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Adult Study and Learning

It is taught that “the study of Torah equals in value all the other commandments” (Peah 1:1). Maimonides teaches that one is “required to study Torah, whether poor or rich…young or old…” and that one “must set aside definite times to study by day and by night…”

We at Town & Village we are dedicated to providing a variety of learning opportunities, at all levels of knowledge and at many times of day. We hope that you will find something here that you wish to study with us. If there is something you would like to see us offer in the future, please let us know.

Town & Village Synagogue is dedicated to making adult Jewish learning accessible to all of its members and to the community at large. If you are interested in a class we offer and the cost is a concern, we invite you to contact Nina Lehman or Rabbi Sebert privately to make arrangements that are affordable for you.  We look forward to  seeing you soon.

The coming year promises to be very exciting as we continue some programs and begin some new ones. Please check out our offerings listed below.


Sharon Keller and Nina Lehman
Co-chairs, Adult Education Committee

Town & Village Synagogue


10 Thursdays, 10:30AM  – Noon
Fee: Free for T&V members, $250 for non-members
Date Title Author
September 13, 2018 Sadness is a White Bird Moriel Rothman-Zecher
October 18 The Polish Boxer Eduardo Halfon
November 15 An Egyptian Novel Orly Castel-Bloom
December 13 The House in Smyrna Tatiana Salem Levy
January 17, 2019 The Coincidence Makers Yoav Blum
February 14 Barren Island Carol Zoref
March 14 The Ruined House Ruby Namdar
April 18 Eternal Life Dara Horn
May 9 The Man Who Never Stopped Sleeping Aharon Appelfeld
June 13 The Immortalists Chloe Benjamin

LIMITED TO 15 PARTICIPANTS. This group is intended for readers who are committed to reading the entire book before the discussion and are prepared to come to the discussions with open minds and respect for the opinions of others. Priority will be given those who have previously participated in this group.

Stefanie Halpern received her PhD from the department of Jewish Literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2017. Her dissertation, Crossing Over from the Yiddish Rialto to the American Stage, explores the ways the Yiddish theater intersected with and ultimately became part and parcel of the mainstream American theatrical institution. Stefanie was the curatorial associate for the current “New York’s Yiddish Theater: from the Bowery to Broadway” exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York and is currently an archivist at YIVO.

If you have any questions, or to enroll, email


Fee: Free for T & V members,  $500 per year for non-members
Some book purchases will be required

2018-2019 30 Monday evenings, 7:30PM- 9PM
2018: Oct. 15, 22, 29, Nov. 12, 19, 26, Dec. 3, 10, 17
2019: Jan 14, 21, 28, Feb. 4, 11, 25, March 4, 11, 18, 25, April 1, 8, 15, 29
May 6, 13, 20, June 3, 17, 24, July 1

Basic Idea: If you would like to deepen your personal commitment to Judaism, join our Jewish Journey class, which will culminate in a communal (adult Bat/Bar Mitzvah) celebration. Together, through study, we will strive to deepen our connection to Judaism.

Some details (subject to change): Our learning (Year 1, 2018-19) will begin with an examination of the entire span of Jewish history. We will be work our way through Mark Rosenstein’s Turning Points in Jewish History (purchase required) which presents thirty pivotal moments in the Jewish people’s experience. Along the way we will discuss various controversies and schisms arising from Judaism’s encounters with power, powerlessness, exile, messianism, rationalism, mysticism, catastrophe, madernity, nationalism, feminism and more.

In Year 2, (2019-2020) we will explore in great depth the concept of mitzvah, Shabbat, the annual cycle of holy days and holidays and the important theological concepts that are the underpinnings of our rituals and holidays.

Throughout both years, we will also connect to the broader Jewish world by making a commitment to learn more Hebrew.

The decision about whether to culminate one’s learning with participation in a group ceremony is an individual one. There are additional requirements for an Adult Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

* Each year counts as two(2) classes towards our Adult Bar or Bat Mitzvah requirements

For more information, or to enroll, email


Fee: Free for T & V members,  $250 per semester for non-members
Thursday evenings, 6-7:30PM
Semester 1: November 15 and 29, December 13 and 27, January 10 and 24, February 7 and 21, and March 7 and 21
Semester 2: April 4 and 18, May 2, 16 and 30, June 13 and 27, July 11 and 25
Prayer-For-The-People is a hands-on davening (prayer) community. What does that mean? It means taking the words of the siddur(prayerbook) into our own hands and asking ourselves questions like: What is prayer, what am I praying,  why am I praying?  Over the course of two semesters we will explore some of the core prayers that are the essence of both weekday and Shabbat worship and we will see them in their different forms for use at different timesWe will explore: (1) Birkot HaShachar ( morningblessings), (2) Barchu (the call to worship), (3) Shema ( the statement of God’s Oneness), (4)  Amidah (the standing prayer also known as The Eighteen Blessings), (5) Kaddish ( the declaration of holiness) and (6) Aleinu (the commitment to relationship with God). Each session will be divided into classroom discussions with hevruta (partneredstudy which will focus on the history, theology, and narratives embedded in the prayers, and then, as a group, we will daven (pray)By concentrating on the nusach (melodies) and the choreography of these prayers we will fully embody our learning.
If you are looking to deepen understanding and strengthen your prayer life, Prayer-for-the-People may be the right learning community for you.
Sessions meet on Thursdays from 6:00-7:30. For more information, please email Rabbinic Artist-in-Residence Rabbi Bronwen Mullin (

Come learn and pray with us!

Rabbi Bronwen Mullin is a playwright, composer, educator and T & V’s Rabbinic Artist-In-Residence. She earned her B.A. at Sarah Lawrence College (2006) in Theater and Religious Studies and was an Arts Fellow from 2008-2011 in Musical Theater Composition at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education. Rabbi Mullin was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 2017. Bronwen is the co-founder of MetaPhys-Ed, a gymnasium for the multi-media exegesis of Jewish texts with performance artist/director Jesse Freedman.


Free for T&V members, $250 for non-members

In this course we explore the long and variegated history of the Jews of the city of Prague, home for centuries to the largest urban population of Jews anywhere in Christian Europe. Situated at the crossroads of West and East, North and South, the Jews of “the lands between” the major centers of Jewish populations in Germany, Poland, Italy, and Amsterdam maintained ties with the wider Jewish world but also pursued Jewish life in an idiom all their own. Jews in Prague, a city in the heart of Europe, experienced many of the crosswinds of European history: the Crusades, the invention of printing, the Reformation and the Thirty Years War, royal Absolutism and Enlightened reform, the struggle for rights, the clashes of nationalism, experimentation in arts and literature, the horrors of twentieth century Nazism and Communism, and, most recently, entry into the European Union.

This course will be directed towards exploring the variety of Jewish experience in this majestic city through a series of seven lectures, accompanied by primary source readings from each period in question, as well as longer optional supplemental readings for those who wish to explore further.

Joshua Teplitsky is Assistant Professor in the Department of History and the Program in Judaic Studies at Stony Brook University. He earned his PhD from New York University and held a postdoc at Oxford University from 2012-2014. His research centers on the history of the Jews of central Europe during the early modern period, and his larger scholarly interests include Christian-Jewish relations, the history of political cultures, and the history of the book. He is the author of Prince of the Press: How One Collector Built History’s Most Enduring and Remarkable Jewish Library (Yale University Press, 2019).

*Counts as one (1)  class towards our Adult Bar or Bat Mitzvah requirements

To enroll, email


Monday evenings, 7-7:30PM
November 19, Dec 3, 17, Jan 7, 14, 21 (MLK Day), 28, Feb 4, 11, 18 (President’s Day), Mar 4, 11, 18,
April 1, 8, 15, 22 (Chol HaMoed Pesach), 29, May 6, 13 and June 3, 24
Free for T&V members, CCJ and Jewish Journey enrollees, $200 for non-members


3 Shabbat afternoons after Kiddush
January 19, February 23 and March 23

In this series of talks, we will consider: (i) the debate over emending Talmudic texts raised by Chaim Potak in The Promise (and anticipated in The Chosen)  (ii) the portrayal of faith versus philosophy in As A Driven Leaf by Milton Steinberg and (iii) the relative development of Judaism in Israel and the US as depicted in James Michener’s pre-Yom Kippur war The Source.

Each session will stand on its own. Please feel free to read or re-read these books in advance although doing so is not required.

Richard Claman,is the founding editor of Zeramim, a free on-line journal of applied Jewish thought, and has published articles there and elsewhere derived from the prior 22 years of his annual lecture series at T&V. He and
his wife (Beth Clark) and their two children have been members of T&V for almost 30 years.


Tuesday evenings, 7:00-8:30PM
February 19, 26, March 5, 12, 26, and April 2
Fee: Free for T & V members, $250 for non-members

Joshua led the routing of Jericho, and the “walls came a-tumbling down” but that is not the end of the story — in fact that is just the beginning and accounts for less than one-quarter of the Book of Joshua.  The promises of the Torah have yet to be fulfilled and the people need to finish conquering and dividing up the land. In our close reading of the text we will not shy away from events and issues that may have once seemed glorious but now cause us discomfort.

Please join us for our 6 week session that will take us from the rubble of the walls of Jericho to the reaffirmed covenant and the brink of the “second” conquest in the Book of Judges.

We will do a close reading of the biblical text with an eye toward the narrative structure, the historical retrojection, and the material culture that illuminates the narrative.

Sharon Keller, a popular teacher at T & V and in the Tri-State area, earned her doctorate at NYU in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies in the area of Bible and the Ancient Near East.  Prior to that, she earned Masters degrees in Hebrew Education (NYU), Jewish Communal Service (JTS), and Social Work (Columbia).  Dr. Keller is currently on the faculty at Hofstra University, and has held faculty positions at HUC, JTS, NYU among others, and has written numerous articles and edited several academic books, most of which relate to the interplay between biblical Israel and ancient Egypt. Her most popular book, Jews: A Treasury of Art and Literature, was awarded the National Jewish Book Award.

For an archive of past classes 2011-18, click here

Tue, March 19 2019 12 Adar II 5779