Adult Education


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At B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation we believe that Jewish learning is a lifetime project.  Judaism offers a wealth of rich, deep, sophisticated ideas that are most useful for adults.  Adults make decisions about raising children, choosing careers, medical care for themselves and loved ones, where to live and whom to love.  Adults need the guidance of a religious system to help them through this maze of serious choices.  Adults also experience fully the deep sorrow of loss and the great joy of true love.  Jewish tradition can guide adults through these emotional highs and lows.

Adult learning at B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation equips our lifelong learners to face the complexity of their lives armed with Jewish knowledge.  Whether taking a Judaism course, current events, or an archeology course, our learners come away from the experience with a greater appreciation of Judaism’s profound depths, and a greater understanding of how to lead an inspired life.

Please join us at any one of our course offerings this year.  Membership is not required, and many of the classes have a nominal charge, suggested donation, or are free!

Other Jewish Adult Education opportunities:


All are Invited
We welcome everyone, Jewish or not, member or not, to attend our classes and programs.  Please join us!

Enrollment and Cancellation Policies:

  • Some classes and programs have limited enrollments.
  • Register early to avoid disappointment.
  • If enrollment is too low, an event or class may be canceled.
  • To be notified of schedule changes or cancellations, you must be preregistered.

B’nai Sholom Adult Education Winter/Spring 2019 Programs

Click here for Adult Education Course Registration Form

Haftarah Trope: Chanting the Prophets

With Rabbi Don Cashman

6 Sundays, 10:30-11:30 am, January 20, 27; February 3, 10, 17, 24

$60, includes book with CD; Reduced fee for B’nai Sholom members $40

Registration deadline for timely arrival of book: January 7

Want to chant the haftarah? It’s not that difficult!

Most of the books of the Bible use a system of accent marks (trope) that act in three ways: as markers of syllabic stress, as punctuation, and as music notation. While the system is consistent, the music varies. The Torah is read with one set of melodies, the Prophets use another.

We’re looking to train some haftarah readers to highlight the important teachings of the Prophets. In most Ashkenazic synagogues, the haftarah is read from a printed book with the vowels and trope marks present, as opposed to the Torah scroll, which has neither.

About 90% of all haftarah is based on 3 melodic phrases and their permutations. We will learn those three, and the marks for the other 10% as well.

Prerequisite 1: Ability to decode (“read”) Hebrew, i.e. knowledge of Hebrew letters and vowels and the ability to put them together into words.

Prerequisite 2: Ability to carry a tune.

Helpful, but not required: Ability to read music.

Rabbi Don Cashman learned biblical cantillation at the School of Sacred Music at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York and has shepherded several hundred students through their haftarah for Bar and Bat Mitzvah since 1983.

Song is the Pen of the Soul: The Functions and Artistic Tools of Lubavitcher Niggunim.

Tuesday nights, March 5 through March 26; 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.

Taught by Joshua Sussman, trained musicologist and accomplished violist fluent in the ways and lore of Hasidism.

Fee: $20 members; $25 non-members

This course will explain the history and purpose of the niggun, vocal music based on repetitive sounds, some fast and some slow, and both with and without words. We will discuss how the authors of Hasidic song in some cases borrowed techniques from classic contemporaries like Liszt and Handel and examine as well the special niggunim sung during Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot. The course will also delve into the Hasidic lore behind the melodies and share the purpose and power inherent in this musical form.

 Archeology and History of Ancient Israel

Thursday mornings, April 11 through May 30; 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

Fee: $36 members; $54 non-members

Taught by Steve Stark-Riemer, noted local lecturer on archeology, history and religion of the Ancient Near East.

This course will summarize the development of biblical archeology and the consider the geographic and historical contexts in which Ancient Israel was situated. It will also review the archeology of the Egyptian descent and Exodus as well as the Wilderness Wandering and the emergence of Early Israel as a People. The course concludes considering the united Monarchy of David and Solomon through the Babylonian conquest and destruction of the First Temple.

Click here for Adult Education Course Registration Form

Torah Study

Studying Vayeitzei

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 Daniel, 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!


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

JANUARY 11 -- Martha Rozett will lead a discussion of Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman.  This historical novel combines interlocking episodes from three times and places: 2013 in America and Hungary; 1945-1946 in an American Army camp in Salzburg; and 1913 in Vienna, where a sexually obsessed Freudian analyst gives the novel a satirical edge.  It was inspired by the true history of the Hungarian Gold Train.  The novel contains two love stories, a multi-faceted quest that involves a large cast of characters, a perspective on the plight of European Jews after the end of the Second World War, and a depiction of the shady trade in art objects stolen by the Nazis.




MARCH 9 — “1945” On a summer day in 1945, two Orthodox Jews return to a village in Hungary and the townspeople – suspicious, remorseful, fearful, and cunning – expect the worst and behave accordingly. The town clerk fears the men may be heirs of the village’s deported Jews and expects them to demand their illegally acquired property back.

The movie paints a complex picture of a society trying to come to terms with the recent horrors they’ve experienced, perpetrated, or just tolerated for personal gain. A superb ensemble cast, lustrous black and white cinematography, and historically detailed art direction contribute to an eloquent drama.

After the film, a discussion will be led by Ivan Vamos, a Holocaust survivor, who was born in Budapest in 1938. He and his mother managed to survive by, among other things, hiding in abandoned buildings in Budapest. After liberation in late 1945 and in 1946 they went to Slovakia to try to get on the Czechoslovak quota for emigration to the US. He recollects being the only surviving Jewish child living in small rural communities at the edge of Trenava and Levice in Slovakia. Ivan’s experiences during the war and in the years immediately afterwards give him a unique perspective that will help illuminate the themes of the film.

Adult Education Pictures

  • Bible Study 1

    Bible Study 1