B'nai Sholom

Reform Congregation

Albany, NY

Yom Shlishi, 7 Shevat 5778

B'nai Sholom Adult Education Winter/Spring 2018 Programs

Click here for Adult Education Course Registration Form

iEngage:  Israel’s Milestones and Their Meanings

Rabbi Cashman

8 Monday evenings, March 26-May 1; 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

$54; $40 discounted fee for BSRC members.


Join us for this special series of videos/lectures/discussions assembled by faculty at Israel’s Hartman Institute.

Memory is a central element in defining modern Jewish identity.  As we look to Israel's future, we need to engage anew with our past and explore its meanings and consequences.  Through the consideration of major historic moments, this iEngage Project series grapples with the different ideas and values that shape the meaning of modern Israel, Zionism, and Jewish identity today.

This innovative new course explores the pivotal events of 1947 and 1967 - following the 1917 Balfour Declaration - as key moments when Zionism unleashed new thinking about the meaning of Jewishness for generations to come.  The course engages Jews in an open and pluralistic discussion about issues of Jewish identity, peoplehood, ethics, and theology, as they relate to nationhood, land, sovereignty, Jerusalem, occupation, and moral red lines.

Each session in this eight-unit course includes a 20-35 minute video lecture and a 20-30 minute roundtable video discussion with senior Hartman faculty, as well as primary sources and background readings.


Rabbi Cashman will facilitate.  The central themes of each of the 8 units are:

Unit 1: 1917 - The Balfour Declaration: The Idea of a Homeland for the Jewish People

Unit 2: 1947 - The United Nations Partition Plan: The Jews in the World

Unit 3: 1967 - The Six Day War: Power, Land and God

Unit 4: Judea and Samaria: Occupation or Liberation

Unit 5: One State, Two States:  Moral Red Lines

Unit 6: Jerusalem of God, Prayer and Peoplehood

Unit 7: Jerusalem of Responsibility, Loss, and Hope

Unit 8: The Jubilee Year and Beyond:  Milestones and their Meanings


The course fee includes the sourcebook with primary sources and background readings.  In order to have the book in time for the first class, please register by March 12.


Siblings: Second Temple Judaism and the Development of Early Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism

Steven Stark-Riemer

6 Thursday evenings

April 12- May 24 (no class May 17); 7:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

$48; $36 discounted fee for BSRC members

This is the sequel to the course taught in the fall.  It will explore how Second Temple Judaism and would give birth to Early Christianity and its somewhat younger sibling, Rabbinic Judaism, examining the roots of both and early development.

An attorney by profession Steven Stark Riemer studied anthropology and archeology at the City College of New York and conducted fieldwork in Israel at the Tel Gezer excavations.  He continues to pursue his interest in the archeology, history and religion of the Ancient Near East.

Click here for Adult Education Course Registration Form

Torah Study

Saturday Mornings, 9:30 - 11 a.m.

Extended Text Study one Saturday of each month, 9:30 a.m. - Noon

At Torah Study, we read translations and various commentaries in English, and discuss the meaning of the weekly Torah portion. 

On Extended Study days, we’ve been working our way through the Tanakh with Rabbi Cashman.  Currently we’re examining the book of Ecclesiastes, which provides rich material for discussion.   Our Extended Study is powered by coffee, bagels, and an assortment of other delicious breakfast food.

These sessions are open to all on a drop-in, occasional, or regular basis.  BYOB – Bring your own Bible, but we’ve got extras.  No previous knowledge necessary!  Share what you know!

Movie Nights

February 17, 2018 -- Rosenwald

This documentary features the life of  Julius Rosenwald, the son of an immigrant peddler who never finished high school, who rose to become the President of Sears, joined forces with African American communities to build 5,300 schools, providing 660,000 black children with access to education in the segregated American South. Inspired by the Jewish ideals of tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam (repairing the world) and a deep concern over racial inequality in America, Julius Rosenwald used his wealth to become one of America's most effective philanthropists

March 24, 2018 -- The Last Mentsch

Having spent a lifetime concealing his heritage, an aging German Holocaust survivor finally tries to come to terms with his past.  The hardened old man has done such an effective job of creating a new identity that, when faced with his own mortality, the rabbis refuse his about-face appeal to be buried in a Jewish cemetery in Cologne.  Determined to return to his birthplace and establish his ancestry, he enlists the help of a brash, chain-smoking Turkish woman with a troubled history of her own.  The unlikely duo sets out on a road trip to a small village on the Hungarian-Romanian border, a journey that will irrevocably change them both.


Synagogue Scholar Series -- Save the Dates

Our series of talks by scholars from the congregation and beyond are presented following the Friday night worship service.

January 12, 2018 – Professor Harvey Strum – The Impact of World War I on Jews of the Capital District”

February 9, 2018 – Professor Martha Rozett –  A Book Discussion: “Their Promised Land: My Parents in Love and War” by Ian Buruma

  • Diversity of Ancient Israel
  • Ethan Bloch Lecture - Jan 17, 2013
  • Sacred Text Study
  • Sacred Text Study
  • Robert L Cohen Music Lecture May 1, 2014
  • Archeology and History of Ancient Israel