Adult Education


At Temple Israel, we believe life-long learning enhances every aspect of Jewish life.  The more we understand about our sacred texts, traditions, holy days and festivals, historical and contemporary scholarship, arts and literature, the better we will be able to make informed choices about our own practices.

We encourage you to participate in our Adult Education programs.  Click below to learn about current and upcoming classes at Temple Israel.

If you have suggestions about future classes, please contact the Temple Office.




TI Adult Education (click a title to view contents)

  • torah

    Shabbat Torah Study

    Enhance your Shabbat experience by studying the Parashah (Torah portion) of the week with Rabbi Debra Dressler and friends.  Join in an exploration of the text as we ask questions, discuss historical and contemporary interpretations, and debate its relevance for our lives.  

    Meeting time for Shabbat Torah Study varies. Please check the Worship – Shabbat page for the current schedule.
    All are welcome.

  • havdalah
    Shabbat Shiur and Havdalah

    Please join us Saturday afternoons (when there is no morning service) at 3pm for a “Shiur” (study lesson) with Rabbi Dressler, followed by a brief Havdalah service at 5pm. No pre-registration is required; just drop in. If you have any questions, please contact Rabbi Dressler:

    Shabbat Shiur and Havdalah
    meets 3:00-5:00pm

    Upcoming dates TBA


  • bookclub
    Shabbat Book Chavurah


    Temple Israel Book Club

    Books for 2018-2019

    October 20

    November 17

    February 16

    January 12

    March 16 

    April 27


    We meet at 2:00 on Saturday afternoons.



    Book recommendations are welcome.

    As always, everyone is invited to join in the discussion.  If you wish, bring along a snack to share for tea time.

    Everyone is welcome, whether or not you have attended previous sessions. 
    and whether or not you have read the book.
    Bring your suggestions for future good reads.


  • Lunchand Learn2
    Please join us.

    Lunch & Learn meets Tuesdays noon to 1pm at Temple Israel.

    Bring your lunch, if you wish.
    Tea, coffee, and water will be available.

    Everyone is welcome.

    START DATE for Fall 2018 

    Tuesday, November 20 at Noon


    Lunch and Learn Returns Tuesday, November 20th, at 12:00 pm
    A Life of Meaning: 
    Embracing Reform Judaism’s Sacred Path
    We’ve gone digital!
  • torah7

    Adult B’nai Mitzvah Class

    If you never celebrated a bar or bat mitzvah in your youth, please
    consider joining us as we form the next class. Even if you are interested
    in the learning without being ready to commit to participating in a
    service, this class is intended for you. Typically, we study over two
    academic years. We will explore Torah commentary and topics in
    Jewish Values as well as learn the nuts and bolts of Torah reading and
    worship. Knowledge of the Aleph-Bet is strongly recommended prior
    to or at the beginning of this course of study.

    Questions? Contact Rabbi Dressler

    Class dates have not yet been determined.

    For more information or if you do not receive class notifications please contact either
    Rabbi Debra Dressler at
    or the Temple Office 519-858-4400/

  • starofdavid-gold

    Jewish Information Class Now Forming

    All-new curriculum for 2018-2019! Our Jewish Information Class is

    intended for anyone wishing to learn more about Judaism. This class is a

    prerequisite for all conversion candidates, but open to anyone (Jewish or not)

    who wants to broaden their Jewish knowledge base.

    Please contact the Temple Office prior to the beginning of classes.

    Opening session: Sun, Nov. 4, from 1 to 3 pm. (Classes will be held in Nov/Jan/Apr.)

    For more details visit:

    Questions? Please contact the Temple Israel office – all are welcome, even if you’ve missed the first class..
    Looking forward to seeing you!


    Adult Hebrew Classes at Temple Israel

    Adult Introductory Hebrew – Tuesdays 7-8PM 
    Dates TBA

    Adult Biblical Hebrew – Thursdays 6-7PM
    Dates TBA

    If you are interested in beginning or extending your learning of Hebrew this year please contact Stephen State,
    or register your interest through the TI office at 

    Note:  this is not a conversational Hebrew class but instead will focus on either or both of the Hebrew arising in the prayer services or biblical Hebrew.

    Additional 2018 Classes will be held on same dates and times into the New Year.


  • Talmud With Training Wheels – new class forming soon.

    This will be a 6-8 week introduction to the world and text of the Talmud.
    If you are interested in this class please contact Temple Office (519-858-4400/
    Please note: the class material will be in English, Hebrew knowledge is not required.

  • JEM logo

    CANCELLED: February 4: Salvaged Judaica: Notable Men and Women Who Rescued Cultural Artifacts during the Holocaust  ~ Lily Foris

    CANCELLED: February 11: Steven Spielberg: Probably the Greatest Film Maker of our Era ~ Charles Burnetts

    NO JEM : February 18 (Family Day)

    February 25: He Gets that from his Mother’s Side: The Matriarchs of Biblical Israel and their Influence on their Famous Sons ~ Andrea di Giovanni

    A surface reading of the Torah and Prophets could suggest that many of the male heroes arrive on the scene already equipped with the savvy they need to lead and the devotion they must exemplify in G-d’s eyes. Attention to the women in their lives, particularly their mothers and grandmothers, yields a different picture. This presentation will explore selected biblical narratives that rethink traditional maternal roles, revealing women of valour, whose character traits and actions influence the depictions of their sons.

    Andrea Di Giovanni holds degrees in English Literature and Theology from the University of Toronto and St. Michael’s College. She is an instructor of biblical studies at King’s University College and St. Peter’s Seminary in London, and loves helping her students explore new ways of reading and understanding biblical literature. Her primary areas of interest are in early Second Temple biblical literature, and post-exilic articulations of community identity.

    Sponsored by an anonymous donor.

    March 4: Nothing’s Carved in Stone: The Changing Life and Work of Sculptor Jacques Lipchitz ~ Sonia Halpern

    Like numerous aspiring Jewish artists of the early 20th century, sculptor Jacques Lipchitz left Eastern Europe for Paris to become part of its exhilarating artistic milieu; remarkably, he became one of the most significant sculptors of French modernism. Unlike many Jewish artists, however, Lipchitz’s successful assimilation in France was followed by a strong Jewish adherence in America. This transformation would ultimately change his work from avant-garde Cubist forms to traditional expressive narratives, a rare artistic direction in the experimental art world of the early 20th century.

     Sonia Halpern is an art historian and a multi award-winning instructor at Western University. She is the author of two humourous poetry books (The Life and Times of Transition Girl, 2005; revised and expanded, 2014), a book of original musical compositions (Klezmer Kitty, 2010), and many academic articles. Sonia is also active in adult Jewish education in London as a frequent speaker for JEM and course facilitator for AJE. Regularly involved in amateur theatre, Sonia performed in London’s Fringe Festival in 2018.

    Sponsors: Kathleen Robinson-Burch, Ruth Tandberg, Carol West, Louise Sabourin,

    Joyce Garnett, Tova Zarnowiecki, and Lynn Coveney

    March 11: All for Naught? The Jews of Poland on the Eve of the Second World War ~ Piotr J. Wróbel

    By 1939, Polish Jewry constituted the second largest Jewish community in the world. Polish Jewish artists and intellectuals contributed significantly to the country’s Jewish scholarship and culture, Jewish political parties were numerous and vibrant, and Jewish businesspeople and workers were indispensable to the Polish economy. With the subsequent destruction of the Holocaust, were the accomplishments of Polish Jewry all for naught?

    Piotr J. Wróbel holds the Konstanty Reynart Chair of Polish Studies at the University of Toronto. Before his appointment there in 1994, he taught at several universities in Poland and America. He serves on the Advisory Boards of Polin: A Journal of Polish-Jewish Studies, Acta Poloniae Historica, and The Polish Review.

    Sponsor: Hy Goldberg

    March 18: Veterans, Victims, and Valour: The Extraordinary Activism of Lillian Freiman ~ Jennifer Lander
    Despite being one of the most accomplished women in Canadian Jewish history, Lillian Freiman is not well known to most Jewish communities. Founder and first President of Hadassah-WIZO in Canada (1919-40), a woman who almost singlehandedly raised $200,000 for Jewish war orphans in the wake of World War I, and the first Jewish woman in the entire British Empire to be awarded the Order of the British Empire (1934), Freiman was a force to be reckoned with. Join us as we explore the life of this intriguing personality.

    Jennifer Lander has an MA in History from the University of Alberta and is now a doctoral student in Western’s Department of Women’s Studies and Feminist Research. Her dissertation focuses on Canadian Jewish women’s experiences on the home-front in WWII.

    March 25: The Birth and History of the Jewish Federation Movement ~ Joe Roberts

    Since its founding in 1895, the Jewish Federation movement has been a catalyst for positive change and growth in the Jewish world. It has laid the foundation for strong North American Jewish communities, provided much needed relief to vulnerable populations in over 100 countries worldwide, and made possible the creation of the State of Israel. Join us to discuss the movement’s origins, major accomplishments, impact on world Jewry, and its future direction.

    Joe Roberts is the CEO of Jewish London (London’s Jewish Federation) and has spent much of his career in the Federation movement in Boston, Los Angeles, and Columbus, Ohio. He is a graduate of the Jewish Federations of North America’s Fundraising University and has served on many boards and task forces focused on the future of our collective movement and North American Jewish communities.

    Sponsor: Judith Wiley

    April 1: Rabbi at Heart: The Jewish Leonard Bernstein ~ David Rosner

    Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) is one of the most famous names in 20th century music. Bernstein is renowned as a composer of classical, film, and show music, a conductor of symphony orchestras, and an extraordinary music educator. It is less widely known that the composer of West Side Story also composed about twenty Jewish-themed works such as the Chichester Psalms and the Symphony No.1: Jeremiah, inspired by the Book of Lamentations. This talk will profile the life of this extraordinary man, with emphasis on the Jewish content of his works.

    David Rosner is a physicist (University of Toronto, Harvard University, and Western University) with a lifetime interest in classical music. He has given several presentations at the JCC, for AJE and JEM programs about Jewish music, composers, and scientists.

    Sponsor: Judith Wiley

    April 8: From Joseph to Moses: Stirring Times in Ancient Egypt ~ Jim Stevens

    Each year at Passover, the Jewish people read the story of how we were slaves in Egypt and how we escaped captivity. In this presentation will learn the “back story” – the politics and battles facing the Egyptians during this tumultuous time and how they affected the Israelites. After this presentation, you will read the Passover story in a whole new way!

    Jim Stevens is a retired teacher with a lifelong interest in ancient biblical history and archaeology. His unique intellectual curiosity and knowledge help us to understand our history within new contexts. He has given numerous presentations to JEM and always leaves his audiences challenging their previous assumptions.

    Sponsors: Carmen Rosenfeld and Ron McNish

    JEM will return in the autumn of 2019 with more edifying, stimulating, and entertaining presentations.

    JEM is co-sponsored by the Martin Bass Fund for Human Resources of Or Shalom, Temple Israel, Jewish London, and B’nai Brith Men, with additional support from The Lamplighter Inn & Conference Centre, the Selma Rothfeld Family Endowment Fund of the London Jewish Community Foundation, and numerous individual donors.


    AJE @ the JCC

    Looking at 5779 (2018/ 2019), we have lots to interest you – we hope!

    • David Rosner’s 4-week course – From the Bible to Broadway – a Survey of Jewish Lyricists in Poetry and Song starts October 9th and concludes on October 30th 2018.
      Download Registration Form
    • Charles Burnetts’ 6-week course – Schindler and Beyond: Steven Spielberg as a Jewish Director starts November 13th and concludes on December 18th 2018.
      Download Registration Form
    • Rabbi Debra Dressler’s 4-week course: The Halakha of Suffering – Death and the Duty to Heal in Jewish Tradition starts on January 29th and concludes February 19th 2019. 
      Download Registration Form

    Looking further ahead in 2019 we will have courses led by Shlomo Schwartzberg, Sonia Halpern, Jennifer Shaw Lander and Rabbi Catharine Clark.

    To register or for more information, call the JCC at (519) 673-3310