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New to Judaism

Introduction to Judaism Class

Interested in learning more about many facets of Judaism? Engaged or married to someone who is Jewish and want to learn more? This year-long course is weekly beginning in October each year!

Join our local rabbis 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. Session locations 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.

To join this class, please contact Maya Jacobson at mayaj@apjcc.org 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.

Jewish Holiday Basics

Fall:

  • Rosh HaShanah - Jewish New Year
  • Yom Kippur - Day of Atonement
  • Sukkot - Harvest Celebration

Winter:

  • Hanukkah - Festival of Lights, celebrated with eating fried foods and lighting candles on a hanukkiah menorah
  • Tu B'Shevat - Birthday of Trees

Spring:

  • Purim - Retelling of the Megillah (the story of Esther), celebrated with costumes, theater, and fun.
  • Passover - Retelling of the Exodus story with special foods such as matzah, songs, and traditions at seder dinners.

Summer:

  • Tisha B'Av - a day of mourning and fasting for some observers, this day commemorates various tragedies such as the destruction of two temples.

WHAT TO WEAR

Sometimes people ask "what should I wear?" when they are new to coming to a synagogue. In general on the West Coast people are much less likely to wear a suit to services and women do wear slacks. There is no formal dress code but people tend to avoid tshirts and jeans. When people attend our events specifically aimed at families with young children their attire leans towards the more casual side of the spectrum. If you have an honor on the bimah it is considered respectful to have your shoulders fully covered.

For High Holy Day services such as Rosh HoShanah and Yom Kippur, most people choose to "dress up" in clothing that they feel is nicer for these special festive services. This may mean a suit or nice slacks with formal shirt, or a formal dress with nice shoes. White is the traditional color for the holy days and on Yom Kippur it is traditional to avoid wearing leather. 

Helpful Resources

We encourage those interested in learning more about Judaism to consider taking our Intro to Judaism year-long course which is offered periodically and taught collaboratively with clergy from bay area synagogues. Contact  Rabbi Aron about this course!

Sun, November 17 2019 19 Cheshvan 5780