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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.  First-timers welcome! 

 

FALL 2016 SCHEDULE:

 

Philosophy Circle: Buber

Date: 9 Sessions: Thursdays (every 2 weeks), October 27 – March 9  (no class on 11/24 and 12/29)

Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm

Location: Berkeley Branch

Instructor: Yosef Rosen


We celebrate the life of the renowned Jewish philosopher and educator after his 50th yahrzeit with readings and discussions from Hasidism and Modern Man. First published in 1958, this collection of essays examines the life and religious experiences of Hasidic Jews, as well as Buber’s personal response to them.  From the autobiographical “My Way to Hasidism,” to “Hasidism and Modern Man,” and “Love of God and Love of Neighbor,” the essays span nearly half a century and reflect the evolution of Buber’s religious philosophy in relation to the Hasidic movement.Hasidism and Modern Man remains prescient in its portrayal of a spiritual movement that brings God down to earth and makes possible a modern philosophy in which the human being becomes sacred.  This edition has a new introduction by David Biale, a founding Lehrhaus teacher.

In partnership with Lehrhaus Judaica.

 

WINTER/SPRING 2016 SCHEDULE: 

 

Beginning Modern Hebrew 1B

Date: 10 Sessions: Wednesdays, March 2 – May 11 (no class on 4/27)

Time: 6:30 – 7:30 pm

Location: Berkeley Branch

Fees: $160 JCC Member / $175 Non-Member

Register Here

Instructor: Mira Peretz


This class is a continuation from the fall semester (Beginning Hebrew 1A). 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.

In partnership with Lehrhaus Judaica.

 

Intermediate Modern Hebrew 2B

Date: 10 Sessions: Wednesdays, March 2 – May 11 (no class on 4/27)

Time: 7:30 – 8:30 pm

Location: Berkeley Branch

Fees: $160 JCC Member / $175 Non-Member

Register Here

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.

In partnership with Lehrhaus Judaica.

 

Beginning Yiddish 1B, A Lek (lick) and a Shmek (taste) of Yiddish

Dates: Winter - 10 Sessions: Mondays, January 25 - April 18 (no class 2/15, 2/22, 3/21)
Spring - 7 Sessions: Mondays, May 2 - June 27 (no class 4/25, 5/30, 6/13)

Time: 7:00 - 8:30 pm

Location: Berkeley Branch

Fees: $160 JCC Member / $175 Non-Member

Register Here - Winter 

Register Here - Spring

Instructor: Ken Blady


This class is a continuation from the fall semester, Beginning Yiddish 1A. Learn this rich and colorful language in a relaxed, irreverent, and heimish atmosphere. All you need is 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).

In partnership with Lehrhaus Judaica.

 

Intermediate Yiddish

Dates: Winter - 10 Sessions: Wednesdays, January 27 - April 6 (no class 3/23)
Spring - 10 Sessions: Wednesdays, May 4 - July 6

Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm

Location: Berkeley Branch

Fees: $160 JCC Member / $175 Non-Member

Register Here - Winter 

Register Here - Spring

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.

In partnership with Lehrhaus Judaica.

 

Reading Yiddish Texts

Dates: 14 Sessions: Mondays, January 25 - May 2 (no class 2/15)

Time: 7:15 - 9:15 pm

Location: Berkeley Branch

Fees:  $225 JCC Member / $240 Non-Member 

Register Here

Instructor: Yael Chaver


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

In partnership with Lehrhaus Judaica.

Lost Goddess: The Life and Death of the Divine Feminine in the Biblical World

Date: 4 Sessions: Thursdays, March 17 - April 21 (no class on 3/24, 4/7)

Please note: 4/14 missed class is rescheduled for 4/28

Time: 7:00 - 8:30 pm

Location: Berkeley Branch

Fees: $40 Member / $50 Non-Member

Register Here

Instructor: Jehon Grist


Like it or not, most of us consciously or unconsciously think of God as "He". But scanning through the ancient religious lives of Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Hittites, Canaanites, and Israelites, we see a generous number of goddesses. Who were they and what can we learn about them? This course will explore and answer these and other related questions.

In partnership with Lehrhaus Judaica.

 

The Sephardic Experience

Date: 4 Sessions: Tuesdays, February 9 - March 8 (no class on 2/23)

Time: 7:00 - 8:30 pm

Location: Berkeley Branch

Fees: $40 Member / $50 Non-Member (discount available when you register for both classes, Sephardic Experience and Ladino Songs)

Register Here

Instructor: Rivka Amado


The Sephardim (Jews from Spain) lived and flourished in Spain for almost two millennia. Jewish life in Spain came to a crashing end in 1492, after Moslem rulers were defeated and pushed across the Sea to North Africa, and the new Christian rulers issued an edict forcing Jews to convert or depart. This course explores the life of the Sephardim in the Golden Age of Spain, their history, their music, and their poetry. The class will also learn some songs in Ladino, the Sephardic language. Course materials include songs, poetry, documentary films, and sections of biographies of both distinguished and ordinary Sephardic figures.

In partnership with Lehrhaus Judaica.

 

Poetics of Midrash

THIS CLASS HAS BEEN CANCELLED

Date: 4 Sessions, Wednesdays, May 4-25

Time: 7:30 - 9:00 pm

Location: Berkeley Branch

Fees: $40 Member / $50 Non-Member

Register Here

Instructor: Jake Marmer


In this workshop we will explore the most ancient of Jewish arts, midrash-making. Traditionally, midrash is a witty, mystical, and wildly imaginative interpretation of the biblical texts. Contemporary midrash appropriates innovative forms of poetry and fiction, and pushes the envelope of meaning all the way to the post-modern door of transcendence. This four-part series presents four different biblical narratives. Each workshop will include a close reading of a short biblical text, along with traditional midrashim, and culminates with an in-class creative writing session. No previous writing (or midrash) experience necessary!

In partnership with Lehrhaus Judaica.

 

The Kings and Queens of Israel: Studies in Triumph and Tragedy*

Date: 3 Sessions, Wednesdays, June 29 - July 13

Time: 7:00 - 8:30 pm 

Location: Berkeley Branch

Fees: $40 Member/ $50 Non-Member / $35 Seniors and Students 

Register Here

Instructor: Jehon Grist 

Thanks to recent discoveries in archaeology and ancient text research, we know far more about Israel's monarchs than we did just ten years ago. Our course will integrate Biblical scripture, excavation finds, and Near Eastern texts to let students time travel to the world of David and Solomon (and their queens), the not-so-infamous Ahab (and Jezebel), and the foolhardy but courageous Hezekiah.

*Note: This class is one of a two-part series, Ancient Leaders: Men and Women Who Made A Difference. This summer, explore the kings and queens of the ancient world. Register for both courses at a reduced rate ($60 Member/ $80 Non-Member / $55 Seniors and Students). The other class, Women and Power in Josephus: The Hasmonean Queen Shelamzion, is being held at Lerhaus Judaica in Berkeley. Details below. 

Women and Power in Josephus: The Hasmonean Queen Shelamzion

Date: 3 Sessions, Wednesdays, June 1 - June 15

Time: 7:00 - 8:30 pm 

Location: Lerhaus Judaica 

Fees: $40 Member/ $50 Non-Member / $35 Seniors and Students 

Register Here

Instructor: Ashley Bacchi, Ph.D.

This course centers on the Hasmonean Queen Shelamzion and explores the different ways she is represented in Josephus and how that shapes our perception of her as a leader. Josephus' portrayal of Queen Shelamzion Alexandra who reigned from 75-67 BCE shifts in his Jewish Antiquities, which will be discussed in light of Roman trends in depicting women and power. This course will introduce feminist theory as a framework to help guide us through the world behind the text. Placing Queen Shelamzion's reign within the context of other Hellenistic queens helps contextualize these depictions and problematize modern conceptions of women and power in the ancient world.

In partnership with Lehrhaus Judaica.

 

The following classes are co-sponsored by Berkeley Adult School. Please register at bas.berkeley.net or call 510.644.6130.
 

Critical Viewing

Day: Mondays

Time: 1:15-3:15 pm

Location: Berkeley Branch

Fee: $35 Per semester

Instructor: George Porter


Become a more savvy and engaged viewer of all media.

 

Contemporary Film (Previously New to DVD)

Day: Wednesdays

Time: 7:00 pm

Fee: $35 Per semester

Instructor: George Porter


Watch a weekly film with friends on a large screen. Stay afterward for lively discussion led by media expert George Porter.

 

Short Stories & Essays

Day: Thursdays 

Time: 11:00 am - 12: 00 pm

Location: Berkeley Branch

Fee: $35 Per semester

Instructor: George Porter


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

 

Current Events

Date: Thursdays, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Location: Berkeley Branch

Fee: $35/semester, drop-in visitors are welcome.

Instructor: George Porter


This lively discussion group will keep you on top of current hot button issues. Diverse points of view are encouraged and respected. Explore social, political, and economic issues in the news around the world.

 

About the Instructors

Mira Peretz
Mira Peretz began teaching Modern Hebrew and Jewish Studies in1999 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.

Ken Blady
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.

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

Jehon Grist, Ph.D.
Jehon is the Exeutive Director of Lehrhaus Judaica. He earned his doctorate in Near Eastern Studies from UC Berkeley, where he was a Regents' Fellow. He has conducted field research in Israel, the Gaza Strip, and the Valley of the Queens in southern Egypt.

Rivka Amado
Born in Holon, Israel, Rivka grew up in a Ladino speaking home, where she learned traditional melodies from her grandmother. She earned her PhD from the University of Toronto in 1990, held post-doctoral fellowships in medical ethics at the Hastings Center and Hebrew University, and has published widely in medical ethics and related fields. She received awards for her scholarship and teaching and has taught at Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv Medical School, Stanford, Berkeley, and Princeton. She moved to the Bay Area in 2004. 

Mark Levy
Mark has performed and taught at Lehrhaus Judaica, Workmen’s Circle, and other Bay Area Jewish organizations for 25 years. He is a singer and lecturer. He specializes in Jewish music history with particular expertise in older Judaic folk music (in Yiddish and Ladino) and Klezmer history and theory

Jake Marmer
A poet, performer, and educator, Jake’s first record, “Hermeneutic Stomp” in 2013, was hailed as a “thought-provoking debut” in All About Jazz. His poetry collection, Jazz Talmud, was published in 2012. For more information, see jakemarmer.wordpress.com

Shaina Hammerman 
Hammerman holds a Ph.D. in Jewish History and Culture from the Graduate Theological Union. She has taught courses on Jewish film, literature, religion, and cultural history at UC Davis, Mills College, and the GTU. Learn more about Dr. Shaina Hammerman at shainahammerman.com