Learning enriches Jewish life and grows Jewish identity. The rabbis also teach us that when two people sit together to study Torah, the presence of God rests between them (Pirke Avot 3:3). At Har HaShem, whether you seek more knowledge, a connection to community or spiritual growth, we believe that these opportunities should exist at every age. We offer both formal and informal learning opportunities for our young people and adults.
||Rabbi Ruthie Gelfarb
||Rabbi Fred Greene
Director of Lifelong Learning
Katherine Schwartz, RJE
**Click here to see a Booklet of our 2017-2018 Complete Offerings
Texts of Our Tradition
Monthly Lunch and Learn on Pirkei Avot/Ethics of the Fathers led by Rabbi Fred Greene
Thursdays from 12:30-1:30pm, Dates: Thursdays, Nov. 2, Dec. 7, Jan. 11, Feb. 1, Mar. 1, Apr. 5, May 3
No Cost. All are welcome. Drop in.
Join us for a discussion on Pirkei Avot, a collection of ethics, honesty, and advice that offers timeless wisdom. Enjoy a nugget of wisdom with your bag lunch.
Saturday Morning Torah Study led by Rabbi Greene
Saturday mornings, 9-10:00am; No Cost.
Torah is our greatest gift! But it isn’t reserved just for rabbis. It is accessible and inspirational to all. Young and not-so-young, experienced and new-comers, all are welcome to explore the Torah portion of the week with Rabbi Greene to examine the Truths to help make meaning in our lives.
The Bible and Archaeology: Where They Meet, Where They Don't, and Why led by Professor David Ilan
It is now clear that archaeology findings and the biblical narrative often do not correspond. This is troubling to some people and fascinating for others. Most importantly, it raises questions about the nature of the biblical text and archaeological method. A professor of Biblical Archaeology at Hebrew Union College, David Ilan will introduce selected parts of the biblical narrative to discuss why some narratives are not borne out in the archaeological evidence and other most definitely are. Co-sponsored by The Boulder JCC, Hadassah, and Congregation Har HaShem.
Wild Women of the Bible and What They Can Teach Us led by Rabbi Ruth E. Gelfarb
Mondays, Nov. 13, and Dec. 4 and 11 from 12:00-1:30pm; Cost: $32 members/$40 non-members Click here to register
The truth is that there are a lot of amazing women in the Bible; women who have plenty of feminist appeal and are downright incredible. We will explore some lesser-known women such as the trickster Tamar, prophetess Hulda, equal-rights activists, daughters of Zelophadad, and others.
Modern Jewish Philosophy - From Non-Dualism and Process Theology led by Rabbi Ruth E. Gelfarb
Wednesdays, Jan. 17, 24 and 31 from 6:30-8:00pm; Cost: $32 members/$40 non-members Registratoin Coming Soon
Does the idea of God as an Omnipotent, Omniscient being (the One you learned about in Hebrew School) no longer work for your adult self? In this philosophy class, we will read about and study Process Theology and Non-Dualism, two contemporary ideas about God that have been influenced by modern philosophy and science. Come with your adult questions in mind.
Machzor (High Holy Day Prayerbook): New Approach led by Rabbi Fred Greene
Join Rabbi Greene to learn about the High Holy Day prayerbook (machzor) through the approach of the Reform Movement's new machzor, Mishkan HaNefesh (Tabernacle of the Soul). If you are interested in learning about the new machzor and want to contribute to our discussion about whether or not we should adopt it and replace Gates of Repentance with Mishkan HaNefesh, then this class is for you!
Exploring Prayer led by Cantorial Soloist Holli Berman
Thursdays, March 15 and 22 from 7:00-8:30pm; No Cost. Registration Coming Soon
Have you ever wondered how the prayers in our holy books can come alive for us, bring depth of understanding and emotion into our lives, and inspire us? On what journey should a Shabbat service lead us? How can we connect with these ancient words and create a more meaningful prayer practice? This is a two-session course appropriate for those who participated in last year's "How Can Prayer Lead Me to a Better Life?" class or for those who wish to begin their prayer exploration now.
The Exodus Through Visual Midrash led by Katherine Schwartz, RJE
Together we will explore the story of the Exodus from Egypt through traditional and contemporary visual representations of the Torah text. Participants will add their own visual midrash, or interpretations, to those texts, following the directive: "You shall tell the story as if you, yourself, went forth from Egypt." We will create these midrashim by using our hands, glue, and construction paper - no artistic ability required! If you are looking for a new and powerful perspective on our journey from slavery to freedom or are interested in how images can help you experience that journey, this two-session class is for you. If you have a favorite hagadah, please bring it with you to the first session.
Adult Hebrew for Prayer led by Stuart Feinhor
Ever sit in services and feel a little lost or just wish you knew more? In this class, we'll learn the aleph-bet and slowly start reading and understanding prayers and blessings we recite at Shabbat services. We learn together, at your pace.
IKAR: The Essentials of Judaism
This survey course teaches the fundamentals of Jewish thought, tradition, and practice. Topics will include Jewish lifecycle events and rituals, holidays, theology, prayer and history from a pluralistic and non-denominational perspective. It is perfect for interfaith couples, those considering conversion, Jews looking for an adult-level introduction, and anyone else interested in learning.
An Authentic Reform Zionism led by Rabbi Fred Greene
Explore sources with Rabbi Greene that will advance a Reform, religious, foundation for engaging with Israel.
Torah Trope (Learning to Chant Torah) led by Sara-Jane Cohen - FULL
Thursdays, Nov. 2 - Dec. 21 (no class Nov. 9 or 23) from 7:00-8:00pm. Cost: $36 members (Har HaShem members only)
Trope are the symbols which identify the melodies to which Torah is chanted. In this class, you will learn to identify those symbols and how to chant the words of Torah based on the music associated with each symbol. You will also learn how to actually chant from the Torah scroll (which has no vowels, punctuation, or tropes!). At the conclusion of class, you will chant at services on an assigned Saturday morning (with plenty of time to prepare). Becoming a Torah chanter is a true honor and we count on our Torah changers for Shabbat. Therefore, this class is only for those who are willing to make a commitment to regularly chant for the Congregation. After chanting two or three times during the course of a year, chanters will be eligible to chant for High Holy Days as well. Hebrew comprehension is not required, but students do need to be able to read Hebrew with vowels (slowly).
Adult B'nai Mitzvah Class led by Stuart Feinhor, Rabbi Fred Greene, and Cantorial Soloist Holli Berman
Sunday mornings, Jan. - April 2018 and Sept. 2018 - Feb. 2019; 9:30-11:30 am. Cost: $280 members (Har HaShem members only) Click here to register
Our Adult B'nai Mitzvah program provides a chance for adults who have never had a Bar/Bat Mitzvah to participate in group study that will culminate in being called to the Torah and leading Shabbat services for the congregation on March 2, 2019. This program is designed for those who want to broaden their Judaic knowledge and experience. It is an opportunity to become more familiar with prayer, discuss views of God and spirituality, delve into Torah and explore what it means to be part of the community of Israel. The class will have rich discussions, prepare students to be able to chant prayers, and share their Torah with the Har HaShem community. Prerequisite: The Fall Adult Hebrew class or ability to read Hebrew (even if very slowly).
How to Comfort the Mourner led by Donna Werner and Rabbi Fred Greene
Join us for a three-session workshop that will explore Jewish values relating to "showing up" for our friends and neighbors. The workshop will explore issues of grief and mourning, and help with understanding mourning traditions in Judaism, with the hope that you will help us accompany our fellow congregants when they need us. We will pay special attention to meals of condolence, working with the chevrah kaddisha (burial society), and showing up during shivah (the seven-day mourning period immediately following the death of a loved one). This workshop is being offered to grow our network of congregants who can assist us in this sacred work within our congregation.
Refuat Hanefesh: A Healing of the Spirit – Monthly Spiritual Support Group for Mental Health and Wellness, for People Struggling with Mental Illness, their Family and Friends
Fourth Monday night of the month; 6:30-8:00 p.m.; Drop in. No registration necessary. Cost: Free of charge.
One in every four people in every faith community is affected by a brain disorder. That means 25% of our congregation may need help coping with their own mental health issues or those of a family member or friend. Being a faith community automatically means being compassionate and being a channel for what is holy or sacred. Over the last year, we have sponsored a monthly support group that is open to Har HaShem members and members of the wider Jewish community. We offer a safe and loving place where people can meet confidentially and openly name how their spiritual life/faith can help with mental health challenges. In our discussions, we share and hear how faith and reliance on a Higher Power can be helpful in coping with brain disorders. Facilitators for the meetings are Rabbi Deborah Ruth Bronstein and Dr. Susan Ollar, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist.
Rabbi Bronstein came to Har HaShem in 1994 and served as the senior rabbi for 21 years. She is now the Rabbi Emerita. Rabbi Bronstein is a member of the board of the Interfaith Network on Mental Illness and has been engaged, within the congregation and in the community, with people who struggle with mental health issues.
Dr. Ollar is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, trauma, bipolar illness, chronic illness, and pain management. She also provides evaluations and treatment of cognitive problems including dementias and other neurological disorders. Dr. Ollar is a member of the American Psychological Association and is on the Medical Staff of Boulder Community Health. For more information, visit her website at: www.BoulderIntegrativePsychology.com.
Contemplative Shabbat Experience
Saturday mornings, Oct. 21, Nov. 11, Dec. 9, Jan. 27, Feb. 10, Mar. 10, Apr. 7, May 12 from 10:15-11:30am. No Cost. All are welcome. Drop in.
Our contemplative Shabbat service, led by Rabbi Ruth Gelfarb, offers a slower paced and more meditative approach to prayer. Anchored in the traditional liturgy, the contemplative service incorporates guided meditations, silence, soulful melodies and chants, and text study. The contemplative service is an opportunity to explore a different mode of Jewish spirituality that relates to Shabbat as a day of rest and renewal. Accessible to those without a strong Hebrew background. All are welcome.
Thursdays, Oct. 26, Nov. 30, Dec. 21, Jan. 25, Feb. 22 from 5:15-6:45pm. Cost: $36 for all five sessions members/ $50 non-members. Click here to register
What or who is God? Throughout our history, in every time and place, Jews have struggled with that question. There is no one answer. If your childhood vision of God (you know, the old-man-on-a-throne-up-in-the-sky) or the image advanced by outspoken segments of today's society don't work for you, this conversation is for you. If you would just like to deepen your own feelings about God and/or figure out how God might fit into your life, please join us for an open and non-judgmental exploration. Our goal is not to define "God" but to enable each participant to connect to his or her own understanding of God. This is a five-session course appropriate for those who have participated previously in Ayeka or those new to this conversation.
Tikkun Leyl Shavuot
Saturday, May 19. No Cost.
Save the date for late night learning with Rabbi Greene and other Boulder rabbis.
Jews and Shakespeare led by Sid Fox
Time and Date TBD; No Cost. RSVP Coming Soon.
Delve deep into an aspect of Jews and Shakespeare based on the 2018 line up of performances at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.
Rabbis' Roundtable with ACE and Haver
October 18 - Rabbi Greene "How I Found Healing and Wholeness in Our Faith"
November 15 - Rabbi Ruth E. Gelfarb
December 20 - Morah Yehudis Fishman "Jewish Views of the Afterlife - In and Out of the Physical"
January 17 - Rabbi Marc Soloway "Judaism's Best Ideas"
April - Panel Workshop "The Sacred Texts - Intro to Kabbalah"
May 16 - Rabbi Hannah Laner
Jewish identity is extremely broad and diverse - and yet we feel so intimately connected. Reb Zalman suggested that "Jew" should be a verb rather than a noun since there are so many ways to "Jew!" ACE's Rabbis' Roundtable, at the JCC, is a forum for our rabbis and teachers to lead the community in meaningful and relevant conversations about Jewish life.
Greening Your Home
Judaism teaches us that, as part of our solemn obligation to improve the world for future generations, we must be careful stewards of the environment. Har HaShem is acting on this responsibility by installing solar electricity systems and energy efficient technologies in our congregational home. Are you interested in learning how you can take similar steps in your own home? If so, plan to attend one of our two upcoming educational sessions on greening your home.
Each session will include:
- An overview of Boulder city and county programs that can help you select and install energy-efficient and water-saving equipment
- Solar for Your Home presentation from Namaste Solar (Namaste Solar, the company that is installing Har HaShem's solar arrays, is offering each congregant who installs a new residential solar system a $250 discount, plus a $250 donation to Har HaShem.)
Bachrach Symposium on Spirituality and the Environment
Sunday, April 8 from 2:00-5:00pm; No Cost. RSVP Coming Soon.
We invite our friends of all fairths and backgrounds to join the conversations at this Symposium and hope to help the Boulder community step forward to advance a spiritually-based response to environmental stewardship and community action.
Past Classes 2017-2018:
Introduction to Jewish Meditation Workshop
Preparing Your Hearts for the High Holy Days - Using Psalm 27 as a Source for Inspiration led by Rabbi Fred Greene
Selichot Study: Six Stages of Teshuvah (repentance) Text Study led by Rabbi Fred Greene
Movie Night - "Ushpizin" - followed by Discussion and Dessert