Adult Jewish Learning at NSCI

Here you are able to view information about programs and events at NSCI and in the community. Events are listed under catagories, in chronological order. Please scroll down to learn more about all of our exciting events and programs.

Adult Education

Study the Talmud with Rabbi Geffen

Mondays, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Join Rabbi Geffen as we continue the study of Tractate Brachot.  All are welcome.

If you want to purchase your own copy of the Talmud translation we use for class, Koren Talmud Bavli, Berakhot by Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz, you can find it HERE on

What Might We Mean by “The World to Come?” Study an Excerpt from Maimonides Commentary on the Mishnah with Rabbi Steven Mason

Monday, March 27, 7:00 pm with Rabbi Steven Mason
Join Rabbi Steven Mason for a close reading (In English) and discussion of Maimonides’ Introduction to Perek Helek from his Commentary to the Mishnah. This challenging text provides a framework for our own thinking about questions about human motivation and choices. These are the personal and often deeply spiritual questions that defy short and certain answers. Come join in the exploration.  No previous experience is necessary.  Copies of the English text will be provided. To RSVP contact Lisa Goosmann, [email protected].

Abraham Joshua Heschel’s The Sabbath with Rabbi Daniels

Saturdays, April 1 & 8 at 11:15 am
Walk with Rabbi Daniels through The Sabbath, Abraham Joshua Heschel’s most beloved book. Heschel was internationally known as a scholar, author, civil rights activist, and one of the most distinguished theologians of the 20th century. Together we’ll explore Heschel’s theology and wrestle with what he understood to be humankind’s ultimate task: “to conquer space and sanctify time.” To RSVP contact Lisa Goosmann, [email protected].

Midday Mondays

This year Midday Mondays will include mini-series taught in multi-week increments and offered at different times throughout the year.
Legacy Letters with Carole Mark Gingiss
April 24, May 1,8,15 & 22, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Ever thought about how you can pass on traditions, advice, and family history to your dear ones? A Legacy Letter can do just that.

Join us in a new class that will guide you, step by step, in writing about the life lessons, insights, and values you would like to share.  Communicating what is important is often a goal in our lives, yet it can feel like an overwhelming task. Carole Mark Gingiss has taught many students over the years to successfully craft their message.  She will share examples of old and modern Legacy Letters, also called Ethical Wills, and give students the tools to create their own. This class is for any age, wherever you are in life. Legacy Letters have been written by teens, and adults alike, written for colleagues, friends or family; there are no advance requirements. Your letter can be distributed immediately after it's written, sometime later, or attached to your Last Will and Testament. Curious? Talk to Rabbi Greene, [email protected], or Carole Mark Gingiss, [email protected]. Or, just sign up. Class size is limited. Registration is required.  Please contact Lisa Goosmann at [email protected]

How to Keep Kosher While Still Enjoying an Occasional Pork Chop
with Rabbi Ryan Daniels

Mondays, April 3, and May 1 & 8, 7:00 pm
Jewish dietary practice is rooted in Torah, is discussed extensively in Mishnah and Talmud, and has been challenged and recalibrated throughout the generations. Join Rabbi Daniels in digesting a selection of these essays from The Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic is an anthology of essays on Reform dietary practice. We’ll discuss our people’s unique relationship with food, and the role of Jewish values — social justice and concern for animals, the environment, our own wellness and the worker — when planning our meals. To RSVP contact Lisa Goosmann, [email protected]

Forty Nine Days to Freedom

Fridays April 7, 14, 21 & 28, 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Join Rabbis Jordan Bendat-Appell and Sam Feinsmith of the Center for Jewish Mindfulness at Orot for a four-session series exploring how to enter into Passover and the practice of counting the Omer as mindfulness practices that support greater freedom, ease, spaciousness, and wisdom in our daily living.  Using mindful Torah study, discussion, and a variety of mindfulness meditation techniques, participants will walk away with the skills and tools to establish their own mindfulness practice.  The series builds from week to week following the arc of the season of liberation as we travel from Pesach to Shavuot.  Registration for all four sessions is strongly encouraged, though drop-ins are most welcome.    

No prior experience with mindfulness meditation or Jewish text study required. All are welcome. The series is suitable for beginners and experienced practitioners. $20 per session, $80 for the series.
To register visit: For questions contact: [email protected], or Rabbi Sam Feinsmith, 847-331-8702.

Beyond Torah: An Introduction to Midrash with Rabbi Daniels

Sunday, April 9, 10:15 am
Midrash is the process of reading between and beyond the black and white text of the Bible.  Unlike the Mishnah or the Talmud, there is no single book called “midrash,” rather a large  collection of midrashic works exist that were written over the course of many hundreds  of years. Join Rabbi Daniels in an exploration of some of the more well-known texts. An understanding of Hebrew is not required — all are welcome! RSVP to Lisa Goosmann, [email protected].

A Taste of Foundations for Jewish Family Living, taught by Rabbi Lisa Greene

Sundays, April 23, 30 and May 7, 9:00 am
What are the Jewish Values you want your child to know? Foundations of Jewish Family Living is a new learning opportunity through the Florence Melton School of Jewish Learning. Foundations is a course created for parents that provides a thought-provoking encounter with the core values of Judaism. At a time in a family’s life when a child is experiencing his or her own Jewish education, this rich learning experience provides you with the learning, the language, and the confidence to be a teacher to your own children and support Jewish learning at home. For more information or to register, contact Rolly Cohen, [email protected]. 847/291-7788 x1304.

A Taste of Judaism with Rabbi Greene

Mondays, April 24, May 1 & May 8, 7:00 pm
This engaging class on Jewish spirituality, ethics, and community is designed for the curious beginner. Individuals from all faith backgrounds are welcome. Please tell your friends in the community about this exciting class, sponsored by our Reform movement to allow folks to get just that - a taste of Judaism. Preregistration is required. Contact: Joy Wasserman, [email protected], 872-256-1818.

The Mindful or Mindless Life: Navigating Transitions

Wednesdays, April 26 and May 3, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Are you searching for deeper meaning in your life and in the world? Through our experience of ancient Jewish spiritual teachings, we can strengthen our capacity to live with awareness, generosity and compassion. Join Rabbi Geffen in the profound and spiritually uplifting practice of study and contemplative practice surrounding traditional Jewish teachings that will make you think differently about yourself, your relationships, and your world. Each session will include study and discussion, meditation, and chanting. No experience necessary. The only requirement for the class is a willing heart and open mind. For more information or if you have any questions, contact Bayla, [email protected] or call 847-835-0724 ext. 643.

Dr. Avivah Zornberg ‘And I am a Stranger’: Becoming Ruth

Monday May 15, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Ruth is a stranger in more senses than one. Who is this unknown woman who is destined to become mother of royalty? What is the process by which she finds her way into a foreign and unwelcoming culture and religious tradition? How does destiny come about?

Dr. Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg lives in Jerusalem where she has been lecturing on Bible since 1980. She reads biblical narratives through the prism of midrash, literature, philosophy and particularly psychoanalysis. Avivah Zornberg was born in London and grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, where her father was a rabbi and the head of the Rabbinical Court. She studied Torah with him from childhood. Dr. Zornberg also studied at the Gateshead seminary and the Jerusalem Michlala. Her PhD in English Literature is from Cambridge University, England. She taught English literature at the Hebrew University for seven years before turning to teaching Torah.

To RSVP contact Lisa Goosmann, [email protected], 847-835-0724.

Psalms in the Twenty-First Century with Roberta Schwartz

Mondays, May 22, June 5, 12, 19, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Is there something new under the sun, in the field of Psalms?  Strangely there is. Because we now have decades of research based upon documents from the Dead Sea Scrolls and excavations at Qumran.  It is known that of all books of the Bible, in the early centuries, second and first, BCE and first century CE Psalms came in only second in popularity to Deuteronomy.
The longest book in the Bible and most complex can be studied based upon recent publications, which bring much to our understanding of that religious poetry. Many chords are struck therein, since Psalms was written over hundreds of years and some oral even earlier.  We will concentrate on individual psalms and conclude with a poem written by Primo Levi. He based that exposition upon Psalm 137 – a modern day connection of past and present.

This course is taught by Roberta H. Schwartz, a graduate of the University of Chicago, who holds an M.A. in Jewish Studies from Spertus. Roberta lectured and taught in that field for over 30 years and is a beloved teacher of adults here at NSCI. To sign-up, email Lisa Goosmann at [email protected].