Adult Education

Here at Emek Shalom, we have historically prided ourselves on having a strong and vibrant culture of Adult Education that far exceeds our size as a relatively small congregation.  Our goal is to create, nourish, and sustain a community of lifelong learners, and at TES you will find a plethora of classes taught by rabbis, community experts and guests, who aim to bring depth and breadth to the subjects they explore. Our classes and programs provide paths of connection that meet learners wherever they are in their journey.

Upcoming Classes

Meet the Author – 2023! With Rabbi Ken Ehrlich

This year’s Meet the Author series will examine four films – and four ethical dilemmas – through the lens of our Jewish ethical traditions. Classes will meet monthly on Sunday mornings, 10:30 am – 12 noon, in the Conference Room at TES. Come early for coffee and bagels!

Class Schedule: Sunday, February 19 – On the Waterfront, Sunday, Mar 19 – Oleanna,  Sunday April 16 – The Debt, Sunday, May 14 – Avalon

Films to be discussed during class will be available for viewing online. Instructions for accessing each film will be communicated in the near future.To facilitate group discussion, these classes are designed for in-person attendance, however, Zoom will be available for those who are off-site and only able to attend via Zoom.

Hardened Hearts, Plagues, Liberation: Bringing a Mussar lens to the Passover Story with Rabbi Julie, Sunday March 26, 10 – 11:30am

Pesach will be here before we know it.  To help us prepare, Rabbi Julie will be offering a class exploring Hardened Hearts, Plagues, Liberation (and possibly more): How do these core elements of our central liberation narrative and Pesach holiday connect to and inform the work of living our lives aligned with Jewish values, tending ourselves with integrity, while being of service to/lessening the burden of the other? Join us for an exploration and conversation Sunday March 26, 10 – 11:30am will be held in the Sanctuary and on Zoom.

Personal Actions in a Time of Climate Change – Post-poned until Fall 2023


A Library Perk

Beginning in March, the Library will be offering a “Study Hall” opportunity one day/evening per week (schedule to be announced) for students to study recommended readings and other materials in conjunction with a class they’re attending. (Note: Class instructors will need to provide advance notice of class content to Rabbi Ken and the Library Committee.)

Ongoing Classes

Tea and Conversation with Rabbi Julie

Tea and Conversation with Rabbi Julie, meet the second Thursday of each month on Zoom. Join Rabbi Julie for an informal, sweet time of conversation and connection where we will discuss short teachings, quotes or ideas from Judaism, and then have an opportunity to share experiences, wisdom and stories interfacing with the topic. This class meets on the second Thursday of each month at 10:30 am.

A Jewish Fiction Book Group

The Jewish Fiction Book Group, facilitated by Pam Dehnke, began in January and continues to meet the third Wednesday of each month at 2:30pm. Participants convene at the Nightingale’s Inn, 117 North Street (parking in rear), Ashland, to discuss Jewish-related novels. The Messiah of Stockholm is the February selection. Future book choices are decided by the group. If you have questions or suggestions feel free to contact Pam –

TES Yarns and Crafts

Yarns and Crafts will meet on the first and third Thursday of the month at 11:00 am at TES!  Bring your current project and what you’ve recently completed! Let’s kvell over our successes and work together on our challenges! Any questions, email Melissa Grudin at

Prayerbook Hebrew

The class is (currently) ongoing and meets any Sunday that Shul School meets, from 1:30 -2:30, and is offered in person and on zoom. Basic knowledge of the Hebrew letters and vowels is expected, as well as ‘regular’ attendance at Shabbat services.

Right now we are still working on our basic Hebrew reading skills and will soon be moving towards studying specific prayers, like the Amidah, the Shema and V’Ahavta.

Please contact David Sherman at:


A Mussar class, studying The Kabbalah of Forgiveness by Henry Abramson commenced September 28 and will conclude next month. This class is self-contained, meaning the students who enrolled at the beginning continue through as a unit; there is no revolving enrollment once the class begins.

Tuesday afternoon Torah Study, 5:00 pm

Saturday morning Torah study, 9:00-9:45 am

If you’re interested in joining our extraordinary Temple Emek Shalom Mussar Study program (or just to hear more), contact Marty Towbin at

Highlights showing the range of last year’s (2020-2022) programs:

  • An Exploration of Rebbe Nachman’s “The Seven Beggars Tales” – Rabbi Joshua Boettiger
  • Shavuot:
    • Standing at Sinai: Studying the Sources, Emily Simon
    • You Just Can’t Find Good Manna in Oregon, Rabbi Ken Ehrlich
    • The Gifts of Torah: Answers, Tools and Grounding in the Time of COVID and to Last a Lifetime – Rabbi Julie Benioff
    • The Night Sky and Starscapes, Sascha Meier
    • Through the Gates of Praise:  Love and Fear, Intimacy and Retreat, Rabbi Joshua Boettiger, Rabbi Benjamin Barnett
  • Staying Inside/Staying Alive – Emily Simon
  • Shabbat Morning Prayer Writing with Rabbi Julie
  • Conscious Community (by R. Kalonymus Kalman Shapira), Marty Towbin
  • Jeremiah: The Path of Upheaval, Rabbi Joshua Boettiger
  • Mothers’ Daughters’ Sisters’ Voices in American Jewish Literature, Rabbi Ken Ehrlich
  • Love in the Time of Corona: Meeting the Unknown Together, David Lester
  • All is But a Breath: A Jewish Meditation Retreat on the Wisdom of Ecclesiastes, Norman Fischer and R. Joshua Boettiger
  • The Broken Mishkan: Creativity, Disability, and the Journey in Between, Sara Nesson
  • “Angels in America” play reading and discussion, Emily Simon
  • “The Status and Future of Judaism in America”
  • Women’s Resistance To The Nazi Regime, with Emily Simon