Jewish Community in Bozeman, Montana
Book to order: The Guide of the Perplexed, 2 volumes. Translated by Shlomo Pines.
This class is for both people who have no background as well as for those who have taken one or more classes. The first half of the class will be aimed at those with no prior experience, while the second half will be aimed at those who have a little background. Both groups are invited to stay for the entire class. Please purchase The First Hebrew Primer, 3rd Edition: www.amazon.com/dp/0939144158. You may wish to also purchase the associated answer key, as well as the Brown, Driver, Briggs dictionary.
The Zohar is the primary text of Jewish mysticism, written in the 12th century. We are slowly winding our way through it, as we learn these deep teachings about the nature of G!d and the world. Although this class began last semester, we are still in the Introduction and the book in non-linear, so it is easy to jump in. Please purchase The Zohar, Pritzker Edition, Vol. 1, by Daniel Matt: www.amazon.com/dp/0804747474. A good intro for beginners is Art Green’s A Guide to the Zohar: www.amazon.com/dp/0804749086.
Our weekly Torah study explores the weekly portion from the Hebrew Bible with the aid of ancient and modern commentators. There is most always a lively and interesting discussion. No prior experience is needed to join in. Coffee, bagels, and other goodies are served.
Each month our panelists, Fath Leo Proxell, Reverend Jody McDevitt, Dr. Ruhul Amin, Rabbi Ed Stafman, and occasional guest panelists explain how their respective faith traditions view a particular issue. Following brief presentations, there is an opportunity for questions, answers and discussions.
A look at Judaism’s most important ideas through the eyes of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.
Bringing Jewish and Christian scholarship, as well as their faith perspectives, to this interfaith study, Rabbi Ed and Pr. Stephen, will examine passages and themes, pose questions, and reflect on an ancient truths for contemporary times. Facilitated by the Rev. Valerie Webster, President of MAC (2016) and an Associate at All Saints in Big Sky, Fleeing Oppression will include presentations on focus passages, discussion questions, and additional resources.
Download the full .pdf for full description and class info:
Fleeing Oppression Description
Rav Kook, the first chief rabbi of Israel, was a great mystic who sought to blend enlightenment thinking, Zionism and universalism in a mystical world view. His teachings are full of ah-ha! moments.
Modern Jews are often challenged by prayer, unable to relate. In this nationally recognized class with video teachings of Judaism’s greatest living spiritual masters, we will explore the challenges and learn how to make prayer real and meaningful.Modern Jews are often challenged by prayer, unable to relate. In this nationally recognized class with video teachings of Judaism’s greatest living spiritual masters, we will explore the challenges and learn how to make prayer real and meaningful.
Cost: $36. Remote participation by WebEx available. Sign up online here.
Session 1: When Prayer “Works” and Mochin d’Gadlut & Prayer as a Practice
Session 2: Yearning: Psalms and the Stirrings of the Heart
Session 3: The Life of Gratitude
Session 4: Bringing Our Bodies into Prayer
Session 5: The Art of Blessing
Session 6: Creating Sacred Space and Response Blessings
Beth Shalom will offer the adult ed class now in use by scores of synagogues and community groups across North America and the United Kingdom, focuses on the critical questions facing world Jewry with regard to Israel.
We will join the many communities and thousands of concerned individuals in establishing a new narrative of Jewish values and ideas that encourages Jews to engage with Israel and to act on a vision of what they believe can and ought to shape the modern Jewish nation and its policies.
The program is sponsored by the Hartman Institute allowing is to bring the excellence of Hartman scholarship directly to our community. Providing relevant, contemporary approaches to the most urgent challenges facing the Jewish people today, the class will enrich the Beth Shalom adult learning experience.
Chai Mitzvah is a national Jewish program which encourages deeper engagement in Judaism and community life. Chai Mitzvah deepens Jewish engagement and builds community through 5 simple steps:
Participants customize their Chai Mitzvah experience by:
Visit the Chai Mitzvah website for more information: chaimitzvah.org
If you never had a bar/bat mitzvah at age 13, or if you had one but it lacked meaning and now you are willing to do it again with an adult understanding, don’t miss this opportunity. Learn about our prayer service, to understand what the Torah is all about, and how it relates to your life story.
Led by Rabbi Ed, Revs. Glover Wagner (Pilgrim) & Nina Grey (UU) (at Pilgrim)
Join us for 6 Tuesday evenings of learning and discussion about the poet Rumi, and how his poetry intersects with Judaism and other faith traditions. This class is meant to be preparatory to the November weekend visit and workshop of Rumi scholar, Kabir Helminski.
Do you want to learn how to live a holy life? Not just learn about it, but learn how to develop the qualities we all want to give our lives greater meaning? Join this class for a study of Rabbi Moses Luzzatto’s classical text on Jewish ethics and how to live a holy life.
Download the introduction materials to Path of the Upright here.
A delicious study of Heschel’s classic Jewish text on what is the nature of the Torah and why is it so important to the Jewish people.
Women from all backgrounds gather to learn about the spiritual meanings of the stories in the book of Genesis.
Using the writings of Rabbi Shefa Gold, we will learn to develop practices that connect us to our sense of gratitude and awe on the road to finding our true selves. This class leads to the weekend visit by Reb Shefa on Nov 9-11
Women from all backgrounds gather to learn about the spiritual meanings of the stories in the book of Genesis.
Ongoing classes in Biblical Hebrew, Zohar, and Interfaith Panel.
This class will meet for six successive Wednesday evenings at 6:00 p.m., beginning March 21. Many of us grew up thinking of Judaism in all sorts of ways, but few of us understood at its core, Judaism contains a deeply spiritual path that is found in the Jewish mystical tradition, called kabbalah. Kabbalah contains many overlaps with Buddhism and native American traditions, but is more extensive in some ways. In this class, we will learn both through the head and the heart, examining some texts, but also doing some kabbalistic practices. The goal is to begin thinking about G!d and our relationship with the Oneness in the universe in a whole new way.
Here are comments from a couple of last year’s participants:
“I was kind of intimidated to go to class at first because I thought I would have to know a lot about Judaism. But the way Rabbi Ed teaches and engages everyone is so warm and accessible. It’s more like an interesting discussion about complex ideas in a way that is relevant to everyone. I learned so much and left every class with a deeper connection to my self, my heritage, my community and the universe. It’s very grounding. We are blessed to have these opportunities here in Bozeman.” — Surale
“I might need to take the class again. .. After taking the class, I became more keenly aware of a larger Mystery and I felt gratefully tiny.” — Ellen
“I learned that the paths of the Tree inform the whole of the Jewish calender, that all of our holidays are reflected in the qualities of the Tree. Rabbi Ed rekindled my excitement for our faith.” — Shelly
“Kabbalah or Jewish spiritual mysticism is no longer a hidden mystery. That which is within us, the yearning to know our G!D and come into a deeper relationship is real. Through Rabbi Ed’s class, I have taken a few baby steps with the hopes to run and leap spiritually” — Barb
Pirkei Avot — the 2000+ year old collection of core ethical statements of Judaism — is traditionally studied in the Spring and summer, from Passover to Rosh Hashanah. We will study these fabulous short sayings, and discuss how they resonate in our lives, on six Tuesday evenings at 6:00 p.m., beginning on March 20.
The main topics of these ancient rabbinic sayings are how we show kindness to others, respect others, ourselves, and G!d, how we seek peace, become humble, use our speech, judge others, and much more. This famous Jewish text contains many of the most frequently-quoted rabbinic sayings, such as “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And when I am for myself, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?” Another famous saying from Pirkei Avot: “It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it.” And “The day is short, the labor vast, the toilers idle, the reward great, and the Master of the house is insistent.”
With this class, you will learn the ethical backbone of Judaism and become conversant in its most important principles. We will use the following texts: Pirke Avot: A Modern Commentary on Jewish Ethics, by Leonard Kravitz and Kerry M. Olitzky: http://www.amazon.com/Pirke-Avot-Modern-Commentary-Jewish/dp/0807404802/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1331098417&sr=8-3, and Ethics of the Sages: Pirke Avot–Annotated and Explained, by Rabbi Rami Shapiro: http://www.amazon.com/Ethics-Sages-Avot–Annotated-Explained-Illuminations/dp/1594732078/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1331098417&sr=8-5
Post-holocaust Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas derives a basis for ethics from the experience of face to face encounter with another, a place in which the other person’s proximity and distance are both strongly felt. At the same time, the revelation of the face makes ethical demands on us. Levinas’ strong ethical message has made him one of the most studied philosophers of our time. The books we will use are: Ethics and Infinity: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0820701785 and Nine Talmudic Readings: www.amazon.com/dp/0253208769. Download the curriculum here as a .pdf.
Download readings as .pdf files:
Class #1 here
Class #2 here
Class #3 here and here (second reading will be used in class 3 and class 4)
Class #3 Supplemental reading here
Class #4 here
Class #4 Supplemental reading here
Spiritual master Leonard Cohen’s lyrics, as well as the reggae of Matisyahu, are deeply rooted in Jewish texts. Come explore his sources so we might better understand the teachings of their music.
Only a third to half of American Jews today believe in an almighty deity. Can there be Judaism without belief in God? Moment Magazine asked 14 thinkers—from philosophers to politicians to poets—to weigh in on this ever-present question. In this two session class, we will explore the question and their responses. Come make your voice heard on this important topic. The column we will be discussing may be found here: www.momentmag.com/moment/issues/2011/10/symposium.html.
The Book of Ecclesiastes begins “Vanity of vanity, says Kohelet, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” Many people view Kohelet as pessimistic and downbeat, but when the Hebrew is properly understood, the book is infused with a spirit of joy and optimism. We will be using two books which contain the translation and commentaries of Rabbi Rami Shapiro: www.amazon.com/dp/1594732876 and www.amazon.com/dp/B000H2N8VE.
Each of five sessions will deeply explore some of the writings of Rumi the Sufi poet and see how it ties in with analogous Jewish mystical concepts, as expressed in Jewish prayer. For the seeker and those interested in the intersection of religious traditions, this is the course for you! Mondays, beginning April 4 through May 9 (passing over Passover on April 18).
Beth Shalom’s Winter adult education program featured Wednesday seminars, from 6:00-7:30pm. The topics spanned the cultural, practical, and theological aspects of Judaism. Each seminar was a stand alone unit, and participants could so come to one or as many they liked.
After two semesters of teaching “Intro to Kabbalah,” Rabbi Ed will offer the next class to those who took the first class. For those that missed the first class, a one-session primer that will allow you to take this class. Please enroll by sending an e-mail to Rabbi Ed email@example.com with Kabbalah in the subject line.
This class, which is designed by the Union of Reform Judaism and has been successfully offered nationally hundreds of times, will offer “a taste of Judaism” to those with little or no background, especially designed for interfaith couples, unaffiliated Jews, non-Jews with Jewish connections, and others wanting to explore Judaism. The three session will explore Jewish Community, Spirituality, and Ethics. Official enrollment has not yet begun, but you may pre-enroll by e-mailing the class coordinator attasteofjudaismbozemangmail.com.
Are you perplexed? If so, you’re not alone. For the first time in Bozeman, this is an opportunity to learn together from Rambam’s Guide of the Perplexed, one of the most important philosophical texts within all of Judaism, authored in the late 12th century, but amazingly relevant today. This is a brown bag lunch class, meaning you are invited to bring your lunch. The class meets on two Thursdays per month at noon for one hour, depending on the availability of those enrolled. We read about a chapter a session (about 5 pages) and discuss. To enroll, please send an e-mail to Rabbi Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Rambam course” in the subject line, containing your name and phone number.
Have you ever wanted to learn to read and understand simple Biblical (and prayerbook) Hebrew? You can do it. This class meets once per week. If you are interested, please e-mail Rabbi Ed at email@example.com, place “Hebrew” in the subject line, and include your name and phone number.
Perhaps you did not have a bat mitzvah because you are a woman who grew up in a time when women did not have this opportunity or you grew up in the Orthodox world where women still are not permitted to read from the Torah, lead a service, or have their voices heard in public? Or perhaps you grew up in an environment where bar/bat mitzvah was not considered important? Or perhaps you are a Jew by Choice ready to take the next step and become bar/bat mitzvah? Or maybe you had a bar/bat mitzvah at a time where it lacked meaning for you and you want to do it again, maybe on the anniversary of the first time? Whatever the reason, now is your chance. We will do some Jewish learning together which will culminate in a bar/bat mitzvah for each of the participants.
This class was taught be Rabbi Ed and offered through Wonderlust. The early first century was a time of religious upheaval in which we find many varieties of Jewish communities. One such movement was Jesus’ movement; another was Rabbinic Judaism. Both religions were birthed out of this turmoil. The two religions struggled with one another. Eventually, the ways parted and the result was modern Judaism and Christianity. We’ll use an historical/sociological approach to explore these religions and their parting.
This class consists of six successive 1-1/2 hour sessions. Many of us grew up thinking of Judaism in all sorts of ways, but few of us understood at its core, Judaism contains a deeply spiritual path that is found in the Jewish mystical tradition, called kabbalah. Kabbalah contains many overlaps with Buddhism and native American traditions, but is more extensive in some ways. In this class, we will learn both through the head and the heart, examining some texts, but also doing some kabbalistic practices. The goal is to begin thinking about G!d and our relationship with the Oneness in the universe in a whole new way.
Here are comments from a couple of last year’s participants:
I was kind of intimidated to go to class at first because I thought I would have to know a lot about Judaism. But the way Rabbi Ed teaches and engages everyone is so warm and accessible. It’s more like an interesting discussion about complex ideas in a way that is relevant to everyone. I learned so much and left every class with a deeper connection to my self, my heritage, my community and the universe. It’s very grounding. We are blessed to have these opportunities here in Bozeman. — Surale
I might need to take the class again. .. After taking the class, I became more keenly aware of a larger Mystery and I felt gratefully tiny. — Ellen
I learned that the paths of the Tree inform the whole of the Jewish calender, that all of our holidays are reflected in the qualities of the Tree. Rabbi Ed rekindled my excitement for our faith. — Shelly
Kabbalah or Jewish spiritual mysticism is no longer a hidden mystery. That which is within us, the yearning to know our G!D and come into a deeper relationship is real. Through Rabbi Ed’s class, I have taken a few baby steps with the hopes to run and leap spiritually — Barb
This six session weekly offering is designed for the elders among us (and those who will soon be elders) who are willing to explore issues of aging and eldering in their lives. While in much of modern culture, aging is a negative to be avoided, in the Jewish and some other traditions, the elder is revered for his/her wisdom.We will discuss the medical, ethical, and spiritual issues that one faces in the November and December years of our lives. How do we harvest all that we have experienced and learned during a life time and pass it on to those we love? How do we make the most of those years? What work is there to do that must be addressed in the time remaining? As Jews and some other traditions have done for millenia, we will each learn to write, and actually write, our own ethical will, a document designed to pass on our cherished values, hopes, and aspirations to those we love.
Dr. Borgenicht is a member of our congregation and also a geritrician and head of Palliative Care at Bozeman-Deaconess Hospital.
Meeting times TBA based upon interest.
This six week class will give you an introduction to, and an overview of, kabbalah, the world of Jewish mysticism. The Orthodox tradition says that only happily married men (women prohibited!) of age 40 or older and with at least two children may study the real kabbalah, but in the progressive world, we make the real thing accessible to all. Of course, this will only be an introduction, but come learn the hidden part of Judaism. Meeting times TBA based upon interest.
Rabbi Ed’s academic background includes a B.S. from State University of New York at Stony Brook (1975), a J.D. from Florida State University College of Law (1978), a M.A. in Religion of Western Antiquity from Florida State University (2005), A.B.D. (all but dissertation for a Ph.D) from Florida State University, and Rabbinic ordination from the ALEPH Rabbinic Program, following 8 years of study. All classes are geared towards a discussion style rather than lectures.