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Non-Matriculated Student Programs

RRC COURSES OPEN TO THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY:

Each semester, RRC invites adults from the local community to take classes alongside our rabbinical students, and many have welcomed the challenge. Some students work through our trademark core of historical courses; others take single workshops and classes or dive deep into advanced Hebrew. If you are interested, please contact us at 215.576.0800, ext 310, or email Mike Kennedy at mkennedy@rrc.edu.

Winter courses offered:

REQUIRED FOUNDATIONS & MEKHINAH COURSES

MEKHINAH LVRIT B'IVRIT
Instructor:
Vivie Mayer
Meeting Details: Jan 16-26; 4 hours daily (Monday to Thursday, 9-12:50 p.m.)
Course Description: In this Mekhinah Hebrew language immersion course, we will be integrating Biblical Hebrew, Rabbinic Hebrew, and Modern Hebrew as we study Parashat Shemot with Rashi’s commentary. The four hour daily course will be balanced between frontal class time, hevrutah study, and individualized language drilling. There will be one hour of daily homework. The course will introduce the students to Rashi script, Torah trope, and Onkelos’ Aramaic translation of the Torah.

INTRODUCTION TO LESHON HAZAL
Instructor: Rabbi Leiah Moser
Meeting Details: Jan 8-26; (Monday to Thursday, 10-12:50 p.m.)
Course Description: This introduction to Rabbinic Hebrew and Talmudic Aramaic offers an intensive engagement with the languages of the Mishnah and Babylonian Talmud through close reading and analysis of selected passages. Students will build vocabulary, learn to identify common verb forms, and gain familiarity with the syntax of Rabbinic Hebrew and Talmudic Aramaic.

ADVANCED TEXT

RABBI AS TEXT BROKER
Instructor:
Elsie Stern, Ph.D.
Meeting details: Jan 8-26; (Monday to Thursday, 10-11:50 a.m.)
Course Description: Rabbis act as translators, mediators and interpreters of Torah texts in a variety of contexts and genres. In this workshop-style class, we will experiment with some of these genres, including divrei torah, communal text study and Bible performance. 

SOCIAL JUSTICE

PRAY AS IF THE EARTH & ECO-SOCIAL JUSTICE REALLY MATTER
Instructor:  Rabbi Arthur Waskow
Meeting Details: Jan 8-26, (Wednesdays & Thursdays 3-4:50 p.m.)
Course Description: In the midst of a deep crisis in the relationship between adamah and adam (Earth and human earthling), how do we change the framework and language of prayer if we put the sacred relationship — including its impact on what is really not just “social justice” but "eco-social justice” —  at the center? The course will explore two different approaches:

  • Elevating some moments of existing Jewish prayer forms into greater awareness of the Earth (e.g. 2d paragraph of Sh’ma and Nishmat; transforming God-language toward more immanent and Earth-connected metaphors like Ruach ha’olam, Eyn ha’chayyim); framing the festival cycle and the life cycle in earth-connection terms; examining parshiot that bear on earth-human interconnection like Noach, B’Har,  Shabbat HaGadol).  
  • Shaping prayerful public action as an approach to grass-roots protest or advocacy (e.g. Hoshana Rabbah on the banks of a poisoned Hudson River, Tisha B’Av on the US Capitol steps after the BP oil blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico — both not only “Earth” concerned but also “Justice" concerned).  

There will be a major element of practicum in this course. Students will actually prepare one or more full-scale plans for observing Tu B’Shvat and perhaps other moments of Jewish time in a way that actually helps to heal the wounded Adam-Adamah relationship, and will take responsibility for carrying out the plan.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow is a leading Jewish activist and innovator. He is a co-founder of ALEPH: The Alliance for Jewish Renewal and is the founding director of the Shalom Center, an organization dedicated to being a “prophetic voice in Jewish, multi-religious and American life.” Ordained as a rabbi by a multi-denominational beit din, Rabbi Waskow was a member of the RRC faculty from 1982-89 and has taught in several college religion departments. He has written and edited more than a dozen books, including Godwrestling 1 and 2, Seasons of Our Joy, and Torah of the Earth: Exploring 4,000 Years of Ecology in Jewish Thought. Rabbi Waskow’s torah, as enacted in his speech, writing and actions have shaped, and continue to shape, contemporary progressive Judaism.

WORKSHOPS

WORKSHOP: COMMUNITY BASED ORGANIZING
Instructors:
  Mordechai Liebling and Meir Lakein
Meeting Details: January 29-30; 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Course Description: Many students at RRC have already organized, as professionals or through their other activism. This course is designed to help people with experience deepen their insight and skill by learning from each other and from experienced organizers, and to help them explore how they will adapt their organizing experience to the particular challenges and opportunities of being organizing rabbis.

WORKSHOP: RABBI AS CHANGE-MAKER
Instructor: Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum
Meeting Details: January 31-February 1; 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Course Description: In this workshop, Rabbi Kleinbaum will explore with students strategies for successful change-making both within Jewish organizations and in broader activist contexts. In addition to the two days at RRC, the workshop will include an opportunity to go to Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in Manhattan to learn about how the strategies Rabbi Kleinbaum presented in the workshop were, and are, implemented in practice.

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum serves as spiritual leader of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST). She was installed as CBST’s first rabbi in 1992, arriving at the height of the AIDS crisis when the synagogue was in desperate need of pastoral care and spiritual leadership. She guided the congregation through a period of loss and change, while addressing social issues of the day and building a strong and deeply spiritual community. Under her leadership as Senior Rabbi, CBST has become a powerful voice in the movement for equality and justice for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions and a significant force challenging the radical right’s dominance over religious and political life in the United States and around the world.  For many years Rabbi Kleinbaum has been ranked by Newsweek among the 50 most influential rabbis in America. In 2012, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College awarded her the "Keter Shem Tov Award," their highest honor.