Category Archives: Eser


Eser’s First Engagement

Hebrew College’s young adult learning series was never intended to be a Jewish dating service. The program gathers together 20- and 30-somethings every week in living rooms across eastern Massachusetts for informal, but serious, text-based discussions of various aspects of Jewish life and culture. JDate it is not. But for the first time in its history, Eser can claim credit for a match. Ben Ginsburg and Marina Rakhkin of Brighton… 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 →

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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 →


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 →

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 →

Mikva Mikveh

The Man in the Mikveh

By the time you are reading this, I will have married the love of my life, Rachel. Before our wedding, we had the opportunity to complete the mitzvah of immersing in the mikveh at Mayyim Hayyim in Newton.  ow I got to the mikveh is very important to understanding my experience. As a founding lay leader of Eser, the young adult learning series run by CJP and Hebrew College, I… Read Article →

Kosher Tattoo Pig

Uncovering the Secrets in Our Midst

The Ten Best-Kept Jewish Secrets. A pretty catchy theme, right? After all, who wouldn’t want to know what these secrets are and how they can bring meaning to our lives? But our theme isn’t just a catchy title drummed up for marketing; the planning committee chose it because we believe the topics we will learn about together have the potential to open up worlds of discovery. If this all seems… Read Article →

Stan Lee

Eser: A Place for Sharing and Connecting

Due to the hustle of my weekly routine, many things get put aside for later. But, once I enrolled in Eser, it quickly became my priority. It served as an oasis of goodness in my week and helped me gain perspective. I could express myself and explore my Jewish identity, an identity that my normal, fast-paced day-to-day life does not always nurture or allow to thrive. I could be sincere… Read Article →


From Abu Dhabi to Eser in Newton

Participating in Eser has been a meaningful, refreshing and healing experience. I’ve been in and out of Jewish communities for much of my young life.  As a preteen, I convinced my parents to join a synagogue because I’d watched my cousins lead services, read from the Torah, and generally be the center of attention at their b’nai mitvah ceremonies. I didn’t care about the party afterwards, but thought, “Dang, you get… Read Article →