Beth Shalom Congregation 
8070 Harriet Tubman Lane
Columbia, MD 21044

Driving Directions 


Jessica Schultz 
Beth Shalom Congregation 

Shabbat and Holiday Programs

Judaism’s Ten Best Ideas

Fridays, September 14, October 26, November 9, and December 14  

Join Rabbi Grossman and fellow congregants on this enticing monthly exploration of 10 of Judaism’s most timeless and inspiring ideas for leading a meaningful life. Each month Rabbi Grossman will explore one idea drawn from “Judaism’s Ten Best Ideas: A Brief Guide for Seekers, a small book filled with big ideas by Arthur Green (available through Amazon Smile). The topics explored during Friday night services this fall are:

  • Simchah – Joy
  • Tzelem Elohim – Creation in God’s Image
  • Halakhah – Walking the Path
  • Tikkun Olam – Repairing the World

The November and December programs are held the same evenings as Vatikim dinners for Beth Shalom empty nesters and mature couples and singles. (R.S.V.P. required for each dinner to liat.novek@beth-shalom.net.)


Ask the Rabbi

Fridays, August 17, September 21, and November 30

Bring your questions about Jewish belief, customs, history, and current events for a spirited discussion with Rabbi Grossman on a wide variety of topics during Friday evening services.


Torah Talks with Rabbi Scheinerman 

Saturdays, October 13  and December 15

Rabbi Amy Scheinerman leads a Torah study on the weekly parsha (Torah reading) as part of Sabbath services. Come for an interesting discussion.


 Shabbat Unplugged 

Fridays, September 7, October 5, November 2, and December 7

Enjoy upbeat Friday night services with song and spirit (ruach).



Adult Education 

Fall 2018 Course Offerings

     First and Second Aliyahs: Pioneers through the Lens of Fiction with Dr. Michal Cohen

DAYTIME!     Thursdays, October 4, 11, 18 at 3:00 p.m.

 Fee:$15 members; $30 non-members

The pioneers of the First and Second Aliyahs were fictionalized in romantic novels that depict their heroism and their victory over a hostile environment. “Valley of Strength” (Gai Oni) by Shulamit Lapid portrays the establishment of the village of Rosh Pina in 1882 by the First Aliyah pioneers. “Frontiersmen of Israel” (Anshei B'reshit) by Eliezer Smoli follows the life of the Second Aliyah pioneer Alexander Zad (1886-1938), the founder of the Hashomer defense organization.    

Next to the novels, there are the accounts of the pioneers in their own words. For example, Hannah Barnett Trager, whose parents were among the founders of Petach Tikvah, wrote the memoir Pioneers of Palestine. Ziporah Becker Zad, Alexander Zad's wife, wrote her account under the title “With Hashomer in the Galilee.” Rachel Katzenelson-Shazar of the Second Aliyah published the collection “The Plough Women: Records of the Pioneer Women of Palestine.”  

The lectures will include an analysis of excerpts from the two novels and a comparison with real-life accounts of similar aspects of the pioneers' life. Copies of the reading materials will be provided.

Dr. Michal Fram Cohen received her Ph.D. from Bar-Ilan University in 2017. She wrote her dissertation on the Hebrew writer Sarah Feiga Foner and lectured about her in Israel and the U.S. 


  Living on a Prayer: Making Meaning out of Our Service, Part 1: Shabbat with Cantor Rebecca Apt

Tuesdays, October 23, 30, November 13, 20 at 7:45 p.m.

 Fee: $20 members; $40 non-members

Have you ever wondered how the Shabbat service came to be? Ever attended a service and wondered where it all came from, who composed it, and why is it important? Now is your chance to find out! Come and learn about the beautiful poems, prayers and psalms of Shabbat liturgy. Learn about Kabbalat Shabbat, the Shema and its blessings, the Shabbat Amidah, and more! Ability to read Hebrew ideal but not required. Open for all levels of Hebrew.


 Conversational Hebrew with Ora Fisch

Wednesdays, October 3 through December 12 at 7:45 p.m.

Fee: $40 members; $80 non-members

This intermediate level class, with emphasis on grammar, conversational Hebrew, and vocabulary acquisition, is led by master teacher and native Israeli Ora Fisch. This class continues previous classes, but newcomers are welcome.


Israel: From Ancient History to Modern Headlines with Rabbi Susan Grossman

 Tuesdays, November 27, December 4, 11, 18 at 7:45 p.m.

Fee: $20

Join Rabbi Grossman and guest lecturers to explore the intersection of history, politics, and polemics in this fast paced series designed to provide participants with the myth busting facts and nuanced context to make sense of contemporary social and political challenges facing Israel today. All classes hosted and moderated by R. Susan Grossman.
November 27: Archaeologist and Smithsonian Scholar Dr. Michael Hornum explores The History of the Jews in their Land showing the unbroken continuity of Jewish settlement in the Promised Land from the Biblical through the early Ottoman Empire.
December 4: Jewish community Shaliach and former IDF commander, Shay Rubinstein explores the international context and social and political complexities of The Endless Conflict between Jews and Arabs from early Zionism to Independence through the 1967 Six Day War and its aftermath.
December 11:  Former member of IDF intelligence, Zachary Fisch takes us from the Yom Kippur War, the Egyptian and Jordanian peace treaties, Oslo, internal Palestinian conflicts, Israeli politics and the impact of terrorism on the peace process in this frank discussion on Israel, its Neighbors and the Palestinians.
December 18: Rabbi Grossman will co-lead with Shay Rubinstein a thought provoking and respectful conversation with class participants synthesizing and reflecting on what was learned in the course and exploring how young Israelis are responding to the current matzav(political situation) in order to better understand How to Talk Thoughtfully about Israel.



Special program

Is Judaism Really Monotheistic? A Maimonidean Perspective

with Dr. Kenneth Seeskin, Professor of Jewish Civilization, Northwestern UniversityMonday,

December 10 at  7:45 p.m. 

Fee: In advance: $10 for members of the sponsoring groups including Beth Shalom congregants, $12 others at door: $15 for all.  Please see foundjs.org for registration. 

The first two commandments of the Decalogue are the primary sources for our Jewish monotheism. How do we understand the commandments? Is belief in one God all that is required to make one a monotheist? If not, what else is needed? Why does the third commandment prohibit us from making images of God? Professor Seeskin, a professor of philosophy and expert in Maimonides, will explore how these issues are more controversial than people might think. In fact, it is far from clear that we observe these laws in the ways that Maimonides and other sages understood.

Dr. Seeskin specializes in Jewish Philosophy, Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion. He uses classic history of philosophy texts to shed light on problems of perennial interest. His books include: Maimonides on the Origin of the World, Autonomy in Jewish Philosophy, Searching for a Distant God: The Legacy of Maimonides, Jewish Philosophy in a Secular Age, and Maimonides: A Guide for Today's Perplexed. He has won several teaching awards at Northwestern and has edited the Cambridge Companion to Maimonides.

This program, by The Institute for Jewish Studies, is co-sponsored by Beth Shalom, Columbia Jewish Congregation, Oseh Shalom, and Temple Isaiah.   



Genetics and Judaism

A weekend of exploration of the relationship between Judaism and science

Rebekah Rasooly, Ph.D., a renowned human geneticist at the National Institutes of Health, is the speaker for our 2018 Scholar-in-Residence program.


 Friday, November 2

  • 5:45 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Candlelighting and congregational Shabbat dinner (pre-registration required)
  • 7:00 p.m. -7:45 p.m.  Dr. Rasooly will speak about “Genetics and Judaism: From Moses to Molecular DNA”.  She will discuss concepts of inheritance from both traditional Jewish sources and from modern molecular genetics, including the relative contributions of genes and environment on human behavior and disease susceptibility.  She will explore the implications of these concepts for our understanding of an individual’s potential for redemption and repentance.
  • 7:00 p.m. Youth Program
  • 8:00 p.m. Shabbat Unplugged Services


 Saturday, November 3

  • During services beginning at 9:30 a.m., Rabbi Grossman will moderate a discussion with Dr. Rasooly and congregants on areas of convergence between the scientific and Jewish approaches to understanding human identity, behavior and traits. The relative contributions of innate potential and the shaping of the environment in developing this potential will be discussed.      
  • Kiddush Light Lunch: Congregants will have the opportunity to continue the discussion with Dr. Rasooly.


 Sunday, November 4

  • There will be Religious School activities relating to the intersections of scientific Genetics and Jewish teachings. Dr. Rasooly and Religious school faculty will lead these activities for Lower School students in the morning, and in the evening Dr. Stephen Seliger, MD MS, and Adult Education Co-Chair, will lead a discussion for Upper School students. 

A separate email with registration will follow