Schedule of Rabbi David's adult education classes for 5772/2011-12

As I mentioned in my previous adult education blog post, I plan this year to lead two year-long courses:  A basic Hebrew course for those with no prior background, and a Talmud study group focusing on chapter nine (the concluding chapter) of Masechet Berachot (Tractate on Blessings) from the Babylonian Talmud.  That chapter discusses various special blessings that can be made, such as upon coming across a place where a miracle was performed, or upon seeing thunder or lightning or a rainbow.  But we'll quickly see that Talmud study is an end in itself with many twists and turns, not just a search for specific answers to specific questions.

For each of the following dates, the beginning Hebrew class is scheduled for 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. and the Talmud study group would meet from 7:10 to 8:10 p.m.  Here are the class dates (Please note that classes in November and December include some Tuesday sessions and some Thursday sessions but that, come 2012, all remaining class sessions fall on Thursdays): 

  1. Tues. 11/8 (Election Day – Please vote before coming to class!)
  2. Thurs. 11/17
  3. Tues. 11/22
  4. Thurs. 12/1
  5. Tues. 12/6
  6. Tues. 12/13 
  7. Thurs. 1/5
  8. Thurs. 1/19
  9. Thurs. 2/2
  10. Thurs. 2/16
  11. Thurs. 3/1
  12. Thurs. 3/15
  13. Thurs. 3/29
  14. Thurs. 4/26
  15. Thurs. 5/3
  16. Thurs. 5/17
  17. Thurs. 5/31

For the Hebrew class, we will be using the textbook "Aleph Isn't Tough" by Linda Motzkin, published by URJ Press.  Copies can be purchased through the Temple office or directly from the publisher at the following link: .  I'll also add a link to this book in the "Shop" section of the Temple Israel website.  While the Hebrew class will focus on "decoding" (i.e., simply being able to sound out the Hebrew words without the assistance of transliteration), we will also cover some basics of translation and grammar.

For the Talmud study group, we will use the so-called "Schottenstein Edition" published by ArtScroll, which enables us to study it in English, but with easy access to the Hebrew/Aramaic original text for those who have some Hebrew background.  Please purchase Tractate Berachos, Part II.  NOTE:  YOU DO NOT NEED TO KNOW ANY HEBREW OR ARAMAIC TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS STUDY GROUP.  However, if you DO have some background in Hebrew, you may also (or alternatively) wish to purchase the Steinsaltz Hebrew edition of Tractate Berachot.  I have placed a link for purchasing the Steinsaltz Hebrew edition of Tractate Berachot in the "Shop" section of the Temple Israel website.  (No English-language version of the Steinsaltz edition of Tractate Berachot has yet been published.).  For technical reasons, I'm not able to include the Scottenstein Edition Tractate Berachos, Part II on the Shop page of the website.  However, you can purchase it directly from ArtScroll using this link: 

While pre-registration is not required, it would still be great if you could contact me (Rabbi David) or the Temple office if you do plan to come so that we might have an idea of whom to expect.  Of course, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions at all.

The main things to keep in mind are that neither of these classes require any previous background in the subject matter and, with respect to the Talmud class, that you'll be entering into the middle of a centuries-old conversation so that the idea is to just "jump in" and don't worry about being "at sea."  We'll be learning to swim together.

Rabbi David





Posted on September 15, 2011 .