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, and the Jewish Community Alliance (JCA)

FALL 2018 – SPRING 2019 Courses

Advanced registration required.

Courses are offered with a suggested tuition.

For more information and to register, please visit WWW.SHALOMME.COM or call (207) 879-0028.

Courses subject to change or cancellation pending minimum enrollment.


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

Shiva, Ritual and Grief in Judaism
With Jean Berman

Sunday mornings - October 7, 14, Nov. 11, 18
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: Congregation Bet Ha’am
Suggested tuition: $48
4 sessions
Enrollment: Minimum 10 /Max. 22
Registration deadline: Friday, Sept. 28

Do you know why simplicity and equality are core values in Judaism's care for the deceased and mourners, or that Jews have been practicing "green burial" for millennia? Jewish rituals over the end-of-life continuum are guided by honor for the deceased and comfort for the mourners. This course is about reclaiming our holistic, wise approach to death and mourning.

Seven Women Prophets of the Bible - Sara to Esther
With Ellie Miller

Tuesday mornings: Oct. 9, 16, 23, 30; Nov. 6, 13, 20, 27
9:30 - 11:00 AM
Location: Congregation Bet Ha’am
Suggested tuition: $96
8 sessions
Enrollment: Minimum 10 /Max. 22
Registration deadline: Friday, Sept. 28

In the Talmud (Megillah 14a), we learn that seven women in the Hebrew Bible are identified as prophets. In this course, we’ll delve into each woman’s story as told in the text. Some are better known, like Sarah and Miriam, while others, like Abigail and Huldah, are not as well known. Why are these women singled out? What do their stories teach us? What does it mean to be a prophet, male or female? Are there other women who might have been included in this elite list? What criteria might we use?

Adam to Joseph: A Biblical View of Parenting Challenges and Their Relevance Today
With Ellie Miller

Monday evenings: Oct. 15, 22, 29; Nov. 5, 19, 26 (No class Nov. 12 for Veterans Day)
6:00 - 7:30 PM
Location: JCA
Suggested tuition: $72
6 sessions
Enrollment: Minimum 10 /Max. 22
Registration deadline: Friday, October 5

There’s no escaping the fact that our traditional Bible stories are filled with parental angst. From the death of a child, problems of infertility, children seeing us at our worst rather than our best, to sibling rivalry over and over, we learn that our forebears struggled mightily in their role as parents. What are our takeaways from these struggles? What are the lessons we can apply to our own lives and our family situations?

Spirituality, Movement and Faith
With Danika Kuhl

Sunday mornings - Jan. 6, 13, 27, Feb. 3
10:30 - 11:30 AM
Location: Temple Beth El
Suggested tuition: $48
4 sessions
Enrollment: Minimum 8 /Max. 15
Registration deadline: Friday, December 28

American Jewish Film
With Anna Wrobel

Tuesday mornings: Jan. 8, 22, Feb. 5, 19, March 5
9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: JCA
Suggested tuition: $60
5 sessions
Enrollment: Minimum 14 /Max. 22
Registration deadline: Friday, December 28

This film class explores the spectrum of Jewish American life and experience.  Themes to be illuminated include migration, adaptation, acculturation, alienation, antisemitism, group diversity and division, Jewish humor, philosophy and more.  Jewish roles in the film industry, and American responses to it, will also figure into our discourse.

American Anti-Semitism: Tropes, Memes and History
With Matt Goldfarb

Tuesday evenings, Jan. 8, 15, 22, 29; Feb. 5, 12
6:30 - 8:00 PM
Location: Temple Beth El
Suggested tuition: $72
6 sessions
Enrollment: Minimum 10 /Max. 22
Registration deadline: Friday, December 28

Who started anti-Semitism? What do events in Charlottesville, Kansas City and the State of Maine have in common? We will examine current events and identify hostile voices in contemporary America.

Philanthropy Re-Imagined: A Radical Approach To Tikkun Olam & Gifts Of Wealth,
Work, And Wisdom
With Benjamin Gorelick And Others

Monday evenings, January 28; Feb. 4, 11, 25
(No class on Feb. 18 – Presidents Day).
6:30 – 8:00 PM
Location: Congregation Bet Ha’am
Suggested tuition: $48
4 sessions
Enrollment: Minimum 10 /Max. 22
Registration deadline: Friday, January 18

I’ve written three different course descriptions, and my wife keeps saying “It sounds like you’re going to hit people up for money.  Also, what does Tikkun Olam have to do with philanthropy? I don’t see the connection.” That, of course, is the problem. Tikkun Olam and Philanthropy, if done right, are one in the same.

What does it mean to be a philanthropist?  What do non-profits really need, to do their best work?  This course will challenge the existing order of things, inspiring you, the giver, to solve big problems by transforming the organizations in which you invest wealth, work, and wisdom.

This isn’t a class about giving money.  Instead, we’re examining a radical philosophy of giving, in many forms, applicable to anyone who wants the world to be a better place.

A Food Tour of the Talmud

Presented by Project Zug: Online Partnership Learning; Co-sponsored by The Center for Small Town Jewish Life and the Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine

Course Tuition: $36

Special Scholarship Discount Opportunity: The first 20 registrants will receive a 50% discount off the $36 tuition fee. To apply the scholarship use the code First20 in your registration.  ▪  Discount applies to the first 20 registrants ONLY. That's ten weeks of high caliber learning for just $18!

Food is a powerful force at the center of ritual, community and ethics. This class will explore all of these aspects of food by studying passages on food found across the Talmud. How can the act of eating become a practice of gratitude? Who should receive food as charity, and how much? What rights do field-workers have? Jumping into the lively debate of Talmud will pave the way for rich discussion to affirm, challenge, and transform our own approaches to food. This online course is facilitated by Rabbi Aviva Richman of the Hadar Institute, New York.

How this course works:

Sign up with Project Zug to gain access to the full course materials when the course launches in January. You'll learn online with a chavruta - a traditional-style study buddy: You can either list your study partner when you register, or write "Match Me" to have us pair you with another Mainer! We'll send you updates about the course, but the two of you can work through it at your own pace. We'll have a kickoff event at Beth Israel Congregation in Bath in January, and a siyyum (a capstone event) at this June's Maine Conference for Jewish Life in Waterville - so you and your chavruta have a chance to learn together in person!

What do you need?

You'll need a computer with internet connectivity (a camera is very helpful, but can be worked around), and the desire to engage meaningfully with Jewish texts!

No prior experience with text study or chavruta learning?

No problem! The Project Zug experience ensures that this curated material will be amplified and explained by renowned teachers. This 10-week course can take the 10 weeks allotted - or you and your partner might take a slower pace, to account for your schedules or to spend more time with the texts. How long your study sessions are, whether you prepare individually or work through everything together - the decisions are yours. This is an amazing opportunity to build our Maine Jewish community, and enhance our relationships to one another, through traditional learning - and to do it from the comfort of our own homes!

The Center for Small Town Jewish Life and the JCA are thrilled to be partnering with Project Zug to bring the Maine Jewish community an amazing learning opportunity at an incredible price. If you need some tech support, we are here to help. We encourage learners of all backgrounds to dive in. Registrants will receive emails with all details, including the date that the first materials will be released online.

Questions about this program?

We're happy to talk to you! Email Melanie Weiss at

Register online at:

Welcome to Judaism Led by congregational rabbis

Tuesday evenings - Feb. 26, March 5, 12, 19, 26
6:00 - 8:00 PM
Location: JCA  ▪  Free!  ▪  Registration deadline: February 12

This free course is for those who are new to Judaism as well

as those looking to renew their connection and deepen their knowledge. Dinner, babysitting (with advance registration) and all course materials will be provided.

Three American Diasporas in Comparative
Poetry and Short Prose: Jewish/African/Irish
with Anna Wrobel and Jim Donnelly

This class has been canceled.