201310 - October, 2013

on Saturday, 05 October 2013.

201310 - October, 2013

October is the real “back to school” time for synagogues. The hustle and bustle of the High Holy Days is over, the universities and schools are back in session, and Temple programmes get underway after a summer of hiatus or scaled-back activity. With an early Holy Day season this year, October is very much a time for “back to shul” at Temple Israel.

There are a number of new initiatives within our educational programme this fall. In Adult Education, we are updating an old favourite as well as beginning new classes. First, there’s RJ101--An Introduction to Judaism From a Reform Perspective. Based on feedback from a wonderfully productive task force this spring, we are
taking the old “Jewish Information Class” and formatting it to welcome a wider audience. RJ101 will meet two Sundays per month, and we will cover six units: Holidays, Lifecycle, Liturgy, History, Texts, and Jewish Thought (see page13 for more information). This class is still a prerequisite for conversion candidates, but it is open to anyone who wishes to learn more about Judaism - whether it’s a single topic or the full course. Second, a new Adult B’nai Mitzvah class is now forming. It was an amazing celebration in August as our 2013 class (Lisa Faden, Lisa Manax, and Elizabeth Teevan) led us in worship. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity (usually a two-year course of study meeting twice a month), please contact me. A new class will begin in November with an informational meeting - watch your calendar and email for more details. Finally, new adult initiatives will appear in coming months - including Talmud with Training Wheels and some experiential learning opportunities. Something else you’d like to study? Just let me know, and we can work together to make it happen.

In our religious school, we are also redeveloping our curriculum and methods to meet the needs and resources of our changing community. On Sunday mornings, Temple’s veteran teacher Nurit Kochav is now
our all-school Hebrew Specialist. She teaches Hebrew and ritual for all chevrot with her new “mobile classroom.” Additionally, we are in the middle of a detailed review of the URJ Chai Curriculum, which has been the basis of our programme for many years. Some of it works well for us, but there are many opportunities to augment it more effectively. 

Many thanks to Nurit Kochav and Elizabeth Teevan for their help in culling the best of these resources for our use. Please watch your emails and calendars for some All-School Family Workshops throughout the year as well. We hope to enrich our plan with special events for families to learn together on topics such as Shabbat, Holidays, and Life Cycle.

Keep an eye on this column for more updates as the year progresses! There is still much to share about our teen programming and other lifelong learning opportunities. Enjoy this wonderful fall weather, and I look forward to seeing you in class!

Rabbi Dressler

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