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Adult Learning

Temple Beth Am is honored to have some of the best Jewish educators and rabbis in Seattle take part in our lifelong learning opportunities this year. 

Every Wednesday evening at 7 PM, we will explore our Beit K’hilah, Beit Midrash, and Beit T’filah. All talks and programs are open and free for all members and friends of Beth Am to participate, although we do require registration in advance for our Beit K’hilah art classes to ensure we have enough materials.  

Temple Beth Am members and their guests can access Adult Learning via Zoom using the link and passcode found in our weekly “Beth Am Happenings” emails, sent every Friday afternoon. Guests and non-members can request Zoom access by emailing Responses will be sent during business hours, ending at 3 PM on Fridays.

Beit Midrash (Learning) with Professor Bea Lawrence

First Wednesday of the month, November 4, 2020–June 2, 2021

Professor Lawrence is a member of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Seattle University. She teaches courses in Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies and her research interests include rabbinic literature, gender as a hermeneutical lens, and the history of interpretation. Bea’s classes will explore our Beit Midrash, House of Study.

"It's no secret that life is difficult right now.  Political turmoil, violence against marginalized communities, climate change, and of course the pandemic with its fear, loss, social isolation, and uncertainty all mean many people are struggling to make sense of the world.  In this course, we'll explore what Judaism has to offer in terms of theodicy—the exploration of God's role (or lack thereof) in pain, suffering, and horrific events.  We'll read and discuss texts from the Bible, rabbinic literature, and contemporary writings, and we'll share our own perspectives as we honor the Jewish tradition of bringing all of our thoughts and concerns to our community for support, engagement, and new ideas." — Professor Bea Lawrence

Beit K'hilah (Community) Art with Cathy Shiovitz

Second Wednesday of the month, November 11, 2020–June 9, 2021

Cathy Shiovitz earned a BFA and BA in art history from The University of Michigan. A long-time member of Beth Am and a working artist in Seattle, she focuses on calligraphy and multi-media artworks, creating personalized wedding contracts and new ritual objects celebrating the joys of life. She teaches art classes to a wide spectrum of ages, from elementary to college students.  Cathy’s classes will explore our Beit K’hilah, House of Community.

Registration for each class is required at least two weeks in advance so we can get supplies. Registration for Cathy's May 12 class is now closed.

Here is what to expect from Cathy's next class:

May 12: Join Cathy in sharing thoughts about the power of creativity and have fun playing with paper creating some 3D forms.

Beit T'filah (Worship) with Debbie Massarano

Third Wednesday of the month, October 21, 2020–June 16, 2021

Debbie Massarano has been a Jewish educator since she was in her teens and has worked as a regional educator for the Union for Reform Judaism. In addition to teaching Adult Hebrew at Beth Am, Debbie teaches at Seattle Jewish Community School. Debbie’s classes will explore our Beit T’filah, House of Prayer.

Adult Learning Special Presentation: Temple Beth Am Memoir Writers' Showcase

Fourth and fifth Wednesday of the month

Please join us this Wednesday, March 31 at 7:00 PM for a presentation from our Temple Beth Am Writers’ class facilitated by Marilyn Layton. With its focus on memoir, this class has been meeting over the decades since the early 1990s with the goal of sculpting stories from our lives into literary art. In this supportive gathering we share a variety of topics and styles, gaining inspiration from each other in the process.

Adult Hebrew 2020-2021

Sundays, October 2020-May 2021

Please see our website calendar for specific dates

Our approach to Hebrew at Temple Beth Am is for people to learn the alef-bet and prayer book Hebrew, focusing on the blessings that we use most often during Shabbat services. Jewish educator and Hebrew instructor Debbie Massarano will be teaching our Adult Hebrew classes for 2020-2021. If you have any questions about the classes, please email her

Yiddish With Wendy Marcus

April 2021-June 2021

Spring quarter Yiddish began on April 4. We have be added a Beginner's class at 7pm on Thursdays over Zoom. No Yiddish knowledge necessary for this one. The Intermediate and Advanced Beginner classes, as well as the new Beginner's class, will run through the third week of June. All classes are free thanks to a grant from the Alfred and Tillie Shemanski Trust Fund.

For more information about the levels of Yiddish instruction she offers, please email Wendy

Dates and times:

Beginning I - Thursdays at 7pm, starts April 8 via Zoom

Beginning II - Thursdays at 5:30pm, starts April 8 via Zoom

Beginning II - Fridays at 11, starts April 9, via Zoom

Beginning III - Sundays at 11am, starts April 4, via Zoom

Intermediate II - Sundays at 4pm, starts April 4, via Zoom

Intermediate III - Sundays at 12:30 (please email Wendy for details about this class)

Sun, May 16 2021 5 Sivan 5781