Class Offerings and Descriptions

Class Offerings and Descriptions

The Gertrude Lederman Family Continuing Education courses at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El offer a wonderful chance to deepen your understanding of Jewish thought, culture, and identity. This program is made possible through the generous gift of the estate of Gertrude Lederman. The value she placed on Jewish education became the cornerstone of her legacy of lifelong learning in our congregation.

Contact Rachel Kamin, Director of Lifelong Learning, for more information about adult education and Marcie Eskin, Education Coordinator, for registration and other class-related information. Note: Because the cost of tuition should never be a barrier to participation in our NSS Beth El classes, we do offer financial assistance. Please contact Marcie Eskin for scholarship information.

Winter Quarter Courses 2023

Unless noted otherwise, the fee for Continuing Education courses is $60 per quarter for NSS Beth El members and $125 per quarter for guests. Payment for one course includes any additional classes during the same quarter (including Hebrew) at no additional charge. NEW THIS YEAR: Beth El members can purchase a special discounted annual pass for $180 ($360 for guests) which will include all classes during the 2022-2023 fall, winter, spring and summer quarters.

Register for Winter Quarter 2023 Classes

Talmud: Tractate B’rachot
Rabbi Michael Schwab
Tuesdays, 8:30-9:30 am, January 10-March 14, 2023
Rabbi Schwab takes students on a journey through the mainstay of the Jewish oral tradition, its rich history, structure, and famous personalities. Class will meet in-person and on Zoom. Quarter Fee: Winter

Breaking Jewish News & Views
Carl Schrag
Wednesdays, 9:45 – 11:00 am, January 11-March 8, 2023
This weekly discussion-based class zooms in on local, national, and global news through a distinctly Jewish lens. We’ll talk about politics, Israel, anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, rifts in our Jewish community, local and global Jewish affairs, campus life, and the intersection between these topics and more. Carl Schrag, who was the Editor of The Jerusalem Post, brings a journalist’s probing questions to every topic. Class will meet on Zoom. Quarter Fee: Winter

Adult Torah Trope
Hazzan Jenna Greenberg
Thursdays, 12:00-1:00 pm, January 19-March 2, 2023 (no class February 9)
Unlock the secret of chanting Torah, decode the melody patterns, and learn the “how” as well as the “why” of Torah cantillation. This is the perfect opportunity for: people who would like to learn to chant Torah for their friends’ and family members’ B’nai Mitzvah; adults to learn to chant Torah for Sisterhood or Men’s Club Shabbatot in future years; anyone who has taken this class before but wants to refresh their skills; or anyone who wants to become a Torah reader to earn a Team Torah cookie (yum)! Comfort with reading Hebrew text is required. Class will meet in person and/or on Zoom. FREE

Lunch & Learn: Money and Power
Rabbi Michael Schwab

Thursday, February 9, 2023, 12:00-1:00 pm
Power and money introduce tricky dynamics and complicated moral questions into professional and personal relationships. Join Rabbi Michael Schwab in-person at Beth El or on Zoom from the comfort of your own home or office for study and discussion exploring the effects of influence and how Jewish sources might advise us to respond when navigating relationships with power imbalances. Class will be held in-person and on Zoom. FREE. An optional lunch from the Sandwich Club will be available at Beth El for $12/person. Reservations are required by February 6. Questions? Contact Marcie Eskin by email or call her at 847-926-7903.

Hebrew Language

Café Ivrit: Intermediate Conversational Hebrew
Silvi Freedson
Tuesdays, 6:00-7:30 pm, January 17-March 14, 2023
This Intermediate level course will help you improve your conversational and reading skills. Class will meet on Zoom. Quarter Fee: Winter

Sicha Ivrit: Advanced Conversational Hebrew
Silvi Freedson
Thursdays, 6:00-7:30 pm, January 19-March 16, 2023
Join this Advanced level course to study Israeli literature and culture in Hebrew. Class will meet on Zoom. Quarter Fee: Winter

Intermediate Conversational Hebrew (in partnership with Moriah Congregation)
Silvi Freedson
Mondays, 7:00- 8:30 pm, January 16-March 20, 2023 (no class March 6)
In this class we will be reading stories, plays, and articles and discussing them in Hebrew.
Class will meet on Zoom. Quarter Fee: Winter

Open Conversational Hebrew
Sundays, 9:30-11:00 am
Practice Hebrew conversation informally with other participants. For information, contact Judy Farby at or 847-372-1700. Class will meet on Zoom. FREE

New Melton Course (in partnership with Moriah Congregation)

Timeless Tales, Modern Sensibilities: A Deep Look at the Books of Esther and Ruth
Ali Drumm
Fridays, 12:00-1:15 pm, January 20-March 17, 2023
Discover contemporary meaning in timeless texts during this course on the stories in the Scrolls of Esther and Ruth. Explore themes of Jewish identity, gender, God’s role in human affairs, and comedy. Delve into the lives of these two heroic women who changed the course of history, leaving a legacy that influences our lives today. Class will meet in-person at NSS Beth El – lunch is included! Or, login on Zoom. Subsidized cost for Beth El Members: $60; $295 for guests. Beth El Members Register Here

Sisterhood Torah Fund Book Club

Join Rachel Kamin, Director of Lifelong Learning, in-person after Shabbat Kiddush on Saturdays for lively book discussions. New participants are always welcome! Click here for more information including the complete 2022-2023 calendar.

Linked by Gordon Korman
FAMILY BOOK CLUB: Sunday, February 12, 12:00 pm
The Sisterhood Torah Fund Book Club and the Beth El Youth Community present the 7th Annual Family Book Club . . . back in-person! All 3rd-7th graders, and adult readers of all ages, are invited for lunch and a book discussion plus a special “video visit” with the author. Please RSVP


The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Saturday, March 18, 12:30 pm: In-Person Discussion (after Shabbat Kiddush)
Monday, March 20, 8:00 pm: Meet the author on Zoom
When her triplets leave for college, Johanna, faced with being alone for the first time, decides to have a fourth child and wonders what role the “latecomer” will play in her already fractured family.


The Sisterhood Torah Fund Book Club is open to ALL STUDENTS. You do not need to be a member of Sisterhood to participate. Participants are encouraged to make a minimum annual donation of $54 to attend. The Sisterhood of NSS Beth El has a long history of supporting the Conservative/Masorti Movement’s Torah Fund through the sponsorship of an impressive array of annual classes, led by our clergy and talented staff and volunteers. Go to for more information on how to make your donation.

Sisterhood Torah Fund ScholarStream Series

The Gertrude Lederman Continuing Education Program and the Beth El Sisterhood are excited to sponsor ScholarStream in 5783! Throughout the year, the Conservative Movement seminaries and institutions will offer seven series that will bring you face-to-face with the brightest and most engaging scholars our movement has to offer.

Everyone who makes a minimum $54 donation to the Torah Fund will receive a discount code to access all 28 lectures for FREE! Click here for a full overview of the series dates, topics and faculty. The sessions will be recorded and will be accessible afterwards to registered participants.

You must register through ScholarStream to receive the Zoom link for each series. Questions? Contact Rachel Kamin or call 847-926-7902.

If you already made your annual donation to Torah Fund, contact Mary Ellen Bowers for the discount code before you register.

The current series, The Exodus in the Jewish Tradition: Philosophy, Bible, Midrash and Art, continues through Wednesday, February 1.

Torah Fund donors are also invited to experience select ScholarStream lectures together in person at Beth El to discuss some of these topics with our clergy and educators.


Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies Enrichment Course with Rabbi Dr. Vernon Kurtz
Sage Tales: Stories of the Rabbis from the Talmud and Midrash
Sundays, 10:30 am, March 5-May 14, 2023 (no class April 9)
The Rabbinic Sages of the Talmud and Midrash are meant to serve for us as models. Most of the time we are encouraged to follow their conduct, sometimes we are not. In our study of stories that describe the lives of the rabbis of that period we will examine ancient values and how they relate to our modern society. Topics will include: gratitude; the responsibilities of leadership; individual needs in conflict with communal ones; coming into the Presence of God; and the Mitzvah of Aliyah. The primary sources used will be studied from different perspectives including historical, sociological, theological and literary approaches and will enable us to evaluate our personal lives as we encounter our families, our communities and society at large. The weekly zoom link will be sent via email to all registered students one week before the start of class.
Tuition: $200 for 10 classes (dollar price is dependent upon exchange rate of the ILS on date of payment). Registration is on-line via the following link:

Pesach Workshops: The Exodus in the Jewish Tradition

Explore the Exodus through Philosophy, Bible, Midrash and Art utilizing select ScholarStream lectures. Attend one or all three in-person and/or on Zoom.

“By the merit of righteous women were our ancestors redeemed from Egypt”: A Midrashic View of the Exodus
Ali Drumm – Thursday, March 9, 12:00 pm

The Ten Plagues and the Exodus in Jewish Art
Marla Hand – Thursday, March 16, 12:00 pm

Two Conceptions of the Miracle at the Sea
Hazzan Jenna Greenberg
Thursday, March 23, 12:00 pm

Writer’s Beit Midrash
Wednesdays, 9:30 am, February 8 & 22; and March 8 & 22, 2023

All fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, and essay writers (published or not yet published) are welcome for discussions, exercises, camaraderie, and critique every other Wednesday morning.
Class will meet in person. FREE