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

What Have You Learned in Your Life? Ethical Wills Workshop

Monday, May 24
3:30-5:00 pm
Free / Open to All

What have you learned in your life? What wisdom have you gained? How might that help your loved ones live a better life? For centuries, ethical wills (also known as legacy letters) have been used to articulate heartfelt aspirations and convey spiritual assets—our lived experiences and beliefs— to future generations. In this 90-minute session (with an optional follow-up session on June 7), we will learn about the origin and revival of making ethical wills, read examples from different centuries, and explore ways to create our own “legacies to hold.”

​Jewish Bookshelf: Rabbi Dan Ross and Rabbi Sarah Berman

Tuesday, May 25
7:30-8:30 pm
Free / Open to All

Rabbi Sarah Berman speaks with Rabbi Dan Ross about the texts that have influenced his life and work, with a specific focus on the novel The World to Come by Dara Horn.

​“Make Your Own Golem” Workshop

Thursday, May 27
5:30-7:00 pm
Open to All | $25 for Central Members, $35 for Non-Members

Explore the Jewish legend of the golem (the mythical Jewish hero/creature) with Isaac and Rabbi Shawna Brynjegard-Bialik of Paper Midrash.

This 90-minute workshop for adults includes visual learning and a hands-on opportunity to make your own golem with paper cutouts from comic books. Materials, including X-Acto knives for cutting, will be provided. No art experience, clay, or magic spells required—just your enthusiasm.

In order to receive your materials in time, please register no later than May 18.

​Upcoming Classes

Exploration of Islamic Art and Design

Thursdays, June 3-June 24
10:30-11:30 am
Open to All | $100 for Central Members, $150 for Non-Members

Join us for a global adventure, an exploration of Islamic art and design that will surprise you and help you see the world in new ways. This course focuses on several genres of art in the Muslim world. It is an attempt to celebrate the diversity of Muslims through time and space while demonstrating a continuity that makes the work recognizably Muslim. We will begin with the arts of the Qur’an, from recitation, to literature, to calligraphy. We will then look at miniature traditions, and how the visual arts are never far removed from the literary arts. During this session, we will pay particular attention to the story of Joseph, as found in the Qur’an. There will be a session on the sound arts of the Muslim world, particularly in South Asian communities, as places where texts live in new ways. Finally, we end with architecture in Muslim communities, including our very own New York City.

Led by Hussein Rashid, Ph.D., an independent scholar, working at several universities in the New York City area. His research focuses on Muslims and US popular culture.

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.

Center for Exploring Judaism

Now accepting registrations for our July 2021 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’”.