Classes from the JCC's Center for Jewish Life and Learning
Explore diverse facets of Jewish thought and experience through Intro to Judaism, Hebrew Reading crash courses, drop-in study groups, and a changing menu of topics in Jewish life, history, and thought. Our Jewish studies courses are offered in partnership with Lehrhaus Judaica.
The faculty is composed of superb Jewish educators in our community. To reflect the diversity of our student population, JCC educators represent the major movements in Judaism: Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox. There are no examinations and no homework.
How to Register
For more information, contact Jenessa Schwartz, Director of the JCC's Center for Jewish Life and Learning, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 408.357.7411.
CM = Full Center Member SM = Social Member NM = Non-member
Parting the Racist Sea: Jews in the Civil Rights Movement
A special class for Black History Month. Many of us know the stories of how young Jews from the Northeast joined the civil rights cause in the early 1960s. Yet looking back from the 21st century, we can lose sight of the complexity and depth of African American suffering and their centuries-long struggle for equality and justice, and of the contradictory role that Jewish Americans have played in both the oppression and the liberation of African Americans. This is further complicated by the fact that many Jews today are themselves African American. In this three-week conversation about Jews in the civil rights movement, we will ask ourselves difficult questions about the historical relationship between African Americans and Jews in the United States; Jews and racism; Judaism and equality; and about what the legacy of Jewish involvement in the 1960s Civil Rights movement should mean for our Judaism today. We will use historical documents, images, and artifacts to ground our discussions. Instructor J. Todd Ormsbee is an Associate Professor of American Studies at San Jose State University.
Register online at lehrhaus.org.
Hebrew Reading Crash Course Level 1
Interested in learning to read Hebrew? Join this FREE five-session course! Master the Aleph Bet and develop a small working vocabulary. No prior knowledge necessary. Instructor: Rabbi Ilana Baird
Hebrew Reading Crash Course Level 2
Need to practice your Hebrew reading? Are you ready to develop a larger spoken Hebrew vocabulary? This class focuses on both reading and basic conversational skills. Basic knowledge of the Aleph Bet and some Hebrew reading is required. Instructor: Rabbi Ilana Baird
Hebrew Reading Crash Course Level 3
For graduates of Levels 1 and 2 or for anyone who has mastered basic Hebrew reading and conversational skills. This class moves on into more advanced Hebrew reading and speaking. Instructor: Rabbi Ilana Baird
Lunch and Ledaber: Hebrew Conversation
Grab your lunch and come to this informal, lunchtime gathering to keep your Hebrew conversational skills sharp. Led by Rabbi Ilana Baird, the JCC's Hebrew instructor. Commit and save! Purchase an 8, 16, or 24 pack of sessions--the more you buy, the more you save! $8 per session OR $56 for an 8-session pack; $100 for a 16-session pack; $120 for a 24-session pack.
This class will meet on selected Fridays from 12:00-1:00pm. Upcoming dates are 11/7, 11/21, 12/5, 12/19, 1/2, 1/16, 1/30, 2/13, 2/27, 3/13, 3/27, 4/17, 5/1, 5/15, 5/29, 6/12, and 6/26.
Introduction to Judaism
This course provides an overview of the Jewish life-cycle, holidays, and other ritual celebrations. During the course of the year, students will also gain an understanding of Jewish belief, history, and calendar and gain exposure to important Jewish books including the Hebrew Bible and Talmud. Each session will include 30 minutes of Hebrew instruction. Additionally, during the course of the year, students will be invited to participate in various aspects of Jewish living. Instructors will utilize a variety of teaching modalities. Sessions will rotate among the synagogues based on the teaching Rabbi. Instructors: Rabbi Berkenwald of Congregation Sinai, Rabbi Aron of Congregation Shir Hadash, Rabbi Ohriner of Congregation Beth David, and Rabbi Magat of Temple Emanu-El
* No class on 11/25, 12/23, 12/30, 2/17, and 4/7
Sacred Shapes: Jewish Yoga
This 9-month program that combines yoga and Jewish spirituality. Weekly yoga class with yoga poses related to Jewish seasonal themes. Plus, an all-day yoga retreat every 3 months where we will learn yoga poses related to the themes of the Jewish year cycle, study Jewish texts that are relevant for yoga, and engage in meditation and reflection. This program is funded through a generous grant from the Dorbrecht Foundation. More info: email@example.com
|Sun||9/7/14-6/7/15||10:30-11:30am*||$150 for the year||$175 for the year|
* Sunday 9/7, 12/7, 3/8, and 6/7 we will meet from 10:30am-3:30pm for a longer Yoga Retreat session.
Bay Area Community Talmud Circle
Sundays: 10/19, 11/9, 12/7, 1/11, 2/8, 3/15, 4/12, 5/3, 5/31
The Bay Area Community Talmud Circle is a collaboration of Lehrhaus Judaica, The Aleph Society, and Kevah. The goal is to create a community of adult students enabled and empowered to encounter the Talmud with confidence.
- Beginning Circle, 9:00am-11:00am
The Introductory Year is for the curious individual new to Jewish text study. After jumping in (don’t worry, no one drowns) participants will be able to describe the basic structure of the Talmud, identify key figures and centers, and locate the Talmudic literature in time and place. Through hevruta (partner) study and seminars with Lehrhaus faculty, participants will be familiar with Talmudic narratives and arguments and develop a deeper understanding of this pillar of Judaism. Cost is $210 by Sept 22, materials included. $230 after Sept 22, materials included. Register at lehrhaus.org.
- Continuing Circle, 10:30am-12:30pm
Continuing Circle participants learn from the new Steinsaltz English edition of the Koren Talmud Bavli/Berakhot. Students spend the first 30-45 minutes of each session with hevruta partners independently. The group joins together with faculty for additional discussion and learning for the remainder of the two-hour session. Participants should purchase the Koren Talmud Bavli, available in various print sizes and in digital editions. Cost is $175 by September 22nd, materials purchased separately. $195 after September 22nd, materials purchased separately. Register at lehrhaus.org.
Ongoing, drop-in classes (no registration necessary)
Classic Jewish Texts
Rabbi Joey Felsen of the Jewish Study Network guides you through the fundamental works of Maimonides, Luzzato, and other classic commentators. No Hebrew necessary. This is a free, drop-in class. No need to register.
DAY DATES TIME CM/SM/NM
Tue ongoing 9:30am-11:00am free
Maimonides (Rambam), the 12th century Jewish scholar, wrote the Guide of the Perplexed as a three-volume letter to his student. The Guide is a classic work of Jewish Philosophy, written in coded and intentionally deceptive language. Studying the Guide is a mystery and a pleasure. Join Rabbi James as we journey through the Guide of the Perplexed together. Sections will be short to allow for full discussion. This is a free, drop-in class. No need to register.
DAY DATES TIME CM/SM/NM
Wed ongoing 10:30am-12:00pm free
This class takes a look at some of the great works of past Hasidic teachers and strives toward deepening our contemporary Jewish spirituality. This class is for all abilities and levels and is a free, drop-in class. No need to register. Instructor: Rabbi James Greene
DAY DATES TIME CM/SM/NM
Thur ongoing 10:30am-11:30am free
Classes at Other Locations
Torah Study -- at Chai House, 814 St. Elizabeth Drive, San Jose
This engaging class with the JCC’s Rabbi James Greene, keeps us full of life through the words of the Torah. All abilities, ages, and levels are welcome - you do not need to be a resident of Chai House. This is a free, drop-in class. No need to register.
DAY DATES TIME CM/SM/NM
Mon ongoing 3:30-4:30pm free
Programs Offered in Russian
Come join Rabbi Ilana Baird for events and classes offered in Russian. Rabbi Baird has served communities in Russia, Germany, Israel and the United States. She founded a liberal synagogue in Haifa and is a graduate of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s Israeli Rabbinical Seminary program. For more information see our Russian Jewish Programs page or call the JCC's Center for Jewish Life & Learning at 408.357.7411.