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

Mahloket Matters: How to Disagree Constructively —
The Beit Midrash Way; a five-week course taught by

Emily Simon at Temple Emek Shalom in Ashland Oregon

Classes are on Sunday afternoons from 3:30-5:00 starting
October 23 and concluding November 20

Most people concur that civil discourse has deteriorated to an extent that endangers democratic government. We are unable to listen to one another, let alone understand each other. We have progressively tuned in to the exclusive echoes of our own silos.

Is it yet possible to find the courage to productively engage those with whom we disagree? Can text study of Biblical stories and their diverse interpretations empower us to engage more constructively in disagreements today?

Come join Emily Simon in an exploration of ways to express and appreciate differences of opinion for the sake of heaven. We will engage constructively across differences, by examining our traditional and contemporary texts in the format of the traditional beit midrash (study hall). By learning how to disagree respectfully over Jewish texts, we can use this model to shine a light on problems that we face in our society today, and to facilitate civil discourse.

By popular demand, this class is now being offered as a hybrid class, in-person and on Zoom. So, for those of you who are out of town, or who can’t make it LIVE to the class, you can attend any or all the classes via Zoom at the regular TES Zoom link. In addition to many people asking that it be available on Zoom, the other reason for the change is because Dr. Pollin’s group from Portland will no longer be joining us, and we want to make sure that there is a robust enough group for Havurata study.

After an introduction to the Rabbinic Concepts of the Beit Midrash Way, the curriculum will include:
– Meet or Refuse to Meet? From Korach and Moses to Political Adversaries Today
– Fear War or Trust Peace? From Jacob and Esau through Chamberlain and Menachem Begin to Today
– Xenophobia or National Security? From Pharaoh and the Israelites through Japanese Internment to Today
– “Fake News” or Uncovering the Truth? From Joseph and his brothers through Jefferson and Hamilton to Today

Ms. Simon is a graduate of the Pardes Institute’s Mahloket Matters program. The class is free for members of Temple Emek Shalom and $36 for non-members. Registration is required. To register please email Zyaire Hogwood at or call (541) 488-2909.


The TES Mussar teachers and Adult Education Committee are happy to announce our Mussar offering for this coming fall and spring semester.

We will be studying The Kabbalah of Forgiveness by Henry Abramson. This is a translation of the first chapter of Tomer Devorah traditionally studied during the month of Elul and between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It is based upon G-d’s 13 attributes of Mercy addressed in the Torah. Some of us have studied this before. This particular book is an accessible and interesting reading with some contemporary examples to ground the text. It is available on Amazon for $10.

The four Mussar teachers will be co-teaching this class starting at 5 pm to 6 pm Wednesday, September 28, 2022  on ZOOM and ending around April 26th, with time off for Yom Kippur, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the last week of December, and the first night of Pesach.

No prior Mussar study is required and one does not have to be a TES member to participate. Also, there is no fee for this class. We would however appreciate donations to the TES Adult Education Fund, click here to donate.

Please register here by September 21, 2022 so we can anticipate who is in the class. We will send a Zoom link for the class to all those who register before the first session. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to any of the teachers:

Prayerbook Hebrew

David Sherman will be leading a class of Prayerbook Hebrew beginning in November. If you are interested in increasing your knowledge of Prayerbook Hebrew and enhancing your understanding of Shabbat and festival services, please email David at indicating days and times of your availability. Your input will enable David to draft a schedule. All are welcome, even if you don’t send in a schedule preference. Basic knowledge of the aleph bet is required. This will be a hybrid class accommodating both in-person and Zoom attendance. The initial meeting will inform the content and direction of the class.

Tea and Conversation with Rabbi Julie

Tea and Conversation with Rabbi Julie, will be on a break in November and will be back on Thursday, December 8th at 10:30 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

A Jewish Fiction Book Group, facilitated by Pam Dehnke, is slated to begin in January. Pam indicates, “For our initial meeting, we’ll read and discuss a book from Hadassah Magazine’s Guide to Jewish Literature. We’ll also talk about what we’d like to read in the future. We all have favorites, so if you’d like, come prepared to tell us about yours.” If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to contact Pam –


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 (2020-2022) 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