Adult Education

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Temple Micah creates opportunities for Jewish learning that challenge, engage, and inspire each member of our community to live a more fulfilled human and Jewish life. Our adult learning offerings include formal classes and lectures, seminars led by Temple Micah professional staff, and lay-led study groups. Group study takes place throughout the week and weekly on Shabbat. We welcome the ongoing growth and reinvention of this learning, including the creation of new groups by our members.

Our educational offerings for adults also include an array of subject matter. Our two-year adult B’nai Torah class consists of a program of Hebrew and Torah studies. Hebrew can also be studied at home via Skype, in classes of various levels, or in our lay-led Hebrew poetry study group. Lectures, seminars and study groups consider the Torah and the rest of the Bible from diverse perspectives. Other learning venues–led by staff, clergy, and community members–take up Israel and the Middle East, Zionism, prayer and worship, spirituality, philosophy, Jewish holidays, Reform Judaism, Judaism in modern America, and anything else our community encounters in its life together.

Click the program titles below for more information:

Aaron Altschul Scholar in Residence Weekend

Aaron M. Altschul was a devoted member and leader of Temple Micah. He was a serious lifelong student of Judaism as well as an internationally renowned biochemist. After his death in 1994, the Temple Micah Board dedicated an annual scholar in residence weekend in his memory. Every March we invite a learned scholar to teach us, as we honor Altschul’s many contributions to our community.

In January 2018 we welcomed Rabbi Linda Motzkin (soferet, parchment maker, and scribal artist) and Rabbi Jonathan Rubenstein (bread maker and baking teacher) as our scholars-in-residence.  They are the co-founders of Bread and Torah. Bread and Torah is inspired by the passage in the Mishna, Pirke Avot 3:17: Without bread [literally “flour”], there is no Torah; without Torah there is no bread. Affirming the importance of both spiritual and physical sustenance in Jewish life, Bread and Torah Programs are creative, hands-on learning experiences that combine traditional Jewish scribal arts and bread making with Jewish spiritual teachings and practices.

In February 2017 we welcomed Merri Arian as our scholar-in-residence. Professor Arian serves on the faculty of the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music and the Rabbinical School of the New York campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Adult B’nai Torah Class

Taught by Cantor Meryl Weiner, the Adult B’nai Torah class meets weekly on Tuesday evenings over the course of two years, during which participants learn to read Hebrew and prayer texts, study Kabbalat Shabbat and Shabbat morning services, and study and chant from the Torah. No prior knowledge of Hebrew is required. Class discussions promote community building and include explorations into theological questions. Participants will be called to the Torah during a Shabbat morning service at the end of the two year period.
Contact: Cantor Meryl Weiner

Adult Skype Hebrew Tutoring

Make dramatic strides in Hebrew fluency by learning Hebrew outside the classroom. Spend 15 minutes a week in a one-on-one Skype session with a tutor who will help you reach your personal goals.
Contact: Rabbi Beraha

Downtown Discussion Group

This study group, led by Rabbi Zemel, chooses a book on Jewish thought to explore together. This season’s book is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. As Rabbi Zemel notes, “This book explains human culture in a more creative and thought-provoking way than I have ever encountered. Harari is clearly a radical thinker with big ideas and the knowledge to make his point clearly.” Rabbi Zemel looks forward to discussing this best-selling narrative of human evolution. We need people to sign-up to lead the sessions. I will bring a sign-up sheet to our first session which as you can see, I will lead. You need not wait until then to sign-up. Please contact Jeannelle to sign-up for the date of your choice. First come, first serve! Many thanks!  The group gathers on Mondays downtown.  Contact: Temple Micah Office

Dates for this group are as follows:

  • April 16: Chapter 18 A Permanent Revolution (Francine Schwartz)
  • April 23: no group meeting
  • April 30: Chapter 19 And They Lived Happily Ever After (Alyn Hadar)
  • May 7: Chapter 20 The End of Homo Sapiens, Afterward: The Animal That Became a God

Hebrew Poetry

Following the oneg for morning services generally on the first and third Saturdays of each month, this lay-led group reads In Hebrew and translates and discusses in English the poetry of Yehuda Amichai and other modern Israeli poets. These poets use biblical, prayer, and contemporary Hebrew in a manner that is accessible and extremely insightful on many levels to those with even limited Hebrew knowledge.  No preparation required. Contact: Hebrew Poetry.

Hebrew Short Stories

Following the oneg for morning services on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month, this lay-led group reads in Hebrew, and translates and discusses in English, contemporary short stories by Israeli authors. Stories are selected for their literary merit and accessibility to those with an intermediate knowledge of contemporary written Hebrew. The discussion ranges from a review of Hebrew vocabulary and grammar to interpretation of the story’s meaning. Registered participants receive a copy of each story in Hebrew (with selected vocabulary translated) in advance of meetings. Contact: Hebrew Short Stories.

Introduction to Judaism

The Union for Reform Judaism’s Introduction to Judaism course, taught at multiple synagogues in the DC area, is a 16-week class that provides an opportunity to learn about Jewish history, traditions, theology, holidays and life cycle ceremonies. Introduction to Judaism is designed for individuals and couples wishing to explore Judaism, whether they are Jewish or not, as well as for those individuals considering becoming Jewish. There is a fee for this course.  For more information or to enroll contact Rabbi Stephanie Bernstein.

Jewish Thinkers of the 20th and 21st Centuries

On the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month, Jewish Thinkers, a lay-led study group, meets after services to read essays of 20th and 21st Century Jewish Thinkers who grapple with fundamental questions of faith and religion using the formal tools called Theology. The group is currently studying Sayings of the Fathers, Pirkei Avot. Contact: Jewish Thinkers

Kol Isha (“A Woman’s Voice”)

Kol Isha is a community of study and practice which explores Judaism’s rich traditions and texts through the lens of women’s energies, interpretations, and images of the divine.  Kol Isha is open to all those who seek to deepen and enrich their Jewish knowledge and spirituality from a woman’s perspective.  Every year Kol Isha sponsors a Community Seder which uses a Haggadah written from a woman’s perspective.
Contact: Kol Isha

Lunch and Learn

Lunch and Learn is a monthly learning opportunity program sponsored by the Aging Together Team. An enormously popular Micah event, Lunch and Learn offers offer a vibrant, intellectually stimulating lecture accompanied by a home-cooked meal on the second Wednesday of the month from 12 – 2 pm in the downstairs social hall. Transportation is provided to those who request it. Register for the next one here!

Don’t miss out, view past Lunch and Learn lectures here.

Jan. 10, 2018  Larry Cooley & Marina Fanning: Foreign Aid in an ‘America First’ World
Feb. 14, 2018  Cynthia Hogan:
Mar. 14, 2018 Dana Milbank:
Apr. 11, 2018 Jared Blum: The Anti-Defamation League
May. 9, 2018 Erica Perl:
Jun. 13, 2018 Yolanda Savage-Narva:
Jul. 11, 2018  TBD
Aug. 8, 2018  Doug Grob:
Sep. 12, 2018  Judge Richard Ringell:
Oct. 10, 2018  Stan Shulman: Team Alaska In Vietnam
Nov. 14, 2018  Myra Sklarew
Dec. 12, 2018 Stacy Cloyd

Jun. 13, 2017 Owen Herrnstadt: Interacting with Europe regarding BDS?
Jul. 12, 2017 Daniel Brumberg: Internal Politics and International Policy in Iran
Aug. 9, 2017 Karen Rosenbaum: The Air of Photography
Sep. 13, 2017 Herman and Mary Schwartz: Music of Exile
Oct. 11, 2017 Stuart Schwartz: Behind the Scenes of Broadcast News
Nov. 8, 2017 Arthur Freeman: The Evolution of Hanukkah Lamp Design
Dec. 13, 2017 Rabbi Tamara Miller: The Rocky Road to the Rabbinate; a modern day Yentl


Monday Morning Study Group

This study group is led by Rabbi Zemel. Beginning Febraury 12, the group will read and discuss Richard Rorty’s Achieving Our Country.  For more information please contact: The Micah Office.

Dates for this group are as follows:

  • January 29: no group meeting
  • February 5: no group meeting
  • February 12
  • February 19: no group meeting for President’s Day
  • February 26
  • March: no group meetings in March
  • April 2: no group meeting for Pesach
  • April 9, 16
  • April 23: no group meeting
  • April 30
  • May 7, 14

Parent Discussion Group

This discussion group for parents of children from birth through the teen years, led by Cantor Meryl Weiner and congregant Martha Adler, MSW, meets during Machon Micah on Sunday mornings. The group tackles issues such as interfaith families, risk taking, making mistakes, family dynamics, grief and death, gratitude, and more.
Contact: Cantor Meryl Weiner

Continuing schedule for winter and spring:

February 11: Connecting with Prayer in the Home, Morning and Evening (Rabbi Susan Landau)
March 4: Creating a Structure for Living Jewishly in our Post-Modern World (Rabbi Dan Zemel)
March 11: Becoming A Loving Resistance Fighter: Technology and our Children (Rabbi Beraha)
March 18: Incorporating Fun and Meaning into the Passover Seder (Cantor Weiner and Martha Adler)
April 15: Topic TBD (Parent Encouragement Program (PEP) speaker – Patti Cancellier)
April 22: A Conversation on Boundaries, Presents, Child Care and More! (Grandparents and Parents)
April 29: Annual Pot Luck Brunch!

Sunday Speakers Series

On select Sundays we offer a speaker who addresses an area of contemporary Jewish life, identity and the Middle East.

Dates for this season are as follows:

  • February 4, 2018 at 10:15 am
    Church and State Issues in America Today
    Daniel Mach, Director ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief
  • February 11, 2018 at 10:15 am
    Small Town Jews and the Holocaust: Czechoslovakia and Hungary
    Dr. Marc Lee Raphael, Nathan Gumenick Chair of Judaic Studies, College of William and Mary
  • April 29, 2018 at 10:15 am
    The Ten Commandments
    Dr. Leon Kass, American Enterprise Institute, Resident Scholar and Madden-Jewett Chair

 Torah Study Group

This lay-led group meets each Shabbat morning before services to explore the week’s Torah and Haftarah portions. There are refreshments and all are welcome to attend. Contact: Torah Study