Torah Study

Every Shabbat morning, congregants meet from 8:45-9:00 for bagels and coffee and from 9:00-10:20 to study the weekly Parasha (portion) together in one of three Torah study hevrot (groups). These groups are open to all who want to come. New participants can begin any time during the year, can try one group or all of them, and can come weekly or less frequently.

For 2015-2016:

  • Chasidic Conversations with Rabbi Thomas  – Explore Chasidic commentaries on the weekly Torah portion, in which the rebbes of the 18th and 19th centuries wrestled with issues that are as timely as they are timeless. We will focus on selections from Art Green’s new book, Speaking Torah: Spiritual Teachings from around the Maggid’s Table. Though we read the Torah portion and the commentary in the original Hebrew, English translations are at hand and no knowledge of Hebrew is necessary to be a full participant in these conversations.
  • Always Open to Learning with Cantor Zar-Kessler – This study group focuses on Torah text and wonderful commentators, enlivened by the thoughtful teachers around our Beth El table every week. This year we will add the practice of Tikkun Middot (cultivating hearts and minds). Once a month we will focus on a particular soul trait (compassion, order, trust, etc.) and find teachings from the Torah portion that help us bring each soul trait to life. As Beth El focuses on middot (soul traits) this year, so will our Torah study.
  • Moving Beyond The Torah with congregant Michael Murphy – This group engages in a wide-ranging discussion of the many books that Jews consider to be Scripture, even those not found in the Tanakh. This year, we are looking at the Books of the Pseudepigrapha and other Second-Temple era texts.
The opportunities for adult study are exceptional. I had a wonderful opportunity to study Torah for my adult Bat Mitzvah. Now my daughters are experiencing their own Bat Mitzvah and I am fully able to appreciate their journey.
— Maxine H