Deepen Your Understanding
While restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic prevent us from meeting in person, we continue to foster a vibrant learning community. See below for our current course offerings. For other special events and programs, please see our Community page.
Learning with Rabbi Peter Rubinstein
Wednesday, April 21
Free for Members / $15 Non-Members
Join us as Rabbi Rubinstein speaks on the timely topic of “Vaccinations, Mandates, and Jewish Law.”
Jewish Bookshelf: Rabbi Mark Sameth and Rabbi Sarah Berman
Thursday, April 22
7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Taught by Rabbi Mark Sameth and Rabbi Sarah Berman
Join Rabbi Sarah Berman as she welcomes Rabbi Mark Sameth who will talk about his book The Name: A History of the Dual-Gendered Hebrew Name for God and the books that influenced its writing. The Name has been called “startlingly persuasive” (CCAR Journal), and Rabbi Lawrence Kushner says it “may just be the most interesting thing written about God since the Jews figured out there was only One.”
About Rabbi Mark Sameth:
Named to The Forward’s list of “America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis,” featured in Berne and Belchman’s God: 48 Famous and Fascinating Minds Talk about God, Rabbi Mark Sameth’s essays include “Our Father, Who Art Our Mother” (Religion Dispatches) and “Is God Transgender?” (Op-Ed, The New York Times) — links to which may be found on his website https://rabbimarksameth.com
Lunch & Learn: The Inimitable Barbara Streisand
Monday, April 26
1:00 - 2:00 pm
Led by Conductor Cesare Civetta
Free for Central Members / $18 for Non-Members
Cesare will be showing rare photos, interviews, recordings, footage, and details of this fascinating life, including her activism. Here is a short preview: https://youtu.be/lhI5c7php6U
An Unlikely Partnership: Reimagining Prosecution in New York City
Thursday, May 6
7:30 - 8:30 pm
Free / Open to All
These days, it is rare to see people with very different political opinions find ways to sit at a table and work together. But Nigel Farinha, Chief of Gang Prosecution, Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office, and Jarrell E. Daniels, an Open Society Youth Activist Fellow and Justice-in-Education Scholar at Columbia University, are committed to working together despite their difference of opinions. Do not miss this very special conversation as Nigel and Jarrell share their stories, how they met, and why they are committed to working together.
Fridays, 10:30am - 11:30 am
March 5 - April 23
Taught by Current HUC Students
Free! Offered via Facebook—log in our Facebook page on the correct day and time!
Before Angela Buchdahl was a rabbi, she was a rabbinical student; before Dan Mutlu was a cantor, he was a cantorial student. It was in school that both began to develop their voices as Jewish leaders.
This course gives you an opportunity to learn from the generation of rabbis and cantors, who will be shaping and shepherding Judaism in the future. Each week you will get to learn with a different creative and thoughtful HUC student, who will present their favorite text. Text selections are drawn from Torah, midrash, prayers, and popular music—a diverse and beautiful range of Jewish perspectives. Classes will be interactive and will require no advance preparation.
9 April – Rachel Weston, (British) Yiddish Songs
16 April – Noah Lawrence, Contemporary Song Lyrics
23 April – Stefanie Green, Musical Theater as Midrash
Poetic Shabbat: Our Prayers as an Evening-Long Poem of Transformation
Wednesdays, 10:30am - 11:45am
April 21 - May 26
Taught by Jessica Greenbaum
$100 members/$150 non-members
Join award-winning poet Jessica Greenbaum in a six-week investigation of the siddur’s guided progressions into the experience of Shabbat. We will take a close look at the emotional valences of Central Synagogue’s Friday night service’s collage of psalms and text, distilling their ideas and pairing them with contemporary poems. Our overarching ambition will be that of Shabbat—to find our way to holiness in time through a personal illumination of what we are offered. Writing our own poems will be optional. This is the most recent in a series of classes over seven years that have paired Jewish text and values with contemporary poetry and the writing of poems. No previous experience required!
Count Me In
Fridays, 5:15 pm - 5:45 pm
May 14, May 21, June 4
Taught by Rabbi April Davis
At the beginning of Numbers, God commands that a census be taken of the Israelites and that each person then take their place around the Tent of Meeting with their own flag, grouped under the banner of their ancestral house. In our meetings, we will gather under the banner of Central Synagogue to briefly discuss the Torah portion of the week and to check in, putting up our flags as we prepare to enter the virtual sanctuary for services.
In Case You Missed It
Let’s Talk Climate, Part 1: Dr. Kim Knowlton
On August 14, we had a conversation with Dr. Kim Knowlton, Senior Scientist and Deputy Director of Natural Resources Defense Council Science Center, for the first in the new Let’s Talk Climate series. Initiated by a group of passionate Central teens (Abby Berman, Rachel Berman, Lila Stevens, and Hannah Youngwood), this four-part series brings to the forefront important climate change and key environmental issues through talks with climate experts.
Being Jewish in France Today: The Challenge of Antisemitism and the Promise of the Republican Spirit
On June 17, Central’s Rabbi Emeritus Peter Rubinstein and Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur, writer and co-leader of the Liberal Jewish Movement of France, participated in a fascinating conversation as part of the 92Y series “France and Judaism: 2,000 years of Intertwined History,” in partnership with the Consulate General of France in New York, the World Jewish Congress, and the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaisme in Paris.
What Matters: Advance Care Planning with Rabbi Nicole Auerbach and Howard Sharfstein
On June 23, Rabbi Nicole Auerbach and Howard Sharfstein, Coordinator of Central’s What Matters initiative and former President of the Board of Trustees, hosted a webinar on the topic of Advance Care Planning. Click below to learn why it’s more important than ever to have “the talk” and learn the process of designating a health care proxy.
Spotlight NYC: Jennifer Finn and Concerts in Motion
Central’s Adult Engagement Program Manager, Lauren Dickel, moderated a conversation with Jennifer Finn, the found and executive director of Concerts in Motion (CiM). Viewers learned about Central’s partnership with the organization and also got a taste of CiM’s intimate virtual concerts through a 30-minute live performance with professional musician Tereasa Payne (flute, world flutes, reeds) and two young musical prodigies, Lucas (piano) and Leah Amory (violin).
20s and 30s at Central Synagogue
Find out about opportunities to meet, worship, learn, volunteer and virtually socialize with fellow Jewish 20s and 30s.
Click here for ways to stay connected and join our mailing list.
Center for Exploring Judaism
Now accepting registrations for our April 2021 cohort. Please register here.
The course is open to non-Jews alone or non-Jews with their Jewish partners, who are either members or non-members of Central Synagogue. For students exploring the possibility of converting to Judaism, this course serves as the first prerequisite step at Central Synagogue. Jewish partners of potential converts are welcome and strongly
encouraged to attend classes. For more information, click here.
Access to Programs and Events
Some Technological Tips
Many of our programs are accessed on the Zoom platform. New to Zoom? Check out this video from Candootech.com for help.
Other Learning Opportunities:
A few virtual programs being offered outside of Central Synagogue.
This pluralistic Jewish learning organization offers a number of recurring online classes and other programs.
A Daily Guide to Zoom Events, Livestreams and Other Online Resources
A compilation of resources for challenging times including free Torah study and daily online meditation.
The IJS is also offering the course, “Learn The Jewish Practice That Teaches You How To Be Your ‘Best Self’”.