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Adult Education 2019 – 2020

Two Spiritually Powerful and Controversial Prayers for High Holidays ♦ Rabbi Emeritus Lewis Mintz ♦ Tuesdays, September 17 and 24 ♦ 7:30PM to 9:00PM

In preparation for the High Holidays, Rabbi Emeritus Lewis Mintz will lead a two-session class and discussion on the two most well-known, spiritually powerful, and controversial prayers of the High Holy Day liturgy: Unetaneh Tokef ("In the Book of Life, it is written, who shall live and who...") and Kol Nidre.  Join one or both classes!



Jewish Meditation Series with Cantor Sarra ♦ September 18, November 25, December 10 ♦ 7:15 PM


Sign up BELOW for 1, 2 or 3 sessions!

Wednesday, September 18 at 7:15 PM:   "Jewish Meditation for a Sweet New Year"

Energize your spirit and enter 5780 with a lev shalem – an open mind and a full heart. We’ll begin with 15 minutes of gentle stretching before the class. Everyone is welcome!

Monday, November 25 at 7:15 PM:  "Hodayah: Experiencing the Power of Gratitude"

Tuesday, December 10 at 7:15 PM:  "Or Refuah: Inviting the Light of Healing"

Coming in the Spring!  "Shema: Listening to Our Hearts (a four-part series)"

All sessions are in the Sanctuary. There is no fee.



Stepping into Judaism: Exploring Jewish Tradition and Practice with Rabbi Mike ♦ Kick off Wednesday, September 18 at 7:30 PM, then, the third Thursday of each month

A course designed both for individuals exploring conversion, and Jews who wish they had a stronger Jewish background, this class will be an exploration of some basic elements of Jewish identity.

Topics will include Torah (and other classic Jewish texts), Jewish holidays, prayer, personal Jewish ethics, Shabbat, kashrut, lifecycle events, Jewish social justice, and antisemitism.

Those interested in pursuing conversion should contact Rabbi Mike beforehand.

There is no fee for this course and you may join at any point in the series. Sign up so we know you are coming!



Hebrew Reading Marathon Class ♦ Instructor:  Linda Friedman ♦ Sundays, October 20 and 27 ♦ 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Do you want to learn how to read Hebrew in two marathon classes?  Join these classes led by our instructor, Linda Friedman!

This is an intensive two-session course for those who have no prior knowledge or limited knowledge of Hebrew. Become proficient with the Hebrew alphabet, 180 functional Hebrew words, and develop a basic ability to read anything in Hebrew.

Both classes are required,   You must pre-register by October 13th so that materials can be ordered for every student.

The cost of this class is $60 for CBE members and $75 for non CBE members.  Textbook and a light snack are included in the fee!



Words to Shape the World:  The Language of Jewish Values with Rabbi Mike ♦ Tuesdays, October 29, November 5, 12, 19, 26 ♦ 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Chesed, kavod, tzedek, tikvah — the Jewish world is full of words that have influenced our lives and our communities. But what do they mean? Can we use this Jewish vocabulary to heal our broken world? Join Rabbi Mike for a discussion of our lexicon of Jewish values, and how to use Jewish values to make decisions we can be proud of.

There is no fee for this course for CBE members.  For non CBE members, we request a donation to the Adult Education Fund.  The suggested non-member donation is $36.

You may join this course at any point in the series.  You may attend one, some, or all 5 of the classes.   Please sign up so that we can plan!



Conversational Hebrew Class with Instructor, Ronny Almog ♦ Wednesdays, October 30, November 6, 13, 20, December 4, 11 ♦ 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM

All levels are welcome, even those who are just starting out with Hebrew.  Each week, we'll dive into a topic, like holidays, family, or eating out.  We'll have fun, practice speaking Hebrew with each other, and learn some grammar along the way.

Instructor:  Ronny Almog.  Ronny is a native Hebrew speaker who moved from Israel to the United States four years ago with his husband, Emil.  He is a playwright, software engineer, and former math teacher.  He lives in Maynard and recently joined Congregation Beth Elohim.

For this class, we request a donation to the Adult Education Fund.  Our suggested donation is $36.



Jewish Book Month Speaker, Rachel Kadish, author of The Weight of Ink, and winner of the 2017 National Jewish Book Award ♦ Sunday, November 3 ♦ 5:00 PM

Rachel Kadish's 2017 novel, The Weight of Ink, is a work of historical fiction set in London of the 16602 and of the early twenty-first century.  It tells the interwoven stories of two women: Ester Velasquez, an immigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history.

Help us plan by signing up below.  You are welcome to join us, anyway, if you are not able to plan ahead and sign up.

There is no cost for this event.  Non CBE members are requested to make a donation to the Adult Education Fund by clicking HERE and selecting Adult Education Fund in the dropdown "TYPE" menu.



Susannah HeschelScholar-in-Residence Weekend
with Dr. Susannah Heschel
January 31, 2020 – February 2, 2020

Susannah Heschel is the Eli Black Professor and Chair of the Jewish Studies Program at Dartmouth College. Her scholarship focuses on the history of Jewish and Protestant religious thought in Germany during the 19th and 20th centuries. She has written/edited many, many books, including two volumes of her father’s writings, e.g. Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Writings of Abraham Joshua Heschel. Her current interests center around the history of European Jewish scholarship on Islam, and she has just published her first book on the topic.


Ongoing programs

Shabbat Torah Study
Leader: Rabbi Mike
Shabbat mornings, watch for announcements in The Star & Star-Lite calendar

Rabbi Mike leads us in a short Shacharit service, which is followed by study and discussion of the weekly parsha.  Various translations and commentaries are employed, as well as the rabbi’s own insight.

Bible and Bourbon with Rabbi MikeBible & Bourbon
Leader: Rabbi Mike
One Sunday night a month. Locations to rotate; watch for announcements in Star-Lite

A casual come-as-you-are time to talk Torah and have a drink with friends! Join us in congregants’ homes as Rabbi Mike presents a short text with lots of time to discuss and socialize.  Click HERE for the list of dates to add to your calendar!

Mid Week Bible Study
Facilitator: Waky
Wednesday 1:30 – 2:30 pm on Hebrew school days, beginning September 19.

A group of adult students has been studying Jewish texts together for several years. All are welcome; the chevruta style of learning, where we all share our thoughts on a wide perspective on the texts.  No previous knowledge is required nor is Hebrew a necessity.  Drop-ins are welcome.

Celebrating Rosh Chodesh
Facilitator: Leann Shamash

Join CBE's "Rosh Chodesh Group", a monthly women's group that celebrates each new Hebrew month and discusses Jewish topics from women's perspectives.  This is a wonderful opportunity to enrich our lives spiritually as we connect with the Jewish calendar and with one another.  Contact Leann for more info at


Past Classes and Events 

Rest and Delight in the Sanctuary of Shabbat; Mindfulness, Meditation and Deep Relaxation ♦ Saturday, September 7, 2019 ♦ 1 to 4 PM


In the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Shabbat is a sanctuary in time, a time to lean back, rest and renew.

In this contemplative shabbat experience with Rabbi Sigal Brier we explore the relationship between mindfulness, meditation, rest and happiness. Learn from Heschel's book The Sabbath, experience the benefits of rest and renewal and learn from related neuroscience and brain research on the topic. This experiential mini-shabbat retreat will integrate breathing techniques, light movements, music, yoga nidra relaxation, mindfulness, and meditation.

All are welcome. No experience or knowledge are necessary. All activities can be done sitting in a chair or standing. If you want to lay on floor for relaxation, bring a blanket, mat or large towel and small pillow.


Take a Breath and Free Your Mind: Jewish Meditation

Four Wednesdays:  May 8th and 29th, June 5th and 12th - 7:15 to 8:45 PM in the Sanctuary

Cantor Sarra invites you to join her for an in-depth introduction to Jewish meditation.

We’ll learn seven different kinds of meditations that we can practice in our everyday lives to slow down, relax our minds, and open our hearts to the holiness around us.

Each evening will begin with 15 minutes of easy stretching to help us transition from our busy day.  Feel free to sign up and get a taste at the first class and then decide if you want to continue.


Tikkun L’eil Shavuot  ♦ Saturday, June 8, 2019  ♦ 7:30 PM to midnight

Please join us to learn from our rabbi and lay people about the traditions of this lesser known holiday. 

Click HERE for a summary of the topics shared by our Rabbi, Cantor, and congregants!  Elaine Braun-Keller submitted the article to thank the organizers and teachers for this enriching evening of study!


A Life of Godwrestling:

Rabbi Arthur Waskow in Conversation with Rabbi Mike Rothbaum

Saturday, March 23, 2019 ♦ 6:00 - 8:00 pm

Congregation Beth Elohim is honored to welcome Rabbi Arthur Waskow for a night of conversation and dialogue about his lifetime of work revitalizing and inspiring American Jewish culture. CBE’s Rabbi Mike Rothbaum will ask Rabbi Waskow about his decades of teaching and inspiring world Jewry, beginning with his engagement of the American Jewish community in the aftermath of the Holocaust, to his work today facing the modern challenges of climate change, racism, antisemitism, and militarism, utilizing the timeless power of Jewish liturgy, spirituality, social justice, as well as interreligious conversation.

Click HERE to read about Rabbi Waskow's remarkable achievements and contributions.  Rabbi Waskow was named, by the United Nations, as one of the world's 40 "Wisdom Keepers."


Introduction to Jewish Genealogy

Monday, February 25, 2019 ♦ 7:30 PM

Instructor:  Jessie Klein


Find your ancestors and tell their story with instructor, our very own congregant, Jessie Klein!

You don't have to be a celebrity to have an interesting family!  Learn how to find your ancestors and tell their stories.  Learn about the latest methods and resources to grow your family tree.

Jessie Klein is the co-president of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Boston and has taught in their Foundations of Jewish Genealogical Research course.  Jessie has been doing family research for over 15 years.

This class is sponsored by CBE Adult Education and is FREE and open to the public.


Scholar in Residence Weekend with Rabbi Or Rose

February 8, 9, 10, 2019

Jewish Spiritual Renewal in a Pluralistic Age 


Session 1: Friday, February 8, 2019
Shabbat service at 7:30 pm with guest drash by Rabbi Rose:
“Towards a Theology of Jewish Pluralism”

Session 2: Saturday, February 9, 2019
Study with Rabbi Rose at 10:00 am
“American Mystics: Reverend Howard Thurman & Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi”

Session 3: Sunday, February 10, 2019
Brotherhood Breakfast at 9:15 am with guest speaker Rabbi Rose:
“Case Studies in Religious Cooperation & Challenge”

About Rabbi Or Rose:

Rabbi Or Rose is the founding Director of the Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College. 


A Taste (and a Breath) of Meditation 

Tuesday, February 5 at 7:30 PM and/or Monday, February 11 at 7:30 PM

Instructor: Cantor Sarra

Attend one of the sessions or attend both!

Come and experience a taste of meditation with Cantor Sarra. Learn how performing your everyday activities with greater awareness can help you relax and rejuvenate your spirit. Discover how “taking a breath” and building your concentration can lead to more balance in your life.

With guided meditations and teachings from Jewish tradition, we’ll experience and learn about the intersection of Judaism and meditation. The class will be preceded by an optional 15 minutes of gentle stretches and relaxing movement to help you transition from your busy day.

There is no cost for this adult education class.

Finding Your Voice: Chanting Torah
Wednesdays, October 17, 24; November 7, 14, 28; December 5 • 7:30 – 8:45 pm
Instructor: Cantor Sarra Spierer

Have you ever thought about learning how to chant Torah? If you already have some basic skills, would you like to sharpen your ability to chant? Join Cantor Sarra for an introduction to Torah trope and a deeper understanding of the art of Torah reading. A basic ability to read Hebrew is required - no singing or previous experience needed! We will be using the book, “Chanting the Hebrew Bible: Student Edition” by Professor Joshua Jacobson.

The Midrash We Live In: The Book of Exodus and the Struggle against White Supremacy 
Tuesdays, November 13, 20, 27; December 11 • 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Instructor: Rabbi Mike Rothbaum

The Book of Exodus and the Struggle against White Supremacy: thinkers from Zora Neale Hurston to Abraham Joshua Heschel to Martin Luther King Jr. have noted the resonance between the struggle against Egyptian bondage and the struggle against American racism. As such, racial injustice in the US can be seen as a 400 year midrash on the book of Exodus. Join us as we look at source texts from the Bible to today, and explore the Torah’s call for justice that remains essential in our day.

No cost to congregants.  Non-congregants: $40

Why are there streets named "Balfour" in dozens of cities & towns all over Israel?
Tuesdays, November 13, 20, 27; December 4, 11 • 2:00 – 3:30 pm                           
Instructor: Rabbi Lewis Mintz

Last November marked the 100th anniversary of 2 momentous world events: The Russian (Bolshevik) Revolution & Britain issuing the Balfour Declaration.  It has been called, "The Magna Carta of the Jews" and begins by stating, "His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish People." Come explore the geopolitical, literary, and Christian religious impulses that lead up to this dramatic decision; its galvanizing impact on the development of the growing Jewish community in the Land of Israel and on world Jewry; and the eventual response of Arab leaders and concessions made by the British Mandate during the 2 decades that followed.

No cost to congregants.  Non-congregants: $50

Fri, September 20 2019 20 Elul 5779