Beth Emet is a diverse community of individuals with different viewpoints, backgrounds, and a broad range of Jewish learning experiences.
Beth Emet Adult Programming offers exciting possibilities for meeting new people, exchanging ideas, and embracing Jewish history, ritual, and culture.
Our classes are taught by experienced clergy, teachers, and lay leaders from Beth Emet and the larger Jewish community. Offerings range from one-time events to yearlong classes; some have fees and scholarships are available.
The Fall 5784 term features a wide range of classes and special programs. Stay tuned for more information on the classes. Course and program descriptions will specify the venues.
Everyone is welcome to listen, learn, contribute, and share new insights with other members of the Beth Emet community.
For yearlong courses, including Hebrew and Tikkun Middot, see below.
Members – Register for all programs Members – Register for adult education courses alone
Non-Members – Register for all programs
Friday, October 13 through mid May | 9:30 am | In-Person and Virtual on Zoom
There are many ways to interpret Torah and its nuances of meaning that are often overlooked. We will continue our learning from last year, reading and interpreting the text of the Book of Deuteronomy line by line. New learners are always welcome.
No Fee for members; non-members fee is $130
Non-Members Register Here
Members Register Here
Friday, October 13 and 20 | 11:00 am | In-Person and Virtual on Zoom
Part 1: How Moses “changed” some of the narratives of his earlier experiences with God and the Jewish people, along with looking at GPS-style geography, spies, battles and food before the people enter the Promised Land.
Part 2: A Deeper Dive into the Decalogue: The Top Ten Commandments- with some focus on the differences between this version and the original version in Exodus.
Member fee $25; non-member fee $35
RABBI DR. JOSEPH S. OZAROWSKI is Rabbinic Counselor and Chaplain for JCFS Chicago. He taught at Spertus Institute and Academy for Jewish Religion (LA). He was president of the Chicago Board of Rabbis and is now president of Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC). Ozarowski has served congregations in Pennsylvania, California, Minnesota, and Long Island. A Board-Certified Chaplain, he served on the JUF Board and on NorthShore HeathCare System’s Ethics Committee. Rabbi Ozarowski’s first book, To Walk in God’s Ways, is considered a standard in Judaism and Pastoral Care.
Thursday, November 2 | 7:15 pm | Virtual on Zoom
Not sure how to connect to the Mystery or the Divine in the world? Perhaps you are seeking an honest conversation about what really matters. Maybe you are seeking to cultivate greater equanimity and gratitude in your life. We will use the prayerbook, poetry, prose, and ourselves as our texts, aiming to deepen our connections and discern meaningful paths in our daily lives. Our tools will include mindfulness practices, journaling, questioning, and conversation.
Thursday, November 9 | 7:00 pm | At the home of Sharon Glazer
Join Sharon in her home for a cooking demonstration of several unique Jewish dishes. 21st century updates without sacrificing tradition.
SHARON GLAZER and her family have been members of Beth Emet for close to 40 years. During that time Sharon has taken and taught many cooking classes offered by the Synagogue. She hopes you’ll join her for a fun and tasty evening.
Tuesday, November 14 | 7:30 pm | In-Person and Virtual on Zoom
A continuing lecture-discussion class on contemporary public issues of interest to Jews as citizens.
No Fee for members, Non-Members Fee: $10.
David Zarefsky is the Owen L. Coon Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies at Northwestern University, specializing in argumentation and the analysis and criticism of American political discourse. He is a former president of the National Communication Association, the Rhetoric Society of America, and the Central States Communication Association. In 2012 he received the Lifetime Teaching Excellence Award from the National Communication Association. David is a past president of Beth Emet.
Sundays, November 19 and December 10 and 17 | 10:00 am | In-Person and Virtual on Zoom
This three-part series will focus on how Beth Emet approaches death and mourning. How do we prepare to die? What responsibilities do we have to someone who is dying? How can we support those who are in mourning? Sessions will feature both resources and discussion. No previous knowledge is required.
Registration can be for a single session or all three.
NISAN CHAVKIN is executive director of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago and previously served as executive director of the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago. He is a founder and member of the Progressive Chevra Kadisha and the Sunday Morning Minyan. He and his wife, Sarah, were married by Rabbi Knobel, and their two daughters attended preschool and celebrated their Kabbalat Mitzvah at Beth Emet. A native of Onondaga County, New York, Nisan is the vice president of Beth Emet and a Bears fan.
Wednesday, January 17 | 7:30 pm | In-Person and Virtual on Zoom
Sunday, February 25 | 10:00 am | In-Person Only
In our Biblical and Rabbinic tradition, what makes a leader? How can a leader have true legitimacy with an active God presence? We will look at various leaders in our history to tease out these questions that are still so relevant for us today.
RABBI MARIANNE NOVAK received her semikha (rabbinic ordination) from Yeshivat Maharat in 2019. Rabbi Novak has been on the faculty of the Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning for over 25 years. She is also on the faculty of the Jewish Learning collab. Rabbi Novak received her B.A. from Barnard College and her J.D. from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. Currently, Rabbi Novak is on the Judaic studies staff at Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School in Hyde Park.
Sunday, April 14 | 10:00 am | In-Person Only
It’s no wonder the poetries and prayer of Judaism — even the liturgical calendar inscribed by an ancient agrarian people — would be punctuated with early and celestial allusion and metaphor. It was through the realm of all creation that humans first came to understand the divine. In this conversation with author Barbara Mahany, we’ll explore the ways this timeless theology — known as The Book of Nature — invites us, especially now, into sacred encounter, opens the door to awe and wonder, and puts urgency to saving this imperiled planet.
BARBARA MAHANY, once a pediatric oncology nurse, was a writer at the Chicago Tribune for nearly thirty years, and is the author of five books. Of her newest title, The Book of Nature: The Astonishing Beauty of God’s First Sacred Text, it’s been written, “if Slowing Time [her first book] was a field guide into the depths of your holiest hours, The Book of Nature is a field guide to the depths of your holiest places.” Barbara lives in Wilmette, along with her husband, the Pulitzer Prize-winning former Chicago Tribune architecture critic, Blair Kamin.
Middot are character traits expressed in our behavior that can impact our relationships. Participants in Beth Emet’s Tikkun Middot groups follow the innovative national program developed by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, built on the Jewish tradition of Mussar, to cultivate moral traits such as patience, compassion, trust, and mindful speech.
Monthly, November- June; Specific days and times to be determined by the participants
The Va’ad focuses on a particular character trait each month, and each session includes meditation, mindfulness practice, study of Jewish and secular texts, and self-reflection. Between sessions, participants work with a chevruta (partner) on specific exercises to explore the internal and external obstacles and opportunities present in each moment in order to access wiser, more wholesome choices. In the words of a congregant participating in Tikkun Middot practice for their fifth year: “It is a blessing in my life and has gently pushed me to review and develop how I connect and interact with others, self, and with God… Learning and practicing Tikkun Middot has been a lifesaver for me. It was the place I turned to when I was confused about how to live in this unusual time.” The group is open to congregants of all ages and interests.
Interested? Contact Marci Dickman
Individuals who wish to prepare for an adult Kabbalat Mitzvah (a more gender inclusive term to refer to B’nai Mitzvah), successfully complete Hebrew 1 and Hebrew 2 or an equivalent learning program. They also study for one or two years in a class about Jewish rituals and customs, values, and texts from Torah.
Please contact Marci Dickman, Director of Lifelong Learning, for additional information.
Hebrew is the language of the Torah and the prayer book, and the universal language of the Jewish people. For many, Hebrew is a gateway to Jewish community and study, empowering us spirituality, intellectually, and socially, and connecting us with people in Israel,
around the world, and fellow learners here at Beth Emet. Now is a good time to learn to read Hebrew or improve the Hebrew skills you already have. Hebrew classes meet weekly during the school year in a supportive and stimulating environment.
(Scholarships are available.) Classes do not meet during Thanksgiving, Winter or Passover breaks.
Sundays, October 15 through Mid-May | 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Can you open a Siddur and participate in the synagogue service? Do you want to read the prayers in Hebrew?
For learners with no or limited Hebrew language background. This class focuses on mastery of the hebrew alphabet in order to read and understand Hebrew words and phrases in the prayer book and modern usage. Hebrew 1 also connects Hebrew vocabulary with Jewish life, ritual, tradition, and Israel. Member fee $250; non-member fee $300 (five-student minimum for this class)
BLUMA STOLLER is a Beth Emet congregant and a graduate of Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. She was the North American Director of Academic Affairs for Tel Aviv University and was the recipient of Hillel International’s Exemplar of Excellence Award for her commitment to social justice and tikkun olam. She has held leadership positions in major Jewish organizations, including Project Otzma and the JCRC of Greater Boston.
October through Mid-May | Class day and time tbd based on participants
Hebrew 2 is for learners seeking more meaningful participation at services. This class provides opportunities to improve your Hebrew reading fluency while exploring the structure, themes, and key Hebrew vocabulary of the Shabbat morning worship service and its individual prayers. Hebrew 2 also includes basic elements of Hebrew grammar. Member fee $250; non-member fee $300 (five-student minimum for this class)
Sundays, October 15 through mid-May| 11:00 am – 12:00 pm (Class time may change when in-person)
Hebrew 3 is for learners able to sound out and print Hebrew words. This class will explore the grammar and vocabulary of modern Hebrew through a variety of reading, writing, and speaking activities. Member fee $250; non-member fee $300 (five-student minimum for this class)
DORIT FLATT is the daughter of Holocaust survivors and grew up in Tel-Aviv, Israel. After completing her IDF service in the paratrooper unit, she studied elementary education at Seminar Levinsky in Tel-Aviv. She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan, and taught Hebrew language, literature, and religious studies in Michigan for twenty-five years.
Beth Emet Adult Programming is supported in part by a generous grant from the David D. Polk and Marian Polk Fried Adult Jewish Studies Fund of the Beth Emet Foundation.
Beth Emet Adult Programming is also supported in part by a generous the Jewish Education: Lifelong Learning Opportunities (JELLO) Fund of the Beth Emet Foundation.
Reach out to Marci Dickman, Director of Lifelong Learning.