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

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

Spring 2020 Classes

Classes are categorized by four entry points: The Open Door, for those exploring or rediscovering Judaism; Core Classes, taught by Temple Israel clergy; Featured Classes, for those who want a deep dive into a specific topic; and Jewish Living Classes, to support the many aspects of a Jewish life. 

To see a one-page index of all Spring 2020 class offerings, click here.  If you have any questions, please contact Brigid Goggin. Registration is required for all classes.

Click on the photos below to learn more and register for a Spring 2020 class, or call Brigid Goggin at 617-566-3960.

Open Door Classes

A Taste of Judaism®

with Rabbi Leora Abelson
Mondays, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
3 sessions, starting January 27.
No cost.

Introduction to Judaism

with Temple Israel Clergy
Thursdays, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
16 sessions, starting March 5.
Cost: $275 individual; $375 couple
(Option to take half- or full- semester)

Becoming Jewish

with Rabbi Jen Gubitz
Thursdays, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
3 sessions, starting March 12.
No cost.

Core Classes with TI Clergy

Modern Midrash: Who Was King Solomon?

with Rabbi Elaine Zecher
Thursdays, 8:45 – 10:00 a.m.
Meets monhtly, ongoing.
No cost.

The TI Yeshiva: Learn to Read the Talmud

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

Mussar: Becoming Your Finest Self - Online Class

with Rabbi Jen Gubitz
Thursdays, 12:00 – 1:15 p.m.
8 sessions, starting January 30 (meets online)
Cost: $72

Featured Classes

The Art of Connecting: A Guided Physical Practice

with Ilya Vidrin and Jessi Stegall
Tuesdays, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
4 sessions, starting February 4.
$100 TI members; $140 public

Introduction to Jewish Embodiment and Yoga

with Yaakov Ginsberg-Schreck and Evelyn Punch
Sunday, February 9
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Cost: $25

Talmud-a-thon: Winter Edition

with Rabbi Suzie Jacobson
Saturday, February 15
12:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Cost: $20, includes lunch

A Window into the Healthcare System

Topic: Drug Availability

with Dr. Abraham N. Morse
Monday, February 24
7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
No cost

What Makes a Work of Art Jewish?

with Ari Zimmet
Sundays, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.
5 sessions, starting March 1.
$125 TI members; $175 public

Holocaust Representation in Film

with Brigid Goggin
Mondays, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
4 sessions, starting March 16.
$100 TI members; $140 public

Learn to Read Hebrew

with Debbie Betesh
Tuesdays, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
4 sessions, starting March 17.
$100 TI members; $140 public

Power, Broad-Based Organizing, and Leadership

with Kathleen Patrón and GBIO leaders
3-part intensive workshop
March 22 – March 24
$150 TI members; $200 public

Jewish Values & the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

with Rabbi Dan Slipakoff
Tuesdays, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
8 sessions, starting March 31.
$200 TI members; $280 public

Women Who Wrote

with Dr. Rachel Greenblatt
Mondays, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
6 sessions, starting April 27
$150 TI members; $210 public

Introduction to Jewish Philosophy Workshop

with Rabbi Suzie Jacobson
Sunday, May 3
12:00 – 3:00 p.m.
No cost.

Cantor Roy Einhorn: A Musical Retrospective

with Cantor Roy Einhorn
Tuesdays, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
3 sessions, starting June 2
Cost: $60, dinner included

Jewish Living Classes

Adult B'nei Mitzvah: New Cohort

with Rabbi Jen Gubitz
(Semester 1 of 3)
Sundays, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
6 sessions, starting February 2
Cost: $450

Tough Questions Kids Ask! Online Class

with Temple Israel Clergy
Mondays, 8:30 – 9:30 p.m.
4 sessions, starting January 27 (meets online)
No cost

Modern Couples, Big Jewish Questions

with Rabbi Jen Gubitz
Sundays, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
4 sessions, starting March 15
Cost: $125 per couple

Planning a Jewish Wedding: Ketubah Edition

with Rabbi Jen Gubitz
Tuesday, March 17, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
at KolBo in Brookline
Cost: $25 per couple

Bursting with Joy! Birthing Class

with Sarah Kleinman, CNM, and Rabbi Suzie Jacobson
Tuesdays, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
4 sessions, starting April 21
Cost: $200 TI members; $250 public (dinner included)

Prep for Passover: Poetry for Your Seder

with Rabbi Suzie Jacobson
Thursday, March 26
7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
No cost.

Prep for Passover: Charoset Making

with Sara Gardner
Sunday, April 5
12:30 – 2:00 p.m.
Cost: $10

Spring 2020 Events

All events are free and held at Temple Israel of Boston, unless otherwise noted. For more information or questions, contact Brigid Goggin.


Confront Implicit Bias and Build Toward Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion with expert Yavilah McCoy

Friday, January 17 at 6:00 p.m. Qabbalat Shabbat
Saturday, January 18, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Community Training

Join us for Shabba Tzedek, a Sabbath of Justice, to celebrate the values of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with honored guest Yavilah McCoy, who will speak about shifting our mindset towards diversity, equity, and inclusion. Learn more and register at


Friday, February 28 at 6:00 p.m. Qabbalat Shabbat
John Kerry, 68th Secretary of State, will join us for a special Shabbat of Environmental Justice in honor of Cantor Roy Einhorn. As America’s top diplomat, John Kerry guided the Department’s strategy on nuclear nonproliferation, combating radical extremism, and the threat of climate change.


Sunday, March 8 at 1:00 p.m.
In the days leading up to our Purim Masquerade, how can we take off our masks and show our truest selves? Join Joanne L. Harpel, President of Coping After Suicide, and Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman for an important afternoon of conversation with young adults, parents, and interested community members. Offered in partnership with the Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project.


The Carl A. Steinbaum Lecture with Steven Levitsky

Friday, March 20 at 6:00 p.m. Qabbalat Shabbat
Steven Levitsky is the David Rockefeller Professor of Latin American Studies and Professor of Government at Harvard University. His research focuses on democratization and authoritarianism, political parties, and weak and informal institutions, mostly in Latin America. He is the co-author (with Daniel Ziblatt) of How Democracies Die (Crown, 2018).

A Musical Evening with Elana Arian

The Rudolph H. and Sara G. Wyner Lecture

Friday, May 8 at 6:00 p.m. Qabbalat Shabbat
Elana Arian is one of the leading voices in contemporary Jewish music. A composer, multi-instrumentalist, and recording artist, Elana inspires communities across the country with her soulful songwriting and spirit.

Congregational Sing-a-long Series

Thursday, April 30 at 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 3 at 10:00 a.m.
Thursday, May 7 at 8:00 p.m.

Do you love to sing? Are you intersted in learning what’s new in the world of Jewish music?  Join Cantor Einhorn at any or all of our three congregational sing-a-longs featuring the music of Elana Arian as we prepare for her visit in May. No formal singing experience required. All are welcome. To RSVP, please email Sue Misselbeck.


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