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Adult & Family Learning Programs

Adult & Family Learning Programs

עַל שְׁלֹשָׁה דְּבָרִים הָעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד:
עַל הָתּוֹרָה, וְעַל הָעַבוֹדָה, וְעַל גְּמִילוּת חַסָדִּים.

 “The World Stands on These Three:
Torah (Learning), Avodah (Spiritual Life), and
G’milut Hasadim (Acts of Loving Kindness)
Mishnah, Avot 1:2

torah

Learning is a pillar of the world and of our Jewish life. Join us for some of our many exciting and diverse programs and learning events. This year, we continue our best programs; we have also added new and unique opportunities with a variety of venues and times. Our discussion groups, speakers, and text-based learning opportunities are held on the weekend or during the week; we’ll meet at Beth Shalom, at a bagel or pancake place, or in an ethnic restaurant in town. Choose from short series or continuing classes, weekly or monthly, fixed groups and stand-alone events. We hope that, among all our offers, you will find a program which is right for you to engage in.

New This Year: Chai Mitzvah – Jewish Breakfast Club

October 8, November 5, December 3, January 7, February 4, March 4, April 8, May 20 and June 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. at Whole Foods in Cary

Interpersonal relationships, adults’ rites of passage, mindfulness and conscious living, tzedakah and philanthropy, nature and environment: These and other deeply relevant themes will be the focus of a new monthly program we are excited to offer: Chai Mitzvah. Chai Mitzvah is a hands-on engagement program that has both personal and communal components. Communally, each participate attends a monthly group learning session. Individually, each participant is encouraged and helped in building their own “Jewish Bucket List” to fulfill this year: choosing from independent study topics, a ritual or spiritual practice, and/or a social action activity.

Led by Rabbi Edery, this course lets you engage and move at your own pace but also gives you a structure and rhythm of a monthly engagement. This is a great opportunity to learn about adult life issues from a Jewish perspective, as well as to learn about Judaism from an adult perspective. As you engage with like-minded fellow participants, we hope this series will enrich you, enhance your experience of Judaism, and help you bring that to your home and family. Learn more at chaimitzvah.org.

Registration is through the Beth Shalom office, with a $45 fee which coves all provided materials Registration is due by October 1. Upon registration, each participant will receive a set of 9 booklets form Chai Mitzvah, each overing one of the monthly topics and providing materials for learning and suggestions for further engagement. You are welcome to buy your own drink or breakfast food at Whole Foods and bring it to our session in the store’s community room.

Ongoing programs include:

Tanakh Talks

Mondays from 10:30 a.m. to noon at Beth Shalom

Led by Rabbi Edery and open to all, this is a lively time for discussions on and around Biblical texts, current events, and everything we are inspired to discuss. Although this class has been going on for over a decade, we still have plenty to learn and discuss! We start our discussion on the topic that a Jewish txt presents, as well as on the many more matters that we bring to the text from our own perspectives, life experiences, and current events around us.

Bagels & Talmud

Second Thursday of the month from 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at IHOP on Kildaire Farm Rd.

Talmud doesn’t just give you answers to your questions — it mainly gives you more questions to your answers! To study Talmud with a group is to take part in that discussion going on for generations, adding your own voice to it.

The beauty of studying the Talmud is in discovering “how the Jewish mind thinks.” In its one-of-a-kind style and design, these are texts like no other, where we find deep discussions arising from daily situations or personal stories, with unexpected twists, and a challenging diversity of opinions. But in the end, all this is just a way of asking you to develop your own stands on profound ethical principles hidden behind small daily matters. Join us at we eat lunch, discuss and learn under the direction of Rabbi Edery. All are welcome! No experience needed!

Got Culture

November 18 at Beth Shalom
January 13 and March 17 – location TBD

These are three things we can safely say about Jews: WE’ve been around many countries, we like to get together to talk, and we like it even more if it is around good food!

We have a tradition that combines all those: Got Culture. We meet at an ethnic food restaurant, where we enjoy a unique meal as we take the opportunity to learn about the country where the food originates, its culture, and its connections with the Jewish community. Last year we visited Carmen’s Cuban Cafe, Awaze Ethiopian Cuisine, and U.S. Southern Danny’s Bar-B-Que to enjoy and explore their foods and cultures. This year on September 9, we enjoyed Turkish food and culture at the Istanbul Restaurant.

RSVPs are required for each event. As the dates approach, look for a Signup Genius in the Weekly E-news or contact the office.

Beth Shalom Book Club

First Friday of the month from 10:30 a.m. to noon

Both fiction and non-fiction titles with Jewish themes are read and discussed. All are invited to attend and are encouraged to suggest books. At each meeting, members decide on the next book choices. Genres have included historical fiction, current events, Jewish authors, history, and Jewish literature. Discussions are lively and informative and provide a welcoming social context.

Mussar: Soul-Searching and Character Building

Every other Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. beginning January 9 for 10 sessions at Beth Shalom

Mussar is like a fitness class or Yoga. It is a set of teachings with guided daily practices, which do with our soul what a good workout does with our body: help our spirit be stronger, more flexible, happier, and at peace.   Mussar is a centuries-old Jewish tradition that can help you develop inner awareness and grow the traits of the soul in order to become a finer version of the person you already are. It teaches us how our character traits can be worked on: strengthening the positive ones, softening the negative ones. We don’t have to just react to things; we can learn the skills enabling us to choose, each time, how we confront daily life challenges with the best in us.  Led by Rabbi Edery and open to all, there are no pre-requisites, nor are Hebrew or previous Jewish knowledge needed.

How does one practice Mussar?

 Mussar has a learning component, but it is not “a class.”  Mussar has a group component, but it is not group therapy.  When you join our Mussar group, you will be given texts to read individually.  These texts are mostly from the book, Everyday Holiness, by Alan Morinis.  Questions, excercises, and suggestions are provided to prompt inquiry and insight. Each reading is followed with suggested practices for you to do on your own, daily and weekly, where you apply and experience what you have learned.

Every two weeks, we meet with a group of fellow Mussar practitioners to discuss and share perspectives on what we learned, address the practices and share personal insights and experiences.  These meetings create a powerful spiritual community, reinforcing commitment, and deepening participants’ learning.  These guided discussions in a small group, are led by Rabbi Ariel Edery, who is also trained as a facilitator of Mussar by the Mussar Insitute.

Mussar begins with the awareness that, in life, we each have a spiritual curriculum – specific challenges we face and opportunities for growth.  In our group, participants come to discover and explore their own personal curriculum, with the safety and support of other like-minded seekers, without judgements or unwanted advice.

To be part of our Mussar Group as a first-time Mussar student or as an experienced, returning Mussar graduate:

  • Register through the Beth Shalom office, by December 10, pay the $18 fee, and buy the book Everyday Holiness by Alan Morinis at least a week ahead of first meeting.
  • Returning students are welcome to begin on January 9, or they may choose to begin on February 6 for 8 new sessions.
  • There is a minimum and a maximum number of participants that can be in a group. Our group will be formed in the order in which registrations are submitted.

Learning Opportunities Within our Wider Community

Introduction to Judaism: Presented by the Triangle Area Rabbis
Wednesday Evenings from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Temple Beth Or, 5315 Creedmoor Rd, Raleigh

Want to get a good overview of the Jewish holidays and life cycle events, while learning from a diverse variety of area rabbis? Then, consider taking the Introduction to Judaism Survey Course, taught by several of the Triangle rabbis, including our Rabbi Ariel Edery.

This is a ten-week class, offering an overview of Jewish holidays, lifecycle events, and traditions taught by rabbis from area Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox backgrounds. The class extends a pathway to Jewish studies for conversion, interfaith couples, and Jews wishing to refresh or update their religious education.  For more information on the course and/or registration, please call 781-4895 (x100).

Living Simply: A Jewish Take on Consumerism an the Environment
Presented by the Raleigh-Cary JCC in collaboration with the Town of Cary, meetings are on October 26 and November 2, 9, an 16 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center, 119 Ambassador Loop, Cary.

Taught by Rabbi Ariel Edery, this four-session series delves into our lifestyle choices and everyday actions, examining both the positive and negative impact we, as local and global citizens and consumers, can have on our natural environment. Sharing wisdom from Jewish traditions, we will discuss and explore where we stand and what we can do to integrate this awareness into our life.

Cost and registration:

  • JCC members/Cary Residents: $36.00
  • JCC Non Member: $49.00 (for entire series)
  • JCC Members who do not reside in Cary:  To take advantage of the $36 member price, call Theresa Dolan, the Page Walker Customer Service Rep at 919-460-4963. You will not be able to register online, by mail, or in person and still receive the discounted price. Theresa is available Monday through Friday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • All others may register via the following link: https://classweb.townofcary.org/eConnect/Start/Start.asp and search “109159” in the search bar.