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Kollel Course Listing - Spring 2021

Kollel Sunday Series 
Sunday, April 25 at 10:00 am

Joel Eliot - "Mount Hope & Jewish Rochester

Program will be via Zoom
Email for Zoom info/link. 


Course Listings - Spring 2021

Click here to download the Spring 2021 Kollel Registration Form

Note: All classes are scheduled to be held via Zoom. If the situation changes, registrants will be notified via email one week prior to the first class. Additional information will be available on our website. If you have any questions, please contact Juleen Squires, Registrar at If you are in need of financial assistance, please contact Herb Skerker, Administrator at All information will be kept strictly confidential.

"God Talk"
Rabbi Peter Stein
Following on the success of the fall series, but open to all, this class will be an exploration of Jewish theology.  We will focus on major thinkers from 1700s to today.   We will be introduced to different concepts about God, covenant, and Jewish religious and cultural identity.     No background in theology or philosophy is required. Bring your questions, bring your personal perspectives, and join us for a powerful journey of learning and spiritual growth!
Wednesdays: 10:00am-11:00am March 10, 24, April 7, 21, May 5, 19, June 2, 16
Fee: $40

Haftarah Through the Voice of Women – Exploring The Women’s Haftarah Commentary
Rabbi Rochelle TulikThe 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 April 6, 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 25, June 1
Fee: $40

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  May 10, 24, June 7, 14

55 Years of Jewish-Catholic Dialogue
Joe Kelly
In October of 1965, the Second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church promulgated its Declaration on Relations with Non-Christian Religions (Nostra Aetate). This statement brought about a seismic change in the way the Catholic Church related to the Jewish people. This 4-week session will explore what led up to making this statement, what was the drama within the Council that led to its approval, what was the reaction to the statement at that time and what has been the effect of the statement since that time in promoting Jewish-Catholic understanding.
Mondays: 10:00am-11:30am April 12, 19, 26, May 3
Fee: $40

Canonicity: How did we get the Books of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures?
Stu Berger
This course explores the compilation, editing and acceptance of the official documents of both the Tanakh and the New Testament. We will try to clarify the events that led to the specific inclusion and exclusion of extant stories and writings.
Thursdays: 9:30am-11:00am   March 25, April 1,8,15
Fee: $40

Great Decisions: A Jewish Perspective
Andrea A. Gluckman
A unique version of the Foreign Policy Association’s “Great Decisions” program. Students will explore and evaluate current foreign policy challenges through a Jewish lens, with an emphasis on Jewish values and ethics in practice. Text: “Great Decisions” manual, supplemented (in class or online) by the “Great Decisions” DVD. Will require a bit of reading prior to each class.
Wednesdays: 7:00pm-8:30 pm   March 17, 31, April 7, 21, May 5, 19, June 2, 16
Fee: $60 plus $30 textbook

Making Connections and Using Creativity in Times of Suffering
Lorin Alder
Connection is what we need, are built for, and often enough, what we are missing - especially at this moment in time. In this 4-week course, we will delve into how people use art, music, ritual, poetry and community to build connection and survive suffering. Through exploring creative works, the Psalms, ritual and story, we will dig into questions about why connection and creativity support us and how to explore this in our lives. We’ll experiment with new approaches to connection and share our findings with each other. Connection, community and creativity are essential. Let’s explore why.
Tuesdays: 7:00pm-8:30pm June 1, 8, 15, 22
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. We will look at topics such as: Spirituality & Aging, Science of Prayer, Facing Loneliness, Despair, Anxiety & Depression, Cultivating Relationships, Friendships, Openness, & Connections, For-Giveness and Heart Health—How Your Thoughts Affect Your Well Be-ing, Affirmations & Self-Talk, Science of Gratitude, Bible Stories for Jews and Christians, Exploring Our Images and Likenesses to God, and What if Jesus Came Back Today?  Thursday Thoughts will be fully interactive, broadcast from St. John's Meadows, and as always, intended to make you think!
Thursdays: 2:00pm-2:45pm April 8, 15, 22, 29, May 6, 13, 20, 27, June 3, 10
No fee. Registration required.

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. 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 them. Readings come from Everyday Holiness, by Alan Morinis, which each student will need to acquire, (available on Amazon for $18). Participants will discuss and keep journals of their experience with each Middah. All are welcome. On weeks in between those listed, students will meet in pairs (chevrutah partners) to discuss questions over the readings and their practice.
Sundays: 11:00am-12:30pm March 14, April 18, May 2, 16, 30, June 13, 27
No fee. Registration required

Anthropological Biography: How Personal Stories Reveal Cultures
Dr. Ayala Emmett 
Beyond their literary appeal, personal stories are amazing cultural narratives. Using principles of anthropology as the study of cultures, we will explore how we as individuals and unique human beings are also good cultural storytellers.  We will read and demonstrate in short writings how we are culture keepers, builders, and innovators.   
Thursdays: 2:00pm-3:15pm May 6, 13, 20, 27, June 3, 10
Fee: $50

Introduction to Judaism
Rabbi Peter Stein and Rabbi Rochelle Tulik
Open to all, this course is perfect for interfaith couples, those raising Jewish children, spiritual seekers, individuals considering conversion, and Jews who want a meaningful adult Jewish learning experience. As with all our TBK programs, this class welcomes people from all backgrounds and is LGBTQ-friendly. Topics include holidays, life cycle celebrations, theology and core beliefs, Hebrew, prayer, the Bible and other sacred texts, history, antisemitism and the Holocaust, Zionism and Israel, the North American Jewish experience, and the tapestry of the Jewish people today.
Wednesdays: 5:00pm-6:00 pm Alternate weeks February 3-May 12
No fee.  Registration required by contacting
Questions regarding class contact Rabbi Stein at

Adult B'nai Mitzvah
Rabbi Peter Stein
This 18 month 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.
Tuesdays: 5:00pm-6:00pm  Alternate weeks February 2-May 25
No fee.  Registration required by contacting
Questions regarding class contact Rabbi Stein at

Hebrew Classes

Beginning Reading 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.
Mondays: 6:15pm-7:15pm March 8, 15, 22, April 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10, June 7, 14, 21
Fee: $60 plus $15 textbook

Intermediate Reading 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: 7:30pm-8:30pm March 8, 15, 22, April 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10, June 7, 14, 21
Fee: $60

Beginning Hebrew Conversation
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
Tuesdays: 5:30pm-6:30pm March 9, 16, 23, 30, April 6, 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 25, June 1 
Fee: $60

Alef Bet
Orna Korn
We will learn all Alef Bet and vowels. Some key words for Hebrew conversation. For this class you don’t need to know Hebrew. The book “Ivrit Alfon” is required. Note: maximum of 12 students per class
Tuesdays: 6:45pm-7:45pm  March 9, 16, 23, 30, April 6, 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 25, June 1 
Fee: $60 plus $20 textbook

Jewish Living  - a Jewish Family Service (JFS) program with Sharon Shafrir (formerly 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. Currently, due to COVID-19 requirement, the class will be provided via zoom, and will include special hands-on experiences shared with participant in accordance with these requirements.

For participation and registration, volunteer opportunities, and other information, please contact Sharon Shafrir, Accessibility & Inclusion Director at JFS, at (585) 506-3062 or

Sun, July 25 2021 16 Av 5781