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Adult Education

Adult Education Opportunities at PSJC

At PSJC we believe in the importance of life-long learning.  We believe that an adult understanding of Judaism requires adult study and spiritual/intellectual engagement.  We offer a diverse range of adult education classes, open to both PSJC members and non-members. PSJC members teach many of our classes and we bring in distinguished experts to teach subjects, as needed.

Our adult education program incorporates a mix of subjects and levels, accessible to those with little Jewish educational background and challenging to those who have been steeped in Yiddishkeit their whole lives.  Topics for classes include:  Hebrew language skills (conversational and prayerbook), synagogue skills including leyning, basic Judaism, Jewish spirituality/meditation, text study, Jewish history, topics in Jewish literature, Israeli dancing, and Jewish cooking. (Please note that this is not a comprehensive list and not all of these classes will be offered every session.)

We look forward to learning with you.

For more information on our programs click upcoming opportunities or past events


Upcoming Opportunities

Mishneh Torah - Laws Of Teshuvah
Saturday, January 14 | 1:30PM
When it was written in the 12th Century, Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah changed the landscape of Rabbinic literature, and has since served as one of the great authoritative codes of Jewish Law.

Together, we will explore this text (beginning with Hilchot Teshuvah—the Laws of Repentance-- ), taking a close look at the Hebrew text even as English translations will be available. Please register
 here for this study group.



Past Events:

Torah Study and Papermaking around the idea of the “Ger”
Thursdays | 7:00PM-9:30PM
December 8, 22  
Cost (includes cost of supplies) $60

In this class we will explore the theme of the foreigner, in Hebrew “ger”, and what this means for all of us, individually, nationally, religiously, and spiritually, in our personal lives and in the broader social context of America and the world. We will explore what the Torah has to teach us about gerim, and then use our discussions and learning as a springboard for our own artistic expressions.

Everyone will have the opportunity to create an artwork of handmade paper and a final multi-layered collage. In this class we will work small scale, make handmade paper, and cast pulp in molds. Once dry, the different paper components can be collaged together into a final layered artwork reflecting our thoughts and feelings about this theme. Sketching, drawing, and painting will also be part of the process.

Please RSVP hereTaught by artist Aura Shahaf-Woelfle and Rabbi Carie Carter

Torah Cantillation Class
Wednesdays | August 31 - September 28 | 7:30PM-9:00PM

Would you like to learn to chant Torah? This practical introduction to Judaism’s system of musical notation and punctuation may be for you! Bring your curiosity, interest in engaging with Torah, love of music, and/or desire to engage more actively in services to this adult course. Pre-requisite: comfort reading the Hebrew “alefbet”. Register here

Instructor: Rabbi Sue Oren
Tuition (includes materials): $200
For more information and questions email.

Path of the Mensch 
Beginning in November
November 9 - April 5

The world of Mussar is opening before you and you are invited to enter. Come join in small group study, led by Rabbi Carie Carter, as we embark on a program of study and practice in the Jewish Spiritual tradition of Mussar (Jewish Spiritual Ethics). Using Alan Morinis’ book, Everyday Holiness and a curriculum developed by The Mussar Institute, we will explore what Jewish tradition has to teach us about the traits of humility, gratitude, and patience, among others, and discover how we can improve these qualities in our own lives. 

The 20 week course have 2 sections available:
Wednesdays | 1:00PM | Nov 9, 30, Dec 14, Jan 4, 18, Feb 1, 15, Mar 8, 22, Apr 5

Thursdays | 7:00PM | Nov 17, Dec 1, 15, Jan 5, 19, Feb 2, 16, Mar 2, 16, 30

In between group sessions, you will meet with your chevruta (study partner). This program is appropriate for all. 

We look forward to coming together to learn to “Cultivate our Inner Mensch”.
To learn more about the Path of the Mensch, please contact Rabbi Carter.


Intro to Judaism: Spring 2016
A 20-week course on Jewish life, thought & practice led by Rabbi Sue Oren

Mondays | 7:30PM - 9:30 PM | Union Temple (near Grand Army Plaza)

• Discover Judaism from an adult perspective 
• Become a more confident parent of Jewish children 
• Explore long-standing questions that you haven’t yet asked

Join this 20-session course on Jewish life, thought and practice
In a warm and open environment, explore Jewish thought, prayer and practice, learn about Jewish history and holidays, wrestle with inherited texts and contemporary issues, discuss Jewish views of God, ethics, life and death.

Instructor and Coordinator, Rabbi Sue Oren

First session:  May 2
$ 400 for course ($ 350 early-bird rate – register by Mon, April 11) plus $25 materials fee.
For registration & questions, contact Rabbi Sue Oren at (917) 539-1334 or email.

This class is co-sponsored by:
Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, Congregation Mount Sinai, East Midwood Jewish Center, Kane Street Synagogue, Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives, Park Slope Jewish Center, Temple Beth Emeth v'Ohr Progressive Shaarei Zedek and Union Temple.


Let's start at the very beginning: Exploring Genesis through Discussion & Glass Art Making 

Thursdays, 7:00PM - 9:00PM | PSJC

In this 3-part series, taught by Rabbi Carter and glass artist Aura Shahaf Woelfle, you will read the early stories of Genesis and explore its themes and imagery. Then sketch and create a stand up 3-panel accordion book sculpture with fused glass that will reflect each student's creative vision, and express what resonates with his or her most in these incredible texts. 

For more information, registration & class fees, click here

Intro to Judaism: Fall
A 20-week course on Jewish life, thought & practice led by Rabbi Sue Oren


• Discover Judaism from an adult perspective 
• Become a more confident parent of Jewish children 
• Explore long-standing questions that you haven’t yet asked

A weekly class offered in two sessions from 

7:30-9:30 PM, Thursdays - NightShul at East Midwood Jewish Center

or Sundays - Park Slope Jewish Center

First session: Thursday, October 15th

* * * advanced registration required * * *

For more information, registration & course fee contact Rabbi Oren: / 917.539.1334

This course is co-sponsored by: Brooklyn Heights Synagogue Congregation Mount Sinai East Midwood Jewish Center, Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives, Park Slope Jewish Center, Temple Beth Emeth v'Ohr, Progressive Shaarei Zedek

Intro to Judaism: Spring
A 20-week course on Jewish life, thought & practice led by Rabbi Sue Oren


• Discover Judaism from an adult perspective 
• Become a more confident parent of Jewish children 
• Explore long-standing questions that you haven’t yet asked

7:30-9:30 PM, Mondays at Congregation Mount Sinai (in Brooklyn Heights)

First session: Monday, April 20th

* * * advanced registration required * * *

For more information, registration & course fee contact Rabbi Oren: / 917.539.1334

This course is co-sponsored by: Brooklyn Heights Synagogue Congregation Mount Sinai East Midwood Jewish Center, Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives, Park Slope Jewish Center, Temple Beth Emeth v'Ohr, Progressive Shaarei Zedek

Beyond Beginnings
Follow up for "Intro" alumni led by Rabbi Sue Oren

Sundays beginning May 3 - June 28

Prerequisite: Intro to Judaism or equivalent

Relationships & Responsibilities
- creating an engaged/engaging Jewish home
- Jewish approaches to raising children and to caring for our elders
- Jewish perspectives on environmental responsibility & animal welfare

Major concepts and junctures in Jewish thought, practice and history
- Jewish feminism 
- Messianism
- cooperation and conflict in medieval Spain
- everyday life in contemporary Israel

Tuition: $185 + $15 materials fee (see registration form attached)

For questions and registration, contact Rabbi Sue Oren at 917.539.1334 or beyondbeginnings [at]


Thursdays: March 12, March 26

In this series of three classes we will read and discuss the amazing text of The Song of the Songs, a text that lends itself naturally to the creation of an art piece with its rich themes of human and divine love and beautiful imagery from the natural world. Inspired by our learning and discussions with Rabbi Carter, we will be sketching, drawing, and then creating a finished fused glass artwork with artist Aura Shahaf Woelfle. Cost: $50.  
Religion and Politics in Israel: Potluck Shabbat Dinner with Dr. Tomer Persico
Friday, February 20 | 6:30PM

Join us for a spirited Kabbalat Shabbat celebration with our cantor, Judy Ribnick, followed by a vegetarian, dairy potluck Shabbat dinner at 7:30PM and Dr. Persico’s talk at 8:00PM. Persico is a scholar of meditation and religion at several universities in Israel. He is a social activist for freedom of religion in Israel. He has contributed numerous articles to newspapers and periodicals in Israel and writes the most popular blog in Hebrew on these subjects.

Elana Maryles Sztokman Talk And Book Signing: The War On Women In Israel
Thursday, February 5 | 7:30PM
The first full-length discussion of this alarming reality, The War on Women in Israel weaves together interviews and investigative research, and proposes solutions for creating a different, more egalitarian vision for religious culture both in Israeli society and around the world.

Apocrypha Continues: The Book of Judith
Saturday, February 7 | 1:15PM | PSJC 
Learn about the books that didn't make it into the canon, the apocrypha, with Rabbinic Intern Raysh Weiss. This session, we will explore the Book of Judith.

Learners' Minyan : Saturday, January 24 | 10:45AM 
Have you ever been confused during Saturday morning services?  Do you wonder what some of the prayers mean?  Do you feel like you don't understand the choreography of the service?  For those who want to be more comfortable with the Saturday morning service, we had a Learners’ Minyan: an opportunity to delve into a portion of the service and gain fluency with and understanding of the prayers.  Feel puzzled or tongue-tied on Saturday mornings? We are glad so many of you gave the  Learner's Minyan a try. 

Brooklyn Israel Film Festival at Kane Street Synagogue
Do You Believe in Love? | Thursday,January 22 | 8:00PM 
Hanna's Journey | Saturday, January 24 | 8:00PM
The Green Prince | Sunday, January 25 | 8:00PM 
$36 for the entire series. For the latest festival news, click here

Technology and Halacha Saturday, June 1, 1:30 pm after Kiddush with Rabbi Carie Carter Between the internet, facebook, google chat, e-readers, skype and so much more, the ways in which we interact with one another has changed drastically in recent years.  What does this do to our definition of kehilah (community)? What does this mean for the Jewish community? Can we count a minyan via skype?  What about e-readers in shul on Shabbat?  These are some of the questions we  explored together when we met after Kiddush.

On May 4 we discussed Blooms of Darkness by Aharon Appelfeld, a Shoah novel about an 11 year old boy who is hidden from the Nazis in a brothel by a kind hearted but emotionally troubled prostitute. BPL has 13 print copies as well as an electronic version; the 10% discount for PSJCers applies at Community Bookstore, but it is not available as an audiobook. “Blooms of Darkness differs from many of Appelfeld’s previous novels which tend to portray either European Jewish communities in the years immediately preceding their destruction or survivors in the years following (and sometimes both), but tend to avoid the actual events of the Shoah itself. This time the plot unfolds entirely during the years 1942–1944, and as it does we share the young protagonist’s senses of fear, loss, loneliness, abandonment, boredom, as well as the comfort, kindness, love, and sometimes neglect he receives from his protector.” --David Cooper, New York Journal of Books.


Brooklyn Brownstone Communal Yom HaShoah Commemoration

recipes remembered

Many of you joined us for the Brooklyn Brownstone Communal Yom Hashoah Commemoration on Sunday evening, featuring June Hersh, author of Recipes Remembered: A Celebration of Survival.  Critically acclaimed by the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Jewish Week, the book contains the cherished recipes of Holocaust survivors and remarkable stories that accompany them. Though books were NOT be sold on that evening, the Museum of Jewish Heritage did issue  passes of admission to everyone in attendance, along with instructions on how to purchase a copy of this beautiful book. We were joined by our wonderfully gifted cantors and musicians in the area. 

Maggie Anton at PSJC

MaggieAntonNoted author of Rashi’s Daughter, Maggie Anton, spoke at PSJC on Sunday April 21s. Acclaimed author Maggie Anton, author of Rav Hisda's Daughter and the Rashi's Daughters trilogy, talked about Rav Hisda's daughter, who was one of the most frequently mentioned women in the Talmud, about life for Jews and women in Zoroastrian Persia as Rav Hisda and his colleagues established Jewish laws and practices after the destruction of Jerusalem's Temple, and about Babylonian sorcery and incantation bowls.

Anton, a clinical chemist by profession and member of a Reform synagogue in Southern California, was raised in a secular Socialist home. She first studied Talmud in 1992, with Rabbi Rachel Adler. Just a few years later she began writing Rashi's Daughters, and Anton has subsequently become one of the most popular interpreters of Talmud for modern readers. Debra Nussbaum Cohen is New York correspondent for Haaretz and contributing editor for The Forward. She is author of Celebrating Your New Jewish Daughter: Creating Jewish Ways to Welcome Baby Girls into the Covenantand a PSJC member.

Beyond the Blintz:  Dairy Delights in Time for Shavuot

blintzIt had been a while since we've had a PSJC cooking class but a lot of us are still cooking what we learned years back.  It was time for a new cooking class series, particularly since our Rabbinic Intern, Ben Resnick, is also a chef.  He taught a three session course on dairy dishes in February through April and we were ready for Shavuot in May.  Classes were held on Thursday evenings in the thoroughly spectacular Holmes-Schnur kitchen in nearby Windsor Terrace:  February 21, March 14, April 4,. And yes, we got t to eat what we cooked!  Cost of the series is $60 for members or $100 for non-members.  Individual sessions are $30 members/$50 non-members.  Price includes all ingredients and materials. Register by February 14.


Jewish Heroism, Resistance, and Rescue During WWII 

partisans of vilna

Those who came were glad they  didn't  miss this new film series offered by PSJC Adult Education. It was a great way to spend some winter Sunday afternoons.  Sol Makon had selected and introduced four documentary films covering heroism, resistance, and rescue during the Second World War.  The first film was screened on Sunday, February 10 at 1:00 p.m.  It was the award-winning Partisans of Vilna of which Elie Wiesel said, "Enlightening, truthful, challenging, heartbreaking... one of the best and most eloquent documentaries on the suffering and dilemmas Jews faced." Later films in the series included Unlikely Heroes on February 17, The Danish Solution on March 10, and The Children of Chabonne on March 17.  No charge for members; $10 per film or $25 for the series for non-members.


Tue, 28 March 2017 1 Nisan 5777