Category Archives: Adult Learning

download (1)

Denomination, Shenomination: A Night of Learning with Rabbis From Across the Spectrum

On the last Friday night in March, I experienced an evening of true Jewish pluralism. I was one of about 100 young adults that gathered in the function hall of Congregation Kehillath Israel in Brookline to celebrate Shabbat and the program that brought us all together: Eser. We came from about 20 different local communities, and our families and current religious practices spanned from secular to Orthodox. We were excited… Read Article →


Learning through Jewish texts and history at Me’ah in Sharon

  Every Monday evening, 18 adults crowd into a small classroom at Temple Israel in Sharon. Many have already put in a long day at work —developing software, seeing patients, writing marketing copy and attending college. On a recent evening, prophecy was on the agenda – Old Testament prophets Jonah and Elijah specifically. For the next three hours, with the help of biblical scholar Dr. Lynne Heller, the students grappled… Read Article →


“Wow”–The Jewish Story in Context

“Wow.” Although somewhat inarticulate this word seems to best describe my initial feelings as I complete my Me’ah reading for the week. However, this is no ordinary week. This is the final week, the final reading of two years, four semesters, forty Thursday nights and one hundred hours of class. It’s a strange feeling, this “wow.” There is a wonderful sense of accomplishment in this “wow.” Although, once I began… Read Article →


Eser Discusses Interfaith Relationships

“How Jewish are you?” is how religion first came up in our relationship. Bart asked me on our second date. Even though I thought it was an odd question for someone whose JDate profile read “willing to convert,” I played along and answered. Bart “came clean” immediately: not a J. Two years later, we’re enjoying discussion and debate in our Monday night Eser group. Though we come from different backgrounds,… Read Article →


Recreating Passover Memories for Our Children

Scallions transformed into the whips of Egyptian task masters, an imaginary suitcase for a journey from Egypt to the Promised Land and someone in an embroidered Egyptian ensemble—these are my childhood memories from the Passover seders my family and I enjoyed with friends in their very eclectic home. Our friends had nine children; the father was from Brooklyn and always ready for a debate, and the mother was from Egypt… Read Article →


Do You Have a Box of Grumblies at Your Seder?

Parenting Through a Jewish Lens had a fabulous event at Hebrew College on March 30—   Matzah Matters attracted nearly 70 parents, children, educators and community members.  The afternoon included two learning sessions: Rabbi Benjamin Samuels discussed ways to make the Haggadah and the Seder your own, and Elisha Gechter presented various commentators on the Haggadah.  I attended Rabbi Samuels’ session. Reflecting on our discussion, two points stayed with me:  1…. Read Article →


One Voice Followed By A Symphony

The following exchange between a student (Peter S.) and one of his instructors (Lynne H.) speaks to the Me’ah journey. Dear Lynne, It was so nice to see you at the graduation dinner for Me’ah. I still recall happily the beginning of Me’ah two years ago, studying Bible with you. It was very impressive to see the way you used scholarship, teaching, and above all enthusiasm to engage our minds…. Read Article →

Hamsa Tattoo

My Jewish Tattoo

Beginning this week, 117 Eser participants will be discussing “Ten Best Kept Jewish Secrets,” starting with tattoos. For the occasion we asked JCRC staff member Yana Tolmacheva, whose Jewish tattoo we spotted at a Sip of Eser, to write about her ink. Yana was born in Russia, raised in Brooklyn, and has spent extensive time in Israel and Argentina, and looks forward to her continued trips to the Ukraine. Many times… Read Article →


Do You Have a Red Bandana?

Purim is by far the silliest, most playful holiday on the Jewish calendar. Children in particular enjoy the customs of Purim – dressing up in costumes, cheering the heroes Mordechai and Esther and booing the villain Haman, eating hamantashen (be they poppy-, apricot-, or chocolate-filled). It may seem amid all this silliness that Purim is a holiday primarily for children. Actually, there are many aspects and themes to Purim that… Read Article →