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.

Special Programs & Events

Hidden Heroes, One Woman’s Story of Resistance and Rescue in the Soviet Union
with Pamela Braun Cohen, in conversation with Rabbi Vernon Kurtz (Zooming in from Israel)
Tuesday, October 25, 12:00 pm in-person and on Zoom
Pamela Braun Cohen, former co-chair of Chicago Action for Soviet Jewry and past president of the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews, will join us in-person for a Zoom conversation with Rabbi Vernon Kurtz about her new book Hidden Heroes: One Woman’s Story of Resistance and Rescue in the Soviet Union.

Meet Me in the Moment: A Theatrical Concert of Jewish Music
Thursday, December 1, 1:00 pm in-person
Written and directed by violinist Aviva Chertok, with Monika Miodragovic on piano and starring Marc Frost, this one-of-a-kind production brings audiences the beauty of Jewish classical music while immersing them in Jewish history and culture.


Rabbi Elie Kaunfer will join us in-person at Beth El for the Robbin Scholar Weekend, December 11-12, 2022. More details coming soon . . .


Fall Quarter Courses 2022

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 Fall 2022 classes.

Breaking Jewish News & Views
Carl Schrag
Wednesdays, 9:45 – 11:00 am, October 26-November 9; November 30-December 14, 2022 (no class November 16 & 23)
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: Fall

Talmud: Tractate B’rachot
Rabbi Michael Schwab
Tuesdays, 8:30-9:30 am, October 25-December 13, 2022
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: Fall

Rabbinic Stories: Modern Lessons – NOTE SPECIAL FEE AND REGISTRATION
Sundays, 10:30-11:45am, October 30, 2022 – January 22, 2023
(10 sessions, no class December 18 & 25 and January 1)
Study Talmudic and Midrashic stories to examine ancient values and how they relate to our modern society and the world in which we live. Primary sources will be studied from many different perspectives including historical, sociological and literary approaches and will enable us to evaluate our personal lives as we encounter our families, our communities and society at large. Class will meet on Zoom.
Schechter Institute course
Fee: $200.
Register at

A Fangirl’s Guide to the Talmud: Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus
Shira Eliaser
Mondays, 2:00-3:00 pm, October 31-November 21, 2022 (4 sessions)
A study of the life and times of this fascinating and controversial Mishnaic sage, using his appearances in well-known works of fiction as a springboard to examine the original sources in the Talmud. Who was Rabbi Eliezer and how does an understanding of his character affect his famous standoff over the oven of Achnai? “Fangirls,” “Fanguys,” and all “Fanpeople” welcome! Class will meet on Zoom. Quarter Fee: Fall

The Mindful Jewish Approach
Rabbi Michael Schwab
Tuesdays, 8:00-9:00 pm, November 1-December 13, 2022 (7 sessions)
This Project Zug course from the Hadar Institute will explore the practice of mindfulness in Jewish sources and thought. We will consider mindfulness as a path of emotional healing, spiritual awareness and liberation from suffering and its role in leading a full and fulfilling Jewish life. Concrete techniques will accompany many of the practices, and participants are encouraged to engage on a practical as well as intellectual level. Class will meet on Zoom and/or in-person. Quarter Fee: Fall

Highs and Lows: Our Communal Joys and Sorrows – NOTE SPECIAL FEE AND REGISTRATION
Rebecca Minkus Lieberman
Mondays, 9:30-11:00 am, November 7-December 12, 2022 (6 sessions)
Jewish history puts a new twist on the famous opening line “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” How often do we stop and acknowledge the time-honored highs and the lows of our lives as Jews? Are we even aware of them? The Jewish year guides us through our peaks and valleys as a people, our moments of triumph and of tragedy. Together, we look back on the moments that offer a deeper understanding of the Jewish people throughout the millennia — and inspire us in the present. Class will meet in-person at Moriah Congregation in Deerfield.
Melton course – in partnership with Moriah Congregation
Fee: $179; $100 rebate available to NSS Beth El members; scholarships available upon request. Register at

Lunch & Learn
Rabbi Michael Schwab

Thursday, November 10, 2022, 12:00-1:00 pm
Join Rabbi Schwab at Beth El or from the comfort of your own home or office for study sessions centered on . . .
Class will be held in-person and on Zoom. FREE

Hebrew Language

Café Ivrit: Intermediate Conversational Hebrew
Silvi Freedson
Tuesdays, 6:00-7:30 pm, October 25-December 13, 2022
This Intermediate level course will help you improve your conversational and reading skills. Class will meet on Zoom. Quarter Fee: Fall

Sicha Ivrit: Advanced Conversational Hebrew
Silvi Freedson
Thursdays, 6:00-7:30 pm, October 27-December 15, 2022
(no class November 24)
Join this Advanced level course to study Israeli literature and culture in Hebrew. Class will meet on Zoom. Quarter Fee: Fall

Intermediate Conversational Hebrew (in partnership with Moriah Congregation)
Silvi Freedson
Mondays, 7:30- 9:00 pm, October 24-December 19
In this class we will be reading stories, plays, and articles and discussing them in Hebrew.
Class will meet on Zoom. Quarter Fee: Fall

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

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.

The Thread Collectors by Shaunna J. Edwards & Alyson Richman
Wednesday, November 2, 2022, 8:00 pm: Zoom Author Event
Saturday, November 5, 2022, 12:30 pm: In-Person Discussion (after Shabbat Kiddush)
In 1863, a young black woman, who embroiders intricate maps on repurposed cloth to help enslaved men flee and join the Union Army, crosses paths with a Jewish seamstress who helps her discover that even the most delicate threads have the capacity to save us.

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.

The Book Club will continue in 2023. Stay tuned for more information . . .

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!

The next series, What’s Your Burning Question?, begins Wednesday, October 26.

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. We will also be planning special ScholarStream programs and classes at Beth El this year. Stay tuned for more information.

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.

Writer’s Beit Midrash
Wednesdays, 9:30 am, October 19, 2022

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