Classes & Workshops

Classes and Workshops

Jewish learning comes in so many forms for all ages. Regular classes offered include several levels of Hebrew; Introduction to Judaism; and Love & Religion, our interfaith couples workshop. Meet our Jewish Life instructors.

Please make sure to read our registration policies before registering for a class.

Scroll down to browse Jewish Life classes, Theater J Classes for Theater Lovers, and JxJ Film and Music Appreciation Courses.

Jewish Life Classes

The Healing Power of Marking Time During COVID-19

Monday, October 19: Cheshvan
Monday, November 16: Kislev
Tuesday, December 15: Tevet
Taught by Amanda Herring, Manager of Jewish Life & Learning
During this unprecedented time when our regular schedules and ways of marking time have been disrupted, it is more important than ever to be in touch with the calendar and its wisdom. Dive into the themes of each lunar month, learn how they helped our ancestors track time agriculturally, and keep hold of important events in the Jewish people’s history. Register for one class or all three!

Introduction to Judaism

Fall 2020 Session: Tuesdays, October 20 – December 15
Taught by Miriam Szubin
Come explore the rich fabric of Judaism! Using traditional texts and modern examples, we will cover the fundamentals of Jewish life, including Shabbat and holidays, prayer, lifecycle rituals, ethics, and beliefs. This class is ideal for learners with questions – whether you’ve never studied Judaism before in your life, you’re looking for a Hebrew School refresher, or you’re somewhere in between!

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Love & Religion

Fall 2020 Session: Tuesdays, October 13 – November 3
Taught by Marion Usher, Ph.D.
Being part of an interfaith couple can be challenging, but you don’t need to find the answers alone. We offer you a safe environment to work on creating your religious lives together. You can make Jewish choices while still respecting your partner’s religion. Be part of our ever-expanding interfaith community.

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How to Write a Psalm

Wednesdays, October 14 – November 11
Taught by Aaron Berkowitz
This participatory course aims to help you analyze the Jewish text of Psalms, not simply as a liturgy, but as poetry that you can emulate and revitalize. Each class will be split into two sections: first, a dissection of the psalms and second, a writing workshop where you create your own spiritual texts.

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Intro to Judaism 2.0

Mondays, October 19 – December 7
Taught by Johanna Potts
Building on an Introduction to Judaism, this class will delve into the Jewish values of social justice, righteous giving, compassion, sacred time, peoplehood as well as key events in Jewish history that have given shape to how Judaism continues to evolve over time and space. Participants will focus on creating their Jewish Life: Celebrating Jewish holidays that meld Jewish tradition and their own core Jewish values, marking life’s milestones in ways that add meaning and depth and reflect who they are, deepening an appreciation of Jewish history and how it has shaped diverse approaches to Judaism.

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On a blue background, white and yellow text reads: Classes for Theater Lovers: Virtual Classes This Fall

Introduction to Acting

Tuesdays, October 6 – November 3
Taught by José Carrasquillo
Master teacher José Carrasquillo, Director of Artistic Programming at Ford’s Theatre, leads an introductory journey into the art of acting. With a series of exercises and tools that you’ll practice over Zoom, this class will teach you the key vocabulary and techniques that form the foundation of acting study in the US. This warm and affirming class, under the guidance of a top-tier director, is a great way for you to stretch your muscles, discover new talents, and maybe even polish up some existing skills. No prior experience necessary.

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How to Write a Play

Mondays, October 12 – November 9
Taught by Caleen Sinnette Jennings
Ever wanted to write a play, but not sure how to get started? Or have you tried your hand at playwriting and are ready to take your work to the next level? Unlock your own creativity and voice with playwright and professor Caleen Sinnette Jennings (author of Theater J’s acclaimed Queens Girl in the World). Jennings creates a warm and supportive atmosphere, offering ways to get started, approaches to character and dialogue and strategies for development and revision. By the end of the class, you’ll have written a short play, or the first pages of a full-length play. No previous writing experience is required.

Note: The class will rely on images, music, and writing by hand to inspire the creative process. If you have a visual or auditory impairment, please let us know so that we can make the class accessible for you.

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Yiddish Theater: From Purim Plays to Second Avenue

Wednesdays, October 14 – November 18
Taught by Debra Caplan
The Yiddish theater was a dominant cultural art form for decades in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, traveling from Europe to the US where it led to the development of the musical theater and television we know today. There’s a rich history and literature in this magnificent and fascinating canon of work, which illuminates both the Jewish and American experiences in surprising ways. Debra Caplan, Yiddish theater scholar, co-founder of the Digital Yiddish Theater Project, and Associate Professor at Baruch College, will lead you in a fun and engaging dive into this forgotten world. Through reading plays and histories, you’ll come to understand Yiddish theater in a whole new light! Please note: this course will require some text purchases.

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How to Watch a Play

Fridays, October 16 – November 13
Taught by Adam Immerwahr and Kevin Place
What does a theater professional “see” when they watch a play? Deepen and enrich your experience of the live theater with the techniques and approaches that theater professionals use. From evaluating a production’s concept to unpacking the staging choices, develop your theater reviewer’s “toolkit” in lively group discussions. Students will watch recorded productions (from a range of companies across the country) before each class and then unpack them as a group under the guidance of Theater J’s Artistic Director and Associate Producer. Some purchases of online viewing may be required.

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Advanced Play-Watching

Mondays, November 16 – December 14
Taught by Adam Immerwahr and Kevin Place
The dynamic duo who brought you the popular How to Watch a Play are back for our first advanced-level class. Building on the skills learned in the first course, we’ll watch, discuss, and debate five more filmed productions online, with even more time for you to unpack what you’ve seen. Now that we have the foundations of play-watching under our belt, we’ll take it to the next level—with additional lectures on new topics and even more time for you to share your insights in facilitated discussions.

Please note, How to Watch a Play is a mandatory pre-requisite for this course (no exceptions). Students will be required to subscribe to BroadwayHD and/or purchase online access to the plays.

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On a red background, white text reads: Film and Music Classes Virtual Sessions

Hidden Gems of Jewish Cinema

Mondays, October 19 – November 23
Taught by George Robinson
We survey a half-dozen films on Jewish subjects, ranging from the Great Depression to the new millennium, from the medieval ghetto to upper-class Mexico City. What links these wonderful Jewish films is each is underrated and too-seldom seen.


Great Jewish Filmmakers

Mondays, October 19 – November 23
Taught by George Robinson
A joyous investigation of a half-dozen of the greatest Jewish filmmakers ever—ranging from the wildly inventive Dziga Vertov to classicistic Ernst Lubitsch.


Behind the Screen: How Movies Are Made

Tuesdays, October 20 – November 17 (no class November 3)
Taught by Ilya Tovbis
Ever wonder why your favorite filmmaker takes so long to come out with new work? Why Hollywood is obsessed with sequels? How a film is birthed from the kernel of an idea, nurtured in the screenwriting process, made tangible during shooting, refined through editing, and eventually brought to the silver screen?


Shoah on Screen: Through the Eyes of Children

Wednesdays, October 14 – November 18
Taught by Susan Robin Suleiman
Some of the most memorable films about the Holocaust have featured the experiences of children—here we examine six major international films that center on child and adolescent stories.


What’s Not to Like? Hollywood’s Love Affair with Jewish Humor

Thursdays, October 29 – November 19
Taught by Peter L. Stein
An entertaining 4-part class that examines—from the Marx Brothers to Judd Apatow—how the hallmarks of Jewish humor that have come to define American movie comedy.


The Jews of Tin Pan Alley

Wednesdays, October 14 – November 11
Taught by Seth Kibel
An exploration of the lives and music of celebrated Jewish songwriters, whose achievements would come to define “Great American Songbook.”


Les Six to Mac the Knife: Darius Milhaud & Kurt Weill

Thursdays, October 15 – November 19
Taught by Seth Kibel
A deep dive into two great 20th century composers rarely talked about in the same breath. Nonetheless, their backgrounds, careers, and legacies share many surprising and illuminated similarities.


* Learning should never be cost-prohibitive. If the cost of any EDCJCC class prevents you from registering, please contact Lisa Silverman at 202-777-3260 or email to discuss payment plans or other alternatives.