North Suburban Synagogue Beth El
Class Offerings and Descriptions

Class Offerings and Descriptions

Hebrew Language

Learn to Read Hebrew
Are you looking to improve your skills in Hebrew – either conversational, reading, or prayer?  Educational Staff at NSS Beth El will help to evaluate your level of Hebrew and find appropriate personalized tutoring. Contact Ali Drumm or call 847-432-8126.

Café Ivrit: Intermediate Conversational Hebrew
Silvi Freedson
Tuesdays, 6:15–7:30 pm
This Intermediate level course will help you improve your conversational and reading skills.  New students are always welcome! Winter Trimester Fee

Sicha Ivrit: Advanced Conversational Hebrew
Silvi Freedson
Thursdays, 6:15 – 7:30 pm
Join this Advanced level course to study Israeli literature and culture in Hebrew! New students are always welcome. Winter Trimester Fee

Conversational Hebrew
(Sisterhood Torah Fund)
Dr. Alicia Gejman
Thursdays, 10:00 – 11:00 am
Designed for adults who have basic fluency in reading and writing Hebrew. 

Open Conversational Hebrew
Sundays (ongoing), 9:30 – 11:00 am

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

Classic Jewish Texts

Talmud: Tractate Berachot
Rabbi Michael Schwab
Tuesdays, 8:30 – 9:30 am
Begin learning the Talmud at the beginning, with a tractate — Berakhot — that covers daily prayers, blessings for food, and Kiddush. Rabbi Schwab takes students on a journey through the mainstay of the Jewish oral tradition, its rich history, structure, and famous personalities. Study Jewish law in the original text. Discussion and commentary are in English. New participants are always welcome! Winter Trimester Fee

Weekly Wisdom
(Sisterhood Torah Fund Class)
Rabbi Michael Schwab
Tuesdays, 11:00 am – Noon 
Explore the depth of meaning in passages of the Torah via beautiful interpretations and engaging stories created by the rabbis, speaking to the core values of Judaism.

It’s Good to Be the King: David in the Book of Samuel
Aaron Klein
Thursdays 11:00 am-12:00 pm, through March 14
It’s no surprise that Joseph Heller chronicled David as the smug Jewish father and plagiarized poet- King David’s story in the Bible is one of the most fascinating in the ancient world, and its themes are timeless. Follow his tale through its fascinating twists and turns in the Bible’s First and Second Samuel. Winter Trimester Fee

Jewish Life and Culture

Energy Healing and the Kabbalah
Devi Stern
Mondays, 7:45-9:00 pm, through February 11
Kabbalah and energy medicine are both ancient bodies of wisdom enjoying a resurgence of interest. Join energy healer and author Devi Stern in exploring how these two fields, when combined, create unique and powerful ways of tapping into the spiritual realms while staying safely centered and grounded in the physical body. Energy medicine provides the physical practices, while Kabbalah is the ladder to spirit. Learn simple self-care exercises appropriate for all fitness levels. Regular practice helps to maintain wellness, encourage maximum vitality and resilience, reduce stress, and facilitate change. The series will include kabbalah/energy exercises for grounding, creating safe boundaries, self-healing, and more. Winter Trimester Fee

Wine and Wisdom
Hazzan Ben Tisser
Thursday April 11, 7:45 pm
Poetry, Midrash, Commentary and Talmud…and wine! Join us for these salon-style gatherings where we share a love of fine kosher wine and learning. Come to any one or all of these sessions.
$20 per session or Winter Trimester Fee: includes wine, snacks, and great learning; Register to receive updates on location.

Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor
Rabbi Michael Schwab
Tuesdays, 7:45-9:00 pm, February 12-April 2 (no class March 26)
Lyrical and evocative, Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor, by Yossi Klein Halevi, is one Israeli’s powerful attempt to reach beyond the wall that separates Israelis and Palestinians. In this taut and provocative book, Halevi endeavors to untangle the ideological and emotional knot that has defined the conflict for nearly a century. Using history and personal experience as his guides, he unravels the complex strands of faith, pride, anger, and anguish he feels as a Jew living in Israel. Rabbi Schwab will guide the class through a chapter-by-chapter analysis of the book. Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor is a 2018 National Jewish Book Award finalist. Winter Trimester Fee includes a copy of the book.

Israel: Where Do You Come From? Where Do You Go?
Rabbi Alex Freedman

Mondays and Wednesdays: May 6, 15, 20, and 29, 7:45-9:00 pm
Together we’ll follow along with Gil Troy through his updated anthology, The Zionist Ideas: Visions for the Jewish Homeland- Then, Now, Tomorrow. We’ll join the vibrant ongoing conversation of Zionist dreams and visions, past and present. Special session on Monday May 20 is available to stream online via Zoom. Spring Trimester Fee

The Stories We Tell: Narrative in the Torah and in Art
Artists Beit Midrash
Dr. Jane Shapiro and Judith Joseph

Thursdays (6 sessions beginning June 6), 9:30 – 11:30 am
Students explore Jewish sources thematically (no Hebrew knowledge required) in six sessions taught by master educator Dr. Jane Shapiro and artist-educator Judith Joseph.  Artists of all skill levels and working with any type of media – sculpture, oils, watercolors, photographs, fabrics, poetry, music, theater and dance – are invited. Spring Trimester Fee

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!

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? Why marry someone Jewish? This class will explore one big topic after another, utilizing as a guide the book Tough Questions Jews Ask by Rabbi Edward Feinstein. We will supplement this book with 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.