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Shalom Maine
Adult Jewish Learning

Shalom Maine Logo OUTLINES

A community partnership for adult Jewish learning with
Congregation Bet Ha’am, Temple Beth El, Sha’arey Tphiloh, Etz Chaim Synagogue - Portland, Congregation Etz Chaim – Biddeford, Beth Israel Congregation - Bath, and the Jewish Community Alliance (JCA)


Advanced registration required.  Classes are subject to change pending minimum enrollment.

Courses are offered with a suggested tuition.

Weather Closures

Closures will be determined by the organization hosting the class and announced via the host’s website and/or social media.

Class Cancellations

In the event that a class is cancelled unrelated to a weather closure, we will attempt to notify all registered students via email, and call any students who cannot be reached by email.

Withdrawals & Refunds

Please notify us in writing if you need to withdraw from a class – email Refunds are available prior to the first week of class. If you withdraw after the class has begun, we will issue a pro-rated refund for medical reasons only.

Code of Conduct

Shalom Maine and our host organizations are committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all community members, guests, visitors, and staff, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, ethnicity, ability or financial status. Failure to abide by the Code of Conduct may result in the suspension or revocation of participation in Shalom Maine courses.

Course instructors and students commit to maintaining a respectful and pluralistic class environment. Harassing, bullying, threatening or proselytizing behavior will not be tolerated, and we reserve the right to remove from the premises any individual acting in an inappropriate manner. Distributing flyers, booklets or other literature is prohibited without prior approval. No one may enter the JCA facility while carrying or concealing weapons.

For more information and to register, please visit WWW.SHALOMME.COMscroll down to the course listings below, or call (207) 772-1959.


Beth Israel Congregation
862 Washington Street
(207) 443-4606

Congregation Bet Ha’am
81 Westbrook Street
South Portland
(207) 879-0028

Temple Beth El
400 Deering Avenue
(207) 774-2649

Jewish Community Alliance
1342 Congress Street
(207) 772-1959

Jewish Values and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Part II With Melanie Weiss

An iEngage course developed by the Shalom Hartman Institute 

Tuesdays: Oct. 29; Nov. 5, 12, 19, 26; Dec. 3
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Location: JCA - 1342 Congress St., Portland
Suggested tuition: $18 for the course
Advanced registration required by October 18th.
6 sessions. 24 student max.

Jewish Values and the Israeli Palestinian Conflict (Part II), six sessions of a 12-session course developed by the Shalom Hartman Institute, explores one of the most divisive issues affecting the Jewish people today.

Through the study of Jewish narratives about Israel and the unpacking of the complex meanings of peace in Jewish tradition, participants are invited to explore the ideas and values that animate different attitudes toward the conflict and how these values shape their own political understandings. Though a common political platform may not be attainable, this course strives to achieve a shared respect for our differences.

The class will be facilitated by Melanie Weiss - Director of Summer Programs, The Center for Small Town Jewish Life and Director of Education, Beth Israel Congregation - Waterville, and includes readings, group discussion and video clips of lectures and interviews of prominent thinkers, scholars and public figures.

Advanced registration required.  Finances should not be a barrier to participation. Please contact Deena at or 772-1959 to inquire about subsidized tuition.

Create Your Own Ceramic Judaica - CANCELLED
With Toby Rosenberg

Wednesday evenings - November 6, 13, 20; December 4, 11, 18  (skip Nov. 27)
6:00 - 8:00 PM
JCA - 1342 Congress St., Portland
Suggested tuition: $90  ▪  Materials fee (required): $40
Registration deadline: October 28

In this class, we will use different hand-building methods to create ceramic Judaica. We will make a mezuzah cover (the small decorative container affixed to doorways of Jewish homes, which holds specific Hebrew verses from the Torah), Shabbat candle holders, a hanukkiah (the candelabra used for the holiday of Chanukah) and possibly a kiddush cup (used for the blessing over the wine at the beginning of a Sabbath or holiday meal). The other two classes would be for glazing and the possible making of a yad (pointer for reading the Torah) out of fimo. Materials fee includes 25 lb of clay, glazes, use of tools, and kiln firing.

From Tribes to Nation - The Significance of the Davidic Monarchy
With Ellie Miller

Tuesday mornings, Nov. 12, 19, 26; Dec. 3, 10, 17; Jan. 7, 14
(Skip Dec. 24, 31)
9:30 - 11:00 AM
JCA – 1342 Congress St., Portland
Suggested tuition: $96
Registration deadline: Nov. 1

Why did biblical Israel need a monarchy? This course will explore the failures of earlier systems including the Judges and Saul’s kingship, and the subsequent success of King David and his son Solomon in establishing a dynasty that united the people of Israel and created an enduring common memory for the Jewish people. The course will focus on texts from the Books of Judges, Samuel, and Kings.

Please bring an English translation or Hebrew/English edition of the Tanakh (the Jewish Bible). 8 sessions.

(Part II will be offered in Spring 2020, focusing on the split of the kingdom into Israel and Judah, the kingdoms’ subsequent monarchs and the ultimate end of both kingdoms at the hands of the Assyrians and Babylonians)

Family Dynamics in Genesis - From Abraham to Joseph
With Ellie Miller

Monday evenings, Nov. 18, 25; Dec. 2, 9, 16
6:00 - 7:30 PM
JCA – 1342 Congress St., Portland
Suggested tuition: $60
Registration deadline: Nov. 8

Free childcare available for ages 3+ with advanced registration only.

What kind of parents were the patriarchs and matriarchs? Can we learn from their mistakes? While all are welcome, this class is particularly focused on facilitating conversations among parents raising young children. Please bring an English edition of the Tanakh (the Jewish Bible). 5 sessions.

Einstein & Oppenheimer
With David Hecht

Sunday mornings Jan. 5, 12, 19, and 26
10:00 - 11:30 AM

Temple Beth El – 400 Deering Avenue, Portland
Suggested tuition: $54
Registration deadline: Dec. 23

This course looks at two of the most famous Jewish scientists: Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer. Einstein is perhaps the most well-known scientist in history, and Oppenheimer widespread fame for this role as the “father of the atomic bomb.” Two sessions devoted to each scientist will explore their scientific achievements, political involvement, and cultural legacies. We will also look at the role that Judaism had in each of their lives, as well as the ways that anti-Semitism affected their careers.