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

Welcome! Scroll down to explore our current classes and events.

Adult Jewish Learning

Since its inception in 1854, Temple Israel has been 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.

The Center for Adult Jewish Learning at Temple Israel of Boston continues this tradition as a hub for intellectual discovery, cultural exploration, and personal meaning-making for the Greater Boston Area with a diverse offering  of classes, community events, and trips. Whether you are learning about Judaism for the first time, embarking on a new stage in your Jewish life, or a life-long learner looking to connect with local scholars, there is something for you.

Everyone is welcome here. Join us, spread the word, and invite your friends. We never want cost to be prohibitive to your participation in our programs. To inquire about scholarships, or to learn more about the Center, please contact Brigid Goggin, Managing Director, at

Connect with Us

Brigid Goggin

Managing Director, Center for Adult Jewish Learning


We look forward to learning with you

All classes and events listed below meet virtually on Zoom and are open to everyone. Explore below and register today.
If you have any questions, please contact Brigid Goggin, Managing Director, at

Ongoing Classes: Join Anytime

The TI Yeshiva: Learn to Read the Talmud

with Rabbi Suzie Jacobson
Tuesdays, 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
Meets weekly
No cost

God? Self? Other? A Jewish Philosophical Exploration

with Rabbi Suzie Jacobson
Fridays, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Meets weekly
No cost

The Wisdom of King Solomon

with Rabbi Elaine Zecher
Thursdays, 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Meets monthly, November 2020 – June 2021
No cost

Prayers of Our People: Exploring the Siddur

with Rabbinic Intern Andrew Oberstein
Sundays, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Monthly, January – May 2021
No cost

Torah/Yoga with the Moon

with Yaakov Ginsberg-Schreck and Evelyn Punch of Breath Lab
Wednesdays, 4:00 – 5:10 p.m.
Next series begins February 17, 2021

Lunch with the Librarian

with Temple Israel Librarian Ann Abrams
Tuesdays, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Meets weekly
No cost

Multi-week Series Classes

Politics After Voting: Organizing People for Change

led by TI-Greater Boston Interfaith Organization Members
Mondays, 7:00 – 8:15 p.m.
3 sessions, January 11, January 18, February 1
No cost.

Baking and Breaking Bread Across the Diaspora

with Sara Gardner
Sundays, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
5 sessions, January 10 – February 7
Join 1 or all 5!

Mussar: Becoming Your Finest Self

with Rabbi Jen Gubitz
Tuesdays, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
6 sessions, starting January 25, 2021

Mixtape Midrash with Rabbi Dan Slipakoff

with Rabbi Dan Slipakoff
Mondays, 7:00 – 8:15 p.m.
4 sessions, starting February 1, 2021

Spiritual Writing and Sacred Resilience

with Rabbinic Student Lisa Feld
Sundays, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
5 sessions, starting February 21

The Politics and Possibilities of Exile

with Rabbinic Student Aron Wander
Tuesdays, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
6 sessions, starting February 23

Heartfelt Poems to Start the Day: Discovering the Daily Psalms

with Rabbinic Student Jamie Stolper
Mondays, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
6 sessions, starting March 1, 2021

The Open Door and Jewish Living

Introduction to Judaism

with Temple Israel Clergy
Thursdays, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
March 11, 2021 – June 24, 2021

Bursting with Joy! Birthing Class

with Certified Nurse-Midwife Sarah Kleinman and Rabbi Suzie Jacobson
Sundays, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
3 sessions, February 21 – March 7

Learn to Read Hebrew

with Debbie Betesh
Wednesdays, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Winter/Spring Dates TBD

Modern Couples, Big Jewish Questions

with Rabbi Jen Gubitz
Mondays, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
3 sessions, March 8 – 22, 2021
And a Friday night shabbat dinner on March 19, 2021

Upcoming Events

All commuity events listed below are free, virtual, and open to the public. Contact Brigid Goggin at to learn more.

Avivah Zornberg: The Pit and the Rope - Joseph and Judah

Sunday, January 10 at 11:30 a.m.

Join us on Zoom as we learn with Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg and explore the complex history of Joseph, left for dead in a pit, sold as a slave, finally viceroy of Egypt. Consulting midrashic sources and other commentaries, traditional and modern, we will attempt to trace the trajectory of his inner life. Psychoanalytic and literary material will aid us in our quest: What happened to the light in Joseph’s face?

Aviva Zornberg’s striking interpretations of the Torah, based on Midrash, literary theory, psychoanalysis and philosophy, have led to the writing of five books and a career as a teacher and speaker of adult Jewish learning around the world. Avivah’s most recent book, published by Yale University Press, is Moses: A Human Life (2018). She is currently at work on a commentary on Leviticus, to complement her works on Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers.

"And God Said..." A Poetry Reading & Discussion with Barbara Leff and Ann Bookman

Wednesday, January 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Join us on Zoom for a poetry reading and discussion with poets Barbara Leff and Ann Bookman.

Born and raised in New York, Barbara Leff discovered poetry at the age of 12 and has explored the genre ever since. Co-founder of the Caselli Street Poets, her work has appeared in numerous journals including Faultline, Fourteen Hills and Ibbetson Street. Her first book, And God Said . . . , was published in 2011 by Broadstone Books. Her second book, Luck, which appeared in 2019 explores various narrative forms including ones she invented. She is at work on a third book, a collection of her lifetime work. She lives in San Francisco with her wife, Arlene Singer, and their brood of four-legged furry ones.

Ann Bookman’s poetry has been published in The Larcom Review, Chronogram: A Journal of Arts, Culture and Spirit, The Virtual Wall, an online creative writing site run in memory of the veterans of the Vietnam War, among others. Point of Attachment, her first chapbook, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2012.  A social anthropologist by training, Ann Bookman, a leading researcher and social policy expert on women’s issues, work-family balance and community engagement, served as the director of the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies until 2018.She’s now an affiliated faculty member of the McCormack Graduate School.  And,  she is a long-time member of Temple Israel!

Left on Pearl: Film Screening & Discussion with Executive Producer Rochelle Rothchild

Sunday, January 31 at 2:00 p.m.

LEFT ON PEARL is a documentary about a highly significant but little-known event in the history of the women’s liberation movement, the 1971 takeover and occupation of a Harvard University-owned building by hundreds of Boston area women. The ten-day occupation of 888 Memorial Drive by women demanding a Women’s Center and low income housing for the community in which the building stood, embodied within it many of the hopes, triumphs, conflicts and tensions of Second Wave feminism.

Join us for a virtual screening of the film, followed by a conversation with Executive Producer and Temple Israel member Rochelle Ruthchild.

Heroes, Villains, and the Jewish Side to Every Story: A Conversation with Author Larry Tye

Friday, February 5 at 6:00 p.m. Qabbalat Shabbat

Larry Tye is a New York Timesbestselling author whose latest book, a biography of Senator Joe McCarthy, was released on July 7, 2020 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. His other recent books include Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon and Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero. Tye is currently writing, for Houghton Mifflin, a book entitled The Jazzmen: How Duke Ellington, Satchmo Armstrong, and Count Basie Transformed America.

From 1986 to 2001, Tye was an award-winning reporter at The Boston Globe, where his primary beat was medicine. He also served as the Globe’s environmental reporter, roving national writer, investigative reporter, and sports writer. In addition to his writing, Tye runs the Boston-based Health Coverage Fellowship, which helps the media do a better job reporting on critical issues like public health, mental health, and high-tech medicine.

Eat Something: A Conversation with Cookbook Author Rachel Levin

Tuesday, February 9 at 7:00 p.m.

Rachel Levin is a Boston-raised, San Francisco–based journalist who has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Outside, and Eater, where she was the first San Francisco restaurant critic. She writes a column for the San Francisco Chronicle about restaurant regulars and is the author of EAT SOMETHING: A Wise Sons Cookbook for Jews Who Like Food and Food Lovers Who Like Jews (Chronicle Books, 2020)which Eater called “hilarious”,Forbes named a Top 10 Cookbook of 2020, and Taste magazine described as  “Where No Jewish Cookbook Has Gone Before.”

Join us on Zoom to hear Rachel Levin talk about Jews and food with her best summer camp friend (and Temple Israel member) Ali Freedman.

Rachel Korazim: Connections to the Land of Israel

Sunday, February 14 at 11:30 a.m.

The core Zionist narrative of Israel presents an unbroken unwavering connection between the people of Israel and its land. Yet individuals have felt at times, doubts, pain and critique as they were articulating their particular attachment to it. We shall look at works by Yitzhak Shalev, Rachel, Nathan Alterman, Yehuda Amichai, Ephraim Kishon, Balfour Hakak and Amos Oz.

Rachel Korazim engages audiences worldwide through innovative presentations built around the stories, poems and songs of Israel’s best writers.  Her thought-provoking talks open a window onto Israeli society, inviting listeners to engage with the country and its history in new ways. Rachel is a graduate of Haifa University with a PhD in Jewish education. Until 2008, Rachel was the Academic Director of Distance learning programs at The Jewish Agency for Israel, Department of Education.

Real Talk about The Israel Conversation on Campus: An Inside Look with J Street U Students

Thursday, February 18 at 7:00 p.m.

Join Temple Israel and Temple Sinai for a lively discussion of the opportunities and challenges relating to Israel on college campuses. J Street U student leaders will share personal stories on what motivates them, how they organize on campus, and how they think our communities can best prepare the next generation for handling tough topics after high school. J Street’s New England Director, Janette Hillis-Jaffee, will help moderate the discussion.

Recent Past Events

Missed an event? Click below to watch the video recordings of recent past speakers.

Ready to Turn the World Upside Down: Radical Feminism and Jewish Identity

Steinbaum Lecture with Professor Joyce Antler

Friday, November 20 at 6:00 p.m.

Jewish women were movers and shakers—and originators—of women’s liberation, one of the most significant social movements of the twentieth century. In myriad ways, they transformed the culture and politics of our time, adding their imprint to a long line of Jewish activists.  Their courage, struggles, and triumphs deserve a central place in our histories of American Jewish life.

We are delighted to welcome Profesor Joyce Antler as the 5781 Carl A. Steinbaum Lecturer. Joyce Antler is the Samuel J. Lane Professor of American Jewish History and Culture and Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Emerita at Brandeis University. She is the author of many books, including You Never Call! You Never Write! A History of the Jewish Mother; The Journey Home: How Jewish Women Shaped Modern America; and most recently, Jewish Radical Feminism: Voices from the Women’s Liberation Movement.

The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again

Burstein Scholar in Residence Lecture Series, featuring Professor Robert Putnam

Friday, December 4 at 6:00 p.m.

This year, our Burstein Scholar in Residence weekend is being extended to a multi-month lecture series, bringing important and meaningful conversation to our community through the work and ideas of prominent scholars.

Join us on Friday, December 4 at 6:00 p.m. at Qabbalat Shabbat for the first lecture of our series, featuring Robert D. Putnam, co-author of The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again, which analyzes a remarkable confluence of trends that brought us from an individualistic “I” society to a more communitarian “We” society and then back again, and explores how we can learn from that experience to become a stronger, more unified nation.


Temple Israel’s committed learners are honored with the “Chochmat Lev, A Learned Heart” certificate by completeing five courses over any length of time within our five categories of learning:

  • History
  • Justice, Politics, and Contemporary Issues
  • Bible, Rabbinics, and Philosophy
  • Arts and Culture
  • Spirituality

Temple Israel has been a congregation of tremendous learning for many years. Our dedicated learners honor us, lift us up, and help to define our community. The “Chochmat Lev, A Learned Heart” certificate allows us to honor our Learned Hearts as well as our Generous Hearts (Nadiv Lev), and to see that both are needed in the ongoing work of building this sacred community.

Past Brochures

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