Exploring Judaism


A series of classes at Or Shalom Synagogue on Basic Judaism and Basic Hebrew.


Who should attend?  Seekers considering affirming Judaism for the first time are welcome, as are Jews returning to Judaism and practicing Jews wanting to increase their basic knowledge.  Everyone interested in attending must speak first with the Or Shalom Rabbi.


What is our approach?  In keeping with the Renewal Movement’s philosophy, we both (1) explain Jewish customs in their historical and intellectual context, and (2) emphasize the ways that Judaism speaks to the psychological and spiritual needs of individuals and groups.


What will we study?  In Basic Judaism, we will study a number of key topics in Jewish thought and practice, ranging from Shabbat traditions, prayers, and holidays to new directions in Kashrut to controversial ideas in theology.  Discussion, questions, and a diversity of viewpoints will be offered by the instructors and solicited from students in the class. In Beginning Hebrew, students will learn reading and basic vocabulary. Special topics will include features from the synagogue’s Adult Education calendar.


Who will teach? Rabbi Laura Duhan Kaplan and others.


Where will the class be held? Or Shalom, 710 E. 10th Avenue at Fraser, unless another location is arranged with the class. Please enter through the side door on Fraser Street.


When will classes be held?

7:30-9:30 p.m., two Tuesday nights per month, September through June. Please contact the Rabbi (reblaura@orshalom.ca) for this year’s calendar.


What should students bring? An open heart, and open mind, and  -- when it is their turn on the schedule -- a dairy or vegetarian snack.


What should students read?  Required readings will be:

Jewish With Feeling, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

Judaism for Dummies, Rabbi Ted Falcon and David Blatner

Seasons of Our Joy, Rabbi Arthur Waskow

The Path of Blessing, Rabbi Marcia Prager

Choosing a Jewish Life, Anita Diamant

Everyone should own a copy of Or Shalom’s prayerbook Siddur Eit Ratzon and a Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) in NJPS translation.


How much does the class cost? Free to Or Shalom members; $500 per non-member individual; $550 per non-member couple


What role does the class play in preparing for conversion to Judaism? If you are considering affirming Judaism for the first time, we ask that you participate in

1.                  “Exploring Judaism” course

2.                  Or Shalom Friday night, Shabbat morning and holiday services

3.                  Another Or Shalom program (social or educational) at least once a month

4.                  One other adult education opportunity of your choice in the Jewish community

5.                  Consultation and counseling with the Or Shalom rabbi about spiritual issues and questions of importance to you.


Please note that there is no magic formula for calculating when a person is ready to affirm Judaism.  This will be determined on a person-by-person basis through consultation with the rabbi.


Whom should I call if I have questions about the course or the process?  Please contact Rabbi Laura Duhan Kaplan at Or Shalom via phone at 604-872-1614 or via email at reblaura@orshalom.ca.


Revised August 26, 2012




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