Beit Midrash – Lifelong Learning

There are multiple opportunities for lifelong learning at Temple Emanu-El! Temple Emanu-El provides adult education opportunities for those interested in expanding their understanding of Reform Judaism and in expanding relationships with other congregants.

Sunday Learning


Jewish Aspects of the New Testament
Facilitator: Rabbi Wright
Sundays at 10:00 AM:
October – 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
November – 5, 12, 19
December – 3, 10
Location: Hess Chapel

The New Testament narrative presents the ideas, belief systems, trends, and rituals of the “Judaisms” during the late Second Temple period. The narrative also provides details about the development of Rabbinic Judaism, the democratization of Jewish sects, Jewish life under Roman authority, and meaningful Jewish rituals that we continue to observe today. By studying the New Testament, learners will gain greater insight into the origins of first-century “Judaisms” Therefore, the New Testament can expose and help contemporary Jews understand Judaism as practiced today more deeply. For example, New Testament Literature introduces the ritual of giving a boy his name during his circumcision:

“Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that God had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. On the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, ‘No, he is to be called John’” (Lk. 1:57-59).

Moreover, the New Testament also introduces the ritual of passing around the Kiddish Cup for Shabbat and other Hagim meals:

“Then he [Jesus] took a cup, after giving thanks he said, ‘Take this [the Kiddish Cup] and divide among yourselves’” (Lk. 22:17).

The Gospel According to Luke chronicles the first historical record of these two Jewish rituals; evidence of these rituals remains unknown in Talmudic literature. Therefore, Jews can appreciate the New Testament as a source that offers Jews insight into a period when Judaism underwent expansive changes. As such, the narrative can deepen our understanding of Jewish praxis, piety, and expression today.

This class teaches adult learners in a congregation setting the different models of Jewishness in the New Testament narrative. Learners will understand how New Testament literature serves as a primary source for Jews to understand the late Second Temple period, rather than as a foreign source that speaks only about Early Christianity and Christians. More specifically, this curriculum guide explores the following themes and topics:

1. The Greco-Roman Environment and its Influence on Jews in Judea and the Communities in the Diaspora
2. Models of Jewish Expression in the New Testament Narrative
3. Jewish Life and Identity in the New Testament



Jewish History
Facilitator: Rabbi Wright
Sundays at 10:00 AM:
January 7, 21
February 4, 11, 25
March 3, 10
April 7, 21, 28
Location: Hess Chapel

Led by Rabbi Adam Wright, this class introduces learners to the major events, personalities, and trends in Jewish history, from the ancient Near East to the present. Spanning three millennia and five continents, the class explores and investigates the origins of the Jewish people, its experience as an autonomous community and as a displaced minority in the Diaspora religious system and its foundational texts, as well as its encounters with different cultures and ideas.



Adult B’nei Mitzvah Class
Facilitator: Cantor Wittner, Rabbi Wright, & Elizabeth Bloch
Wednesdays at 6:00 PM:
October 4, 11, 18, 25
November 1, 8, 15, 29
December 6, 13
January 10, 17, 24, 31
February 7, 14, 21, 28
March 6, 13, 20
April 3, 10, 17
May 1
Location: Jasper Room

Details coming soon!


Torah Study

Blessing before the Study of Torah:

Transliteration: Baruch atah Adonai eloheynu melech ha-olam a-sher kid-shanu b’mitz-votav vitzi-vanu la-asok b-divray torah

English: Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Ruler of the Universe, who sanctifies us with Your Mitzvot and commands us to engage in the study of Torah.

Torah Study meets Saturday mornings at 9:00 AM with Rabbi Wright &/or Cantor Wittner and Wednesdays at 12:00 PM with Monika Singletary. This is a very special learning experience, led by clergy, staff, and congregants, with the opportunity for input and thought-provoking discussion.

Join us via Zoom at one of the following links:

  1. Saturday morning: (email for the password)
  2. Wednesday afternoon: (email for the password)