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Adult Education Classes



Tuesday Evening beginning November 21, 7:00pm
Taught by Rabbi Shimon Moch

This course is a doorway into Jewish life and an invitation to enter through it.

  • If you are Jewish by birth but not by education
  • If you dropped out after Bar/Bat Mitzvah
  • If you want to know Judaism for Adults 101
  • If you feel a pull to be Jewish, though you are not Jewish
  • If you are in a relationship with someone who is Jewish

Then this course is for you!

Course Syllabus

Har Shalom’s Introduction to Judaism Course aims to provide a basic working knowledge of Jewish faith and practices for:

  • Those wishing to explore Judaism and considering becoming Jewish themselves.
  • Those married to or in a serious relationship with a Jewish significant-other who wish to familiarize themselves with the faith and cultural background of their significant-other.
  • Born Jews who wish to learn what was never taught to them in their formative years or brush up on what they forgot about their faith and folk.

We hope that you will find this study experience satisfying and inspiring. We would urge you to attend religious services regularly at Har Shalom, thus reinforcing through practice and familiarity the knowledge that you will gain in this class. If you intend to become Jewish, regular attendance at Shabbat and festival services is required.

Your pursuance of this combination of study and worship does not imply that you are under obligation to convert to Judaism.

The course offers information of value regardless of extra reading that you do. The texts assignments below are not requirements. Consider them invitations to learn much more than you can learn in the short time that we have together in class.

Class will be held each Tuesday from 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM, except December 19, when class will begin at 6:00 PM with the lighting of the giant Hanukkiyah outside and your smaller Hanukkiyot inside followed by a Hanukkah pot luck dinner and class.

Class Cost: 

  • Members of Har Shalom: $36
  • Non-members: $72

Attend the first class without charge to help decide if this course will engage you. 

The classes will be a mixture of lecture and discussion. We will look at what is commonly known about Judaism and then examine at least part of the rest of the story.

Class Topics: 

Unit 1 - November 21, 26 Heshvan - 7:00pm    

  •  Monotheism – It is all about God and Covenant
  • Jewish views of God & Relationship with God
  • The Patriarchal/Matriarchal covenants & The Mosaic Covenant of Torah
  • The Patriarchs & Prophets evolving vision of God
  • The Written Torah and the Oral Torah: Mishna and Gemara = Talmud
  • Interpretations of Torah –     Midrash, Commentaries, Responsa, Law Codes

Unit 2 - November 28, 4 Kislev - 7:00pm     

  • Israel – The role of the People of the Covenant, the Jewish People
  • The Chosen People – Chosen for What? Our place among the nations
  • Symbols of the Covenant
    • Unity of Jewish Life at Home and in Synagogue
    • Tallit – Robe of Responsibility and Tefillin – Bond of Faith
    • Tefillin – covenant boxes for heart, mind, eyes and arm
    • Mezzuzah --  The home as a Sanctuary and witness to God
    • Kippah – Humility before God
  • Traditional/Orthodox Jewish practices and beliefs verses Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and Renewal Jewish practices and beliefs.

Unit 3 - December 5, 11 Kislev - 7:00pm 

How Jews Worship:         

  • Sacrifice versus Prayer, fasting and feasting, Talmud Torah versus loving deeds
  • Types of Prayer – Thanksgiving, Supplication, Praise, Forgiveness, Berachot – Praising God for what we enjoy and for the privilege of Mitzvah, Collective Prayer versus Private Prayer, Structure of the Jewish worship Service                        

Unit 4 - December 12, 18 Kislev - 7:00pm

How Jews Live: 

  • Birth, Adoption, Brit Milah and Brit Hayim, how Jews are named, Pidyon Ha-Ben (Redemption of the First Born), Jewish Genetic diseases, Education – begins at conception, Consecration, Bar/Bat Mitzvah,  Confirmation,  Conversion,  Marriage, Divorce, Sickness and  dying, Death, Bereavement, Afterlife

Unit 5 - December 19, 25 Kislev - 6:00pm

Class begins lighting Hanukkah candles and sharing a Pot luck Hanukkah dinner of Hanukkah recipes researched and prepared by class members.

Jewish Holidays:        

  • Purim and Hanukkah
  • Regalim (Pilgrimage) Festivals: Pesach, Shavu’ot, Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret/Simhat Torah
  • Yamim Nora’im (Days of Awe) Rosh Ha-Shana & Yom Kippur
  • Tu BiShevat and Lag Ba-Omer
  • Yom Ha-Sho’ah and Yom Ha-Atzma’ut
  • Minor Fast Days: Tzom Gegalia, Fast of the First Born, Ta’anit Esther Shabbat
  • The Jewish Calendar

Unit 6 - December 26, 2 Teve - 7:00pm   

  • What makes for a Jewish home: 
    • Mezuzzah, sepharim kedoshim (sacred books), language, humor, cuisine, Mo’adim (sacred times: Shabbat & holidays & fast days), music, location
  • Kashrut - Jewish Dietary Laws
  • Mikvah and Laws of Family Purity

Unit 7 - January 2, 9 Tevet - 7:00pm

  • Highlights of Jewish History from Abraham until today
  • Anti-Semitism and the Sho’ah (Holocaust)
  • Zionism and the Rebirth of Israel

Future Classes

The First Jews of the Western Hemisphere

Tuesdays, January 16, 23, 30 & February 6, 7:30pm
This series will show the course of events that lead the first Jews to come to the Western Hemisphere and will trace some of the important Jewish families as they journeyed from place to place and the marks they left behind.

Israel's Milestones and their Meanings: The Legacy of the Past and the Challenge of the Future

Tuesdays, March 20, 27; April 3, 10, 17, 24 & May 1, 8
Israel's Milestones and their Meanings: The Legacy of the Past and the Challenge of the Future. This year marks the 100 anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, the 70th anniversary of the United Nations vote to Partition Palestine into a Jewish and Arab State and the 50th anniversary of the six day war uniting Jerusalem. These events are markers that indicate fundamental changes in how we viewed ourselves, our destiny and our purpose. This is a time to reflect on those changes that both engaged our people and divided us and a time to determine how we envision proceeding from this point onward. What shall we carry from the past and what shall we modify or eject from the package of values we carry on. Details to follow! 

Thu, November 23 2017 5 Kislev 5778