Beth Jacob Congregation offers educational opportunities for members at all stages of life. For the full Program Guide click here
Weekly Adult Education Classes
Shabbat University: The Pursuit of Higher Education
What are you majoring in? Philosophy? Bible? Law? Are you sticking with a particular department, or a favorite teacher? Join Rabbi Gershon Albert and Rabbi Daniel Fox at “Shabbat University.” Choose from concurrent classes at the shul on Shabbat after Kiddush, covering a diverse array of subjects and catering to different levels of Jewish study background. Perfect for those who want to learn more but can’t always make it out on weekdays.
Date and Time: Shabbat every other week, after Kiddush – approx. 12:20 pm.
Se’udat Shlishit: A Time to Learn
Join Rabbi Daniel Fox as we investigate an in-depth Halachic topic. Recently we have been discussing the laws of Shabbat Kiddush based on Talmudic and Halachic sources. This is a wonderful opportunity for advanced Be’iyun (in-depth) learning.
Date and Time: Shabbat afternoons (on alternating non-Shabbat U weeks)
Tefillah Talks and Breakfast (sponsored by Eve Gordon Ramek in memory of Henry Ramek)
Join us every Sunday morning after services for breakfast and learning. Each week we will focus on a specific text of the Siddur (prayer book) and gain understanding into the meaning of prayers and their transformative power in our lives.
Date and Time: Sunday mornings after services (approx. 8:45 am)
Explorations in Jewish Thought – Rabbi Gershon Albert
Date and Time: Tuesday Evenings at 7:15 pm
This year, we will focus on The History of Jewish Thought, which will be divided into mini-semesters to allow us to cover some of the most important thinkers of the past thousand years as well as their critics and historical realities, ultimately seeking to understand not only what it means to be Jewish, but what it means to “believe” Jewish too. Each class will be self-contained, so feel free to pop in for one class, one series, or for the entire year!
Weekly Chumash Class: Parshat Breishit – Rabbi Fox
The first Parsha in the Torah, Parshat Bereishit, spans nearly 1500 years, and includes some of the most fundamental Jewish philosophical questions and ideas. Many of us have heard the basic story, but there is so much more there to discover! Using the Chumash, the classic medieval commentaries, contemporary scholars, and our own creative minds, we will plumb the depths of creation and the first few generations of the world’s existence. Come with questions, ideas, and a thirst to learn more!
Date and Time: Wednesdays at 12:15 pm and 7:15 pm starting November 4
Join us as we continue our twenty-fifth year of Lunchtime Talmud! Exercise your mind as you enter a world of thought studied by centuries of Jews. Uncover the depth of Jewish law as you examine cases and understand how Jewish legal process developed and is applied today. No prior Talmud experience necessary.
Study the 9th chapter of Tractate Bava Metzia with its focus on property law, leased fields, tenants’ rights, and a whole lot more (Talmudic thought is associative…)
Date and Time: Thursdays at 12:00 pm
Location: The home of Deborah & Michael Sosebee (701 Trestle Glen Rd. [corner of Brookwood] in Oakland)
Other Learning Opportunities:
Shabbat Learners’ Service
Trying to follow the Shabbat services at BJC, but still struggling? Feeling too far behind and lost? Want to gain a better understanding of the deeper ideas within prayer? Come to the learners’ service! We will study the davening together using transliterated prayer books, explaining the structure and themes of the major parts of the service.
Date and Time: Shabbat morning, on the first non-Shabbat U week of the month. After Torah reading (approx. 10:30 am). Check the Beat for more information.
Location: Beth Jacob Congregation - Hollander Small Sanctuary
Monthly Advanced Learning Chabura with Rabbi Gershon Albert
Approximately once per month, Rabbi Albert will teach an advanced learning chabura (informal class) on a topic of Jewish law. We will seek to analyze and gain a deep understanding of some of Judaism’s deepest halachic concepts based on the works of the Rishonim and Achronim as well as a practical halachic outcome.
This year, our classes will focus on the complex laws of Shabbat.
Date and Time: Tuesday evenings 7:15 pm on November 24th, January 26th, February 23rd, April 5th, and May 24th
Location: These classes will mostly take place at the homes of our members.
Join a group of Jewish meditators at an ongoing Monday evening meditation session at 7:15 pm in the small sanctuary. Anyone welcome to join (no RSVP required). For information contact the office.
Date and Time: Monday evenings at 7:15 pm
Women’s Study Group
This year the Monthly Women's Study Group will be learning Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz's book: "Change and Renewal." With a unique combination of intellectual brilliance and accessibility, Rabbi Steinsaltz probes the meaning of Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, Hanukka, Purim, Pesah and the other Jewish holidays. His insights provide whole new ways of understanding the holidays, appreciating their depth, and experiencing them to their fullest.
Taught by the Rebetzins of Beth Jacob
Date and Time: Monthly on Wednesday nights, 7:30 pm. Please consult synagogue announcements for exact dates.
Location: The home ofLeslie Wilkof (743 Longridge Rd. in Oakland)
Chamin & Chavruta
Join Michal Kohane and Ran Malool at their home for delicious Chamin (Sephardic “cholent”) lunch and text-based guided study with a “chavruta” (study partner). Michal will choose intriguing topics related to the weekly parsha, holidays, and relevant topics of interest to the group that allow for lively discussion. What a wonderful way to spend a Shabbat afternoon!
Date and Time: First Shabbat of the month following services
Location: 831 Prospect Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610
Morning and Evening Study Moments
Supercharge your minyan experience by spending a few minutes learning with Rabbi Fox in the morning and Rabbi Albert in the evening. The morning study focuses upon the rules of day-to-day Jewish living as presented in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, and evenings are devoted to insights into the upcoming week's Torah reading.
Date and Time: Monday - Friday Shacharit 6:45 am (study around 7:25 am); Sunday - Thursday evening services 6:45 pm (study around 7:10 pm)
Location: Beth Jacob Congregation - Hollander Small Sanctuary
The Library @ Beth Jacob
The BJC library is fully stocked. Come have a look outside the Hollander Small Sanctuary and take your pick; there's more in the coatroom off the side of the Main Sanctuary and in the lobby next to the Holocaust memorial. And there's plenty of space to have a seat and read a little something in the Hollander Small Sanctuary, so why not bring a friend? Clearly labeled, it is easy to find your favorites, and maybe even find something new. Please don't forget to return what you use, so that everyone has the chance to learn. Open during office hours and Minyan times.
Winter Movie Series
Following on our enjoyable and meaningful summer movie series, stay tuned for the upcoming winter movie series. Details in follow in the weekly Beat and Bulletin.
Summertime: Let’s Keep on Learning!
While most of the regular classes at Beth Jacob go on summer break, our community is so dedicated to learning that we make time for Torah even during vacation season. Summer offerings include:
Member-led summer study group (which in past years has studied Jewish History, Pirkei Avot, the writings of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, Maimonides and Nachmanides)
Weekday evening “Summer Medley” lecture series on a diverse array of subjects
Ongoing morning and evening study moments following daily minyan
Summer installments of the Shabbat University program.