Education and lifelong learning are significant tenets of Judaism. Union Temple offers a wide choice of creative and diverse programs geared to advancing Jewish learning. Our educational programs take on many forms, from weekly Torah Study to movies … and from guest lectures to day and overnight trips.
Our Adult Study Hevre gets together before most Saturday Shabbat morning services to enjoy bagels and coffee and study with Rabbi Goodman. Each year we devote our discussion to a single topic. Starting in September 10, 2016 the topic will be Pirkei Avot: Ethics of the Sages. This Mishnaic tractate of teachings and aphorisms is the most beloved jewel of the early Rabbinic period, encapsulating the ethos of early Rabbinic teaching. Our primary edition will be SAGE ADVICE, by Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg, published just this year by Maggid. Rabbi Goodman will provide historical background and additional commentaries to enhance our study. Join us each Shabbat for a weekly serving of Rabbinic wisdom. All are welcome to join the dialogue.
After a Friday night Shabbat service, or often as a special event, you may find Temple members and guests enjoying movies that highlight parts of Jewish heritage. Our selections have ranged from Chaim Potok’s The Chosen to Chariots of Fire to documentaries such as Soferet, about the first female Torah scribe. In conjunction with New York’s LGBT Pride weeks, we screen Gay-themed selections like Out in the Dark and Undressing Israel.
Rabbi Goodman conducts Fall and Spring seminars on current Jewish topics. The program iEngage: A Shared Homeland for a Divided People, for example, featured a series of penetrating discussions, videotaped presentations and conversations by the scholars of the Shalom Hartman Institute on the growth off Israeli democracy and balancing the many and sometimes conflicting aspirations of its diverse population.
Throughout the year, we host talks by authors, scholars, and clergy who address topics such as civil rights, Israeli and Arab relations, Torah studies, and other important matters. Among the noted speakers have been Dr. Rachel Korazim, Chief Educational Consultant for the Renovation of the Museum at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, presenting Echoes of the Holocaust in Modern Israeli Literature … and Rev. Dr. Hope Johnson, Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Central Nassau and Dr. Janice Marie Johnson, Multicultural Ministries and Leadership Director, Unitarian Universalist Association. who spoke in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Selma Voting Rights Campaign. A signature event each year is the Rabbi A. Stanley Dreyfus Memorial Lecture that presents renowned rabbinic scholars in honor of our late Rabbi Emeritus.
The URJ Introduction to Judaism course is presented every year in Brownstone Brooklyn and provides a comprehensive and coherent overview of the principles of Reform Judaism. It is for anyone interested in exploring Judaism – singles, interfaith couples, those considering conversion and Jews looking for adult-level basics. Designed to be a meaningful, educational experience for any person interested in knowing and understanding Judaism and Jewish life, the course is organized around the major themes of Judaism and around the holidays and events in the Jewish life cycle including Concepts of God, Israel and Zionism, Jewish Culture, Jewish History, Repentance and the Path of Righteousness, Worship and Spirituality. Instructors are usually rabbis ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the seminary for Reform Judaism who encourage students to raise questions and enter into spirited discussions on all topics. Click here for information about the classes starting October 27, 2016