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

Wednesday, February 2, 3:30 – 5:00pm on Zoom
On Rosh Chodesh Adar 1, Wednesday 2/2/22, 3:30-5:00pm, join Rabbi Julie in an exploration of why we have two Hebrew months of Adar in some years, what to do with them, and to look at the idea of increasing JOY in the month(s) of Adar.


Women’s Resistance To The Nazi Regime,
with Emily Simon
Tuesday, January 25 at 7:00pm over Zoom
(Use TES Zoom link:
Our book for January, The Light of Days by Judy Batalion, deals with the women and girls who resisted the Nazi occupation in Poland and Eastern Europe. The detail contained in the book, while very uplifting as to the stories of the women and the girls, is also very hard to take regarding the brutality and horror of what they were living through and exposed to.
As we did with Paper Bullets, we will continue to discuss the nature of collaboration and resistance, and how different those concepts can be depending upon each individual circumstance.
Rabbi Benioff will be joining us for this class, as I believe that a rabbinic perspective on the brutality in the book can be helpful as we alter our focus to the lives and heroism of the women and girls who are featured in the book. Rabbi Benioff has also graciously offered that she is available to discuss the book prior to the class. Feel free to contact her if you would like if your feelings overwhelm you as you read the book. If the historical accuracy, keeps you from reading the entire book, then please feel free to skip those portions that are too hard for you to handle and focus on the stories of the girls and the women,
If you haven’t yet obtained the book, please remember that you can listen to it on Audible, get it from Amazon (there is even a young reader’s version of it which may be easier to take), or Emily’s personal favorites, Bloomsbury Books (to support our local independent book store) and the Jackson County library.
But even if you haven’t read it, or can only read a portion of it, please,please come to the class so that you can learn about these amazing women resistance fighters. In the words of Miriam Schiffman “no matter what your abilities or level of bravery there is always something one can do to resist evil. Everyone’s small act of bravery adds up.”
Thank you Miriam for this thought, as I believe that reading this book is in itself an act of bravery.
For those of you who have not yet signed up for the class, it is helpful if you do so by emailing Kathy at so that Emily can provide you with supplemental material, and anything else that she thinks you might need to enhance the books and the class discussion.

Current Classes

TES Emma Lazarus Library-Adult Education Series (2021-2022)

“Meet the Author”

First Sunday Mornings, 10:00am-Noon
An Evolving Vision of Jewish Life:
Mordecai Kaplan’s Reconstruction of Judaism
Rabbi Ken Ehrlich

Class Schedule and Readings

“People of the Book”

Third Thursday Afternoons — 3:30 – 5:00pm
Midrash – Then and Now
Rabbis Julie and Ken

In the Mishna (compiled around 200 C.E.) Rabbi ben Bag Bag likens a student who studies Torah to a jeweler who examines a precious gem: “Turn it, then turn it again; for everything is inside of it.”  This year’s “People of the Books” series will focus on Midrash.  The first three classes will examine why Midrash came to be, and why it was meant to be a dynamic process.  In sessions 5-8, students will create their own Midrash: we will read familiar Torah texts and passages through the lens of our own unique perspectives, and then share – in prose or poetry or some other form of artistic expression – what we have discovered.

Class Schedule and Readings

“The Status and Future of Judaism in America”
Last year, the Pew Research Center issued a report on its comprehensive study of the status of Jewish identity in America. In some respects, the report reinforced long-held assumptions. But the report also noted recent trends that many American Jews find surprising and concerning.

“The Status and Future of Judaism in America” with Rabbi Ken Ehrlich, Sept.25, 2021:

The Emma Lazarus Library is currently closed due to COVID restrictions. All Classes are on Zoom

Ongoing Programs

Tuesday afternoon Torah Study, 5:00 pm

Saturday morning Torah study, 9:15-10:00 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 (2020-2021) 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