A Program of Jewish Learning and Living
For a printable version, click here.
Letter to the Front (excerpt)
To be a Jew in the twentieth century
Is to be offered a gift. If you refuse,
Wishing to be invisible, you choose
Death of the spirit, the stone insanity.
Accepting, take full life. Full agonies:
Your evening deep in labyrinthine blood
Of those who resist, fail, and resist: and God
Reduced to a hostage among hostages.
The gift is torment. Not alone the still
Torture, isolation; or torture of the flesh.
That may come also. But the accepting wish,
The whole and fertile spirit as guarantee
For every human freedom, suffering to be free,
Daring to live for the impossible.
Rabbi Bunam once asked: “Why do they call a zaddik ‘a good Jew’?” Jestingly he answered his own question: “If they meant by that that he prays well, they would have to call him ‘a good prayer’; if they meant that he learns well, they would have to say ‘a good learner.’ Now ‘a good Jew’ thinks well, and drinks well, and everything about him is good.” But to a disciple who had been in Pzhysha only a short time, he said: “You must know why you have come to me. If you think to become ‘a good Jew,” you have come in vain. But if you are here in order to become simply a good Jew, you did right.”
Martin Buber, Tales of the Hasidim II: 265
The Living Judaism Course
Tuesday Evenings, 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. plus additional get-togethers
Hebrew 7:00 to 8:00 & Living Judaism 8:15-9:30 pm
This course serves as both an introduction to Judaism for Jews looking to deepen their knowledge, for non-Jewish partners of Jews, and as the required course for conversion students. It lays the foundation for participants to build a strong personal Jewish identity. The lead instructor is Ron DeChene with some classes also taught by Rabbi Borodin and other guest instructors. We will study the essential spiritual, religious, ethical, legal, historical, and cultural elements that inspire a commitment to Jewish life and involvement. Participants will be encouraged to explore various forms of Jewish identity through practice.
Participants will take one of our Hebrew courses, from Aleph Bet to advanced, during the first hour of the course as part of this year of study.
Pre-requisites: Interview with Ron DeChene or Rabbi Borodin and completion of this Living Judaism application.
One of the key elements of the program is to provide a supportive environment for participants to learn how to do Jewish rituals and practices. Several Shabbat dinners and festival celebrations hosted by congregational mentors will take place during the year as well as opportunities to participate in Jewish life cycle and communal events. Participants are encouraged to attend the Bierman Scholar-in-Residence program.
Siyum: Closing Ceremony
At the end of the year a Siyum takes place on Tuesday evening, the last night of class. We have a festive meal and celebrate a year of learning and fellowship.
Rabbi Jill Borodin is a native of Toronto, Canada. Rabbi Borodin graduated with a joint honors degree in Jewish and Middle East Studies from McGill University. In 2001 she was ordained as a Conservative rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and received her Masters of Arts in Jewish Education. Rabbi Borodin has lived in Canada, Israel, France and the United States and volunteered with the Jewish community in Romania under the auspices of the Joint Distribution Committee. Prior to coming to Seattle, Rabbi Borodin was the Rav Sheni at Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, Pennsylvania. In her spare time, Rabbi Borodin likes to read, rollerblade, bike, and work with clay. Rabbi Borodin lives in the north end of Seattle with her husband and children.
Ron DeChene is an East Coast transplant who has lived in Seattle since 1987. He holds a degree in Theology from a Baptist seminary and was previously a minister. Ron’s love of Judaism and Jewish learning began with a deep dive into Jewish ethics and history which led to his conversion. He has studied Mussar (Jewish ethics and soul refinement) with Rabbi Stone, author of “A Responsible Life – the Spiritual Path of Mussar”. He continues to learn daily with his hevruta, his teachers, and especially from his students. Currently Ron serves as the chair of Adult Education at Beth Shalom. Ron’s interests include international travel, study and computer work. Ron lives in the north end of Seattle with his husband, Robert.
For whom is CBS’s Introduction to Judaism?
- Adults of Jewish origin seeking to deepen their Jewish knowledge and practice.
- Adults who may not be of Jewish origin who want to be an active partner in a committed relationship.
- Adults who may not be of Jewish origin who are considering conversion to Judaism.
How do I sign up for Introduction to Judaism?
The program runs from Fall 2018 through Spring 2019. The tuition is $500 for an individual member of the synagogue and $600 for an individual who is not a member. For those attending the course as a couple, the tuition is $700 for a couple if at least one person in the couple is a member and $800 for a non-member couple. This tuition includes a Hebrew course during the first hour. Conversion candidates are expected to attend the Hebrew class; all others are strongly encouraged to.
Tuition scholarships and consideration are available for all members who need it.
To apply for the program, please fill out and submit the form below, and make an appointment to meet with one of the instructors (a prerequisite) by calling the synagogue at 206-524-0075 or emailing our Lifecycle Coordinator, Heidi Piel.
As the class has already begun, applications for Living Judaism are currently closed.
However, you’re still more than welcome to contact Heidi Piel or Rabbi Rose if you have any questions about the class or the conversion process.