Public Courses – Spring 2022

Registration is now closed. Please check back in June for Fall 2022 public courses.

The ALEPH Ordination Program (AOP) opens a selected number of courses every semester to the general public. Here’s a great opportunity to study with our faculty and alongside students on the ordination path.

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

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

Ming Shem Lu, at

Your registration is provisional. We will confirm your 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 Spring 2022 semester starts on January 30 and ends on May 26 – the instructor will determine the schedule of class meetings within these dates.

Course Fee:

  • $566.50 for Public Auditor – no credit ($550 + 3% T’rumah Financial Aid Fund fee)
  • $1,030 for Public Student – credit-earning ($1,000 + 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.

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.

Spring 2022 Public Courses

Jewish liturgy

Introduction to the Siddur

Instructor: Rabbi Rachel Hersh
Mondays 11 am to 1 pm (eastern)
Starting on January 31
Required for Rabbinic Pastor and Hashpa’ah Programs. Foundational for Rabbinic and Cantorial Programs.

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. 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.

Students must be comfortable reciting liturgy in Hebrew.

rabbinic texts / organic torah

Organic Thinking in Rabbinic Texts

Instructor: Rabbi Natan Margalit
Two Sections: Tuesdays 3 to 5 pm (eastern) OR Wednesdays 7 to 9 pm (eastern). Please indicate your choice of section when you register. If either section would work for you, please check the boxes for BOTH sections.
Starting on February 1 (Tuesday section) or February 2 (Wednesday section)
Part of the course offerings of the Earth-Based Judaism Certificate Program

The genres of literature that the early rabbis created, from about the first to the seventh centuries, have retained many aspects of an earth-based, indigenous way of thinking of the biblical era. This earth-based thinking has become mostly lost to Western European intellectual tradition but may be essential to solving today’s ecological, social, economic, and political crises. We will read primary texts in Midrash, Mishnah, and Talmud, as well as commentaries both traditional and modern. While many of our texts deal directly with our relationship to the earth such as agricultural laws and practices, in some cases we will focus on the organic thinking found in texts on a wide variety of subjects from gender and sexuality to ritual and community. We will also juxtapose our rabbinic texts with modern ecological writings to see how new insights emerge when we read these texts with an earth-based perspective.

Readings in English translations.

jewish mysticism / hasidut

Introduction to Hasidut

Course is full. Please do not fill out the registration form if this is the only course you’re interested in taking.

Instructor: Rabbi Mimi Feigelson
Wednesdays 11 am to 1 pm (eastern)
Starting on February 2
Required for Rabbinic Pastor, Cantorial, and Hashpa’ah Programs. Foundational for Rabbinic Program.

In this introductory course we will engage in learning the primary teachings of the Hasidic Rebbes, from the conception of the movement till our generation. We will engage in close textual analysis of primary sources as a means of understanding the evolution of the Ḥasidic vocabulary and library. We will encounter the teachings of core voices in the Ḥasidic movement and explore the essence of their theology and spiritual legacy.

The primary sources discussed each week are accompanied by English translations and background academic readings.


Ancient Israelites, Judeans, and the Making of a People


Instructor: Rabbi Shulamit Thiede
Two Sections: Tuesdays 7 to 9 pm (eastern) OR Thursdays 11 am to 1 pm (eastern). Please indicate your choice of section when you register. If either section would work for you, please check the boxes for BOTH sections.
Starting on February 1 (Tuesday section) or February 3 (Thursday section)
Required for Rabbinic, Rabbinic Pastor, and Cantorial Programs.

How did we go from ethnos to religion? How well do such categories work to explain our history from the time of King Saul in the 11th century BCE to the ascendancy of the rabbis in the 6th century CE? What was “Judaism” before the rabbis became the power brokers of Jewish life? These key questions will help us discover ancient Israelite (and Judean) identity, practice, and beliefs and ask what they can teach us about who we were and who we remain — even in our own time.

Please note this is a graduate-level course where students are expected to engage actively with primary materials.