Fall 2018 registration is now open!

Every time we say the Sh’ma, at the central moment of the service, we have a prayer just before and another just after that speak of the value of learning. Before the Sh’ma is the Ahava Raba in the morning, and the Ahavat Olam in the evening, both of which describe how God manifests love for us through the gift of Torah (which in this case means teaching writ large). And after the Sh’ma we continue with the V’ahavta which reminds us of all the ways that we express our love for God by repeating the words of Torah twice daily, everywhere we go and in every place we enter.

Every time we study a text, hear a lecture, watch a movie, discuss an idea, listen to a sermon, share an idea, react to a lesson, or especially ask a question we are engaged in the business of learning: la-asok b’divrei Torah. This institution and our Lifelong Learning program (wonderfully led by the tireless Elizabeth Lacher) exist to provide as many opportunities as possible for people to engage in that business.

Just as the liturgy shows us learning is a two-way street (God loves us, and we have to love God back), so too is learning in community a two-way street. We can provide as many opportunities as possible, but you have to take us up on the offer. So please, put aside whatever may be obstructing your path to learning and sign up. Whether it is a busy schedule, a feeling of inferiority, a sense of confusion about where to start, or a concern about being lonely or left out, we can do our best address any of these things. But you have to take the first step.

If you do not know where to begin, contact Rabbi Wainer, Cantor Caro, Elizabeth, or any member of the staff, and tell us and we will help you find your way to a life enriched by the power of Torah. Join us and enjoy the fruits of learning.

“It is a tree of life to them that hold fast to it, and all its supporters are happy.” (from the Torah Service, adapted from Proverbs 3:18)

Participation Open to ALL

All of our Lifelong Learning programs are open to anyone who is interested. We strive to offer a variety of learning experiences which will meet the needs and interests of our members. All programs are free for students registered in our Tamid program. 

Fees and Registration

Many of our Lifelong Learning programs are free and require no registration. Any applicable fees for members and non-members are indicated in the program description. For programs that require registration we ask that you register early; we will cancel classes with insufficient enrollment.

Lifelong Learning at NVHC is supported by donations to the Seldon and Ruth Kruger Fund for Adult Learning and registration fees. Your continued donations to the Seldon and Ruth Kruger Fund for Adult Learning are appreciated.

Click here to see our Adult Hebrew classes.

Instructor: Rabbi Jessica Wainer

Time: Second Wednesday of the month, 11:30 p.m.-1:00 p.m.

Pirkei Avot is often seen as a how-to guide for how we can live our best Jewish lives. Experience in in-depth study of the texts of Pirkei Avot, along with modern commentary for helping us to determine how these ancient texts apply to us in the 21st century.

Instructor: Rabbi Michael Holzman
Time: Third Friday of the month, 8:00 a.m.
Text: The Prophets, Vol 1 and 2, Abraham Joshua Heschel
The Jewish Bible is divided into three parts, and the second part, the prophets, is the most misunderstood. This section describes the history of early Israel and the invention of a new method of leadership: the prophet. Abraham Joshua Heschel’s first major work analyzed this section and we will see the prophets through this masterwork, The Prophets (vols 1 and 2). Please purchase your copy of the books before class begins October 19.

Instructor: Rabbi Michael Holzman

Time: Sundays, 10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m. October 14, November 11, December 9, January 13, February 10, March 10, April 7, May 5

Gather to study and discuss the work of Israeli writers since 1947 who address the challenges, inspirations and dilemmas of the state through poetry, song and short fiction. Instead of us discussing the nature of a Jewish State, we will hear from Israelis in their own words.

Instructor: Cantor Caro

Time: Tuesdays, 7:00 p.m.-8:15 p.m. October 23, November 27, December 18, April 30, May 28

Mussar is a Jewish system for personal growth, specifically in the realm of character trait refinement, helping individuals to find balance and strength in key inner traits that are essential for leading a fulfilling life. Each month we will explore this system through these character traits, studying text sources and considering how to bring that into personal life and experience. No prior experience or knowledge needed; each month will be its own exploration.

Instructor: Cantor Caro

Time: Wednesday mornings, 8:45 p.m.-9:15 p.m.

In our sanctuary, a weekly drop-in to explore contemplative practices and exercises framed by a mussar (character) trait. The weekly trait will be noted in the weekly synagogue email. Mussar’s teachings with mindfulness practices to create a weekly space for openly approaching the multiple spiritual dimensions of Jewish tradition and Jewish living.

Instructor: Andrew Stein
Time: Sundays, 9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Fee: Members $18, non-Members $36

The year 2004 marked the 350th anniversary of the organized Jewish community in what would become the United States of America that began with the arrival of 23 refugees from Pernambuco, Brazil to New Amsterdam/New York. This course will chart the evolution of the Jews in America from the Colonial Era to the 21st century, breaking the chronology into 6 distinct periods. Subsequently we will explore a series of themes such as efforts to achieve civic equality and Jewish participation in American politics and the military, the history of immigration and ghetto life from the 19th century up to the latest waves of immigration from the former Soviet Union and Israel, American Jewish demographic trends, and the history of Judaism in America and the specific paths of Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Orthodox Judaism.
The course will also address such issues as the Jewish experience during the American Civil War, Black-Jewish relations from Reconstruction to the Civil Rights Era, the American Jewish experience with Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, and American Jewry’s relationship to Zionism and Israel.

Coordinator: Ed Byrne
Time: Sundays, 10:40 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Fee: Members $18, non-Members $36
Text: Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (The new JPS translation according to the traditional Hebrew text). Copies available in the NVHC Library or bring your own.

Tanakh is Torah + Neviim (Prophets) + Ketuvim (Writings). The Hebrew Bible! Chevruta is a study partnership. This study group explores Jewish spirituality by reading and discussing sacred texts. We try to take a literary and historical view of Scripture and discern the lessons it offers to apply to contemporary life. The group decides which parts of the Tanakh to read together; last year we covered much of Deuteronomy and Numbers. Come explore the Tanakh with us; everyone has something to offer and something to learn! Prerequisites: None

Instructor: Judy Naiman
Time: Sundays, 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

This class is for parents of students who will become B’nai Mitzvah in the near future. In five sessions, the class discusses the meaning of this life cycle event and the mitzvah of celebrating Shabbat; provides information about your responsibilities and the sequence of your child’s preparation; explains the structure of the worship service using Mishkan Tefilah, the Reform siddur (prayerbook); and provides an opportunity to prepare a D’var Torah. The class blends structured teaching, practical advice, and shared experiences. The goal is to make the Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation process a deeply meaningful experience for the whole family and to perpetuate the spirit of Jewish community and tradition. Parents generally take the class from 6 to 18 months before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah event. Past participants in the class, both Jewish and non-Jewish parents, report that the sessions helped them to feel better prepared, gave them an opportunity to talk with other pre-B’nai Mitzvah parents, and taught them numerous aspects of the tradition and liturgy involved in this lifecycle event.

Instructors: Rabbi Jessica Wainer and Cantor Susan Caro
Time: Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. October 3, 17; November 7; December 5, 12; January 16; February 6; March 30; April 3; May 1, 15, 29. June 2019-February 2020 dates TBA

Never became a Bar or Bat Mitzvah? Now is your time! Becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah as an adult provides a unique opportunity to explore Jewish thought, practice, and ritual. This is an 18-month class, with lively conversation on a variety of topics including liturgy and prayer, holidays, life-cycle, text study, theology, and Reform Judaism. This is an amazing way to speak to your Jewish soul, to create community through shared learning, doing mitzvot and building relationships with others, lasting long beyond the class itself. It is also an opportunity for adults to learn the skills to be called to the Torah. Each class member will have the opportunity to read from the Torah as desired, and to help lead the congregation in a Shabbat morning celebration on March 7, 2020.

Students should also take our Adult B’nai Mitzvah Hebrew class to better prepare for the opportunity to read Torah.