Programs & Classes

Welcome to the Congregation Beth El's Adult Education Programming!

Congregation Beth El Adult Education offers classes, programs and activities that deepen and enrich the Jewish learning of our congregants. Drawing from the rich resources of our congregation and our community, we offer a stimulating learning environment that encompasses the full range and diversity of the Jewish experience. 

For more information on our Adult Education, feel free to contact our Adult Education co-chairs, Harry Margulius ( or Barry Silverblatt (

Talmud Study
Fridays, On-going • 5:00 - 6:00 pm 
All texts are provided in English; no experience or prior knowledge required. You really are welcome! 
See our current and past texts at For more information, contact Naomi Janowitz at

Rabbi Kahn's Roots and Branches
Roots and Branches, Rabbi Yoel Kahn’s open-ended, ongoing exploration of the texts and ideas of Jewish tradition, continues this fall. This year’s topic is Ketuvim – The Writings – the third section of the Hebrew Bible. We will begin with the Book of Proverbs and other books of ancient “wisdom literature.” Over the course of the year, we’ll study the Song of Songs as well as lesser-known scrolls and books, including Daniel, Nehemiah and Chronicles. Topics will be announced in the weekly e-update. Come as often as you like; drop-ins are okay. No prerequisites; no homework; all texts are in English. Everyone is welcome!
Sunday mornings, 9:15-10:30 am
Session I: Nov. 2 - Dec. 14, 2014 (no class November 30)
Session II: Jan. 11 - Feb. 8, 2015 (no class February 1)
Session III: Feb. 22 - Mar. 22 (no class March 15)
Session IV: April 12 - May 17 (no class April 19)

Beth Elders 
A recurring series of speakers and workshops geared toward the concerns, needs, and interests of our "50 and better" congregants. For more information, contact Marilyn Margulius at

Lunch & Learn
Lunch & Learn is a monthly speaker series, featuring an expert presenter. Past presentations offered topics such as: "Children and Cell Phones, iPads and Laptops:
What you should know;" "Between Two Worlds: Straddling contemporary religious practice between Christians and Jews;" and "The Power of Dialogue: Israelis & Palestinians working together."

Bring a bag lunch, and participate in the discussion. For more information, or to offer a speaker/topic idea, contact Harry Margulius at Lunch & Learn resumes on Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

People of the Book

Join the Congregation Beth El People of the Book group, for lively discussions of fascinating books!! Meetings take place on the third Thursday of the month beginning at 7:00 pm. You don’t have to read the book to attend (but it may add to your enjoyment!). The Beth El library has obtained copies of all these books. People of the Book resumes on Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 7:00 pm.

If you would like to present a book, please email Barry Silverblatt at

Hannah Arendt Reading Group
A Reading Group on the writings of Hannah Arendt meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 7:00 pm at Beth El, facilitated by Sandra Luft, PhD. The Reading Group resumes on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 7:00 pm.

For more information, please email Sandra at

Lehrhaus Judaica

Lehrhaus Judaica is the Bay Area’s adult Jewish education school. Beth El partners with Lehrhaus to offer on-going Hebrew study, Introduction to Judaism classes and other programs and classes at our synagogue. Through this partnership, we are able to offer a continuous program of multi-level Hebrew study, serving everyone from beginners through advanced learners, with specialized classes in Biblical, prayer book and modern language. For current offerings, please see the Lehrhaus course catalog.

How to Chant Torah! Adult Ed with Rabbi Zellman
Rabbi Zellman is on leave 2014-15/5775. More information will be available when he returns. 

Have you ever wondered how Torah chanters know what melodies to use, and where to start and stop? Have you been intrigued by the Torah’s more fabulous dots and squiggles? 
These symbols are called “trope,” and they give us the Torah’s melodies, as well as punctuation and pronunciation. The system of chanting Torah is ancient, beautiful, fun and totally learnable. 
No musical talent or previous familiarity is required; people of all backgrounds are welcome. The only requirement is basic ability to sound out Hebrew. Join Rabbi Zellman and fellow 
community members to learn how to do this mitzvah and have a whole lot of fun.