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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 Shlishi, 27 Tishri 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.

samuel cohen talit
Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon

Anti-Semitism is the oldest, most persistent, and one of the most virulent forms of systematic hatred the world has ever seen. For over 2000 years Jews have experienced actively anti-Semitic persecution in a wide variety of countries and societies with tragic consequences. This course will explore the sources, etiology, and systematic issues that have created and "nurtured" anti-Semitism in various forms throughout history, and which continue to threaten Jews today. Why, from Constantine to the Quenelle, have Jews been singled out for this permicious form of persecution? Which factors contribute to its prevalence in some regions, and why has it diminished so drastically in America? And will anti-Semitism ever disappear?

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

Read more: Summer 5774/2014: Blame the Jews -- From Byzantium to Blood Libel to BDS -- the Origins, History,...

bcohon for aeaRabbi Baruch Cohon

Session I: Melody, rhythm, geography and purpose. Melodic patterns distinguish tunes made familiar in the synagogue. Cantorial music is typically recitative -- governed only by the accent of the words. With rhythm added, those melodies become community songs and therefore more familiar. Their style is historically different for Sephardim than for Ashkenazim. Political causes like Zionism and Socialism produce their own music, with some surprising similarities. Examples will come from various Jewish sources.

Session II: Composers, performers and scholars. Religious, symphonic and operatic: Rapaport, Idelsohn, Rosenblatt, Pinchik, Copland, Halevy, etc. Interchange between Western classical and traditional Hebrew music. Jewish Musicology introduced. Yiddish Theater, Tin Pan Alley and Broadway: Thomashefsky, Secunda, Adler, Bock, Gershwin, Berlin, etc. From By Mir Bistu Sheyn to Hava Nagila.


Registration Fees: $35 for members; $45 for non-members
Mondays from 7:00 to 8:15 pm
September 22, 29

Read more: Fall 5775/2014: What Makes Music Jewish

Lori RiegelFitting Jewish Values and Teachings into Today's Fast-Paced Life
Lori Riegel

This course will explore core Jewish values including K'vod Haberiyot (Honoring Human Beings), Gemilut Chasadim (Acts of Lovingkindness), and Baal Tashchit (Do Not Destroy). Looking through the lens of Jewish values, we will explore how these values fit in, or are at odds with, the complexities of technology in everyday life.

Registration Fees: $45 for members; $60 for non-members*
Tuesdays from 7:00 to 8:15 pm
October 21, 28; November 4*

*note price and date change

Read more: Fall 5775/2014: Twitter, Texts, Torah?

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 ltitle 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...

Kelly Feinstein-Johnson cropped
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

This three-part class will help those who have a modest knowledge of Jewish life to better understand Judaism as practiced in America.  This is a broad-based presentation of three major themes in American Judaism, a fun, upbeat but intelligent approach to getting a better handle on just what today's version of our ancient religion is all about.  

Taught in the same energetic, interactive style as the hugely popular Taste of Judaism series, the classes include "Jews in America -- Movements (Reform, Conservative, Orthodox & More)""Assimilation & Creativity: From Davening to Rock? A Jewish Way to Pray", and "American-Israeli Relations".  Includes delicious "tastes" of traditional Jewish foods.  

Registration Fees: $25 for members and non-members (includes snacks and two CDs of Jewish music)
Thursdays, October 2, 9, from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Wednesday, October 15, from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm 

Read more: Fall 5775/2014: Taste II, Another Bite: Jewish in America

samuel cohen talit
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

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 

samuel cohen talit
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...

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 

samuel cohen talitRabbi Appel 08 01 13 by Sally ShackartRabbi Samuel M. Cohon and Rabbi Batsheva Appel

Temple Emanu-El's Taste of Judaism program offers free introductory classes that explore Judaism, Jews and Israel through learning, discussion, stories, jokes, and, of course, sampling of traditional Jewish foods. The class is in three 2-hour sessions and is open to the entire community.

Taste of Judaism classes are an open, interactive explortion of history and practice of Judaism in 3 sessions that discuss Jewish Spirituality, Values and Community, led by Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon and staff. This is an exciting learning opportunity for all who want to deepen their knowledge and understanding of Jewish culture, history, rituals and practice; who want to learn more about the Reform Jewish perspective; or are simply curious about Judaism. The classes are free, but pre-registration is required. Please call Mila Vasser at (520) 327-4501 ext. 27 for more information and to register.

This class is provided by the Ruth F. and Samuel H. Cohen Outreach Program of Temple Emanu-El.

FREE, but you must register by calling Mila at (520) 327-4501.
Sundays, August 10, 17, 24, 2:00 to 4:00 pm at the Tucson Hebrew Academy at 3888 East River Road - ***
Parallel children's programming for this series***
Wednesdays, August 27; September 3, 10, 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Bear Canyon Library
Thursdays, August 28, September 4, 11, 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Temple Emanu-El
Fridays, September 5, 12, 19, 12:00 to 2:00 pm at Beth Shalom Temple Center, 1751 N. Rio Mayo, Green Valley
Sundays, September 7, 14, 21, 1:30 to 3:30 pm at Temple Emanu-El (free childcare available -- you must RSVP for childcare)
*Mondays, September 15, 22, 29, 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Nanini Library, 7300 North Shannon Road
Sundays, October 12, 19, 26, 1:30 to 3:30 pm at Temple Emanu-El


*note change of date

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 08 01 13 by Sally ShackartRabbi 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

samuel cohen talit
Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon

For everyone who has ever struggled through a long Days of Awe service and wondered why he or she was there, this is a two-part exploration of the great themes of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur prayer, including an introduction to the music.  Make Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur matter this time around!  Two sessions with honey cake, tea, and coffee at the break.  Fun, informative, entertaining, and different.  

Registration Fees: $35 for members; $45 for non-members
Sundays from 10:00 am to 11:45 am.
September 14, 21. 

Read more: Fall 5775/2014: On Wings of Awe

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