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Kollel Course Listing - Fall 2021


Course Listings - Fall 2021

Jewish Arguments: You're Right...and You're Right Too!
Rabbi Peter Stein

There are countless examples in Jewish tradition about disagreement and conflict.  From Jacob wrestling with the angel to the intense rivalry between Rabbi Hillel and Rabbi Shammai and many more, we learn that there is no concern about having a conflict if we conduct ourselves in the right way.  Join this class to reflect on how we can build relationships with those who have different opinions and different perspectives, and how we can disagree in positive and productive ways.  Readings will be included from Bible, Talmud, and modern sources.  

Wednesdays: 10:00am-11:00am  October 6, 20, November 3, 17, December 1, 15
Fee: $40

Haftarah Through the Voice of Women – Exploring The Women’s Haftarah Commentary
Rabbi Rochelle Tulik

The Haftarah is a potent tool for understanding the values, ethics, and moral lessons contained in the weekly Torah readings.  This Kollel series will explore The Women’s Haftarah Commentary, a collection featuring commentary and interpretations from more than eighty women rabbis from the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist movements.  New and returning students are more than welcome.  Just because it’s a “women’s” commentary, doesn’t mean only “women” should join!  (Participants will want a copy of the text as weekly discussions will center directly on the commentaries contained within.)

Tuesdays: 12:15pm-1:15pm  October 5, 12, 19, 26, November 9, 16, 30, December 7
Fee: $40

Formation of the Books of the Hebrew and Christian Bibles
Stu Berger

This course explores the compilation, editing and acceptance, (canonization) of the official scripture of both the Tanakh, (Hebrew Bible) and the New Testament, and the important ingredients, influence of other civilizations and historical events that led to their development.  The course was originally co-authored by Tom Driscoll and Stu Berger

Thursdays: 9:30am-11:00am  October 14, 21, 28, November 4
Fee: $40

Judaism in The New Testament
Joe Kelly

When reading the New Testament, one is immediately aware that it is written in the context of 1st century Judaism. But how does this literature present the Judaism of that time? How accurately is it portrayed? Why has it lead to such historic anti-Judaism? To examine these questions, this 4- week series will read and discuss the two “Infancy Gospels” of Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2. In doing so, we hope to deepen the level of good understanding in our continuing Jewish-Christian dialogue.

Mondays: 10:00am-11:30am  November 1, 8, 15, 22
Fee: $40 


Mah Jongg for Beginners 
Juleen Squires

Jewish women kept this 19th century Chinese parlor game alive, and it has become a favorite pastime. Learn to play! No experience necessary. Men and women are welcome.

Thursdays: 1:00pm-2:30pm  Oct 21, 28, Nov 4, 11, 18 Dec 4 
Fee $50

Short Stories of Edith Pearlman 
Athene Goldstein

This is a course on the short stories of Edith Pearlman.  We will use the book Binocular Vision.

Mondays: 10:00am-11:30am  October 4, 11, 18, 25
Fee: $40 

Gates of Everyday Holiness: An Introductory Course on Mussar
Howard Brill and Liz Ornstein

Mussar is an ancient Jewish tradition of spiritual practice. Mussar is focused on our growth, amid our busy involved lives, embedded amongst our families, co-workers and neighbors. It is not philosophical or mystical but emphasizes the practical aspects of being a better person, of a being a mensch. We study character traits (middot) such as humility, patience, order, truth, and trust. Students should acquire a copy of the book, Everyday Holiness, by Alan Morinis. Other readings and course materials will be provided. Participants will discuss and keep journals of their experience with each middah (character trait). All are welcome, whether you’ve just heard of Mussar or you’ve been practicing for some time. The group will meet every other week, and members will meet in pairs (chevruta partners) on the alternating weeks.

Sundays: 11:00am-12:30pm  October 10, 24, November 7, 21, December 5, 19, 26, January 9, 23, February 6

Participants will meet with their Chevruta partners during the week between group sessions at a time and place of their own choosing.

Location TBD
No fee. Registration required. 

Reading Jewish, Reading Christian: How We Interpret The Same Texts In Different Ways 
Rabbi Drorah Setel and Rev. Matthew Nickoloff

George Bernard Shaw is said to have described the United States and Great Britain as "two countries divided by a common language." In much the same way, Jews and Christians may be seen as two traditions divided by a common biblical text. While we read the same stories, we interpret them in different ways.  For Jews, the insights of the talmudic rabbis and medieval commentators are inseparable from how they have come to understand the Hebrew Bible. Christians see that same text as the Old Testament, viewed through the lens of the New Testament.  In this class, we will look at texts common to both our traditions and explore the specific ways in which we read them as Jews and as Christians. In doing so, we will also be discussing key ideas within our traditions, such as human nature, covenant, sacrifice, and messianic beliefs. No previous biblical study is required. Texts will be provided.

Thursdays: 10:00am-11:30am  November 11, 18, December 2, 9
Fee: $40

Four Lesser Known Texts That Can, at the Very Least, Increase Our Understanding of the Holocaust
Herb Skerker

The books are:  Badenhheim 1939 by Aharon Applefield, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder,  The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million by Daniel Mendelsohn,  Under ground in Berlin: A young Woman’s Extraordinary Tale of Survival in the Heart of Nazi Germany by Marie Jalowicz Simon.  All Books are available at the Monroe County Library,  Amazon and Thrift Books.  Students are encouraged to read the books to enhance class participation.

Mondays: 1:30pm–3:00pm  October 27, November 29, December 20, January 24
Fee: $40

Adult B'nai Mitzvah
Rabbi Peter Stein

This class is perfect for those who want to advance their Jewish learning and develop skills and comfort with Jewish prayer. Classes will explore the structure and choreography of the Shabbat service, the traditions around Torah and Haftarah chanting, and will allow for personal exploration of Jewish identity and spiritual growth. The class will culminate on the holiday of Shavuot 2022, June 5, with leadership of the service and a celebration of this special milestone. This class is open to those of different levels and backgrounds: additional study may be requested for those who need to learn Hebrew or other fundamentals.  This class is open to new participants.

Tuesdays: 5:00pm-6:00pm
Alternate weeks October 5-June 5

No fee.  Registration required by contacting

Questions regarding class contact Rabbi Stein at

Jewish Environmentalism

Bonnie Abrams

What is Jewish environmentalism? Judaism intersects with environmentalism on many levels. The natural world plays a central role in Jewish law, literature and liturgical practices. Is it any wonder that we have a notable history of environmental thought and activism? This course will introduce participants to the history of Jewish environmentalism and to its practical implications today.

Tuesdays: 1:00pm-2:30pm December 7, 14, 21, 28
Fee: $40

Thursday Thoughts
David Orange

Thursday Thoughts is a series of ten distinct, but relatable short topics serving the interests and needs of our senior population. Thursday Thoughts will be fully interactive and live in-person at St. John's Meadows, and as always, intended to make you think!

Thursdays: 2:45pm-3:30pm  October 14, 21, 28, November 11, 18, December 9, 16, January 13, 27
Location: Chestnut Court Parks Room at St. John's Meadows

No fee. Registration required.

Beginning Hebrew
Gene Spiro

Learn all the letters and vowels and develop the decoding skills to read words, phrases and work toward reading prayers.  This course is geared towards students who never studied Hebrew or for those who have studied but need to refresh their skills.  The book “Shalom u-v'racha” is required.

Tuesdays at 6:30pm-7:30pm  October 5, 12, 19, 26, Nov. 2, 9, 16, Dec. 7, 14, 21, Jan. 11,18, 25, Feb. 8, 15, 22
Fee: $80 plus $15 textbook

Intermediate Hebrew
Gene Spiro

This course is for students who have a reading knowledge of Hebrew and want to hone their skills for reading prayers.  Emphasis will be on reading fluency, Hebrew prayer vocabulary and prayer comprehension.

Mondays: 6:30pm-7:30pm  Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25, Nov. 1, 8, 15, Dec. 6, 13, 20, Jan. 10, 24, 31, Feb. 7, 14, 21
Fee: $80

Beginning Hebrew Conversation
Orna Korn

Focuses on comprehension of basic two-word sentences and progresses to the understanding and usage of compound sentences. Note: maximum of 12 students per class.

Tuesdays: 5:45pm – 6:45pm  October 5, 12, 19, 26, November 2, 9, 16, 30
Fee: $50

Intermediate-Advanced Hebrew Conversation
Orna Korn

This class is designed for mid level and advanced students. Focuses on comprehension of basic sentences and progresses to understand and usage of complex sentences. Note maximum of 12 students per class.

Mondays: 5:45pm – 6:45pm  October 4, 11, 18, 25, November 1, 8, 15, 29
Fee: $50

Jewish Living (a Jewish Family Service (JFS) program)
with Sharon Shafrir

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 6:00pm-7:30pm
Check class schedule for session dates and times. For fee information and information about joining this class, please contact: Sharon Shafrir, Accessibility & Inclusion Director, Jewish Family Services, or 585-506-3062


Mon, January 17 2022 15 Shevat 5782