We offer many classes at the JCC of the East Bay, on a variety of interesting topics including Yiddish texts, film discussions, current events, and literature. There's always plenty of opportunity to inquire, discuss, debate, and learn together.  Come stop by and join the conversation.


Starting with Ourselves: Anti-Racism "Open Space"

Hosted by Bend the Arc's Racial Justice Team

Are you a Jewish person who has been thinking about racism and how to combat it? These gatherings will be a supportive space to explore experiences and assumptions, in service of contributing to a world free of racism. Come ready to engage in thoughtful and supportive conversations. All questions, concerns, levels of understanding, and varying connections with Judaism welcome.

Bend the Arc is building the power and passion of the progressive Jewish movement in America by bringing together Jews from across the country to advocate and organize for a more just and equal society.

Dates: October 6, November 10, December 1

Time: 7:00- 8:30 pm

Learn More & RSVP: Leili Davari-Bitton:

Global Day of Jewish Learning: Under the Same Sky

Presented in partnership with Kevah

The Global Day of Jewish Learning is an international event that brings the Jewish people together each year to celebrate Jewish texts through community-based learning. Join the JCC, Kevah, and Jews around the world in learning inspired by this year’s theme: “the earth is full of your creations.” We will explore the Jewish meaning in nurturing and nourishment, ecology and the environment, cycles and seasons.

Kevah empowers individuals and organizations to build Jewish learning communities by creating Kevah Groups. Kevah’s commitment to educational excellence, accessibility of sources and principled pluralism enables Jewish adults to take ownership of their Jewish and spiritual lives.

Date: Sunday, November 20



The following classes are presented in collaboration with Lehrhaus Judaica.

Learn more: 510.845.6420 ext. 17

Beginning Modern Hebrew

With Instructor Mira Peretz

We will focus on the four major  language acquisition skills–listening, speaking, reading,  and writing. Students are immersed in everything from classical and Modern Hebrew texts to Israeli music.  Required Text: Hebrew From Scratch. Please purchase the book before the first session.

Mira Peretz began teaching Modern Hebrew and Jewish Studies in 1999 at Tehiyah Day School. Mira’s mission is to instill a strong connection to the rich culture and heritage of Israel through Modern Hebrew. She uses fun activities  like drama, songs, and games to teach her students.

Days: 10 Sessions: Wednesdays, September 28 - December 14 (No class 10/12, 11/23)

Times: 6:30–7:30 pm

Fee: $160 Member/$175 Non-Member


Intermediate Modern Hebrew

With Instructor Mira Peretz

This course is for students who have already learned the Hebrew alphabet and basic vocabulary. We continue to focus on the four major language acquisition skills– listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students are  immersed in Hebrew–from classical and modern texts to Israeli music. Required text: Hebrew From Scratch.  Please purchase the book before the first session.

Days: 10 Sessions: Wednesdays, September 28 - December 14 (No class 10/12, 11/23)

Time: 7:30–8:30 pm

Fee: $160 Member/$175 Non-Member


Beginning Yiddish Part 2

With Instructor Ken Blady

Students with a background in the basics are welcome to join this continuation class. Emphasis will be placed on elementary grammar, reading basic texts, and interactive conversation to develop an ability to form sentences in conversation with Yiddish speakers.

Ken Blady is a Jewish educator, author and translator.  Born in Paris, France, he grew up in Chassidic Brooklyn, where he attended yeshiva and rabbinical seminary. He is the author of Jewish Communities in Exotic Places, among other works and has been featured on a number of radio and television talk shows.

Days: Mondays, September 19 - December 19 (No class 11/21, 10/3, 10/17, 10/24)

Time: 7:00–8:30 pm

Fee: $160 Member/$175 Non-Member


Intermediate Yiddish

With Instructor Ken Blady

This is a continuation class that started meeting in 2012 at the beginning level. New students are welcome but you must already have some background in Yiddish, including knowledge of the alef-beys, or previous coursework in the Yiddish language.

Days: 10 Sessions: Wednesdays, September 21 - December 7  (No class 10/12, 11/23)  

Time: 7:00–8:30 pm

Fee: $160 Member/$175 Non-Member


Reading Yiddish Texts

With Instructor Yael Chaver

rerequisite: Students should have completed at least a year of college-level Yiddish language or the equivalent

Yael Chaver has been an educator and writer in both Israel and Berkeley, and earned her Ph.D. in Yiddish at UC Berkeley, where she currently teaches Yiddish language and literature. She is the author of What Must Be Forgotten: The Survival of Yiddish in Zionist Palestine.

Days: 11 Sessions: Mondays, September 12 - December 12 (No class 10/3, 10/17, 10/24)

Time: 7:15–9:15 pm

Fee: $195 Member/$205 Non-Member


Philosophy Circle: Buber

With Instructor Yosef Rosen

Celebrate the life of Martin Buber, renowned Jewish philosopher and educator after his 50th yahrzeit with readings and discussions from a collection of his essays, “Hasidism and Modern Man.” First published in 1958, this collection examines the life and religious experiences of Hasidic Jews, as well as Buber’s personal response to them. The essays span nearly half a century and reflect the evolution of Buber’s religious philosophy in relation to the Hasidic movement.

Yosef Rosen is a Ph.D. Candidate in Jewish Studies at UC Berkeley and received an M.A in Jewish Thought from The Hebrew University. At Berkeley, he has taught courses on advanced Talmud, Late Antique Judaism, and Kabbalah. He is also an educator with Kevah, where he teaches groups on Jewish theology and mysticism.

Days: 9 Sessions: Thursdays, 10/27, 11/10, 12/01, 12/15, 1/12, 1/26, 2/09, 2/23, 3/09

Time: 7:00-8:30 pm

Fee: $175 if registered by 10/10/ $195 if registered after 10/10


Shedding Light on the Zohar

With Instructor Daniel Matt

Explore the origins of the Zohar and some of the key motifs found in this extraordinary text. In this introductory session to Philosophy Circle: Zohar, students who are new to Zohar study will gain the knowledge to join one of Lehrhaus’s ongoing Bay Area Community Philosophy Circle cohorts. (This is an optional introductory class for those interested in the ongoing Philosophy Circle: Zohar - see below.)

Professor Daniel Matt, one of the world’s leading authorities on Kabbalah, has been featured in Time Magazine, on National Public Radio and on the History Channel. He has published over a dozen books, received a National Jewish Book Award and a Koret Jewish Book Award, and served as professor at the Center for Jewish Studies, Graduate Theological Union for twenty years.

Date: Tuesday, September 6

Time: 7:00-8:30 pm

Fee: $18


Philosophy Circle: Zohar

With Instructor Daniel Matt

Discuss selections from The Zohar: Pritzker Edition, Volume 4 under the leadership of Professor Daniel C. Matt. Matt describes the Zohar as "a challenge to the normal workings of consciousness [that] dares one to examine one's assumptions about tradition, God, and self." In addition to The Zohar: Pritzker Edition, Vol. 4, all students should have A Guide to the Zohar by Dr. Arthur Green.

Days: 9 Sessions: Tuesdays, 11/1, 11/15, 11/29, 12/13, 1/10, 1/24, 2/7, 2/21, 3/7

Time: 7:00-8:30 pm

Fee: $175 if registered by 10/10/ $195 if registered after 10/10

Combine both Philosophy Circles or a Philosophy Circle with a Lehrhaus Judaica Bay Area Community Talmud Circle for a bundled rate of $300 if registered by 10/10. To receive the bundled rate, contact for details.


Degenerate Art and the Jewish Question

With Instructor Rene’e Powell

Examine how visual images have been used as a vehicle to influence our views of social and political ideology from 1918 Weimar Germany to the present post-Holocaust era. Learn how the fascist regime launched a vigorous campaign against modern art as part of Hitler's agenda to systematically attack Jews and explore new insights about the rich cultural history of Judaism. Both live and via full video recording available to registered students.

Rene'e Powell teaches Jewish art at the Center for Art, Religion and Education in Berkeley and has a Master's degree in Jewish Studies.

Days: Thursdays, November 3 - December 15 (No class 11/10, 11/24)

Time: 7:00 - 8:30 pm

Fee: $60 Member/$75 Non-Member


Sephardi Piyyutim, Spirituality, and Movement

With Instructor Rivka Amado

Examine the general structure of piyyutim, liturgical poems recited in Jewish prayer services and life cycle celebrations. Explore the meaning and central themes of classic Sephardic piyyutim and melodies and then sing them together. Finally, combine breath, voice and movement for a holistic spiritual experience that enriches our connection to the divine.

Rivka Amado was born in Holon, Israel, in a Ladino-speaking home, where she learned traditional melodies from her grandmother. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and has taught at Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv Medical School, Stanford, Berkeley, and Princeton.

Day: Tuesday, December 6

Time: 7:00 - 9:00 pm

Fee: $20 Member/$30 Non-MemberWe will read and discuss selections of Yiddish prose and poetry from the 19th and 20th centuries. The class will focus on comprehension, based not only on the lexicon and syntax of the Yiddish language, but also on the cultural contexts in which the texts are embedded.


The following classes are co-sponsored by Berkeley Adult School. Fall semester runs from 9/1-1/27; Winter Break from 12/18-1/2.

Learn more: or call 510.644.6130 

Current Events

With Instructor George Porter

Stay on top of hot-button issues through discussion with this lively group!

Day: Thursdays, August 18 - December 15 (No class 11/24)

Time: 1:00-3:00 pm

Fee: $35 Per semester


Critical Viewing

With Instructor George Porter

Become a more savvy and engaged viewer of all media.

Day: Mondays, August 15-December 12 (No class 9/5, 10/3, 10/17, 10/24, 12/19, 12/26)

Time: 1:15–3:15 pm

Fee: $35 Per semester


Contemporary Film  

With Instructor George Porter

Watch a weekly film with friends on a large screen.  

Stay afterward for a lively discussion. Monthly film schedule is posted at

Day: Wednesdays, August 17-December 14 (No class 10/12, 11/23, 12/21, 12/28

Time: 7:00 pm

Fee: $35 Per semester


Short Stories & Essays

With Instructor George Porter

Develop your critical reading skills. Examine relevant ideas and related personal experiences while reading and  discussing contemporary short works.

Day: Thursdays, August 18 - December 15 (No class 11/24)

Time: 11:00 am–12:00 pm

Fee: $35 Per semester