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Adult Education

We are excited to preview our amazing Adult Learning program at Shir Hadash for 2018–19, slated to include:

Adult Hebrew: You Can Read Hebrew by Chanukah—in just 8 Sessions!
Sept 16–Nov 18
Join Rabbi Aron and experienced teacher Rena Alisa for a basic Hebrew reading class.
The kick-off will be a Taste of Instant Hebrew from 10:30 to 11:30 am on Sunday, September 16th, followed by Sunday morning classes from 9:30 am to noon. This is a great way to prepare for your Adult B’nai MItzvah in the spring of 2021, to become proficient enough in Hebrew to help your child with their Hebrew homework, or merely to be more comfortable at services. Whatever your motivation, this class is a first step.
Book Group: Ilana Kurshan: If All the Seas Were Ink
Sept 23, 10:45  a.m.
Kurshan takes us on a deeply accessible and personal guided tour of the Talmud, shedding new light on its stories and offering insights into its arguments—both for those already familiar with the text and for those who have never encountered it. At the age of 27, alone in Jerusalem in the wake of a painful divorce, Ilana Kurshan joined the world’s largest book club, learning daf yomi, Hebrew for “daily page" of the Talmud, a book of rabbinic teachings spanning about 600 years and the basis for all codes of Jewish law. This memoir is a tale of heartache and humor, of love and loss, of marriage and motherhood, and of learning to put one foot in front of the other by turning page after page. For people of the book—both Jewish and non-Jewish—If All the Seas Were Ink is a celebration of learning—through literature—how to fall in love once again.
Torah Study – Chronicles: Boring Repetition — or Insight into Second Temple Times?
Weekly, beginning October 6
Come study the Book of Chronicles with Rabbi Aron and Rabbi Postrel on Saturday mornings from 9:30 to 10:20 am. We meet almost every Shabbat morning beginning October 6. Join us regularly or just drop in. You are welcome to bring your own Tanach or we will have copies in the library where we meet each Shabbat morning with coffee, tea and a little snack. Chronicles, the last book in the Jewish Bible, is often ignored. It is not read at any public worship service, Shabbat or holidays,  and is known mainly for its long genealogies. But Chronicles can be a fascinating read if one examines it with an eye towards the differences in its story of the Exodus and other events in Israelite history and for its introduction of the concept of Torah.
Lecture (With South Bay Institute): Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of ALS, with Marissa Moss
October 14, 2018
For years, Berkeley children’s author and illustrator Marissa Moss has delighted young audiences and critics alike with her upbeat stories and creative drawing style. Best known for the “Amelia’s Notebook” series,  Moss has written over 50 children’s books and has been awarded the California Book Award gold metal. Moss’s latest project, Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love, takes a dramatically darker turn, Last Things tells the heartbreaking story of her husband, Harvey, a gentle medieval art historian and professor, and his deterioration and death from ALS. Moss chronicles the impact of the illness on her husband, their three children, and herself in a profound tale of a family’s struggle to survive.
Introduction to Judaism
Weekly beginning October 16
Join our local rabbis on Tuesdays, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm for a year-long overview of the Jewish life-cycle, holidays, rituals, belief, history, calendar, and instruction in Hebrew reading. You will gain exposure to important Jewish books including the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud. Each session includes thirty minutes of Hebrew instruction. Sessions will rotate among local synagogues and the APJCC based on which rabbi is teaching.
Instructors include Rabbi Berkenwald of Congregation Sinai, Rabbi Aron of Congregation Shir Hadash, Rabbi Alpert of Congregation Beth David, Rabbi Magat of Temple Emanu-El, and Rabbi Seid-Valencia of the APJCC.
Classes begin October 16, 2018 and conclude April 9, 2019.  No class on 11/20, 12/25, 1/1, and 2/19.
To join this  class, please contact Maya Jacobson at to register and receive the syllabus and class materials. Fee is $180 per person and includes a basic Jewish library. Loaner books are available to help defray costs if needed.
Women’s Study: Contemporary American Jewish Women’s Short Stories
Monthly, beginning October 18
This year, we explore short stories by contemporary American Jewish women writers, using the book Scribblers on the Roof: Contemporary American Jewish Fiction, edited by Melvin Jules Bukiet and David G. Roskies. Rabbi Aron’s Women’s Study class in a longtime tradition at Shir Hadash, bringing together women of all ages for study and sharing of personal insights.
Class begins on Thursday October 18, and usually meets on the third Thursday of the month from 10:30 to 11:45 am.
Havdalah Program — Hollywood and the Jews: 1930–1960
November 3, 7:30 pm
We will explore themes such as The Disappearing Jew, The G.I. Hollywood, and In the Shadow of the Cold War, relating to Hollywood and the Jews between 1930 and 1960. We will delve into how Jewish characters and issues disappeared from the silver screen making American Jewry almost invisible while anti-Semitism rose in the US, how Hollywood moguls were at first hesitant to “screen up” about The Third Reich, while behind the scenes, there were Jews who secretly investigated Nazi agents in Los Angeles. Despite the increasing knowledge about the Holocaust, few films were made in the immediately post-WWII period. The HUAC investigations shook Hollywood leadership, destroyed many careers and impacted what was seen on the Big Screen. Program leader: Riva Gambert.
former Director of the 2016 East Bay International Jewish Film Festival.
Book Group: Ayelet Gundar-Goshen: One Night, Markovitch
Dec 2,  10:45 am
“One Night Markovitch” (2012) is a biting and often comical account based on a true historical episode, in which Jewish men traveled from British Mandate Palestine to Europe to rescue Jewish women by marrying them and bringing them back, thereby getting around limits on immigration. These were sham marriages from which the women were released upon arrival. However, in the novel, one of these men is unwilling to let go of his bride, and he lives in hope that his desire for her will be requited.
Lecture: Varieties of Orthodox Judaism: From Blu Greenberg to the Satmar Rebbe, with Rabbi Joey Felsen
Sunday, December 9, 9:30 am
We often speak about Orthodox Judaism as if it were a single entity, but actually some of the variations within Orthodoxy are quite broad. From participation minyans to charedi activists, the Orthodox world includes both Sephardim and Ashkenazim, Chassidim and Mitnagdim. Our speaker will be Rabbi Joey Felsen, founder and executive director of the Jewish Study network, who teaches regularly at our Jewish Community Center. Rabbi Felson is a recipient of the prestigious Grinspoon-Steinhardt National Award for Excellence in Jewish Education.
A Cantor’s Concert of the Works of Leonard Bernstein, in Honor of the Centennial of His Birth
Saturday, January 26, 7:00 pm
Leonard Bernstein said, “Life without music is unthinkable. Life without music is academic. That is why my contact with music is a total embrace.” Cantors embrace music of all styles, both Jewish and secular. Join us for a special havdalah program with Cantor Felder-Levy and colleagues to honor and celebrate the works of Leonard Bernstein.
Watch this space for more details and additional programs as they become available, and for full program descriptions check the calendar listing for each program. Unless otherwise indicated, events are free and open to everyone.

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