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.
Art as Sacred Text: The Stories of an Italian Ketubah
Tikkun Leil Shavuot Learning
Sunday, May 16
8:00 - 9:15 pm
Free / Open to All
We Jews have spent centuries refining our methods of studying text. We pull it apart, interrogate it, and find its messages in our lives today. Join Rabbi Sarah Berman to apply the same techniques to Jewish art. Together with Rabbi Sarah Berman, we will study an Italian ketubah, seeking its layers of meaning, and finding the stories it tells us today.
What Have You Learned in Your Life? Ethical Wills Workshop
Monday, May 24
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
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
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.
Exploration of Islamic Art and Design
Thursdays, June 3-June 24
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.
Access to Programs and Events
Some Technological Tips
Many of our programs are accessed on the Zoom platform. New to Zoom? Check out this video from Candootech.com for help.
Other Learning Opportunities:
A few virtual programs being offered outside of Central Synagogue.
This pluralistic Jewish learning organization offers a number of recurring online classes and other programs.
A Daily Guide to Zoom Events, Livestreams and Other Online Resources
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’”.