Public Courses – Spring 2023

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

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

If you have any questions about registration, please contact the AOP office: or (215) 247-9700 x210

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 Spring 2023 semester starts on January 29 and ends on May 25 – the instructor will determine the schedule of class meetings within these dates.

Course Fee:

  • $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.

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 2023 Public Courses


Foundations of Jewish Practice

Instructor: Rabbi Natan Margalit, Ph.D.
Tuesdays 3 to 5 pm (eastern)
Starts on January 31
Required for Rabbinic, Rabbinic Pastor, and Cantorial Programs.

This introductory course will focus on the Big Three of traditional Jewish practice: Shabbat, Kashrut, and Taharat HaMishpachah (Family Purity). Students will gain familiarity with the basic terminology associated with these mitzvot, review rabbinic texts that outlined these practices, and examine different traditional and contemporary approaches to observing these practices. Special focus will be given to diversity in Jewish practice – including denominational and geographical differences in observance – as well as to viewing these mitzvot through the lens of Jewish Renewal.

Rabbi Natan Margalit is chair of AOP’s Rabbinic Text department and director of Organic Torah and the Earth-Based Judaism Program.

Readings in English

Jewish thought

Introduction to Jewish Renewal and Reb Zalman’s Thought

Instructor: Rabbi Darren Kleinberg, Ph.D.
Tuesdays 7 to 9 pm (eastern)
Starts on January 31
Required for Rabbinic Pastor and Cantorial Programs. Foundational for Rabbinic Program.

In this introductory course, we will explore Jewish Renewal and Reb Zalman’s thought through his later writings, as well as some secondary sources, to contextualize his contributions and Renewal’s development in the broader American/Jewish landscape of the twentieth century. Students will identify and understand the roots of Reb Zalman’s spiritual and intellectual contributions to American Jewish life, engage thoughtfully and analytically with the texts, consider what meaning and relevance they might still hold, and begin – or continue – to develop an understanding of their relationship with Jewish Renewal and Reb Zalman’s legacy.

Rabbi Darren Kleinberg is Dean of AOP and a Senior Fellow at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education.

Readings in English


History of Hasidism

Instructor: Rabbi Molly Karp
Thursdays 3 to 5 pm (eastern)
Starting on February 9 (2nd week of the semester)
Course counts as History credit for Rabbinic and Rabbinic Pastor students.

This is a text-based course. Together we will read selections of the writings of the Ba’al Shem Tov, Ya’akov Yosef of Polnoye, the Magid of Mezritsh, Shneur Zalman of Liady, Nachman of Bratslav, Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, Hillel Zeitlin, Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Art Green, and more. We will explore such questions as: Who (and what) birthed Hasidism, and how much does it owe to previous Jewish experience and thought? How did Hasidic literature address the nature of the Divine, and our relationship with it? What are the Hasidic innovations in ritual, practice, and beliefs? What roles did women play in it? How did institutions and communities of uncompromising separatism emerge from its roots? And how did Hasidism reinvent itself after the Holocaust in forms so myriad that they included Jewish Renewal among them?

Rabbi Molly Karp is an innovative Jewish educator and spiritual leader who has extensive experience working with rabbinic and cantorial students on Hebrew language and rabbinic texts.

Readings in English