Adult Education

Rodfei Zedek offers many opportunities for adult education throughout the year, whether it is by giving a d'var torah or leading a torah discussion at services, participating in study groups or One Book, One Rodfei Zedek discussions, learning from fellow congregants as they lecture or offer courses on their own areas of specialization, or studying with our rabbi and cantor through programs like This American Shabbat.

One Book, One Rodfei ZedekSecond Person Singular
Our journal of ideas, To Learn and To Teach
Hyde Park Teen Beit Midrash
Writings by our Congregants

Encountering Difficult Texts | Exploring the Siddur
"Crash" Hebrew | Talmud Study | Russia and Its Jews
Isaiah | Learn to Lead Parts of the Services
Conversational Hebrew | Trope | Text Study Group
Sisterhood Programs | Reading Groups | Teachers Wanted

Encountering Difficult Texts
How do we read our texts and understand the tradition they have created?  Rabbi Minkus leads a Sunday morning class where we look at biblical, rabbinic, and modern texts that are difficult or troubling—to what degree and figuring out what "difficult" means will be our task (dates).

Exploring the Siddur
Cantor Rachel Rosenberg offers an opportunity to become more familiar with the brand new Siddur Lev Shalem prayerbook, understand the structure of the Shabbat services, and explore nuances of meaning behind certain key tefillot (prayers).  She will coach participants to become comfortable with participating in and leading services as desired.  For more information, contact Cantor Rachel (  11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. on selected Sundays to be announced.

"Crash" Hebrew
Crash Hebrew will be continuing through the spring!  We have just about finished mastering the alphabet, and will now learn the ins and outs of the Hebrew language in order to be able to read and understand the Siddur and Torah in the original.  Please join us on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 p.m. in the Library (dates and exceptions).  For more information, contact Mitchell Brown (

Conversational HebrewHebrew class 2
Interested in learning Hebrew?  Master teacher Rivka Kahana offers two classes on most Sunday mornings:   Intermediate Hebrew at 10:00 and Advanced Hebrew at 11:00.  New students are always welcome, including teens.  Please contact the Rodfei Zedek office for tuition information and other details for these classes (dates).

Russia and Its Jews:
  Continuities and Upheavals–Imperial Rule, Revolutions, Bolshevik Rule

Explore these questions and more with historian Rick Holbrook:  What changes in imperial policy affecting all Russians affect Jews in particular?  How did the Pale of Settlement come about?  How did the actions of radical groups alter imperial policy; e.g., the assassination of a czar?  What are the features of the anti-Semitism in 19th- and early 20th-century Russia?  What role did Jews play in the radical movements?  The impact of the First World War and the two revolutions – what about the Germans and to what extent were these events disaster and opportunity for Jews?  Finally, redefining one’s Jewish place in Bolshevik Russia in the 1920s.  Classes meet Sundays, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., beginning on November 6.

Studying Talmud after Monday morning minyanTalmud Study
Rabbi Larry Edwards leads a half hour of Talmud study each week following Monday morning minyan and ending by 9:00.  Beginners are welcome, as are those who have studied Talmud in the past.  English is the language of instruction.  No meeting on April 10 or April 17.

The Torah and Haftarah trope class will meet at times chosen in consultation with the students.  Students interested in taking this course should email Shirley Holbrook about their scheduling availability at

Dr. Judith R. Phillips-Balter will continue the study of the book of Isaiah with the following goals in mind:

  • To acquaint ourselves with the actual text of Isaiah, both in English translation and in the original Hebrew.  Students do not have to be proficient in Hebrew to follow along.
  • To understand what might be the socio-political contexts of Isaianic texts, and the composite, dialogical nature of the biblical book.
  • To gain an appreciation of the social, political and religious messages of the author(s), both those that are readily apparent and those that may be concealed in Isaiah's choices of language.
  • To look at Deutero-Isaiah.

Wherever possible, we will continue to engage in lively discussion of the text, especially where it may be relevant to current issues, practices or controversies.  Students need only bring to class a complete Bible, containing the Torah, Prophets and writings in English translation.  The most recent edition of the Oxford Annotated Bible, if it is available, is recommended.  This class meets offsite on Sunday morninigs.  Please email if you are interested in joining the class.

Text Study Group
This group began by bringing together people who love the prayers and wanted to know more about how they originated and what they mean.  The group consisted of "ordinary" shul members who began by studying the Shabbat service in our siddur, Or Chadash.  We moved on to study non‑prayer texts like the Books of Esther, Ecclesiastes, and Daniel, Ruth, Psalms, and Proverbs.  Group members take turns preparing for each session with issues for discussion and background information; we've now identified a number of easy-to-use works for reference.  Sessions are hosted at members' homes, usually once a month on a Sunday evening.  For further information, contact Shirley Holbrook at

Learning to Lead Portions of fhe Services ("Chevre Tefillah")
Rodfei Zedek continually encourages meaningful participation in services and is always looking for new leaders as well as more experienced daveners to increase their skill set and lead different parts of the service. This contributes to the community while deepening our own relationship to the text and melodies of the prayers.  Please contact Cantor Rosenberg if you are interested in learning together in a group or on an individual basis.

Teachers Wanted
Do you have knowledge about Jewish culture, history, thought, or practice that you would like to share?  Teach a class at CRZ!  Your course can be one afternoon or multiple sessions, based on text study or some other form of engagement (cooking, painting, dancing, singing…whatever your imagination and skills suggest).  Email to propose a course..

Sisterhood Programs
Rodfei Zedek Sisterhood continues our 100+ year tradition of enhancing congregational life through programming and fund-raising activities.  Our monthly Monday afternoon meetings provide educational and entertaining programs, open to women and men of the Congregation and their friends.  We host Shabbat lectures for the congregation, a drop-in Mah Jongg game every Tuesday afternoon (except on Jewish holidays) and have a monthly book group on Monday mornings.  New members and prospective members are always welcome at our open meetings.  We have a nominal fee for membership to pay for mailings to the members, honorariums to speakers, and other small expenses for our meetings.  We hope you can join us at our open meetings.  Please visit Sisterhood online to see our many other programs for you to enjoy.