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Adult Education

BestSeattle2015WinnerWebSquareVoted "Best Adult Education" program in Seattle by the readers of the magazine Jewish in Seattle in 2016, Temple Beth Am promotes life-long learning and is committed to being a center of Jewish life for people of all ages. Our classes, discussions, and lectures offer many opportunities for our adult community to learn at a variety of levels. The program listings below are updated frequently with a wide variety of offerings.

For our additional selection of Torah Study classes, including Introduction to Judaism and Adult B'nai Mitzvah, visit our Torah Study page.

Please contact our Director of Community Engagement, Alexis Kort, or call 206-525-0915 x 210 with any questions.


Upcoming Events: 

Meet Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal
Friday, June 2, 6:00 - 7:00 PM
TBA Social Hall West01222016 Pramila Jayapal 1020x1348
Temple Beth Am is honored to host a talk with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal before Shabbat. Join us to hear from her and ask questions about the current local and national political landscape. TBA views having elected representative speakers as an integral way for our congregation to participate in democracy and for us to share our Jewish values as constituents.

Congresswoman Jayapal represents Washington’s 7th District and is runs on a platform of ensuring that every resident of the district has economic opportunity, fairness and equity, and safe and healthy communities. Her focus is on ensuring income equality; access to education, from early learning to higher education, including debt-free college; expanding Social Security and Medicare; protecting our environment for our next generation; and ensuring immigrant, civil, and human rights for all.

Writing Our Stories
Sunday, June 4, 12:30 PM
TBA K'hilah Rm. 226
Marilyn Smith Layton is returning to lead a memoir-writing workshop at Temple Beth Am. Inspired by Rabbi Ruth A. Zlotnick’s Rosh Hashanah sermon about the importance of storytelling in the context of a safe and welcoming gathering, you’ll be encouraged to explore and capture important memories in words. We’ll drop the fishing line into the pool of your long experience, pull it up, and see what’s there and, in the process, learn more about the dynamics of writing.


On select Sundays throughout the school year, Temple Beth Am hosts thought-provoking discussions on current issues in social justice, the environment, LGBTQ culture, economics, and more. The forums are led by speakers who are significant thinkers in the community and have included local politicians, social specialists, touring authors, artists, and many others. 

Each of these programs are free and open to everyone.


Upcoming Events:

Schlepping Across Mountains: Jewish Perspectives of Long-Distance Backpacking
with David Kosins and Alan Genatossio

Sunday, June 11, 10:00 - 11:15 AM
TBA Social Hall East
Jews have been wandering for millennia, but not typically by choice. Backpacking, on the other hand, is a choice made by many Jews in the Pacific Northwest, one of the world’s best settings for connecting with God in the wilderness. And the wilderness is exactly where Jews went to worship for centuries before the First or Second Temples or synagogues were ever erected. Wandering for a week or more through the mountains with a pack on your back, schlepping  no more and no less than you need, is an ideal way to slow down and appreciate the miracles of life and nature. 

The presentation will discuss the Jewish aspects of backpacking. Based on their personal experience as multi-day backpackers, David Kosins and Alan Genatossio will explore the simplicity of a back-to-basics spirituality and how backpacking encourages one to become fully present, enhancing a sense of awe and infinite gratitude.  They will share slides from their adventures, highlighting the beauty of nature, the natural cycles of each day, the sanctity of connecting with companions and fellow travelers, the use of natural mikvahs, and the mitzvah of honoring Shabbat outdoors. 

They will also discuss the philosophy and techniques of the “ultralight” backpacking movement and how it supports the goals of finding joy and meaning in journeying over many miles. There will be inspirational Jewish readings and field questions about destinations, logistics, and additional resources.

Union for Reform Judaism: Introduction to Judaism
Sundays, October 2017 - May 2018
K'hilah Room 226

For 2017-2018, Temple Beth Am is happy to continue our Introduction to Judaism class in partnership with the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ). This course is used across North America and is recognized universally by Reform synagogues, using URJ curriculum and resources for adults interested in exploring Judaism.

Taught by Rabbi Jason Levine, class time is two hours each Sunday morning and includes a Shabbaton designed specifically for the class. Topics include Jewish rituals, Jewish theology, history, texts and prayer, life cycle, holidays, and comparative Judaism. This course may be especially valuable for interfaith couples or those considering conversion. We encourage conversion students to also take our Beginning Prayerbook Hebrew class on Sundays. We foster a welcoming and inclusive environment. 

Class dates: Coming soon

Intro to Judaism Class Shabbaton: To be announced

Cost for 18 classes: $200 TBA members / $280 non-members / $50 - $100 additional for textbooks

Tuition allows for either one or two people to attend, so couples may attend together and singles may invite a friend. Reading list can be found here. Used copies and e-readers are encouraged. 

To register for this course, please visit the Union for Reform Judaism website. Please contact Rabbi Jason Levine (206-525-0915 ext. 215) to inquire about the scholarships offered by Temple Beth Am.

book stack


No matter what the monthly reading selection is, you can rely on the book clubs at TBA for lively, passionate opinions and meaningful conversation among friends. We welcome newcomers and new ideas each month and often feature notable specialists to lead our discussions. 

Beth Am Book Lovers (BABL)
Monthly / Sundays at 12:30 PM

Open to all ages, this collaborative book group, which meets monthly during the school year, is made up of TBA members and friends who come together to read, discuss, and enjoy books. Newcomers welcome!

For more information about this group, contact Leah Vetter or call the TBA office at 206-525-0915.


Upcoming Selections:

Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories by Edith Pearlman
Sunday, June 25, 12:30 - 2:00 PM
Leah Vetter's home (contact Leah for address)
Spanning four decades and three prize-winning collections, these 21 vintage selected stories and 13 scintillating new ones take us around the world, from Jerusalem to Central America, from tsarist Russia to London during the Blitz, from central Europe to Manhattan, and from the Maine coast to Godolphin, Massachusetts, a fictional suburb of Boston. These charged locales, and the lives of the endlessly varied characters within them, are evoked with a tenderness and incisiveness found in only our most observant seers.

Breaking White Silence Book Group
June 1 / 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Book Group Leaders: Rabbi Jason Levine and Cecily Kaplan

Temple Beth Am is pleased to be participating in a project developed by the Phinney Neighborhood Association of creating anti-racist consciousness-raising groups in our community. As a starting place, we will be using Dr. Robin DiAngelo’s book, What Does It Mean to be White?: Developing White Racial Literacy.   

Using Dr. DiAngelo’s text and encouraging personal reflection and conversation, these book groups are a first step to open up conversations about whiteness, white privilege, and racism. 

Space is limited to 20 participants. To register, email TBA’s Director of Community Engagement Alexis Kort.