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Temple Israel University

Lifelong learning is a core value at Temple Israel and TIU is the umbrella under which all adult education happens. It is a mitzvah to study and our aim is to deepen your Jewish life at Temple throughout your adult years. No experience is necessary! 

TIU began in June 2020 online. When it is safe to meet in person, our virtual academy of Jewish learning will move back on-site on our main campus and our TI-Crosstown space. Please check our calendar for more details.

Please write TIU’s Registrar, Lynn Owen, regarding any questions on the upcoming courses below. For 20s/30s only classes and discussions, please contact Paige Mandelman.

Weekly Torah Study

Weekly Torah Study with Temple Israel’s Greatest Teachers: Taught by Rabbis Danziger, Greenstein, Simons, and Wohlner, Dr. Joe Levy, and Sally Rosenberg

Consider turning every Saturday morning into Shabbat simply by tuning in at 10 AM CST from wherever you are. This weekly offering is intended for every post-Confirmation age member of Temple, whether 18 or 81. This offering begins on June 6, 2020.

Click here to join Torah Study. Questions?  Email Lynn Owen.  

Pirke Avot with Dr. Joe Levy

“Who is really rich? Who is really strong? Who is really wise?” Ever wonder about Judaism’s answer to these and other core life questions? Then join T.I.U.’s course on Pirke Avot taught by Dr. Joe Levy. No prerequisites required. Classes are on Sunday, Dec. 6 through Sunday, March 21, at 3 PM CST. You don’t even have to leave home to learn! Just click here to join. Questions? Email Lynn Owen.

You can order the book on Amazon.com.

What Harry Potter Can Teach Us About Judaism

Come hang out and learn what the wizarding world can teach us about Judaism with Student Rabbi Jeff Dreifus! This 2-part series (Feb. 11 and 18 at 7 PM CST) is intended for everyone from teens to retirees. All are welcome! If you are shy, you can wear your invisibility cloak (or just turn off your webcam). Don’t forget to bring your pet owl or rat (robes and wand optional)!

Register via Zoom! Questions? Email Lynn Owen.

Israel & The Pandemic

Presented by Yuval Ramrazker, Community Shlicha, and the MJCC, this interactive virtual learning session will shed insight into how Israel has responded to the pandemic and cover topics such as:

  • How Covid started in Israel (patient zero)
  • Government restrictions and guidelines
  • The effects of Covid on Israeli society
  • Developing the Israeli vaccine
  • Current status on the vaccine distribution
  • The government plan for 2021

This session will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, March 2 at 7 PM (CST). Register via Zoom! Questions? Email Lynn Owen.

Laila Tov: Your Favorite Jewish Lullabies

Sing your little one to sleep with your favorite Jewish bedtime lullabies. Join Rabbi Greenstein and Cantorial Soloist Happie Hoffman on Tuesday, March 9 at 7 PM (CST) to rekindle your love for these sweet melodies. This is for parents, grandparents, and everyone else in search of sweet dreams.

Click here to register. Questions? Email Lynn Owen.

Neil Yerman: Torah Doctor

Meet Temple’s seven Torah scrolls when we host the “Torah Doctor” – Sofer/Scribe Neil Yerman. Join us via Zoom for an up-close look at the work of a Torah scribe as well as the Torah scrolls you have chanted from or heard read from the bimah of Temple Israel. This will be a most interesting and fascinating hour with a wonderful individual and gifted Torah scribe. Join us on March 11 at 7 PM CST!

Click here to register. Questions? Email Lynn Owen.

God: Continued

Join us for a continuation of “Where Do Jews Find God?” with two sessions led by Student Rabbi Jeff Dreifus in March.

Tuesday, March 16 at 7 PM CST: Building upon January’s session on modern conceptions of God, we will explore and discuss classical and modern texts on how we encounter God through our relationships with other people. Click here to register.

Tuesday, March 30 at 7 PM CST: Building upon January’s session on modern conceptions of God, we will explore and discuss how both ancient and modern Jews found God and holiness in the natural world.

Click here to register. Questions? Email Lynn Owen.

Ask the Rabbis

Everything You Wanted To Know About Judaism But Were Afraid To Ask! Rabbis Bess, Jeremy, and Micah look forward to answering your questions about all things Judaism on three Wednesday evenings: November 18, January 14, and March 23 at 7 PM CST. Simply submit your questions to Lynn Owen two weeks before each session in this brand new series, and your rabbis look forward to sharing their perspectives on what is likely to be of interest to lots of people. All questions will be given to the rabbis anonymously, so please don’t be shy!

Click here to join. Questions? Email Lynn Owen.

Exploring Judaism

Led by the Temple clergy team and Temple’s best and brightest lay leaders, Exploring Judaism is for anyone born Jewish, interested in Judaism, or anyone wanting to learn more about their Jewish partner’s religion. Classes will be held on Wednesdays at 7 PM CST beginning on January 6 and ending on April 7.

This class is a prerequisite to Embracing Judaism, a course for those entering the conversion process.

Please purchase the textbook, “Honoring Tradition, Embracing Modernity” no later than Dec. 24, 2020, in order to receive it in time for the class. You can order a copy from the Judaica Gift Shop or CCAR Press.

Click here to register. Questions? Email Lynn Owen.

Samples of Past Programs

A Mindful 2021: Three-part series with Greg Graber

2020 has been a tough year. Greg will help you de-stress and get focused for a better, more mindful 2021. Join us for this three-part series on Tuesday, Jan. 19 and 26, and Feb. 2 All thirty-minute sessions start at 7 PM CST via Zoom. Participate in all three or just one. It’s up to you!

Tu Bishvat – Judaism’s New Year for Nature

Join Cantorial Soloist Happie Hoffman in marking this day to celebrate nature with music and learning.

Where Do Jews Find God? Perspectives from the Past Century

I don’t know about you, but God has never come to me in a burning bush, or even in a dream. That doesn’t mean that God is not a part of our lives!” – Rabbinical student Jeff Dreifus.

Please join us for a lunch and learn on January 15 at noon as student rabbi Jeff Dreifus discusses how the 20th century’s leading theologians believe we encounter the Divine.

Talking To Children About Death and Loss

Children as young as early childhood grieve. When a pet or goldfish dies, or a great-grandparent passes on, parents often are at a loss for words. Much of explaining death to children requires explaining it first to ourselves as adults. Sponsored by the Barbara K. Lipman Early Center Preschool Parents for the entire Temple Israel community, Rabbi Micah Greenstein will share questions that children have asked about death and dying with answers and practical suggestions for parents themselves.

The Beauty of What Remains: How Our Greatest Fear Becomes Our Greatest Gift

We are thrilled to announce a live Q&A with Rabbi Micah D. Greenstein featuring Rabbi Steve Leder, senior rabbi of Los Angeles’ Wilshire Boulevard Temple, discussing his book, “The Beauty of What Remains: How Our Greatest Fear Becomes Our Greatest Gift.”

“It’s a heartfelt narrative filled with laughter and tears and the wisdom of millennia and modernity,” said Rabbi Greenstein. “Ultimately, it’s an acknowledgment of the profound truth made real during COVID that if we can understand loss and death, we can learn how to truly live.”

Jewish Views on the Messiah

Join us for a three-part series taught by Rabbi Jeremy Simons and explore how the messianic concept developed within Judaism. We will learn about notable false messiahs throughout history and the Reform innovation of a Messianic Age. We will also unpack the idea of how a messiah (literally “one anointed with oil”) evolved into military, political, and religious leaders and ultimately into a single individual who was to perform all three roles.

Jewish Custom vs. Jewish Law: What’s the Difference?

Do you ever wonder about the origins of wearing a yarmulke? Why do some Jews cover mirrors when loved ones die? As Chanukah approaches, what are other customs people assume to be law? Join us virtually at noon at T.I.U. (Temple Israel University) on two Fridays (December 4 and 11) with Rabbi Micah D. Greenstein as we discuss these and other Jewish customs and their origins.

Humans of Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is by far one of the most multicultural cities in the world. In this captivating lecture on Sunday, December 6, 2020, Israeli photojournalist Erez Kaganowitz will share what he has learned about Tel Aviv and Israel after photographing more than 1,500 life stories. The amazing social fabric of Tel Aviv will be unraveled for you through the life stories of the different Humans who participated in this project. It’s essentially “Tel Aviv 101″ for those who want to better understand why Tel Aviv is one of the most liberal cities in the world.

About Erez: Erez Kaganovitz is a photojournalist, speaker, and the Human behind the Humans of Tel Aviv, Humans of Israel, and Humans of the Holocaust projects. Before creating these projects, Erez studied Journalism and International Relations at the Hebrew University, worked as a journalist on Channel 2 and I24news (both based in Israel), and as a parliamentary adviser at the Knesset.

Israel & Reform Zionism in 2020: A Discussion with Rabbi Micah D. Greenstein  

Please join Rabbi Micah Greenstein, newly elected to the US Delegation Assembly for The World Zionist Congress, on Wednesday, November 11 at 7 pm. He will be discussing the recently signed Israel Peace Treaty, 2020 World Zionist Congress elections, and Reform Zionism.

Jewish Prayer Service: The Logic Behind It All

Everything You Wanted to Know About Jewish Prayer Services But Were Afraid To Ask! Understanding the prayer service for Shabbat is part of a larger frame – Jewish prayer itself.  Join Rabbi Micah D. Greenstein and Cantorial Soloist Happie D. Hoffman on three Fridays at noon for a lunch and learn on October 16, 23, & 30, and you will leave this series knowing the meaning, history, and structure of the Jewish prayer service. This class promises to make your future Shabbat worship experiences more accessible, understandable, and enjoyable! 

How To Raise a Jewish Child: Birth to Age Four

Taught by Rabbi Micah Greenstein, this three-part series for expectant parents and parents with newborns is a reprise of Rabbi Greenstein’s parenting class on building the foundation of a Jewish self. This class will meet virtually on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm; topics include brit milah (ritual circumcision); brit bat naming ceremonies for girls; names and announcements; creating a Jewish space at home; synagogue community; and living in Jewish time. The purpose of these sessions is to equip parents with Jewish knowledge and choices from birth to age four, as well as answer any questions. The dates of this class are June 10, 17, and 24.

Adult Ulpan (Hebrew)

Give Us A Few Hours, And You’ll Be Reading Hebrew!

Do you want to learn how to decode the Hebrew alphabet? Care to brush up on what you once learned in Hebrew school? We will continue Hebrew classes in August 2020 for adults regardless of proficiency. Simply share your level of Hebraic knowledge with Lynn Owen and classes will be crafted accordingly. This class is taught by Baraba Mansberg, Teri Peacock, and Janet Zale.

Kabbalah: What It Is & Why People Are So Hungry For It

There is more to reality than meets the eye. Kabbalah reveals the unseen through a Jewish lens. Pop culture has both enlarged awareness and distorted an authentic explanation of what Kabbalah is. This three-part series will introduce Kabbalah and provide resources for further study. Taught by Rabbi Micah Greenstein, this class will meet on August 3, 10, and 17 at 7 pm.

Exploring Judaism – The Fundamentals of Judaism

If you have been Jewish your entire life but never fully understood why we do what we do as Jews, or if you are simply interested in Judaism and want to go deeper, this course is a college-level seminar taught by the rabbis of Temple Israel. The class text is the Union for Reform Judaism’s Honoring Tradition, Embracing Modernity. This course is for lifelong Jews as well as a prerequisite for anyone contemplating conversion to Judaism at Temple Israel. Taught by Temple clergy, this series will begin in January 2021.

Embracing Judaism – Becoming a Jew

This marvelous experiential course for future Jews-by-Choice is by invitation only following each conversion candidate’s rabbinic sponsorship with Temple Israel clergy. Taught by Judy Bearman and Sally Rosenberg, this class begins anew following each Exploring Judaism cycle.

ConnecTI Learning Circles

Temple Israel is proud of the organic community of Jewish natives and newcomers under age 40 known as “ConnecTI.” In addition to social justice initiatives, volunteering opportunities, and community talks at TI-Crosstown, 20s/30s learning circles extend from book clubs to Shabbat Schmooze. For more information on ConnecTI learning opportunities, contact Paige Mandelman at paigem@timemphis.org.

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