Available courses

Learn the basics of Hebrew and the Bible

Big Ideas from the Weekly Parshah

**Special March 16-22, 2020** Free Sessions for Students Ages 11-16. To register, email rudy@essentialjewishlearning.com.

Torah begins with epic family dramas in Genesis and nation-building in Exodus, continuing with laws of holiness in Leviticus, and ending in a grand political episodes throughout Numbers and Deuteronomy.

Students focus on a different parshah each week, following the synagogue cycle. Classes teach students how to ask questions of the text and probe it for answers about morals and values.

Sample Questions:

  • What can Isaac’s story teach us about dealing with psychological trauma?
  • What role does dream interpretation have in Jewish literature?
  • How do memorials, like the jar of Manna in the Tabernacle, build Jewish self-understanding?

Have you ever wondered...

  • How do laws of kashrut respond to new innovations in food technology?
  • What does "do not place a stumbling-block before the blind" have to do with friendship?
  • What is the proper balance between protecting the environment and providing for our needs?

Each week, study a different sector of halakhah, Jewish legal reasoning, and how it can help us understand modern-day problems. We begin with current questions from rabbinic discussions and news bulletins, identify relevant biblical and halakhic texts, and study how contemporary rabbis have approached the problems.

Course Overview: https://essentialjewishlearning.com/mitzvot-in-the-real-world/

Heroes, Lovers, Warriors, & Fools

"In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes."

From the formative years of Jewish society, the narratives of the Book of Judges introduce us to a whirlwind of Jewish leaders whose character traits resonate across the ages:
  • Sly Ehud acts decisively against the Israelites' conqueror and awakens the people to the need to fight.
  • Deborah & Yael choose the just yet dangerous path, and confront those to timid to do what is necessary.
  • Humble Gideon earns so much respect among his people that he struggles to avoid becoming an object of worship.
  • Samson the powerful, the chosen man of G-d, falls prey to the power of his passions and has to relearn his priorities
In this class, we study the texts of Judges as well as their life lessons as depicted in rabbinic midrash, classical art, and modern culture. Continuing the process of midrash, we use digital media (e.g., live-blogging, audio playlists, journalism, and animated midrash) to explore these narratives in depth.