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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.

 

The following classes are cosponsored by Hamaqom - The Place (formerly Lehrhaus Judaica). To learn more or to register, call 510.845.6420, ext. 17 or visit www.hmqm.org. Please check with instructor for holiday closures.

We encourage students to purchase required texts from Afikomen Judaica (www.afikomen.com), a community partner that plays a substantial role in contributing to the vibrant, diverse, and engaged Bay Area Jewish community. For questions regarding class structure, content, etc., please contact Mia Glossen-Ferguson, Hamaqom Community Engagement and Administrative Coordinator, at mia@hmqm.org, 510.845.6420, ext. 119.

Beginning Modern Hebrew* with Ilan Vitemberg

WED, SEP 11, 18, 25, OCT 2, 16, 23, 30, NOV 6
6:30–7:45 PM
Sliding scale: $250–$144

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.

Ilan Vitemberg holds a degree in theater arts focusing on the use of drama in informal education. For the past 20 years he has been working with children, teens, and adults as both a formal and informal teacher, including teaching Hebrew for Lehrhaus for many years. He is a proud member of the Up a Tree Puppetry duo.


Continuing Modern Hebrew* with Ilan Vitemberg

WED, SEP 11, 18, 25, OCT 2, 16, 23, 30, NOV 6
8–9:15 PM
Sliding scale: $250–$144

In this continuation of our beginning 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.

Ilan Vitemberg holds a degree in theater arts focusing on the use of drama in informal education. For the past 20 years he has been working with children, teens, and adults as both a formal and informal teacher, including teaching Hebrew for Lehrhaus for many years. He is a proud member of the Up a Tree Puppetry duo.


Advanced Modern Hebrew* with Ilan Vitemberg

TUE, OCT 29, NOV 5, 12, 19, DEC 3, 10, 17
8–9:15 PM
Sliding scale: $250–$144

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.

Ilan Vitemberg holds a degree in theater arts focusing on the use of drama in informal education. For the past 20 years he has been working with children, teens, and adults as both a formal and informal teacher, including teaching Hebrew for Lehrhaus for many years. He is a proud member of the Up a Tree Puppetry duo.

Beginning Yiddish with Ken Blady

MON, SEP 16, 23, OCT 7, 28, NOV 4, 11, 18, 25, DEC 2, 9, 16, 23
7–8:30 PM
Sliding scale: $360–$216

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) and 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 basic sentences 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 PG.

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


Reading Yiddish Texts with Yael Chaver

MON, SEP 16, 23, OCT 7, 21, 28, NOV 4, 11, 18, 25, DEC 2, 9, 16
7:15–9:15 PM
Sliding scale: $360–$216

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 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.


Eurovision & Israel with Ilan Vitemberg

TUE, OCT 29, NOV 5, 12, 19, DEC 3, 10
6:30–7:45 PM
Sliding scale: $180–$108

The Eurovision song contest—the single most-watched live TV event in the world—offers a unique lens through which to explore Israeli politics, history, and the national mood. The Israeli government almost fell three times because of controversy over Eurovision.
Over seven sessions, we’ll explore “behind the scenes” of Eurovision and ultimately get a better understanding of the story of Israel.

Ilan Vitemberg holds a degree in theater arts focusing on the use of drama in informal education. For the past 20 years he has been working with children, teens, and adults as both a formal and informal teacher, including teaching Hebrew for Lehrhaus for many years. He is a proud member of the Up a Tree Puppetry duo.

 

Hamaqom - The Place Talmud Circle: Tractate Ta’anit–What Do We Know and How Do We Know It?
with Rabbi Dorothy Richman

SUN, SEP 15, OCT 27, NOV 17*, DEC 15, JAN 12, FEB 9, MAR 8, APR 19, MAY 3, JUN 7
9–11 AM
Cost: Sliding scale: $315, $252, $189
JCC East Bay, Berkeley branch (*at Hamaqom - The Place [formerly Lehrhaus Judaica])

The Talmud raises questions about “Holy Men” pronouncing the “meaning” of a disaster. This narrative section of the Talmud, in the words of Julia Watts Belser, “overturns expected hierarchies of gender, piety, and social status to challenge the theological significance of hunger, suffering, and abundance.” She writes, “These narratives blunt the moral condemnation inherent in disaster–and suggest that blessing often lies beneath the surface of apparent misfortune.” Ahead of Viktor Frankl, who taught, “When
we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves,” the Talmud asserts that an interpretation of events exercises a powerful influence over experience.

Required text: The Koren Talmud Bavli Noé, Vol.12: Ta’anit/Megilla, Hebrew/English, print (several versions) or PDF.

If you have questions, please contact Tamar Zaken at tamar@hmqm.org or 510.845.6420.


The following classes are cosponsored by Berkeley Adult School. For more information or to register, visit bas.berkeley.net or call 510.644.6130. Please check with instructor for holiday closures.
The Berkeley Adult School fall semester is AUG 26–JAN 24.


Critical Viewing with George Porter

MON, 1:15–3:15 PM

Become a more engaged and savvy viewer of all media—from acclaimed documentaries and dramas to YouTube videos and TED Talks.

George Porter, MA, is a credentialed teacher who has offered classes through Berkeley Adult School since 2001. His classes focus on the intersection of art, politics, and the social sciences.


Contemporary Film with George Porter

WED, 7–10 PM

Watch (or rewatch) a weekly film with friends on a large screen. Stay afterward for a lively discussion focused on both content and craft.

George Porter, MA, is a credentialed teacher who has offered classes through Berkeley Adult School since 2001. His classes focus on the intersection of art, politics, and the social sciences.


Short Stories & Essays with George Porter

THU, 11 AM–12 PM

Develop your critical reading skills. Examine relevant ideas and related personal experiences while reading and discussing contemporary short works. Copies of texts provided to students.

George Porter, MA, is a credentialed teacher who has offered classes through Berkeley Adult School since 2001. His classes focus on the intersection of art, politics, and the social sciences.


Current Events with George Porter

THU, 1–3 PM

A discussion group aimed at keeping all involved on top of the current “hot-button” issues.

George Porter, MA, is a credentialed teacher who has offered classes through Berkeley Adult School since 2001. His classes focus on the intersection of art, politics, and the social sciences.

 

*Required text: Hebrew from Scratch, available at Afikomen Judaica.