Lifelong Learning Opportunities

Beth Israel Center offers a dynamic, stimulating program of Adult Jewish Learning open to the community. Our daytime and evening classes are opportunities to deepen your knowledge and to explore the rich world of Jewish learning.  Whether your most recent Jewish learning experience was yesterday, last week, or last century, there's a class at Beth Israel Center for you. Our wide range of topics has included Hebrew reading, Talmud, Yoga and Jewish Political thought.  Class descriptions are below. Most classes are free and all are open to the public.  All adults (age 13 and up!) are welcome and encouraged to participate. Please contact the office for dates, locations and other details.

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Mind <3 Books

Beth Israel Center has received a grant to support our participation in a project called Scientists in Synagogues, aimed at promoting dialog about the intersection of science and Judaism.  The project is sponsored by Sinai and Synapses, a joint venture of the national organization Clal, which works to promote an expansive and post-denominational Jewish worldview, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest scientific society. One element of our Scientists in Synagogues programming is a series of book discussions linked to the Jewish calendar. Join us for any/all of the series:

  • God and the Big Bang by Daniel Matt / Tisha B’Av 5778/ July-August 2018

  • The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben and Jane Billinghurst / Tu B’Shevat 5779/ January 2019

  • Close Encounters with Humankind by Sang-Hee Lee / Pesach 5779/ April 2019

  • The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert / Tisha B’Av 5779 / July-August 2019

    • July 17, July 24, July 31, August 7

Deeply Rooted: Thursday evenings, 6:15-7:30pm

A weekly Torah discussion group called "Deeply Rooted" meets at Beth Israel Center on Thursday evenings from 6:15 to 7:30. Together we parse through the parasha, using different commentaries or Midrashim as jumping-off points, and welcoming all viewpoints and interpretations from anyone who desires to join in the conversation.

Yiddish: Monday evenings, 7:00pm

Join Yiddish enthusiast and talented teacher Sylvia Grunes.  Sylvia builds a love for the Yiddish language and culture through her long-running classes. All levels welcome and encouraged to attend.

Israeli Film Salon: Select Thursday evenings, 7:30

Retired UW Prof. Yair Mazor selects Israeli films and shares his insights following each free screening. There is usually time for Q&A, as well. Next up: The Summer of Aviya on July 18.

Kolot Kehilla: Select Sundays, 9:30-11:00am

Kolot Kehilla, the voices of our community, features experts within our community speaking on a wide variety of topics. It is offered 2-3 times per semester.

  • September 15, 2019

  • December 8, 2019 - Estate Planning

  • February 2, 2020

  • May 17, 2020 

Living Torah: Sundays, 9:00-10:30

Make modern, meaningful sense out of the dynamic interplay between our lives and our tradition, exploring current topics through the lens of Torah. The theme for 2019-20 is Others, Otherness and Us. We will focus on understanding the African-American experience in Madison and Dane County, beginning focused work on racial equity and combating racism; we will also explore “Jews and LGBTQs.” Living Torah will take place in two three-part series (November 17, 24, December 15 and May 3, 19, 31); in between, on Thursday, March 19, there will be a film and discussion.
May 19 is a Tuesday evening.

Studio Sinai: Sunday mornings, 9:00-noon

Explore the use of art to bring forth and share responses to midrashic/imaginative readings of biblical texts. Each session stands alone. The 2019/20 dates are: November 10, February 16, April 19.

Parasha Study: Shabbat afternoons 

About once a month after Kiddush, stick around (or come) for a focused study and discussion of the week's Torah portion using interpretive sources. November 9, December 21… check the calendar for more dates. All ages welcome!

Yiddish: Monday evenings, 7:00pm

Join Yiddish enthusiast and talented teacher Sylvia Grunes.  Sylvia builds a love for the Yiddish language and culture through her long-running classes. All levels welcome and encouraged to attend.

Rabbi’s Talmud Class: January-March 2020

A series of six classes will be begin the last week of January 2020 and run through early March. The same content will be offered on six Wednesday mornings (9:15-11:00) and six Thursday evenings (7:30-9:15) beginning January 29 and 30. Students will learn how to study Talmud and delve into the meanings and interpretations of the text. Hebrew decoding skills are necessary. Talmud beginners, advanced learners, and everyone in between is welcome. 

Kolot Kehilla: Select Sundays, 9:30-11:00am

Kolot Kehilla, the voices of our community, features experts within our community speaking on a wide variety of topics. It is offered 2-3 times per semester.

  • September 15, 2019

  • December 8, 2019 - Estate Planning

  • February 2, 2020

  • May 17, 2020