Jewish Life

Leo & Anna Smilow Center for Jewish Living and Learning

Connect with Jewish life and culture your way through innovative and inclusive programs exploring modern life, social justice, culture, and more.

Upcoming Events

Jan
30
Thu
The Torah of Our World: Shemot
Jan 30 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

In this six-week series, we will examine each of the five books of the Torah – and the holiday of Purim – with an eye toward literary structure, broad themes, and historical context. The course will draw upon the daily reflections of contributors to 929 English, a project dedicated to creating a global Jewish conversation anchored in Tanakh and dedicated to issues that unite and divide us.

929 Logo


Price
1 class: $10 for members, $12 for non-members


January 30: Shemot/Exodus | Click here to register for the January 30 class only.
Taught by Shira Hecht-Koller, Director of Education for 929 English. Shira is an educator, attorney and writer. She teaches Bible and Talmud to a wide variety of audiences, and writes and speaks on education, creative living, and family life. She received her J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and is a graduate of the Bruriah Scholars Program in Advanced Talmud Studies at Midreshet Lindenbaum.

February 13: Vayikra/Leviticus | Click here to register for the February 13 class only.
Taught by Rabbi Adam Mintz, Director of 929 English. Rabbi Mintz is the rabbi of Kehilat Rayim Ahuvim, a Modern Orthodox community he founded on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. In addition, Rabbi Mintz is a member of the Talmud faculty at Yeshivat Maharat and has taught as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at City College, New York for the past six years. Rabbi Mintz received his rabbinical ordination at Yeshiva University and obtained his PhD in Jewish History at New York University.

February 27: Special class on Purim and the Book of Esther | Click here to register for the February 27 class only.
Taught by Dr. Erica Brown. Erica is an associate professor at George Washington University and the director of its Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership. She is the author of twelve books on spirituality, the Hebrew Bible, and leadership; her forthcoming commentary is The Book of Esther: Power, Fate, and Fragility in Exile (Koren/OU). Erica has degrees from Yeshiva University, University of London, Harvard University, and Baltimore Hebrew University. She has previously worked at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston, and the Jewish Center of New York.

March 12: Bamidbar/Numbers | Click here to register for the March 12 class only.

March 26: Devarim/Deuteronomy | Click here to register for the March 26 class only.
Taught by Rabbi Adam Mintz.


Questions
Looking for more information on this series? Please contact the Edlavitch DCJCC at 202-518-9400.

Feb
6
Thu
Hot Topics in Jewish Thought: The Opioid Crisis
Feb 6 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

In this four-week series, we will study and discuss select Jewish ethics and writings as they pertain to the contemporary and complex issues we face as a nation today. Topics will include immigration, gun control and the right to bear arms, the opioid crisis, and abortion. No previous knowledge necessary. Open to individuals of all backgrounds and affiliations.

Taught by Rabbi Hyim Shafner of Kesher Israel: The Georgetown Synagogue.


Price
1 class: $10 for members, $12 for non-members


Class Dates:
February 6: The Opioid Crisis | Click here to register for this class only.
Do we have the right to do with our bodies what we wish? We will look at Jewish ideas of health, misleading advertising, and medical ethics in light of the current crisis of opioid addiction.

March 12: Abortion | Click here to register for this class only.
We will take a close look at what the Talmud says about abortion and fetal status to help answer questions, in a Jewish context, such as when does life begin? Does a fetus have a status in Jewish law and thought? Should government have jurisdiction over our person?


Rabbi Hyim Shafner is the rabbi of Kesher Israel: The Georgetown Synagogue, in Washington, DC. Previously, Rabbi Shafner served as senior Rabbi of Bais Abraham Congregation in St. Louis, Missouri, as the Rabbi of the Hillel at Washington University in St. Louis, and as the Rabbi of India for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. He has Rabbinical Ordination, an MSW in social work and an MA in Jewish philosophy from Yeshiva University. He holds a certificate in Advanced Psychodynamic Psychotherapy from the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute. Rabbi Shafner is the author of the Everything Jewish Wedding Book (2008), a founding writer of Morethodoxy, and a periodic contributor to The Journal of Jewish Ideas and Ideals.


Looking for more information on this series? Please contact the Edlavitch DCJCC at 202-518-9400.

Feb
11
Tue
Intro to Judaism
Feb 11 @ 7:30 pm – 9:15 pm

Intro to Judaism - Spring Session

Come explore the rich fabric of Judaism! Using traditional texts and modern examples, we will cover the fundamentals of Jewish life. Topics will include Shabbat and holidays, prayer, lifecycle rituals, ethics, and beliefs.

This class is ideal for all learners with questions. Whether you’ve never studied Judaism before or you’re looking for a Hebrew School refresher – or you’re somewhere in between – this class is for you.

Dates:
Tuesdays, February 11-March 31, 2020; 7:30 PM – 9:15 PM

Cost:
General Registration: $200
Discounted Member : $170
Interfaith Couples Workshop Alumni: $150/couple
Did you go on Birthright or Honeymoon Israel in the past year? Contact us to learn about special discounts for program participants.

JoHanna Potts is the former director of The Department of Jewish Life and Learning at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and has been teaching Introduction to Judaism at the EDCJCC for six years. Her teaching passion is to bring enjoyment to Jewish learning with a view towards empowering individuals to create lives of meaning through Judaism.

Please contact Amanda Herring at (202) 777-3253 or send an email with any questions. Before registering, make sure you are familiar with the JLL Registration Policies.

Feb
13
Thu
The Torah of Our World: Vayikra
Feb 13 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

In this six-week series, we will examine each of the five books of the Torah – and the holiday of Purim – with an eye toward literary structure, broad themes, and historical context. The course will draw upon the daily reflections of contributors to 929 English, a project dedicated to creating a global Jewish conversation anchored in Tanakh and dedicated to issues that unite and divide us.

929 Logo


Price
1 class: $10 for members, $12 for non-members


February 13: Vayikra/Leviticus | Click here to register for the February 13 class only.
Taught by Rabbi Adam Mintz, Director of 929 English. Rabbi Mintz is the rabbi of Kehilat Rayim Ahuvim, a Modern Orthodox community he founded on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. In addition, Rabbi Mintz is a member of the Talmud faculty at Yeshivat Maharat and has taught as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at City College, New York for the past six years. Rabbi Mintz received his rabbinical ordination at Yeshiva University and obtained his PhD in Jewish History at New York University.

February 27: Special class on Purim and the Book of Esther | Click here to register for the February 27 class only.
Taught by Dr. Erica Brown. Erica is an associate professor at George Washington University and the director of its Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership. She is the author of twelve books on spirituality, the Hebrew Bible, and leadership; her forthcoming commentary is The Book of Esther: Power, Fate, and Fragility in Exile (Koren/OU). Erica has degrees from Yeshiva University, University of London, Harvard University, and Baltimore Hebrew University. She has previously worked at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston, and the Jewish Center of New York.

March 12: Bamidbar/Numbers | Click here to register for the March 12 class only.

March 26: Devarim/Deuteronomy | Click here to register for the March 26 class only.
Taught by Rabbi Adam Mintz.


Questions
Looking for more information on this series? Please contact the Edlavitch DCJCC at 202-518-9400.

Feb
20
Thu
Third Thursday Book Group
Feb 20 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Join a group of book lovers at the EDCJCC. We meet on the third Thursday of every month (except July and August) from 10:30 AM to 12 PM for a lively discussion of one book. The group chooses our readings which include both fiction and non-fiction. Participants are welcome to attend as many or few sessions as they can. The schedule for the next six months is:

1/16: Sally Mann, Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs
2/20: Viet Thanh Nguyen, Nothing Ever Dies
3/19: Herta Muëller, The Appointment
4/23: Steve Stern, Book of Mischief
5/21: Jacquelin Woodson, Another Brooklyn
6/18: James H. Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree

All meetings except 2/20 will be in the Polinger Room. 2/20 will be in the Salzberg library.  For further information contact janeflax@gmail.com

Feb
21
Fri
Third Fridays Book Club: Exploring Israel History Through Literature
Feb 21 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

They say if you want to understand Israel, read its literature. Gather with us on the third Friday of every month in the EDCJCC’s Salzberg Family Library to enjoy lunch and join in discussion, led by EDCJCC CEO Carole Zawatsky, about the complex and vibrant history of modern day Israel through the eyes of its contemporary authors. Together, through literature, we’ll strengthen our connection to Israel and celebrate a shared passion for the written word.


Price

1 class: $18 for EDCJCC members, $22 for non-members

Price includes a vegetarian lunch. Participants are asked to purchase their own books. Join us for one, two, or the entire series!


Class dates 

Friday, February 21

Between Friends by Amos Oz, a “gorgeous, rueful collection of eight linked stories capturing the collective dreams of Israel in the 1950s” – Chicago Tribune

Friday, March 20

The Best Place On Earth by Ayelet Tsabari, a collection of stories focused on Israelis searching for their place in our present world and dealing with the challenges of balancing old tradition with modern times.

Feb
27
Thu
The Torah of Our World: Purim
Feb 27 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

In this six-week series, we will examine each of the five books of the Torah – and the holiday of Purim – with an eye toward literary structure, broad themes, and historical context. The course will draw upon the daily reflections of contributors to 929 English, a project dedicated to creating a global Jewish conversation anchored in Tanakh and dedicated to issues that unite and divide us.

929 Logo


Price
1 class: $10 for members, $12 for non-members


February 27: Special class on Purim and the Book of Esther | Click here to register for the February 27 class only.
Taught by Dr. Erica Brown. Erica is an associate professor at George Washington University and the director of its Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership. She is the author of twelve books on spirituality, the Hebrew Bible, and leadership; her forthcoming commentary is The Book of Esther: Power, Fate, and Fragility in Exile (Koren/OU). Erica has degrees from Yeshiva University, University of London, Harvard University, and Baltimore Hebrew University. She has previously worked at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston, and the Jewish Center of New York.

March 12: Bamidbar/Numbers | Click here to register for the March 12 class only.

March 26: Devarim/Deuteronomy | Click here to register for the March 26 class only.
Taught by Rabbi Adam Mintz.


Questions
Looking for more information on this series? Please contact the Edlavitch DCJCC at 202-518-9400.

Mar
5
Thu
Hadar at the EDCJCC: God, Humanity, and the Rest of Creation: Jewish Theology in a Time of Climate Emergency
Mar 5 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

God, Humanity, and the Rest of Creation: Jewish Theology in a Time of Climate Emergency

With Rabbi Shai Held

We live in a time of unprecedented climate emergency: greenhouse gas emissions are causing vast — and irreversible — changes to earth’s climate.  Droughts, floods, heat waves, extreme weather events and rise in sea-levels endanger millions of lives.  How should religious people respond to the crisis?  How does the way we imagine the relationship between God, humanity, and the rest of creation shape our sense of responsibility for the fate of the earth and its inhabitants?

Beginning with the Bible and concluding with contemporary theology and environmental ethics, we’ll develop a textually-rooted Jewish theology for this precarious moment.  We’ll bear in mind the sobering words of Governor Jay Inslee of Washington: “We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it.”  We’ll conclude with an invitation to connect to Interfaith Power & Light, a grassroots group through which Jewish communities and congregations of many faiths are working together to respond to climate change: www.ipldmv.org.

Co-presented by the Morris Cafritz Center for Social Responsibility, in partnership with Hadar and Interfaith Power and Light.


Rabbi Shai HeldRabbi Shai Held–theologian, scholar, and educator–is President, Dean, and Chair in Jewish Thought at Hadar, where he also directs the Center for Jewish Leadership and Ideas.  Previously, he served for six years as Scholar-in-Residence at Kehilat Hadar in New York City, and taught both theology and Halakhah at the Jewish Theological Seminary.  He also served as Director of Education at Harvard Hillel.  A 2011 recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education, Rabbi Held has been named multiple times to Newsweek’s list of the 50 most influential rabbis in America.  He holds a doctorate in religion from Harvard; his main academic interests are in modern Jewish and Christian thought, in biblical theology, and in the history of Zionism.  Rabbi Held’s first book, Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence, was published by Indiana University Press in 2013; The Heart of Torah, a collection of essays on the Torah in two volumes, was published by JPS in 2017.

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