Kollel Course Listing as of Dec. 2018

Remaining classes as of December 2018

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Registration is now open.

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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 2: Jan 15, 22, 29 Feb 12, 19, 26
Fee: $40/session

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.

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 2: Feb 11 Apr 15 May 13
Fee: $40/session

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

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




Parashat Vayigash

In this Torah portion, Joseph’s brothers refuse to return to Canaan without Benjamin, whom Joseph has falsely accused of theft. Joseph reveals his true identity and invites his brothers to return for their father, Jacob, and bring him and their families to Egypt to live. When they return, Joseph introduces his father to Pharaoh, and, at Pharaoh’s suggestion, the family settles in Goshen, a particularly fertile region of Egypt.