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. 

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: Midrash

If Torah is the novel, midrash is the screen play. Midrash, a uniquely Jewish form of Bible interpretation, fills in the gaps of the Biblical narrative. From wondering how Noah built the ark without anyone noticing (hint: they did!) to explaining how God held Mt Sinai upside down over the heads of the Israelites, the midrashic tradition asks questions, complicates and enhances our most sacred and best-known texts. 
Roots and Branches is our open-ended, on-going exploration of the central texts and ideas of the Jewish tradition. All texts in English; no homework; no prerequisites; drop-in anytime.

2017/2018 dates TBD.

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. 

If you would like to present a book, please email Jeff Gillman 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. 
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
This class is offered periodically. Contact Rabbi Zellman to inquire if you are interested in learning about Torah chanting.

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.