Congregation Beth Sholom offers classes, casual learning opportunities, and social gatherings for adults designed to bring Jewish values, culture, rituals, and texts into our everyday lives. We expand our social and cultural horizons with visiting Jewish scholars, professors, Judaic art and photography exhibits, Jewish authors, political pundits, artists, journalists, rabbis, and more.

In addition, Beth Sholom plays a proactive role in the Bay Area Jewish community, partnering with other Jewish and community-based organizations to co-sponsor special lecture events, cultural and political presentations, and more.

We will be launching a number of new Lifelong Learning classes in Fall 2019. For more information on our adult education offerings, please email the director of lifelong learning..


Intro To Judaism

Jew-Curious? Interested in converting to Judaism? Sharing your life with a Jew and want to crack the code? Calling all potential conversion students and interfaith couples! Our engaging, university-accredited Intro To Judaism course is interactive and encourages questions, discussion, and hands-on learning. No knowledge of Hebrew is required, but you will learn to read the language as part of the class.

Who is this class for?

  • Anyone interested in conversion.

  • Anyone interested in a basic introduction to Jewish traditions, culture and ritual practices.

WHERE: Beit Midrash (Library), 6:30-9:30 p.m.

2018-2019 Dates: October 17, November 14, December 12
2019-2020 Dates: October 17, November 14, December 12, January 9, February 13, March 12, April TBD, May 14, and June 11.

COST: Member Price: $200/person or $400/couple | Non-member Price: $400/person or $600/couple.

Questions about the class: Contact Rebecca Goodman.
Questions about conversion:
Contact Rabbi Amanda Russell.

Study with Our Rabbis


Rabbi Ain’s Weekly Torah Study

No snooze button needed! Join Rabbi Ain for a weekly Torah study.
Learn practical ways to apply the Torah’s teachings … plus there’s coffee!

Join us every Thursday morning after minyan! (Minyan not required, but encouraged!)

When: every Thursday at 8 a.m.
Where: Main Meeting Room
Cost: Free, No registration required

Torah Lunch & Learn

Work downtown? Feed your body (bring your lunch) and feed your soul (with a bit of Torah study) led by Rabbi Ain. Regular attendance is not required, feel free to join anytime!

Where: Law Offices of Fox & Rothschild, 
345 California Street, Suite 2200, Conference Room
When: 12-1 p.m. | November 6, February 5, May 6, December 4, March 4, June 3, January 8, April 1
Cost: Free

Shabbat Mincha Shiur

Mincha Shiur is back! Saturday afternoons are a wonderful time for a bit of study. Join Rabbi Dan Ain and Rabbi Amanda Russell to study modern teshuvot (Jewish legal papers) that drive the decisions that we make for our Conservative synagogue communities. The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS) sets halachic (Jewish law) policy for Rabbinical Assembly rabbis and for the Conservative movement as a whole. Rabbis in our movement have the opportunity to write teshuvot (rabbinic responses to halachah) in response to a specific question. These teshuvot serve to guide our movement in decision making in many areas of modern Jewish life. Learn the process for which these decisions are made as well as the Jewish texts that support it. See the CJLS website for potential topics:

Where: Beit Midrash (Library)
When: Saturdays, 5 p.m. 
Cost: Free


Learn to Chant Torah 

Come learn the necessary skills to chant from the Torah with Rabbi Amanda Russell. The Torah readers in our community enable us to fulfill the mitzvah of reading from the Torah on weekdays, Shabbat and holidays. Come to refine your skills or learn for the first time. All are welcome!

Participants must be able to read Hebrew (see our course listings on page 11 if you want to learn to read Hebrew). Mondays, please arrive at 6 p.m. for minyan.

Where: Beit Midrash (Library)
When: Sunday-Intensive Kickoff , Nov 3, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
16 Monday Sessions, 6:00-7:30 p.m. | 11/4, 11/18, 12/2, 12/16, 1/6, 1/27, 2/3, 2/24, 3/2, 3/16, 4/6, 4/20, 5/4, 5/18, 6/8, & 6/22.
Cost: Public $360 | CBS Member $180


Learn to Lead Davening (Prayer Services)

Interested in helping to lead our prayer services? Join Rabbi Russell as she helps you practice the skills to feel confident leading any of the sections of our prayer service: Shabbat morning: Pseukei d’Zimrah, Shacharit, Torah Service, Musaf; weekday mornings; weekday evenings. This class will be taught in small groups based on participants’ service interests. Contact Rabbi Russell for more information and to explore which prayer sections you’re interested in developing.

Where: Beit Midrash (Library)
When: TBD
Contact Rabbi Russell for more information about when the service you’re interested in learning to lead will be offered.

Yoga for Renewal Workshop Series:
Embodied Jewish Learning with Julie Emden

Experience Jewish wisdom that is meaningful and relevant to your everyday life via a gentle Iyengar-based yoga and movement practice rooted in Jewish mystical teachings. The High Holy Days are a time of new beginnings and renewed commitment to living in physical and spiritual alignment with our deepest intentions. Following Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we enter the holidays of Sukkot, Simchat Torah, and the Hebrew month of Cheshvan, a month of rest, integration, and inwardness. Experience an alternative point of connection to Jewish life as we celebrate this entire season of renewal on the Jewish calendar through movement practices that nourish your whole being – mind, body, heart and soul.

No previous experience with yoga or knowledge about Jewish Holidays is required. Please wear comfortable loosely layered clothing in which you can easily move. Yoga mats and blankets will be provided but bring your own if you desire!

Where: Makom Sholom, Meditation Room
When: 6:30-8 p.m. | Thursdays, Oct 17, 24, 31, Nov 7 & 14
Cost: Public $108 | CBS Members $54 | $18/session

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Heroes with Meshugas: Tanach Characters and Their Complex, Inner Worlds
with Evan Wolkenstein

True heroes are hard to come by in today’s morally complex world. We turn to the ancient texts of our people to find heroes we can emulate, role models we can look up to. As it turns out, when we read our texts closely, many of our most beloved forbearers are complex, flawed - in other words, they have serious meshegas. How can we understand our Biblical “heroes” inner worlds in a way that can shed light on our own struggles?

Where: Beit Midrash (Library)
When: Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. | October 29, November 5 & 19, and December 3
Cost: Public $180 | CBS Members $36
Email Rebecca Goodman for registration information 

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Scholar in Residence: Rabbi Noah Bickart

Rabbi Noah Benjamin Bickart is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Jewish and Interreligious Studies at John Carroll University in Cleveland, OH. He holds degrees from the University of Chicago, Harvard, and JTS. He was most recently a post-doctoral fellow in the Judaic Studies department of Yale. Dr. Bickart’s areas of academic interest include Jewish and Christian Scholasticism in Late Antiquity, and the History of Sexuality. He and his family recently moved to Beachwood, OH after 15 years in New York City.

Friday, December 13: Dinner & Dialogue with Rabbi Ain (after evening SING service)

How Does Halachah Change? Recent Discussions of the CJLS: The CJLS is the body within the Conservative Movement which is tasked with helping congregants and their rabbis apply Jewish values to contemporary times through the language of law. In this session, we will explore some of the more recent developments (and disagreements) on the committee, and how and why congregants should care.

Lunch & Learn following Kiddush lunch Saturday, December 14, 12:30 p.m.

Rabbis Killing Rabbis: Or How the Talmud Became the Talmud: In this session we will encounter the Talmud in the process of its own redaction, and see how far the competition for power extended in the Talmudic academies in Babylonia at the dawn of the Islamic age.

Dinner and a Movie: Jewish types and stereotypes in American film 
with Rabbi Ain and Ben Chinn

.This series of screenings explores the work of prominent film directors that have pointed the camera at the American Jewish experience of which, they themselves were a part. Rabbi Ain, in conversation with CBS congregant and film buff Ben Chinn, will lead a discussion following each movie. Film selections will include works by Joel and Ethan Coen, Mel Brooks, Mike Nichols, and other filmmakers who have created their own Jewish texts out of celluloid. Dinner is included. Films may include: A Serious Man; The Frisco Kid; The Producers; Zelig; Biloxi Blues; The Heartbreak Kid; and more.

Where: Koret Hall
When: Sundays, 5 p.m. (except 12/25) | October 27, November 24, December 25 (Family-friendly movie & Chinese food), January 26, February 23, March 22, April 19, May 31
Cost: Public $36/film or $180 for the series | CBS Members $18/film or $108 for the series
Email Rebecca Goodman for registration information 

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The Kitchen Hevruta

with Gabi Moskowitz and Evan Wolkenstein

Gabi Moskowitz is the editor-in-chief of the nationally-acclaimed blog BrokeAss Gourmet, author of The Brokeass Gourmet Cookbook, (May 2012) and Pizza Dough: 100 Delicious, Unexpected Recipes (November 2013). She writes regularly for The Washington Post and The Guardian. Gabi is also the producer of Young and Hungry, an ABC Family comedy, inspired by her life and writing.

One of the great things about Torah is that every story operates both as a narrative and as a kind of metaphorical filter to help us see and name the world around us. Whenever you’re studying the Torah, in other words, you’re also studying human nature and unpacking an ancient and wise way of understanding the world.

Other disciplines operate in the same way: when you learn how to cook, you’re not just learning how to combine ingredients to make a great dish. You’re learning ways to see the world. How to find balance. How to surprise, delight, nourish, and satisfy. And you’re learning that it’s not just the food - but also who feeds us - that gets us fed.

This four part series will use a structure of 1) hands on prep, 2) a lively and spirited text discussion while waiting for the food to cook/heat/rise/sit, and 3) finishing the food - tasting and reflecting on the lessons of the day - both culinary and intellectual/spiritual.

Caramel and the Sticky Path to Redemption | Cauliflower Crust Pizza and the Holy Trickster
Crispy Korean Chicken Wings/Tofu and Mirroring at Sinai | Yay, Leftovers & Mining/Undermining

Where: CBS Kitchen & Main Meeting Room
When: Sundays, 2 p.m. | November 17 & 24, and December 8 & 15
Cost: Public $360 | CBS Members $72
Email Rebecca Goodman for registration information 

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Introduction to Kabbalah (part 1)
with Yosef Rosen

Yosef Rosen is an historian and teacher of Jewish creativity. His classes weave together the imaginative and social dimensions of Jewish creative genres-Kabbalah, Talmud, philosophy, and poetry-and invite students to discover their own genres of intellectual creativity. He is currently a Jewish Studies teacher at The Jewish Community High School of the Bay (JCHS). He has a Ph.D. in Jewish Studies from UC Berkeley, where he completed a dissertation on representations of spiritual community in the Zohar. Before moving to the Bay seven years ago, Yosef spent many years in traditional and innovative yeshivot in both Israel and America. In his spare time he wanders the woodlands of Northern California and celebrates the hillsides of the Bay on his bike.

This class will take you on a journey across the 2,500 year history of Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah. We will map this past together so we can better engage with contemporary forms of Jewish spirituality, and revisit forgotten, abandoned, or now-impossible forms of imagination, devotion, and love. Along the way we will learn about archangels, medieval mysticism of language, celestial aesthetics, meditation techniques, false messiahs, erotic devotion, cosmology, theological revolutions, poetries of the ineffable, Hassidut, Madonna, and more. Each meeting’s conversation and learning will emerge out of primary-source readings (all in English translation). All are welcome; no previous Jewish knowledge is required. This is for beginners who want to go deep.

Where: Beit Midrash (Library)
When: Mondays, 6:30 p.m. | November 25, and December 2, 9, & 16
Cost:  Public $180 | CBS Members $36
Email Rebecca Goodman for registration information 


The Good Old Days: 
Creating American Jewish Nostalgia
with Rachel Gross

Rachel B. Gross is the John and Marcia Goldman Professor of American Jewish Studies in the Department of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University. 
Her manuscript, Feeling Jewish: Nostalgia and American Jewish Religion, examines how contemporary American Jews use nostalgia to create religious communities. She received her Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University.

Nostalgia, a sentimental longing for a past that cannot be recovered, is a powerful theme in American Jewish religion and culture that is communicated through what American Jews make, buy, and sell. This course will examine how American Jews tell stories about Ashkenazi Jews' immigration to the United States at the turn of the twentieth century, and how they connect to it emotionally and physically through Jewish genealogy, visiting historic synagogues, buying children's books and dolls, and eating out at restaurants reimagining Ashkenazi cuisine. Through these institutional and commercial activities and others, contemporary American Jews express their longing for authentic Jewish pasts, build community in the present, and pass on their values to future generations.

Where: Beit Midrash (Library)
When: Sundays, 6:30 p.m. | February 2 & 9, and March 1 & 8
Cost: Public $180 | CBS Members $36
Email Rebecca Goodman for registration information 

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Ethical Fitness Kevah Group
with Rachel Brodie

Rachel Brodie is a Jewish educator extraordinaire. From 2011 to 2016 Rachel served as the Chief Jewish Officer of the JCC of San Francisco. Prior to that (2004-2011) Rachel was the co-founder and Executive Director of Jewish Milestones: a not-for-profit, educational resource for Jewish lifecycle ceremonies. 
 A New Yorker by birth and temperament, Rachel settled in the Bay Area in 1997 after spending a year in Israel on a Melton Senior Educator's Fellowship at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She holds a master's degree in Rabbinic Literature from The Jewish Theological Seminary and a B.A. in Literature and Society from Brown University.

Join us this year for learning in a intimate group setting through the Kevah Program at HAMAQOM|The Place. The Ethical Fitness Kevah group is looking for new learners! The group meets on Thursday mornings once a month at CBS. This year’s topic is Stories and Folklore. Sometimes, as stories evolve, so do the messages they convey and the values they teach. This is especially true of folklore. Together we will look at folkloric motifs - the sleeper, the rainmaker, the impoverished princess, and more - as they appear in classic Jewish texts. One of the functions of these tales is to help mediate between nostalgia/fantasy and the harshness of reality by offering solace and cultivating hope. The stories change as a result of the agenda of the teller or are they more like a centuries long game of “telephone”? Do the changes reflect differences in context or artistic choices in the telling? And in 2019, facing harsh realities of our own, can we find solace or hope in these ancient tales? What light can these stories shed on our communal and personal ethics? Let’s find out …

Where: Beit Midrash (Library)
When: Thursdays, 9:30-11 a.m. | Oct 3, Nov 7, Dec 5, Jan 2, Feb 6, Mar 5, Apr 2, and May 7
Cost: Sliding Scale
Register: or contact Associate Director of HAMAQOM Tamar Zaken at


Sound Song and Symbol: 
The Community Sings Together
with Jeremiah Lockwood and Jewlia Eisenberg

Jeremiah Lockwood is the son of composer Larry Lockwood and the grandson of the legendary Cantor Jacob Konigsberg. A guitarist and singer, Jeremiah performs with vocalist and Charming Hostess founder Jewlia Eisenberg in their duo project, Book of J. Lockwood began his musical career performing on the streets and subways of Manhattan, absorbing the deepest layers of American roots music. Among many accolades, Jeremiah was named a Composer Fellow for the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra. Read more about Jeremiah on our website.

Jewlia Eisenberg is founder and bandleader of Charming Hostess; she coined the term “Nerdy-Sexy-Commie-Girly” to describe her genre of music which spans an eclectic range of styles. Originally from New York City, Eisenberg became an integral member of the San Francisco Bay Area and the New York Downtown music scenes in the 1990s. She has been commissioned by the Sloan Foundation and the Goethe Institut SF and has received numerous awards. Find out more on our website.

This program facilitates deeper knowledge of Jewish liturgy through communal music making, text study, hevruta learning, and conversation. Each session presents a carefully selected piece of traditional liturgical music.

Rigorous in their engagement with historic Jewish sounds and classic texts and positive in their affirmation of the value and inherent beauty of all voices, this course will provide you with liturgical skills you can put into practice directly on Shabbat and holiday services. This is a great opportunity for you to get deeper into the liturgy and find a smart and aesthetically engaged path into participation in services.

Where: Beit Midrash (Library)
When: Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. | TBD
Cost: Public $180 | CBS Members $36
Email Rebecca Goodman for registration information 

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Beginning (Introduction to) Hebrew for Adults
with Rebecca Goodman, Director of Lifelong Learning

Rebecca Goodman has dedicated two decades to educating Jews. After falling in love with Judaism as a child at Congregation Beth Jacob in Redwood City, she attended Jewish summer camps, traveled to Israel, was a madricha, and President of her USY chapter. Although her Jewish path took a curve while studied engineering in college, she remained connected to the Jewish community by teaching religious school. Rebecca graduated from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion with a master’s degree in Jewish Education and a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management.

She recently expanded her role at CBS to Director of 
Lifelong Learning; her first accomplishment, bringing you this catalogue of courses.

Introduction to Hebrew for those who do not yet know how to decode the alef bet (Hebrew alphabet). This beginner course will prepare you to sound out words and begin reading. It is fast-paced for a dedicated beginner and for those who want a quick refresher.

Where: Beit Midrash (Library)
When: Thursdays, 6:30-8 p.m. | January 9, 16, 23, 30 and February 6, 13, 20, 27
Cost: Public $540 | CBS Members $108
Email Rebecca Goodman for registration information 


Intermediate Hebrew for Adults
with Yaffa Tygiel

Yaffa Tygiel graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with a degree in Hebrew Literature and Bible Studies. She later received a Master's degree from Hebrew University's School of Education in Educational and Communal Administration and Early Childhood. Since that time she has served in executive administrative roles and/or taught Hebrew language and Jewish Studies in a variety of environments in Israel and the United States, including SF Ulpan, community centers, summer camps, synagogues, Jewish day schools, universities.

This ongoing course begins with the students and advances at their pace. The courses will introduce to prayer vocabulary and modern Hebrew. It is designed for those with some knowledge of Hebrew. Focus will be on mastery of the past and future tenses and conversation proficiency.

Where: Beit Midrash (Library)
When: Tuesdays, 4-6 p.m. | Fall: October 29, November 5, 12, 19, 26, December 3, 10, 17 | Winter: January 8, 15, 22, 29, February 5, 12, 19, 26 | Spring: March 18, 25, April 1, 22, May 6, 13, 20, 27
Cost (per 8 sessions): Public $540 | CBS Members $108
Email Rebecca Goodman for registration information 

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“Levi Strauss: A History of American Style” | Exhibit tour at The Contemporary Jewish Museum
Led by Judy Leash, CBS Member & CJM Docent

In 1873, at the height of the Gold Rush, Levi Strauss & Co., named for a Bavarian Jewish dry goods merchant in San Francisco, obtained a U.S. patent with tailor Jacob Davis on the process of putting metal rivets in men’s denim work pants to increase their durability. It was the birth of the blue jean. The Contemporary Jewish Museum presents Levi Strauss: A History of American Style, an original exhibition showcasing the life of Levi Strauss, the invention of the blue jean, and their iconic place in the history of American style.

This exhibition tells the distinctly American story of Levi Strauss, a Jewish immigrant, businessman, and philanthropist whose lifelong commitment to family and civic life were fundamental to the history of San Francisco. Starting with the company’s foundation and early local renown as purveyors of “waist overalls” for gold miners and famously indestructible garments for farmers and tradespeople, the exhibition follows the evolution of Levis Strauss & Co. into the early 20th century, the exhibition illuminates the pivotal role Levi Strauss & Co. played - through finely crafted clothing and advertising - in capturing the expanding mythology of the American West. Across film and television, on concert stages, and in the streets, Levi’s® classic appeal continues to inspire and evolve as a symbol of effortless cool for youth, rockers, and revolutionaries alike.

Where: The Contemporary Jewish Museum
When: Sunday, March 29, 2 p.m.
Cost: Free; max 25 registrants
Email Rebecca Goodman for registration information