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MakomDC 2020-2021

Ve-Dibarta Bam — Torah That Speaks To You & Me: 
Learning, Living and Exploring in Adas Israel’s Virtual Biran Beit Midrash

There’s always a way in to Jewish learning. This year we intend to capture the passion and expertise of our core teachers and offer topics in text learning that will inspire deep learning, generate new knowledge, and open up critical conversation. Each month, for the first two Tuesday evenings, a rabbi (Holtzblatt, Alexander, Krinsky, Yolkut) will offer a 2-part mini-series that will tackle essential subjects in Judaism, with close attention to the textual tradition that inspires so much of Jewish life today. The Third Tuesday of each month will be taught by one of our Mendelson Scholars. 


Makomdc (Learning & Immersion)

 2020-2021 Mendelson Scholars


Dr. Deborah Barer - "Decision-Making in the Talmud and Today"
Tuesday, October 20 @ 7:30pm

When faced with a challenging decision, many of us rely on established rules, principles, or values to guide us to the right conclusion. But what happens when the rules are not clear, or when applying them would lead to an undesirable outcome? How should we make decisions in these cases? A series of Talmudic narratives about rabbis acting lifnim mi-shurat ha-din offer a possible response. The Talmud uses this enigmatic phrase, which literally means “within the line of the law”, to indicate that a rabbi has done something different than what Jewish law (halakhah) would lead us to expect. Using their behavior as a model, this talk explores the circumstances that might prompt a rabbi to act lifnim mi-shurat ha-din, and what these stories can teach us about making decisions in our own lives.

Deborah Barer is Assistant Professor of Ancient Judaism at Towson University, where she teaches courses in Religious Studies and Jewish Studies. Her research focuses on Talmudic decision-making and its application to contemporary issues in Jewish law and ethics. She lives in Washington DC with her husband and daughter.

Rabbi Dr. Burt Visotzky - Aphrodite and the Rabbis: How the Rabbis Adapted Greco-Roman Culture to Create Judaism as We Know It
Tuesday, December 15 @ 7:30pm | Click Here to Register

In honor of Hanukkah, Rabbi Visotzky will speak on "Aphrodite and the Rabbis: How the Rabbis Adapted Greco-Roman Culture to Create Judaism as We Know It." Far from rejecting Hellenism, the Jews of the first centuries of the common era left behind the ruins of the altar in Jerusalem and instead built a religion that co-existed comfortably with the world of Greco-Roman philosophy and rhetoric. Master teacher Burt Visotzky will share two rabbinic texts from second century Roman Palestine to illustrate the "marriage" of Aphrodite and the rabbis.

Rabbi Dr. Burt Visotzky serves as Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he directs the Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue. Rabbi Visotzky has been named to “The Forward 50” and repeatedly to the Newsweek/Daily Beast list of “The 50 Most Influential Jews in America.” 

Dr. Mara Benjamin
Tuesday, April 20 @ 7:30pm | Click Here to Register
Mara H. Benjamin is Irene Kaplan Leiwant Associate Professor and Chair of Jewish Studies at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA. She holds a Ph.D. in modern Jewish thought from Stanford University and has taught at the University of Washington, Yale University, and St. Olaf College.

Makomdc (Learning & Immersion)

 MakomDC Two-Part Pod Series with Adas Clergy

*New Offering! Each of our rabbis will bring their passion and expertise to 3 core areas of Jewish Life and Living. Each session will be devoted to a deep-dive textual exploration of the chosen topic. While these classes are labeled as “advanced” and may assume some working knowledge of the topic, all are welcome to join and each learner will gain new insight that will will expand their knowledge and skills. 

Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt
Tuesdays, November 10 & 17 @ 7:30pm
Click Here to Join the Class

Rabbi Aaron Alexander
Tuesdays, December 1 & 8 @ 7:30pm
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Rabbi Sarah Krinsky
Tuesdays, January 5 & 12 @ 7:30pm
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Rabbi Elianna Yolkut
Tuesdays, February 2 & 9 @ 7:30pm
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Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt
Tuesdays, March 2 & 9 @ 7:30pm
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Rabbi Aaron Alexander
Tuesdays, April 6 & 13 @ 7:30pm
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Rabbi Sarah Krinsky
Tuesdays, May 4 & 11 @ 7:30pm
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Makomdc (Learning & Immersion)

Featured Learning Opportunities

Friday Parsha Sudy with Adas Clergy

Fridays at 1:00pm
Click Here to Join the Class

Join us for an exclusive in-depth look at the Torah portion. On alternating Fridays Rabbi Holtzblatt will explore the parsha through the lens of Hassidut and mysticism, Rabbi Alexander will use the Talmud as the prism for the weekly reading, and Rabbi Krinsky will teach the hidden recesses of the Parsha’s passages and discover its meaning and relevance.. 

Boker Or Shabbat Study

Shabbat Mornings at 8:30am
Click Here to Join the Session

The Boker Ohr Torah study group meets Saturday mornings at 8:30 a.m. with the weekly portion as its focus. Join our clergy and community over zoom each week for an engaging, text-based conversation on the week's parsha, before Shabbat services. *Note: Zoom meeting will begin before Shabbat starts. All participants who would like to join the class before Shabbat and leave their devices open for Boker Ohr study may do so. 

Intro to Judaism 2.0 (Quarterly)
Wednesdays at 7:30pm-9pm | Click Here to Register
November 4, January 13, March 17, May 5

This course is designed for alumni of Intro to Judaism. Each of the four sessions will focus on a practical aspect of Jewish life, incorporating the learning from the Intro class into everyday routines and spaces. Topics will include: living Jewish space, creating a Jewish kitchen, observing Jewish time, and practicing Jewish ritual. The class will meet virtually until the Adas building has been re-opened (virtual options will continue through the pandemic).

Makomdc (Learning & Immersion)

Advanced Learning with Adas Clergy

Advanced Halakhah (Jewish Law) With Rabbi Aaron Alexander
October 27, January 26, March 23 @ 7:30pm
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Rabbi Alexander will lead learners in a textual exploration of a topic in Jewish Law, using original sources without translation. This series is designed primarily for those with previous experience studying classical rabbinic texts in hebrew/aramaic.

Advanced Mysticism With Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt
December 16, April 27, June 15 at 7:30pm
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This class will offer a deep dive into Jewish mystical practices of centering the mind.  We will explore the teachings of the Piacezno Rebbe, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, the Zohar, and HaRav Kook. We will look into the specific Hasidic theologies of each teacher and delve into their mindfulness practices. Each class will conclude with a “mindfulness lab”- a chance to try on the practice that we study.

Advanced Musar With Rabbi Sarah Krinsky
November 18, February 23, May 25 @ 7:30pm
Click Here to Join the Class

Delve deeply into the practice of musar - a guided journey through middot (traits) that help us to better understand who we are, notice and hone our key attributes, and show up as our best selves in the world. Each session will focus on one particular middah, and will include text study from rabbinic sources about the trait as well as guidance for incorporating reflection and practice in our own lives. 

Mon, November 23 2020 7 Kislev 5781