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

Monday, January 27, 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.

Upcoming Lectures, Courses and Special Events:

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.

Jewish Hidden Figures: Overlooked and Underestimated Personalities in the Bible

October 23 - December 11, 2019, 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM | Community House

Taught by Award-Winning Poet Jessica Greenbaum

This class will take a closer look at some singular Biblical characters, including the daughters of Zelophehad (unique in Torah for fighting for their inheritance), the artisan Betzalel, and the better-known Ruth, Jonah, and the nameless wife of Lot. These characters’ complexities offer depths of renewed recognition when read in the context of our own study, scholarly comments, and contemporary poems. The last half hour of class will be set aside as an optional time for reading poems written by participants in response to our discussions. No prior poetry or Judaic knowledge required.

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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

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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.

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

Thursdays, September 12 – November 21, 2019, 6:00 – 7:15 pm | Community House

Taught by Jewish Educator Joe Septimus

Together we will plumb the intellectual and spiritual depths of living in Jewish time. Using ancient, medieval and modern texts we will explore the transformative power of Shabbat and the Jewish holidays. Members: $125; Non-members: $175

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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.

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

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Reports from the Frontlines: Anti-Semitism and White Supremacy

December 3, 6:30 pm | Lindenbaum Pavilion

Led by Columbia Professor and founding partner of Kaplan, Hecker & Fink, Roberta Kaplan, and Eric Ward, Executive Director of the Western States Center

Roberta Kaplan is leading the legal fight against the hate groups behind the violent alt-right confrontations in Charlottesville. Eric Ward is a national expert in the relationship between anti-Semitism and white supremacy. Together they will join in conversation about their work and the challenges they face in their fight against bigotry. Cost: Free

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Let’s Talk about Death…Over Dinner 

Friday, December 13, 2019, 7:30 - 9:00 pm | Lindenbaum Pavilion

Join us for one of the most important conversations you have been trying not to have. Together with our community and within our sacred space, Rabbi Lori Koffman and former Central President Howard Sharfstein invite you gather for conversations that will transform the topic of death into a subject that invites introspection and life-affirming dialogue. Through the frame of Jewish tradition and wisdom and with the warmth and sense of connection that comes with sharing a meal, we hope you will find the evening not only empowering, but even uplifting.   

Sponsored in part by the Jill and Howard Sharfstein Fund to Support Life’s Journeys. Members: $18; Non-members: $18

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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

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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.

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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 »

Ongoing Classes

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