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Jewish Studies

The Program of Jewish Studies is generously sponsored by Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary.
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Our Jewish Studies classes inspire learners from all knowledge levels and backgrounds looking to add meaning and purpose to their everyday lives. We offer classes with master teachers to help you gain a better understanding of ancient texts or today’s headlines, with classes in Torah and Talmud, Jewish Film and History, Archaeology and current events. Join our community of learners to connect with our tradition and learn how it relates to us today.

  • Yiddish - Intermediate

    Yiddish - Intermediate

    For Students who have completed Beginners Yiddish. This class provides Yiddish speaking students with intensive practice in reading, writing, vocabulary and grammar. The class is taught entirely in Yiddish. Its purpose is to facilitate the increased use of Yiddish conversation, reading and writing. Read More

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  • Yiddish - Advanced

    Yiddish - Advanced

    This class provides Yiddish speaking students with intensive practice in reading, writing, vocabulary and grammar. The class is taught entirely in Yiddish. Its purpose is to facilitate the increased use of Yiddish conversation, reading and writing. Read More

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  • Yiddish - Beginners

    Yiddish - Beginners

    This course emphasizes the joys to be found in day-to-day Yiddish conversation; basic sentences and expressions. This course includes a very user friendly introduction to reading Yiddish; a skill needed to form the basis of further learning. Additionally students will be introduced to Yiddish/Eastern European culture through poetry, visual art, songs, stories, folk traditions, and history. Read More

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  • Hevra Mikra, Bible Study Circle

    Hevra Mikra, Bible Study Circle

    Taught by a master rabbi-scholar Hevra Mikra is comprised of students of varying backgrounds and expertise in Biblical study. The group is informal in learning style. Participation is an integral part of the study process. Join this energetic and thought provoking class to discuss the ethical, historical, spiritual and personal implications of the most important book in the Jewish tradition, the Torah. Read More

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  • Gittelson Seminars: The Relationships Between Law and Ethics

    Gittelson Seminars: The Relationships Between Law and Ethics

    What Kind of Person Should I Be? Exploring the Ethics of the Ideal Person. Made possible through a generous grant from Pat (z"l) and Arnold Gittelson. What Kind of a Person Should I Strive to Be? Jewish Visions of the Ethics of the Ideal Person Ancient and Medieval Jewish Visions of the Ideal Jew In each class, Rabbi Dorff will present different chapters from his book the Oxford Handbook on Jewish Ethics and Morality. Read More

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  • Great Classic Jewish Trials - All Sessions

    Great Classic Jewish Trials - All Sessions

    Major religious trials share a lot in common. They are public exhibitions beyond the facts in the cases and are meant to caution the people as much, or more, than punish the alleged miscreant. Often the "crime" itself is of little importance and is, in fact, simply a challenge to authority. This class will be taught as a series of six or three. Inquisition, Salem Witch Trials, Dreyfus, Scopes, Rosenbergs & Pollard Read More

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  • Prophecy in Ancient Israel

    Prophecy in Ancient Israel

    The prophets played an important role in Jewish history. Who were the prophets and what was their message? Why did the people dislike them? Who was qualified to be a prophet? In this class we will examine the history and essential messages of the three major prophets and the twelve minor prophets and place them in the context of Jewish history. Join us for a lively discussion of these great Jewish figures and their contributions to our faith. Read More

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  • Short Stories at the Sperber: Slow Cooking

    Short Stories at the Sperber: Slow Cooking

    Do not have time to read an entire book? Join us each month to discuss literary short stories with our Sperber Librarian. This month we will be discussing Deakla Keydar's "Slow Cooking."From the story collection by Israeli writers, Tel Aviv Noir. this one tells of a divorcee working in a Tel Aviv supermarket who meets her phone-order crush and learns about the city's African refugee problem. Contact the Sperber Library at 310-440-1264, or email Lisa Silverman at lisa.silverman@aju.edu to request that a copy of the story be sent to you! Read More

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  • An Evening Celebrating the Art of the French Riveria: Van Gogh, Matisse, Chagall, Renoir and Picasso, with John Paul Thornton

    An Evening Celebrating the Art of the French Riveria: Van Gogh, Matisse, Chagall, Renoir and Picasso, with John Paul Thornton

    The brilliant light of the the Côte d’Azur inspired artists to create their most colorful and soulful work as seen in this glorious visual presentation of the Modern Art and personalities which define this intoxicating region on the Mediterranean Sea. Read More

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  • Among Cossacks and Commisars: A History of Ukrainian Jewry

    Among Cossacks and Commisars: A History of Ukrainian Jewry

    Among the topics covered in this class: Ka'nani and Khazar Jews in the Crimea and in Kievan Rus; Black Plague massacres and the mass migration of Western European Jews to Ukraine; Arendar: economic and social Life of the Ukrainian shtetl Jew; Ukrainian Jewry and the Cossack pogroms; chafing under Czars: Jews in the Pale of Settlement; Tatar Krimchak and Karaite Jews of Crimea; under Bolsheviks, Anarchists, and White Guardists (1917-1921); the Babi Yar Massacre; Natan Sharanski and the Refusenik movement Read More

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  • The Jewish Boxers' Hall of Fame

    The Jewish Boxers' Hall of Fame

    Between 1900 and 1940 alone there were some 27 Jewish world champions and title claimants, some still considered the greatest of their class: Benny Leonard, Barney Ross, "Slapsie" Maxie Rosenbloom, Abe Attell, Jackie Fields. This Power Point/video presentation is a romp through the fascinating history of the great Jewish pugilists, from the English bare-knuckle heavyweight champion Daniel "The Light of Israel" Mendoza in the 1790s, to recent title-holders, Rabbi Yuri Foreman and Dmitri "Star of David" Salita. Read More

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  • Jewish Communities in Exotic Places: From Afghanistan to Yemen

    Jewish Communities in Exotic Places: From Afghanistan to Yemen

    This PowerPoint/DVD presentation deals with seventeen Mizrachi (Eastern, Oriental) Jewish communities around the world. These are Jewish communities, situated in remote places in Africa and Asia - i.e. Iran, Ethiopia, China, the caves of Libya etc. -- whose customs and rituals were in many ways at great variance with those of Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jewry. These Jews practiced unique minhaggim (rites and rituals) that Ashkenazim and Sephardim had long forgotten; for example, the Yemenite Jewish tradition of eating certain types of locust that are considered kosher in the Torah. Read More

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  • Richard Wagner: The Man, the Music, the Vicious Anti-Semite

    Richard Wagner: The Man, the Music, the Vicious Anti-Semite

    We deal with the following themes: The composer's early life: Family, friends, enemies, debts, politics; his controversial essay, Das Judentum in der Musik; from adulation to animus: His relationship with Jewish composer Giacomo Meyerbeer; Wagner's Jewish friends, proteges and significant others: Levi, Tausig, Rubinstein, Porges; Wagner's racial anti-Semitism; Nietzsche on Wagner's Jew hatred; "He was a Prophet of Nazism": Gottfreid Wagner's "demonumentalizing" of his great-grandfather; the controversy of banning Wagner in Israel Read More

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  • Listen, Laugh & Learn - February 15

    Listen, Laugh & Learn - February 15

    Here is a chance to listen to our rich Jewish heritage through Ellis' extensive collection of Israeli, Yiddish, Jewish comedy, folk and popular music cd's, cassettes and LP's -- not to mention his mp3's. His collection includes some of the greatest Cantors, comedians, shows, dance music; even songs recorded by non-Jewish artists. Ellis' knowledge of the recordings and stories about his life in Jewish music are comedy are the "glue" that makes this class a winner! Read More

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  • The Many Faces of Artificial Intelligence

    The Many Faces of Artificial Intelligence

    The Many Faces of Artificial Intelligence - the news has been full of stories about "AI" and its wonderful promises. But, what exactly is AI? What is real and what is 'hype'. What kinds of benefits and changes can we expect? What has happened so far and we didn't realize that it was AI that provided it for us? What promises does the future hold? Read More

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  • Short Stories at the Sperber: Address Unknown

    Short Stories at the Sperber: Address Unknown

    Do not have time to read an entire book? Join us each month to discuss literary short stories with our Sperber Librarian. This month we will be discussing Katherine Kressman Taylor's "Address Unknown." A story comprising of a series of fictional letters between a Jewish art dealer living in San Francisco and his former business partner, who has returned to Germany. Contact the Sperber Library at 310-440-1264, or email Lisa Silverman at lisa.silverman@aju.edu to request that a copy of the story be sent to you! Read More

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  • Jews on Screen

    Jews on Screen

    Since the turn of the Century, Jews have been involved in all aspects of filmmaking. But what did they think of their Judaism In this fast-paced seminar, we will get an overview of Hollywood's shifting attitude about Jews. Judaism, Jewish identity by looking at the way Jews were or were not) depicted on screen. Read More

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  • Listen, Laugh & Learn - March

    Listen, Laugh & Learn - March

    Here is a chance to listen to our rich Jewish heritage through Ellis' extensive collection of Israeli, Yiddish, Jewish comedy, folk and popular music cd's, cassettes and LP's -- not to mention his mp3's. His collection includes some of the greatest Cantors, comedians, shows, dance music; even songs recorded by non-Jewish artists. Ellis' knowledge of the recordings and stories about his life in Jewish music are comedy are the "glue" that makes this class a winner! Read More

    Register
  • 14th Annual Biblical Trial: The Book of Jonah, The People v. The Sailors for Attempted Murder, presented by Hillside Memorial Park & Mortuary

    14th Annual Biblical Trial: The Book of Jonah, The People v. The Sailors for Attempted Murder, presented by Hillside Memorial Park & Mortuary

    With esteemed counsel: Erwin Chemerinsky, Founding Dean of the law school at the University of California, Irvine, and Laurie Levenson, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Ethical Advocacy at Loyola University Law School. Rabbi Ed Feinstein, Senior Rabbi, VBS, leads a study of the Biblical story and Judge Burt Pines reads the instructions. Then you, as members of the jury, render the verdict. Don't miss this riveting event! Read More

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  • Marriage: For Life Retreat: a weekend experience in relationship building

    Marriage: For Life Retreat: a weekend experience in relationship building

    Spend the weekend at our Brandeis-Bardin Campus, a 2,700 acre retreat center nestled in the beautiful Santa Susana Mountains. This retreat provides a safe, open environment to learn to share, develop and enrich intimate loving relationships. During the weekend, couples will: --Identify areas of strength and growth in intimacy, communication, finances, lifestyle, family, religion and more. --Learn communication tools to resolve conflict with respect and love. --Discover how family history influences marriage. --Discuss expectations and hot topics, values and traditions. --Address financial planning and emotional aspects of money. Open to Jewish and interfaith couples. Includes sessions with licensed therapists, a rabbi and a financial planner, accommodations and meals. Read More

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  • Short Stories at the Sperber: Zeresh

    Short Stories at the Sperber: Zeresh

    Do not have time to read an entire book? Join us each month to discuss literary short stories with our Sperber Librarian. This month we will be discussing Michal Lemberger's "Zeresh" from the author's "After Abel" story collection. Contact the Sperber Library at 310-440-1264, or email Lisa Silverman at lisa.silverman@aju.edu to request that a copy of the story be sent to you! Read More

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  • Short Stories at the Sperber: Sarah's Story

    Short Stories at the Sperber: Sarah's Story

    Do not have time to read an entire book? Join us each month to discuss literary short stories with our Sperber Librarian. This month we will be discussing Jill Hammer's "Sarah's Story." This work is from her story collection about women in the Bible, "Sisters at Sinai." Contact the Sperber Library at 310-440-1264, or email Lisa Silverman at lisa.silverman@aju.edu to request that a copy of the story be sent to you! Read More

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