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Adult B'nai Mitzvah Program on Zoom beginning October 25, 2023

Adult Education: Fall 2022 - Winter 2023

Torah Study

Special Presentations
Made possible by The Legacy Fund

Recordings of previous programs can be found on the Temple Beth El YouTube channel:

Here's the direct link to the Adult Education Playlist: click here

Previous Events

Thursday, January 26th, 5 PM, Zoom only
Helping Ukrainian Refugees. Rabbi Alisa Zilbershtein, assistant rabbi at Beth Tikvah, Toronto, Canada, is originally from Kyiv, Ukraine, where she taught at the National University, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. She had planned to return to Kyiv following her ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York but had to remain in North America due to the ongoing war. She will tell us about the members of an international  Jewish network supporting Ukraine: How this largely under-the-radar network of selfless individuals operates, transmits information, routes donations, arranges logistics and directs medications, food, protective equipment and other necessities without any formal organization or supervision.

Thanks to the Legacy Fund, we are able to bring you, via Zoom, the acclaimed poet, liturgist and educator, Alden Solovy, for a special presentation on Shabbat and the key themes and metaphors found in ourprayers. These include: rest (menucah); joy (oneg, simcha); a taste of the world to come (me’ein olam habah); the two mitzvot of remember and observe (shamor v’zachor); and the two remembrances (creation and the exodus).

Sunday, January 22, 11:00 AM. Zoom only.
Soul of Shabbat 1 – The Mysterious Metaphors of Shabbat
We’ll open our Soul of Shabbat series by exploring the spiritual themes that have evolved from the rabbis’ interpretations of Torah to the innovations from the mystics of Safed, such as the arrival of angels and the concept Shabbat as bride and queen. We’ll also look at other spiritual notions of Shabbat including the idea of the neshama yeteirah, the additional soul that we receive with Shabbat’s arrival.

Sunday, January 29, 11 AM, Zoom only.
Soul of Shabbat 2 – The Deep Spirituality of the Shabbat Liturgy
In our second class, we’ll see how the metaphors of Shabbat resonate and create spiritual power in our Kabbalat Shabbat liturgy. The second session will look specifically at how those metaphors show up in Yedid Nefesh, L’chah Dodi, Shalom Aleichem, Kiddush, and Hadlakat Neirot (candle lighting).

The Latest on Infectious Diseases. a presentation by Dr. Martin Schlusselberg on long COVID, Monkeypox and Polio. Dr. Schlusselberg is a critical care and pulmonary specialist. If you missed this wonderful session, click here for the video (

Thursday, September 1st, 7 PM. Live and on Zoom.
Introduction to “Days of Awe,” an original symphony based on the themes of the High Holy Days, will premiere in Riverside at the Fox Theater on September 18th. Composer Steven Rothstein will perform and explain how this musical composition came together.

Sunday, October 30st, 1 PM. Live in person.
Make Your Own Golem with Paper Midrash. Prepare for Halloween with a Jewish ritual. The Jewish myth of the golem summoned ancient Jewish magic to create protection in difficult times. We are going to explore the golem legend and use our hands to create our own symbols of protection and power. Join Isaac and Rabbi Shawna to “make your own golem” out of paper and cut-up comic books, in a 90-minute workshop that includes visual learning about the legend of the golem and a hands-on activity with materials provided. No art experience, clay or magic spells required, just your enthusiasm.

Thursday, November 3, 6 PM. On Zoom only.
End of Life Options. Like Oregon, California has passed legislation to enable people with terminal illnesses to end their lives with dignity. Medical aid in dying provides peace of mind to terminally ill patients who face unbearable suffering. It allows a doctor to write a prescription for medication in response to a request from a terminally ill, mentally competent adult patient. The patient can, if they choose, self-administer the medication to achieve a peaceful death. We will discuss the provisions of the California law, as well as other ways in which you can protect yourself against unwanted medical interventions. Facilitated by Rabbi Singer, along with Judy Epstein of End of Life Options, and Stewart Florsheim, an activist in this arena.

Yiddish Culture and Language Arts. A 3-part series taught by Rabbi Annette Koch.
Thursdays, December 1, 8, 15, 6 PM. On Zoom only.

1. The World of Yiddish Culture explores the origins of the Yiddish language and the rich cultural heritage it gave rise to, including literature, e.g., story, memoir, novels and other forms of writing, music and song, theater, film, television, radio, press, and folk music and humor.
2. Bintel Brief. Eastern European Jewish newcomers to the shores of the Goldene Medina – the Golden Land -- needed help in adjusting to the demands of living in America. One resource was the Jewish Daily Forward, Der Forverts, whose famed editor Abraham Cahan started an advice column. We will take a look at a few of these columns to consider the plight of the immigrants.

3. Midrash in Yiddish. We have never stopped offering interpretations of our texts or writing commentaries. We will look at some of the Yiddish discussions of our core Jewish texts and ideas found in the midrashic writings of mystic Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav, and in the writings of Itzik Manger, a master storyteller and Holocaust survivor.

Rabbi Suzanne Singer, The Book of Job: How Do We Understand Evil in the World - Thursday April 21, May 5 & 19, June 2 at 6PM, on Zoom
A four-part series: 1. The suffering of the Innocent. 2. Job's Outrage. 3. Reward and Punishment. 4. God's Response.

Money, Mitzvah and Meaning: How to Live the Life You Want with Howard Jay Rubin Thursday, May 12, 6 PM on Zoom
Howard will present an updated approach to planning and handling one's finances known as Financial Life Planning. This method puts Meaning, Joy and Purpose first, and views money as a way to support the life you really want to live, rather than the other way around. In leading this discussion, Howard will draw on his practical experience as an investment and financial planner, studies in psychology and personal growth, and on the richness of the Jewish perspective on money and leading a deeply meaningful life. Participants will also be led in practical exercises to help understand finances in a new uplifting light. As an additional offering, Howard will make himself available after the Zoom session for any individual financial questions participants may have.

Howard Jay Rubin, CFP RLP has followed a rather unique vocational path, moving directly from a degree in Psychology from Duke University, into a 25 year career as a performing magician, and finally into a thriving incarnation as an Investment Advisor and Certified Financial Planner. For the past 12 years, Howard has served hundreds of clients both locally and nationally. His practice has always been focused on helping people successfully manage their finances through major life transitions, such as the loss of a loved one, divorce, and moving towards - and through - retirement. In recent years, he has also added an emphasis on the personal side of a client's financial life, becoming an RLP (Registered Life Planner) as well.

Yom Hashoah: Screening and Service
Screening of “I Danced for the Angel of Death: The Dr. Edith Eva Eger Story.” At the age of sixteen, Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz. Hours after her parents were killed, Nazi officer Dr. Josef Mengel (The Angel of Death),  forced her to dance for his amusement. This dance saved her life. The documentary's director, Ron Small, won the 2021 Emmy Award for Long Form Feature. Following the screening we will offer a meaningful service.

Dr. Steven Windmueller: Understanding the Changing Nature of Modern Anti-Semitism and Political Hate
What we will need to know in fighting contemporary hate in America, Israel and beyond.
Dr. Windmueller, an astute analyst of modern-day Jewish trends. is Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC) in Los Angeles.

There are a few articles to read:
"Everybody Hates the Jews" by Bari Weiss.
"The New Anti-Semitism - The Delegitimization of the Jewish People" by Dr. Steven Windmueller.
Why Now? Why Here? Understanding the Rise of Anti-Semitism in America by Dr. Steven Windmueller.

Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld
A Tour of Eastern Europe - We Are Alive - This focuses on Prague, Svihov (Czech Republic), and Warsaw. Focusing on Jewish life as it was, good and bad, the contrast between the Shoah and today, for example, in Warsaw, looking at a skyscraper by Daniel Libeskind towering over the remnant of the Ghetto wall.
Quantum Leaps in Jewish History Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld- A look at the huge changs in Judaism focusing on Sinai, the destructions of the Temples in 586 and 70, and the Napoleonic Sanhedrin which led to the Reform Movement.

Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld has served congregations in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Buffalo, NY; and Anchorage, Alaska. He has been engaged in interfaith dialogue throughout hus career and has taught college--level courses in New York and Alaska. His hobbies include salmon fishing.


Rabbi Dr. Joshua Garroway: A Jewish Utopia: Can We Really Repair the World? 
Rabbi Joshua Garroway, Ph.D., serves as the Sol and Arlene Bronstein Professor of Judaeo-Christian Studies and Professor of Early Christianity and Second Commonwealth at HUC-JIR's Skirball Campus in Los Angeles. His first book, Paul’s Gentile-Jews: Neither Jew nor Gentile, but Both explores the ways in which Paul's epistle to the Romans constructs Jewish identity, and the role this played in the emergence of Christianity.

Why We Became Rabbis: Rabbis Singer, Lotker and Koch
Rabbis Suzanne Singer, Michael Lotker and Annette Koch are all second career rabbis. What motivated them to make a career change mid-life, from television producer, physicist and lawyer respectively?



Sun, July 14 2024 8 Tammuz 5784