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Jewish Readings, Writings, & Culture

After registering and paying the fee for any of the classes below, you should receive login information and instructions for using Zoom approximately 24 hours before the first class. If you are registering on the DAY OF the class, please send an email to letting her know that you have registered. 


Adult Pre-B'nei Mitzvah

Cantor Janece Cohen
Fridays, 1:00 - 2:30 pm
registration is now closed


Can Rabbis Agree on Anything?

Rabbis Thomas Louchheim & Scott Saulson
Sunday, January 17, February 21, & March 21 2021 at 1:00 pm
via Zoom 
January 17, 2021
2 Jews, 3 Judaisms: Finding our Bedrocks
In the 21st century Reform Synagogues are finding their members were raised in traditions other than Reform. The result is we may need to integrate fundamental principles from those practices and folklore.
February 21, 2021
Your Place in Shul?
The Talmud describes the synagogue and a “house of prayer”, a “house of gathering”, and a “house of study”. Which is your home in synagogue?
March 21, 2021
Why Do Synagogues Have Windows: to shelter or confront?
Stained glass has always been a source of spiritual strength for the Jewish Community. It acts a focus for the faith of the Jewish worshiper and blocks out the distractions of the outside world. At the same time, it allows light from the outside world in. Do these windows insulate you and focus you on divine wisdom of your faith or do they serve as a reminder of your responsibility to bring your faith out into the world?


Double-Take: discussion of Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz's podcasts

Rabbi Scott Saulson
Sundays, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm beginning January 3, 2021
via Zoom until further notice
Learn more about Rabbi Yanklowitz here. Explore his podcasts here

Drash Program

Fran Haggerty
An exciting and profound way to involve yourself in Jewish learning and teaching with our entire Temple! Read, study, and write about the Torah portion of the week, and explain what it means to you personally. The drash is delivered at Friday evening services at Temple Emanu-El. This is a rare opportunity to engage in the most sacred of Jewish acts: the learning and teaching of Torah.
Free of charge. To sign up for the Drash Program, contact Fran Haggerty.


Engagement with the Weekly Parashah

Lay Collaborative (previous experience not required)
Saturdays, 8:30 am - 10:00 am
via Zoom until further notice

An open, interactive exploration of the Torah portion of the week.

Free and open to all ─ come and study with us! No registration is necessary. For more information, please contact Kilian Metcalf at


Jewish Mindfulness, Everyday Holiness

Rabbi Scott Saulson
Mondays, 3:00 - 4:30 pm beginning January 4, 2021
via Zoom until further notice
registration is now closed
A lively, discussion-based class about the book, The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar, by Alan Morinis. Learn more about the book and/or purchase it here



Jewish Novels Group

Linda Levine, Ed.D.
Thursdays, 2:00 - 3:30 pm beginning August 20, 2020
Via Zoom until further notice
No fee; however, if you have not attended Jewish Novels Group before, please register here in order to receive the Zoom login information.
Join us for a monthly discussion of beloved Jewish novels! Email Linda Levine for information. 
August 20, 2020 - The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman
Sept 17, 2020 - The Lake on Fire by Rosellen Brown
Oct 15, 2020 - Jerusalem Maiden by Talia Carner 
Nov 19, 2020 - Ariel Samson, Freelance Rabbi by Manishtana
Dec 17, 2020 - by Nathan Englander 
Jan 21, 2021 - Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman
Feb 18, 2021 - A Bend in the Stars by Rachel Barenbaum
March 18, 2021 - Here I AM by Jonathan Safran Foer
April 15, 2021 - The Guest Book by Sara Blake
May 20, 2021 - A River Could Be A Tree by Angela Himse


Literary Urges: The Awkward Black Man - short stories by Walter Mosely

Rabbi Scott Saulson
Tuesdays, 3:00 - 4:30 pm beginning January 5, 2021
via Zoom until further notice
We will read and discuss the book The Awkward Black Man by Walter Mosely.
All students will need to purchase their own copy of the book, or check out a copy from the library. The book can be purchased here on Amazon as a paperback or for an e-reader, or you can check your local library here, or you can call a Bookman's location to see if they have a second-hand copy. Register here.


Lunch & Learn with Rabbi Louchheim: Guided by the Stories of Our People

Rabbi Thomas Louchheim
Mondays, 12:00 - 1:15 pm beginning on January 4, 2021
via Zoom until further notice
free for Temple Emanu-El & Congregation Or Chadash members; $35 for non-members
Stories can enchant, entertain, and comfort.  Stories can provide access to deeper meaning and stimulate one’s imagination, helping develop one’s intellect and clarify emotional issues. Stories have a way of communicating ideas and values what logic and reason cannot duplicate. Judaism has a rich tradition of storytelling. These stories can root the listener to their Jewish faith and, at the same time, raise them up to meet the presence of God. According to one author, the Jewish story “is to bring heaven nearer to human beings and again to lift human beings up to heaven.”
Rabbi Louchheim will be sharing his 30-year manuscript of stories with the class. These stories come from Torah, the Bible, rabbis throughout the ages, and some, are just ones the rabbi likes to tell. The subject matter of the stories range from Aging to our struggle with the Yetzer Ra and the Yetzer Tov. We will listen and learn from stories about Work, about Suffering, Life, Love, and Money. Perhaps you might bring your own story to share and add to the rabbi’s ever-growing manuscript of tales told by the rabbi.
Class is held every Monday with the exception for holidays and intermittent breaks for the rabbi. We are finished when we finish the manuscript together.


Magic in the Biblical World

Dr. Abby Limmer
Thursdays, 6:30 - 8:00 pm on February 18 & 25 and March 4, 11, & 18 2021
via Zoom until further notice
$55 for Temple Emanu-El and Congregation Or Chadash Members; $70 for non-members
Beginning with the question, “what is magic?” we will examine the available evidence, both textual and archaeological, for magical activities in ancient Israel and its surrounding region. 


Mah Jongg Group

Mondays, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
postponed until further notice
No fee or registration necessary
An easy-going, friendly Mah Jongg group, everyone is welcome to drop in!
This ongoing group is free aside from the cost of the yearly Mah Jongg Rule Book, and all are welcome! No registration is necessary. 


Nations of the Biblical World: the Israelites and the contemporaries with whom they were in contact

Dr. Abby Limmer
this class has ended
Understanding the context of ancient Israel can both broaden and deepen our understanding of the Biblical stories. In this class, we will use both archaeological and textual materials to discuss the peoples and nations mentioned in the biblical text, and connect them chronologically and socially to ancient Israel. 



Peter, Paul, & Mary Revisited: Jewish Roots of Christianity

Rabbi Sandy Seltzer
Wednesdays, 1:30 - 3:00 pm on February 3, 10, 17, and 24, 2021
registration is closed
In four sessions we examine how a small group of believers during the early centuries of the Common Era, the most significant of them observant Jews, supported and explained their beliefs. These beliefs culminated in their worship of the long-awaited Messiah—a Jewish man named Jesus. They proved their convictions by referring to a variety of biblical and rabbinic sources, and argued that although they were now to be known as Christians, they were in fact the true Israel.



Talmud Study Group

Wednesdays, 10:00 am - 11:30 am
via Zoom until further notice
Talmud study has been going at Temple Emanu-El for many years, and we’d love you to you join us! No experience necessary—just an interest in learning more about this important fundamental text of rabbinic Judaism. There are no Talmudic experts in the group; even those of us who have attended for years are far from expert, but we have continued attending because it’s both interesting and fun.
The Talmud study group will be starting Part 2 of Sanhedrin probably on December 23, 2020. We’d love to have you join us! No experience necessary. None of us are Torah or Talmud scholars!
Part 2 contains chapters 7-11, whose topics are outlined below. The volume we will use is the Koren Talmud Bavli, Noe Edition, Sanhedrin Part 2 by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, which is available from Amazon. A much less expensive pdf version of this volume, readable on your computer or tablet, is available for only $9.95 if preferred. I can provide that info if desired.
The chapters are:
7. The 4 types of capital punishments, details of crimes which merit stoning (in fact stoning was only actually done if the convict survived being dropped off a 5-meter cliff first)
8. The rebellious son, and other crimes for which the offender is killed before committing the actual prohibition, and the commandments which Jews are to die before violating.
9. Details of crimes meriting capital punishment by burning (actually the pouring of hot lead down the throat, the Sadducee heretics instead used burning at the stake) or beheading; auxiliary punishments
10. Details of crimes meriting capital punishment by strangulation (i.e. hanging)
11. The World to Come and who does not receive it.
If interested, contact Steve Shawl (


Torah Study 

Rabbi Thomas Louchheim
Tuesdays, 4:30 - 5:30 pm 
via Zoom until further notice
No registration necessary, join via Zoom here
Torah is at the heart of who and what we are. Our discussions are lively and thought-provoking as we delve into how Torah wisdom impacts us and our world today. The group is lay led, and knowledge of Hebrew is not required. Rabbi Louchheim joins as often as he can. No registration required.


Tuesday Book Club with Congregation Or Chadash

Facilitated by Celia Slatzer
Third Tuesday of Every Month from 12:00 - 1:00 pm, beginning January 19, 2021
via Zoom until further notice
Everyone is welcome to come for the book discussions each month. Bring your lunch. Contact Celia Slatzer for more information. Click on a book title to view it on Amazon. Remember, purchases made through AmazonSmile support your favorite charity. Select Congregation Or Chadash as your charity of choice! 
January 19, 2021 The Only Woman in the Room, by Marie Benedict
February 16, 2021 Incantation, by Alice Hoffman
March 16, 2021 One Night Markovitch, by Ayelet Gunder-Goshen
April 20, 2021 A View Across the Rooftops, by Suzanne Kelman
May 18, 2021 Lunch!


Tue, April 20 2021 8 Iyar 5781