This is an online event. 



Jessica Schultz 
Beth Shalom Congregation 

Adult Education 

Fall 2020 Course Offerings


Special Scholar Event 

Vaccines and Jewish Law

 with Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Ph.D., American Jewish University

Sunday, November 1 at 7:45 p.m.


As our country and the world face an unprecedented viral pandemic, the development, testing, and deployment of an effective vaccine is crucial to preventing the spread of disease. However, there are important and potentially controversial ethical questions raised by these endeavors. For example: who should receive a vaccine first, especially in the setting of a limited vaccine supply? Are we obligated to be vaccinated ourselves? How should we respond to those who decline or refuse vaccination? Who should volunteer for the experimental studies necessary to prove a vaccine’s safety and effectiveness? Please join Beth Shalom as Rabbi Elliot Dorff, a national expert in Jewish ethics and bioethics, helps guide us through these and other ethical quandaries from the context of Jewish Law.


Elliot Dorff, Rabbi, Ph.D., is Rector and Distinguished Service Professor of Philosophy at American Jewish University in Los Angeles and a Visiting Professor at UCLA School of Law.  Since 2007 he has served as the Chair of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, for which he has written a number of rabbinic rulings on issues of bioethics.  He has served on three federal commissions on issues of bioethics -- on the distribution of health care, on diminishing sexually transmitted diseases, and on the rules for research on human subjects -- and he currently serves on the State of California's Commission that sets the ethical guidelines for stem cell research within the state.  He has been a member of the Ethics Committee of UCLA Medical Center since the 1980s. Among the fourteen books that he wrote is Matters of Life and Death: A Jewish Approach to Modern Medical Ethics.

Crisis Management: How Three Ancient Rabbis Saved Judaism By Transforming It Into the Judaism We Know Today 

 with Rabbi Susan Grossman

Tuesdays, November 10, 17, 24, & December 1 at 7:45 p.m.

Jewish history is filled with crises and extraordinary individuals who helped navigate the transformations required to ensure Jewish survival and continuity. Join Rabbi Grossman as she explores the contributions of three such individuals, Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai, Rabbi Akiva, and Rabbi Yehudah haNasi, who confronted seismic challenges to their Jewish communities with the courage, commitment and ingenuity to transform ancient Temple-based Judaism into the faith and culture we still live today.

No previous background or Hebrew knowledge required. This class is appropriate for both beginner and advanced students.

Rabbi Susan Grossman, co-editor of Etz Hayim Torah and Commentary and other works, including a study of women in the rabbinic courts in the Mishnaic and Talmudic periods, has a Doctorate in Ancient Judaism from Jewish Theological Seminary.

Shabbat and Holiday Programs


Ask the Rabbi with Rabbi Grossman   

 Fridays, November 20 & December 18

Back by popular request to Friday evening services, Rabbi Grossman will entertain questions on Jewish belief, tradition, history, law, culture, and observance. Students are invited to try to stump Rabbi Grossman with a legitimate question about any of the above subjects for a special prize.

The Jewish View with Rabbi Grossman

Friday Evenings During Shabbat Services Beginning at 6:00 p.m.

October 16: Should Defending Black Lives Mean Defunding the Police?

Rabbi Grossman explores what Jewish law and tradition say about how we are to relate to government, the police who enforce government policy and the application of justice (or injustice) in society. 

December 11*: Who Gave Us Hanukkah? The Secret Lives of the Maccabees.

Rabbi Grossman explores who really were the Maccabee family who instigated the revolt that saved Judaism and gave us the beloved holiday of Hanukkah. (*Vatakim follows services; see details below.)


 Hamilton Shabbat! 

Friday, October 23

Beth Shalom joins the Hamilton craze with this special Virtual Sabbath devoted to Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. Cantor and guests will lead services to some of the beloved melodies from the blockbuster Broadway play by Lin-Manuel Miranda. During services Rabbi Grossman will speak about The Jewish History of Alexander Hamilton. Join on Zoom.


Torah Talks with Rabbi Amy Scheinerman

Saturdays, November 7 & December 5  

This participatory Torah study on the weekly parsha (Torah reading) occurs during regular Saturday morning services with Rabbi Amy Scheinerman.


Virtual Vatakim Zoom Dinners

Fridays, November 13 & December 11 following services

Join other mature couples and singles for dinner and schmoozing on-line after services.  Coordinated by Ann Poltilove. For more information or to RSVP, e-mail Ann c/o rabbi.assistant@beth-shalom.net.


Sermon in Song with Cantor Rebecca Apt 

Saturday, November 21

Cantor Apt will lead an in-depth exploration of the meaning and music of a particular prayer, during Sabbath morning services.