Programs & Classes

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 www.bethelberkeley.org/talmud. For more information, contact Lisa Feldman.

Shabbat Poetry
Saturdays, 4:00 pm 
Learn more about our poetry heritage in Beth El members' homes. We read aloud one ancient and one modern Hebrew poem in translation. Lively discussions. For more information contact Florence Lewis.

Life Stories

First and third Mondays at 2:30 pm and the second and fourth Thursdays at 7:00 pm.
An experiential writing group. Life Stories is held at Beth El on the first and third Mondays at 2:30 pm and also on the second and fourth Thursday evenings at 7:00 pm. For more information, contact Marilyn Margulius at mmargulius@comcast.net.

Rabbi Kahn's Roots and Branches
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. Takes place most Sundays.

2018/2019 dates TBD.

Beth El Reading Group
Saturday’s 12:30-1:30 pm in the Beth El Library
The Beth El Reading Group is currently reading Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, using the paperback edition translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky.
Please contact Basha Goddard, bashag01@gmail.com, for further information.

HAMAQOM Zohar in Aramaic

HAMAQOM Zohar in Aramaic is the Bay Area’s adult Jewish education school. Beth El partners with HAMAQOM 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 course catalog.

Beth El Garden- Dig in the dirt, grow your own food, and create a beautiful space!
Have you been inside Beth El’s community garden? Come check out our 12 vegetable beds, where we grow corn, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh herbs, and more.

Hannah Arendt Reading Group

Unless otherwise noted, the Arendt Reading Group usually meets on the first Tuesday of the month. Currently we are rereading Origins of Totalitarianism. We decided to reread this work last year, two years after the last presidential election. At that point political and cultural developments in this country and around the world began to reveal unfortunate affinities with the historical processes in the late 19th and 20th centuries that led to totalitarianism: waves of migrants and the loss of human rights suffered by stateless peoples, economic disparity between elites and disenfranchised groups, tribal nationalism, transformations of civic populations from active citizenship into mass societies and then into “mobs", co-option of the mob by authoritarian rulers. For this reason Arendt’s analysis of that development is still very relevant, and thus we decided to reread Arendt's insightful analysis of that processThose interested in joining us are very welcome. We generally discuss about 50 pages of the work at each monthly meeting. For more information please contact Sandra Luft, srluft@sfsu.edu