HaMakom: cultivating our relationship with God-as-Place - At the Shtiebel/Walking
Shabbat afternoons after Kiddush every other week, starting next week, November 12th. Aiming for 6 sessions. Which ones are indoors (45-60 minutes) & which ones are out will depend on the weather (the visit to the Delaware will be at least 2 hours).
WHY: In the midst of so much division in the world, can we find literal common ground? We’ll explore some texts (beginning with Genesis 1) but also the places we feel connected with, the places where we might find connection with the sacred, with HaMakom. At least once we’ll walk through the neighborhood to the Delaware River. What does it mean, in our lives on the ground, that all the world is filled with the glory of Hashem?
WHO: Anyone interested in meeting the God of Creation - in Torah, in our own memories of land & place, and in our South Philly neighborhood. Anyone interested in what it means to live as Jews in Diaspora, holding a sacred relationship to our ancestral home, while finding God in the place where we’re planted.
929 Daily Tanach Study - On Zoom
Estee Ellis & Rotating Facilitation
Nightly on Zoom
WHY: Get to know the Shtiebel community across time zones! We're following the international 929 schedule, learning one chapter of Tanach (Pentateuch, Prophets, and Writings) each night. Our model is peer-led: a different community member teaches each chapter and shares a meaningful (or silly!) musical/artistic connection to the material. Drop in once or attend regularly — every night is a new chance to learn something new!
WHO: Open to allWHEN: Sunday-Thursday* at 9pm on Zoom
* Winter schedule includes Saturday at 9pm for a "Dealer's Choice" slot, open for any Torah topic!
Art Beit Midrash- At the Shtiebel
WHEN:Tuesday evenings in Heshvan and Kislev (Nov. 15, 29, Dec 6, 13, 20)6-7:30 PM
WHY: There are so many ways to learn Torah and to integrate it into our whole selves! One amazing way to bring Torah into our lives is to create art rooted in Torah's imagery, teachings, and poetic rhythms. Like Torah study, creativity is also a powerful medicine that adds vibrancy and delight into our lives. Many of us have busy lives and can use structured time for both Torah study and creative expression. In Art Beit Midrash we will both study and create!
WHO: Join us if you are interested in creating art and/or having open-ended creative time based on weekly parsha study. Join us if you are interested in forming a small community with other creative people and torah lovers! All art forms welcome, including but not limited to music, writing, drawing, knitting, dance and whatever other creative forms you want to bring.
Radical Rest: Incorporating the spirit of Shabbat into our daily lives - On Zoom
Weekly on Zoom, three Tuesdays beginning November 21 + one final Thursday (Dec. 15)at 8:15
Plus a little add on lchaim the Shabbat of the 17th.
WHY: The pandemic has changed our conception of work and has caused many of us to more closely examine how we spend our time and energy. And many of us love the idea and/or practice of Shabbat! This chabura will provide a space to explore the principles of Shabbat, the idea of rest as resistance, and our own goals of placing greater value on rest.
WHO: All are welcome! Zoom location and post-bedtime start time makes this a great fit for parents and caregivers of young kids.
The Writings of Isaac Babel - at the Shtiebel
Dr. Annette Aronowicz
January 19, January 26 & February 2
I plan to teach a class on the Russian Jewish writer, Isaac Babel, who was a master of the short story. We will read a few of these over the course of a month. They all have to do with the situation of Jews in early 20th century Russia, both pre and post Communist Revolution. The stories allow for many interpretations, which is the fun of reading them and talking about them. At the center is a tug of war between what we could call a Jewish way of being human, and the challenges to that in a time of war and revolution. While the actual situation Babel describes is not ours, the questions he asks still are.
The Shemoneh Esreh: A Nineteen-Stage Journey toward Spiritual Wholeness- at the Shtiebel
Starting November 20 at 6pm Ten meetings, every other week
WHY: There are many ways to pray the Amidah prayer, prayed three times a day (more on Shabbat and certain holidays). One powerful way is to journey through it as a path toward spiritual wholeness, each blessing being a stage in the journey. We will look at the texts of the prayers themselves together with midrashic texts taken from Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer and elsewhere that connect the blessings with particular episodes in the Tanach. We will then explore how to connect them with our own lives.
WHO: Those interested in deepening their experience of prayer in conversation with others
The Life & Times of the Queer & Machmir
Every other Sunday Brunch, 12/11 at 11:00am at the Shtiebel
WHY: If we can accept the assumption that there ARE LGBTQ people living in religious Jewish communities, we realize that we are left with a lot of important questions. Things like: how should same sex couples share Jewish parenting obligations? What about intimacy? The shul and communal experience? At the first meeting we’ll collect real questions that people have, and look take turns looking up some textual sources for our discussion. We won’t try to have just 1 answer for each question, but rather to spark discussion.
WHO: anyone from the Shtiebel community is welcome to join. Bonus points if you bring a particular question or some sources to discuss.
The Theology of the Heter Iska - at the Shtiebel
TBD Mid/late December
The heter iska is a sixteenth century feat of financial engineering, designed to enable Jews to participate in a credit-based economy without violating the Torah’s prohibition on lending or borrowing with interest. Like other legal fictions, the heter iska has always been controversial. We will learn about the nature and operation of the heter iska and consider some surprising sources in which both its critics and its defenders resort to ethical/theological considerations.
WHO: All are welcome. All texts will be accompanied by English translation.
The Torah of Divorce - at the Shtiebel
Reb Ezra Weinberg
Tues at 8:15 / Dec 13th (zoom) 12/20th (zoom), Jan 3rd (zoom)& Jan 10th (in person)
Why: because every time I want to talk about it, I hear a voice inside saying “Don’t bring it up. Don’t go there. What a downer.” And every time I fight through that voice and DO bring it up, I feel such deep appreciation for permission to talk about something so hard to discuss. And the amazing part is, Jewish tradition has a LOT to say about. Much of it I don’t agree with, but our sages weren’t afraid to talk about it, so we shouldn’t be either. We have what to learn from them and what to overcome. And finally, I want to hold up the Torah of divorced families because it impacts almost everyone. I’m a child and an adult who has been through divorced. If you or your parents didn’t get divorced, chances are high that a close friend or relative has. And it’s time we figure out how to better collectively show up for each other, just like we do at other major life moments.