An Introduction to Judaism - Full Course Pogram

Class detailed descriptions

Join our Sonoma County Rabbis for a 14-session exploration of Jewish life, beliefs and practice at Congregation Ner Shalom, 85 La Plaza, Cotati, CA 94931 – 7:00–8:30 PM.
This class will appeal to those who want to learn about the basics of Judaism or expand on what they already know. People of all backgrounds and without prior knowledge are welcome.

Click here to register.

Jan. 9 - The Beginning of Wisdom.
This is the introduction to the Introduction! Our whole faculty will be present to offer a tasting menu of their topics.

Jan. 16 & 23 - What is Judaism?
How do we define Judaism? What does it mean to be a Jew? Does it matter? Taught by Rabbi Ted Feldman, B’nai Israel Jewish Center.

January 30 - Hatch, Match, Dispatch: Exploring Jewish Lifecycle Traditions.
From a baby’s first cry at birth to the cries at a funeral, Jewish tradition has special observances and practices marking the cycle of life. We will explore the practical and mystical meanings of some of these traditions. Taught by Rabbi Mendel Wolvovsky of Sonoma County Chabad.

February 6 - The Emergence of Modern Israel.
A brief history of the Zionist movement, the establishment of the State of Israel, the role of Israel in the Jewish psyche, and the divisive politics inside and outside the State.
Taught by Rabbi Steve Finley, Congregation Shir Shalom.

February 13 - People of the Book.
We will explore the Hebrew Bible, and get an overview of other classic Jewish texts. What kind of book is the Hebrew Bible? What do we mean by “Torah”? And is there a common thread that holds these texts together?
Taught by Rabbi Mordecai Miller, Congregation Beth Ami.

February 20   The Art of Jewish Prayer.
What is it mean “to pray?” What are some of the ways we might engage with the words on the printed page? What are we trying to accomplish? Together we will explore tradition (and non-traditional) Jewish prayer.
Taught by Rabbi Mordecai Miller, Congregation Beth Ami.

February 27 - Jewish Cycles, Nature’s Cycles: Rediscovering the Hebrew Calendar.
Judaism is an ancient earth-based tradition guiding us to align our lives with nature’s cycles. We will explore the cycle of Jewish holidays, particularly as it relates to agricultural and natural cycles.
Taught by Rabbi Zelig Golden, Wilderness Torah.

March 6 - A Millennium in the Life of the Jews.
How did the Jewish world that we know come to be? Fasten your seatbelts for a crash course in the migrations, movements and cultures of the Jews in the past 1000 years. Mysticism, Chasidism, Enlightenment, Liberal Judaism, Anti-Semitism, Zionism and more.
Taught by Reb Irwin Keller, Congregation Ner Shalom.

March 13 - Mikveh to Mourning: The Sacred Way of Marking Time.
We will explore life cycle rituals from the perspective of their spiritual intent, and how those intentions have been developed, adapted and expanded in modern Jewish communities.
Taught by Rabbi Stephanie Kramer, Congregation Shomrei Torah.

March 20 - No class. Enjoy Purim!

March 28 - Mussar: The Art of Being a Mentsh.
Mussar is a treasury of Jewish techniques, teachings, and contemplative practices that offers valuable guidance for the journey of our lives. It focuses on teaching us to live a more conscientious life and heightening our awareness of the world and one’s responsibilities; in short, becoming more of a mentsh. As the Jewish “science of the inner life,” mussar focuses on experiential learning to become the ethical and moral person we want to be.
Taught by Rabbi Meredith Cahn.
Note: this session is on a Thursday night.

April 3 - DNA of the Soul
A mystical overview of the DNA code of your soul and its expression in your personal Jewish toolbox. Explore how your individual identity is the gateway to your unique mission and purpose in this world. Discover how this manifests in a diverse field of Jewish engagement. Why do some have a propensity for learning Torah, while others gravitate towards the action of Mitzvahs? Join us for a powerful journey into your core identity and the potential and capabilities that you have within you.
Taught by Rabbi Dovid Bush, Chabad Jewish Center of Petaluma.

April 10 - “God” – a Jewish Exploration.
What do our traditions, ancient and more modern, teach about Divinity? How can one hold the suffering of the world and God in the same heart? Far from dogmatic, the Jewish approach to God is a “Divine Symphony.” Come and “listen”.
Taught by Rabbi George Gittleman, Congregation Shomrei Torah.

April 17 - Journey of Liberation.
Our entire faculty returns to close the course. We will share our learnings, and will also prepare for Passover together!

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