CJLL Class Descriptions

Spring 2020

All classes are held at the J unless otherwise noted.

African American-Jewish Relations: Race, Religion, Politics and Pop Culture
Dr. Joshua Furman | 10 Sessions
Thursdays, 11:15 AM–12:15 PM | Jan 30–Apr 2, 2020 | Register

This course examines African American-Jewish relations in the United States from colonial times to the present day. How and why do the experiences, achievements and struggles of these two groups overlap and parallel, and how and why do they conflict and diverge? How does each group perceive itself in relation to the other? How do Jews of color experience this divide? We will attempt to answer these and other questions with the aid of primary source documents, films, music, memoirs and works of history and ethnography.

MELTON! Big Jewish Ideas, Part 2
Formerly Core Year 1, Purposes

Part 2 | Rabbi Samantha Safran I 14 Sessions
Thursdays, 10:00 AM–11:00 AM | Jan 30–May 14, 2020 | Register

Why do Jews believe as they do? What are the big questions of life and how do Jewish thinkers answer these questions? We will delve into both ancient and modern responses to many of the major issues of Jewish thought and theology. Topics addressed will include perspectives on God, Miracles, Intermarriage, and Israel, among many others. This course will run the entire year and no topics will be repeated. Participants may register for Part 1, Part 2, or both.

Conquest & Settlement, Heroes & Villains: The Books of Joshua and Judge
Ms. Nancy Pryzant Picus | 10 Sessions
Thursdays, 11:15 AM–12:15 PM | Jan 30–Apr 2, 2020 | Register

While our Jewish foundational stories may be familiar from religious school and weekly Torah portions, the story of the Israelites after their forty years of wandering is less well-known. Using the biblical books of Joshua and Judges, this course will be a brief survey of the fascinating period of Jewish history that begins with entering the Promised Land and ends with the rise of King Saul. 

Jewish-American Supreme Court Justices
Dr. Bernice Heilbrunn Potvin | 10 Sessions
Thursdays, 10:00 AM–11:00 AM | Jan 30–Apr 2, 2020 | Register
From Louis Brandeis to Elena Kagan, we have eight Supreme Court justices to talk about! What was their connection to their Judaism? How did it shape their careers and their decisions? This class will explore each justice’s background and time on the court.

MELTON! Jewish Medical Ethics: A 21st Century Discussion
Ms. Nancy Pryzant Picus | 15 Sessions @ Congregation Emanu El
Mondays, 9:30 AM–10:30 AM | Jan 27–May 11, 2020 | Register

While contemporary medical knowledge preserves life, modern advances have raised moral and ethical dilemmas related to the sanctity and dignity of life— issues whose scope was unimaginable a generation ago. Written by Rabbi Elliot Dorff, PhD, this course explores Jewish approaches to a number of 21st century ethical issues, including human cloning, surrogate motherhood, transsexual surgery, assisted suicide and genetic manipulation.

A Journey Through Midrash
Mr. David Scott | 4 Sessions
Thursdays, 10:00 AM–11:00 AM | Apr 23–May 14, 2020 | Register

This class will focus on various Midrashic texts and how they apply to the themes of slavery and redemption. We will explore and discuss the deeper understandings of biblical exegesis and how the texts came to be. We will also delve into their deeper and mystical understandings to uncover the secrets related to Passover and Shavuot. No prior Midrash experience needed.

The Men and Women of the Talmud
Rabbi Annie Belford | 8 Sessions @ Temple Sinai
Wednesdays, 9:30 AM–10:30 AM | Jan 22–March 11, 2020 | Register

The Talmud is known for being a groundbreaking collection of laws and stories from ancient times. It is also filled with the voices and opinions of hundreds of different rabbis, as well as some notable women. But who were these characters? What were their lives actually like, and what can we learn not only about them, but also from them? This course will provide a brief introduction to the Talmud before delving into its stories and legends. Perfect for beginners, fun for all!

The Passover Haggadah
Ms. Mindeleah Pollak | 10 Sessions
Tuesdays, 9:00 AM–10:00 AM | Jan 28–Apr 7, 2020 | Register
Wednesdays, 7:00 PM–8:00 PM Jan 29–Apr 1, 2020 | Register

The longest storytelling of our Jewish history (besides the Bible) is the Haggadah. What fascinates people each year with large family gatherings, weeks of preparation and a regal table for the Passover holiday? Let us travel through time, as the Seder is a long, arduous journey through our ancestors’ history and our rite of passage as Jews.

Synagogues Worldwide
Dr. Bernice Heilbrunn Potvin I 10 Sessions
Tuesdays, 10:15 AM–11:15 AM Jan 28–Apr 7, 2020 | Register

This course will explore the architecture, faith and history of selected Jewish communities worldwide. A visual feast together with interesting accounts of Jewish life in China, Tunisia, New Zealand and Mexico, among others.

Treasures from Congregation Beth Yeshurun's Kaplan Museum of Judaica
Dr. Daniel Musher/Ms. Carol Emery | 4 Sessions
Thursdays, 11:15 AM–12:15 PM | Apr 23–May 14, 2020 | Register

The Mollie and Louis Kaplan Museum of Judaica takes us into the homes and synagogues of places far away and people long since deceased, and includes the works of artisans worldwide. Each week in this course will focus on a different collection of ritual items from the museum and its cultural and historical significance: Hanukkah menorahs, Ketubahs, Seder plates, and Kiddush cups.

MELTON! Vayikra, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Leviticus
Rabbi Erin Mason | 10 Sessions
Thursdays, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM | Jan 30–Apr 2, 2020 | Register

Uncovering the depth and wisdom of Leviticus, the third book of the Torah, we will be inspired by its enduring messages that touch our lives to this very day. Using the biblical text as well as ancient and modern commentaries, we will examine themes such as the role of ritual, responses to tragedy, seeking forgiveness, balancing the priorities of the individual and the community, bringing sanctity into one’s daily life and much more.