Lifelong Learning

Classes and Programs

 How Do We Think about God? Explorations in Theology:Over the years, Cantor Cohen has shared his reflections on theology and prayer, expanding the possibilities of how we think about God, and how that affects the way we live our lives and experience the world. This class will continue the exploration with open conversation and text study of contemporary thinkers.  Via ZOOM.

Israeli Short Stories: We welcome back Rabbi Carl Astor to lead us in discussion of stories by Israeli authors. Readings distributed in advance. Thursdays, April 23, 30, May 14 and 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Here is Rabbi Astor’s description of the class:
I have gone through collections of short stories by Israeli authors and chosen selections that I thought were both well-written and interesting to discuss. They are all fairly contemporary because I want to introduce you to some less well-known, less famous authors that have a connection with the past, but also who speak to modern Israel. Some of them might seem quirky or even irreverent at times, but they all have something important to say.

If you’ve never read anything by Etgar Keret, you’re in for a treat (or shock). He is very popular in Israel, having won numerous awards and prizes. One book won the prestigious Sapir Prize which offers the author a free translation into any language he or she chooses. Keret chose Yiddish to everyone’s surprise!

The book from which I chose stories is called “The Bus Driver who wanted to be God.” In one story one could see the bus driver as a metaphor for God. Another story, “Breaking the Pig” is about unintended consequences. Then there’s a story called “Rabin’s Dead” with a surprising twist (spoiler alert: Rabin is a cat!). I think you get the idea.

Then there is a collection called “And So Is the Bus” by Yossel Birstein. Birstein was born in Poland, moved to Australia in 1941, and immigrated to Israel in 1950. He worked in banking but later became an archivist at the Hebrew University and began to write, both novels and short stories. This collection is all about incidents involving his rides on buses in Jerusalem and it is amazingly entertaining and insightful about human nature. Birstein finds meaning in chance encounters and particularly in the seemingly random juxtaposition of people and occurrences in his life, and on the buses. From the War of Independence to the Holocaust, from a dying man to teenage angst, it’s all right there on the bus!

And finally, there is a group of writers who call themselves “Anglos”, who lived in English-speaking countries and immigrated to Israel. Some of these stories are found in a collection called “Israel Short Stories.” I have chosen a few of these that I considered to be quality writing and, more importantly, that raise important and difficult issues.

I have gone through collections of short stories by Israeli authors and chosen selections that I thought were both well-written and interesting to discuss. They are all fairly contemporary because I want to introduce you to some less well-known, less famous authors that have a connection with the past, but also who speak to modern Israel. Some of them might seem quirky or even irreverent at times, but they all have something important to say.

If you’ve never read anything by Etgar Keret, you’re in for a treat (or shock). He is very popular in Israel, having won numerous awards and prizes. One book won the prestigious Sapir Prize which offers the author a free translation into any language he or she chooses. Keret chose Yiddish to everyone’s surprise!

The book from which I chose stories is called “The Bus Driver who wanted to be God.” In one story one could see the bus driver as a metaphor for God. Another story, “Breaking the Pig” is about unintended consequences. Then there’s a story called “Rabin’s Dead” with a surprising twist (spoiler alert: Rabin is a cat!). I think you get the idea.

Then there is a collection called “And So Is the Bus” by Yossel Birstein. Birstein was born in Poland, moved to Australia in 1941, and immigrated to Israel in 1950. He worked in banking but later became an archivist at the Hebrew University and began to write, both novels and short stories. This collection is all about incidents involving his rides on buses in Jerusalem and it is amazingly entertaining and insightful about human nature. Birstein finds meaning in chance encounters and particularly in the seemingly random juxtaposition of people and occurrences in his life, and on the buses. From the War of Independence to the Holocaust, from a dying man to teenage angst, it’s all right there on the bus!

And finally, there is a group of writers who call themselves “Anglos”, who lived in English-speaking countries and immigrated to Israel. Some of these stories are found in a collection called “Israel Short Stories.” I have chosen a few of these that I considered to be quality writing and, more importantly, that raise important and difficult issues.

 

Ongoing Classes

Bible with Rabbi Adam: We continue our journey through the Book of Kings, from the demise of King David, through the grandeur of King Solomon and the many Kings who follow. It’s an ancient lens to view modern problems, Judaism today and the perennial human condition. Newcomers welcome as we explore the stories, language and meaning of this book.  Wednesdays, 9:45-10:45 am via ZOOM.

Prayerbook Hebrew: Learn basic Hebrew with emphasis on the meaning of prayers. Led by Ellen Lewis.  Newcomers welcome to join. Wednesdays, 10:45 am-noon via ZOOM.

Tikkun Leil Shavuot:  A perennial Shaarei Tikvah favorite.  Join us as we take turns teaching on Jewish-related topics.   You’ll be surprised at the topics we cover!   Thursday, May 28 8-11 p.m.

 


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