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Adult Education

Learning enriches Jewish life and grows Jewish identity. The rabbis also teach us that when two people sit together to study Torah, the presence of God rests between them (Pirke Avot 3:3). At Har HaShem, whether you seek more knowledge, a connection to community or spiritual growth, we believe that these opportunities should exist at every age. We offer both formal and informal learning opportunities for our young people and adults.

For information about Adult Jewish Enrichment offerings, contact Rabbi Fred Greene at fg@harhashem.org

Arts and Culture

The Clergy Monologues
Thursday, February 22; 7-8:30pm

Join Rabbi Ruthie Gelfarb and Cantor Devorah Avery for a showing and discussion of "The Clergy Monologues," a short film illustrating a vast array of real experiences of rabbis and cantors who identify as women.

After the video, we will engage in a discussion where participants will examine their own assumptions about gender and leadership and the experiences of women leaders in their own communities.

The Clergy Monologues is a project of the Task Force on the Experience of Women in the Rabbinate of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, with support from Women's Rabbinic Network, Women of Reform Judaism, Reform Pay Equity Initiative, and the American Conference of Cantors.

RSVP Here

Scholars in Residence: Shaul Magid and Basya Schechter

Existential Questions - Authentic Responses
Four Days of Meaning and Joy
February 29 - March 3

Shaul Magid is Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College, a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard, and the Kogod Senior Research Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. In 2023-2024 he will be the Visiting Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at Harvard Divinity School.

Basya Schechter is an American singer – songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, cantor, and music teacher. She is the lead singer and founder of the world/folk rock band Pharaoh’s Daughter and has released two solo albums. She has also collaborated with the groups Darshan and The Epichorus.

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Zionism and the Necessity of Exile
Thursday, Feb. 29; 5:00pm | Norlin Library at CU Boulder
What does it mean to be in exile, and why has Judaism been so obsessed with it? And what is Diaspora and how is it different than exile. And why is all this so important?
Shaul suggests that Jews worldwide are experiencing a deep intervention into their identity. Perhaps sparked by October 7th and then the ensuing war, basic questions of Jewish identity that seemed somewhat stable are now de-stabilized. In this talk Shaul will expand on some themes in his book The Necessity of Exile about why he thinks exile is so important for us today and why Zionism many not be the best ideology for the state of Israel in the next phase of its history.
Learn more here

Services, Dinner and Lecture: Does Judaism Have a Future in America?
Friday, March 1; 6:00pm | Bonai Shalom
With the rise of anti-semitism, and political and demographic shifts in the Jewish community it may feel we are in a time of transition in the American Jewish community. What might Judaism in America look like in fifty years? Shaul will examine some of the cutting-edge issues that will challenge the next two generations of Jews in this country. This talk will explore the actions Jewish leadership, organizations, and individuals can take to cultivate growth, change, and continued vibrancy in the American Jewish community.
RSVP here

My Way to Neo-Hasidism
Saturday, March 2; 9:00am (during Torah Study) | Har HaShem
Shaul Magid will share his spiritual journey from wayward soul, influenced by American counterculture, to his landing in an intense Jewish spiritual environment in the mid-1970s. Living in Brooklyn and Jerusalem, it was a foot-loose time for many who were exploring and experimenting with a variety of Jewish lifestyles. Shaul will reflect on his scholarly trajectory, a path he chose after many years living in ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. He will explore some of these biographical threads, and their impact on his life and journey.

Appetizers and Desserts & Are We Heretics? Should We Be? Constructive Heresy: Hasidism, Neo-Hasidism and Paradigm Shift Judaism
Saturday, March 2; 7:00pm | Har HaShem
Judaism and Christianity were once both very engaged with the question of “heresy” or “religious deviance” as a way to define borders of normative religion. Today that language is less common for a variety of reasons. What does “heresy” even mean in our modern times? Does it have a role to play in shaping Jewish thought and practice? How do we define nonconformist Jewish behavior in an age when pluralism enables us, perhaps compel us, to accept whatever a community decides is “Jewish”? Shaul will explore questions Jewish communities and thinkers are always trying to balance between accepted or traditional Jewish norms and outsider or eccentric Jewish practice.
RSVP for Saturday Evening Program Here

Shaul Magid and Basya Schechter at Nani Vazana Concert
Sunday, March 3; 1:00pm | Boulder JCC
For thousands of years Jews lived in many locales and appropriated the music from the cultures around them. In many cases they adopted the music from their surroundings into the liturgy used in synagogues. Drawing from music of the mountain regions from Virgina, Kentucky ,and North Carolina, Shaul and Basya will play some more of their Appalachian Jewish liturgy and a few of Basya’s tunes from Pharaoh’s Daughter and Darshan influenced by music of the Maghreb. It will be a multicultural music fest.

Then, we are delighted to welcome world-renowned jazz vocalist, pianist, and trombonist, Nani Vazana to the Boulder JCC!
Nani Vazana is one of the only artists in the world to write and compose new songs in the endangered Ladino language. In her new album Ke Haber (What’s New) she captures the spirit of the ancient, matriarchal language and culture and propels it into the 21st century with socially pertinent lyrics, celebrating migration, gender and female empowerment. The soundscape bridges over tradition and modern life, capturing the sounds and smells of the marketplace and fuses them with raw, flamenco like vocals and surprising instrumentations. Nani unveils a piece of history we don’t easily find in other mythology & anthropology.
Nani is a professor at the London Performing Academy of Music and the Jerusalem Music Academy, she chairs the Amsterdam Artist Collective, and is ranked in the Top 20 on the World Music Charts Europe.
Get tickets for the concert here

 

This program is made possible by generous individuals in the Boulder community and presented by the Boulder JCC, Congregation Bonai Shalom, Congregation Har HaShem, Congregation Nevei Kodesh, University of Colorado Program in Jewish Studies.

The Basics

Intro to Judaism

This survey of Judaism course teaches fundamentals of Jewish thought, tradition and practice from a pluralistic and non-denominational perspective. Topics include lifecycle events, rituals, holidays, history, prayer and theology. Interfaith couples, adults considering conversion, and anyone looking to learn more about Jewish life are encouraged to sign up.
For more information, visit www.BoulderHaver.org, where you can sign up. Or contact Stacey at HaverInbox@gmail.com.

 

Project Zug
Congregation Har HaShem has partnered with Project Zug!
Project Zug (www.projectzug.org) empowers Jews to take ownership over their learning through one-on-one havruta learning (learning with a partner). Project Zug provides the learning materials in an online format, along with video instructions from amazing teachers, so that you can learn together with your partner. Classes are either four sessions or ten sessions. The cost for Project Zug is $36 per person.
There are two ways to engage in Project Zug.

  • IF YOU HAVE A STUDY PARTNER: Sign up for any course you like – one of over 30 courses – but you need to register with a partner. You and your havruta/study partner will each need to fill out a registration form. All the courses can be found here
  • IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A STUDY PARTNER: If you have no partner, but would like one OR if you and your partner want to study the same topic as others in the congregation, then choose this option. The course we will be studying together is Intro to the Jewish Bookshelf.  
    • Course description:The Jewish people have long been called the People of the Book, a fitting name given our deep love for the Jewish textual tradition. For hundreds of years, we've pored over the same sacred texts in an attempt to unlock their wisdom, understand their relevance, and take part in a dialogue and debate that spans generations. Yet, it can be difficult to enter into this conversation without having a good sense of what these foundational books are, how they work, and how to best bring them into our own libraries and lives. In this course, we'll take a close look at the essential core texts that make up the Jewish Bookshelf beginning with the Torah. In the course of our study, we will learn not only what these texts are and how they work but we'll use them as an entryway into conversations about creation in the Torah, self-defense in rabbinic texts, and revelation through the eyes of modern thinkers.

RSVP Here
 

Hebrew

Level 1 Hebrew for Adults with Stuart Feinhor IN PERSON
Sundays 10/15, 11/5, 12/10, 12/17, 1/21, 1/28, 2/11, 2/25, 3/3, 3/10, 4/7, 4/28; 10-11:30am

Get started with the aleph-bet! Join us as we get familiar with the shapes and sounds of the Hebrew alphabet.  In this class we will recognize, learn and understand common Hebrew words and phrases that are often heard in Reform congregations and in Jewish prayer. Perfect for Introduction to Judaism alumni and other adults, this course assumes no prior Hebrew experience. A great class to take while your kids are in Sunday Traditional Youth Programming!

Over the past 15+ years at Har HaShem, Stuart Feinhor has been a d’var Torah coach, adult B’nai mitzvah teacher, confirmation co-teacher, and, of course, adult Hebrew teacher. Along with an MA in counseling and an MFA in creative writing, he also earned his MAHL from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

RSVP Here

 

Learn to Read Hebrew for Adults ONLINE
Cohorts beginning on a rolling basis; 10 one-hour sessions, $180

Familiarity with Hebrew can be a key to feeling at home in the Jewish community. Ten live online class sessions with our experienced Hebrew educators and a community of learners, coupled with independent practice between sessions, will enable students to master the alef-bet and recognize and understand common Hebrew words and phrases that are often heard in Reform congregational life. This course assumes no prior Hebrew experience. A true beginner's course! 

RSVP Here

 

Reading Hebrew Prayers ONLINE
Cohorts beginning on a rolling basis; 6 one-hour sessions, $120

Continue your Hebrew learning in a new six-session course which focuses on reading and understanding key prayers in the Shabbat evening service. Designed for Learn to Read Hebrew alumni, this course is open to anyone interested in exploring the meaning of Hebrew prayers.

RSVP Here

Engaging with our Sacred Texts

Torah Study
Saturdays; 9:00am

Looking for a bit of learning, a bit of casual conversation, a chance to build your skills and comfort with traditional texts in English? Join a friendly group of members and volunteers for an exploration of a Jewish story, a portion of Torah, a bit of Talmud, or perhaps a contemporary text. Bring your curiosity. Take a break. Have some fun with our tradition. Torah study is meeting in our tent and also available on Zoom.

 

Kabbalah Reading Group
Wednesdays, 6:30-8:00pm

The Har HaShem Kabbalah Reading Group focuses on Jewish mysticism generally and as applied in everyday life. The idea of studying Jewish mysticism may seem out of reach to some, but no prior kabbalah experience or extensive Jewish study is required to participate in the group.

This year we will read and discuss books by two important thinkers who began their writing and teaching in the area of Kabbalah at the age of 20 (half the age at which traditionally they would be able to begin their studies).

  • We will read The Palm Tree of Devora by Moses Cordovero (the RAMAK). 
  • On alternate weeks we will read from 138 Openings of Wisdom by Rabbi Moshe Luzzatto (the RAMCHAL) 1701-1746.

Check dates and get the Zoom link on our calendar

 

The Poetry of Prayer, Past and Present: With What Words Do You Find Meaning? with Katherine Schwartz
Wednesdays, April 3 and 10; 6:30-8pm

If you could choose any words to express your deepest wish or sincere gratitude, what would they be? This is one of the questions the rabbis asked when compiling our siddur, prayer book.  These “offerings of our hearts” were meant to replace the sacrificial offerings during ancient Temple times in Jerusalem.  Did they get it right?  Each generation has asked this question and adjusted our formula for and formulations of prayer.  There is no greater evidence of this shift in both Hebrew and in English than in the Reform Movement’s generational creation of new siddurim, prayerbooks.  We’ll explore this idea of putting words and a structure to our expressions of hope and gratitude through an examination of the different eras of siddurim and creative expressions of t’filah, prayer. We’ll look at the ideas and outside influences that have shaped how we pray: contemporary poetry, music, meditation and even location. We’ll add our own voice to the conversation by experimenting with the words we might choice.  You don’t need to know anything about history, Hebrew or even worship services to participate in the conversation.  And any opinion about prayer and worship in general is welcome!

RSVP Here

Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion Courses

College Commons

HUC-JIR is the Reform movement’s seminary and graduate school. They now offer free online courses for adults and teens investigating a central Jewish theme through conversations with HUC-JIR scholars and academic experts.
Learn more here.

HUC Connect

HUC Connect brings together those who love to learn. With over 130,000 views and listens to our webinar and podcast, HUC Connect invites you to join participants from 55 countries to discover something new about Judaism and about yourself. Click here for more information. 
 

Past or In-Progress Offerings

The Basics

  • Jewish and Newish: Entering the High Holy Days
  • Becoming Jewish: An Info Session About Conversion to Judaism
  • Pursuing Justice
  • Just Add Water: An Introduction to Mikveh

Hebrew

  • Chanting Torah

Israel

  • Reform Judaism in Israel

Environmentalism

  • Confronting the Climate Crisis and Cultivating Spiritual Courage
  • Making the Connection: Judaism, Food, Climate and You with Becky O'Brien

History

  • "Kristallnacht" in 1938 Nazi Germany: Its Meaning and Significance 85 Years Later

Jewish Thought

Character Development

Arts and Culture

  • Art as Spiritual Practice
  • Jews in Sports

Adult Education Calendar

Sat, February 24 2024 15 Adar I 5784