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A Reform Jewish Community for all of Tucson
225 North Country Club • Tucson, AZ 85716
(520) 327-4501 • Fax: (520) 327-4504
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Yom Chamishi, 26 Kislev 5775

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Adult Education Academy

Temple Emanu-El's Adult Education Academy provides relevant, vibrant and meaningful Jewish learning experiences to meet the diverse needs of all our congregants. In addition to formal educational opportunities, there are a variety of informal educational experiences such as Torah and Talmud study. Classes are open to the entire Jewish community. The scope of class offerings is extraordinary. The class schedule includes semester long and multi-year courses, as well as occasional short-term courses.

Click on a class title for more information or to register for classes.

Simply Shabbat is an exploration of the Friday evening Shabbat Service, with explanations of the service and introductions to Shabbat songs and prayers in a slower-paced, non-threatening celebrations of the Sabbath. Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon, Rabbi Batsheva Appel, and Cantorial Soloist Marjorie Hochberg lead this open approach to understanding the rituals, history and practice of a Reform Sabbath experience. Instead of a sermon, there is a question-and-answer session. Come find out what Shabbat is all about! All are welcome.

Simply Shabbat is a part of the Ruth F. and Samuel H. Cohen Outreach Program of Temple Emanu-El.

Read more: Simply Shabbat

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Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon, Staff, and Discussion Leaders

An open, interactive exploration of the Torah portion of the week.

Free and open to all -- come and study with us!  No registration is necessary.
Saturdays from 8:30 am to 10:00 am (except Saturdays with a Rabbi's Tish).

samuel cohen talit
Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon, Staff, and You!

This is a wonderful opportunity to probe the text of the weekly Torah portion in depth, as well as to discuss and argue with your fellow students at an extended, interactive Torah study and potluck lunch.  Join us for the best casual lunch and finest Jewish conversation in Tucson!

Free and open to all.  No registration is necessary.  Bring a dairy/vegetarian dish to share.
Saturdays at 12:00 noon
August 23; September 13; October 11; November 1; December 6; January 24; February 7; March 21; April 11; May 16 

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Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon

Temple Emanu-El's Adult Confirmation program provides the adult Jewish learner with the opportunity for directed education at the most advancedlevel.  A two-year program with significant prerequisites and substantive ongoing requirements, it offers an exciting and challenging approach to creating heightened Jewish knowledge, awareness, comprehension, and creativity.  Classes emphasize an interactive seminar format with required outside reading and writing.  The framework for course study is "Moments of Revolution in Judaism".  Each block is organized around one such central moment in Jewish history, with all of its implications for the development of Judaism and with a full exploration of its relevance today.  In the course of the two years of study, each Adult Confirmand will create his or her own Jewish theology, exploring and explicating her or his own beliefs about God, Torah, and Israel.  

Adult Confirmation is the most advanced and challenging Adult Jewish Education experience available in Arizona. Adult Confirmation concludes with a confirmation ceremony and a service led by the confirmation students in the spring of 2016.

The Adult Confirmation program is only available to members of Temple Emanu-El. Please contact our office for a list of course prerequisites in order to prepare to enter the Adult Confirmation program in the fall of 2014.

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Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon

Join us for reading, discussion, insight, stimulating argument and good coffee at this monthly book group exploring the latest in Jewish literature.  A vibrant exploration of the best of contemporary fiction and non-fiction.  The books for the 5775 series are: 

     August 20: My Rebbe, by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, and/or (read either book or both) Rebbe: The Life & Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
     October 1: My Promised Land: The Triumph & Tragedy of Israel, by Ari Shavit
     November 5: In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist, by Ruchama King Feuerman
     December 3: Chess Story, by Stefan Zweig (translated by Joel Rotenberg), and Letter from an Unknown Woman & Other Stories, by Stefan Zweig (translated by Anthea Bell)
     January 7: The Lion Seeker, by Kenneth Bonert
     February 4: The Book of Life: Selected Jewish Poems, 1979-2011, by Alicia Ostriker
     March 11: Between Friends, by Amos Oz (translated by Sondra Silverston)
     April 1: A Replacement Life, by Boris Fishman
     May 6: Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem & Divided a Nation, by Yossi Klein Halevi
     June 3: City of Women, by David R. Gillham 

Registration Fees: For the entire 2014-15 series, $50 for members; $65 for non-members.  Registration in the Sefer Book Club is valid for the entire year.
Wednesdays from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm.

Read more: Fall-Spring 5775/2014-2015: The Wednesday Sefer Book Club: A Monthly Coffehouse of Contemporary...

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Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon (Welcome to the Zohar and Sessions I and II)
Rabbi Sanford Seltzer (Sessions III, IV, and V)

The Zohar is the great medieval compendium of mysticism, myth, and esoteric teaching.  One of the most important bodies of religious texts of all times and places, it is also a lush literary celebration of love, expressed in sensuous religious language.  The Zohar's secret universe serves as the basis of Kabbalistic faith and is, at heart, a work of sacred fantasy.  

This remarkable work is explored using the new translation by Danny Matt, which enables even novice students of the Kabbalah to approach and understand the pivotal text.  In a guided exploration of this seminal work of mysticism, Rabbi Cohon helps open the "locked garden" of the Zohar in an interactive discussion class using both intellectual and meditation techniques.

Introductory Class: Welcome to the Zohar - Thursdays from 11:45 am to 1:00 pm.
                                    August 21, 28
 Registration Fees: $25 for members; $35 for non-members.

Regular Course: The Zohar, Soul-Text of Kabbalah - Thursdays from 11:45 am to 1:00 pm.
                              Session I: September 4, 11, 18; October 2, 23, 30
                              Session II: November 6, 13, 20; December 4, 11, 18
                              Session III: January 8, 15, 22, 29; February 5, 12
                              Session IV: February 19; March 5, 12, 19, 26; April 2
                              Session V: April 9, 16, 23, 30; May 7, 14
 Registration Fees Per Session: $55 for members; $70 for non-members 

Read more: Fall-Spring 5775/2014-2015: The Zohar: Soul-Text of Kabbalah

Rabbi Appel 09 2014Rabbi Batsheva Appel

Through mitzvot, sacred Jewish obligations, we can change our lives and elevate the ordinary into the extraordinary. Jewish ritual can sometimes seem complex, and the "how" of Judaism can feel like something that was taught on the day that we missed class. This class is all about how to do ritual mitzvot, and how to fulfill the ritual aspects of Judaism.  We will learn about mitzvot for the holidays and ways to make them meaningful and spiritual, from Shabbat to Passover to Hanukkah and more. We will explore the mitzvot for life cycle events such as weddings, funerals, brit milah, and baby naming. We will examine the mitzvah of tzedakah, charity. In each instance, we will be actively doing andpracticing each of these mitzvot as we learn about them and the vocabulary that surrounds them.

Registration Fees: $55 for members; $70 for non-members
Tuesdays from 7:00 pm to 8:15 pm.
October 7*; November 18; December 9; January 13; February 10; March 24; April 7 

*note date change

Read more: Fall-Spring 5775/2014-2015: Practical Judaism

Eliot Barron
Dr. Eliot Barron

The Talmud is a treasure trove of Jewish lore, legend, and wisdom.  Study excerpts are from the excellent Hebrew-English Talmud of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz.  No prior Talmud or Hebrew knowledge is necessary. 

Registration Fee: One time $18 charge for materials.  If interested, contact Eliot Barron at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
Wednesdays from 10:00 am to 11:30 am
Beginning October 15th 

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Kelly Feinstein-Johnson, Ph.D.

This 9-week course examines major turning points in Jewish history from the early modern period through the tewntieth century: Expulsion from Spain and the formation of the modern Diaspora, the development of Jewish mystical and messianic movements, the challenge of modernization, the rise of political anti-Semitism, the flowering of Yiddish literature and culture, the Jewish enlightenment and the revival of Hebrew, the migration of European Jews to America, the nearly total destruction of European Jewry in the twentieth century, the advent of Zionism and the creation of modern Israel. We will ground these larger movements by focusing on important cities in Jewish history -- Seville, Venice, Constantinople, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, St. Petersburg, and New York. It will emphasize the diversity of Jewish cultures and their creative responses to the challenges (and catastrophies) they have encountered during the five centuries that extend from 1492 to the present. 

For those who have taken Basic Judaism, this course is a more in-depth look at the history introduced in that class. 

This class will combine lecture and discussion with occasional short readings for "homework". The accompanying text is Scattered Amongst the Peoples, by Allan Levine, and is available at amazon.com for $14.

NOTE: This is a repeat of the course offered in Spring 2014. If any students from the previous course "missed" a 3-week set of sessions, they can enroll in that section this fall.

Wednesdays from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm.
     Session I: October 15, 22, 29
     Session II: November 5, 12, 19
     Session III: December 3, 10, 17

     Registration Fees Per Session: $45 for members; $60 for non-members

Read more: Fall 5775/2014: Modern Jewish History

samuel cohen talitRabbi Samuel M. Cohon and Staff

A two-year program that prepares participants for a group Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah service, this is a wonderful opportunity to deepen Jewish knowledge and commitment.  The required courses in the first year include completion of a Hebrew Marathon and a follow-up Beginning Hebrew class, as well as completion of the Basic Judaism course.  The second year course is direct participation for a group Bar/Bat Mitzvah service on Saturday, May 2nd, 2015.

Read more: Fall-Spring 5775/2014-2015: Two-Year Adult B'nai Mitzvah Program

Rabbi Appel 09 2014Rabbi Batsheva Appel

This year-long class presents a thematic introduction to Jewish ideas, texts, theology, history, and culture taught in an interactive and participatory discussion style.  Learn all the basics, exploring the most important texts of Jewish tradition: Torah, Prophets, Writings, Mishnah, Gemara, Midrash, Codes, Philosophy, and Liturgy.  This class is a prerequisite for the Adult B'nai Mitzvah program, Adult Confirmation, and for all conversion students.  Course fees include textbook.

Registration Fees: $95 for members; $135 for non-members
Thursdays from 7:00 pm to 8:15 pm.
October 23, 30; November 6, 13, 20; December 4, 11, 18; January 8, 15, 22, 29; February 5, 12, 19; March 5, 12, 26; April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; May 7, 14.

Read more: Fall-Spring 5775/2014-2015: Basic Judaism

samuel cohen talitRabbi Samuel M. Cohon

More advanced than Basic Judaism, this is a year-long study of the ideas, practices, and connections that make Judaism a vital and evolving religion today.  As a comprehensive exploration of the reality of today's Judaism, Intermediate Judaism focuses on the great ideas and trends of modern and contemporary Judaism: the origins and development of Reform, Conservative, and Modern Orthodox Judaism, Reconstructionist ideas, and other movements within modern Judaism.  This course will focus on themes of current importance and debate.

Registration Fees: $95 for members; $135 for non-members
Thursdays from 7:00 pm to 8:15 pm
October 23, 30; November 6, 13, 20; December 4, 11, 18; January 8, 15, 22, 29; February 5, 12, 19; March 5, 12, 19, 26; April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; May 7, 14

Read more: Fall-Spring 5775/2014-2015: Intermediate Judaism

Marjorie Hochberg
Cantorial Soloist Marjorie Hochberg

Learn reading and comprehension skills for Jewish participation, prayer, and vocabulary.  This class is a natural follow-up for anyone who has taken Hebrew Marathon or has a basic knowledge of the Hebrew alphabet, vowels, and pronunciation.

Registration Fee: $45 for members; $60 for non-members per semester
Sundays from 10:15 to 11:15 am.
Fall Semester: October 26; November 2, 9, 16, 23; December 7, 14
Spring Semester: January 25; February 1, 8, 15, 22; March 8, 15, 22, 29; April 5

Read more: Fall-Spring 5775/2014-2015: Prayerbook Hebrew

Sandy Seltzer lightenedSomething to Remember when Ordering Your Next Frappuccino
Rabbi Sandy Seltzer

A three session examination of critical events in early modern Jewish history of which we are the beneficiaries.

Session I: How the discovery of coffee permanently transformed Jewish life: its impact upon palate, religious practice, and emancipation

Session II: When Jews were Christians, Christians were Jews, and some were a little of both: its enduring legacy

Session III: When Jews were ghettoized, and the Talmud, the prayer book and other Jewish texts censored: the unforeseen benefits


Registration Fees: $45 for members; $60 for non-members
Mondays from 7:00 to 8:30 pm
November 3, 10, 17 

Read more: Fall 5775/2014: From Coffee House to the Origins of Interreligious Dialogue & the Judeo-Christian...

Marjorie HochbergCantorial Soloist Marjorie Hochberg

Learn to read Hebrew in two fun sessions -- just seven hours -- guaranteed!  This year, read along with the prayers at services, and make Hebrew a language you know.

Registration Fee: $45 for members; $60 for non-members
Sunday, January 11, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm and Monday, January 12, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm 

Read more: Spring 5775/2014: Hebrew Marathon