Public Courses – Fall 2023

The ALEPH Ordination Program (AOP) opens a selected number of our graduate-level seminary courses to the general public.

REGISTRATION FOR FALL 2023 COURSES IS NOW CLOSED. INFORMATION ABOUT SPRING 2024 PUBLIC COURSES WILL BE FORTHCOMING. 

The information below describes the registration procedures that will be used when registration opens:

You may register now with a $100 deposit (per course).

If you have any questions about registration, please contact the AOP office: 

ordination@aleph.org or (215) 247-9700 x210. If you’re ordained and are seeking additional continuing education classes, please contact the AOP office as well.

Your registration is provisional. We will confirm enrollment as soon as possible or about two weeks before the course starts. If it turns out a course is full and no space is available, the deposit will be fully refunded. Please NOTE that students taking a course for credit have priority of enrollment.

Each video-conference course has 13 weekly meetings and is conducted live using Zoom (required: high speed internet, webcam, and microphone). Our Fall 2023 semester starts on September 3 and ends on December 28 – the instructor will determine the schedule of class meetings within these dates.

Course Fee (except for Rabbinic Hebrew Workshop – see below):

  • $618 for Public Auditor – no credit ($600 + 3% T’rumah Financial Aid Fund fee)
  • $1,133 for Public Student – credit-earning ($1,100 + 3% T’rumah Financial Aid Fund fee)

How to Register

STEP 1: IMPORTANT! Please view the “Public Courses Policy and Learning Contract” document and read it carefully. As part of the registration, you will be asked to affirm that (a) you have read the document and (b) you comply with its terms.

REGISTRATION FOR FALL 2023 COURSES IS NOW CLOSED. INFORMATION ABOUT SPRING 2024 PUBLIC COURSES WILL BE FORTHCOMING. 

STEP 2: Fill out the Registration Form and pay the deposit ($100 per course). The maximum number of courses you can register for is two. You can also indicate a 2nd-choice in case the course you have chosen is full.

Fall 2023 Public Courses

hebrew language

Biblical Hebrew 101

Two-semester course (“Biblical Hebrew 102” will be offered in Spring 2024). Students must commit to BOTH semesters (unless given special permission by instructor),

Public Student is the only enrollment option for this intensive language course. Fee is $1,133 per semester.

Instructor: Rabbi Fern Feldman
Wednesdays 1 to 3 pm (eastern)
Starting on September 6

A rigorous and fast-paced foundational course. Students of varied backgrounds are welcome to enroll but are expected to be able to read Hebrew phonetically and to write Hebrew. Please email the instructor, Rabbi Fern Feldman (ffeldman@aleph-ordination.org), if you are unsure whether this course is the appropriate level for you. Primary textbooks are The First Hebrew Primer, 3rd edition, published by EKS and J. Weingreen’s A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew. Students will work with a hevruta partner. Plan on five to ten hours of study per week.

Areas covered: nouns, study recognition and translation of the seven binyanim and weak (irregular verbs) verbs and other topics. The course employs texts from Genesis, parashiot ha-shavuah, and siddur. The goals of these courses are a solid grounding in translation and interpretation of classical Hebrew texts. 

Reviews: “[The course] helped me raise my Hebrew skills substantially and positioned me well to continue growing. It also gave me a much greater appreciation for the structural beauty of the language.” “I definitely improved a lot in my understanding of grammar concepts and ability to translate. The regularity of class time, hevruta study, and homework assignments kept things in my brain.”

Students must be able to read Hebrew phonetically and to write Hebrew.

hebrew language

Rabbinic Hebrew Workshop

Instructor: Rabbi Dr. Natan Margalit

Wednesdays 3:30 – 5:00 pm (Eastern)

Course fee: $750 for Public Student, $375 for Public Auditor

This workshop will offer practice and instruction in Rabbinic Hebrew, both Rabbinic Hebrew Level One: Mishnaic Hebrew, which is relatively similar to Biblical Hebrew, and Rabbinic Hebrew Level Two, Medieval Rabbinic Hebrew, which includes a number of Aramaic terms that are common in the Talmud. We will also work on some common roshei teivot  (abbreviations) reading without vowels and reading Rashi script. (For those who have taken Reb Natan’s Reading the Rabbis courses through Hebrew College, this will follow a similar format). We will be primarily studying texts from the Mishnah along with medieval commentaries.  

The workshop may be taken by students who have passed Biblical Hebrew 102 or an equivalent level of Biblical Hebrew as approved by the instructor. 

KABBALAH/HASIDUT

Yesh Sod L’Dvar: Themes of Jewish Mystical Tradition

Instructor:  Rabbi Orna Triguboff

Two Sections: Mondays 6 to 8 pm (eastern) – Starting on September 11 – OR Wednesdays 6 to 8 pm (eastern) – Starting on September 6

This course is an engaged study of the development of Jewish mysticism, its symbolic universe, meditation practices, and social ramifications. While we will survey Jewish mystical traditions from the early Rabbinic period through the modern, the heart of the course is that many-branched (post)-medieval stream known as kabbalah.

All readings:  English translations provided for source texts in Hebrew and Aramaic

liturgy

Introduction to the Siddur

Instructor: Rabbi Rachel Hersh 
Tuesdays 5:30-7:30 pm (eastern)
Starting on September 5

With roots in the ancient rites of the First Temple, and yet still evolving down to the present, liturgy has been a central element of Jewish civilization throughout the ages. Our shared prayer canon has given us a common language through which to express our gratitude, our fears, our praise, our dismay for more than two millennia. Jewish clergy of all stripes need to have their own understanding of and their own relationship to this ancient, still developing treasure chest of prayer.

This course provides an introduction to and basic understanding of our liturgy and its central concepts and terms. Participants will explore both the structure (kevah) and the intention (kavanah) of Jewish prayer. We will explore basic terms such as matbe’a shel t’fillah, chiyyuv, sh’ma u-virchote’ha, and heiche k’dushah. We will look at what makes a shacharit service whole and how weekday, Shabbat, and holiday services are similar to and different from each other.

liturgy

North African Jewish Music

Instructor: Dr. Sam Thomas
Mondays 11 am – 1 pm (eastern)
Starting on September 11

This course explores the musical traditions associated with North African Jewry – herein defined as Maghrebi Jewry and including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and al-Andalus (historical Sepharad or Spain) – from both ethnomusicological and practical perspectives. The scope of the course will include exploring different historical periods, regional and interregional connections between Jewish communities, intercultural connections between Jewish and non-Jewish communities, through the vantage point of liturgical, paraliturgical, and non-liturgical musical expressions. Students will attend group classes in an online classroom environment and work on practical performance and analysis projects outside of class.

TanaKH

Ketuvim: The Feminine Books of Tanakh

Instructor: Rabbi  Dr. Aubrey Glazer  
Thursdays 1 pm – 3 pm (eastern)
Starting on September 7

The Book of Ruth and the Book of Esther are named after women. Song of Songs and Lamentations present the reader with powerful female characters and archetypes. No wonder, then, that scholars have called the Book of Ruth, the Book of Esther, Lamentations, and Song of Songs the “feminine” books of bible. We’ll explore these books on their own terms, which will include their historical context, literary themes, and theological assumptions. We will also consider their female representations and depictions, asking how these square with what we think we know (and what we can learn from the archeological record) about the role of women in Ancient Israel. Each book will be explored for what it brings to us and our time in the way of emotional, psychological, and spiritual truth. Lastly, we will ask: Is there a Jewish Renewal way of interpreting and understanding these books? 

TanaKH

Listening for God’s Voice – The Biblical Prophets

Instructor: Rabbi  Ebn Leader
Mondays 1 pm – 3 pm (eastern)
Starting on September 11

In the introduction to his book on the prophets, R.A.J. Heschel writes – “Prophecy is not simply the application of timeless standards to particular human situations, but rather an interpretation of a particular moment in history, a divine understanding of a human situation. Prophecy, then, may be described as an exegesis of existence from a divine perspective.”

We will use exegetical methods to get as close as we can to understanding how the prophets tried to share that “divine understanding.” Through careful reading of selections of biblical texts, in both prose and poetic styles, relating to both men and women identified as prophets, and informed by academic scholarship on these texts, we will attempt to come closer to understanding the biblical experience of speaking “from a divine perspective.” Towards the end of the semester, we will also spend some time studying the Classical Rabbinic rejection of prophecy, and the ways that some forms of that yearning for access to that “divine perspective” remained.

Students should have completed Biblical Hebrew 102 or the equivaent in order to enroll.

 

TaNaKH

Narratives of Bible

Instructor: Rabbi  Dr. Leila Gal Berner 
Thursdays 1 pm – 3 pm (eastern)
Starting on September 7

Tanakh offers us ideas about revelation and covenantal promises. Its texts conceptualize a society based on divine law and built in a promised land. Students will explore the wide-ranging theologies in these texts, how they were composed, and how they present “revelation” through law, rites, prophecy, and more. Students will become familiar with the major methodologies and disciplines of biblical studies and will explore how to teach biblical narratives from a Jewish Renewal perspective in ways that make the texts meaningful and relevant for today’s Jews.