The Schwarz - Kurz - Zeller Adult Education Institute Presents
Beth El Adult Education for March - April 2021
All classes are virtual, there are no in-person classes.
Learning has no age limit. Something for Everyone!
We’re starting the new year with a range of educational programs to fit your interests and schedule. All programs will be held on Virtual Beth El, using the icon link to Zoom found on the website (unless otherwise noted). There’s something for everyone! Check out the listings below and join us!
Congregation Beth El offers a range of educational programs to fit your interests and schedule. All programs will be held on Virtual Beth El, using the icon link to Zoom found on the website (unless otherwise noted). There’s something for everyone! Check out the listings below and join us!
Shalt Thou Cancel Thy Neighbor?
Wednesdays, 10:00am - 10:50am (no class April 14)
Facilitator: Rabbi Weiss
The last few years have given rise to heightened political and religious tension, resulting in an increasingly polarized society and so-called "cancel culture," as it is referred to in the contemporary parlance. This miniseries will explore the ways Jewish wisdom, both ancient and modern, might equip us with the tools to respond to this fraught moment in the history of public and private discourse.
Current Events Discussion Group
Wednesdays, 11:00am - 11:50am (ongoing)
Come and discuss the latest news with a Jewish slant in our weekly virtual discussion group. What will we talk about? Any topic that makes it to the front page of the Wednesday morning edition of The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (jta.org).The Jewish Telegraphic Agency news site can be found at jta.org. It is free, no subscription or sign-in required. The rules: Keep it interesting. Keep it civil. And end every session with a joke.
Teachings in Jewish Renewal
Thursdays, 8:30am - 9:30am (ongoing)
Facilitator: Seth Fishman
Join us for discussions of Reb Zalman’s writings and their relevance to Jewish life and spiritual growth. Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (1924-2014) was the founder of the Jewish Renewal movement. He was an integrator of many approaches to bring together Jews of all
denominations, with a holistic view that Judaism should be accessible to all.ALEPH (the Alliance for Jewish Renewal) describes Jewish
Renewal as a trans-denominational approach to revitalizing Judaism. It combines egalitarianism, the joy of Hasidism, the informed do-it-yourself spirit of the chavurah movement, and the accumulated wisdom of centuries of tradition. Seth Fishman met Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi in 1989 and began working for him as a gabbai in 1990. He studied with him for 24 years, transcribed many of his articles, and served as webmaster for Reb Zalman’s blog. Visit Seth’s website at https://www.jewishrenewalhasidus.org/
Mindfully Soothing the Body and Soul: Comfort During the Winter Months
Tuesdays, 2:00pm – 2:45pm
Facilitator: Cantor Flo Friedman
NOTE: This is a separate link from Virtual Beth El. Click on the “Mindfulness Meditation” icon under “monthly events” on the Beth El
homepage and link from there.
Each session begins with a body scan meditation led by Donna Wortzel, a certified Kripalu Yoga Instructor, and guided meditation with periods of silence with Cantor Flo Friedman. Topics include the weekly Torah Portion or Holy Days/Festivals or Middot—Ethical Values. Sessions are sometimes enhanced with poetry and contemplative readings and music.
No prior experience is necessary. You are welcome to participate at any time. Come try it out! Gatherings include about 20 people from various synagogues in New Jersey and Bucks County, Pennsylvania; Congregation Beth El of Yardley; Temple Sinai, Summit, New Jersey; Flemington Jewish Community Center Summit JCC – Congregation Ohr Shalom; Adath Israel, Lawrenceville, New Jersey; Shir Ami, Newtown, PA. Guests are welcome even if not affiliated with a synagogue.
New Travel and Discussion Series Coming This Spring:
Tour the globe and meet representatives of Jewish communities from around the world, all from the comfort of your home. Find out what “doing Jewish” looks like in other communities, and discuss the issues they (and we) are facing today. Stops on our virtual tour include:
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (Sunday, April 18 at 4:00pm; more information will follow)
Abuja, Nigeria (Sunday, April 25 at 2:00pm)
Stockholm, Sweden (Sunday, May 2 at 1:30pm)
Share Your Passion Workshop Series:
“Match Making 101”
Wednesday, March 19 at 7:45pm
Tradition says making three matches secures you a place in heaven. Come learn about the hidden art of matchmaking with Rabbi Weiss, whose secret passion is matchmaking and who used to run a network of matchmakers dedicated to pluralistic matchmaking for Jews of all backgrounds and orientations who are seriously seeking a partner. Through community, we can make meaningful
connections. The talk will incorporate a mix of traditional Jewish wisdom on finding one's soulmate and also draw on our own experiences and values to consider our role in communal matchmaking.
Dive into Davening:
Meets the first Monday of the month at 12:30pm - 1:00pm
Next Session: March 1 Please note: March 1 is rescheduled to March 8 (upcoming sessions on Apr. 5, May 3, June 7)
Facilitator: Rabbi Weiss
Wondering about the meaning and significance of the prayers we chant? Curious as to why these particular words were chosen to be included in the service? Join Rabbi Weiss for a fast-paced, one-prayer-per-session dive into the story behind our davening. In English,
all levels warmly welcomed!
For Book Lovers
Beth El Book Club
Calling all readers! Beth El’s new book club is open to all adults. Whether it’s fiction, current events or memoirs, you’ll find something of interest to read and discuss. The book club meets on Thursdays from 7:45 pm to 8:45 pm through Virtual Beth El.
Join us for the next Book Club on Thursday, March 18 at 7:45pm, when we’ll be discussing White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo.
Facilitator: Helene Geiger
About the book:
Anger. Fear. Guilt. Denial. Silence. These are the ways in which ordinary white people may react when it is
pointed out to them that they have done or said something that has - unintentionally - caused racial offence or hurt. After, all, a racist is the worst thing a person can be, right? But these reactions only serve to silence people of colour, who cannot give honest feedback to 'liberal' white people lest they provoke a dangerous emotional
The term for this syndrome is 'White Fragility'. In her book, Robin DiAngelo argues that White Fragility actually serves to keep systemic racism entrenched in our country. She suggests a path for attacking racism through more honest conversations, listening to each other better and reacting to feedback with grace and humility.
'By turns mordant and then inspirational, an argument that powerful forces and tragic histories stack the deck fully against racial justice alongside one that we need only to be clearer, try harder, and do better' David Roediger, Los Angeles Review of Books.
About Our Book Club: Everyone is welcome
Looking Ahead: Beth El Book Club’s Choices for 2021
Looking for a good read? Here is the schedule of books for the rest of the 2020-21 season:
Thursday, May 20: A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage
Thursday, July 15: The Secret Gift by Ted Gup
On Sunday, April 18 from 10:30am to 11:30am, join us for a discussion about all things cultural, including books, art, music, film/TV, apps, and museum exhibitions – all with a Jewish theme.
Adult Education Archive Page
Did you know that recordings of many Adult Education events are available on the Beth El webpage? Just go to www.bethelyardley.org, open the Education tab on the menu, and select “Adult Education Archives.”
The Adult Education Committee welcomes your feedback and help as we continue to plan for 2021. Is there a topic you’d like to learn about, or to teach?
Are you good with social media?
Do you have art, photography or writing skills?
Do you enjoy planning events?
All volunteers warmly welcomed! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org