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.

Summer 5776/2016: New This Summer! Adult Education Academy - Summer Salons

coffee 983955 640This summer, the Adult Education Academy sponsors three free, fun, and diverse summer salons—one in June, July, and August.

Sunday, June 26, from 9:30 - 11:30 AM, we travel to Uganda, in East Africa, to learn about its Jewish community in general and about Delicious Peace Coffee,  an interfaith cooperative of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian coffee farmers. 

Sunday, July 31, from 2 - 4 PM, Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon will be discussing Jewish Perspectives on the Presidential election. 

Sunday, August 21,  from 2 - 4 PM, Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon will lead a session on music and rabbinic literature.  We’ll listen to The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind by Osvaldo Golijov, based on the writings of Isaac the Blind (1160-1235 CE).   Golijov is a contemporary Argentinian composer.

All Summer Salons are free & open to the public! 

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Summer 5776/2016: Why the Wilderness?

Rabbi Appel 09 2014

Rabbi Batsheva Appel

The Midbar, the Wilderness, is an important location in the history of the Jews. 75% of the Torah takes place in the Wilderness, including the encounter at Mount Sinai. This class explores the Wilderness in the Bible,   in Rabbinic Literature, and in more modern sources.

Two Sessions:  Thursdays, July 14 and 21, 7:00 - 8:15 pm. $25 members, $30 non-members 

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Summer 5776/2016: Advanced Biblical Hebrew

torah 89074 640Margaret Kendle  

What can enrich one's Torah reading and prayer experience? Understanding the nuances of the Hebrew! Through interactive practice and personal study, students have been broadening their ability to translate biblical and liturgical material. The class is structured by The First Hebrew Primer, Third Edition, Simon, Resnikoff and Motzkin, EKS Publishing, but is enhanced by the weekly Parashah and the Mishkan T'filah siddur. 

If you haven’t been to class recently, please meet with  the instructor after the first class to make sure of proper placement.

Eight sessions, Mondays, June 13- July 20,   from 6 - 7 pm.   $55 for members,   $70 for non-members. 

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Summer 5776/2016: When the Nightingales Sing: The Joy of Ladino Song

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Cantorial Soloist Marjorie Hochberg

The songs of the Sephardic Jews are some of the most beautiful in Jewish tradition. In this class, we’ll learn about Ladino history and culture, hear Ladino artists, and sing popular Ladino songs. 

Three sessions:     Tuesdays, June 14, 28, and July 5, from 11:45 am – 1:00 pm.  The class is $30 members/$35 non-members for all,  or $13 per session. 

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Summer 5776/2016: The Holiest Places on Earth, Part III-Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia

SAMUEL COHEN TALIT cropped for print compressedRabbi Samuel M. Cohon

Rabbi Cohon’s new series on the Holiest Places on Earth reaches Southeast Asia, an exotic and complex region of deep religious dedication.  Buddhism and Hinduism experienced dramatic transformations when they reached Southeast Asia, and the cultures and peoples committed to these complex faiths created great places of worship and learning.  Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia all feature centers of sacredness, each distinct and extraordinary, from the jungle temples of Angkor Wat to the gentle Hindu sacred baths of upcountry Bali to the golden Buddhist centers of Thailand to the surprisingly comical statues in the Batu Caves of Kuala Lumpur.

On his recent sabbatical journey around the world in 85 days, Rabbi Cohon visited 148 of the holiest places sacred to all the great religions—Jewish, Christian, Moslem, Buddhist, Hindu, Shinto, Jain, Sikh, BaHai, Druze, aboriginal, Polynesian, Inca, Neolithic, Paleolithic, and more—visiting 20 countries on 6 continents. Learn how holy places are created, what they mean to the people who experience them, what the common elements are, and what is unique in our own experience of holiness of place.

In his initial offering for the Adult Education Academy last summer Rabbi Cohon covered the European portion of his journey, as well as his explorations in Turkey and Egypt. Part II covered the middle portion of his vagabond experiences in Israel, India, and Japan.  You do not need to have attended the first two courses, and there is no prerequisite for this class.

Three sessions: Thursdays, June 16, 23, 30, 7-9 pm. $45 for members, $65 for non-members; you can take classes individually for $18 for members, $25 for non-members. 

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Spring 5776/2016: The Zohar: Soul-Text of Kabbalah

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Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon

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.

Regular Course: The Zohar, Soul-Text of Kabbalah - Thursdays, 11:45 am to 1:00 pm
Session III:  January 7, 21, 28; February 4, 11, 18
Session IV:  March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31; April 7
Session V:  April 14, 21, 28; May 5, 12, 19
Registration Fees Per Session: $45 for members; $60 for non-members 

Read more: Spring 5776/2016: The Zohar: Soul-Text of Kabbalah

The Rabbi's Tish

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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 

Spring 5776/2016: The Wednesday Sefer Book Club: A Monthly Coffehouse of Contemporary Jewish Literature

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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: 

February 3: The Heist by Daniel Silva
March 2: The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard
April 6: Son of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yousef
May 4: The Book of Numbers by Joshua Cohen

Registration Fees: For the entire 2015-2016 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 5776/2016: The Wednesday Sefer Book Club: A Monthly Coffehouse of Contemporary Jewish...

Spring 5776/2016: Talmud Study

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 14th 

Torah Study

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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).



Spring 5776/2016: Intermediate Biblical Hebrew

Margaret Kendle

Using The First Hebrew Primer (chapters 4-30), the Tanakh, and Mishkan T’filah, students will be able to broaden their vocabulary and understanding of verb structures and thereby enrich their experiences in study and in prayer.

Prerequisite Knowledge: Students should be able to read Hebrew fluidly and to write. (There will be plenty of writing so that a dedicated student would be able to pick it up quick enough.)

The class will be offered only if at least 5 students sign-up in advance.

**Before the Intermediate Biblical Hebrew class begins, the instructor would offer a session of 3 classes providing tutoring to POTENTIAL STUDENTS. (The fee for this would count towards the Intermediate Biblical Hebrew class proper, for those who continue.) The text would be The First Hebrew Primer (chapters 1-3). The Intermediate Prayerbook Hebrew course or equivalent is recommended as prior knowledge. The objectives of the tutoring sessions are to review pronunciation nuances, to practice reading with the goal of achieving a fluency of 27+ words per minute, and to practice writing.

The text book is by Simon, Resnikoff and Motzkin and the publisher is EKS Publishing Co. It is available at the Temple Emanu-El WRJ Gift Shop or on Amazon.

Registration Fees: $55 members, $70 non-members for each semester Fall and Spring
Wednesdays, 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm
January 6, 13, 20, 27; February 3, 10, 17; March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; April 6, 13, 20, 27; May 4, 11

Read more: Spring 5776/2016: Intermediate Biblical Hebrew

Spring 5776/2016: Practical Judaism

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 12; February 9; March 8; April 19 - Model Seder; May 17



Read more: Spring 5776/2016: Practical Judaism

Spring 5776/2016: Basic 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, 7:00 pm to 8:15 pm
January 14, 21, 28; February 4, 11, 18; March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31; April 7, 14, 21, 28; May 5, 12

Read more: Spring 5776/2016: Basic Judaism

Spring 5776/2016: Intermediate 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, 7:00 pm to 8:15 pm
January 14, 21, 28; February 4, 11, 18; March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31; April 7, 14, 21, 28; May 5, 12

Read more: Spring 5776/2016: Intermediate Judaism

Spring 5776/2016: Hebrew Marathon

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 24, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm and Monday, January 25, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Read more: Spring 5776/2016: Hebrew Marathon