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You are invited to join a Jewish learning circle to connect with community members and gather for a new kind of conversation – one where we answer life’s toughest questions. Over the course of ten sessions, you will investigate the big issues of today by exploring traditional and non-traditional Jewish sources with local clergy and your cohort. 

Depending on numbers, we will also run a professionally supervised children’s program for kids grades 2-7 that will feature games, activities and dinner. 

This program is hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s Delaware County Kehillah in partnership with IYUN, a cohort-based Jewish learning experience that builds community and a love of Torah study for adults.

Sign up by December 29

EVENT DETAILS

All sessions will take place on Thursdays from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

January 5, 12, 19, 26
February 2, 9 and 16
March 2, 9 and 16

*There will be a reunion Shabbat dinner at CBENT on April 28 as part of the Jewish Federation’s Israel 75 celebrations. 

Cost:
$36/person for the entire program
The children’s program is free

Location:
Kaiserman JCC
45 Haverford Rd, Philadelphia, PA

Additional Information:
For any questions, please contact Shelley Rappaport at delawarecounty@jewishphilly.org

Details of this program are subject to change.

REGISTER HERE

Who Should Join the Learning Circle?

Open to all, this course is designed for young professionals, interfaith couples, those raising Jewish children, spiritual seekers, individuals considering conversion, and anyone curious about Judaism. We welcome individuals and couples from all backgrounds. 

No previous Jewish knowledge necessary. Wherever you are on your journey with Judaism, this program is designed to be a safe and welcoming place for you to explore.

The study circle is relaxed, informal, social, AND, we hope – a fun way to expand your Jewish networking as well as enrich your Jewish knowledge. 

Program SCHEDULE and Curriculum

Week 1: On Gratitude: Empty Platitudes or Practice Worth Cultivating?

Thursday, January 5 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

What is the role of gratitude in our lives? In the goal oriented world in which we
live, can taking time to appreciate what we have in life help us be more grateful,
centered human beings? Is “practicing gratitude” just a trendy buzz phrase or a
deep practice worthy of cultivation?

Week 2: “I’m Not Religious, I’m Spiritual” – Toward a Vibrant Jewish Lifestyle

Thursday, January 12 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

What is the role of gratitude in our lives? In the goal oriented world in which we
live, can taking time to appreciate what we have in life help us be more grateful,
centered human beings? Is “practicing gratitude” just a trendy buzz phrase or a
deep practice worthy of cultivation?

Week 3: Not my God: Conceptions of Divinity

Thursday, January 19 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Is it important to have a personal concept of God? Does it add value to our lives
either way? If so, how do you define God and how would you define your
relationship to God? How do we relate to a God we do and don’t believe in based on the messages/language we have experienced in spiritual and religious settings?

Week 4: Finding Forgiveness

Thursday, January 26 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Is forgiveness important? What is our current relationship to forgiveness and
how does it play out in our relationships? How can engaging more fully in the practice of forgiveness help to create more vibrant relationships with ourselves and with others?

Week 5: The Whole World was Created for Me

Thursday, February 2 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

How do we decide what our calling should be? Is it something our life paths lead us to? Or something we decide we want and then we set out to do? In building a life, how do we decide how we want to affect the world with our individual and unique gifts and talents? Where does vocation meet avocation? Or are they Separate?

Week 6: #blessed: The Inner Life vs. the Public Persona

Thursday, February 9 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

In the age of sharing life events on social media, what is the impact of creating an online persona in the public realm? Does how presenting ourselves to the world line up with the true reality of our inner feelings and experiences? When your friends are feeling sad or negative, how do you tend to respond? Do you give them space for their authentic feelings? When you’re going through a hard time, what do you need for support? In times of celebration, personal or communal, should we temper our joy?

Week 7: The Power of Speech

Thursday, February 16 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

How does speech hurt or help our relationships? Are there times when we might be unintentionally cutting ourselves or others off from community, as a result of our speech? When we live and exist in multiple communities, how can we sensitize ourselves to the power and responsibility of how we conduct ourselves with our words?

Week 8: On Political and Spiritual Resistance: Protest or Pray?

Thursday, March 2 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

What is the role of individual resistance when leadership doesn’t align with our values? What is our responsibility when we believe the decisions of authorities aren’t building towards the kind of society we want to live in? What impact does prayer have? Action? Is one more important than the other?

Week 9: The Community and the Individual: On Taking Responsibility

Thursday, March 9 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Who are we responsible to care for? What other factors might impact our level of responsibility towards others? What is the power of being part of a particularistic community of responsibility? What are the challenges? What are the benefits?

Week 10: Siyum

Thursday, March 16 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

What questions have been activated for us as a result of this journey together? How do we meaningfully close this learning journey? In this moment, what are we grateful for with respect to this group experience? Who do we need to express that gratitude to?

PRESENTERS AND TOPICS

Rabbi Janine Jankovitz | Congregation Beth El – Ner Tamid

Rabbi Janine Jankovitz is honored to serve Congregation Beth El Ner Tamid as their rabbi. She was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2020, and has worked for over a decade in congregational life both as a student rabbi and, prior to rabbinical school, as an Education Director. Rabbi Jankovitz is committed to building a warm and inviting Jewish community. She believes in klal yisrael (the Jewish community) and the value of embracing all identities, genders, races, ethnicities, ages, and abilities, and that Torah and its teachings can lead us to building a more just and righteous world.   

To learn more about Congregation Beth El – Ner Tamid, click here

Rabbi Nathan Martin | Congregation Beth Israel of Media

Rabbi Nathan, a 2006 graduate of Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, brings a passion to his work in creating spirit-filled, caring communities that are dedicated to the important work of repairing the world and healing our planet. In the area of religious environmental leadership, he completed a 2-year training with Greenfaith, organized a Philadelphia Jewish contingent for the 2017 People’s Climate March, and currently serves on the board of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light.
 
To learn more about Congregation Beth Israel of Media, click here.

Rabbi Kelilah Miller | Congregation Ohev Shalom

Rabbi Kelilah Miller (RRC ’13) serves at Congregation Ohev Shalom as Rabbi and Cantor, after having acted as the Cantor/Education Director since 2015.  She is a Philadelphia native and attended Schechter (now Perelman Jewish Day School) and Akiba (now Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy). In addition to her role as a rabbi, Kelilah is a musician and visual artist, as well as mom to Gabriel (8) and Ezra (4).

To learn more about Congregation Ohev Shalom, click here.

Rabbi Helen Plotkin | Mekom Torah

Rabbi Helen Plotkin is a graduate of Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC), where she currently teaches Biblical Hebrew and other subjects. In 2008, Rabbi Plotkin founded Mekom Torah, a pioneering Jewish learning project, in collaboration with Congregation Beth Israel of Media, Congregation Ohev Shalom of Wallingford, and Reconstructing Judaism. Mekom Torah is built around a radically ancient vision of Jewish learning: Participation in learning is not a preparation for Jewish life, it is Jewish life.  

To learn more about Mekom Torah, click here.

Rabbi Linda Potemken | Congregation Beth Israel of Media

Rabbi Linda Potemken was welcomed by Congregation Beth israel of Media as their rabbi and spiritual leader in the summer of 1997. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Hahnemann University and The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where she has served as adjunct faculty, teaching and co-teaching a variety of classes. Rabbi Linda has served as a leader in the Reconstructionist movement and in the Philadelphia area rabbinate. She has served on the Board and Executive Board of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, as well as on the Executive Board of the Philadelphia Board of Rabbis. 

To learn more about Congregation Beth Israel of Media, click here.

Rabbi Peter Rigler | Temple Sholom in Broomall

Rabbi Peter Rigler was ordained by the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 2002, and has served as Rabbi at Temple Sholom in Broomall since 2009. He engages the congregation’s members in all aspects of Jewish living, including: worship services; life cycle events; and teaching in the Religious School and Lifelong Learning program. He leads the Temple Sholom community with warmth, humor, knowledge and a rich passion for Reform Judaism. Rabbi Rigler’s interests include social justice, youth work, teaching and Israel. He is passionate about making the synagogue warm, fun and inviting.

To learn more about Temple Sholom in Broomall, click here.

THANK YOU TO OUR PARTNERS 

The Delaware County Kehillah is partnering with IYUN, a cohort-based Jewish learning experience for adults facilitated by local educators. The platform builds Jewish community and a love of Torah study for adults, by initiating them into a cohort of peers who explore existential questions through the lens of Torah.

The learning circle is hosted at the Kaiserman JCC, whose mission is to create fulfilling connections, enhance lives, and foster Jewish peoplehood.

Delaware County Kehillah is part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s neighborhood initiative to ensure vibrant Jewish communities.