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Adult Education

BestSeattle2015WinnerWebSquareVoted "Best Adult Education" program in Seattle by the readers of the magazine Jewish in Seattle in 2016, Temple Beth Am promotes life-long learning and is committed to being a center of Jewish life for people of all ages. Our classes, discussions, and lectures offer many opportunities for our adult community to learn at a variety of levels. The program listings below are updated frequently with a wide variety of offerings.

For our additional selection of Torah Study classes, including Introduction to Judaism and Adult B'nai Mitzvah, visit our Torah Study page.

Please contact our Director of Community Engagement, Alexis Kort, or call 206-525-0915 x 210 with any questions.


Upcoming Events:

University of Washington Hillel Rabbi Dana Benson: What Can Jewish Students Expect On College Campuses?
Tuesday, April 18, 6:45 PM
TBA Sanctuary
Recent news reports have described a dramatic increase in anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli incidents across college campuses. One report claimed that there was a 45 percent increase in such incidents and overall attitudes in the first half of 2016. Is this an aberration or is it part of a growing trend?

Join UW Hillel Rabbi Dana Benson for a deeper exploration into this issue and learn what’s really happening at the UW and across the country and how students, faculty, and administrators are responding.

Whether you are about to start college, know someone currently enrolled, or want to know more about this vital issue, join us for this important conversation. The event is scheduled during Religious School hours so students can participate, but all members are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Co-sponsored by the Temple Beth Am Parents Association (BAPA) and ARZA.


Celebrate Spring with Beth Am Poets: A Poetry Reading 
Sunday, April 30, 2:00 – 4:00 PM 
Temple Beth Am
In the spirit of honoring our past and envisioning our future, three talented authors and members of our congregation will read from their recently published books: Debby Bacharach, Erika Michael, and Ken Shiovitz. A light spring tea and dessert will follow. 



On select Sundays throughout the school year, Temple Beth Am hosts thought-provoking discussions on current issues in social justice, the environment, LGBTQ culture, economics, and more. The forums are led by speakers who are significant thinkers in the community and have included local politicians, social specialists, touring authors, artists, and many others. 

Each of these programs are free and open to everyone.


Upcoming Events:

Sunday Morning Forum: Yom HaShoah Education and Remembrance with author Joanne D. Gilbert
Sunday, April 23, 10:00 – 11:15 AM 
Temple Beth Am
Influenced by the photos and stories about her grandparents’ families that were murdered by Nazis and their collaborators in the Vilna Ghetto liquidation, Las Vegas (via Detroit and San Francisco) author, editor, personal historian, and educator Joanne D. Gilbert has travelled throughout Europe, Canada, and the U.S. to find, document, and celebrate the Jewish and Gentile women who successfully defied the Nazis. The largely unknown stories of these dauntless women, who overcame overwhelming odds and went on to live long, loving, and productive lives, provide a unique and inspiring perspective on women and the Shoah.

Four of the women in Joanne’s engaging and informative PowerPoint presentation are featured in her award-winning book, Women of Valor: Polish Resisters to the Third Reich (2014), which Joanne will be delighted to make available for signing and purchase following her presentation. 


Union for Reform Judaism: Introduction to Judaism
Sundays, October 23, 2016 - May 14, 2017
K'hilah Room 226

For 2016 - 2017, Temple Beth Am is excited to launch a revamped and upgraded Introduction to Judaism class in partnership with the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ). This course is used across North America and is recognized universally by Reform synagogues, using URJ curriculum and resources for adults interested in exploring Judaism.

Taught by Rabbi Jason Levine, class time will double from previous years and includes a Shabbaton designed specifically for this class. Topics include Jewish rituals, Jewish theology, history, texts and prayer, life cycle, holidays, and comparative Judaism. This course may be especially valuable for interfaith couples or those considering conversion. We encourage conversion students to also enroll in Beginning Prayerbook Hebrew from 11:00 AM - Noon on Sundays. We foster a welcoming and inclusive environment. 

Class dates: October 23, 30 / November 6, 13, 20 / December 4, 11 / January 8, 22, 29 / February 5*, 12, 26 / March 5, 19, 26 / April 2, 23*, 30 / May 14. (*students are encouraged to attend the Sunday Morning Forum with our scholar-in-residence and for Yom Ha’Shoah)

Intro to Judaism Class Shabbaton: April 8, 2017, 9:15 AM - 2:00 PM

Cost for 18 classes: $200 TBA members / $280 non-members / $50 - $100 additional for textbooks

Tuition allows for either one or two people to attend, so couples may attend together and singles may invite a friend. Reading list can be found here. Used copies and e-readers are encouraged. 

To register for this course, please visit the Union for Reform Judaism website. Please contact Rabbi Jason Levine (206-525-0915 ext. 215) to inquire about the scholarships offered by Temple Beth Am.


book stack


No matter what the monthly reading selection is, you can rely on the book clubs at TBA for lively, passionate opinions and meaningful conversation among friends. We welcome newcomers and new ideas each month and often feature notable specialists to lead our discussions. 


Beth Am Book Lovers (BABL)
Monthly / Sundays at 12:30 PM

Open to all ages, this collaborative book group, which meets monthly during the school year, is made up of TBA members and friends who come together to read, discuss, and enjoy books. Newcomers welcome!

For more information about this group, contact Leah Vetter or call the TBA office at 206-525-0915.


Upcoming Selections:

Septimania by Jonathan Levi
Sunday, April 16, 12:30 – 2:00 PM
TBA Library
On an spring afternoon in 1978 in the loft of a church outside Cambridge, England, an organ tuner named Malory loses his virginity to a dyslexic math genius named Louiza. When Louiza disappears, Malory follows her trail to Rome. There, the quest to find his love gets sidetracked when he discovers he is the heir to the Kingdom of Septimania, given by Charlemagne to the Jews of 8th Century France. In the midst of a Rome reeling from the kidnappings and bombs of the Red Brigades, Malory is crowned King of the Jews, Holy Roman Emperor and possibly Caliph of All Islam.


Jewish Feminist Writers Book Club
Monthly Tuesdays (December - May) / 6:30 - 8:00 PM
K'hilah Rm. 226 

Continuing the format of this year's Israeli Authors Book Club, we will follow up this Winter with a new session of monthly gatherings to discuss Jewish feminist books. Our selections will include fiction and non-fiction by Jewish women authors exploring feminist themes and topics. From groundbreaking feminists to contemporary writers, these discussions will be moderated by members of our congregation. 

Co-sponsored by the Sisters of Beth Am and Young Families at Beth Am, we hope that parents dropping off 4th - 12th graders for Tuesday night Religious School will stay and join us! 


Upcoming Selections:

 The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
Tuesday, April 4, 6:30 – 8:00 PM
TBA K’hilah Rm. 226
Set in the 1800s, The Marriage of Opposites begins in the small and restrictive Jewish community on St. Thomas and expands to the streets of Paris, following Rachel Pissarro, mother of the famed Impressionist Camille Pissarro. There are strong women, persecuted Jews, defiant lovers, and a bit of mysticism, all set against the backdrop of a tumultuous historic period. Discussion facilitated by librarian and TBA member Pat Pawelak-Kort.

May 9: The Sacred Calling: Four Decades of Women in the Rabbinate

 Breaking White Silence Book Group
3 Thursdays: April 27, May 11, June 1 / 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Book Group Leaders: Rabbi Jason Levine and Cecily Kaplan

Temple Beth Am is pleased to be participating in a project developed by the Phinney Neighborhood Association of creating anti-racist consciousness-raising groups in our community. As a starting place, we will be using Dr. Robin DiAngelo’s book, What Does It Mean to be White?: Developing White Racial Literacy.   

Using Dr. DiAngelo’s text and encouraging personal reflection and conversation, these book groups are a first step to open up conversations about whiteness, white privilege, and racism. 

Space is limited to 20 participants. To register, email TBA’s Director of Community Engagement Alexis Kort.

Writing Our Stories
Sunday, April 2 / 12:30 - 2:30 PM
K'hilah Rm. 226 

Marilyn Smith Layton leads a memoir-writing workshop at Temple Beth Am. Inspired by Rabbi Ruth A. Zlotnick’s Rosh Hashanah sermon about the importance of storytelling in the context of a safe and welcoming gathering, you’ll be encouraged to explore and capture important memories in words. We’ll drop the fishing line into the pool of your long experience, pull it up, and see what’s there and, in the process, learn more about the dynamics of writing.