CORE Groups Resource Bank

At Central Synagogue

CORE Groups Discussion Series

Because the focus of CORE Groups is on building sacred relationships, the most important “texts” that will ground these discussions will be the Torah each member has to offer based on his or her own life experiences. However, in order to facilitate deep and meaningful conversation, and to help connect your lived experiences to Jewish tradition, we offer a number of discussion series.

We ask that each member commit to completing the series chosen by the group.  At the end of a series, a group may choose to conclude, or may choose to start another series based on members’ interests. If group members would prefer to ground their discussions in content other than that which is offered in these series (or to create a customized program using materials from two or more series), they are of course welcome to do so.

CORE Group Leaders Best Practices Guide »


Sermon Series

These discussions will use the weekly and High Holy Days sermons of our Central Synagogue clergy as touchstone texts, allowing members to delve more deeply into how our sacred texts inform their everyday lives. Group members may listen to the sermon in person or online.  Accompanying each sermon is a discussion guide, including guiding questions and supplemental texts to help flesh out the discussion.

Crowns of Torah: Re-Forming Judaism

Rabbi Buchdahl, Rosh HaShanah 2015

Sermon video & text | Facilitator’s Guide | Text Study

Unpolished

Rabbi Kolin, Yom Kippur 2015

Sermon video & text | Facilitator’s Guide | Text Study

Lifting Our Eyes: Parashat Vayeira

Rabbi Kolin, October 30, 2015

Sermon video & text | Facilitator’s Guide | Text Study

Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Bazeh: Parashat Chayei Sarah

Rabbi Buchdahl, November 6, 2015

Sermon video & text | Facilitator’s Guide | Text Study

A Renewed Hope: Parashat Vayishlach

Rabbi Salth, November 27, 2015

Sermon video & text | Facilitator’s Guide | Text Study

It would be enough: Parashat Vayigash

Rabbi Lorge, December 18, 2015

Sermon video & text | Facilitator’s Guide | Text Study

Being a Goel: Parashat Va-eira

Rabbi Lorge, January 8, 2016

Sermon video & text | Facilitator’s Guide | Text Study

Hidden Gifts: Parashat Terumah

Rabbi Auerbach, February 12, 2016

Sermon video & text | Facilitator’s Guide | Text Study

Finding God in the Shadows: Parashat Vayak’heil

Rabbi Buchdahl, March 4, 2016

Sermon video & text | Facilitator’s Guide | Text Study

IKEA and the Mishkan: Parashat P’kudei

Rabbi Kolin, March 11, 2016

Sermon video & text | Facilitator’s Guide | Text Study

Chosen to Be The Other

Rabbi Buchdahl, October 2, 2016

Sermon video & text | Facilitator’s Guide | Text Study

America – Illuminated and on Fire: Parashat Lech L’cha

Rabbi Rosenthal, November 11, 2016

Sermon video & text | Facilitator’s Guide | Text Study

Wrestling with God: Parashat Vayishlach

Cantor Julia Cadrain, December 16, 2016

Sermon video & text | Facilitator’s Guide | Text Study

Walking With You: Parashat Va-eira

Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, January 27, 2017

Sermon video & text | Facilitator’s Guide | Text Study

Made of One Piece: Parashat T’rumah

Rabbi Ari Lorge, March 3, 2017

Sermon audio & text | Facilitator’s Guide | Text Study


Ben Franklin Meets Pirkei Avot

In the ancient Jewish text Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers), a group of rabbinic scholars in Israel at the beginning of the Common Era fashioned a roadmap to living a moral life. A millennia and a half later, Ben Franklin created his own plan for a moral life. He identified 13 virtues as the framework for self-improvement and started his mutual-improvement club as a support group to keep him and his peers on track. The initiative we’re calling Ben Franklin Meets Pirkei Avot pairs Franklin’s virtues with corresponding selections from Pirkei Avot. The toolkit and resources – created in partnership by 92Y, the URJ, and Central Synagogue ­– provide a side-by-side comparison of two great traditions. Use the readings, questions, and outline to facilitate a unique and powerful dialogue about Jewish and American values.

Ben Franklin Meets Pirkei Avot Toolkit »

Ask Big Questions

Created in partnership with the groundbreaking community-building organization Ask Big Questions, each session in this series focuses on a universal “big question” designed to facilitate reflection, story sharing and intentional community building.  Examples of such “big questions” include:  “For whom are we responsible?” “What do we choose to ignore?” and “What will your legacy be?”

ABQ Year 1

For whom are we responsible?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

How do you recharge?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

What are you thankful for?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

What does the world need from you?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

What you have learned so far?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

What will your legacy be?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

When are you satisfied?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

Where do you feel at home?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

ABQ Year 2

How do we connect?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

How do we disagree?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

How do we love?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

How does technology change us?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

What advantages do you have?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

What do we choose to ignore?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

When do you say no?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

Why bother?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide


Social Justice

This original series, created by Rabbi Nicole Auerbach, offers participants an opportunity to explore the Jewish roots of social justice work, and to ask key questions that will help guide and enrich their efforts to repair the world.  In addition to asking “What is Jewish about social justice,” the series allows members to explore such questions as: “How do I balance my obligation to the Jewish community with my obligations to others?” “Should I prioritize my local community, or other communities in greater need?” and “How much should I give?”  The series is grounded in traditional and contemporary Jewish texts, but offers ample opportunity for members to explore their own beliefs.

Justice, justice shall you pursue: What is Jewish about social justice work?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

In the image of God: How do we respect the dignity of those we serve?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

The needy among us: To whom are we obligated, in a time of rapid globalization?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

For the sake of peace: Considering our obligations to Jews and others

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

Giving life to the needy: Engaging in acts of service

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

According to our ability: How much should we give?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

Swords into ploughshares: Envisioning a more just future?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide

Expanding our moral territory: How have you changed?

Facilitator’s Guide | Participant’s Guide


Enduring Disagreements CORE Groups

This curriculum is grounded in the Jewish concept of makhloet l’shem shamayim – arguments for the sake of heaven – and was framed by our Enduring Disagreements Speaker Series. Drawing on both Jewish and secular texts, we hope to gain an understanding of why diversity of opinion is so important, and how we can learn to listen to and respect those with whom we disagree.

Enduring Disagreements Materials

Omer Reflection Guide »

Discussion 1

TED Talk: On Being Wrong | Facilitator’s Guide | Text Study

Discussion 2

Viewpoint Diversity Experience | Facilitator’s Guide | Text Study

Discussion 3

Linda Sarsour & American Jewish Politics | Facilitator’s Guide | Text Study

Supplemental

TED Talk, Jonathan Haidt: The Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives »

Slides from Jonathan Haidt’s Presentation »

ViewpointDiversity.org »