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.

Spring Quarter Courses 2023

Learn How to Lead Shacharit
Hazzan Jacob Sandler
Thursdays, 10:00-11:00 am, May 4 – June 8, 2023 (no class May 25)
Unpack the nusah (traditional chanting), melodies, and structure of Shabbat Shacharit. We will explore how to take the building blocks of the service to craft a meaningful and inspiring prayer experience for both the leader and the congregation. Class will meet in-person. FREE

Hebrew Language

Café Ivrit: Intermediate Conversational Hebrew
Silvi Freedson
Tuesdays, 5:00-6:30 pm, April 18-June 6, 2023
This Intermediate level course will help you improve your conversational and reading skills. *note new time* Class will meet on Zoom. Quarter Fee: Spring

Sicha Ivrit: Advanced Conversational Hebrew
Silvi Freedson
Thursdays, 5:00-6:30 pm, April 20-June 8, 2023
Join this Advanced level course to study Israeli literature and culture in Hebrew. *note new time* Class will meet on Zoom. Quarter Fee: Spring

Summer 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.

Register for Summer Quarter 2023 Classes

“For Lo, the Winter is Past”: Celebrate Summer with a Song of Songs Inspired Paper-Cutting Workshop
Dr. Jane Shapiro and Artist Judith Joseph
Monday, June 5, 1:00-3:00 pm
A free one session Artists’ Beit Midrash inspired by the beautiful poetry of Song of Songs. We will look at text, then learn traditional Jewish paper-cutting techniques. All tools and materials will be supplied; no experience necessary. Class will meet in-person. FREE

Jewish Myth Busters
Rabbi Alex Freedman
Thursdays, 11:00 am
June 8: Does the Torah Want Us to be Vegetarians? and June 22: Are the Ten Commandments a Top Ten List?
Much has been said about key Jewish ideas and beliefs, not all of them true. Join Rabbi Freedman to dispel some myths and highlight what Judaism actually says about these topics. Class will meet in-person (immediately following the HAZAK Fitness Class) and on Zoom. FREE There is no charge to attend but please register to receive the Zoom link, handouts and class updates.

Summer Stories with Rachel Kamin
Tuesdays, 1:00 -2:00 pm and/or 8:00-9:00 pm, July 11 & 25 and August 1 & 8, 2023
The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land announces the arrival of a natural-born storyteller of immense talent. Omer Friedlander’s stories take you to the narrow limestone alleyways of Jerusalem, the desolate beauty of the Negev Desert, and the sprawling orange groves of Jaffa, with characters that spring to vivid life. Join us this summer to discuss this gorgeously immersive and imaginative short story collection, winner of the Association of Jewish Libraries Fiction Award. All registered students will receive a hardcover copy of the book. Class will meet in-person and/or on Zoom. Quarter Fee: Summer

Parashah Plug
Rabbi Goldie Guy
Thursdays, 11:15 am – 12:15 pm, July 13 & 20 and August 3 & 17, 2023
Dive into the parashah of the week and explore biblical commentaries and interpretation, sections from relevant Talmudic passages, and spiritual teachings from Hassidic masters. Discussion encouraged! Rabbi Goldie Guy is the Director of Hadar Chicago. Class will meet in-person (immediately following the HAZAK Fitness Class) and on Zoom. FREE 

Breaking Jewish News & Views
Carl Schrag
Wednesdays, 9:45 – 11:00 am, July 19-August 9, 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: Summer

Writer’s Beit Midrash
Wednesdays, 9:30 am, May 31, June 14 & 28, July 12 & 26, August 9 & 23, 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


Hebrew Language

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 including the complete 2022-2023 calendar. After the final book in June, the book club will resume in the fall. Stay tuned for more details this summer.

Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Saturday, June 10, 12:30 pm: In-Person Discussion (after Shabbat Kiddush)
Monday, June 12, 8:00 pm: Meet the author on Zoom
Two strangers – one a lonely boy and the other a Holocaust survivor – develop an unlikely friendship while trying to track down the survivor’s missing caretaker.


Copies of the books are available in the Gray Cultural & Learning Center and from public libraries, as well as from local and online booksellers.

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.

Special Programs

Violins of Hope
A selection of the Violins of Hope collection, played by Jewish musicians before and during the Holocaust, will be on display in the Rissman Kol Ami Museum through June 30, 2023.