Lectures & Courses

At Central Synagogue

Adult Engagement Programming

Click here to view a complete list of Fall 2019 Adult Engagement Events and Courses.

Interested in presenting at Central Synagogue? Please contact Lauren Dickel, Adult Engagement Program Manager, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Shabbat is Central

Friday, January 24, 2020

After last year’s huge success we are bringing back our congregational wide Shabbat initiative in January, 2020. Our goal is to have numerous dinners across the congregation, and around New York City, spanning members of all ages. We need hosts and participants! If you are interested in hosting a dinner, or attending one, save the date. More information to come in the late fall.

Dr. Ruth in Conversation with Rabbi Buchdahl

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Mark your calendars for a one time only special screening and discussion with Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Rabbi Angela Buchdahl. We will view portions of the recently released film “Ask Dr. Ruth” and have opportunities to ask Dr. Ruth questions in person. Cost: Free.

RSVP here.

Upcoming Lectures, Courses and Special Events:

Visit to the Museum of Jewish Heritage (For members only)

Sunday, December 15, Various times | Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust: Edmond J. Safra Plaza 36 Battery Place, New York

We invite you to visit the groundbreaking exhibition “Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away,”

This exhibition, the most comprehensive presentation dedicated to the history and role of Auschwitz ever presented in North America, brings together more than 700 original objects and 400 photographs from over 20 institutions and museums around the world. It is, as the museum describes, “an unparalleled opportunity to confront the singular face of human evil—one that arose not long ago and not far away.”

Please note: The exhibit is extensive and takes up all three floors of the museum; visits last approximately two to three hours. Escalators take visitors to the second and third floors; elevator access is also available. The recommended age for this exhibit is 12 and up, as some presentations have graphic images.

On the registration form, you will be asked to select a museum entry time. You will have four options to choose from and you will be asked to decide whether you will need transportation to and from the museum. Buses will leave Central one hour prior to each start time. Please note, this offer is available to Central members only.

RSVP here.


Lunch and Learn: Pablo Casals for Peace  

Monday, December 16, 2019, 12:30 – 2:00 pm | Lindenbaum Pavilion

Led by Renowned Conductor Cesare Civetta

Join Civetta for a journey through the tumultuous life of cellist, conductor and composer Pablo Casals, a phenomenally courageous and generous peace activist, who gave up his career to protest Franco’s fascism and Hitler’s Nazism, and who moved from Catalonia to Puerto Rico at 80. Enjoy rare recordings, photos, interviews and footage of the great musician and humanitarian, who during his third visit to Israel played for prime ministers just one month before his death at age 97. Members: $15; Non-members: $18

Register »

Conversational/Modern Hebrew

Mondays, October 28 – December 16, 2019, 6:30 – 8:00 PM, Community House | Community House

Taught by Jewish Educator Michal Nachmany

Have you ever dreamt of ordering Israeli food in Hebrew or negotiating prices in the shuk? In this class, we will learn practical words and phrases that will help you have a basic conversation on the streets of Tel Aviv or markets of Jerusalem. Members: $125; Non-Members: $175

Register »

A Musical Concert: Chanukah Lights Up the World

Tuesday, December 17, 2019, Reception: 6:30 pm; Concert: 7:00 – 8:00 pm | Lindenbaum Pavilion

This joyous celebration will be hosted by Elad Kabilio, acclaimed Israeli cellist and educator, and artistic director of MusicTalks. The concert will include Yiddish Theatre Star Daniella Rabbani, Israeli Opera Singer Inbar Goldmann, and Israeli chamber group “12th Night Klezmer.” Revel in international songs and stories inspired by the Festival of Lights; from Klezmer and Ladino, to classical opera and jazz. Families welcome. Members: $18; Non-members: $25.

Register »

Samuel I and II

Wednesdays: September 4, 2019-June 17, 2020, 1:30-2:30 pm | Community House
Taught by Cantor Suzanne Skloot

Explore the text of Samuel I and II. Together we will look at and compare the translations of the Jewish Publication Society and the more recent translation by UC Berkeley professor Robert Alter, and learn why Alter believes that the character of David is the finest portrayal of a human life from antiquity. Our discussions will work to understand the agendas of the original authors and their subsequent editors.

Join anytime! No regiration required.

Bible and Bagels 

Wednesdays: September 11, 2019-June 17, 2020, 8:15-9:15 am |

Join us as we continue our journey through the Torah, reading a chapter a week. We will pick up where we left off with the Book of Kings, but participation is encouraged at any time.

Prayerbook/Biblical Hebrew

Wednesdays, October 30 – December 18, 2019, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM | Community House

Taught by Jewish Educator Michal Nachmany

Would you like to better read and understand Hebrew used during Shabbat or the High Holy Days? In this class, we will go over basic prayers and develop an understanding of key words in liturgy. Morning and evening classes offered. Members: $125; Non-Members: $175

Register »

Weekly Torah Study with Central Clergy

Wednesdays: September 4, 2019-June 17, 2020, 12:00-1:15 pm | Community House
Taught by Central’s Rabbi Mo Salth

This class explores the weekly Torah portion from ancient and modern perspectives.

Join anytime! No registration required.

Learning with Central’s Rabbi Emeritus Peter Rubinstein

Monday, November 4 and Wednesday, December 18, 2019, 5:30 – 6:45 PM | Community House

Taught by Central’s Rabbi Emeritus Rabbi Peter Rubinstein

Join Rabbi Emeritus Peter Rubinstein for the next installment of this popular series: Current (and Political) Issues Through a Jewish Textual Lens. Session #1 - Fake News and Name-calling; Session #2 - Economic Inequality. Members: Free; Non-Members: $15

Register for November Session »

Register for December Session »

Alper Talmud Study

Fridays: September 13, 2019-June 19, 2020, 8:15-9:15 am | Community House

Taught by Jewish Educator Dr. Rachel Rosenthal

Explore one of the most radical rabbinic texts in all of Judaism, the Talmud. This year, we will be examining what it means to be a responsible person in a larger society.

Join anytime! No registration required.

Prayer Book/Biblical Hebrew

Wednesdays, January 22 - March 18, 2020 | Community House

Taught by Jewish Educator Michal Nachmany

Would you like to better read and understand Hebrew used during Shabbat or the High Holy Days? In this class, we will go over basic prayers and develop an understanding of key words in liturgy.  Members: $125; Non-Members: $175

Registration link coming soon.

Heart, Mind, Soul: The Wisdom of Shabbat and Jewish Holidays

Thursdays, January 23 – March 26, 2020, 6:00 – 7:15 pm | Community House

Taught by Jewish Educator Joe Septimus

Together we will examine what it means to live in “Jewish time.” Using ancient, medieval, and modern texts we will explore the transformative power of Shabbat and the Jewish holidays, and why the rituals of the past still have meaning and importance in today’s world. Members: $125; Non-members: $175

Registration link coming soon.

Shabbat is Central

Friday, January 24, 2020 | Various locations around NYC

This opportunity is open to Central Synagogue members, participants in our 20s/30s programs, and those on our waitlist.

Back by popular demand, Shabbat is Central returns this January! Last year more than 500 Central members took part in this initiative, celebrating Shabbat together with new friends and connecting more deeply to the beauty of Shabbat and our Central community.

Once again this year, we are looking to Central members to open their homes across New York City, and welcome their fellow members for Shabbat. Dinners may be simple or elaborate, home-cooked or ordered in, a family-friendly pizza dinner or a “Game of Thrones”-themed banquet. Last year saw a ‘90s-themed dinner, Indian and Middle-Eastern feasts, and even a wine dinner. Regardless of the meal type or whether you are a host or a guest, don’t miss this opportunity to join together in community.

If you would be available to host this year, please let us know by clicking on the button below. Of course, if you can’t host, we hope you will consider joining as a participant at someone else’s table! Registration for attendees will open on January 2.

Click here to sign up

Conversational/Modern Hebrew

Mondays, January 27 - March 30, 2020 | Community House

This class is for anyone hoping to improve their basic conversational Hebrew. Learn practical words and phrases and make your Hebrew sababa!

Members: $150; Non-members: $175

Register here.

Dr. Ruth in Conversation with Rabbi Buchdahl

Wednesday, February 5, 2020 | Beir Chapel, Lese Lobby

Join Rabbi Angela Buchdahl for a discussion with the one and only Dr. Ruth Westheimer. As her 90th birthday approaches, Dr. Ruth will reflect on her past as a survivor of the Holocaust, and the career path that led her to become America’s most famous—and favorite—sex therapist. Together we will view portions of the recently released film “Ask Dr. Ruth” and then open up the floor for a Q&A session. A short wine and cheese reception will follow the program.

RSVP required. Open to all; Cost: Free

RSVP here.


Does Faith Have to be About God?

Monday, February 17, 2020 | Lindenbaum Pavilion

Taught by Filmaker and Animator Hanan Harchol

Hanon Harchol, the creator of the popular animated series for adults and teens “Jewish Food For Thought,” uses his acclaimed animations to explore Jewish wisdom and fuel lively conversation. This program will focus on faith and how it can be applied to our daily lives and relationships. He will also discuss his creative process and the journey that led him to begin making animations about Jewish ethical wisdom.

Members: $15; Non-Members: $18

Registration link coming soon.

Dilemmas of Faith

Mondays, March 2 - May 4, 2020 | Community House

Taught by Rabbi Hilly Haber

In an age of radical polarization in modern society, with a rise in religious fundamentalism on the one hand and a rise of atheism on the other, how does Jewish tradition approach dilemmas of faith? Based on classical Jewish tradition and contemporary Jewish thought and life, Rabbi Haber will address the big questions raised by the intersection of faith and reason, faith and history, and faith and politics.

Members: $150; Non-Members: $175

Register here.


In Jewish Harmony: Music from Synagogues Around the World

Monday, March 16, 2020 | Lindenbaum Pavilion

Led by Elad Kabilio (cello), Inbar Goldmann (mezzo soprano), and Avigail Malachi-Baev (clarinet)

Don’t miss this multisensory virtual visit to ten historic synagogues around the world, performed by an Israeli classical music trio. In this multimedia presentation, you will be treated to live musical performances, authentic to each era and civilization, while viewing the unique architectural features and artistic design of these structures central to Jewish life.

Members: $15; Non-members: $18

Registration link coming soon.

Register here.

Celebrate “National Refugee Shabbat” With Emma’s Torch

Friday, March 20, 2020 | Lindenbaum Pavilion

In the spirit of “welcoming the stranger,” we invite you to join our community for a special Shabbat dinner catered and hosted by training chefs from the organization Emma’s Torch, which provides refugees with culinary training, ESL classes, and job interview preparation. During the dinner we will not only eat a delicious Shabbat meal together, but we will also hear from alumni of the program and other speakers about important issues relating to refugees in the United States.

Adults: $25; Children under 18: Free

Register here.


The Poet and the Statue: Emma Lazarus and American and Jewish Identity

Monday, April 6, 2020 | Lindenbaum Pavilion

Led by Dr. Annie Polland, Executive Director at the American Jewish Historical Society

Join historian Annie Polland on a journey through the adventurous and multifaceted life of Emma Lazarus. Best known for writing “The New Colossus” in 1883, the poem quoted on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, Lazarus was also the author of poetry, prose, and translations, and a well known activist for Jewish causes. Polland will share rare photos, letters, and other primary sources to illustrate the story of this iconic Jewish New Yorker.

Members: $15; Non-members:$18

RSVP here.

Counting the Omer

Tuesdays, April 7 - May 26, 2020 | Community House

Taught by Award-Winning Poet Jessica Greenbaum

Come learn and find community during the Omer —a traditional time of self-reflection between the holidays of Passover and Shavuot. Led by award-winning poet and beloved Central teacher Jessica Greenbaum, this class will look at the traditional practice of reflecting on divine and personal attributes such as loving kindness, humility, and goodness, and will explore those attributes through contemporary texts and poetry.

Members: $150; Non-Members: $175

Registration link coming soon.

Art Opening: “Beyond the Shadows” with Judy Glickman Lauder

Monday, April 20, 2020 | Lindenbaum Pavilion

Join Judy Glickman Lauder at an opening reception for her exhibition of photographs from her book “Beyond the Shadows: The Holocaust and the Danish Exception.” In this exhibition, Lauder captures the devastation of Nazi death camps in a series of dark and haunting photos, and then, in contrast, presents uplifting portraits of Danish citizens who risked everything to save Jewish lives. The photo exhibition will remain in the Pavilion through the end of May. The reception will begin immediately after our annual interfaith Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) service, which begins at 6:00 pm in the sanctuary.

Open to all; Cost: Free

RSVP link coming soon.

Interfaith Scriptural Reasoning

Wednesdays, February 12, March 25, April 22, 2020 | Community House

Led by Spiritual Reasoning Interfaith Program Facilitators

Study texts from the Quran, New Testament, and Hebrew Bible alongside Christians and Muslims. Scriptural Reasoning, a tool for interfaith dialogue, explores the common heritage of the three Abrahamic religions through their sacred books, and builds community through study. Trained facilitators encourage participants to share and learn from one another while respecting the similarities and differences between their faiths. This is a three-session series, with different texts read at each meeting. We ask registrants to plan to attend all three sessions.
Cost: Free

Register here.

“The College Behind Bars” Film Screening and Discussion with the Bard Prison Initiative

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 | Beir Chapel

Join Rabbis Nicole Auerbach and Hilly Haber to learn more about the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI), a groundbreaking program that gives men and women in New York State Prisons an opportunity to earn a college degree. Together with graduates of the BPI program, we will watch parts of the documentary “The College Behind Bars”, which highlights the radical transformation of criminal punishment into access and opportunity for higher learning. After the film, Max Kenner, BPI’s Founder/Executive Director, and graduates of the program will lead a discussion and Q&A.

Open to all; Cost: Free

RSVP here.


The Great Jack Benny

Monday, May 11, 2020 | Lindenbaum Pavilion

Led by Cesare Civetta

Cesare Civetta returns to explore the fascinating life of the inimitable Jack Benny. One of the most beloved comedians of the 20th century, he is less well known for his significant philanthropic contributions to the arts, and his work raising millions of dollars for concert halls and symphony orchestras. The presentation includes rare photos, interviews, and excerpts from radio and TV.

Members: $15; Non-members: $18

Register here.

Ongoing Classes

No registration required and free of charge. Classes take place in our Community House..