Adult Education 2018-2019



Rabbi Troster’s Thursday Night Lecture Series starting Oct 4 at 7 pm 

a.  Judaism and the Challenge of Modern Science Part I: The Big Bang, Evolution and Modern Physics

This six-week set of lectures and text studies will examine the way that Judaism viewed the natural world, from Israelite times through the age of the Rabbis, the Middle Ages, the period of the Scientific Revolution and into the Modern Period. We will examine how Judaism has responded to three of the most import scientific discoveries of the last 200 years: The Big Band theory of the origin of the universe, Darwin’s theory of evolution, and the creation of Quantum Mechanics. Original sources will be studied in English translation. No previous knowledge of science or history required.

Dates: October 4, 18, 25; November 1, 15, 29

b.  Judaism and the Challenge of Modern Science Part II: Bioethics and Genetic Engineering

This six-week set of classes will focus on bioethical issues such as fertility technology, euthanasia, and genetic engineering. Original sources will be studied in English translation. No previous knowledge of science or history required.

Dates: December 6, 20; January 3, 17, 24, 31

c. From the Golden Age to the Expulsion: The History of Sephardic Jewry from its Origin to 1492

This six-week set of classes will look at the origin of Sephardic Jews from their origin in Roman times through Christian and Muslim conquests to the expulsion in 1492. Spanish Jews once constituted one of the largest and most prosperous Jewish communities in the world. Spain was the unquestioned leader of world Jewry: scientific and philological study of the Hebrew Bible began, Hebrew was used for the first time for secular poetry, and for the only time between Biblical times and the origins of the modern state of Israel, a Jew (Samuel ha-Nagid) commanded a Jewish army. All sources will be studied in English and no previous knowledge of this history is required.

Dates: February 7, 21, 28; March 7, 21, 28

d.  In the Shadow of the Inquisition: The History of Sephardic Jewry Part II: From 1492 to the Modern Age

During the centuries following 1492 Sephardic Jews and conversos settled throughout Western Europe and non-Iberian realms of the colonial Americas (mostly Dutch realms, including Curaçao in the Dutch West Indies, Recife in Dutch areas of colonial Brazil and New Amsterdam which later became New York forming communities and formally reverting to Judaism. Others settled in North Africa Italy and the Ottoman Empire. They became one of the most influential elements of World Jewry with significant impact on Jewish religion and culture. This six-week series of classes will follow how this process occurred and their contributions to Jewish civilization. All sources will be studied in English and no previous knowledge of this history is required.

Dates: April 4; May 2, 16, 23, 30; June 6


Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Troster

“Songs of the Soul: The Book of Psalms and Jewish Spirituality”

The Book of Psalms is one of the most important sources for Jewish spirituality. More than one-third of the Psalms are used in their entirety in the Jewish liturgy throughout the year. Another third is quoted in part. This class will examine some of the most well-known Psalms as well as others found in the prayer book. The class will also look at the origin of the Book of Psalms and how the Psalms have been used throughout Jewish history as an important source of spirituality. Ancient, medieval and modern interpretations of the Psalms will be studied in translation. It is recommended (but not necessary) that participants purchase The Book of Psalms, translated by Robert Alter.

Wednesdays, 12:30-2:00 pm beginning Sep 26


The Book of Life is Full of Death, but oh so living: A Lecture by Rabbi Lawrence Troster

 The biblical Book of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) responds to many of the same spiritual and existential questions that numerous people have faced in their lives: what is the meaning of (my) life? Does God care about the world? Is there a pattern of existence or is everything random? Why do the righteous suffer? Is there some kind of existence after death? While previous sacred texts like the Torah asserted that the world adheres to a pattern that is intelligible and moral, the author of Kohelet perceives no evidence of this.

This lecture, based on a chapter that Rabbi Troster wrote for a book on the search for meaning, uses a fictional narrative of the life of the author of Kohelet, set in the 3rd century BCE, as told after his death by his student Joshua Ben Sira incorporating many different texts: poems, songs, novels, philosophy, rabbinic literature, and biblical texts.

Sunday, Nov 18, 7:30 pm


Beginners’ Hebrew – Learning how to Read – led by Rabbi Kravitz

“To think outside the box” is the way in which Rabbi Kravitz’s whirling mind is working.  She is offering a Beginners’ Hebrew Reading course taught in a unique way.  The class will meet from 9:45 am-10:30 am one Sunday morning a month between October and March.  Each participant will diligently practice reading on their own every week as well as be in phone contact with a mentor who will check how they are doing and make suggestions when needed.  The cost is $36 to cover the cost of books.  For more information, contact  To register contact   Ten participants are required for the course to run.  Registration deadline is Oct 8.

Sundays, Oct 21, Nov 18, Dec 9, Jan 27, Feb 10, Mar 10, 9:45-10:30 am


 Candidate Forum

With Election Day around the corner, on Sunday morning, Oct 14th, we will sponsor a Candidate Forum.  More information will be available closer to that date.  Coffee and donuts will be served.

Sunday, Oct 14, 10 am


Nobody Wants to Talk About Death:

A Surprisingly Uplifting Discussion about Life’s End

Offered by Elizabeth Nassau

There is more to death than dying, and this three-week class is designed to open that discussion. Although most people avoid the topic, death is as much a part of life as birth, and deserves the same thought and consideration.

We will explore different aspects of death – the practical, the emotional and the abstract. Topics include: the new “death positive” movement in the United States, death in the press, personal beliefs surrounding the body, soul and afterlife, personal legacies, planning ahead, and more.

This is a very interactive class, and engages humor, personal narrative, and lots of discussion.

Wednesdays, Oct 10, 17, 24, 7-8:15 pm


 KI at the Movies

The KI Book Club and Adult Education Committee are again joining together to offer five movies that will be followed by discussions.  The movies will either be shown on a Saturday night after a 6:45 pm Havdalah service or on a Sunday evening at 6:45 pm.  There will be a $5 charge and snacks will be provided:


Gentleman’s Agreement (Oct 28), 1947 Best Picture, starring Gregory Peck about a journalist who poses as a Jew in order to research antisemitism in New York City and Darien CT.

Woman in Gold (Dec 15), 2015 film starring Helen Mirren about a Viennese Jewish refugee living in CA who tries to recover a portrait of her aunt that had been stolen by the Nazis.

The Band Wagon, Rabbi Troster’s favorite musical (1953), starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse (Date TBD)

The Band’s Visit, 2007 Israeli film about an Egyptian band stranded in a small Israeli town (DTBD)

The House of Rothschild, 1934 film which depicts the rise of the Rothschild family (DTBD)


“What Does It All Mean?…”

“What Does it All Mean?…”

Conversation and Coffee with Friends about Life’s Big Questions

Please join us during Wednesday Religious School 4:45-5:45pm

Join Rabbi Troster on:

October 10th-“What does it mean ….to be Jewish?”

October 17th- “What does it mean … be Happy?”

October 24th- “What does it mean….to believe in the Next World?”

These same topics will be repeated on February 6,13,20


Followed by Rabbi Kravitz:

November 7th- “What does it mean….to Pray?”

November 14th- “What does it mean….to be a good Jew/a Good Person?”

November 28th- “What does it mean … love Israel?”

These same topics will be repeated on March 6,13,27


No Sign up…..Just Show Up!


Global Day of Jewish Learning

This year’s Global Day of Jewish Learning’s theme is Extraordinary Passages: Texts and Travels.  Rabbi Josh Bolton, the exciting head of the University of Pennsylvania’s Hillel will introduce the topic before participants break off into smaller groups to discuss their Jewish journeys.  At that time, Rabbi Bolton will work with the Hebrew High School.

Sunday, Nov. 11, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm


Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Kravitz

“Hebrew Prayer Language-Breaking the Hebrew Barrier”

Many have expressed a barrier to connecting with Hebrew prayer because of a lack of understanding of the Hebrew in a Jewish Prayer Service.  This course will focus on cracking that barrier through a series of focused Hebrew language studies with the goal of opening the parts to meaningful davening (praying) in Hebrew.  This is for those who have beginning Hebrew Reading skills (knowing the Aleph/Bet).

Tuesdays, 12:30-1:30 pm January-March


 Scholar in Residence Weekend

This year’s Scholar in Residence Weekend will feature Rabbi Dr. David Freidenreich talking about different aspects of “Being Jewish amidst the Children of Abraham.”

– Friday night: “Food and Jewishness:  Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Perspectives”

– Shabbat morning:  “In What Ways Should Jews be Different?”

– Shabbat afternoon:  “Why Did Christians Use Ideas about Jews to Think about Muslims?”

– Sunday morning (Hebrew High School):  “What Does Jewishness Mean to you?  Religion, Ancestry, Culture”

Feb 8-10, 2019


Nosh and a Twist – led by Glenn Paskow

Roundtable discussion on topics of Jewish ethics and morality.

Saturday mornings, DTBD


Contact Ruth Schick (  or Glenn Paskow  ( for more information or the Kesher Israel office at to sign up for any of the above events.