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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 Hebrew* with Ilan Vitemberg

WED, FEB 12-APR 1
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.


Continuing Modern Hebrew* with Ilan Vitemberg

WED, FEB 12–APR 1
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.


Advanced Hebrew* with Ilan Vitemberg

TUE, FEB 11–MAR 31
6:45–8 PM
Sliding scale: $240–$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.

Beginning Yiddish with Ken Blady

MON, JAN 13–APR 27
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.


Reading Yiddish Texts with Yael Chaver

MON, JAN 27–APR 27
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.

 

The Spirit of Integrity: A Mussar Study Group with Estelle Frankel

TUE, JAN 21–MAR 17
7:30–9 PM
Sliding Scale: $150-$90 

Mussar, the ancient Jewish practice of character refinement, forms an integral part of Jewish spiritual life. Its aim is to help us actualize our full potential for wholeness and holiness and live with impeccable integrity. In many ways mussar is a form of mentsh training. By cultivating the virtues and soul traits (middot) that make us whole, we fully realize our human and divine nature and fulfill the commandment to “walk in God’s ways.” In this study group we will explore four core virtues using classic and contemporary Jewish sources as well as insights from the field of positive psychology and other spiritual traditions. In addition to text study and group discussion we will use experiential learning modalities including expressive arts, poetry, journaling, and guided meditation. Students are encouraged to meet (by phone or in person) with a chevruta or study-partner in between sessions.

Walking in the Valley of the Shadow, Session 1: The Other Conversation with Samuel J. Salkin

WED, FEB 5
7:30–9 PM
$10

This session will address the best ways to talk with family about personal preferences for final wishes and suggestions on how to navigate scenarios where there might be differing beliefs. Topics include funeral planning, choosing a cemetery, picking a plot for cremains, stillbirths, and interment, financial planning and the money conversation, and issues facing interfaith/intermarried families. HAMAQOM | The Place (formerly Lehrhaus Judaica), the Gamliel Institute, Sinai Memorial Chapel, and the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center present “Walking in the Valley of the Shadow … and Not Being Afraid,” a series of discussions about the challenging issues surrounding death and dying. Sessions focus on advance directives and final wishes; Jewish laws, customs, and traditions concerning the body and burial; the art of comforting the sick and the bereaved; mourning and grieving; and Jewish perspectives on the afterlife. This will be an inclusive environment where people of all ages, sexualities, gender identities, nationalities, ethnicities, and religious backgrounds are invited to join the conversation. We also encourage individuals from the former Soviet Union, Israel, intermarried families, and Jews by choice to attend. Many in our community are “born there and die here,” and differences in customs and manners can be confusing and frustrating, all the more so during times of grief. Participants can register for any class at any location, and can pick and choose any number of sessions. Sessions are $10 each and do not have to be taken in order. Registration is open until the day before the session.

Journey Through Jewish Music with Howard Rachelson

WED, FEB 5–26
7:30–9 PM
Sliding Scale: $72 – $120

Howard Rachelson's multimedia musical voyage through Jewish history, from the time of King David to the current day, is a must-see. Travel through Sephardic, Ladino, Ashkenazi, Klezmer, Yiddish, Chasidic, and Classical music, as well as Yiddish Theater in NYC, Broadway composers, Jewish pop stars, Israeli music stars and world music. Featuring photos, videos, songs and fascinating facts. A feast for your ears and eyes!


Walking in the Valley of the Shadow,  Session 2: Making Choices with Edna J. Stewart

WED, MAR 4
7:30–9 PM
$10

Making Choices: Advance Directives and Final Wishes This session will demystify advance ethical wills, planning, and ethical dilemmas such as extending life, organ donation, genetic testing, abortion, autopsy, stem cell usage, and the differences between a DNR and a POLST. This course also has a practical aspect where actual forms will be examined and explained.


Israel, Judaism, and Jewish Identity: The Avant-Garde Thinking of Rabbi David Hartman with Peretz Wolf-Prusan

MON, MAR 30–APR 27
6:30–8 PM
Sliding Scale: $90-$150

For David Hartman, the rebirth of Israel and our emergence from the Holocaust initiated a new stage in Jewish history: the third stage in the unfolding covenantal drama of the Jewish people. He was vitally and passionately concerned about the issues raised by the contemporary concrete existence of the Jewish people. Among contemporary Jewish philosophers, Hartman is unique in stressing the challenge of the Zionist project and Jewish political sovereignty to Jewish identity in Israel and the Diaspora. He was, at times, a lonely voice in the wilderness of politics and polemics, seeking to ask significant questions, and unafraid of disturbing the status quo. In this five-session seminar we will read and discuss his radical thinking and compelling ideas.

 


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.