 students per class
Mondays: 5:30pm-7:00pm Session 1 Mar 5, 12, 19 Apr 16, 23, 30
Fee: $60
Mondays: 5:30pm-7:00pm Session 2 May 7, 14 Jun 4, 11, 18, 25
Fee: $60