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Agencies, Synagogues Offer Many Adult Study Opportunities

[by Phyllis Shaikun]

Yale University Professor David Gelernter has said, “if we were forced to choose just one, there would be no way to deny that Judaism is the most important intellectual development in human history.”

To Jews, study is a lifetime commitment. Whether it is studying Torah, practicing Hebrew, learning how to chant a weekly parashah or researching a human rights issue, the energy and dedication to education, for most of us at least, seems to be an ongoing process. While many of the religiously observant of all faiths take their children to Sunday school, we Jews add Hebrew School to the mix as well.

Most importantly, we Jews endeavor to be role models for our children, which means we go that extra mile to show our children, grandchildren and extended mishpacha that we are not asking them to do anything we don’t do – so we take classes too. Fortunately for Jewish Louisville, educational offerings are plentiful and provide unique opportunities to learn and grow.

The Florence Melton Adult Mini-School is unlike any educational program you have ever heard about. Its unique approach to Jewish learning can meet the needs of every student – regardless of Judaic background.

Florence Melton conceived the mini-school concept in 1980 and since then, the adult curriculum she helped develop had breathed life into Jewish practices, history, language, ethics and ideas.

No matter how much you do or do not know, you will discover new levels of learning from knowledgeable teachers who bring their personal experiences to the subject matter. Contact Matt Goldberg at the Jewish Community of Louisville, mgoldberg@jewishlouisville.org or 451-8840, for further information.

Our local synagogues and temples also offer an exciting array of adult learning opportunities. All programs are open to the members of the community.

Congregation Adath Jeshurun’s Rabbi Robert Slosberg and Cantor David Lipp hold a Torah Study group on Fridays at 12:15 in the downtown area. The synagogue holds a monthly Shabbat Scholars session with featured speakers following the Saturday morning service and kiddush luncheon and also sponsors bimonthly Not Your Bubbe’s Book Club meetings. A Healthy Living Series is offered on Sunday mornings and workshops on various topics (such as challah baking) are scheduled throughout the year. A bevy of adult education classes include topics from “Getting to Know the Prayer Book” and “Quick and Easy Judaism” to “Social Networking” and “Resurrection in the Bible.”

Anshei Sfard Congregation provides a number of educational classes and programs throughout the year. Rabbi Avrohom Litvin leads a Kabbalah & Coffee Class on Friday morning at the Jewish Community Center’s Java Brewing Company from 8-8:30 a.m. and the shul holds a 30-minute study group prior to Saturday evening services that is geared to beginners in Torah study. The group discusses the weekly Torah portion from the Hebrew text and teaches Hebrew reading skills along with Bible study. The celebration of Shavuot (June 7) includes a dinner and study program beginning at 8:30 p.m. An Adult Education program runs in November and December and individual study programs with the rabbi or lay leaders are available.

Several times a year, Keneseth Israel Congregation offers a Shabbat Around the World program on Friday evenings that virtually transports worshippers to another country. The shul is decorated with items from the host country, a guest speaker who is familiar the area relates personal experiences and, at the conclusion of services, everyone enjoys a Shabbat meal reflecting the country’s cuisine. KI also offers a men-only Monday Night Mishna session during the NFL season, the Café Rashi Torah study with Rabbi Wasser at the Jewish Community Center on Mondays at 11 a.m. and the Kahn Scholar-in-Residence program featuring Professor Robert Harris (to be held this year on June 3-5).

Temple Shalom’s Rabbi Stanley Miles holds a Torah Lunch Study Group on the second and fourth Tuesdays of most months at noon at the Home of the Innocents. The group began five years ago and currently is in the final chapters of Genesis. The class is open to the community, but reservations must be made by calling the temple. Adult Hebrew classes are taught by long-time teacher Dafna Schur and other adult learning experiences are offered, including a bimonthly book club that meets at the JCC’s Java Brewing Co. on Thursday evenings. When she is in town, Cantor Karen Webber Gilat teaches on Sunday mornings and the rabbi will be teaching an Introduction to Judaism class in the fall.

The Temple’s Rabbi David Ariel-Joel combines bagels and Torah study on Saturday mornings from 9-10 a.m. and The Temple’s rabbis conduct a series of adult education courses on Mondays beginning at 7 p.m. Class topics include Mundane Jerusalem and Ethereal Jerusalem, Basic Judaism and Jewish Life in America. The Temple Scholars program meets on Wednesdays from 9:30-10:35 a.m. with a three-part curriculum: Biblical Heroes, God’s Personality and 39 Books, which goes through all 39 books of The Bible.

If you are interested in growing Jewishly, contact the respective houses of worship for further information.

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