Winter 2018 Class Descriptions
Wednesday Nights at Adas Israel Congregation
2850 Quebec St. NW (Metro: Cleveland Park—Red Line)
Co-Sponsored with Adas Israel Congregation
March 7 at 7:00 pm: Living in Israel Today - What’s happening at the Western Wall?
Instructor: Michele Sumka
The Kotel, or Western Wall, once represented common ground for all Jews, or so it seemed. But political disagreements have torn apart that onetime consensus. Many American Jews were outraged when a promised compromise fell apart that would have guaranteed pluralist, mixed-gender prayer at the Wall. Instead, the debate continues—and occasionally erupts. The instructor, a longtime member of Washington Friends of Women of the Wall, discusses recent developments and the outlook for resolution, if any.
Michele Sumka has been a participant in the Rosh Hodesh services at the Kotel a number of times, starting in December 1990. The most memorable incident was in July 2010, when she tried to help Anat Hoffman, the Chair of the Board, hold on to the Women of the Wall Torah, which was being grabbed from her by the police. She joined with other DC women in December 2012 to establish Washington friends of Women of the Wall. JSC, Adas members $15, others $20
All three sessions of Living in Israel Today (see above - Jan. 24, Feb. 14): JSC, Adas members $40, others $55
March 7, 14 at 8:15 pm: Untangling the Psalms
Instructor: Amy Schwartz
The 150 religious poems that make up the Book of Psalms are both strange and familiar, forming the backbone of our liturgy and of Christian liturgy as well. The metaphors are tangled, but the emotional states they express are as immediate now as when they were written. We will read, discuss and savor these texts and compare the versions that have come down through the centuries. Readings in English. Amy Schwartz is opinion editor of Moment Magazine and president of the Jewish Study Center.
JSC, Adas members $25, others $35
March 14 at 7:00 pm: Pollution, Climate Change, and Us: What Is Our Responsibility?
Instructor: Rabbi Aaron Alexander
Scientists tell us that power plant pollution and car exhaust contain toxic chemicals such as mercury, fine particulates, and gases that cause sicknesses to people around the world, including lung cancer, birth defects, and more—not to mention carbon pollution and climate change.
As Jews, how should we respond to these facts? What do the Sages say about responsibility for actions that may cause harm to others? Secular law may permit these activities even if the pollution is toxic and harmful to other people, but should there be an additional understanding of our responsibility as Jews? And what about the other side? Using electricity in our homes and shuls delivers great value, and we drive our cars for important and useful purposes. How does that factor into the equation?
Rabbi Aaron Alexander will lead the class through sources that put these questions in context and help us find our own informed answers. Adas Israel recently created a “climate team” of congregants with relevant expertise who may join the class and provide background.
Rabbi Aaron Alexander is a senior rabbi at Adas Israel.
JSC, Adas members $15, others $20
March 14 at 8:15 pm: Living in Israel Today: Day to Day on the Gaza Border
Instructor: Tzachi Levy, a thirteenth-generation native Israeli and the senior shaliach (Israeli cultural representative) of the Jewish Federation of the Greater Washington Area, has lived on many kibbutzim and helped establish one, Kibbutz Eshbal. He will his personal experience living in a kibbutz on the border with Gaza.
2 sessions: Adas, JSC members $25, others $35
Single session: JSC, Adas members $15, others $20
March 21 at 7:00 pm: Book Talk: The Blessings in Conflict
Led by Betsy Strauss
Why does the Torah—a path to peace; a tree of life—begin with stories of violence and family conflict? Why does the Talmud preserve the arguments about the law that were rejected as well as those that prevailed? What does Judaism add to resolving or living with our everyday conflicts? The Blessings in Conflict reviews stories from the Torah and Talmud and suggests answers to these questions.
JSC, Adas members $15, others $20
March 21, 7-8:15pm - The Passover Story in the African American Community
(co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council)
Instructor:Rev. Timothy B. Warner
“Everyone is commanded to see himself as personally coming out of Egypt.” The narrative of the Exodus from Egypt has had a powerful resonance in the African American community from the earliest days of slavery through the civil rights movement and up to the present day. Please join us to hear the Rev. Timothy B. Warner, senior pastor of Emory Grove United Methodist Church in Gaithersburg and Mill Creek Parish UMC in Rockville, teach the meaning of this narrative for his community. Learn how this foundational story of the Jewish people has profoundly influenced the worldview of others.
JSC, Adas members $15, others $20
March 21 at 8:15 pm: A Taste of Wine and Text, Part II: Passover
Instructor: Norman Shore
As spring arrives, so does the Passover Seder—with its four cups, Elijah and spilling the wine as we recite the plagues. The Haggadah text will lead us to wine’s ritual uses at the Seder and also on Shabbat, holidays, simchas and sacrifices, and its connection with themes of redemption and celebration. (For themes of debauchery, idolatry and politics, see Part I: Purim, February 14.) Norman Shore is a teacher in the Washington-area Jewish community and a former Jewish Study Center president.
Thursday Nights at Temple Rodef Shalom
2100 Westmoreland St., Falls Church, VA
Co-Sponsored by the JSC and the TRS Beit Midrash
Each class meets for three sessions: Jan. 18, 25, Feb. 1 at 7:00 p.m.
Cost for each three-session course is only $36 for members and $54 for non-members (additional support is provided by our Adult Education Fund)
The Six-Day War: Narratives of Change - Israel at 70
What has been the impact of the Six-Day War both historically and on the modern State of Israel? Hear four different TRS member perspectives:
Gershon Feder will reflect on his experience as an Israeli Air Force Sergeant.
Ori Nir will speak about the impact of the war from his 24-year experience as a journalist focusing on Mideast policy, and spokesman for Americans for Peace Now.
Tammar Stein, author of the children’s book The Six-Day Hero, will reflect on her research and motivation for her book.
Talmud Unwrapped - Clergy-Led
Rabbi Amy Schwartzman What makes the Talmud a timeless piece of wisdom and guidance? Explore the history, constructs and teachers of the Talmud as well as texts that speak to us. Each class will examine a technical aspect of Talmud and an engaging text.
From Klezmer to Tin Pan Alley - Cultural
Instructor: Seth Kibel
Klezmer, literally “tool of song,” is the secular folk music of the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe. In the first decades of the 1900s, this music flourished not only in the Old World but also in the immigrant community of New York City. There, the sounds of the European “fiddler on the roof” mixed with the sounds of early jazz and Tin Pan Alley. The result was a quintessentially American sound. This course will trace the history and evolution of this music, from the Old World to the New, up until the present day and the modern klezmer revival. Audio recordings and live performances from the instructor will make this class as exciting as the music itself.
Seth Kibel is one of the Mid-Atlantic’s premier woodwind specialists, wowing audiences on saxophone, clarinet, and flute. He is the featured performer with The Alexandria Kleztet, Bay Jazz Project, Music PilgrimTrio, The Natty Beaux, and more. He has won many awards, and the song “New Waltz” from his latest album “No Words” was the Grand Prize winner of 2016 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest (MASC), sponsored by the Songwriters’ Association of Washington (SAW). www.sethkibel.com
• The building is closed due to inclement weather.
• The teacher cannot make it to the class due to inclement weather.
• The teacher cannot make it to the class due to illness.
The easiest way to see if a class is canceled to inclement weather is to call the building where your class will be held:
Temple Rodef Shalom, (703) 532-2217
Illness related Cancellations
Enrollment-Related Cancellations We request that you pre-register and pre-pay for the classes so we can inform you of any potential changes to the class. If there are no pre-registrations 24 hours before a class, that class may be canceled. If fewer than five students show up for a class’s first session, the instructor has the option of canceling the class after waiting 15 minutes. (However, many instructors choose to proceed.)
For information about rescheduled class sessions, refunds or other matters, please call (202) 332-1221) or message the Study Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have an idea for a class? Contact the Study Center to make class suggestions.