Adult Education

For more information about any of these programs please contact Pat Meyer at


Weekly Torah Study on Monday evenings and featured classes throughout the year


Life's Holy Moments

All classes will be held at 7:00pm Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Wednesday, October 6, 2021 - Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Wednesday, October 20, 2021 - Marriage

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - Birth

Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - Death

In 5782, Congregation Sha'are Shalom is embarking on a new topic in Adult Education. We will learn how we can use traditional Jewish approaches to prayer to enhance some of the most critical times of our lives, as well as in our daily lives.


Life’s Holy Moments starts the semester in October with an examination of four moments of transformative experiences: bar/bat mitzvah, marriage, birth, and death. There are significant personal and spiritual benefits at each of these times from an awareness and use of Jewish prayer. These benefits include the connection to centuries of Jewish practice. 


We are honored to have our friend and former interim rabbi, Rabbi Bruce Aft, be our guide in these sessions. Rabbi Aft is currently the interim rabbi at Congregation Beth Emeth and was the spiritual leader at Adat Reyim in Springfield, VA from 1991 until June, 2020. He received MSW from Temple University, ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. Now retired, Rabbi Aft is a visiting scholar at George Mason University in the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution. He is an adjunct faculty member in the religious studies department and honors college at GMU.


We will also begin a new approach to honoring those significant in our lives by offering sponsorships for the Life's Holy Moments classes. Sponsorships help us bring these high-quality programs to you and bring to the holy activity of Torah study the goodwill of those we care about and the blessings that we have experienced in our lives. We are offering sponsorships for $36 for one class and $72 for three (such a deal) for this series. Support will be publicized and will be acknowledged at the beginning of each class.

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Weekly Torah Study

Mondays 7:30pm - 8:45pm

Sha'are Shalom's weekly Torah study meets every week with the exception of Jewish holidays.


In Judaism, Torah study is actually a mitzvah. We have a life-long obligation to consider how our sacred texts relate to our lives, our relationships. our obligations, our families, our civic duties, and nearly every other essential aspect of our existence. One of the most important ways we can do this is to spend some time with the text that will be read in communal worship that week. A reason the Torah has continued to be significant for us is that it offers unlimited opportunities for interpretation and discussion. 


Our weekly study session will begin with a review of the parshah (section of the first five books that will be read on Shabbat) with general discussion encouraged, but limited. Following this, the leader will guide a focused consideration of a part of the parshah of particular interest. Participants will be encouraged (but in no way requied) to actively contribute to the discussion. No background of any kind is needed, and the leader will have the responsibility to explain topics, words, and concepts as necessary. No question will be too basic.


The selection of the parshah will follow the Conservative movements triennial pattern. It will be helpful if participants have access to a good English translation of the Torah for this to work. Online resources are perfectly acceptable. The leader will use the Jewish Publication Society's translation from the Etz Hayim Chumash. (A Chumash includes the Hebrew text of the Torah separated into its 54 constituent weekly Torah portions, together with the haftarah for each portion, and often, translation notes.)