Sunday Morning Adult Learning

Shalom Bayit—Peace in the Home: Having civil conversations across lines of difference

Sundays, October 8, 15, & 22, 2017, 9:30-11:00 a.m.

We live in a nation that is fracturing along political lines, and it seems that the pundits, politicians, and even the people in the street are talking past each other instead of talking to each other. What are the skills we need to talk to each other, especially when we disagree?

October 8 – Civil Conversation in the Synagogue, facilitated by the BJBE Social Justice Team

October 15 – Talking about National Issues, facilitated by the BJBE Social Justice Team

October 22 – Teaching our Kids to Deal with Difference, Susie Wexler, Director of the Early Childhood Program at the Chava Center

Lessons from the Hall of History

Sundays, October 29, November 5, 12, & 19, 2017 9:45-10:45 a.m.

As our young students make their way to their classes each week, they walk past an incredible mural depicting thousands of years of Jewish history. Over these four weeks, we will learn about some of the major memories, moments, and movements that mark the story of the Jewish people from creation to the present day.

October 29 – Creation to the Second Temple, Rabbi Karyn Kedar

November 5 – Second Temple, Rabbi Jason Fenster

November 12 – Enlightenment, Rabbi Karyn Kedar

November 19 – The State of Israel, Rabbi Karyn Kedar

A Taste of Judaism

Sundays, December 3 & 10, 2017, January 14, 2018, 9:45-10:45 a.m.

Instructors: BJBE Clergy

This engaging class on Jewish spirituality, ethics, and community is designed for the curious beginner. Taste of Judaism is designed for people who have limited or no Jewish background but are interested in learning about Judaism. Everyone is welcome: unaffiliated Jews, adult children of interfaith couples, individuals or couples from different faith backgrounds who are interested in learning more about Judaism, partners in Interfaith relationships, or synagogue-goers looking to reinvigorate their relationship to Judaism. Come dive into Jewish text, values, and thought to see how they relate to our contemporary lives.

Family & Parenting at Every Stage

Sundays, January 21 & 28, February 4 & 11, 2018, 9:45-10:45 a.m.

Each stage of children’s lives brings new challenges and opportunities requiring us to adapt to changing circumstances and recalibrate our role as parents. We will explore some of the Jewish principles and practical strategies that can guide us as we strive to make values-based choices that support and nurture the young people we love.

January 21 - Nurturing the Wow: Parenting as Spiritual Practice, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg - The work of parenting, and living in connection with others in general, can be glorious and amazing. And it can be, at least as often, frustrating, crazy-making, and mind-numbingly boring. How can the riches of the Jewish tradition help us to transform the most difficult moments with our children and the people in our lives? How can it illuminate the beautiful moments in powerful, new ways? But not only that, what do parents who are deep in the trenches of this labor of love have to teach Judaism about what spirituality is and can be? And, most critically, what might happen if we regard the work of raising children, and being in loving connection with other people as a whole, as a legitimate spiritual practice in its own right?

January 28 - Making Green Choices with Our Kids, Eli Green - Environmental justice is a Jewish value, and yet, it can be hard to fully understand environmental issues and the impact of our choices, both big and small. With sustainability expert, Eli Green, we will explore the underlying principles of the environmental issues facing us today. We will enable you to make knowledgeable choices, become role models for your children, and learn some tips and tricks for living an environmentally responsible life at home and in the world.

February 4 - Navigating the Halls of Middle School, Kelly Goldberg - The years of middle school are challenging as young people try to find their place in an ever-changing social world. Drawing on her 30 years of teaching and guiding teens through these years using Jewish wisdom, Chai School Principal Kelly Goldberg will lead us in discussion about the social challenges our children face today and the spiritual principles that guide us. We will explore practical strategies to help our middle schoolers survive and thrive on their path to high school. 

February 11 - Your Child, The Internet, and You, Sarah Casper, Outreach Coordinator, Response Center - Bullying is no longer as easy to see as it once was, and parenting adolescents is hard enough without having to keep up on the latest and greatest social media and technological advancements. This session will inform parents about the key role that technology and social media websites play in students’ feelings of connection and disconnection with their friends, family, community, and themselves. We also provide parents with important information about the latest apps and helpful conversation starters to engage their teens around this pressing issue. Parents will leave the program with the tools to support their teen in navigating the digital world.

Be Still and Get Going

Sunday, February 18, 2018, 9:45-10:45 a.m.

Instructor: Margot Andersen, MSW, Mindfulness Meditation Teacher, Institute of Jewish Spirituality

In this session, we will explore how to find our courage and faith during life’s most difficult challenges to move forward. Often, we become stuck and frozen with anxiety, uncertainty and fear. We will look back at the wisdom of ancient texts to help us find our faith and equanimity during times of adversity and change.

Understanding Our World: What’s Happening in…

Sundays, March 4, 11, & 18, 2018, 9:45-10:45 a.m.

We live in a complex world. There are shifting economic and political power structures world over, communities are struggling with new understandings of identity, and each week seems to bring new surprises, crises, and opportunities. Over the course of three sessions, we will try to sort out what is happening, what is going to happen, and what we can do about it.

March 4 – America – Cheryl Gutmann, past Chair of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism

March 11 – Europe – Amy Miller, Assistant Director, International Affairs & Communications, AJC Chicago

March 18 – Middle East – Lital Rosenberg, Midwest Synagogue Initiative Director, AIPAC

Maintaining Memory: Stories of the Holocaust

Sundays, April 15, 22, & 29, 2018 , 9:45-10:45 a.m.

As the world commemorates Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), BJBE is honored to welcome survivors of the Holocaust to share their stories of heroism, survival, and renewal. It is a privilege and a sacred duty to bear witness to their stories.

April 15 – George Brent – When a non-Jew was brought into town to take over his father’s pharmacy in Téscö (now Hungary), his family was forced into the Jewish ghetto. Three days later, they were put on a train to Auschwitz-Birkenau. He and his father were selected to work, while his mother and brother were sent to the gas chambers. As the Russian army advanced in January 1945, George was sent on a death march and then taken by coal train to Mauthausen. From there, he was sent to a smaller camp in Austria that was later liberated by American soldiers on May 5, 1945. After the war, he learned his father was still alive; they reunited and both made their way to the United States in 1949.

April 22 – Screening of “A Holocaust Trilogy” – Artist DeDe Harris discusses the depth of evil and the height of courage evidenced during the Holocaust. As she describes her sculptures, she also reveals little known stories of three concentration camps: Ebensee, Auschwitz, and Theresienstadt. In this remarkable video, she informs us about the meaning she incorporated into the sculptures. This is a spiritual and compelling presentation, combining knowledge of the Holocaust, skills developed from a lifetime of work as an artist, and the use of materials collected from a variety of unusual locations. DeDe will take questions after the screening.

April 29 – Ernst “Ernie” Heimann – During Kristallnacht, November 9-10, 1938, Ernie’s school and synagogue were destroyed. In the aftermath of these events, his parents knew they had to get Ernie out of Germany. On February 1, 1939, Ernie was placed on a Kindertransport to England. His maternal aunt, who lived in England and sponsored him, arranged for Ernie to live with an English family just outside of London. In September 1939, Ernie and others from his village were evacuated to the countryside because of the bombing in London. Ernie would remain in England for four years, until he came to the United States in 1943.