5777 ♦ 2016-2017 Adult Education Classes
Monthly Shabbat Study – An Introduction to Islam
Rabbi’s Monthly Sunday Nosh & Schmooze
Nuts & Bolts and Beyond: A (Re) Introduction to Judaism
Faculty: Rabbi Avi Winokur
Location: Beit Midrash (2nd floor Pre-K classroom)
Fee:$250 Members/$300 Non-Members
Sign up now for Rabbi Winokur’s acclaimed 9-month class that provides an in- depth (re) introduction to Judaism. Class topics include an overview of Jewish rituals and customs, holiday celebrations, and historical events.
Whether you received a 3-days/week and junior congregation Jewish education or you are not Jewish but are interested in learning about Judaism, this is the course for you! This informative course is ideal for Jews who have not had a formal Jewish education, Jews who are looking to reconnect with their Jewish roots, anyone who is interested in learning more about basic Judaism, couples in mixed- faith relationships, and individuals who are exploring conversion. Class discussions will focus on the foundations of Judaism and will motivate participants to think about prayer, God, and Scripture from the perspective of an adult who is looking for a way in-–without leaving his or her modern, scientific, and critical mind outside.
Reviews from previous students who have taken this class:
“Though I have been a practicing Jew all my life, and went through Hebrew School and Gratz College, the Nuts & Bolts class gave me valuable and inspiring new insights into Jewish practice and theology.”
“This class helped me feel comfortable in services for the first time in my life. I learned the basics of Judaism, beyond which days to take off from work and what foods I could and could not eat.”
“First and foremost, Rabbi Winokur himself provided the energy, the openness, the sense of inquiry, and the mind- expanding approach to the material and the essentials of Judaism. The very notion that the course was remedial to repair narrow and often erroneous concepts some of us acquired long ago was refreshing and exciting. The reading materials and foci were excellent. Equally, my fellow students were varied in age and knowledge, but all were inquisitive and highly motivated. Indeed, it was student comments and the dialogues that make the class come alive. Five stars (6 pointed of course) for this class.”
“Rabbi Winokur’s real-life interpretations of traditions, beliefs, and cultural aspects of Judaism helped make sense of it all and drove my desire to pursue conversion.”
“… I enjoyed the lively discussions that occurred in class. That, combined with the nonjudgmental atmosphere, made the class a perfect fit for me (a non-Jew interested in learning more about my husband’s history and culture.)”
Introduction to Reading Hebrew
Wednesdays 10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/23, 11/30, 12/7, 12/14
Time: 7:30—9 PM
Faculty: Bruce Hirsch
Location: Rear Playschool Classroom
Fee: No Charge
Many Jews want to learn or relearn to read Hebrew. The National Jewish Outreach Program’s most popular program, the Hebrew Reading Crash Course, has given more than 214,000 North American Jews a strong start. Designed for Jews with little or no background in Hebrew, the Hebrew Reading Crash Course concentrates on teaching the Hebrew alphabet and reading skills in only nine to ten 1-1/2 hour weekly sessions. Along the way students learn some vocabulary, both everyday words and words from common prayers, and very elementary grammar. The course is free but you need to register. A minimum of 6 students is required for this class to take place. To register, or for more information, contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org/old2.
Shabbat Torah Study — Portion of the Week
Join a lively discussion and analysis of the weekly Parashah, regularly with Rabbi Avi Winokur, and on every second Saturday of the month with Rabbi Berman, before the regular 10AM Shabbat service. No background knowledge is required; this class is friendly and unintimidating–guaranteed!
Monthly Meditative Service with Rabbi
Saturdays 11/26, 12/17, 1/28, 6/3
Time: 10 AM – 12 PM
Faculty: Rabbi Avi Winokur
Location: Sanctuary Lobby
Fee: No Charge
I See Bagels in Your Future: Prophecy, Kingship & Cream Cheese
Sundays 11/6, 11/20, 1/29, 2/5, 3/19, 4/29, 5/7
Time: 11 AM—1 PM
Faculty: Rafi Licht
Location: Rear Playschool Classroom
Fee: No Charge
The Prophets form the largest portion the Hebrew Bible. This class will begin with Joshua, and we’ll work our way through the prophets, reading closely with ancient and modern commentaries.
Bi-Monthly Shabbat Study: Dreams of Peace – An Introduction to Islam
2nd and 4th Saturday of each month
Time: 10—11:30 AM
Faculty: Rabbi Marjorie Berman
Location: Social Hall
Fee: Donation requested for food
JThis year, we’ll explore the history, traditions, philosophy, and culture of Islam with the goal of finding a way “inside.”
Rabbi’s Sunday Nosh & Schmooze
Sundays 10/16, 11/6, 12/4, 1/22, 5/21, 6/4
Time: 11:15 AM—12:45 PM
Faculty: Rabbi Avi Winokur
Location: Rabbi’s Study
Fee: a minimum $10 donation is requested for food
Last year we discussed ongoing crises that affect Philadelphia and the greater society. This year, we will discuss a variety of issues involving Israel, the American Jewish Community, and our own city, region and country As- signed readings about these and other contemporary topics will be provided.
We will draw from online materials such as Tablet Magazine, The Forward, and eJewishphilanthropy. Articles will be distributed in advance to those who sign up ahead of time. As world issues arise (e.g., Syria, Egypt, Israel-related matters), we may stray from our scheduled topics. Feel free to attend regularly or drop in whenever you are able.
Rabbi Avi Winokur
Rabbi Winokur began his career as an attorney and earned his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1976. After 8 years in practice in California, he decided to fulfill his dream of becoming a rabbi.
A graduate and current Board member of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (Ordination, 1991), and a member of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Rabbi Winokur has been Rabbi at Society Hill Synagogue since 2001. Prior to joining our Synagogue family, Avi was the Senior Rabbi at West End Synagogue in New York (1992 -2001), and Rabbi at Congregation Shirei Shalom in Monroe, Connecticut (1990-92). He also served as the Director of the Community Relations Committee at the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven (1991-1992).
With an energetic and engaging style, Rabbi Winokur has taught classes in California at Kehillat Israel in Pacific Palisades, the Orange County Adult Education Series, and the University Synagogue in Irvine. He was also invited to be a Scholar in Residence at the Whittier California Havurah. More recently, Rabbi Winokur has taught in New York City at the 92nd Street Y and at the JCC of the Upper West Side, and in Philadelphia, at the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation and at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
Rabbi Marjorie Berman
Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Rabbi Berman traveled in the Far East after college and worked with teens and families in crisis. She served as a Hillel Advisor at the University of Wisconsin, Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr, and the University of Pennsylvania before completing a year of chaplaincy training at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital before spending a year living in Israel.
She enrolled in the rabbinical program at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) in 1997, and while in the seminary, she served congregations in Florida, Missouri, and the Virgin Islands. She also studied family and couples’ counseling at the Penn Council for Relationships. Since her ordination in 2003, she has worked as the Director of Spiritual Development at Philadelphia University and as a Spiritual Director at RRC, in addition to teaching, counseling wedding couples, and working with congregations in Kansas and St. Croix.
Rabbi Berman has been an important addition to our SHS community for a number of years. In her stimulating classes, she has a remarkable ability to weave complex Jewish ideas into our daily lives.
Susan Berman earned an A.B. in Religious Studies from Harvard College and an M.A. in Ancient Judaism from Yale University. She loves teaching Jewish topics to adults and has a special expertise in Midrash.
She has taught Derekh Torah, a 30-week introduction to Judaism, at the 92nd Street Y in New York; specialized courses in Jewish literature and law at synagogues and JCCs in New York and Philadelphia; and Midrash and Liturgy to rabbinical students at the Academy for Jewish Religion.
Susan currently works in the Development Department at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where she develops resources to train rabbis who can serve in our increasingly pluralistic and technologically connected world.
Nathan Kamesar is in his third year as Rabbinic Intern at SHS. He is in his fourth year at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC), set to receive ordination in June 2018. Nathan is spending the fall semester (2016) at the Conservative Yeshivah in Jerusalem, studying Talmud, Halakhah (Jewish law), Zohar (Jewish mystical texts), and Israeli History and Civilization.
In partnership with his rabbinical school, Nathan earned his M.S. in Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied finance and management of nonprofit organizations, and was selected by his classmates to be the program’s graduation speaker when he graduated in 2016.
Before rabbinical school, Nathan was an attorney at the law firm Skadden Arps, contributing to pro bono efforts there, having earned his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley where he served as Managing Editor of the Berkeley Technology Law Journal.
Prior to law school, Nathan served with AmeriCorps*VISTA for two years full-time, working in underserved communities in Baltimore and Washington, DC.
Nathan is also a proud Oregon Duck; he graduated from the University of Oregon in 2004 with a degree in Economics.
Nathan has loved teaching adult education at SHS. He has taught classes on such topics as: Jewish views on theodicy (theological statements on how there can be a just God alongside the presence of evil); Abraham Joshua Heschel’s “The Sabbath”; the role of religion in the public sphere and the First Amendment; Ecclesiastes; revenge, as found in the Book of Esther; and Hasidic teachings on humanity’s role in repairing a broken cosmos.
Rafi Licht, an SHS congregant, graduated from the Hebrew Academy of Greater Washington and spent a year studying at Yeshivat HaMivtar in Efrat, Israel. Rafi was a reluctant student of Talmud during his years of formal Jewish education but has since come to appreciate its complexity and to believe that the Talmud can be a powerful tool for Judaic inquiry.
Bruce Hirsch, an SHS congregant, has an avid interest in expanding Hebrew literacy. His class is perfect for those who wish to learn to read Hebrew, even if you have had no prior experience with the language!
Birgit Klein is an Advanced Standing rabbinical student at RRC and has held the “History of the Jewish People” Chair at the Hochschule fuer Juedische Studien (University of Jewish Studies) in Heidelberg, Germany, since 2006. After studying in Heidelberg and Jerusalem, she received an M.A. in Jewish Studies and Theology in 1992, and a Ph.D. in Jewish Studies in 1998. For her third German academic degree, the “Habilitation” (Professor qualification), she studied, “The Jewish law of marital property and succession since antiquity and its impacts on the gender ration and the relationship with the non-Jewish society” (submitted to the Freie Universitaet, Berlin, Germany, in 2006). Her chosen fields of research include Jewish religious, social, legal, and gender studies since the Middle Ages.
Writer, translator, editor, teacher and librarian, Robert G. Margolis has been freylikhn in the multi-verse of Jewish Literature for more than thirty years of study, teaching, writing and translation. He has taught subjects in Jewish Studies privately and at Saint Joseph’s University. He resides in Philadelphia with the lights of his eyes, his wife and his daughter.