Qabbalat Shabbat: Friday, 6:00 p.m. Torah Study: Saturday, 9:00-11:00 a.m. Weekday Minyan: 6:15 p.m.

Center for Adult Jewish Learning

Adult Jewish Learning

In Pirkei Avot, the rabbis give this advice for our Torah study – "Turn it, and turn it, for everything is in it. Reflect on it and grow old and gray with it. Don't turn from it, for nothing is better than it.” Join us as we mine the richness of our tradition, turning it and exploring it as we discover new wisdom for our generation.

Fall 2018 Town Hall Programs


with Rabbi Ebn Leader

Sunday, October 21, 1:00–5:00 p.m. Cost: $20, lunch included.
Day-to-day news can evoke fear, anger, and despair. As we act to change the external reality, we must not forget the call for internal work as well. Processing our emotions allows our external actions to be focused, compassionate, and sustainable—even in today’s political climate.

In this workshop, we will study and practice an early Hasidic methodology of processing fear by setting it in the context of a relationship with God. (No prior relationship with God? A problematic relationship? That’s okay! All are welcome.) Together, through text study, silent meditation, and contemplative singing, we will explore the broader Hasidic practice of “sweetening judgment.” This process, a method of transforming thoughts and emotions through contemplation, will move us forward in our work.

Studio Shabbat

with Deb Putnoi and Natalya Bernstein

Qabbalat Shabbat, Friday, October 26, 6:00 p.m. No cost.
Pray with your paintbrush! Join thousands of art lovers and advocates as we celebrate the 4th annual MassCreative’s #ArtsMatterDay. Experience Judaism through the artistic eye as synagogues and organizations across Massachusetts showcase various local artists. During our Qabbalat Shabbat service, we will each have a chance to try our hand at crafting art and connecting to Judaism and our Jewish journeys in a new, artistic way. All art materials are provided; wear something you don’t mind getting messy.

Burstein Scholar-in-Residence Weekend: Antisemitism in America

with Jonathan Weisman, author of (((Semitism))): Being Jewish in the Age of Trump and a panel discussion with ADL leaders

6:00 p.m. Friday, November 30, and Saturday, December 1 beginning at 9:00 a.m. No cost.

After tweeting an excerpt from an editorial about the rise of fascist tendencies in the US, Jonathan Weisman, deputy Washington editor of The New York Times, found himself the target of the “alt-right.” He received a tidal wave of online hate, which forced him to face the startling state of American antisemitism. On Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, we will learn from the research and personal experiences he shares in (((Semitism))). Saturday evening, through a panel conversation with ADL Boston Executive Director Robert Trestan and ADL National Chair Esta Epstein, we will consider our community’s recent and current responses to today’s antisemitism and the steps we can take going forward.


with Anat Hoffman, Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center

Thursday, October 25, 7:00 p.m. No cost.
Temple Israel is honored to welcome Anat Hoffman and If You See Something, Say Something: An invitation to speak up when Israel strays away from its own declared vision. Israel’s Declaration of Independence ensures social and political rights to all of Israel’s inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, or sex; freedom of religion, conscience, language, education, and culture; and a country that will safeguard the holy places of all religions. There are instances where Israel goes off course. What should diaspora Jews do? In this presentation Hoffman will suggest an action guide for the perplexed on how we can support the Israeli movements for justice.


with Rebecca Soffer and Rabbi Suzie Jacobson

Wednesday, November 7, 7:00 p.m. No cost.
Join Modern Loss cofounder (and coauthor of the new book Modern Loss: Candid Conversation About Grief. Beginners Welcome.) Rebecca Soffer for an evening of community and no-holds-barred conversation about loss—the bad, the good, the ugly, and even the hilarious. Bring your insights, your experiences, and, of course, your questions.

Brighten the Lights of our Chanukah Festival

with Dan Nichols

Friday, December 7 at 6:00 p.m., Saturday, December 8 at 6:15 p.m., and Sunday, December 9 at 9:30 a.m.

Dan Nichols is a singular talent in the world of Jewish music. He is one of the most dynamic, influential, and beloved Jewish musicians in North America. Dan’s melodies have become an integral part of the spiritual and liturgical experience of countless individuals and Jewish communities. Dan will be with us on Friday, December 7 for a Qabbalat Shabbat Chanukah celebration, and on Saturday, December 8 at 6:15 p.m. for candle lighting and Havdalah ceremony followed by a “coffeehouse” musical program. On Sunday, December 9, Dan will spend the morning entertaining our FJECC Preschool, Village, and Religious School students. Made possible by a generous gift from Dr. Gabriel E. Padawer.

Spiritual Practice Lab Chanukah Havdalah

with Rabbi Zecher & Rabbi Jacobson

We know Chanukah as a time of family and lights, dreidels and delicious fried foods. But have you considered the spirituality of Chanukah? As the sun sets, we will gather around the lights of the Chanukiah and the Havdalah candle and explore the spiritual practices of Chanukah.

Past Brochures

Welcome to the Center for Adult Jewish Learning

Since Temple Israel’s inception in 1854, we have been a center for Jewish living and learning in the Greater Boston area. We are known as a place committed to deep Jewish scholarship, a community that is unafraid to ask the difficult questions and think about Judaism in new and exciting ways. Temple Israel is a synagogue where some of the greatest Jewish teachers, preachers, and learners have gathered to find deeper meaning, understand our shared history, and incubate ideas for a new generation.

Building upon the wonderful Torah study, clergy teaching, and learning opportunities that are already staples in our yearly calendar, in the 5777 year we proudly introduced a new educational venue for the Greater Boston Jewish community: The Center for Adult Jewish Learning at Temple Israel.

The Center presents adult learning in four primary “locations”: The Open Door, introductory courses and content such as introduction to Judaism and basic Hebrew classes; The Town Hall, large events for the larger community, including our endowed lecture series; The Classroom, varied opportunities to explore Jewish content in small groups with TI clergy, and local rabbis and scholars; and The Beit Midrash, learning experiences cultivated and facilitated by TI members, particularly TILLI, our initiative for life-long learners. See what we’re offering this year in each of our four locations:

Sample some of our past programs:

Burstein Scholar-in-Residence

In 1979, Maxwell and Bobbie Burstein endowed an annual Scholar-in-Residence program to broaden Temple Israel’s educational program, recognizing the importance of knowledge to the continuity of the Jewish people. The lecture series brings outstanding Jewish scholarship to Temple Israel and the Greater Boston Jewish community.

Peter Fox-Penner, 2017

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson


Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D.


Rudolph H. and Sara G. Wyner Lecture Series

This lectures series celebrates Rudolph Wyner’s love of Jewish art and folkways. The series was later renamed the Rudolph H. and Sara G. Wyner Lecture Series after his wife’s death.

Dr. Samuel Thomas and ASEFA, 2017

Rose Feinberg Memorial Lecture Series

Rose Feinberg was a religious school teacher at Temple Israel for more than two decades. The Israel-centered program, endowed in 1982 in her honor, serves as a living tribute to a woman with a great love of Israel and Jewish learning.

Joshua Sobol, 2017

Herbert M. Karol Musical Weekend

In 1990, the Karol family endowed Temple Israel’s longtime Annual Music Service in honor of their father, Herbert M. Karol, a trombone player and lover of music. The service is a liturgical celebration of Jewish music and composers.

Saul Kaye, 2015

Noah Aronson, 2016

Joy Ungerleider Jewish Book Month Program

The Joy Ungerleider Jewish Book Month Program is an endowed lecture series established in memory of author, curator, philanthropist, and visionary Joy Ungerleider by the Dorot Foundation, and is under the supervision of the Temple Israel Library Committee.

Barney Frank, 2015

Michelle Ephraim, 2016

Carl Steinbaum Lecture

In 1999, Ellen Steinbaum endowed an annual lecture series in memory of her husband, Carl Steinbaum, who died in 1996, in appreciation of the warmth and intellectual inquisitiveness of the Temple Israel community. The lecture series celebrates Carl Steinbaum’s love of Judaism and history.

Dr. Jacqueline Vayntrub, 2016