Please visit our NSSBE@HOME page, where you will find all of our current offerings of our virtual community.

Class Offerings and Descriptions

Class Offerings and Descriptions

In an effort to prevent the spread of the Corona Virus, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El has closed its building and schools. All on-site programs, classes, and services are cancelled until further notice. The following classes will take place via online learning. Contact Ali Drumm, Director of Informal Education for more information. Contact Marcie Eskin for Zoom links and phone numbers.


Talmud: Tractate Berakhot with Rabbi Michael Schwab
Tuesdays, 10:00-11:00 am via Zoom (weekly through June 2 with the exception of May 26)
Rabbi Schwab takes students on a journey through the Jewish oral tradition, its rich history, structure and famous personalities.

Artists Beit Midrash
On the Edge: Jewish ideas about margins, marginality and marginalization with Dr. Jane Shapiro and Judith Joseph

Thursdays, April 30, May 7, 14, 21, 28 and June 4, 9:30 – 11:30 am via Zoom
The Artists Beit Midrash mines Jewish wisdom and art as a source for inspiration and creative work, culminating in an optional group exhibit at the Rissman Kol Ami Museum of NSS Beth El. Register by contacting Marcie Eskin.

Journey through the Jewish Prayer Service with Hazzan Barbara Barnett
Fridays, May 15, 22 and June 5, 12, 19, 11:00 am via Zoom
Take a guided tour with Hazzan Barnett through Shabbat morning (with off-road detours here and there) to take a deeper dive into the meaning of the prayers, the structure, customs and peculiarities of Jewish worship to enrich and enhance your participation in NSSBE services. Knowledge of Hebrew is helpful but not required. Free. Register by contacting Marcie Eskin.

Sisterhood Torah Fund Book Club (Sisterhood Torah Fund Class)
Facilitated by Rachel Kamin
Sunday, June 7, 1:10 pm via Zoom
 The Liar by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen. Desperate to escape a near-invisible life, an ice cream shop worker tells a terrible lie that renders her the center of public and media attention, before she is blackmailed by a neighbor who knows the truth. Join Rachel Kamin to discuss this literary thriller by the bestselling Israeli author of Waking Lions. Contact Rachel Kamin for further information or call 847-926-7902.

The Book of Genesis and Social Networks with David Pickus
Tuesday, June 9, 8:00 pm via Zoom

One of the most important developments in the academic study of history in the last twenty years is the concept of “Big History.” Despite the simple name, this is a complex effort to understand the history of human culture, especially the complex cultures of the last 500 years, within the context of the broad history of life on earth. A key component of this Big History is studying the history of communication; that is, how people learn to communicate and how and why they change the ways they communicate. Join David Pickus in his exploration of the Book of Genesis and what it has to teach us about the history and development of human communication. Free. Register by contacting Marcie Eskin.

E-Tone: News and Ideas from Israel with Silvi Freedson
Tuesdays, June 16, 23, and 30, July 7 and 14, and August 4, 11, and 18 (8 sessions), 6:15–7:30 pm
Improve your Hebrew this summer using Ulpan Or’s online Hebrew newspaper. E-Tone is an innovative, interactive news digest with articles, virtual trips in Jerusalem neighborhoods, poetry and much more. Every session will begin with free conversation in Hebrew. Trimester Fee: Summer. Register by contacting Marcie Eskin.

Tough Questions Jews Ask with Rabbi Alex Freedman
Tuesdays, June 23, 30, and July 7, 14, 8:00 pm
Have you ever asked or wondered the following: Why does G-d let awful things happen? Why does Judaism have so many rules? Are the Bible stories true? What happens after we die? This class will explore one big topic after another. We will share our own experiences along with reading texts from the Torah and Rabbinic Literature. Participants are encouraged to ask their toughest questions – and share their experiences and honest opinions – with the rabbi and each other. Register by contacting Marcie Eskin.


When are these classes?! You choose! Get a minimum of 5 fellow students together and pick the time and place. The teachers will travel or you can meet in the synagogue. This can be your personal havurah or book club or just a group of friends who want to get together and learn! Trimester Fee

Short Stories from The New Diaspora: The Changing Landscape of American Jewish Fiction
Rachel Kamin
Rachel will help to explore a selection of short stories by a fresh crop of Jewish writers who are sharing about the Jewish experience in America.

An “Unorthodox” Class
Rachel Kamin
Each session we’ll listen to segments of Tablet Magazine’s podcast Unorthodox, the world’s leading Jewish podcast. We’ll discuss the news of the Jews and learn more about the interesting guests, books, films, and projects featured on each episode. Fermenting food at Copenhagen’s Michelin-starred restaurant Noma, Jews in prison, etrog farmers in California, the best and worst apologies for Yom Kippur, a Franciscan nun’s first Shabbat dinner, ancient Israeli wine, and more have all been covered on this smart, fresh, fun take on Jewish news and culture. Join us to listen and learn!

Girls in Trouble
Ali Drumm
“Girls in Trouble” is a series exploring women in the Bible through ancient texts, Rabbinic interpretations, visual art, and original songs. New, just-released sessions include Hannah, Sarah, Vashti, the Sotah, and the Daughters of Tzelofchad.

Contact Marcie Eskin to begin to set up your On Demand learning sessions.


Café Ivrit: Intermediate Conversational Hebrew with Silvi Freedson
Tuesdays, 6:00 – 7:30 pm via Zoom

Conversational Hebrew with Dr. Alicia Gejman
(Sisterhood Torah Fund)
Thursdays, 10:00 – 11:00 am via Zoom

Sicha Ivrit: Advanced Conversational Hebrew with Silvi Freedson
Thursdays, 6:00 – 7:30 pm via Zoom