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Adult Education: Past Courses

Shabbat Learner's Minyan ------------------------------------                                                        ---------------------------------

with Rabbinic Intern Akiva Nelson
Shabbat mornings, 1/21, 1/28, 2/4, & 2/11
10:00 am-12:00 
CDT Library & Sanctuary (in-person only)

We're excited to announce the upcoming Learner's Minyan at CDT! Are you seeking to cultivate awe, gratitude, humility, and compassion on a regular basis? Excited to develop skills so that you can better follow along (or lead!) prayer services? Enjoy singing, but don't quite get the whole "prayer" thing? Or maybe you just want to dig deeper into the wonderful world of Jewish liturgy and prayer? If any of these describe you, join CDT and Rabbinic Intern Akiva Nelson for the launch of our Learner's Minyan!

The purpose of the Learner's Minyan is to provide people who are not as familiar with the Shabbat morning service a space to ask questions, learn choreography, take a look at the prayerbook, and explore the meaning of each part of the service. It will be a space to explore how prayer can be so much more than just asking G-d for things you want, a pathway to build skills to better participate in Jewish prayer, and an opportunity to build a more personal relationship with the oftentimes opaque Jewish prayer service. We'll be spending part of the time in the sanctuary during the prayer service and part of the time in a separate space to discuss. 

Email if you're interested in learning more or think the Learner's Minyan may be for you. 

Source sheets:
Class 1: The Torah Service 
Class 2: Birchot HaShachar and P’sukei D'Zimra 
Class 3: Sh’ma & its Blessings + the Amidah 
Class 4: The Amidah + Conclusion of the Service

From Metaphor to Practice: An Exploration ------------------------------------                                                        

with Rabbi Toba Spitzer
Wednesdays, 11/30, 12/7, 12/14, & 12/21
7:30-8:45 pm

Working with Rabbi Toba’s new book, God Is Here: Reimagining the Divine, we will explore how different metaphors for understanding and experiencing the sacred can shape our spiritual and ethical practices, on both an individual and communal level. How might experiencing God/liness as Water, as Rock, as Fire, as Becoming, affect the ways we pray, care for one another, work for justice? Participants are encouraged to read the relevant chapter(s) in God Is Here before each class:

Session One, November 30: God as Water and as Voice How do we nourish our spirits through prayer, song, meditation, and other Jewish rituals?
There is no recording available for Session One.

Session Two, December 7: God as Place & Rock of Refuge — Where is the divine as we support one another in times of transition and crisis, illness and mourning?
Class recording     

Session Three, December 14: God as Fire, Rain of Justice Where do we locate God/liness in our work to repair the world?
Class recording

Session Four, December 21: The God-Cloud and Becoming When so many forces in society threaten to tear us apart, what might God/liness have to do with fostering community?
Class recording

Join Rabbi Toba as we come up with answers to these questions and more! Please register on Zoom using the link above.

Copies of God Is Here are available from the CDT office for $20, or can be purchased online; please be in touch with Rabbi Toba at if purchasing the book is an obstacle. Please have a copy in preparation for the class!

The Mystical Origins of Jewish Meditation ------------------------------------                                                              

with Rabbinic Intern Akiva Nelson
Mondays (and one Tuesday), 10/24, 11/1, 11/7, & 11/14,
7:30-9:00 pm 
CDT Sanctuary & Zoom 

What if someone told you that Jewish mystics have been meditating for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, and their practice has very little (if anything) to do with Buddhism? Well, surprise surprise, it’s true!

If you’re curious to explore ancient Jewish mystical practices and see how they might enrich your spiritual life, join Rabbinic Intern Akiva Nelson for “The Mystical Origins of Jewish Meditation,” a 4-session CDT adult learning class. We’ll explore the origins of Jewish meditation, study a few ancient wisdom texts, and experiment with the techniques described within them, all with an eye toward better understanding the Jewish mystical tradition in more depth.

Wise Aging ------------------------------------                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Sundays, 10/2, 11/6, 12/4, 12/18, & 1/8
3:00-4:00 pm 

This Wise Aging group will be led by Dr. Carol Hausman and will include discussion, journaling, havruta, meditation and more. We will use the book WISE AGING;  LIVING WITH JOY, RESILIENCE, & SPIRIT by Rachel Cowan and Linda Thal. 

Elul 5782 Learning Opportunities ------------------------------------                                                                                              -----

Turning Inward: A Night of Meditation, Song, and Reflection with Rabbinic Intern Akiva Nelson
Tuesday, September 6, 7:30-8:45 pm
CDT & Zoom

It can be hard to make space in our hectic lives to slow down and turn inward in the time leading up to the High Holydays. If you're yearning for some space to do just that, come join our wonderful new Rabbinic Intern, Akiva Nelson, for a teshuvah-themed night of song, meditation, reflection, and journaling as we prepare our hearts for the High Holidays.

Reparations and Communal Teshuvah
Thursday, September 15, 7:30-9:00 pm 

As part of Reconstructing Judaism’s exploration of movement-wide commitment to societal reparations for the sins of Native American genocide and slavery in the U.S., we will explore a Jewish lens on reparations and how we as a congregation can join in these efforts.

Nourishing Our Spirits: A Conversation
Wednesday, September 21, 7:30-8:45 pm 
Zoom (please pre-register)

All are welcome to join Rabbi Toba for individual and communal reflection on what nourished our spirits and grounded us since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Exploring Aging through Literature ------------------------------------                                                                                              -

Second Sunday of each month, 3-4:30pm: January 9, February 13, March 13, April 10, and May 15

Come read, learn, and grow with CDT's WISE AGING member and facilitator Carol Hausman, a clinical psychologist, gerontologist, teacher, and new member of CDT. The class will meet on Zoom to read novellas, short stories, and poetry on many topics of aging, including relationships with children, love, caregiving, dementia, institutionalization and relocation, illness and death, and the search for meaning. We hope to deepen our awareness of some of the challenges and opportunities faced by elderly people and their caregivers, and perhaps gain some insight into our own fears of and resistance to looking at issues of aging. 

Participants were asked to read Carry Me Across the Water by Ethan Canin before the first session.

Mussar (applied Jewish ethics) Practice Group ---------------------------------------------------

with Ora Grodsky and Earnest Arky Solomon
Wednesdays, 7-9pm: December 1, 22, January 12, February 2, 23, March 9, 30, April 20, May 11,  June 1 

The Goal of Mussar practice is to help us fulfill our potential to really live as the holy souls we are.” -Rabbi Alan Morinis, Everyday Holiness

Mussar is a treasure trove of Jewish spiritual teachings and practices for cultivating inner wisdom and spiritual development. It was developed over 1,000 years ago in Babylonia and Spain, was refined in Eastern Europe during the 18th century, and is now enjoying a resurgence in the US. 

This class will met every 3 weeks November-April as a Vaad (learning community) to learn together about Mussar and support each others’ practice. Participants will also have a chavruta (learning partner) to meet with between sessions, and will design their own daily practices, which can be as little as 5 minutes a day. No prior knowledge of Mussar or Jewish spiritual practice is required and all who are interested and able to commit to the class are welcome! 

With All Your Possessions: The Torah of Money ----------------------------------------------------

with Rabbi Toba Spitzer
Wednesdays, October 13, 20, 27, November 3 & 10 
7:30-9:00 pm

What does Judaism have to say about money and our economic relations?  A lot!  As we celebrate CDT’s 30th anniversary year, all are invited to join Rabbi Toba for a new rendition of the class that began our communal Torah of Money journey, laying the foundations for our dues system and revisited in recent years by our Economic & Class Diversity working group.  We will explore Jewish texts and practices related to mindful consumption, tzedakah and economic justice, and the radical implications of Shabbat and the sabbatical year.  Members of the CDT Economic/Class Difference working group will also share some of the groundbreaking work they have been doing in exploring personal connections to issues of class and economic inequality, both at CDT, in the Jewish community, and in society at large. 

Session 1
Recording     Texts

Session 2
Recording     Texts

Session 3
Recording     Texts     Worksheet

Session 4
Recording     Texts     Worksheet

Session 5 

Adult B'nei Mitzvah Class ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With CDT Rabbinic Intern Emmanuel Cantor

Sunday evenings 7pm-8:30pm; October 17, 24, 31; November 7, 14, December 5, 12; January 9, 23, 30; February 6, 13; March 6, 13; April 3, 10; May 1, 9, 15.

Suggested donation $360, but please pay what you are able

Wondering what exactly all those 13 year-olds have been learning as they become Jewish adults? Hungry to explore foundations of Jewish living, key concepts in Judaism, and what Judaism has to say on the “big questions,” like the afterlife, sex, spirituality, and social justice? Looking to learn from a wide variety of Jewish texts while building relationships with other CDT members? Then this class is for you!  

The class will meet weekly for approximately 20 sessions, with breaks for holidays. Outside sessions, participants will have the opportunity to learn how to leyn from Torah, lead parts of a Shabbat service, and/or give a d’var Torah. Members may choose to honor their learning through an “Adult B’nai Mitzvah Shabbat” in June, but the nature of our celebration will be up to our group.

Text Study and Action: Addressing Ableism and Disability in Jewish Texts and our Community-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, July 8, 2021, 3-4pm 

Earnest and CDT accessibility advocate, Lisa Keshet, conducted a text study and discussion about ableism and disability. We need your input about accessibility at this critical moment of reentry! Together we will read and discuss Jewish texts and writings from Jewish and non-Jewish disability justice thinkers and activists. We will end our time by discussing our evolving “Guiding Principles for More Accessibility and Disability Justice at CDT.” Join HERE.

Talmud for the 99% ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When:  Sundays, April 11, 18 and 25, May 2, 4:30-6:30pm

Description: Join Earnest for a four session Talmud class between Passover and Shavuot. In this class we will prepare for Shavuat, which commemorates the Jewish people entering into a covenantal relationship with God, by decoding a wild Talmudic story that completely reimagines the covenantal moment. We will explore the rabbis' motivation for their subversive reimagining, and their vision for a more liberatory relationship with the divine.

Telling Our Stories: Part II ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When:  Tuesdays, March 2, 9, 23 & 30; Wednesday, March 17, 7:30pm-9pm

Description: Participants in the Telling Our Stories Workshop share their writings with one another (closed to class participants).

Israel’s Many Cultures:  Together Or Apart? ריבוי תרבויות בישראל :  ביחד או לחוד

Led by Dr. Irit Aharony is Senior Preceptor in Hebrew at Harvard University, where she teaches courses in Hebrew language, culture, and literature. She holds a PhD in Hebrew literature from Bar-Ilan University. She has taught classes at CDT in the past, to great acclaim.

When Wednesday evenings, March 10, 17, & 24, 7:30-9pm

Description The course will explore the diversity of Israeli cultures, highlighting both commonalities and tensions among its diverse communities.  Each session will emphasize a different art form and explore a particular formation of Israeli voices. The classes will be conducted in English, and readings will be available in Hebrew and English.  Advance reading will be necessary only for the final session.  

March 10: “In many small windows, through side entrances” (Yehuda Amichai):  Questions of immigration, otherness and belonging, “here” versus “there” in Israeli art, with an emphasis on Russian and  Ethiopian new Israelis ((עולים חדשים.

Reading 1 for March 10     Reading 2 for March 10

March 17: ”In Ashkenaz State” (Roy Hasan):   Israeli spoken word poetry, the Ars poetica (ערס-פואטיקה) movement, and the Mizrachi voice.

Handout for March 17 

March 24: Israelis Here and There:  Identities, differences, and relationships between Israelis at home and abroad—in Haaretz and in the Diaspora, explored through Maya Arad’s widely acclaimed 2018 novella The Hebrew Teacher (המורה לעברית) 


Adult Hebrew --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adult Hebrew Part 2: Rooting In Hebrew

Led by: Rabbinical student and CDT teacher Micah Friedman

When: Sunday afternoons, 1/31, 2/7, 2/14, 2/21, 2/28, 1:30pm-3:00pm.

Description: A five session Hebrew class for anyone who has learned the letters of the Alef Bet, recently or years ago. We will focus on becoming more proficient at reading and pronouncing Hebrew while simultaneously growing our skills at making meaning of Hebrew words and relating personally to the language of the siddur (prayer book). 

Recommended tuition: $50

Required text: Aleph Isn’t Enough.

Registration: Register here for the class to receive updates from instructor.

Adult Hebrew Part 1: Alef-Bet

Led by: Micah Friedman

When: Sunday afternoons, December 6, 13, 20, 27, and January 3 and 10, 1:30pm-3:00pm

Description: Do you want to learn the Alef-Bet? CDT teacher and rabbinical student Micah Friedman is offering a six-session Hebrew alphabet and decoding class for adults in December and January. Along the way, Micah will incorporate spiritual approaches to learning the Hebrew letters.

Required text:  Aleph Isn’t Tough


Jewishness, Whiteness, and Race in America -------------------------------------------------------------------------

Led by: Rabbi Toba Spitzer and Dr. Jenny Sartori

When: Wednesday evenings, October 28, November 11, 18, December 2, 7:30pm-9pm

Recordings: Session 1      Session 2        Session 3        Session 4 

Readings:    Goldstein   --Karen Brodkin essay-   Course Materials


 Telling Our Stories: A Spiritual Autobiography Workshop ------------------------------------------- 

Led by: Rabbi Toba Spitzer

When: Tuesday evenings, January 12, 19 & 26, 7:30pm-9:00pm

Readings: Reflections on Adolescence    Samples


Preparing for the High Holydays ---------------------------------------------------------------------                                                                               --

Led by: Rabbi Toba Spitzer

When: Tuesday September 1 & Wednesday September 9, 7:30pm-9:00pm

Description: How can we make the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe, most meaningful in these challenging times?  All are welcome to join  Rabbi Toba for an exploration of teachings about teshuvah, "turning/returning" onto the desired path of our lives, as well as  key prayers of the High Holydays liturgy, as we prepare for the Jewish new year. It is fine to come to one or both of the sessions.

A Conversation about COVID-19: Discussion and Q&A ----------------------------------------------------

Led by: CDT members Lisa Samelson, Paul Hattis, and Rob Saper

When: Thursday June 11, 2020; 5:30pm-7:00pm

Description: Join us for a deeper fact-based understanding of how to live our lives with COVID-19 around us. Come listen as panelists and fellow CDT-members Lisa, Paul, and Rob answer our questions to help us all set out individual and family "policies" to stay safe in these uncertain times.


Metaphor & Meaning: New Ways to Encounter the Divine (Parts 1 & 2 ---------------

Led by: Rabbi Toba Spitzer

When: Wednesday evenings, 7:30-8:45pm, May 6, 13, 20 and 27 

Description: Back by popular demand, this continuation of Rabbi Toba's March class continues the exploration of new/old metaphors for how we think about and experience God, incorporating text study and practice.  Whether or not you took the first three sessions in March, you are welcome to join as we look at metaphors of Voice, Fire, and more!

Materials: All course materials, including video recordings of class, can be found here. 

Registration: Closed

Thu, March 23 2023 1 Nisan 5783