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Kollel Course Listing

FALL/WINTER 2018-19 COURSE LISTING

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Click here to see a listing of the Kollel faculty

Beginning in October

Social Justice and Sacred Texts

Rabbi Peter W. Stein

This course will explore the teachings found in Pirkei Avot, one of the first rabbinic writings.  Pirkei Avot is the urtext of Jewish  practical wisdom. In many ways, the words of Pirkei Avot were the first recorded manifesto of social justice in Western civilization. This commentary explores the text through a lens of contemporary social justice and moral philosophy, engaging both classical commentators and modern thinkers. Students are encouraged to acquire a copy of this book (although excerpts will be provided during class) Pirke Avot: A Social Justice Commentary by Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

Wednesdays: 10:00am-11:30am
Oct 24 Nov 7, 28 Dec 5, 19 Jan 9
Fee: $60

 

Torah Through the Voice of Women

Rabbi Rochelle Tulik

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
Session 1 Oct 23, 30 Nov 13, 27 Dec 11, 18
Session 2 Jan 15, 22, 29 Feb 12, 19, 26
Fee: $40/session

 

The Book of Esther – The Whole Megillah

Rabbi Shaya Kilimnick

An intense study of the most popular stories of the Scriptures. No fairy tales here, but rather the appreciation of a time in which the Jewish people prepare for their journey from the Diaspora to the rebuilding of the Second Commonwealth in Israel. The study will be imbued with history, philosophy and of course Jewish humor.

Tuesdays: 9:30am-11:00am
Oct 16, 23, 30 Nov 6, 13
Fee: $50

 

The Sabbath as Resistance

Joe Kelly

In the Ten Commandments, both Jews and Christians are instructed to "Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy." While still observed among more traditional persons, Sabbath as a day of rest and refreshment is no longer widely practiced as part of our religious system. Using Walter Brueggemann's book, The Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now, this 4-week series will explore the value of observing the Sabbath as a means of side-stepping the present-day cultural excesses which often seem to result in a great deal of exhaustion, restlessness, consumerism, greed, and anxiety. Text: Brueggemann's book

Mondays: 10:30am-12:30pm
Oct 22, 29 Nov 5, 12
Fee: $60

 

Artists of the WPA: How America was built and beautified during the depression years

Eleanor S. Lewin

Who were the men and women who worked at their craft in order to keep themselves above water during trying times? Who were the unsung heroes of government who devised this far-reaching plan? Classes will include visual images and conversations including some fascinating facts about that time period before and during the first part of World War II.

Tuesdays: 2:30pm-4:00pm
Oct 16, 23, 30 Nov 13, 27 Dec 4
Fee: $60

 

Women Leaders in the Bible and What We Can Learn From Them

Ayala Emmett

Biblical women who have changed history are great role models that are often absent from discussions on leadership. We will explore biblical women who were amazing experts on national security, war, and peace. We will discuss women who dared change inheritance laws and the courageous women who were the first to engage in civil disobedience. We will draw on their experiences to think about contemporary women in leadership and their influence on public life.

Wednesdays: 3:00pm-4:30pm
Oct 24, 31 Nov 7, 14, 28 Dec 5
Fee: $60

 

Convenient Hatred…the Endless History of Antisemitism

Thomas Driscoll with Guest Speakers

Anti-Defamation League reports a 57% increase in incidents in 2017. Recent upstate New York incidents include: anti-Semitic flyers found at Cornell on Holocaust Remembrance Day, Stone Road Cemetery vandalized and tombstones toppled, pedestrian assailed by driver: "Go back to where you came from, f***ing Jew”, house for sale has "no Jews" graffiti, and hate speech concerning Israel. Explore the roots and current version of this ancient hatred, learn strategies for confronting hatred. Recommended:  Convenient Hatred by Phyllis Goldstein (2012 www.facinghistory.com)

Convenient Hatred (Tues pm plus one Mon pm)
Tuesdays and one Monday: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Oct 16, 23, 30 Nov 5 (Mon), 13
Fee: $50

OR (choose one)

Convenient Hatred (Thurs am)
Thursdays: 9:30am-11:00am  
Oct 18, 25 Nov 1, 8, 15
Fee: $50

 

Mussar: Becoming More Menschlike, One Step at a Time

Howard Brill and Barbara Grosh

Mussar is an ancient Jewish tradition of spiritual growth. Mussar (unlike Kabbalah) is focused on spiritual growth in the midst of our busy involved lives, embedded amongst our families, co-workers and neighbors. The purpose of studying Mussar is to become a better person, more of a mensch. We study character traits (middot) such as humility, patience, gratitude, honor, and alacrity and try on practices to improve our character traits one at a time. Readings come from The Mussar Institute. Participants will discuss and keep journals of their experience with each middah. All are welcome, whether you’ve just heard of Mussar or you’ve been practicing for some time.

Sundays: 11:00am-12:00pm
Oct 21 Nov 4, 18 Dec 9, 16 Jan 13, 27 Feb 10, 24
No fee. Registration required.
Location: Temple Beth David’s Social Hall, 2131 Elmwood Ave. Door A

 

Judaism 101

David Orange

A ten-week program to explore, discover and connect to the Jewish faith. From a refresher course to a first-time exploration of the Jewish religion, an introductory program covering fundamental Jewish beliefs and practices. Open to all religious affiliations.

Tuesdays: 6:30pm- 8:00pm
Oct 16, 23, 30 Nov 6, 13, 27 Dec 4, 11, 18 Jan 8
Location: St. John's Brickstone 1325 Elmwood Ave in the Community Room (to the left when entering the main entrance). Participants are urged to use parking spaces west of Joey B's Restaurant so customers have easy access to the establishment.

No fee. Registration required.  
Generously sponsored by St. John's Foundation and Farash Foundation

 

Jews and Mah Jongg for Beginners

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-2:30pm
Oct 17, 24, 31 Nov 7, 14
Fee $50

 

Holocaust Awareness

David Orange

Explore the historical and evolutionary causes of why humans continuously bring about crisis, violence, and war as a means to settle our differences. Examine early human history and the formulation of tribal beliefs, customs, cultures, moral and ethical values, and early religious structures. Focus on the Jewish experience starting with a very broad overview of Jewish history. Look at the many elements of the Jewish experience relating to the teachings of Torah, the many exiles, expulsions, and conquests, and the reasons for the Diaspora. Examine various political structures and social constructs to gain an understanding of how and why the Holocaust was created. Study the late 19th century and the causes leading to World War I and how the harsh post-war treatment of Germany gave rise to Nazism. Examine the political turmoil in Europe and the feverish tone of anti-Judaism that created the Holocaust. Draw upon events currently happening in the world today as well as our recent past to demonstrate how our failures to learn the lessons of history perpetuate these atrocities and illustrate the need for education, awareness, and change.

Thursdays: 6:30pm-8:00 pm
Oct 18, 25 Nov 1, 8, 15, 29 Dec 6, 13
Location: St. John's Meadow Briarwood Activity Room
No fee. Registration required.
Generously sponsored by St. John's Foundation and Farash Foundation

 

Islam 102

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 (Islam 101 will be offered again in Spring 2019)

Wednesdays: 7:00pm-8:30pm
Oct 24 Nov 7, 14, 28 Dec 5, 12, 19
Fee: $60

 

Salon: Books, Films and Conversations

Thomas Driscoll

Try to read the book before the session, watch selections of the film and share your feelings and thoughts. We guarantee the best discussions and plenty of laughter.

Oct 15 Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik,  Film: RBG

Nov 12 Book only: Small Great Things  by Jodi Picoult

Jan 7   Film only: Won’t You Be My Neighbor

Feb 11 I Am Malala  by Malala Yousafzai, Film: He Named Me Malala

Apr 15 The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain, Film: TED Talk on Introverts

May 13 Fascism: A Warning by Madeline Albright,  Film: The White Ribbon

Mondays: 6:30pm-8:30pm
Session 1: Oct 15 Nov 12 Jan 7
Session 2: Feb 11 Apr 15 May 13
Fee: $40/session

 

Beginning in November

 

Where do we go from here?

The Rev. Dr. Christopher Luedde

We look toward the Book of Acts to see the early church after the death of Jesus. The disciples are hiding and not sure where they go from here. The Book of Acts looks at the course of actions in the Church of Jerusalem headed by James where we meet a man named Saul who becomes known to the world as Paul.  This is an interactive course which looks at the early history and “in situ” lives during the first century C.E.

Tuesdays: 10:30am-12:00pm
Nov 27 Dec 4, 11, 18
Fee: $40

 

 Today’s Culture War – Direct to you from the Ante-bellum South “Old times there are not forgotten…”

Thomas Driscoll

A riveting examination of how Protestant fundamentalism, Orthodox Judaism, conservative Catholicism and extreme right-wing political beliefs have joined forces in a battle against the powers of modernism and secular society.   With the rise of fundamentalism, millions of folks country-wide have become empowered to embrace the beliefs of the antebellum South in order to confront the evils of pluralism and tolerance. The South may have lost the violent military side of the civil war, but the “Lost Cause” has come home to political and social dominance in the 21st Century. Some consider this emphasis as refreshing, others fear a loss of compassion, the end of civil rights and the dominance of greed. Recommended:  Dixie’s Daughters by Karen Cox (2004)

Today’s Culture War (Tues pm)
Tuesdays: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Nov 27 Dec 4, 11,18
Fee: $40

OR (choose one)

Today’s Culture War (Thurs am)
Thursdays: 9:30am-11:00am Nov 29 Dec 6, 13, 20
Fee: $40

 

Israel Vacation 101

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: 7:00pm-8:30pm
Nov/Dec Session:
Nov 7, 14, 28 Dec 5
Fee: $40

OR (choose one)

Feb Session:  Feb 6, 13, 20, 27
Fee: $40

 

Animation in America-Cartoons and Culture

Jenna Silpe

Cartoons aren't just for kids! They can serve a valuable function, often by holding a mirror up to our society. This course will examine the historical significance of cartoons and their contributions (and reflections!) of American culture.

Mondays 6:30pm-8:00pm
Nov 26 Dec 3, 10, 17
Fee: $40

 

Beginning in January

 

Memory and Justice After Genocide:  The Case of Rwanda

Andrea Gluckman

How do people live next door to their family member’s murderer?  How do communities share space after mass violence?  The primary point of discussion will be the role of memory and justice after genocide or mass violence, as told through the case study of Rwanda.  The timeline of the genocide will be discussed in the first session, with the subsequent three or four sessions focusing on transitional justice, truth and reconciliation, collective memory, and the restorative practices that are being used in Rwanda today.  Any required texts will be provided.

Wednesdays: 7:00pm-8:30 pm
Jan 16, 23, 30 Feb 6
Fee: $40

 

Mysticism of the Enlightened

David Orange

You asked for more; well, here it is. Delve deeper into the mysticism of the Kaballah, Buddhism, the Sutras, Torah, the Akashic Records, theoretical physics, and more. What is enlightenment, and why does the mysticism of the Enlightened have such commonality? This will appeal to those who have taken “Fences” and “Illusions” courses.

Thursdays: 6:30pm-8:00 pm
Jan 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 Feb 7
Location: St. John's Meadow Briarwood Activity Room
No fee. Registration required.
Generously sponsored by St. John's Foundation and Farash Foundation

 

Religious Attitudes of the Founding Mothers and Fathers

Thomas Driscoll

The Christian Right is trying to rewrite the history of the United States as part of its campaign to impose certain moral values on others. They try to depict the founding fathers as pious Protestants who wanted the United States to be a Christian-focused nation. This is patently untrue. What did America's founding fathers and mothers think about religion in public life? A special look at Ethan Allen, Betsy Ross, Patrick Henry, James Monroe, John Adams and Dolly Madison.  Examining the personal and public statements of the early patriots and the “intent of the Founders”. Implications for today!!!!

Thursdays: 9:30am-11:00am
Jan 3, 10, 17, 24  
Fee: $40

 

The Blues…Music for the Jewish Soul and all of us

Thomas Driscoll

Misfortune, betrayal and regret. Lyrics often deal with personal adversity, and yet the music goes far beyond self-pity. The blues deal with overcoming hard luck, saying what you feel, ridding yourself of frustration, letting your hair down, and having fun. We will examine the influence of postwar teenage Jewish suburbanites from Chicago —including keyboardist Barry Goldberg, guitarist Harvey Mandel, harmonica player Corky Siegel, and guitarist Michael Bloomfield—who haunted the blues lounges of the South and West Sides. There, they developed relationships with old masters such as Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Enjoy the music.

Tuesdays and one Monday: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Jan 8, 15, 22 and Mon Jan 28
Fee: $40

 

Removing the Fences Around God

David Orange

The content of this discussion-led course is daring and provocative and is intended to 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. Attendance of the first class is mandatory – no late-comers.

Tuesdays: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Jan 15, 22, 29 Feb 5, 12, 19, 26 Mar 5
Location: St. John's Brickstone 1325 Elmwood Ave in the Community Room (to the left when entering the main entrance) Participants are urged to use parking spaces west of Joey B's Restaurant so customers have easy access to the establishment.
No fee. Registration required.
Generously sponsored by St. John's Foundation and Farash Foundation

 

Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) Unifier of Germany and Precursor of the Holocaust

Thomas Driscoll

Often we want to pin-point the rise of the Third Reich to the birth of National Socialism or Adolf Hitler’s personal successes in the 1920’s. This myth is dangerously short-sided and misses the impact of the unification of Prussia and the German states, the style of governance of the Kaiser and the genius of Otto von Bismarck. The course thesis is that without Bismarck, no Holocaust. He was not a man of iron but a nervous wreck with a deeply flawed personality.  Bismarck set up a worldview, modus operandi and approaches to foreign policy and citizenship which eventually gave the Third Reich a vision of how to proceed and enjoy popular support.  Bismarck created a social milieu which made the move to authoritarianism smooth, legal and very acceptable to the citizenry of Germany.

Otto von Bismarck (Tues pm)
Tuesdays: 6:30pm-8:30pm
Jan 29 Feb 5, 12   
Fee: $40

OR (choose one)

Otto von Bismarck (Thurs am)
Thursdays: 9:30am-11:30am  
Jan 31 Feb 7, 14    
Fee: $40

 

Great Decisions: A Jewish Perspective (2019)

Joy Getnick

A unique version of the Foreign Policy Association’s “Great Decisions” program, designed to engage students in critical debate regarding contemporary foreign policy challenges.  Our course will evaluate these challenges through a Jewish lens, with an emphasis on Jewish values and ethics in practice. Text: “Great Decisions” manual, supplemented (in-class) by the “Great Decisions” DVD. Some reading prior to each course session will be required.

Thursdays: 10:00am-11:30am
Jan 31 Feb 14, 28 Mar 14, 28

Please note that the additional 2019 topics will be offered in Fall of 2019
Fee: $45 plus $25 book
Location: JCC (Yiddish Culture Center)

 

Hebrew Classes

Call or email the Kollel office regarding appropriate placement

 

Learn to Read Hebrew for Beginners

Gene Spiro

Learn the basics to read Hebrew. Letter and vowel recognition and development of phonetic skills.

Mondays: 6:30pm-7:30pm Oct 29 Nov 5, 12, 26 Dec 3, 10, 17 Jan 7, 14, 28 Feb 4, 11
Fee: $80

 

Hebrew Prayer Reading and Comprehension

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 Oct 29 Nov 5, 12, 26 Dec 3, 10, 17 Jan 7, 14, 28 Feb 4, 11 Fee: $80

 

Hebrew Prayer Reading and Comprehension for Adult B’nai Mitzvah Students

Gene Spiro

For those currently enrolled in the Adult B’nai Mitzvah class. Improve reading fluency of prayers and learn basic Hebrew vocabulary to facilitate prayer comprehension.

Tuesdays: 2:00pm-3:00pm Oct 23, 30 Nov 13, 27 Dec 4, 11, 18 Jan 8, 15, 29 Feb 5, 12
Fee: $80

 

Alefbet

Orna Korn

Learn the alefbet and vowels. Note: maximum of 12 students per class

Tuesdays: 7:15pm-8:15pm Session 1 Nov 13, 27 Dec 4, 11, 18 Jan 8
Fee: $40

Tuesdays: 7:15pm-8:15pm Session 2 Jan 15, 29 Feb 5, 12, 19, 26
Fee: $40

 

Basic Beginning Hebrew

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
Session 1: Nov 13, 27 Dec 4, 11, 18 Jan 8
Session 2 Jan 15, 29 Feb 5, 12, 19, 26
Fee: $40 per session

OR (choose one)

Basic Beginning Hebrew Tuesdays pm: 6:00pm-7:00pm
Session 1: Nov 13, 27 Dec 4, 11, 18 Jan 8
Session 2 Jan 15, 29 Feb 5, 12, 19, 26
Fee: $40 per session

 

Advanced Beginning Hebrew

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 Oct 29 Nov, 5 12, 26 Dec 3, 10
Fee: $60

Mondays: 5:30pm-7:00pm Session 2 Jan 7, 14, 28 Feb 4, 11, 18
Fee: $60

 

Jewish Living

(Co-sponsored with the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester)

with Elliot Fix

This course and inclusion program is designed for adults with disabilities who want a program which accommodates their learning needs and interests. Participants will be actively engaged in learning about Jewish holidays, prayers, songs, rituals, 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 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

 

END OF COURSE LISTING

Parashat

Parashat Vayetzei

In this Torah portion, Jacob has a dream in which angels go up and down a ladder connecting earth to heaven. God appears before Jacob and renews the covenant that God had made with Abraham. Jacob sees Rachel, Laban’s daughter, tending sheep and wishes to marry her. Laban tricks Jacob into marrying his eldest daughter, Leah, after seven years of labor. In exchange for another seven years of work, Jacob is allowed to marry Rachel. Jacob has many sons with Leah, but Rachel is unable to conceive. Finally, God blesses Rachel, and she has a son, whom she names Joseph.

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