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How This Course Works:

Learners are free to attend every session or only the classes of interest (regardless of whether they have attended prior course sessions). If people would like to use this class towards their study for conversion, they will also have individual meetings with Rabbi Chayva.

Course Location:

Zoom & Congregation Am Tikvah

Course Day and Time:

Saturday, 2:00 - 3:30 pm

Class Dates:

February 3, 10, 17, 24
March 2, 9 (CANCELLED), 17 (Sunday), 24 (Sunday), 30
April 13, 20
May 4*, 18
June 1, 8, 15

* Possibly delayed due to b’nai mitzvah

Required Text:

Essential Judaism by George Robinson

Optional Texts & Websites:

Dictionary of Jewish Terms by Ronald L. Eisenberg

Living a Jewish Life by Anita Diamant

Session 1 - February 3:
Friday night services: development, prayers, stories, and spirituality

Session 2- February 10:
Saturday morning services: development, prayers, stories, and spirituality

Session 3- February 17:
Biblical Civilization: History and Tanakh (Torah, Prophets, and Writings)

Session 4- February 24:
Rabbinic Civilization: History, Mishnah, Talmud, and Midrash

Session 5 - March 2:
Medieval Civilization: History (Medieval Europe and Islamic Spain) and Halacha

Session 6 - March 9: *CANCELED. Topic will be covered on Sunday, March 17.
Modern Civilization (History): Global Diaspora, European Anti-Semitism and Zionism, Holocaust, Israel, American History

  • when and how Jews got here, where they went (not just New York!), historical developments (people and institutions), California Jewish history

Session 7 - March 17:
Modern Civilization (Thought/Philosophy)

Session 8 - March 24 (Sunday):
Jewish Values and Ethics

Session 9- March 30:
Denominations: Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, Modern Orthodox, Ultra-Orthodox, nondenominational

No Class April 6

Session 10 - April 13:
Let’s Talk About God

Session 11 - April 20: 
Holidays I: The big holidays for American Jews (Passover, Chanukah, Purim, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur)

No Class April 27

Session 12 - May 4:
Holidays II: The small(ish) holidays for American Jews (Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Tu B’Shvat, Yom HaZikaron & Yom Ha’Atzma’ut, Shavuot, Tisha B’Av)

  • Also: Jewish holidays around the world: Sigd, Chag HaBanot, diversity in observance of familiar holidays

No Class May 11

Session 13- May 18:
Lifecycles I: Birth to B’nai Mitzvah to Marriage and Divorce

  • LGBT & Other Intersectional Identities

No Class May 25

Session 14 - June 1:
Lifecycles II: Death and Mourning

  • practices for the living

  • Jewish views of what happens after death

Session 15- June 8:
Judaism at Home

  • key blessings (Shabbat blessings, shehechiyanu, mezuzah, blessing children, blessings before and after eating)

  • kashrut

  • ritual objects, judaica, and books

  • sleeping and waking prayers

Session 16 - June 15:
Conclusion: different lenses on Judaism and being Jewish (civilization, religion, ethnicity; identity, practice)

Sun, June 16 2024 10 Sivan 5784