Adult Engagement

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.​

Upcoming Events

The Rise of Mizrachi Music

Monday, November 2 1:00–2:00 pm​

Join Israeli-Yemenite singer Ariella Edvy and MusicTalks Artistic Director Elad Kabilio as they pay tribute to the Yemenite-Jewish heritage in music. Ms. Edvy will tell the story of the Yemenite-Jewish diaspora and its journey to Israel through the lens of her own family story.

Israelis, Iranians, Egyptians & Palestinians…Play Beethoven

Monday, November 23 1:00–2:00 pm​

Join conductor Cesare Civetta as he explores the amazing youth orchestra founded by Daniel Barenboim, comprised of instrumentalists from Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Spain, and Israel. The program will explore what impact coming together as a unified group despite deep cultural, national, political and religious divides, has on these talented musicians and their worlds. The presentation is littered with wonderful rare excerpts, played by the orchestra, from Beethoven to Ravel and feature classical pianist Martha Argerich. In a time filled with shadows, you won’t want to miss this uplifting and hopeful story.

The First Jewish Americans: Freedom and Culture in the New World

Monday, December 14 1:00–2:00 pm​

Join NY Historical Society for a special presentation based on the New York Historical Society’s 2016-17 exhibition. This presentation follows the journey of a people forced from their ancestral lands in Europe, as well as their homes in South America and the Caribbean, to their arrival in New Amsterdam in 1654 and the unprecedented political freedoms they gained in early 19th-century New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston.

​Upcoming Classes

​Prayer as Practice for Resilience

Mondays, 9:00 am–10:00 am​
October 5–December 7
Taught by Rabbi Nicole Auerbach and Rabbi Lisa Goldstein
$125 members / $175 non-members

Explore a variety of Jewish prayers and practices—some of which are in the siddur, others in our hearts—that can help us cultivate joy, resilience, and well-being. We will identify the qualities that these prayers help us access, and experiment with how to practice them together.

Jewish Medical Ethics

Tuesdays, 10:45 am–12:00 pm
October 20–December 22
Taught by Rabbi Dan Ross
$300 members / $350 non-members

Written by Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Ph.D., Jewish Medical Ethics is a curriculum developed by the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning that explores Jewish approaches to a number of challenging 21st-century ethical issues, including human cloning, surrogate motherhood, genetic identity, assisted suicide, and genetic manipulation.

Jewish Denominations: Challenges of Modernity

Tuesdays, 6:00 pm–7:15 pm
​October 6–December 8
Taught by Educator Harman Grossman
$300 members / $350 non-members

Using a curriculum developed by the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning, we will gain insights into the historical and ideological developments of Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and Reconstructionist Judaism and ask how those developments speak to us today.

Object Stories

Wednesdays, 10:30 am–11:45 am
October 7–December 2
Taught by Rabbi Sarah Berman
$125 members / $175 non-members

Each week, we will look closely at one object (a painting, a ketubah, a chanukah menorah), and the many stories it tells. We will explore a constellation of history, culture, text, and private lives, which together build a diverse set of stories about Jewish experience.

20th Century Jewish Theology

Thursdays, 10:00 am–11:30 am
​​October 8–December 3
Taught by Rabbi Hilly Haber
$125 members / $175 non-members

Dive into more than 100 years of Jewish philosophy and theology, spanning Enlightenment thinkers to post-Holocaust theologies and pioneering feminist and queer theologians. Together, we will consider the political, historical, and traditional aspects of Jewish theology while taking in account our personal ideas about God.

Teachings of Wonder, Wisdom, and Values

Thursdays, 6:00 pm–7:15 pm
October 1–December 17
Taught by Educator Joe Septimus
$125 members / $175 non-members

Together we will explore stories from the Talmud that confront the strengths and frailties of human nature, universal experiences, and the very nature of godliness. Designed to enhance and deepen our appreciation of life’s wisdom, our discussions will focus on our amazing and complex universe, and Jewish values.

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.

Virtual Coffee with Rabbinic Intern Chelsea Feuchs or Rabbi Dan Ross

Date: Sunday, August 9, 2020, through Thursday, December 31, 2020

Location: Zoom

Let us know if you want to grab a virtual cup of coffee! We’ll follow up about the day and time after you register. Either Rabbi Dan or Chelsea will be in touch to confirm.

Register here.

Torah on Tap

Date: Tuesday, October 27, 2020, 7:00 pm

Location: Zoom

In case you didn’t know, there is an election coming up. How do we as Jews think about our relationship with our government? What does it mean pray for our government’s welfare? Join us with the beverage of your choice as we tackle these big and serious questions during this season.

Register here.

“Shabbox:” Special Shabbat Cooking Event & Celebration with Emma’s Torch

Date: Cook-Along Demonstration: Thursday, October 29, 7:00 pm; Shabbat Dinner and Service: Friday, October 30, 2020

Location: Zoom

We invite you to join us for a special two-part Shabbat program in honor of the upcoming parshat Lech Lecha—the story of Abraham and Sarah’s perilous journey to their land of promise. We will be teaming up with Emma’s Torch, an organization that empowers refugees, asylees, and survivors of human trafficking through culinary education, to prepare a Shabbat dinner using your customized “Shabbox Meal Kit.”

For more information about the event and how to register, please click here.

Center for Exploring Judaism

Now accepting registrations for our September 2020 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.

Questions? Contact Center for Exploring Judaism Director, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Access to Programs and Events

Members, please check your Daily and Weekly Newsletter emails for login information and passwords where needed; all others may contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) during business hours for information on how to join.

Some Technological Tips

Many of our programs are accessed on the Zoom platform. New to Zoom? Check out this video from for help.

Other Learning Opportunities:

A few virtual programs being offered outside of Central Synagogue.

Virtual Beit Midrash from Hadar

This pluralistic Jewish learning organization offers a number of recurring online classes and other programs.

My Jewish Learning

A Daily Guide to Zoom Events, Livestreams and Other Online Resources

The Institute for Jewish Spirituality

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’”.