Jewish education is a lifelong process. Ongoing learning enables and empowers us to pursue spiritual meaning, ethical ideals, a connection to the divine, and the righteous path of Tikkun Olam.
At Congregation Emanuel, we not only embrace diversity- we thrive on it. As a Reform Congregation, we welcome all seekers, including those who identify with all Jewish denominations, as well as those who are new to Jewish life, returning to the faith, or those who are simply curious. Our adult education program is aimed towards providing integrative, inclusive opportunities for scholarship and inquiry.
Learning at Congregation Emanuel facilitates competency and comfort with Jewish tradition and liturgy in a warm, inclusive environment. We prioritize deep, cohort-based learning with strong attention to individual and collective spiritual needs. Our learners enter at all levels. Rabbi Romer's classes are interactive, experiential, rigorous, and wildly fun.
All of our classes are open to the entire community
New Mini Courses
Throughout history, the Jewish people have been subject to being "othered" - conceptually rendered by a given society's majority as falling outside paradigmatic norms. Jews are constructed linguistically and contextualized intellectually as somehow being not of the communities in which they have - and continue to - live, work and pray. This course, a reading and discussion group, examines historical and contemporary texts to look at how this linguistic process takes shape, measures its effects, traces its continued impact on modern-day issues and points of view, and most saliently, catalyzes conversations toward confronting anti-semitism. Featured readings (excerpts) will range from Luther's "On the Jews and Their Lies" (1543); Ford's "The International Jew" (1920); Mamet's "The Wicked Son" (2006); Zizek's "Disparties" (2016); and more. Meets 7-8:30pm, Thursdays, Sept. 12, Sept. 19, Oct. 3, Oct. 17 and Oct. 24, Kingston.
Beginning with the discovery of the New World, Jews were part of the initial migration into the Americas. The first international city, Mexico City, had a Jewish population along with a Chinatown, Philippine Town, and even a Ninja presence. Understanding the impact of individual Jews and the collective Jewish experience on the early history of the United States can reshape our perspective. This course will cover the significant part Jews played in the early history of the United States and Canada. The first class will cover 1492 through the French & Indian War. Moving into the settlement of the territory over the Appalachian Mountains, the second class will cover the role of Jewish merchants on the settlers as well as Jews in the Military during the Revolutionary War. A remarkable number of noteworthy historical figures were Jews or had Jewish confidants and close advisors. Come and take part in the conversations about our early days in America. Bring your stories as well. Some of our references are: Jews on the Frontier by Rabbi I Harold Sharfman, Growing Up Jewish in America by Myrna & Harvey Fromers, Great Jews in Sports, by Robert Slatter, 1493 by Charles Mann, Amsterdam by Russell Shorto, and The American Jewish Album, 1654 to Present by Allon Schoener. Meets 7-p.m. Thursdays, Nov. 14 and Nov. 21.
For well over a thousand years, writing midrash has been a key way to interpret Torah and to continually renew its relevance in Jewish life during changing times. Increasingly, midrash has been used to make room for new and different perspectives on familiar and often troubling incidents in the Torah. In this course we will learn about midrash in both its historical and modern context, identify examples of midrash in popular culture, and discuss it as a body of work and as an interpretive practice that we actively engage in as Jews. We will think about how interpretation and commentary are used to fill in the logical and emotional gaps in our texts, and we will challenge ourselves to write our own midrash about parts of the Torah that have always stayed with us as requiring further thought. We will be talking about the Torah as both a living document and as a finished literary text in order to accomplish this, freely acknowledging and celebrating the tension therein. All readings will be in English translation. Meets Thursdays from 7-8:30 p.m. Jan. 16, Jan. 30, Feb. 13, Feb. 27, March 12, and March 26.
Meets Tuesdays from 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. April 7, April 14, May 5, May 12, June 2
Introduction to Judaism/Conversion
3rd & 4th Wednesdays
Adult B'nai Mitzvah
1st & 2nd Thursdays
A preparation course for adults who are becoming b'nai mitzvah by being called to aliyah. The class culminates in a group B'nai mitzvah. Students include Jews by choice, congregants who were never formally called to the Torah, and those seeking a more meaningful and intentional connection to Judaism. Kingston
Trope is the melody or "flavor" (טעמים) of sacred readings learned through a system of musical notations that teach us how to chant from the Tanakh. This highly popular class is open to all. Kingston
Participants are led through a unique blend of Hebrew chanting, intentional breathing, and deep relaxation exercises to connect the mind, body, and soul during this unique- and uniquely Jewish- class. Rhinebeck
Weekly Torah Study
An in-depth study of the weekly Torah portion (פרשת השבוע) that focuses on exploring meanings within the ancient text as it exists in our contemporary times. This course is held in our tranquil Rhinebeck satellite. Rhinebeck.