Adult Jewish Learning

Classes and discussion groups with skilled educators on traditional texts, art, literature, history and current affairs.

Origins of Zionism Mobile Slider


With Rabbi Andy Bachman
JCA Boardroom, 1342 Congress Street, Portland
Thursdays, May 11, 18, 25; June 1 | 7:00 - 8:30 PM
$18.00 - JCA Members / $36.00 - General Public

Are the Jews defined only by Judaism and religion? Or are the Jews a people, a culture and a nation? During this 4-week course, we will explore the foundational ideas that influenced the creation of Zionism and the Jewish state. From political emancipation of the Jews in early 19th century Europe to Israel’s Independence in 1948, we will examine a number of documents, essays and events that were essential to understanding the idea of Jewish nationalism and the creation of the first Jewish state in two thousand years. All backgrounds and opinions are welcome. 

Andy Bachman is founder of Water Over Rocks and the Center for Midwestern Jewish Communities, a unique entity devoted to the preservation of history, memory and civic responsibility.  He is also Senior Consultant to the Jewish Community Legacy Project.  From 2018-2022 he was executive director of the Jewish Community Project of Lower Manhattan, a growing, open, pluralistic center for Jewish life in Tribeca.  He was Senior Rabbi at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, New York from 2006-2015, executive director of the Edgar M. Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at New York University from 1998-2004.  He is also the founder of Brooklyn Jews, an innovative social organizing engine for young, unaffiliated Jews and their partners in Brownstone Brooklyn. Andy currently lives in Portland, ME, and is father to three daughters, Audrey, Lois and Minna and a dog, Bob Capa.

Torah Study Genesis Into the Light Yoram Raanan

Torah Conversations

A weekly online study group facilitated by Ellie Miller
Thursdays, 10:00 – 11:00 AM on Zoom 

All participants should RSVP to our volunteer Diane Newman to join this year's email list, and receive the new Zoom link, weekly readings and schedule updates (even if you have participated in the past). New participants are welcome!

We continue our journey through the the Torah,  engaged in a careful reading of every word of the text. We focus on language and structure along with the stories and values the text imparts. 

Adult Ed Offerings from the Community

THE LIGHT OF DAYS The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos

Feb 28, 2024 7:30PM—9:00PM

Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center, Bowdoin College

Israel Reading Group

Mar 12, 2024 7:00PM—8:30AM

JCA of Southern Maine and Zoom

Anti-Semitism After October 7: Should We Be (More) Afraid?

Feb 25, 2024 1:00PM—2:30PM

Congregation Etz Chaim 34 Bacon St. Biddeford, ME 04005

Global Connections with Robert Siegel: How to be a Better Person

Feb 14, 2024 4:00PM—5:00PM


Global Connections with Robert Siegel: Growing up with Social Media

Jan 24, 2024 4:00PM—5:00PM