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New Classes Winter and Spring 2017


Hartman Institute Discussion Series: Jewish Values and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Led by Rabbi Vernon Kurtz

Wednesdays, 7:00 pm; January 11, February 8, March 8, April 5, May 10, and June 7

Kicks off with a special program: see below!

Through the study of Jewish narratives about Israel and the unpacking of the complex meanings of peace in Jewish tradition, participants are invited to explore the ideas and values that animate different attitudes toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how these values shape their own political understandings. Though a common political platform may not be attainable, this course strives to achieve a shared respect for our differences.

Each session includes text study and discussion, led by Rabbi Kurtz, and video lecture and interviews with leading Hartman scholars.

Tuition including Sourcebook: $110; $80 for NSS Beth El members. Click here to register.


The Art of the Cantor

Taught by Hazzan Ben Tisser

Wednesdays, 8:00-9:15 pm; January 18 and 25; February 1, 15 and 22; March 1, 15, 22 and 29; April 19

Rosenblatt, Hershman, Karniol, Oysher - who are these guys?! Join Hazzan Tisser as we explore more than a century of the American Cantorate and learn what shaped the Cantorate into what it is today. We will "meet" the great tenors and baritones, showmen and opera singers, men and even women, who brought this beautiful art form from Europe and watch its evolution to modern times.

This class requires a minimum donation of $36, made payable to Sisterhood Torah Fund. Click here to register.


Foundations of Hasidut and Mindfulness

Taught by Rabbis Jordan Bendat-Appell and Sam Feinsmith of the Center for Jewish Mindfulness at Orot

Mondays, 8:00-9:15 pm; February 27, March 6, 13, and 20

There can be many sources of inspiration for our spiritual lives. We may never have imagined that Hasidism could be one of them. This 4-part series will introduce you to some of the foundational texts, concepts, and creative readings of traditional Jewish text that feature prominently in the hasidic tradition of non-dual Judaism. These, in turn, will serve as foundations for tapping the riches of hasidic spirituality in a manner that is accessible and resonant with our lived experience as Jews in the twenty first century. Focusing on the attention of the hasidic masters to the spiritual significance of the human body, heart, mind, and spirit, our learning will serve as a framework for practicing mindfulness in a Jewish context.

$80.00 (plus $2.99 registration fee) for the series; Pre-registration through the Center for Jewish Mindfulness at Orot required.

Jewish-Muslim Relations Past and Present

Tuesdays, 7:45-9:15 pm

March 7, 14 and 21

Taught by Dr. Jacob Lassner, Philip M. & Ethel Klutznick Professor Emeritus of Jewish Civilization at Northwestern University and former director of Northwestern's Jewish Studies program.

In this three-part Spertus mini-course, Dr. Jacob Lassner brings his vast knowledge of the Near East to a topic that could not be more relevant. Dr. Lassner will trace the origins of Muslim attitudes toward Jews and Judaism, providing a nuanced and historically rooted view of Muslim tolerance and intolerance, and exploring whether there might be an Islamic solution to the Arab-Israel problem.

Pre-registration is required. Two ways to register: $60 (plus $3.99 registration fee) through the Spertus Institute or sign up through NSS Beth El's Continuing Education online registration (or by calling Marcie Eskin at 847-926-7903).


Mysteries of the Bible

Taught by Aaron Klein

Wednesdays, 8:00-9:00 pm; Begins April 26; May 1, 8, 15, and 22; June 7, 14, 21, and 28

Explore our ancient texts and read between the lines to understand how the writings are relevant to our day and age. We will also study the mystics, Kabbalah, and their interpretation of the Divine and cosmos. An evening opportunity for those who have been unable to study with Aaron in his popular Wednesday morning class.

Tuition: $90; $60 for NSS Beth El members. Register online or call Marcie Eskin at 847-926-7903.

Study in the Suburbs

Taught by Rabbi Vernon Kurz

Board of Jewish Education, 3320 Dundee Rd, Northbrook

Thursdays, April 6, May 4, and June 8

Each of the three study sessions is centered around the ethical issues of our lives. Relying on source material from biblical and rabbinic texts, there will be discussion of the principles and interpretation of Jewish law over the centuries and how to apply these responsa to contemporary dilemmas. Fee: $12 per session to cover lunch. To register, email Lennie Kay or call her at 847-432-8900 x221.


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