Access to Judaism

The Access to Judaism course forms part of the Adult Education Programme.  It is both a ‘refresher’ and a beginners’ guide to Judaism.

It offers an introduction to Jewish sources and texts, communal and home observance, the festivals, Jewish lifecycle events, contemporary Jewish communities, Jewish history and thought. It is an ideal environment to gain an insight into a Progressive Jewish approach to these areas. We can only give a taster of these subjects, but we do so in an open way, that encourages questioning. We offer access to the Menorah library and advice on further guided reading.

Classes are held via Zoom and at Menorah on Wednesdays 20:30 – 21:45 (unless other times indicated below)

Autumn (Stav) term 2021

1 September – Introduction to the Access course and a guide to Rosh HaShana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot (Double session from 19:30-21:30)
22 September – Introduction to Torah and Simchat Torah
29 September – The Jewish bookshelf
6 October – An introduction to Reform Judaism
13 October – The Synagogue: a place of prayer, study and meeting
20 October – The Jewish year: travels in time
3 November – Shabbat
10 November – Chanukah
17 November – Tefillah and siddur: an exploration of Jewish prayer (I)
24 November – Tefillah and siddur: an exploration of Jewish prayer (II)
1 December – Chanukah celebration together (19:30-21:30)
8 December – The Jewish home and kashrut with Rabbi Lisa

Spring (Aviv) term 2022

5 January – Jewish Identity with Rabbi Lisa
12 January – Biblical history with Rabbi Lisa
19 January – Second Temple with Clive Gilbert (via Zoom only 20:00-21:30)
26 January – Medieval Jewish riches with Ann Angel
2 February – Modernity I: Emancipation and Enlightenment with Ann Angel
9 February – Modernity II: Reform Judaism with Ann Angel
23 February – Modernity III: Eastern Europe and the rise of Zionism with Clive Gilbert (via Zoom only 20:00-21:30)
2 March – Preparing for Purim with Rabbi Lisa or Ann Angel
9 March – Antisemitism and Shoah with Frank Vigon (via Zoom only 20:00-21.30)
16 March – Celebration of Erev Purim at Menorah
23 March – Pesach: from Slavery to Freedom with Rabbi Lisa (via Zoom only)
30 March – Pesach: Preparing for the Seder with Rabbi Lisa

Summer (Kayitz) term 2022

6 April – Lifecycle I: death and mourning with Rabbi Lisa
27 April – Yom HaShoah national ceremony screening followed by discussion and Lifecycle II: marriage and divorce with Rabbi Lisa (Double session from 19:30-21:45)
11 May – Lifecycle III: from Birth to b’nei mitzvah with Rabbi Fabian
18 May – Shavuot and Torah: Reform perspectives with Rabbi Fabian
8 June – Conversion with Rabbi Fabian
15 June – The history of antisemitism prior to the Shoah with Frank Vigon and Facing antisemitism today with Ulrich Savary (Double session from 19:30-21:45)
22 June – World Jewry and Israel Today
29 June – British Jewry with Ann Angel
6 July – Reform Judaism Today
13 July – Menorah and Jewish Community, and a celebration of our year of learning, with Rabbi Fabian and Ann Angel

Forthcoming dates are also listed in the calendar

If you are interested in joining the course for the first time please email to discuss the suitability of the course to your needs.