334 East 14th Street
New York, NY 10003
(between 1st & 2nd Aves)

Contact us at: office@tandv.org
212.677.8090 or Fax 212.677.1049

Adult Ed Program Archive

Here is a sample of past classes held at Town and Village.

OMENS, ORACLES & EXECRATIONS IN THE BIBLE AND THE SURROUNDING  WORLD

TAUGHT BY DR. SHARON KELLER

Tuesdays, September 20, and 27, 7-8:15 PM

Free for T&V members who have paid for any Adult Ed class since July 2015; $65 for other T&V members, $85 for non- members

What do flying birds, cow livers, shaken arrows, and mold on walls have in common? They are all things than can be examined to discover the future and ascertain what God may be thinking – most of these methods are prohibited by the Bible, but some are embraced. A PowerPoint presentation.

TO ENROLL CALL THE OFFICE AT 212-677-8090

___________________________

SHTISEL: ISRAELI TV DRAMA

Tuesdays, July 5, 12, 19, 26, September 6 and 13 7-8:30PM

T&V members: $5 per session or $15 for the series

Non-members: $7 per session or $20 for the series

Shtisel is a critically acclaimed and award-winning Israeli television drama series that follows the f a fictional Haredi family living in the Geula neighborhood of Jerusalem. Creators and writers are Ori Elon and Yehonatan Indursky. We will be showing the entire first season, three episodes per evening, Hebrew with English subtitles.

_____________________________________________________________________

THE BODY COVERED AND UNCOVERED: NUDITY IN THE BIBLE AND THE ANCIENT WORLD

TAUGHT BY DR. SHARON KELLER

Mondays, June 20 and 27, 7-8:15 PM

Free for T &V members who have paid for any Adult Ed class since July 2015; $50 for other T&V members; $65 for          non-members

The common assumption is that Adam and Eve were ashamed when they discovered themselves to be naked, but if we look carefully at the text in Genesis it says that they “…were not ashamed.”The Bible presents a complicated appreciation of the human body that is at times positive and at times negative, but is never “shameful.” A PowerPoint presentation.

__________________

THE HISTORY OF THE JEWISH BOOK

TAUGHT BY DR. RACHEL MINCER

Tuesdays, August 9, 16 and 23, 7-8:30PM

T&V members, $65; Non-members, $85

In this course, we will study the different formats of Jewish books over time – scrolls, manuscript codices and printed books – and try to understand their significance for Jewish society and culture. Our broad goals are to examine the production, transmission and reception of Jewish texts and to use books, both their material and literary content, as a window into the societies that produced them.

TO ENROLL CALL THE OFFICE AT 212-677-8090

_______________________________________________

JEWS THROUGH A ROMAN LENS

TAUGHT BY DR. DAVID LEVENE

8 Tuesday evenings, 7:00-8:30PM

October 27, November 3, 10, 17, 24, December 1, 8 and 15, 2015

Fee: $250 for T&V members, $300 for non-members

Few outsiders have been as important to Jewish history as the Romans were.  As a direct consequence of Roman rule, the Temple was destroyed, and Judaism made the crucial transition from its Israel-centered, Temple-based roots to a Diaspora-centered religion focused on rabbinic law.  It is easy to make the mistake of thinking that this applied in reverse: that Jews must have been in some way important to the Romans, rather than being one minor (if distinctive) group on the edge of a vast empire.  Moreover, even when that particular fallacy is avoided, the mere fact of reading Jewish history without considering the broader Roman context can lead to serious misunderstandings. This course will seek to rectify that perspective.  We will examine Roman rule over the Jews and Roman attitudes to the Jews in the context of Rome’s conquest of and rule over the entire Mediterranean and beyond, and we will consider just how much Jews did – and did not – matter to their imperial rulers.

David Levene is Professor of Classics and Chair of the Department of Classics at New York University.  He studied at Oxford University; before coming to New York in 2006 he held positions in Oxford, Durham, and Leeds.  His publications include two books on the Roman historian Livy, an edition of Tacitus’ Histories, and numerous scholarly articles on Roman literature, history, and religion; he has also written on ancient Judaism, and on the reception of the ancient world in the 19th century novel and the 20th century cinema.

________________________________________________________________

MINI-SHABBATON WITH JEREMY BENSTEIN

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2015

During Morning Services:Dying and Living in the Land: Coexistence and Sustainability in a Divided Country”

After Kiddush:Is Hebrew Mosaic, or A Mosaic?: Israel and Jewishness Through Language”

Dr. Jeremy Benstein, a native of Toledo, Ohio, moved to Israel over 30 years ago, with a dream of making Israel an inspiring society. That dream led to his co-founding the Heschel Center for Sustainability in Tel Aviv, Israel’s leading organization promoting sustainability based on the Jewish commitment to social justice and the common good. Jeremy holds an AB degree in linguistics from Harvard, a master’s degree in Judaic Studies and doctorate in cultural anthropology from the Hebrew University on social-environmental activism as a focus of shared citizenship between Jews and Arabs in Israel.

“For me sustainability is much more than economic efficiency, or a cleaner environment. It’s about building a society that can sustain us and our children, materially and spiritually, together with the awe-inspiring world we are a part of. So I focus on grounding the social-environmental discussion in a deeper context of a societal vision of the common good based on cultural and spiritual values.”

He is the author of the book The Way Into Judaism and the Environment (Jewish Lights, 2006), and after authoring the “On Root” column on Hebrew for the Israeli daily Haaretz, is working on an upcoming book about the Hebrew language and its significance for Jewish life. Jeremy is married to Prof. Annabel Herzog, and together with their five children,and cat, lives in Zichron Yaakov.

_____________________________________________________________________

ALL SHUL READ

 Saturday October 17, 2015

After Kiddush- Free

BOOK: All Who Go Do Not Return: A Memoir By Shulem Deen

A moving and revealing exploration of Hasidic life, and one man’s struggles with faith, family, and community

Shulem Deen was raised to believe that questions are dangerous. As a member of the Skverers, one of the most insular Hasidic sects in the US, he knows little about the outside world—only that it is to be shunned. His marriage at eighteen is arranged and several children soon follow. Deen’s first transgression—turning on the radio—is small, but his curiosity leads him to the library, and later the Internet. Soon he begins a feverish inquiry into the tenets of his religious beliefs, until, several years later, his faith unravels entirely.

Now a heretic, he fears being discovered and ostracized from the only world he knows. His relationship with his family at stake, he is forced into a life of deception, and begins a long struggle to hold on to those he loves most: his five children. InAll Who Go Do Not Return, Deen bravely traces his harrowing loss of faith, while offering an illuminating look at a highly secretive world.

_________________________________________________________________________

HOLY EMOTIONS: THE JEWISH APPROACH TO FEELINGS

TAUGHT BY RABBI ABBY SOSLAND

4 Tuesdays, July 14, 21, 28 and August 4

7:30-9 PM

Fee: $100 for members & $125 for non-members

SPECIAL PRICING:

$75 if you have paid for 1 other class at T & V since July 2014

$50 if you have paid for 2 or more other classes at T & V since July 2014

Free if you are a member of T&V’s 20s&30s group

For over two thousand years, the texts of our people have struggled with the reality of human emotion. What is the Jewish ideal when it comes to our inner lives?  Together we will explore the wide range of perspectives, from the Bible and Talmud through Maimonides and the teachings of the Chassidic masters. What can we learn from these ideas about the emotions that arise in our own lives?  Each week, we will explore one emotion through the progression of Jewish texts.

  • July 14: Joy
  • July 21: Desire
  • July 28: Anger
  • August 4: Shame

Rabbi Abby Sosland is the Morah Ruchanit (Spiritual Advisor) of Schechter Westchester, where she teaches Bible, Talmud, prayer and philosophy to high school students and adults. She was formerly the Assistant Rabbi at Town and Village Synagogue, where she started the first free High Holiday service for downtown New Yorkers, featured in New York Magazine and The New York Times. She writes curriculum and teaches for Hadassah in Westchester County, and she is a regular contributor to Daily Daf Differently, a Talmud podcast on www.jcastnetwork.org. Rabbi Sosland is the author of the chapter on “Crime and Punishment” in The Observant Life: The Wisdom of Conservative Judaism for Contemporary Jews. Her writing has also been appeared in the Jewish Week, Lilith Magazine, the Forward, and on her blog “Shameless Judaism” at abbysosland.com.

To register for the class, please contact Nina Lehman at: nina.lehman@gmail.com

________________________________________________________________

THE VARIETIES OF KADDISH

TAUGHT BY CANTOR SHAYNA POSTMAN

3 Tuesday evenings, 7-8:30PM

May 24

This mini–series will examine the meanings and modes of the different Kaddish prayers.  The Kaddish is one of the most well-known and ancient prayers and it is different in format and function from most others. We will delve into its meaning, history, and purpose and explore the many musical modes in which this prayer is chanted and spoken.

Free for T&V members, $36 for non-members

 

_________________________________________________________________________________

ALL SHUL READ

June 18, Shabbat after Kiddush

The Sea Beach Line by Ben Nadler

The-Sea-Beach-Line-cover-683x1024

Set in post-Giuliani New York City, The Sea Beach Line melds mid-20th-century pulp fiction and traditional Jewish folklore as it updates the classic story of a young man trying to find his place in the world. After being expelled from Oberlin for hallucinogenic drug use, Izzy Edel seeks out his estranged father—a Polish Jew turned Israeli soldier turned New York street vendor named Alojzy who is reported to be missing, possibly dead. To learn about Alojzy’s life and discover the truth behind his disappearance, Izzy takes over his father’s outdoor bookselling business and meets the hustlers, gangsters, and members of a religious sect who peopled his father’s world. He also falls in love with a mysterious young woman who is living on the streets after running away from her Hasidic home. As Izzy soon discovers, appearances can deceive; no one, not even his own father, is quite whom he seems to be. From Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay to the streets surrounding New York University and the Upper East Side, The Sea Beach Line explores layers of New York life and territory.

AUTHOR BEN NADLER WILL JOIN OUR CONVERSATION.

________________________________________________________________

BOOK DISCUSSION GROUP

LED BY SAUL NOAM ZARITT

10 Wednesdays, 10:30AM  – Noon

Fee: $175 for T & V members, $225 for non-members

September 10, 2014       Red Cavalry Stories; Odessa Stories; “The Story of My Dovecote”

(from The Collected Stories of Isaac Babel )                             Isaac Babel

October 22 Emil and Karl Jacob Glatstein

November 12                  The Remains of Love Zeruya Shalev

December 10                  The Rabbi of Lud Stanley Elkin

January 14, 2015           The World of the End Ofir Touche Gafia

February 11                     San Remo Drive Leslie Epstein

March 11                          Some Day Shemi Zarhin

April 15                            Textile Orly Castel-Bloom

May 13                             Love and Shame and Love Peter Orner

June 10                            The Replacement Life Boris Fishman

 

Saul Noam Zaritt is a PhD student in Jewish Literature at The Jewish Theological Seminary, where he focuses on Hebrew and Yiddish fiction of the early 20th century. After completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago, Saul received a Fulbright grant to study and translate Hebrew literature in Israel, in particular contemporary Israeli poetry. That same year, on a whim, Saul started studying Yiddish and soon began a Masters degree at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in both Hebrew and Yiddish literatures. While completing this degree Saul also worked at the Nesiya Institute, a non-profit leadership program for Israeli and American young people. Saul is the recipient of several fellowships and awards including a Fulbright grant, scholarships from Beit Sholem Aleichem and the Hebrew University, and a fellowship at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Saul hails from Worcester, MA.

 


“PRAYER FOR THE PEOPLE”: LEARNER’S MINYAN 5775

LED BY BRONWEN MULLIN, RABBINIC INTERN FROM JTS

“Prayer for the People” is a practical hands-on learning community within Town and Village’s spiritual home. This minyan will focus on a different prayer every week, where members will develop confidence in the recitation of its ancient words and melodies. We will learn to focus our sacred concentration (kavanah) towards the timeless themes that these prayers evoke, and explore what we, as dynamic individuals, can reveal for
ourselves and for others in these prayers.
“Prayer for the People” is a true hevre, a community, of spiritual seekers who learn from one another. Accordingly there will be optional “Prayer for the People” Shabbat dinners and lunches scheduled throughout the year to enjoy each other’s’ company and strengthen our bonds.w.)(Our first “Prayer for the People” Shabbat Dinner will be held November 21, 2014 at T&V. More information soon to follow.)

“Prayer for the People” will be held on the following dates starting at 10:15am.  Come pray and learn with us!
Dates and Themes for 2014-15
Nov. 15, 2014 Adon Olam (Theme: Universal Humanity)
Nov. 22, 2014 Aleinu (Theme: Unique Jewish Destiny)
Dec. 6 & 20, 2014 The Amidah (Grounding in the Earthly)
Jan. 10 & 17, 2015 The Kedusha (Tasting the Heavenly)
February 7 & 14, 2015 Shema (Concentration and the Commandment to Love)
March 7, 2015 Ahava Rabbah (Learning to Receive Love)
March 14, 2015 Ashrei (Gratitude)
April 18, 2015 Halleluyah (Joy)
April 25, 2015 Yishtabach (Praise)
May 16 & 23, 2015 Hatzi Kaddish, Kaddish Shalem and Mourner’s Kaddish
May 23, 2015 Barchu (The Call to Prayer/Why do we pray?) (Holiness and Transition)

Bronwen Mullin is a playwright, composer, educator and rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. She earned her B.A. at Sarah Lawrence College (2006) in Theater and Religious Studies and was an Arts Fellow from 2008-2011 in Musical Theater Composition at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education. Bronwen is the co-founder of MetaPhys-Ed, a gymnasium for the multi-media exegesis of Jewish texts with performance artist/director Jesse Freedman.

 


TO LIFE, TO LIFE, L’HAYYIM: MEDICAL ETHICS, POPULAR CULTURE AND JEWISH THOUGHT

TAUGHT BY RABBI LEONARD SHARZER, MD

9 Tuesday evenings (3 films and 6 classes), 7– 8:30 PM

Fee: Members $175, Non-Members $225 (Special Discount for 20s and 30s, $50)

April 14 Film:  Vera Drake (optional/on your own If These Walls Could Talk)

April 21: When Does Life Begin:  Jewish Attitudes Toward Abortion and Stem Cell Research

April 28: Assisted Reproductive Technologies: Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis and Designer Babies

May 5 Film:  Gattaca

May 12: Better than Normal: The Enhancement/Therapy Debate

May 19 Film: Million Dollar Baby (optional/on your own The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and/or How to Die in Oregon

May 26: Are “Brain-Dead” Patients Really Dead…or Dead Enough?

June 9: End of Life Care and Choices

June 16:  Judaism and Gender:  Transgender and Intersex in Jewish Thought

 

In addition to the films, there will be readings for each class.

 

Rabbi Leonard A. Sharzer, MD is Associate Director for Bioethics of the Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies at The Jewish Theological Seminary. A native of Boston, Rabbi Sharzer graduated from Boston University School of Medicine and completed residency training in general surgery at the University of Iowa, also earning an MS in surgery for work in organ preservation for transplantation. He completed a residency in plastic surgery at the Eastern Virginia Graduate School of Medicine in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1978, he moved to New York to join the faculty of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he attained the rank of Clinical Professor. He retired from medical practice in 1999 to enter The Rabbinical School at The Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was ordained in May 2003. In addition to numerous book chapters and journal articles in the medical literature, he has recently published “Artificial Hydration and Nutrition: Revisiting the Dorff and Reisner Teshuvot” in Conservative Judaism, “Tradition, Obligation, and Healthcare” published in Shema, and “Bioethics and the Jewish Narrative Tradition” in Midrash and Medicine.  He is the author of “Organ Donation after Cardiac Death,” a responsum of the Committee for Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly of Conservative Judaism.  Rabbi Sharzer is currently working on a responsum for the Law Committee on Transgender and Transsexual People and a book, Personal Narrative in Jewish Bioethics.

 

 


THE ORIGINS OF JUDAISM: SECTARIANS, SOLDIERS AND SCHOLARS IN SECOND TEMPLE JUDAISM

TAUGHT BY DR. ALEX JASSEN

8 Tuesday evenings, 7:15-8:45PM

January 20,  February 3, 10, 17, 24 and March 3, 10 and 17

Fee: $250 for T & V members, $300 for non-members

 

Have you ever wondered why Judaism of today looks so different than the world of ancient Israel found in the Bible? Join professor Alex Jassen on a journey as we retrace the steps of Judaism’s origins from the Babylonian exile (586 BCE) through the rise of rabbinic Judaism in the first century CE. On this tour through Second Temple period Judaism, we will encounter a remarkable cast of characters whose actions shaped Judaism and laid the foundations for two dramatic transformations at the end of the first century: the beginnings of rabbinic Judaism and the origins of Christianity. We will meet sectarians such as the Jews of Elephantine, Samaritans, Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, the early followers of Jesus, and the first rabbis. We will see how soldiers such as the Maccabean rebels and the Hasmonean kings and queens, Herod and Roman rulers, and the revolutionaries against Rome shaped Jewish history. We will explore the deep imprint left on Judaism by scholars, from Ezra and Nehemiah to the anonymous scribes who crafted the vast literature of Second Temple Judaism to the early rabbis.

Syllabus and reading list available on request.

 

Alex P. Jassen is Associate Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. Professor Jassen is a popular and in-demand public lecturer. He has taught widely throughout the United States at synagogues, churches, museums, and community centers. He is the author of Mediating the Divine: Prophecy and Revelation in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Second Temple Judaism (Brill, 2007) and Scripture and Law in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Cambridge University Press, 2014). His scholarship has won numerous awards including the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise and the National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship. Professor Jassen served as academic advisor for The Dead Sea Scrolls: Words that Changed the World exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

 


TOMER DEVORAH

TAUGHT BY BRONWEN MULLIN, RABBINIC INTERN

8 Wednesday nights, 7-8:30PM
Jan 21, 28, Feb 4, 11, 18, 25, March 11 and 18
Free for T & V members, $200 for non-members

Tomar Devorah, written by Moses Cordovero in the 16th century, is a rare text which attempts to fuse the Kabbalistic tradition of the Divine Attributes (the Sefirot) with the Mussar tradition of ethical introspection into one’s middot (personal values) into a practice of mindful spirituality which brings the practitioner into a more meaningful engagement with every aspect of Jewish life and interaction with the world at large. In this class, we will examine this unique text, including its body and movement-based practice, also in a comparative lens with non-Western traditions including the Chakra systems and the Feldenkrais Method. The Kabbalists and Mussarists kept journals describing their experiences. Class participants will be encouraged to follow in this tradition through weekly journal assignments. This class will be taught with sources in the original and in translation.

Bronwen Mullin is a playwright, composer, educator and rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. She earned her B.A. at Sarah Lawrence College (2006) in Theater and Religious Studies and was an Arts Fellow from 2008-2011 in Musical Theater Composition at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education. Bronwen is the co-founder of MetaPhys-Ed, a gymnasium for the multi-media exegesis of Jewish texts with performance artist/director Jesse Freedman.

SOME ISSUES CONCERNING MESSIANISM

TAUGHT BY RICHARD CLAMAN

3 Saturday afternoons after Kiddush

February 7 and 21, March 7

 

How do past Jewish ‘visions of the future’ – Biblical/Post-Biblical, Rabbinic/Medieval, and Zionist fit into our modern Jewish theologies?

Each session is independent of the others. Background readings sent out on the list-serve in advance; and study-texts (in English) will be handed-out at each session.

 

Richard Claman, his wife (Beth Clark) and their two children have been members of T&V for 24 years. Richard has taught a new series Adult Ed lectures at T&V for each of the past 17 years; and portions of these talks have been published over the years as several articles in Conservative Judaism.

 



THE WHAT, HOW AND WHY OF THE JEWISH PRAYERBOOK

TAUGHT BY RABBI SEBERT

TUESDAYS, 7:15-8:45 PM

November 4, 11 and 18, December 2, 9 and 16
Fee: Free for members, $150 for non-members
As Jews, we spend many hours with the siddur — the Jewish Prayerbook.  This course invites you on a journey of exploration to deepen our understanding of this critical Jewish guidebook.  During the class we will begin with an overview of Jewish prayer and then walk our way through the siddur to discover its deeper meaning.  Following a course designed by Rabbi Reuven Kimelman, Professor of Classical Rabbinics at Brandeis University, we will ask three questions; WHAT does the Jewish Prayerbook say, HOW is it said and WHY is it said.  During the first three session we will focus on the introductory sections of Jewish prayer and progress in the second half to a careful examination of the core Jewish prayer – Sh’ma Yisrael – Hear o’ Israel, Adonai is our God, Adonai alone.

Rabbi Laurence A. Sebert has been the spiritual leader at Town & Village Synagogue for 23 years. Under his leadership, the congregation created a new program for its seniors, established a vibrant 20s and 30s community, welcomed interfaith families and started Gei’im ba-Village for its LGBT members. He has established a partnership between the synagogue and The Center for Conversion to Judaism and loves to mentor the many Jews by Choice. Rabbi Sebert has taken a leadership role with Local Faith Communities, an East Village clergy group and has fostered synagogue involvement in community organizing with Manhattan Together and IAF. He is proud of his role in helping establish the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan and was honored to have served on the editorial board for Mahzor Lev Shalem. Rabbi Sebert has been an adjunct faculty member at JTS and serves as a mentor for JTS rabbinical students.

 


CRITICAL MOMENTS IN AMERICAN JEWISH HISTORY

TAUGHT BY DR. ELI FABER

8 Tuesday evenings, 7:15-8:45

October 7, 14, 21, 28, November 4, 11, 18 and 25

Fee: $250 for T & V members, $300 for non-members

This class will  survey American Jewish history from 1820 to the present.  Rather than the usual chronological survey, major issues and trends in the American Jewish experience will be scrutinized through the prism of eight critical events.  Many of them are little known, such as Jesse Seligman’s meeting with presidential- candidate Ulysses S. Grant in 1868.  Others are more familiar, as, for example, the lynching of Leo Frank.  Some will focus on the evolution of American Jewish religious diversity, such as the assault on Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise in his pulpit in Albany on Rosh Hashana in 1850, and the Bobover Rebbe’s arrival in the United States in the wake of World War Two. Each selected moment will be examined for the causes and events that led to it and for the impact that it had on the evolution of the American Jewish community. Suggested readings will be drawn from both original sources and historical studies.

Eli Faber earned his Ph.D. in History at Columbia University and is Professor Emeritus of History at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (The City University of New York).  He is the author of A Time for Planting: The First Migration, which is the first volume in a five-volume series entitled The Jewish People in America (Johns Hopkins University Press); and of Jews, Slaves, and the Slave Trade: Setting the Record Straight (New York University Press).He is also a contributor of chapters in a variety of works devoted to the history of the Jewish people in America.  He has served as editor of American Jewish History, published by the American Jewish Historical Society.

 

 


HAFTAROT OF THE HIGH HOLIDAYS

C0-TAUGHT BY RABBI LARRY SEBERT AND DR. SHARON KELLER

MONDAYS 7:00- 8:30PM

September 15, 22 and 29

FEE: Free for T & V members, $50 for non-members

 

September 15                                    Haftarah for the 1st Day of Rosh Hashanah:  1 Samuel 1:1-2:10

September 22                                  Haftarah for the 2nd Day of Rosh Hashanah: Jeremiah 31:2-20

September 29                                    Haftarah for Yom Kipper Morning: Isaiah 57:14-58:14

The Haftarot of the High Holidays are magnificent. But, since Torah is our major focus as Jews, we don’t always pay as much attention to the Haftarah.  This is especially true on the High Holidays because the story of Isaac’s birth is miraculous and the story of the Akedah, the binding of Isaac, is so dramatic and troubling. Still, the Haftarot of the High Holidays are worthy of our attention.

Join Rabbi Sebert and Dr. Sharon Keller for a close look at the story of Samuel’s birth to the formerly barren Hannah, Jeremiah’s description of God’s enduring love for his chosen people, and Isaiah’s exhortation to “make peace” with God by repenting sincerely. The class will investigate the texts from a number of different angles, from the traditional rabbinic perspective to the scholarly approaches of modernity.

THESE CLASSES ARE STAND ALONES. COME TO ANY ONE OR TWO OR ALL THREE.

 

Rabbi Laurence A. Sebert has been the spiritual leader at Town & Village Synagogue for 23 years. Under his leadership, the congregation created a new program for its seniors, established a vibrant 20s and 30s community, welcomed interfaith families and started Gei’im ba-Village for its LGBT members. He has established a partnership between the synagogue and The Center for Conversion to Judaism and loves to mentor the many Jews by Choice. Rabbi Sebert has taken a leadership role with Local Faith Communities, an East Village clergy group and has fostered synagogue involvement in community organizing with Manhattan Together and IAF. He is proud of his role in helping establish the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan and was honored to have served on the editorial board for Mahzor Lev Shalem. Rabbi Sebert has been an adjunct faculty member at JTS and serves as a mentor for JTS rabbinical students.

Sharon Keller, a popular teacher at T & V and in the Tri-State area, earned her doctorate at NYU in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies in the area of Bible and the Ancient Near East.  Prior to that, she earned Masters degrees in Hebrew Education (NYU), Jewish Communal Service (JTS), and Social Work (Columbia).  Dr. Keller is currently on the faculty at Hofstra University, and has held faculty positions at HUC, JTS, NYU among others, and has written numerous articles and edited several academic books, most of which relate to the interplay between biblical Israel and ancient Egypt. Her most popular book, Jews: A Treasury of Art and Literature, was awarded the National Jewish Book Award.

 


CONTINUING OUR JEWISH JOURNEY (TOWARD BAR/BAT MITZVAH): A TWO-YEAR ADVENTURE

TAUGHT BY RABBI LARRY SEBERT, CANTOR SHAYNA POSTMAN,  CAROL GREEN AND OTHERS

Fee: T & V members, a contribution to the Rabbi’s Tzedakah Fund
Non-members, $500 per year
Some book purchases will be required

2013-2014: Tuesday evenings, 6:45PM- 9PM

Semester 1
10/8, 10/15, 10/22, 10/29, 11/5, 11/12, 11/19

Semester 2
12/3, 12/10, 12/17, 1/14, 1/21, 1/28, 2/4, 2/11

Semester 3
3/4, 3/11, 3/18, 3/25, 4/1, 4/29, 5/6, 5/13, 5/20, 5/27

If you would like to deepen your personal Jewish commitments join our Jewish Journey class, which will culminate in a communal (adult Bat/Bar Mitzvah) celebration. Together, through study, we will strive to deepen our connection to Judaism. Our learning will begin with the concept of mitzvah. Over two years, we will become better acquainted with our sacred texts and important prayers. We will orient ourselves to the Jewish calendar, find guidance in the cycle of life rituals and begin to fathom the scope of Jewish history. We will also connect to the broader Jewish world by making a commitment to learn more Hebrew.

This is a two-year program which began in the Fall of 2012 and will continue through the Spring of 2014.  The 2013/2014 year will address Shabbat, the annual cycle of holy days and holidays, the important theological concepts that are the underpinnings of our rituals and holidays, and Jewish history. Hebrew will be studied throughout both years at an appropriate level for each student. In the second year, everyone will be introduced to Torah and Haftarah trope (cantillation). The decision about whether to culminate one’s learning with participation in a group or individual Bar/Bat Mitzvah is an individual one. If you did not participate in Year One it is possible to join in Year 2, please speak with Rabbi Sebert.

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

 

PARALLELS BETWEEN THE NEW TESTAMENT AND RABBINIC LITERATURE

TAUGHT BY RABBI NOAH BICKART

8 Tuesday evenings, 7:15-8:45PM

January 28, Feb 11 and 25, March 4, 11, 18 and 25, April 1

Cost: $250 for T & V members, $300 for non-members

Much of the material contained within the books which constitute the collections of material known as the “New Testament” and “Talmudic Literature” were first conceived in the same time and place (e.g. 2nd and 3rd century Roman Palestine). However,  they are usually seen as the exclusive possessions of the Christian and Jewish communities which continue to rely on them as foundational religion documents. In this course, we will examine a series of parallel texts from these collections with explicit aim of breaking down preconceptions of how these books were read in their original context and how they might be used today.

Rabbi Noah Bickart was born and raised in Washington D.C. He attended the University of Chicago where he majored in English Literature and booked rock and roll bands to liven up a notoriously serious bunch of students. He went on to study Bible and Talmud at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem, before receiving a Masters Degree in Hebrew Bible from the Harvard Divinity School in 2003. He was ordained at Jewish Theological Seminary in 2008 and he remains at JTS, working on a PhD in the department of Talmud and rabbinics. He and his wife Nadia Kahn along with their children Meir (6) and Rina (3) have returned to New York after a wonderful year in Jerusalem.

 


SYMBOLISM IN THE ZOHAR AND OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE DIVINE
TAUGHT BY MARCUS RUBENSTEIN

4 Wednesday evenings, 7:00- 8:30PM
July 9, 16, 23 and 30
Fee: $85 for T & V members, $125 non-members, $50 for 20s and 30s group

In this four session-course, we will learn the code language that is used to decipher the major text of Jewish Mysticism, the Zohar. The symbolic language and paradigms in the Zohar can help us to connect to the Holy in new and often re-invigorating ways. After learning the basics and the key to this code language, we will delve deeply into representative Zohar passages that can illuminate ways in which God and Torah can heighten the meaning of our everyday lives. This class will open up the Kabbalistic world of Jewish thought for further study to those who wish to engage even more deeply. We will look at topics such as prayer, the essence of Torah study and man’s relationship to God through the lens of the Zohar’s legendary sages. All levels of Hebrew comprehension (including none) are welcome. All texts will be available in English.

Marcus Rubenstein was born and raised on Long Island. From an early age he knew that Torah study was his passion and that becoming a Rabbi would be his chosen career.  Marcus graduated from George Washington University in 2009 with a major in Religion and a minor in jazz music. He then entered Hebrew Union College Rabbinical School and studied in New York and Israel for two years. Since 2011 Marcus has been continuing his learning at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in California and Jerusalem, with a major in Jewish Mysticism. He is currently researching a section of the Zohar, entitled the Tikunei HaZohar. As part of his rabbinic training Marcus spent last year at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Marcus has studied with some of the major kabbalah scholars in Israel including Melila Hellner-Eshed, Menachem Kallus and Avraham Leader.  He will be a rabbinic intern at Congregation Adat Ari El in Los Angeles starting this September, as he completes his thesis and prepares for ordination in May 2015.


TOWN & VILLAGE READS: MY PROMISED LAND BY ARI SHAVIT

As a community wide project to more deeply engage us with today’s Israel, T&V members will be reading the new, highly acclaimed, MY PROMISED LAND by Ari Shavit.  We will look at several of the chapters in depth at three, Shabbat afternoon discussion groups.  We are hopeful that our project will culminate with a visit to T&V by the author Ari Shavit sometime in late spring.

SHABBAT DISCUSSSIONS ON:

February 8, 2014

March 1, 2014 AND

April 5, 2014

March 1st and April 5th discussions will be moderated by Michael A. Salberg, ADL Associate National Director and Director of International Affairs.

Several copies of the book are available to borrow for up to 2 weeks from the T & V office.

 


LITURGY: BETWEEN THE DETAILS AND THE DEITY

TAUGHT BY RICHARD CLAMAN

3 Saturday afternoons after Kiddush

January 11, February 1 and 22

In this class we will review, drawing upon some recent scholarly analyses, the development, during the Second Temple and Rabbinic periods, of certain prayer-types (e.g., penitential prayers), and of certain pervasive themes/metaphors (e.g., God as King), focusing on their theological premises.  And we will consider whether/how the foregoing might affect our liturgy today (or perhaps tomorrow).

Background readings will be posted on-line in advance; and specific texts will be handed-out at each session, all in English. Each session will stand on its own.

Richard Claman, his wife (Beth Clark) and their two children have been members of T&V for 24 years. Richard has taught a new series Adult Ed lectures at T&V for each of the past 17 years; and portions of these talks have been published over the years as several articles in Conservative Judaism.

 


JOSEPH  IN THE BIBLE AND BEYOND

TAUGHT BY DR. SHARON KELLER

4 Thursday afternoons, 1:30-3PM

October 3, 10, 17, and 24

Fee $85 members, $125 non-members

The Joseph Cycle is integral to the formation of the Nation of Israel; it is sui generis in Genesis in that its narrative forms a complete story with a discrete beginning, middle, and end.  The story is replete with Egyptian images and motifs but also incorporates other Ancient Near Eastern details.  All in all, it is a story that shows the complexity of the biblical text.  This four-week class will look at the Joseph Cycle in its biblical context and will also explore some of the narrative details and see how it all fits in the ancient world.  In addition, we will look at some parallel stories in Ancient Egyptian and Classical Greek literature.

Sharon Keller, a popular teacher at T & V, earned her doctorate at NYU in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies in the area of Bible and the Ancient Near East.  Prior to that, she earned Masters degrees in Hebrew Education (NYU), Jewish Communal Service (JTS), and Social Work (Columbia).  Dr. Keller held teaching positions at HUC, JTS, NYU among others, and has written numerous articles and edited several academic books, most of which relate to the interplay between biblical Israel and ancient Egypt. Her most popular book, Jews: A Treasury of Art and Literature, was awarded the National Jewish Book Award.

 


PIONEERS ON NEW FRONTIERS: THE JEWISH PEOPLE IN EARLY AMERICA, 1654-1820

TAUGHT BY DR. ELI FABER

6 Tuesday evenings, 7:15-8:45

October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and November 5

Fee: $175 members, $225 non-members

We will survey the course of American Jewish history from its alleged beginnings in 1654 on Manhattan Island and continue until 1820, which is usually regarded as the end of the first era of the history of the Jews in the United States and the beginning of a new one.  Our coverage of this long period, one that combines the Colonial and the Early National periods of American history, will examine the five communities the Jews of early America established, the connections, both Jewish and non-Jewish, which they constructed within the larger Atlantic world, and the daring steps they took to win civic recognition and equality.  New York City will receive special consideration, for it was there that most Jews settled—until the 1790s, when Charleston, South Carolina, forged ahead of New York as the city with the greatest number of Jewish inhabitants in America.

Syllabus and Reading List available upon request from nina.lehman@gmail.com

Eli Faber earned his Ph.D. in History at Columbia University and is Professor Emeritus of History at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (The City University of New York).  He is the author of A Time for Planting: The First Migration, which is the first volume in a five-volume series entitled The Jewish People in America (Johns Hopkins University Press); and of Jews, Slaves, and the Slave Trade: Setting the Record Straight (New York University Press). He is also a contributor of chapters in a variety of works devoted to the history of the Jewish people in America.  He has served as editor of American Jewish History, published by the American Jewish Historical Society.

 


REWRITING THE MIDDLE AGES: THE CAIRO GENIZA AND ITS IMPACT

TAUGHT BY DR. ARNOLD FRANKLIN

4 Wednesday evenings, 7-8:30 PM

July 24, July 31, Aug 7 and Aug 14

Fee for T & V members, $85; non-members $125

This course will focus on materials from the Cairo Geniza, a remarkable trove of medieval Jewish manuscripts that came to light at the end of the nineteenth century. Altogether, a staggering 300,000 texts accumulated in the Geniza. Among these, scholars found hundreds of new texts, including previously unknown halakhic works, liturgical compositions and literary masterpieces.  They also discovered thousands of letters and documents that illuminate the daily lives of ordinary Jews, the “voiceless masses” about whom we typically know so little. Through a consideration of texts both sublime and mundane we will explore how the Geniza has transformed our understanding of the past, overturning in some cases long-held assumptions about Jewish society in the Middle Ages.

 


DETECTING JEWS

TAUGHT BY JANE PAZNIK-BONDARIN

5 Tuesday evenings, 7:15-8:45 PM

April 29, May 13 and 27, June 10 and 24 (alternate weeks)

Cost: $135 for T & V members, $185 for non-members

Good to read at the beach or on a plane, detective fiction is “light reading.” We read it to relax, to guess whodunit, and to enter a vicariously dangerous world in which right nearly always triumphs. Because it is genre fiction, not to be taken too seriously, detective fiction can sneak up on you; it has a unique ability to explore and comment on the society in which we live. What about the detectives in these novels? Raymond Chandler defined the modern hard-boiled detective as a man who walks down mean streets but is “neither tarnished nor afraid….He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.”  How is Chandler’s definition explored and defined anew when the detective is also Jewish?

We will read a variety of Jewish detectives in American and international fiction, from just before the beginning 20th century into the 21st century, focusing on the questions of the image of the Jew in popular fiction and what it means for us as readers and Jews. Reading list will be finalized shortly.

Jane Paznik-Bondarin retired after thirty-four years of teaching writing and literature at Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY). For many of those years, she taught a course in “The Art of the Detective Novel” and taught generations of students to write original mysteries. Post retirement, she taught high school teachers at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School how to use technology in the classroom and now manages the school’s website. She writes narrative non-fiction and some fiction. She maintains that she reads detective fiction to “keep her hand in the field,” but the truth is, she loves it.

 


INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW TESTAMENT

TAUGHT BY DR. MICHAEL PEPPARD

9 Monday evenings, 7:00 – 8:30PM

October 15, 22 and 29, November 5, 12 and 26, December 3, 10 and 17

Fee: $275 for T & V members, $325 for non-members

In this course we will study the origins of Christianity by analyzing its most important literature, now known as the New Testament, in historical context Theological themes–such as the doctrine of God, beliefs about the person of Jesus, sin and salvation–will often occupy our attention, but they are not our only concerns. We will also explore issues of social history, contemporary interpretive struggles. religious identity formation, Jewish-Christian relations, gender and sexuality and political power. Some familiarity with assigned readings will be presumed; each class meeting will supplement and expand on those readings. Syllabus available upon request. Required text is The Jewish Annotated New Testament edited by Levine and Brettler (OUP 2011).

Michael Peppard is Assistant Professor of Theology at Fordham University. His Ph.D. in Religious Studies is from Yale University, with prior degrees from Yale Divinity School (including the Institute of Sacred Music) and the University of Notre Dame. His areas of research and teaching include New Testament studies, Judaism and Christianity in late antiquity, Greco-Roman religions, ancient liturgy and ritual, the reception history of the Bible, religion and politics, and interreligious relations. His first book, The Son of God in the Roman World: Divine Sonship in its Social and Political Context, is published by Oxford University Press. Articles and essays have appeared in journals such as New Testament Studies, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations, Judaism, and Commonweal.  He is currently writing a book about the artistic remains from the earliest Christian house-church and baptistery.

 


INTRODUCTION TO TANAKH

TAUGHT BY DR. SHARON KELLER

9 Tuesday evenings,  7:15-8:45PM

January 15, 22, 29, February 5, 12, 26, March 5, 12, 19

Fee $275 members, $325 non-members

This class is designed as a general introduction to the TaNaKh (Hebrew Bible) viewed through the lens of modern biblical criticism.  We will analyze the biblical text in its component parts as well as a completed document.  We will use the historic framework as presented in the text as the foundation for our discussions of the methodologies of approach and of the different literary genres that make up this ancient text.

Most assigned readings will be taken from these two books, both of which are easily available.

The Jewish Study Bible (Oxford University Press)

The Etz Hayim Chumash (JPS)

Sharon Keller, a popular teacher at T & V, earned her doctorate at NYU in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies in the area of Bible and the Ancient Near East.  Prior to that, she earned Masters degrees in Hebrew Education (NYU), Jewish Communal Service (JTS), and Social Work (Columbia).  Dr. Keller held teaching positions at HUC, JTS, NYU among others, and has written numerous articles and edited several academic books, most of which relate to the interplay between biblical Israel and ancient Egypt. Her most popular book, Jews: A Treasury of Art and Literature, was awarded the National Jewish Book Award.

 


AT THE ORIGINS OF ISLAM

TAUGHT BY DR. ARNOLD FRANKLIN

3 Monday evenings, 7-8:30 PM

March 4, 11 and 18
Fee: $75 for T & V members, $100 for non-members

Between the years 600 C.E. and 750 C.E. the Near East was dramatically transformed by the emergence and consolidation of Islam. We will explore this formative century and a half by paying close attention to the political and historical context in which the new religious tradition developed. Special attention will be given to the evolution of a distinctive Islamic identity during the period in question. We will be using Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam by Fred Donner as a major text, reading about 2 chapters a week, in additional to some supplemental materials.

Arnold Franklin teaches in the History department at Queens College. His research focuses on Jewish society in the medieval Islamic world and he is the author of This Noble House: Jewish Descendants of King David in the Medieval Islamic East (University of Pennsylvania, 2012).

 


INTRODUCTION TO QURAN

TAUGHT BY  DR. HUSSEIN RASHID

8 Tuesday evenings, 7-8:30PM

April 9, 16, 30, May 7 and 28, June 4, 11 and 18

Fee: $250 members, $300 non-members

The Qur’an is the foundational text of the religion of Islam, believed by Muslims to be the revealed the word of God. Muslim tradition holds that it was dictated to Muhammad, by the Angel Gabriel, over a period of 23 years. The Qur’an is non-linear in its structure, so we will examine the text thematically.  In addition, there are many references to the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament in the text. After a brief introduction to the origins of the text and Muslim approaches to the Qur’an, we will cover themes of authority, Biblical stories, gender, and jihad. There are numerous translations of the Qur’an. Students should select the translation from among those of Muhammad Asad, Ali Quli Qara’i, Ahmed Ali, Muhammad Abdel-Haleem or Yusuf Ali whose format and style they find the easiest to read.

Hussein Rashid graduated with a BA from Columbia College of Columbia University, and then attended the Harvard Divinity School, where he completed a Masters in Theological Studies. He then received an MA and PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from Harvard University. His dissertation focused on the role of music as a means of integration amongst South Asian immigrants to the US and the UK. His larger research interest is the representation and self-representation of Muslims in America. Dr. Rashid’s theology background has led him to work with various faith communities to build on commonalities by taking differences seriously. He has taught at Virginia Theological Seminary,the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Quest: A Center for Spiritual Inquiry, currently based at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. He has lectured at Central Synagogue, Park Avenue Synagogue, All Souls and St. Bart’s. He is a 2010 Ariane de Rothschild Fellow in Cross Cultural Networking and Social Entrepreneurship, a training program involving Columbia Business School, Cambridge University, and ESSEC(École Supérieure des Sciences Économiques et Commerciales).

Syllabus and links to suggested translations available upon request.