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

Women’s Resistance To The Nazi Regime with Emily Simon

Tuesday, November 2, 7:00PM on Zoom
First class: Tuesday, November 2 at 7 pm – remainder TBD
(Class will be taught over Zoom unless there is a dramatic change in the COVID numbers)
Tuesday, December 7, 7:00PM on Zoom
Second class: Tuesday, December 7 at 7 pm – remainder TBD
In the last year there has been a spate of books published about the largely untold history of women’s resistance to the Nazi regime.
The first book we will discuss, Paper Bullets by Jeffery H. Jackson, is the story of two artists in the Channel Islands who risked their lives to defy the Nazis. It has it all: the modern-day history of European Anti-Semitism and Resistance, gender non-conformity, feminism, art and artists and I’m just getting started. It is extremely well written and an easy and captivating read. You can access the book through either Audible or Scribd (for those of you who like to listen), Kindle (for those of you who like to read digitally), Amazon (for those of you who like books delivered to your door), or best yet – by supporting your local bookstore, Bloomsbury, and buying the book. (They may have to order it for you – which will only take a couple of days). I firmly recommend getting the physical copy of the book as the drawings and illustrations by the artists will enrich your experience. And of course, there is the Jackson County Library!
Please sign up for the class by sending an email to Kathy at so that we can get you the supplementary material for the class discussion when it is ready. And in the meantime, start reading this book. You will learn many things that you did not know.

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