Category Archives: Adult Learning

cropped david with sons

Our Children Are Not Us by Rabbi David Jaffe

In the 1990s film classic, Austin Powers, Dr. Evil has a clone who he calls “Mini-me.”  The mini-me looks just like Dr. Evil except he is one eighth his size. When my first son was younger I had a secret hope that he would be my mini-me. He would love playing soccer and studying Torah.  He would be active politically in his elementary school and of course be an avid… Read Article →


Eser to the Rescue: Passover Edition

Passover has always been my favorite Jewish holiday. The story of freedom, the props – 10 plague finger puppets, the inflatable matzah beach ball, the food (you know your yearly serving of gefilite fish was something to complain about BUT also an awesome way to get an extra dose of horseradish), the fashion (when your childhood dining room includes the stairs to the kids bedrooms, you have a perfect runway… Read Article →


Modeh Ani

“Modeh ani l’fanecha….” A group of moms and dads sits around a table in the synagogue library, eager to see what centuries of prayer and rabbinic wisdom can tell us about how to raise our kids. It’s the first day of parenting class, and we are squinting through our Jewish lenses.  The first topic is the Hebrew prayer that greets the dawn. As I begin a new day I thank… Read Article →

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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 →