Past Courses

Clergy Led Classes

Scouts, Trailblazers, Pathfinders, Explorers: A History of Women in the Rabbinate with Rabbi Mara Nathan

Tuesdays, Oct. 12, 19, 26, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the ordination of Sally Priesand, the first woman publicly ordained as a rabbi. Yet, her groundbreaking ordination, which opened the door for subsequent generations of women, was preceded by the impactful lives of other, lesser-known female scholars and community leaders. In our series, we will spotlight a few of the significant women from the 1500’s to the early modern period who held quasi-rabbinic status in their communities; compare and contrast the ordinations of Rabbis Sally Priesand and Regina Jonas (who? come find out!); explore the challenges faced by the first generation of women in the rabbinate; and reflect on how women’s leadership has changed the rabbinate and the Jewish community as a whole.
 
This course has ended, but the recording sessions can be found in each of the topic descriptions below.
 

What is Jewish Music? with Cantor Julie Berlin 

Tuesdays, February 8, 15, 22, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. 

Jewish music has been composed wherever Jews have lived.  Over the millennia, that has encompassed just about every corner of the globe.  “Jewish Music” comes in many styles, genres, and contexts.  Throughout the three sessions we will explore the many answers to What is Jewish music. This will include a look at contemporary styles as well as liturgical.   

Tracing Jewish Roots – A Jewish Genealogy 101 with Rabbi Yergin 

Wednesdays, May 4,11,18, 2022 at 7:00 p.m.

Rabbi Yergin’s side hobby is working on her family tree. Come learn from her first about the history of Jewish migration patterns and how they create a complicated genealogical Jewish map. Then explore your own tree with her help and resources. At the final class, you will be able to share some of what you found on your own tree!  

For an expanded opportunity, join us on May 15th from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at Temple Beth-El’s Palmetto Cemetery, the first Jewish cemetery in San Antonio to have a tour, participate in a scavenger hunt, do some rubbings of headstones, and work on beautifying the space! 

Class 1 can be viewed here

Class 2 can be viewed here

Class 3 can be viewed here
 
Resource Sheet for Creating a Family Tree can be found here
Palmetto Cemetery Resource Packet can be found here

Sunday Scholars Series

Rachel Korazim

Rachel is a freelance Jewish education consultant in curriculum development for Israel and Holocaust education. She engages audiences worldwide through innovative presentations built around the stories, poems and songs of Israel’s best writers.  Her thought-provoking talks open a window onto Israeli society, inviting listeners to engage with the country and its history in new ways.

Israeli Songs That Made an Impact

Our series of three sessions will offer a close reading and listening to three Israeli poems set to music. Each in its turn reflected the spirit of its time and left a lasting impact on Israeli life; way beyond the cultural sphere. 

This course has ended, but the recording sessions can be found in each of the topic descriptions below.

In mid-May of 1967, when the mayor of Jerusalem Teddy Kollek asked Naomi Shemer to write a song about Jerusalem, no one could have guessed what would happen. Three weeks later every Israeli, whether in uniform or civilian clothing, was singing the verses that glorified the city of gold. In our session we will explore the traditional sources Naomi Shemer drew from and consider the political and ideological responses to the song. – There were quite a few. 

Text and Sources can be found here

Recorded Session can be found here

In 1969, Israel was living in a euphoric, messianic cloud. We united Jerusalem and we came back to the land of our forefathers in Judea and Samaria. Israel extended all the way to Sharm el Sheikh and our air force ruled the Middle East. Who were these two artist; a musician and a lyricist who wrote what is still the most antiwar song in the history of the state? How was it received and what was the special two fold connection Yitzhak Rabin had to this song?  

Recording Session can be found here

Written in 1982 – this poem is forever associated in the mind of Israelis with the public reaction to the war in Lebanon and more specifically to the atrocities of Sabra and Shatila. The truth is, however, that Manor wrote this poem as a belated mourning song about the loss of his brother in the War of Attrition (1967-1970). Since its first publication, the song has been associated with many who oppose certain political conduct while remaining deeply committed to the state. In January 2021 Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi read this poem in congress. The session will offer an exploration of the background as well as the impact of the poem. 

Recording Session can be found here

made possible by the Jean and Jesse Wulfe Religious Enhancement Fund

Rabbi Minna Bromberg, PhD

Founder and president of Fat Torah, Rabbi Minna Bromberg, PhD is passionate about bringing her three decades of experience in fat activism to writing, teaching and change-making at the nexus of Judaism and body liberation. Her forthcoming book is Belonging for Every Body: a Fat Torah guide to building inclusive spiritual community. Minna received her doctorate in sociology from Northwestern University, with a dissertation on identity formation in interfaith couples, and was ordained at Hebrew College in 2010. Since then she has led a 250-family Conservative congregation in Reading, PA, released a fifth album of original music, and run the Year-in-Israel program for Hebrew College rabbinical students. In addition to her work with Fat Torah, Minna is a voice teacher who specializes in helping people use their voices in leading prayer. She lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Rabbi Dr. Alan Abrams, and their two children. 

Fat Torah is here to smash the idolatry of weight stigma and lead us all from Narrowness to Freedom. We bring together the inner work of tikkun halev (healing the heart) with the social justice of tikkun olam (repairing the world). We provide education, awareness-building, and mentoring for confronting weight stigma and growing communities where every body belongs. We believe that Jewish tradition both calls us to this work and can be deployed for the liberation of all bodies. 

This course has ended, but the recording sessions can be found in each of the topic descriptions below.

In this session we will take a first look at what weight stigma is, who it impacts, and why it’s an issue that matters in our Jewish communities. We will learn about the history of fat liberation as well as Fat Torah’s approach to using the great Jewish tradition of social justice to address weight stigma. 

The recorded Session can be found here.

What does it really mean to imagine that every one of us is created in the image of the Divine? This session will explore this central Jewish idea in the light of what it can teach us about bodies that don’t always fit our cultural norms. 

The recorded session can be found here.

Jewish tradition teaches that the words we speak have the power to create or destroy entire worlds. Just as God creates the world through speech, so does our own speech—as God’s partners in the work of Creation—hold tremendous power. How can we harness the power of how we speak about our bodies to make our communities more welcoming to all? 

The recorded session can be found here

made possible by the Jean and Jesse Wulfe Religious Enhancement Fund

Rachel Stern

Rachel Stern has been a key presenter for our Sunday Series for many years. Rachel holds master’s degrees in both Jewish Education and Jewish Non-Profit Management and has been in Jewish education for over 20 years. Rachel currently serves as the Chief Learning and Engagement Officer for Shalom Austin. 

The Multifaced Work of Renewal 

After more than a year of COVID how do we construct our new Jewish Persona?  

The Reform Movement is committed to creating spaces that feel equitable and comfortable for all regardless of race, gender identity or political perspective. How do we decipher the difference between inclusion and acceptance versus allyship? What do safe spaces for all look like? 

…we’re living in a hybrid world of in-person and online Judaism and discovering different ways to connect and find meaning.  What are some new ways that Judaism can be realized in your life? Explore how we experience Judaism with all our senses. 

….Scandals regarding sexual misconduct and abuse have taken center stage in recent years, including within our own Reform movement. How do we respond when our religious leaders and institutions seem to fail us? What is being done to protect the most vulnerable in our own community.  

Register HERE

 

What does Judaism teach about overcoming trauma? How can we use the wisdom and traditions of our faith to make the experience of joy an active decision?

Register HERE

 

made possible by the Gilbert and Ruth Lang Human Endowment Fund

Past Visiting Scholars

Rev. Dr. Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski

Christian Approaches to Zionism

The Rev. Dr. Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski will explore the different ways that mainline Protestants have approached Zionism over the past 75 years. Taking the Episcopal Church as a case study, he will outline the perspectives that lead to divergent takes on Zionism and possible future trajectories.

The Rev. Dr. Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski is the Kraft Family Professor and Director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College. He is a scholar of Jewish-Christian relations and comparative theology and the author of The More Torah, The More Life: A Christian Commentary on Mishnah Avot and Christian Memories of the Maccabean Martyrs. He is also a priest ordained in the Episcopal Church.

The lecture can be found here.