CJLL Class Descriptions

Winter/Spring 2019

Angels & the Afterlife

Ms. Nancy Pryzant Picus | 10 Sessions
$140 Member I $210 Public
Sundays, 10:30 AM–11:30 AM | January 27–March 31, 2019 | The J | Registration

First, this class will take you on a textual exploration of the different types of celestial beings found in the literature of our tradition. Then, we will explore questions like: Do Jews believe in Heaven or Hell? What’s this about “reviving the dead” in my prayer book? Find your answers (or more questions) in this class!

Choosing Judaism: Conversion Through the Ages
Rabbi Dr. Danny Horwitz | 12 Sessions
$168 Member I $252 Public
Thursdays, 11:15 AM–12:15 PM | January 24–April 11, 2019 | The J | Registration

How did someone become Jewish in different times and circumstances? What did conversion mean to the convert and to the community? Come and learn about how this process has developed and evolved throughout the ages, as we engage in the question of ‘Who really is a Jew?’ Please Note: This is NOT a class for those seeking to convert to Judaism.

MELTON! Jewish Denominations: Challenges of Modernity
Cantor Mark Levine | 12 Sessions
$168 Member I $252 Public I $45 Book Fee
Thursdays, 10:00 AM–11:00 AM | January 24–April 11, 2019 |The J | Registration

This course examines Jewish identity and religious expression against the backdrop of dramatic political and social change. Students gain extensive insights into the historical and ideological developments of the major movements, and explore the impact of gender, assimilation, Israel and post-denominationalism on the movements and the Jewish people.

Melton! Jewish Holy Days (Formerly Core Year 1)
Rabbi Samantha Safran | 16 Sessions
Thursdays, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM | January 24 - May 23, 2019 |The J | Registration

Using selections from the Melton Core Curriculum, this course will take an in-depth look at some of the major holidays of the Jewish year cycle, including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Purim, Passover and more. Through text study and discussion we will explore the rituals surrounding these sacred days, how they have evolved throughout the ages, and what kind of meaning they can have for us today.

MELTON! Jewish Medical Ethics: A 21st Century Discussion
Rabbi Jill Levy | 12 Sessions
$168 Member I $252 Public I $45 Book Fee
Thursdays, 10:00 AM–11:00 AM | January 24–April 11, 2019 |The J | Registration

Written by Rabbi Elliot Dorff, PhD, this course explores Jewish approaches to 21st century ethical issues, including human cloning, surrogate motherhood, transsexual surgery, assisted suicide and genetic manipulation.

Jewish–Muslim Relations: A History
Mr. Aaron Howard | 10 Sessions
$140 Member I $210 Public
Wednesdays, 7:00 PM–8:00 PM | January 23–March 27, 2019 | The J | Registration

Jews and Muslims have lived together for 1400 years–at times poorly, at times very well. Beginning with the emergence of Islam, we will look at the religious, social, and economic relationships between the two peoples to seek a more nuanced understanding of their history.

Jewish Radical Artists: Six Women Who Made a Difference
Dr. Bernice Heilbrunn Potvin I 4 Sessions
$54 Member I $81 Public
Tuesdays, 10:15 AM-11:15 AM | Postponed until June| The J | Registration

This four-session class explores the art and lives of noted Jewish women artists Charlotte Salomon, Alice Lok Cahana, Sonia Delaunay, Judy Chicago, Eva Hesse and Hedda Sterne. 

Jewish Revenge Fantasy On Film
Rabbi Kenny Weiss | 8 Sessions
$112 Member I $168 Public
Thursdays, 10:00 AM–11:00 AM | February 21–April 11, 2019 | The J | Registration

This class will explore Jewish films that depict Jews experiencing victory over their enemies. We will look at Charlie Chaplain's The Great Dictator and Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds along with Elia Kazan's Gentleman’s Agreement, which received the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1947.

Pirkei Avot, Selections
Rabbi Barry Gelman | 4 Sessions
$54 Member I $81 Public
Thursdays, 11:15 AM–12:15 PM | May 2–23, 2019 | The J | Registration

Pirkei Avot, or, Ethics of Our Fathers, is usually considered an ethical treatise whose teachings are often quoted today. We will study selections from this text and try to reveal practical legal ramifications in addition to valuable ethical and moral lessons.

Praying Through the Ages
Ms. Sarah Foster | 4 Sessions
$54 Member I $81 Public
Thursdays, 10:00 AM–11:00 AM | January 24-February 14, 2019 | The J | Registration

This course will explore the development of four sections of the Friday evening service. What can liturgical changes through the years tell us about the communities who instituted them, and how can these prayers collectively help us better understand the arc of the service? We will use a variety of prayer books as sources.

Resilience: In Search of an Ancient Virtue
Rabbi David Segal I 6 Sessions
$84 Member I $126 Public
Mondays, 9:30 AM-10:30 AM | April 8 – May 13, 2019 | Congregation Emanu El | Registration

What does it take to find a new normal after a trying time? We all carry stories of tragedy and rebuilding, from personal hardships to communal suffering. In the books of Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Job, we find many diverse and authentically human responses to suffering. What can these ancient writings teach us about surviving struggle and
loss — and even finding joy?

The Seder Revealed: Why Is This Night Different?
Rabbi Steve Morgen | 8 Sessions
$112 Member I $168 Public
Thursdays, 11:15 AM–12:15 PM | February 21–April 11, 2019 | The J | Registration

What are we really supposed to be doing at the Passover Seder? The Passover Seder does have an order to it as its name Seder implies. This class will look at how the Seder developed from the Torah text to the Mishnah and the Talmud and beyond. But this is not just an academic exercise. The conclusions we will reach will hopefully free you to have a more lively and engaging Passover Seder.

Sister-Wives: The Last Two Matriarchs
Ms. Mindeleah Pollak | 16 Sessions
$224 Member I $336 Public
Tuesdays, 9:00 AM–10:00 AM | January 22–May 14, 2019 | The J | Registration

This course will explore the lives of Rachel and Leah and how they built their family with Jacob as patriarch despite sibling rivalry. How did they handle the trickery of one marriage, the long wait for another, and how did the outcome of twelve sons and a daughter shape their legacy to the Jewish people?

Stories from the Houston Jewish History Archive
Dr. Joshua Furman | 4 Sessions
$54 Member I $81 Public
Thursdays, 10:00 AM–11:00 AM | May 2–23, 2019 | The J | Registration

Come and learn about the rich history of the Houston Jewish Community! This class will highlight personal stories, rare artifacts and nostalgic images gleaned from the new Houston Jewish History Archive at Rice University.

Sustainable Eating: What Your Jewish Mother Never Told You
Ms. Nancy Pryzant Picus | 10 Sessions
$140 Member I $210 Public
Mondays, 9:30 AM–10:30 AM | January 28 - April 1, 2019 | Congregation Emanu El | Registration 

This course will explore food-related issues through the lens of Jewish values and Jewish texts. Topics will include kashrut (Jewish dietary laws), food justice, vegetarianism and veganism, sustainability, blessings, and more.

Synagogues of Europe: From the Palatial to the Ultra-Modern
Dr. Bernice Heilbrunn Potvin | 12 Sessions
$168 Member I $252 Public
Tuesdays, 10:15 AM–11:15 AM | January 22–April 9, 2019 | The J | Registration 
Thursdays, 11:15 AM–12:15 PM | January 24–April 11, 2019 |The J | Registration 

This course will be a visual feast of synagogue architecture from exterior to interior. We will explore the grand old synagogues of Budapest, Vienna, Berlin, and more, many of which remain in use today. We will also look at contemporary synagogues in Amsterdam, Munich and elsewhere that were rebuilt after destruction and that contribute to new Jewish life in Europe.

MELTON! We Are What We Remember: The Ever-Evolving Transmission of Jewish History
Mr. David Scott | 4 Sessions
$54 Member I $81 Public
Thursdays, 11:15 AM–12:15 PM | January 24–February 14, 2019 |The J | Registration 

What do we as Jews remember and why? How are national memories formed and preserved? This course opens with the Torah’s directive to remember Israel’s arch-enemy, Amalek. The next three lessons explore significant historical periods and the memories formed around them—the Spanish expulsion, Poland and the Holocaust, and the founding of Israel.