Congregations working together to promote Jewish learning

Congregations working together to promote Jewish learning

The lay leadership of two local congregations has joined forces to create a unique learning opportunity for adults.
Unity Through Learning, a joint project of Congregation Beth Shalom and Congregation Poale Zedeck, aims to foster unity among Jews through the learning of Torah. The program, which begins Dec. 3 and runs for 11 weeks at the Agency for Jewish Learning building, will pair members of Beth Shalom with members of Poale Zedeck for the purpose of studying Pirkei Avot, Ethics of Our Fathers. Men will be paired with men, and women with women.
The text for the study sessions will be Rabbi Abraham Twerski’s book on Pirkei Avot, and Twerski will address the group at one of the sessions.
“This program, the beauty of it, is that it’s run by lay people,” said
Rabbi Yisroel Miller of Poale Zedeck. “And though I gave my blessing, it’s their baby, and it’s a wonderful idea that lay people should take the lead.”
The joint program was the idea of Gary Goldberg, chairman of adult education at Beth Shalom, and Jay Angel and Carey Balaban of Poale Zedeck.
Rabbi Michael Werbow of Beth Shalom says he believes this is the first time the two congregations have combined for a joint learning program.
A facilitator will introduce a topic each week, and then each pair of learners will work together to examine the text.
“In some ways,” said Werbow, “the program is just as the title calls it — Unity Through Learning. Through being able to sit together and learn together, it will unify the participants.”

(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at

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