Adult Learning Catalogue

Adult Learning Sessions that you can book for your community (most of these sessions are offered free to Liberal Judaism communities but travel expenses should be paid):

Are Liberal Jews Heretics?, Rabbi Margaret Jacobi 

For those who want to tackle the Talmud in a Liberal light… According to the Talmud tractate Sanhedrin, Jews who deny that every word of the Torah is from God or the resurrection of the dead, are denied a place in the World to Come. So where does this leave Liberal Jews, who deny both? We will look at the Talmud text and Liberal Jewish thought and consider where the two might meet.

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What Makes Jewish Music Jewish?, Cantor Gershon Silins 

A look at the wide varieties of Jewish music; what makes them different and what elements they have in common. From the choral masterpieces of the German progressive Jewish tradition to the guitar accompanied tunes of North America, we will see what binds them together and how they can contribute to the creation of inspired worship in our congregations in Liberal Judaism.

This session requires a CD player and iPhone speakers.  

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What Does Dialogue Do For Us?, Rabbi Mark Solomon 

Jews have various motives for engaging in – or avoiding – interfaith dialogue. For some it is a way of averting antisemitism by informing our neighbours about Judaism. Rabbi Solomon will argue that dialogue with Christians, Muslims and others can deepen and enrich our own understanding and appreciation of Judaism. We will explore the rabbinic rejection of Jesus; how the presence of Christianity affected Judaism; and how Islamic philosophy, science and mysticism radically altered the character of our religion. Through encountering the Other we can better understand ourselves and help to heal the fractures in the world.

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Yitro: The World’s First Management Consultant, Rabbi Aaron Goldstein 

Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law advises Moses on how to manage the Israelites. Using the Torah text we will consider the model that Jethro represents and consider how we might apply it to our personal lives, relationships in our congregation, Liberal Judaism and wider. No Torah or management knowledge required, just a willingness to engage creatively!

Session available on Tuesday-Thursday evenings.  

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Why am I Here?, Rabbi Pete Tobias 

‘Why Am I Here? tells the story of how Pete Tobias wrestled with the contradictions of a three thousand year-old religious faith in a world that seemed to have lost its way. A liberal approach to his faith turned him into ‘Rabbi Pete’ and gave him the opportunity to broadcast the message of tolerance and compassion that he believes underpins any genuine religious view. Hear Rabbi Pete talk about his story and experiences.

This session requires a projector.  Optional donation to Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund.  

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My Youth in Nazi Germany, Rabbi Harry Jacobi 

Rabbi Jacobi, born in 1925, will recall his experiences in Nazi Germany, his emigration to Holland, and his rescue in 1940. Harry will then go on to talk about his wartime experience after his arrival in Manchester, and about his service in the Jewish Brigade.  An inspiring session to offer near Holocaust Memorial Day.

This presentation requires a projector.

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Beauty and Sexuality in the Megillah, Rabbi Anna Gerrard 

Challenging session for the run up to Purim… From Rabbinic Literature onwards, Judaism has ignored the sexual coercion in the Book of Esther, redefining her as dignified, pious and brave. Could Esther’s real and horrific story help otherwise silenced women find the voice and vocabulary to express their own experiences? Can we redeem the Biblical narrative as traditional source that echoes the irredeemable experiences of its modern readers?

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Prayer in a Time of Crisis, Rabbi Alexandra Wright

Can prayer help address a crisis?  Can it in some secret and mysterious way influence those who are traumatised, anxious, ill or dying?  What can it do for our own levels of anxiety or helplessness? This session explores the ways in which we might deal with crises – personal or otherwise – through prayer, meditation, mindfulness and sheer entreaty.

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Writing Your Life: Liberal Jewish Identity, Rabbi Janet Burden

In this session, we will look at written examples of personal responses to both political situations and our traditional texts, encouraging participants to respond with their own writing: in poetry, prose or a mixture of both. How are the attitudes of our minds (our viewpoints and politics) shaped by the depth and nature of our feelings: longing, loss, grief, fear, love, joy?

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Maimonides and the Politics of Reason, Rabbi Mark Solomon

The philosopher Moses Maimonides was intensely concerned with politics and communal leadership. As heir to Plato, Aristotle, and the great Muslim thinker Al-Farabi, he believed that society is best guided by reason, moderation and deep insight into the nature of the cosmos. We will discuss the resonance of his ideas for society today. Have we really had enough of experts, or might they still have something to teach us?

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Being a Liberal Jew on Campus, Lauren Keiles

It has been reported that many of the top universities in the U.K. are becoming unsafe for Jewish students due to the rise in antisemitism. However, Jewish life on campus is diverse, vibrant and constantly changing. This talk will allow you to hear directly from students about the many successes and struggles of Liberal Jewish life at university. Topics of discussion will include: the Jewish situation in the NUS (National Union of Students); realities of the growing ‘BDS’ movement; Liberal Jewish presence in ‘J-Socs’; the environment in political lectures on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict; and the rise of the Jewish-American fraternity ‘Aepi’ on campus.
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