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.
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 categories: Open Door, introductory courses and content for people exploring or rediscovering Judaism; Events, gatherings for the larger community, including our endowed lecture series; Classes, varied opportunities to explore Jewish content in small groups with TI clergy, and local rabbis and scholars; and Spiritual Practice Lab, a space to discover, through learning and practice, the spiritual voice that is most meaningful to you.
Fall 2019 Classes
Learn Jewish content in small groups with Temple Israel clergy, local rabbis, and scholars.
THE TI YESHIVA: LEARN TO READ THE TALMUD
with Rabbi Suzie Jacobson
SAMSON: A MUSCULAR MYTH MAGNIFIED AND RE-MANUFACTURED IN EVERY AGE
with Rabbi Ronne Friedman
LAST TUESDAY BOOK GROUP
with Ann Abrams, Temple Israel Librarian
HEBREW CLASSES FOR BEGINNERS
with Debbie Betesh
with Rina Wagman
KING SOLOMON: MORE THAN YOU COULD EVER IMAGINE, BUT WE WILL TRY!
with Rabbi Elaine Zecher
THE HASIDIC TALE: STORIES OF WONDER, CHALLENGE, AND RENEWAL
with Rabbi Or Rose
BURSTING WITH JOY! BIRTHING CLASS
with CNM Sarah Kleinman and Rabbi Suzie Jacobson
WRITING LETTERS AS A SACRED PRACTICE
with Vanessa Zoltan
Fall 2019 "Open Door" Programs
Introductory courses and content for people exploring or rediscovering Judaism. Click on links below to learn more and register.
Fall 2019 Events
Programs are offered at no cost unless otherwise noted.
RABBI DEBRA ROBBINS: OPENING YOUR HEART WITH PSALM 27
Friday, September 20 at 6:00 p.m. Qabbalat Shabbat
Rabbi Debra Robbins, who grew up at Temple Israel of Boston and currently serves as rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, will join our clergy team in leading services on Friday September 20. Rabbi Robbins recently published Opening Your Heart with Psalm 27: A Spiritual Practice for Jewish New Year and will share her work with us as we prepare spiritually for the High Holy Days.
BOB MANKOFF: WHAT'S SO FUNNY?
Tuesday, September 24 at 7:30 p.m.
$25 with book; $18 without book
In partnership with Jewish Arts Collaborative, Jewish Book Council, and WBUR, Temple Israel is excited to welcome Bob Mankoff, former New Yorker Cartoon Editor, Esquire Cartoon and Humor Editor, and child of the Borscht Belt. Mankoff shares from his new book Have I Got a Cartoon for You! Join him in conversation with WBUR’s Ben Brock Johnson as they explore how “The People of the Book,” eventually became better known as “The People of the Joke.” Fun, funny, and thought provoking. Book signing and dessert after presentation. Purchase tickets at www.jartsboston.org.
BURSTEIN SCHOLAR-IN-RESIDENCE WEEKEND: RABBI ANDREA WEISS
Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19
This Sukkot, join us for a weekend of study with Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost and Associate Professor of Bible at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She is co-editor of American Values, Religious Voices: 100 Days, 100 Letters (University of Cincinnati Press, 2019) and associate editor of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary (CCAR Press, 2008). She has written Figurative Language in Biblical Prose Narrative: Metaphor in the Book of Samuel (Brill, 2006) and numerous articles on biblical poetry, metaphor, and other topics.
October 18, 6:00 p.m. Qabbalat Shabbat: The Power of Metaphor in the Bible and Beyond
We will examine how the rich corpus of metaphors contained in the Bible yields important insights about how our ancient ancestors thought about God and the world around them, plus meaningful resources for us as well.
October 19, 9:00 a.m. Torah Study: Sukkot and the Shared Value of Caring for the Vulnerable
One of the values shared by multiple faith traditions is an insistence on caring for the vulnerable. We will explore a range of religious texts on this topic and some of the American Values, Religious Voices letters that connect these sacred teachings to our own time and place.
October 19, 4:00 p.m. Havdalah Learning: Is There “Nothing New Under the Sun”? Ecclesiastes and the Quest for Meaning in Life
Commentator Michael Fox describes the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, which we read from on Sukkot, as “a strange and disquieting book” that “gives voice to…the pain and frustration engendered by an unblinking gaze at life’s absurdities and injustices.” We will delve into the wisdom offered by an ancient sage who, thousands of years later, can help us make sense of our lives.
LIEL LEIBOWITZ AND STEPHANIE BUTNICK OF THE UNORTHODOX PODCAST
at Arts Matter Shabbat
Friday, October 25 at 6:00 p.m. Qabbalat Shabbat
As part of the 5th annual celebration of Arts Matter Day, a project of MassCreative, Temple Israel and the Jewish Arts Collaborative welcome Liel Leibowitz and Stephanie Butnick, co-hosts of the podcast Unorthodox and co-authors of The Newish Jewish Encyclopedia: From Abraham to Zabar’s and Everything in Between.
DAWNLAND: FILM SCREENING AND DISCUSSION
with Adam Mazo, filmmaker and co-founder of Upstander Project
Wednesday, October 30 at 7:00 p.m.
Dawnland is an Emmy-nominated documentary about cultural survival and stolen children. By following the first government-sanctioned truth and reconciliation commission in the United States to contemporary Wabanaki communities, the film bears witness to intimate, sacred moments of truth-telling and healing. Join us for a special screening and conversation with film director and Temple Israel member Adam Mazo. Visit www.dawnland.org to view a trailer.
JOSH NELSON: SHABBAT OF MUSICAL CELEBRATION
Friday, November 22 at 6:00 p.m. Qabbalat Shabbat
One of the most popular performers and composers in modern Jewish music, Josh Nelson brings his extraordinary message of hope, unity, and spirituality to concert stages and worship services across the globe. Josh is a gifted multi-instrumentalist and songwriter whose work is celebrated and integrated into the repertoire of congregations, camps and communities around the world. His music builds community, lifting up the spirit of those in his presence. We look forward to welcoming Josh back into our midst for a Friday evening celebratory and music-filled service. This weekend is made possible by a generous gift from our well respected member and music lover, Gabriel E. Padawer.
ANDREW RIDKER: THE FUTURE OF JEWISH WRITING IN AMERICA
Tuesday, November 26 at 7:00 p.m.
Fall 2019 Spiritual Practice Lab
All programs open to everyone and offered at no cost.
SHOFAR: A SPIRITUAL ALARM CLOCK
with Rabbi Suzie Jacobson
Monday, September 16, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
On Rosh Hashanah the shofar quite literally calls us to wake up from our spiritual and moral slumber. But what are we meant to hear in the wailing blast of the ram’s horn? We will explore rabbinic texts from throughout Jewish history to better understand our modern practice. Dinner will be provided. RSVP to email@example.com.
IS THIS THE FAST WE CHOOSE? YOM KIPPUR, AFFLICTION, AND THE SEARCH FOR SPIRITUAL FOCUS
with Rabbi Suzie Jacobson
Monday, September 23, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
The prophet Isaiah criticizes the meaningless fasts of his ethically challenged peers. But today, we still use fasting as a spiritual tool to help us focus and pray on Yom Kippur. Should we? What does the fast mean to us today? Join us as we explore texts and share our personal practice as we prepare for a meaningful high holiday season. Dinner will be provided. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUKKAH OF JUSTICE AND COMPASSION
Sunday, October 13, 7:00 p.m.
Join us on Erev Sukkot for a festive service and vegetarian potluck celebration under the Sukkah of Justice and Compassion, together with outside partners and other faith communities. RSVP to email@example.com, and let us know what dish you plan to bring.
SIMCHAT TORAH LEARNING
Sunday, October 20, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
With the Torah scrolls unfurled, we wrap ourselves in its teachings and the ultimate questions it poses to us about how we will move into the year and live our lives more fully. Join us for wine, cheese, and text study before we join the full community for the 6:00 p.m. service and dancing on Nessel Way.
Saturday, December 28, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
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, followed by Chinese food and good conversation. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
INTRODUCING: “CHOCHMAT LEV, A LEARNED HEART” CERTIFICATE
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:
- Justice, Politics, and Contemporary Issues
- Bible, Rabbinics, and Philosophy
- Arts and Culture
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.
Sample some of our past programs:
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.