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Lifelong Learning

Voted "Best Adult Education" program in Seattle by the readers of the magazine Jewish in Seattle in 2016, Temple Beth Am promotes lifelong 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.

Beth Am Book Clubs

From October through May, Temple Beth Am holds monthly book clubs on different topics - like the Jewish Feminist Book Club and Immigrant/Refugee Stories Book Club - every year. All discussions are moderated by members of Beth Am. If you are interested in leading a book discussion or have suggestions for a topic/books for next year, please be in touch with Temple Beth Am Director of Community Engagement Alexis Kort.

New Jewish Writing from Around the World

Tuesdays, October 16 - May 14, 6:30 - 8:00 PM
Beth Am K'hilah Rm. 226

Following our Israeli Author’s Book Club from 2015-2016, Jewish Feminist Book Club from 2016-2017, and Immigrant/Refugee Book Club from 2017-2018, we are continuing this year with an evening Temple Beth Am book club format to discuss modern Jewish literature. All discussions are moderated by members of Beth Am. If you are interested in leading a book discussion or have suggestions for a topic/books for next year, please be in touch with Beth Am Director of Community Engagement Alexis Kort.

October 16: Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss (American set in Israel)
November 27: The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish (American set in England)
January 15: The Best Place On Earth by Ayelet Tsabari (Yemenite-Israeli)
February 12: Hope: a Tragedy: A Novel by Shalom Auslander (American)
April 16: The Patriots by Sana Krasikov (Russian) 
May 14: The Ministry of Special Cases by Nathan Englander (American set in Argentina)

RAC Reads: Social Justice Book Group

Quarterly on Sundays, November 4 - May 5, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Beth Am K'hilah Rm. 226

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) has selected best-selling books that address relevant social justice topics and created reading guides that provide questions to guide discussions, tips on getting started, and resources to help us take action. Reform Jews across North America have been coming together in their own communities to read, explore, and discuss social justice-themed books. Click here for more information.

November 4: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
January 6: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
March 3: Waking Up White by Debby Irving
May 5: Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder

Union for Reform Judaism: Introduction to Judaism

Sundays, October 7, 2018 - April 28, 2019, 9:00 - 10:45 AM 
Beth Am K'hilah Rm. 226

$200 for synagogue members; $280 for non-members
The tuition fee allows for either one or two people to attend; couples are encouraged to attend together and singles may invite an interested friend.

Temple Beth Am is excited to offer again the revamped and upgraded Introduction to Judaism class in partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). Taught by Rabbi Jason R. Levine, 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, including a Shabbaton designed specifically for this class. Topics include Jewish rituals, Jewish theology, history, prayer, life cycle, holidays, and comparative Judaism.

Registration for URJ: Introduction to Judaism is through the Union of Reform Judaism. Go to their website to sign-up or contact Rabbi Sabine Meyer.

Intro to Judaism Class Shabbaton: To be announced

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

The tuition fee allows for either one or two people to attend, couples are encouraged to attend together, and singles may invite an interested 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 R. Levine (206-525-0915 ext. 215) to inquire about the scholarships offered by Temple Beth Am.

Scholar-in-Residence and University Lecture Series

Temple Beth Am is committed to bringing the Seattle community important and informative topics that impact the Jewish people both historically and in modern times. Our Scholar-in-Residence and University Lecture Series presents engaging presenters and scholars who speak on their areas of expertise.

Past presenters and scholars include URJ Vice President of Audacious Hospitality April Baskin; Prof. Hamza Zafer on "The Judeo-Islamic Experience," Former U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Freedom Rabbi David Saperstein; Rabbi Deborah Waxman; Noam Pianko on "Justifying Judaism in the Modern World"; Devin Naar on "The Sephardic Jewish Experience"; and 2017's University Lecture Series' scholar, Kathie Friedman, on "Immigrants and Refugees: We Were Once Strangers, Too."

Become a Patron Sponsor for $100

Help ensure this annual learning series continues, while keeping ticket costs low for everyone. Patron sponsorship includes tickets to all lectures, attendance at an intimate private reception with our speaker prior to the final lecture, and acknowledgement of your sponsorship in the lecture program.

Hebrew for Adults

Sundays, October 7 - May 12 (24 classes total) 
October 7, 21, 28; November 4, 11, 18; December 2, 9, 16; January 6, 13, 20, 27; February 3, 10, 24; March 3, 10, 17, 31; April 14, 28; May 5, 12

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 and during Shabbat services, so students can read and understand the prayers we say together. Jewish educator and Hebrew instructor Debbie Massarano will be teaching our Adult Hebrew classes for 2018-2019.

Please contact Debbie Massarano with any questions about our Hebrew classes. Register for classes.

Cost: $300 members / $350 non-members (books and materials included)

*Debbie Massarano has been a Jewish educator since she was in her teens. She began with teaching religious school Hebrew to 4th graders; moved on to teaching in Jewish day schools; worked as a regional educator for the Union for Reform Judaism; served two congregations as director of lifelong learning; and, most recently, served as the executive director of Livnot Chai.

Debbie has dedicated her career to building relationships – with people, between people and Torah, and between people and the Jewish community. She lives in Mountlake Terrace with her daughter, Abby, and granddog, Muzi. She has a great story about how she and her adult children all made their way to the Seattle area. Ask her about it!!


Beginning Prayerbook Hebrew
Sundays, 11:15 - 12:15 PM
Beth Am K'hilah Rm. 237

Designed for those with little to no previous Hebrew, this introductory course focuses on developing the foundation for reading comprehension and a basic Hebrew vocabulary.

Intermediate Prayerbook Hebrew
Sundays, 10:00 - 11:00 AM
Beth Am K'hilah Rm. 237

This course is designed for anyone who can read basic Hebrew. We will continue to develop reading comprehension and basic Hebrew vocabulary, while practicing reading and singing along for Shabbat services.

Advanced/Conversational Hebrew
Tuesdays, 6:30 - 8:00 PM
Beth Am K'hilah Rm. 236

For students who can read Hebrew fluently and would like to continue to increase your vocabulary as well as hone your reading skills and comprehension; this is also an opportunity for people who would like to learn some conversational modern Israeli Hebrew. Planning a trip to the holy land soon? Want to follow along with Israeli rock-and-roll and films – this is the class for you!  

All-Ages Yiddish

Yiddish resources and programming at Temple Beth Am is made possible in part by grant funding from the Alfred and Tillie Shemanski Trust Fund and support from the Bernard and Reva Broder Fund for Yiddish Culture. These classes are held at Wendy’s house and are open to anyone interested in embracing di mameloshn (the mother tongue). To register and for more information on Yiddish at Temple Beth Am, contact Wendy Marcus.

Our Advanced Yiddish, taught by Ayn Dalgof, and our Self-Led Intermediate groups meet at 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM on Wednesdays at Temple Beth Am. 


Beginning Yiddish

Tuesdays, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Sundays, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Intermediate Beginning Yiddish

Tuesdays, 1:00 -2:00 PM
Sundays, 12:30 - 1:30 PM

Self-Led Intermediate Yiddish

Wednesdays, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

Advanced Beginners Yiddish

Sundays, October 7 – December 16, 12:30 – 1:30 PM
Tuesdays, October 2 – December 18, 1:00 – 2:00 PM

Advanced Yiddish

Wednesdays, 1:00 - 2:00 PM


Go to these links for samples of Temple Beth Am Yiddish class songs from 2017: 

See our members putting their Yiddish to the test with Wendy Marcus on YouTube:

Wed, September 19 2018 10 Tishrei 5779