CJLL Classes

Jewish Education Class

Come for the Community, Stay for the Learning

The Bobbi and Vic Samuels Center for Jewish Living & Learning (CJLL) is a pluralistic community of Jewish adults who come together each week to learn, socialize, and add meaning to their Jewish lives and identity. Join us for rich, in-depth Jewish studies courses designed by local faculty as well as the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning.

Spring Jewish Learning


iEngage Hartman: The Future of Jewish Peoplehood
Rabbi Samantha Safran
10 Tuesdays, January 19 – March 23 I 10:00 AM – 11:15 AM I $125

Using the iEngage curriculum from the Shalom Hartman Institute, this course will address the complex features of Jewish peoplehood inherent in our tradition and history in an attempt to answer how we move from being a people with no permanent home to one with two permanent homes (North America and Israel). Through videos, text study and discussion, we will tackle issues such as nationalism, anti-Semitism, identity politics, and universalism vs. particularism to imagine new frameworks that can help sustain and grow the story of our people for a new millenium.

More Modern Jewish Authors
Ms. Nada Chandler
10 Tuesdays, January 19 – March 23 I 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM I $125

It is not without reason that we are the “people of the book,” but, more accurately, “people of the books.” As always, the criteria used in selecting the authors included: their significance, or their potential significance, in contemporary literature (Mark Sarvas); the breadth of their audience (Allegra Goodman); their name recognition (Myla Goldberg), or the promise of more to come (Ayelet Gundar-Goshen). The most important criteria of all is that they are ‘good reads!” Some are great, others just good, but all eminently readable (and discussable).

Miriam the Prophetess
Ms. Mindeleah Pollak
10 Thursdays, January 21 – March 25 I 9:45 AM – 10:45 AM I $125

Her parents named her Miriam from the Hebrew word Mar, bitter, yet she was anything but that! Trained as a young midwife, she defies King Pharaoh, becomes a young prophetess, leads the women dancing and singing by the sea, and supplies the well of refreshing water in the desert. Through biblical text and commentary, this course will explore the fascinating stories of her life.

The (Jewish) Crown: The Book of Samuel
Ms. Nancy Pryzant Picus
10 Thursdays, January 21 – March 25 I 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM I $125

With First Samuel as its main text, this course will chronicle the rise of the Kingdom of Israel and the fall of its first monarch, King Saul. Using the traditional Biblical text, we will also examine palace intrigues, the rise of the Davidic line, and the relationship between these two Biblical warrior kings.

A Look at Some of the Most Controversial and Bewildering Stories in the Torah
Rabbi David Rosen
6 Wednesdays, January 27 – March 3 I 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM I $75

We customarily turn to the Torah for stories that will illuminate and enlighten. It may be shocking to learn, however, that a number of stories raise more questions than answers! In this class, we will take a look at several of these texts, including the stories of Judah and Tamar, the Rape of Dinah, the love between David and Jonathan, the story of Jepthah and his daughter, and the Binding of Isaac, plus a sixth story if time permits.


La Hora: Histories of Latin American Jewish Immigration to the United States
Dr. Mark Goldberg
4 Fridays, February 5, 12, 19, 26 I 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM I $54

This course explores histories of Latinx Jews who immigrated from Latin America to U.S. cities in the 20th century. We will examine processes of emigration, arrival, and settlement to understand the development of new Latinx Jewish communities and identities. As a group, we will also ask and answer the question, what does this history teach us about our community today.

More Stories from the Houston Jewish History Archive
Dr. Joshua Furman
4 Tuesdays, April 6, 13, 20, 27 I 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM I $54

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 the Houston Jewish History Archive at Rice University. For those who took this class previously, stories will not be repeated.

Judaism: The Mystical, the Magical, the Just Plain Weird
Rabbi Annie Belford
6 Wednesdays, April 7, 14, 21, 28, May 5 & 12 I 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM I $75

Join Rabbi Annie Belford for a six-week class where we spend time each week dipping our toe into hidden corners of Jewish life. We will explore Jewish ideas of angels, demons, reincarnation, prophecy, obscure meditation practices (dancing! staring at walnuts!), and how our tears and laughter can be doorways ofconnection with God. Using traditional and modern texts (in English), this course seeks to expand your definition and understanding of what can be included in your own Jewish practice and belief system.

Kishke, Kashe, and Kashrut: Jewish Eating Traditions
Rabbi Shaul Osadchey
6 Thursdays, April 8, 15, 22, 29, May 6 & 13 I 11:00 AM I $75

This class is devoted to learning Jewish traditions regarding eating (Kashrut, brachot, etc.) from Biblical to modern times, along with an exploration of current culinary trends to enliven Shabbat and holiday meals.

For more information, please contact Rabbi Samantha Safran at or 713.595.8163.


Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning