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.

 

Joy of Jewish Dance
With Bruce Bierman

March 1, 8, 15, 22, 7-8:30 PM
Fee: $15/session

To sign up for this class contact Bruce at jewishdance@yahoo.com

Jewish dance has been creating cIrcles of joyful community since the prophetess Miriam first broke out with timbrels and dance. Join Jewish dance maven, Bruce Bierman, and discover the rejuvenating energy packed into this ancient dance form. Styling, gestures and footwork will be articulated with great care with an eye on the deeper meanings behind each expression. Some of the genres covered will be: Yemenite, Hasidic, Klezmer and Classic Israeli, Participants will also experience meditative warm-up stretches based on the shapes and deeper healing messages of the Hebrew letters. No dance experience necessary. All ages and backgrounds welcome. Please wear comfortable shoes and attire.

Bruce Bierman is a versatile theater artist and arts educator with a passion for world culture, music and dance. Bruce returned to his own roots a decade ago to study Jewish ritual performance with an emphasis on Jewish dance and it’s original ecstatic sources. Bruce studied with some of the great Jewish dance masters including: Felix Fibich , Margalit Ovid, Steve Weintraub, Deborah Strauss and Dani Dassa. After graduating from U.C. Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Theater Arts, he performed and taught with the acclaimed Aman Folk Dance Ensemble and is now one of the leading Yiddish dance masters on the West Coast. Bruce has served as artist- in- residence at Congregation Sherith Israel’s religious school since 2006 and is a member of the teaching faculty at the Stagebridge Theater Company in Oakland.

 

The following classes are cosponsored by Lehrhaus Judaica. To learn more or register, visit www.lehrhaus.org or call 510.845.6420, ext. 17.

Beginning Modern Hebrew
With Ilan Vitemberg

Thursdays: March 8-May 10, 6:45-7:45 PM
Fee: $160 Member / $175 Non-Member 

In this class, 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 this book at Afikomen Judaica before the first session. Afikomen is a community partner and plays a substantial role in contributing the vibrant, diverse and engaged Bay Area Jewish community. We encourage you to purchase your course materials from them.

Ilan Vitemberg holds a degree in Theatre Arts focusing on the use of drama in Informal Education. He has taught children, teens and adults for 20 years and is a proud member of the Up A Tree Puppetry Duo.

Register now.

 

Intermediate Modern Hebrew
With Ilan Vitemberg

Thursdays, March 8-May 1-, 8-9 PM
Fee: $160 Member / $175 Non-Member

A continuation of our beginning class, intended for students who have already learned the Hebrew alphabet and basic vocabulary. 

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

Ilan Vitemberg holds a degree in Theatre Arts focusing on the use of drama in Informal Education. He has taught children, teens and adults for 20 years and is a proud member of the Up A Tree Puppetry duo. 

Register now.

 

Beginning Yiddish
With Ken Blady

Mondays: February 5-May 7, 7-8:30 PM (No class February 19 or April 2)
Fee: $160 Member / $175 Non-Member

Learn this rich and colorful language in a relaxed, irreverent, and heimisheh (homey) atmosphere. All you need is an ardent desire to learn, an interest in Jewish culture, and an ability tzu veren tzeshussen fahr gelechter (to crack up). We will emphasize learning the alef beis and elementary grammar, reading basic texts, and holding conversations (almost) entirely in Yiddish.

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

Ken Blady is a Jewish educator, author, and translator. He is the author of Jewish Communities in Exotic Places, among other work, and has been featured on a number of radio and TV talk shows.

Register now.

 

Intermediate Yiddish
With Ken Blady 

Wednesdays: January 24-March 28, 7-8:30 PM
Wednesdays, April 18-June 20, 7-8:30 PM
Fee: $160 Member / $175 Non-Member

A continuation of our beginning class. New students are welcome with some background in Yiddish, including knowledge of the alef beis.

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

Ken Blady is a Jewish educator, author, and translator. He is the author of Jewish Communities in Exotic Places, among other work, and has been featured on a number of radio and TV talk shows.

Register now (Winter)

Register now (Spring)

 

The Bay Area Community Talmud Circle
With Rabbi Dorothy Richman

Dates: Sundays, January 7, February 4, March 4, April 15, May 6, June 10, 9-11 AM
Fee: $195

This is a continuation from a 2017 class.

The Bay Area Community Talmud Circle is a growing, dynamic, and welcoming community of adult students engaged in modern Talmud study and active conversation. This unique project is a collaboration of Lehrhaus Judaica and The Aleph Society of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, hailed by Time magazine as a “once-in-a- millennium scholar.” 

Newcomers to Talmud study should complete the two-part preliminary class “A Taste of Talmud.” Talmud Circle students use the Koren Talmud Bavli, Berakhot, available in various print and digital editions. 

Rabbi Dorothy Richman teaches Torah throughout the Bay Area. Formerly a rabbi at congregations Sha’ar Zahav and Beth Shalom in San Francisco, she also worked for several years at Berkeley Hillel. She is active in Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice.

Register now.

 

Lehrhaus Philosophy Circle: The Zohar

With Daniel Matt

Tuesdays: January 9, 23; February 6, 20; March 6, 7-8:30 PM 
Fee: $195

This is a continuation from a 2017 class.

Now in its third year, our Philosophy Circle will discuss selections from Vol. 4 of The Zohar: Pritzker Edition, using Professor Matt’s own translation and annotation. 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, students should have A Guide to the Zohar by Dr. Arthur Green.

Daniel Matt has been featured in Time magazine and has appeared on NPR and the History Channel. He has published over a dozen books, including his National Jewish Book Award–winning translation of the Zohar. He has taught at the Graduate Theological Union, Stanford, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

For registration, email Abra Greenspan at abra@lehrhaus.org.

 

Lehrhaus Philosophy Circle: Heschel and Social Justice
With Yosef Rosen

Part 2: January 25, February 1, 8, 15, 7-8:30 PM
Part 3: March 8, 15, 22, 29, 7-8:30 PM
Fee: $250 

Spiritual leader. Scholar. Philosopher. Social activist. Eighty years ago, Abraham Joshua Heschel was appointed by Martin Buber to be the co-director of the Central Organization for Adult Jewish Education and Judishces Lehrhaus. Today, we carry on that legacy. In honor of Heschel’s contributions to Jewish learning, Lehrhaus presents a three-part course on social justice. Part one will cover “Foundations,” part two “Heschel as Religious Activist,” and part three “Moral Outrage, War, and Economics.”

Yosef Rosen is an historian and teacher of Jewish creativity. His classes weave together the imaginative and social dimensions of Jewish creative genres Kabbalah, Talmud, philosophy, and poetry. He has a PhD in Jewish studies from UC Berkeley.

Register now.

 

Reading Yiddish Texts
With Yael Chaver

Mondays: January 22-May 14, 7:15-9:15 PM
Fee: $205 Member / $220 Non-Member

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. 

Prerequisite: at least one year of college-level Yiddish language or the equivalent.

Yael Chaver has been an educator and writer in Israel and Berkeley. She earned her PhD 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.

Register now.

 

Exploring the Hamsa: A Hands on Workshop
With Claire Sherman

Sunday, March 4, 2-5 PM 
Fee: $18 Member / $36 Non-Member

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 a challah cover. Materials fee of $5 to instructor on the day of the class.

In addition to her work as an artist of Jewish ritual objects and quilts, Claire Sherman is a teacher, lay cantor, and one of the founders of congregation Netivot Shalom. She has a BFA in ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design. She is currently one of the dance teachers at Café Simcha in Kensington.

Register now. 

 

 


 

The following classes are co-sponsored by Berkeley Adult School. For more information or to register, visit bas.berkeley.net or call 510.644.6130.  

Current Events
With Instructor George Porter

Thursdays, 1-3 PM
Fee: $35 Per semester

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

Critical Viewing
With Instructor George Porter

Mondays, 1:15–3:15 PM (Please check with instructor for holiday closures)
Fee: $35 Per semester

Become a more savvy and engaged viewer of all media. 

Contemporary Film  
With Instructor George Porter

Wednesdays, 7 PM (Please check with instructor for holiday closures)
Fee: $35 Per semester

Watch a weekly film with friends on a large screen. Stay afterward for a lively discussion. 

Short Stories & Essays
With Instructor George Porter

Day: Thursdays, 11 AM-12 PM (Please check with instructor for holiday closures)
Fee: $35 Per semester

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