CJLL Classes

Jewish Education Class

Come for the Community, Stay for the Learning

You are invited to experience the joy of learning with Bobbi & Vic Samuels Center for Jewish Living and Learning. We pride ourselves on our outstanding faculty, who engage our students and create a learning environment that is text based, pluralistic and welcoming to all.  

We offer a multitude of classes at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center and we are proud to partner with other community agencies. If you can’t make it here, don’t worry, we will bring the classes to you. Check out our virtual offerings and class at Temple Emanu - El.  We also offer classes of various lengths, so choose what works for you!

As Director of the Bobbi & Vic Samuels Center for Jewish Living and Learning, I invite you to try one of these exciting classes; I believe you will find the experience refreshing, renewing sand transformative.  

Rabbi Barry Gelman
Anyone who joins 2 or more classes (not including the free classes, 3M Lunch and Learn or Friday Torah study)  will be credited with a 20% discount on future CJLL offerings.

Bobbi & Vic Samuels Center for Jewish Living and Learning
Local Educators Series 

We are blessed to have many talented educators in our community. The courses below have all been created by members of your community especially for you. Check out these wonderful classes taught by veteran teachers. 

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Joseph: Is Success all about the bottom line?
Taught by Mindeleah Pollak | Oct 25, Nov 1, 8, 15, 29, Dec 6, 13, 20 | 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM at the Merfish Teen Center 
Joseph is the first person referred to in the Torah as a "successful man". (Ish Matzliach); but at what point does this happen? When he was the beloved son in his father's home or when he was a viceroy in Egypt? The answer, surprisingly, is neither. 
Joseph is referred to as a successful man when he was a slave to Potiphar and then again when he was in the dark, dingy pit of an Egyptian prison. Let's meet Joseph at his arrival in Egypt, sold as a slave to the powerful Potiphar, while constantly being seduced by his wife. Joseph ends up serving political prisoners in jail and throughout all his experiences we will see his life successes. 

Taught by Rabbi Gideon Estes |Oct 25, Nov 1, 8, 15, 29, Dec 6, 13, 20 | 11:15 AM - 12:45 PM at the Merfish Teen Center
How has Jewish identity and religious expression been influenced by the historical and ideological developments of modernity? How has Judaism addressed hot-button topics like gender roles and intermarriage against the backdrop of 300 years of dramatic religious and social change? Delve into these topics and more in a fascinating 10-session study of the variety of voices that make up contemporary Judaism – where we are today, and how we got here.  


American Judaism, Part I:  From the Colonial Era to 1900
Taught by Dr. Josh Furman |Oct 19, 26, Nov 2, 9, 16, 30, Dec 7, 14 | 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM at the Merfish Teen Center
This course, the first of two courses on the subject, will examine the history of Jewish religious practices in the United States from the mid-1600s to 1900.  Using scholarly readings and primary sources to guide our discussions, we will consider how American Judaism has been influenced by the foundational principles of religious freedom and separation of church and state.  We will discuss how the first rabbis and religious leaders adopted various approaches to make Judaism meaningful and relevant for American Jews, and how laypeople made their own decisions and choices with respect to Jewish observance.  We will pay attention to women’s evolving roles both inside and outside of the synagogue, and we will consider how Jewish Americans have pushed back against the notion of the United States as a Christian nation, expanding the boundaries of religious diversity for all. 



Yet Even More Jewish Authors
Taught by Nada Chandler | Oct 27, Nov 3, 10, 17, Dec 1, 8, 15, 22 | 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM at the Merfish Teen Center
To name a few: Derek Miller, Rebecca Kaufman, Jonathan Dunsky, Lisa Barr, and B.A. Shapiro!  Give yourself a heads up on the Jewish Book and Arts Festival.

A Gateway to Early Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah
Taught by Rabbi Danny Horwitz | Oct 27, Nov 3, 10, 17, Dec 1, 8, 15, 22 | 11:15 AM - 12:45 PM at the Merfish Teen Center
We will view early Jewish mystical texts and see what compelled Jews to seek a more intimate relationship with God.  

  • Session 1: Five different types of Jewish mysticism, what they meant and what they mean today 
  • Session 2: Mysticism in the Bible; the visions of the prophets 
  • Session 3: Mysticism in the Talmud and the risks of intense closeness with God 
  • Session 4: Song of Songs and the mystical chariot: techniques and approaches 
  • Session 5: The role of the Temple, the meeting place with God 
  • Session 6: The roots of Kabbalah: Sefer Yetzirah (the Book of Creation) and Sefer ha-Bahir 
  • Session 7: Hasidei Ashkenaz (German Pietists), mystical moralism; Kabbalah begins 
  • Session 8: How to understand Kabbalah: God in relationship with people, God in balance 


Friday Torah Study
Facilitated by David Scott, RJE, Director of Lifelong Learning and Engagement at Congregation Beth Israel
Fridays | 12:00 PM | Congregation Beth Israel
In collaboration with Congregation Beth Israel

Ever wanted to learn more about the Torah but didn’t know where to begin? Join the Torah 101 class as we explore the basics of each week’s Torah portion. For login details and more information, email


Melton Classes - Never Stop Seeking 

We are proud to partner with the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning to offer university quality education using curricula from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem for less than the price of university tuition. 

Each learner in a Melton class receives a professionally published text book and Melton teachers are the beneficiaries of ongoing professional development. 

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Leadership Defied and Defended - BeMidbar/Numbers
Taught by Nancy Pryzant Picus | June 16, 23, 30, July 7, 14, 21, 28, August 4, 11, 18 | 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Leadership is a constant theme in the Torah. This course examines the different types of leaders found in the book of BeMidbar, including the famous pair of leaders: Moses and Aaron. Learners will see that while a good leader is a true blessing, having too many leaders results in infighting and dissent. BeMidbar is full of lessons on challenging authority for better and for worse— lessons just as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago. Let’s sift through the sands of time to examine the concepts of “leader,” “hero,” “rebel” and “community” with fresh eyes. 



For more information, please contact our front desk at 713.729.3200.


Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning