Class Offerings and Descriptions

Class Offerings and Descriptions

Most of our classes are currently meeting virtually. Contact Ali Drumm, Director of Informal Education, for more information about adult education and Marcie Eskin, Informal Education Coordinator, for Zoom links and phone numbers. Click here to register for classes.


Hebrew Language

Café Ivrit: Intermediate Conversational Hebrew with Silvi Freedson
Tuesdays, 6:00 – 7:30 pm, beginning June 1
This Intermediate level course will help you improve your conversational and reading skills.
Summer Quarter Fee: $60 for Beth El members; $125 for non-members

Sicha Ivrit: Advanced Conversational Hebrew with Silvi Freedson
Thursdays, 6:00 – 7:30 pm, beginning June 3
Join this Advanced level course to study Israeli literature and culture in Hebrew! New students are always welcome.
Summer Quarter Fee: $60 for Beth El members; $125 for non-members

Intermediate Hebrew with Silvi Freedson 
(partnership class with Moriah Congregation in Deerfield)
Mondays, 7:30-9:00 pm, beginning June 7
**for the Monday class only, register by emailing

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

Designed for adults who have basic fluency in reading and writing Hebrew.
Sisterhood Torah Fund Class: minimum $54 donation to attend one or ALL Torah Fund classes for the whole year. Click here for information to make your donation directly to Torah Fund via credit card or to pay by check.

Open Conversational Hebrew
Sundays, 9:30 – 10:30 am

Practice Hebrew conversation and reading informally with other participants.
Free. For information, contact Judy Farby at or 847-372-1700.

Jewish Life and Culture

Breaking Jewish News & Views: Jewish News Update with Carl Schrag
Wednesdays, 9:45 – 11:00 am (10 sessions), beginning June 2
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). Every session will challenge everything you thought you knew or believed on a wide range of subjects. You’ll learn new things, reconsider old ideas, feel joy, surprise, and even a little frustration. The class is led by Carl Schrag, who formerly was the Editor of The Jerusalem Post and brings a journalist’s probing questions to every topic.
Summer Quarter Fee: $60 for Beth El members; $125 for non-members

Summer Stories Series with Rachel Kamin
Wednesdays, 1:00 pm Outside @ Beth El or 7:45 pm on Zoom, July 7, 14, 21 & 28
The ten stories in Nicole Krauss’s new collection, To Be a Man, deal with the struggle to understand what it is to be a man and what it is to be a woman, and all of the tensions in the relationships between parents and children, lovers and friends, husbands and wives. All contemporary, they span the globe with many of the characters living with their feet in the United States and their hearts in Israel. Join Rachel Kamin to discuss selected short stories over four sessions this summer. Summer Quarter Fee: $60 for Beth El members; $125 for non-members. Class fee includes a hardcover copy of the book.

Sisterhood Torah Fund Book Club facilitated by Rachel Kamin
(Sisterhood Torah Fund Class)
Tuesday, June 8
Join Rachel Kamin to discuss Florence Adler Swims Forever, the 2020 National Jewish Book Award Debut Fiction Winner, and “meet” author Rachel Beanland.
1:00pm – Discussion Outdoors @ Beth El. Reservations required. E-mail Rachel by June 4.
7:00pm – Meet the Author on Zoom
7:45pm – Alternate Discussion on Zoom (after evening minyan)
New participants are always welcome! RSVP to Marcie Eskin to receive the Zoom link. Click here for the complete Book Club calendar. Sisterhood Torah Fund Class: minimum $54 donation to attend one or ALL Torah Fund classes for the whole year.  Click here for information to make your donation directly to Torah Fund via credit card or to pay by check.

Writer’s Beit Midrash
Wednesdays, 9:30 – 10:30 am (every other week); June 9 & 23, July 7 & 21, August 4 & 18, September 1
The NSS Beth El Writer’s Beit Midrash meets every other Wednesday on Zoom until the synagogue building reopens. All fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, and essay writers (published or not yet published) are welcome for discussions, exercises, camaraderie, and critique. Contact Rachel Kamin at or 847-926-7902 for information. Free


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! Quarter 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.

Tough Questions Jews Ask
Rabbi Alex Freedman
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.

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