Logo light



A Reform Jewish Community for all of Tucson
225 North Country Club • Tucson, AZ 85716
(520) 327-4501 • Fax: (520) 327-4504
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Yom Rishon, 6 Sivan 5775

    Facebook  Twitter  Youtube

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.

In a recent interview in the Fall 2014 issue of Reform Judaism (http://www.reformjudaism.org/release-right-world), Rabbi Kevin M. Kleinman has called on the Reform Movement to "begin observance of Shmita this Rosh Hashannah in order to alleviate economic disparity, better steward the earth and champion social justice."

The Sabbatical year may be the fulfillment of the justice the Torah teaches us to practice on a daily basis, embracing our fellow human beings, the land and all life. But in our non-agrarian society, exactly how do we meet the challenges of the modern elements of Shmita: maintaining economic, environmental, and social balance in the world? How do they apply to our daily lives?

Community leaders and our rabbis will consider the above questions focusing on local food systems, economic resiliency and community empowerment.

Blessing our Food—as Individuals and as a Community
Rabbi Richard Safran and The Rev. Greg A. Foraker
Tuesday, January 27, 2015; 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm

What is Jewish Food Justice?
Rabbi Sanford Seltzer and Leona Davis, Education and Advocacy Coordinator of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona
Monday, February 16, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Food for the Jewish Soul: How are our Food Choices Determined by Jewish Values/Toward Healthy Bodies
in Today's World
Rabbi Sanford Seltzer and Michael Hewitt Ph.D., health and wellness community expert from Canyon Ranch
Monday, March 16th, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm

The Land: Preservation - Now and for the Next Generation
Mission Garden is a living agricultural museum of Sonoran Desert-adapted heritage fruit-trees, traditional local
heirloom crops and edible native plants. It will be a hands-on gardening experience.
Sunday, April 12th; Time TBA

Registration Fees: $10 per program
January 27; February 16; March 16; April 12

Read more: Spring 5775/2015: Shmita: The Sabbatical Year

Chris TackettChris Tackett

Session I: Blues and Early Jazz, 1880-1935. We look at the influence of Jewish music and culture on this truly American art form. We take the thread from the beginnings of blues and jazz in the southern US up to the rise of the songwriters like Irving Berlin and the beginnings of the big band era in the early thirties. We'll have a look at prominent Jewish jazz players, bandleaders,and promoters. There will be lots of recorded and live musical examples and plenty of room for discussion.

Session II: Swing and Into the Modern Era, 1935-1955. We take the history of Jewish music and culture in jazz from the rise of the big bands in the middle thirties through the war and into the modern era and the start of modern jazz, the Dixieland revival, cool jazz and bebop, and the popular songs and singers of the fifties. Again, lots of recorded and live musical examples will be given and plenty of room will be allowed for argument, rebuttal, and discussion.


Registration Fees Per Session: $45 for members; $60 for non-members
Tuesdays from 7:00 to 8:15 pm
Session I: February 3, 10, 17, 24
Session II: March 3, 10, 17, 24

Read more: Spring 5775/2015: Jews and Jazz

Kelly Feinstein-Johnson cropped
Kelly Feinstein-Johnson, Ph.D.

This is a six-week, discussion-based course that focuses on the unique experience of Jewish women's history. Each week we will read and discuss selections from diaries and memoirs of Jewish women, including: the memoirs of a 17th century Jewish businesswoman, the biography of a famous 18th Jewish Salonière, the autobiography of the first German (and Jewish!) professional female writer, a memoir of life on New York's Lower East Side, and the diary of Etty Hillesum, a young Dutch woman sometimes referred to as the "adult" Anne Frank. Reading about women's lives written in their own words, we will focus on themes such as love, sex, marriage, work, family, Judaism and interactions with the non-Jewish world. We will learn that though some things have changed dramatically in 300 years, others have stayed strikingly the same. Note: There will be assigned reading for each week.


Selections will be provided for students. If anyone is interested in purchasing the full texts, all books are available
via amazon.com. Although new editions are expensive, there are numerous affordable used copies available.

Mondays from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm.
     January 26; February 2, 9, 16, 23; March 2

     Registration Fees Per Session: $55 for members; $70 for non-members

Read more: Spring 5775/2015: Jewish Women's History

david graizbordDr. David Graizbord, Associate Professor of Judaic Studies and the Arizona Center for Judaic Studies

According to a much discussed Pew study from 2013, American Jews are overwhelmingly "proud" to be Jewish. But what does it mean to them to "be Jewish"and to be "proud" of it? What has "being Jewish" meant to them historically, and how has this changed? Why and how have American Jews formed the specific concept(s) of themselves as individuals and as members of a community (or communities) of Jews that they have held and hold?

The mini-course approaches these questions by looking at the peculiar history and challenges of Jewish cultural formation, evolution, loss, and survival in the United States. Through an examination of short historical documents, including interviews of American Jews of "Generation Y" (18-30 year-olds), participants will discuss the successes and failures of American Jewish life as it contends with long-term assimilatory pressures and trends.

Registration Fees: $45 for members; $60 for non-members
Tuesdays from 7:00 to 8:30 pm
March 31; April 7, 14

Read more: Spring 5775/2015: American Jewish Identity

Sandy Seltzer lightened
Rabbi Sanford Seltzer

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.

Thursdays from 11:45 am to 1:00 pm.

 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: $45 for members; $60 for non-members 

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

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
January 24; February 7; March 21; April 11; May 16 

samuel cohen talit
Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon & Rabbi Sanford Sletzer

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: 

     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 2015 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: Spring 5775/2015: The Wednesday Sefer Book Club: A Monthly Coffehouse of Contemporary Jewish...

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 January 7th 

samuel cohen talit
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).

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

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
January 13; February 10; March 24; April 7 


Read more: Spring 5775/2015: Practical Judaism

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.
January 8, 15, 22, 29; February 5, 12, 19; March 5, 12, 26; April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; May 7, 14

Read more: Spring 5775/2015: Basic Judaism

Sandy Seltzer lightenedRabbi Sanford Seltzer

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
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: Spring 5775/2015: Intermediate Judaism

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

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.
January 25; February 1, 8, 15, 22; March 8, 15, 22, 29; April 5

Read more: Spring 5775/2015: Prayerbook Hebrew