Study of our sacred texts is central to the objectives of our committee at Congregation Kol Ami. Every Saturday morning, our sessions are devoted to the Torah portion (parashah) of the week. These are led by our clergy, and occasionally by lay leaders. The format of these gatherings will vary according to the teacher as well as the content being discussed; one week might focus on a specific verse or incident, while the next might delve into broader themes. Regardless, these sessions invite our congregants to consider the Torah not only through classic commentary, but also with respect to lessons we can each apply to our own lives and worldview.
The study of Talmud extends our Jewish knowledge beyond that of Torah. In weekly discussions, we are introduced to a form of legal discourse dealing with everyday situations. For example, is everyone required to recite the Sh’ma or are some exempted? Under which conditions would one be allowed not to say this prayer? Our sages have debated such questions for more than two millennia, and studying their responses expands our religious understanding.
Once a month, a weekday evening program features a Jewish perspective on works of music, literature, and cinema. These evenings are intended especially for those who are unable to attend sessions during the day or on weekends. Past programs have highlighted music of the many Jewish composers on Broadway and film, Philip Roth and the portrayal of his family in Portnoy’s Complaint, and Jewish values in films as diverse as On Golden Pond and A Serious Man.
In addition to these, classes in conversational Hebrew, Beginner Hebrew or Biblical Hebrew may be offered to interested congregants. Members who are new to our faith are encouraged to experience the 3-week clergy-led course “A Taste of Judaism” at no charge. They will have the opportunity to continue with a more extensive 18-week “Introduction to Judaism” class; this will be free to congregants, although there may be a fee for materials.
Other events (such as special holiday programming, retreats, and the like) may be scheduled on an ad hoc basis. The underlying theme of all Adult Education programs offered at Congregation Kol Ami is personal growth through study and interaction with friends old and new. Whether you have studied Torah for decades or for days, you are welcome to join us for engaging and thoughtful programming.
Any questions? Have a suggestion for us to consider? Contact AdultEducation@kolaminj.org.