Classes

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.

 

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: March 2, April 6, May 4, June 1

Time: 7:00- 9:00 pm

Fee: Free

Learn More & RSVP: Leili Davari-Bitton: ldavari@bendthearc.us

 

The following classes are presented in collaboration with Lehrhaus Judaica.

Learn more: 510.845.6420 ext. 10 or lehrhaus.org


Beginning Modern Hebrew

With Instructor Mira Peretz

This class is a continuation from the fall semester. We will focus on the four major second language acquisition skills - listening, speaking, reading and writing - by immersing students in everything from classical and Modern Hebrew texts to Israeli music.

Required text: Hebrew From Scratch. Please purchase the book at Afikomen Judaica before the first session. Afikomen is a community partner and plays a substantial role in contributing to the vibrant, diverse and engaged Bay Area Jewish community. We encourage you to purchase your course materials from them.

Mira Peretz began teaching Modern Hebrew and Jewish Studies in 1999 at Tehiyah Day School. Mira views her mission as to instill a strong connection to the rich culture and heritage of Israel through the Modern Hebrew language; and to teach students by using fun activities like drama, songs, and games. Prior to working at Tehiyah day School, Mira spent 6 years teaching Biology in an Israeli high school and five years teaching Hebrew in San Francisco. Mira received her B.Sc., Cum Laude, in Biology and teaching certificate for Secondary Schools from The Technion University in Israel.

Days: 10 Sessions: Wednesdays, February 15 - May 3 (No class 4/12)

Times: 6:30–7:30 pm

Fee: $160 Member/$175 Non-Member

Register Now!

 

Intermediate Modern Hebrew

With Instructor Mira Peretz

This course is for students who have already learned the Hebrew alphabet and basic vocabulary. We will focus on the four major second language acquisition skills– listening, speaking, reading, and writing - by immersing students in everything from classical and Modern Hebrew texts to Israeli music.

Required text: Hebrew From Scratch. Please purchase the book at Afikomen Judaica before the first session. Afikomen is a community partner and plays a substantial role in contributing to the vibrant, diverse and engaged Bay Area Jewish community. We encourage you to purchase your course materials from them.

Days: 10 Sessions: Wednesdays, February 22 - May 3 (No class 4/12)

Time: 7:30–8:30 pm

Fee: $160 Member/$175 Non-Member

Register Now!

 

Beginning Yiddish From Scratch

With Instructor Ken Blady

Learn this rich and colorful language in a relaxed, irreverent and heimisheh atmosphere. All you need is some zitz-fleish (butt + patience), an ardent desire to learn, an interest in Jewish culture, and an ability tzu veren tzeshussen fahr gelechter (to crack up).

Stress in this class will be placed on learning the alef beis (print and script), elementary grammar, and reading basic texts. Emphasis will be placed on interactive conversation among students (almost) entirely in Yiddish in order to develop the ability to form sentences for basic needs when conversing with Yiddish speakers.

The instructor will include salient aspects of the history and evolution of Yiddish as grist for conversation. Students will also master 60 Yiddish shprekhverter (expressions) and vitzlekh (witticisms), some rated GP.

Potential new students are welcome to sit in on the first session.

Ken Blady is a Jewish educator, author and translator of seven works from Yiddish.  Born in Paris, France, he grew up in Chassidic Brooklyn, where he attended yeshiva and rabbinical seminary. A San Francisco Bay Area resident since 1972, Ken has a B.A. in History from the University of California at Berkeley, and an M.A. in Clinical Counseling from California State University, East Bay. He is the author of "Jewish Communities in Exotic Places," among other works. Ken has been featured on a number of radio and T.V. talk shows, including The History Channel documentary, "Operation Magic Carpet," about the airlift of the Jews of Yemen to Israel.

Days: Mondays, January 23 - April 3 (No class 2/20)

Time: 7:00–8:30 pm

Fee: $160 Member/$175 Non-Member

Register Now! 

 

Intermediate Yiddish (Winter)

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, January 25 - March 29  

Time: 7:00–8:30 pm

Fee: $160 Member/$175 Non-Member

Register Now!

 

Intermediate Yiddish (Spring)

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: 8 Sessions: Wednesdays, April 26 - June 21 (No class 5/31)  

Time: 7:00–8:30 pm

Fee: $130 Member/$140 Non-Member

Register Now!

 

Reading Yiddish Texts

With Instructor Yael Chaver

In this course, we 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. Given the relatively late prevalence of standardized spelling in Yiddish, some texts will be studied in their 19th and early 20th-century versions to provide practice and develop confidence in decoding non-standard orthography.

Prerequisite: 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: 14 Sessions: Mondays, January 23 - May 15 (No class 2/20, 4/10, 4/17)

Time: 7:15–9:15 pm

Fee: $225 Member/$240 Non-Member

Register Now!

 

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

 

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

 

Beginning Israeli Folk Dance 

With Instructor Claire Sherman

We will learn a variety of classic, easy to follow Israeli folk dances, including both circle and line dances. Some of the folklore and meaning of the titles and the words of the music will be included. No prior knowledge is necessary. This class is open to all, including adults, teens, and children ages ten and up with their parents.

Claire Sherman is a teacher, lay cantor, and one of the founders of congregation Netivot Shalom, in addition to her work as an artist of Jewish ritual objects and quilts. As a college student at the Rhode Island School of Design, Claire taught Israeli dance at the Brown-RISD Hillel and co-directed its performing group. She is currently one of the dance teachers at Cafe Simcha in Kensington. Claire was one of the first to bring the Tu B'shvat Seder to the Bay Area in 1982, after attending one in Jerusalem. Rabbi Leah Novik has called Claire the "Tu B'Shvat Rebbe," because of Claire's love for this holiday.

Day: Sunday, March 19

Time: 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Fee: $18 Member/$36 Non-Member

Register Now!

 

 

Revealing Texts: How Faith Communities Interpret Abortion 

Our series Revealing Texts will look at sociopolitical debates through the interpretations of different faith communities' texts. In "Revealing Texts: How Faith Communities Interpret Abortion," we'll hear Jewish, Christian, and Islamic scholars sharing their faith communities texts. Ameena Jandali will share Islamic texts, Jim McGarry will share Catholic texts, and Deena Aranoff will share Hebrew and Rabbinic literature. We will learn how their traditions interpret these writings to create a world view on abortion. Join us for a Lehrhaus dialogue: No debate, all dialogue; no proof texting, all discovery.

This is a collaborative project of Lehrhaus Judaica and the Graduate Theological Union, with support from the Compton Foundation. Community sponsors include the JCC East Bay and Temple Sinai, Oakland.

This program is in association with the Berkeley Rep's production of Roe at the Berkeley Repertory Theater March 3 to April 2.

Deena Aranoff is assistant professor of medieval Jewish studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. Her interests include rabbinic literature, medieval patters of Jewish thought, and the broader question of continuity and change in Jewish history. Deena is also a community educator and teaches Bible, rabbinics, and Jewish mysticism in a variety of adult education programs.

Ameena Jandali is a Content Director and a founding member of Islamic Networks Group (ING). She co-designs and develop's ING's educational presentations and cultural competency seminars. Ameena has delivered hundreds of presentations in schools, colleges, universities, churches, and other venues on Islam and related subjects. She has also appeared on many news outlets speaking on issues relating to American Muslims.

Jim McGarry is a long-time educator in Religious Studies specializing in Ethics, Social Justice, and Holocaust Studies. He currently works at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont where he is the Director of The Sr. Dorothy Stang Center for Social Justice and Community Engagement. His is the founder of the Helen and Joe Farkas Center for the Study of the Holocaust in Catholic Schools at Mercy High School at Mercy High School, San Francisco.

Day: Wednesday, March 22

Time: 7:00 - 8:30 pm

Location: David Brower Center

Fee: $10

Register Now!

 

 

Exploring the Hamsa: A Hands-On Workshop 

With Instructor Claire Sherman

A hamsa is a stylized hand for protection against the "evil eye," frequently worn as jewelry. Made by both Jews and Muslims, it is found all over the Middle East, but is older than either religion. Come learn about the folklore of hamsas and Jewish amulets, as we make them out of paper or fabric. The basics of paper-cutting, a traditional Jewish folk art, will also be taught. No artistic talent is required to make stunning hamsa designs. The finished papercut hamsa can be framed, to hang on the wall, and a fabric hamsa can become a wall hanging or challah cover.

Day: Sunday, April 23

Time: 2:00 - 5:00 pm

Fee: $18 Member/$36 Non-Member

Register Now!

 

 

Germans, Jews, and the Power of Art

With Instructor Rene'e Powell

This class will examine how art has been used to influence social and political ideology, focusing on Weimar Germany beginning in 1918 and culminating in the present post-holocaust era. We will analyze both visual and literary interpretations of artwork with the intention of finding new insights about the rich cultural history of Judaism. We'll also examine how the fascist regime launched a vigorous campaign against modern art as part of Hitler's agenda to systematically attach Jews and Jewish culture.

This course will be available to registered students via Adobe Connect distance learning software at no extra charge, both live and via full video recording. Students may attend live in the classroom, live online, or anytime via recording.

Rene'e Powell completed her master's degree in Jewish studies in 2010. As part of her thesis project she had a solo exhibition entitled Echoes and Fragments, which expressed her personal reflection on the Holocaust. She teaches Jewish art at the Center for Art, Religion, and Education in Berkeley.

Day: Tuesdays, May 2, 9, 16

Time: 7:00 - 8:30 pm

Fee: $40 Member/$50 Non-Member

Register Now!


 

The Troubled Birth of Monotheism (Online Only)

3,370 years ago (give or take) marks the birth moment of the first one-god faith: Akhenaten's Atenism. It failed, but the second attempt ultimately gave birth to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. While Akhenaten leaves not a ripple in the sacred texts of today's monotheistic faiths, Moses is part of the bedrock.

Our course will explore the lives (and myths) surrounding both characters and introduce the two very different worlds in which they lived. It will also visit Alexandria around 300 BCE to discover how Akhenaten's faded memory may have fueled both hatred of Moses, and the Jews living there.

This is an online-only course provided through Adobe Connect distance learning services. You may view and participate in the sessions live online, or watch anytime through full video recording.

Dates: Wednesday, May 24, 31, June 7

Time: 7:00-8:30 pm

Fee: $45 Public/$35 Seniors and Students

Register Now!

 

Spring Festival of Learning

Lehrhaus and Urban Adamah present a day of learning and celebration on the farm with keynote speaker David Ingber and a musical performance by Kugelplex.

In the afternoon, workshops and classes will be offered by local leaders and teachers. There will be food and fun farm activities for all ages to enjoy. The evening will be full of lively music from local band Kugelplex, as well as beer and delicious pizza available for purchase made in our very own cob oven.

Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Childcare available in the afternoon for an extra fee.

Date: Sunday, May 14

Time: 1:00 - 7:30pm

Fee: $10 in advance, $15 at the door

Click for Info

 

 

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: www.bas.berkeley.net 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, January 5 - June 29 (Please check with instructor for holiday closures)

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, January 9 - June 26 (No class 1/16, 2/20, 4/17, 5/29)

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 www.jcceastbay.org/wednesday-films

Day: Wednesdays, January 4 - June 28 (No class 5/31)

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, January 5 - June 29 (Please check with instructor for holiday closures)

Time: 11:00 am–12:00 pm

Fee: $35 Per semester