A Message From: Adult Education

Adjusting to the New Normal

With the advent of the coronavirus and the closing of the building, the Adult Education Committee was faced with a set of new challenges to continue to bring high-quality programing to our adult learners.

In the middle of the winter/spring schedule with two highly anticipated scholars set to visit TJC, on-site lectures became impossible. To fill this void, it was decided that our programs would be delivered by original videos and interactive Zoom classes. We called this initiative “TJC at Home” and it began in late March.

With the cooperation of nine presenters from an array of academic backgrounds and institutions, 15 original videos were produced through mid-May. Most of the videos focus on Judaic Studies topics related to the overarching theme of “Jewish Responses to Crisis”. We also offered videos that help us cope with the added stress caused by the current situation. Dr. Ruth Goldston, a practicing psychologist and TJC member, created a series of Mindfulness videos exclusively for our members. Access to the video collection will be available shortly through the Adult Education webpage on the TJC website.

During April and May, we offered two wonderful interactive Zoom classes as well. The first, presented by Bob Lebeau, a TJC member, discussed “Into the Wild: Revisiting the Wandering”, while the second, taught by Rabbi Dr. David Hoffman, discussed “Contract or Covenant: Jewishly Navigating Some of the Workplace Challenges of 2020”. Both classes were well attended and helped us understand the potential of this new medium.

All our presenters volunteered their time and expertise to make “TJC at Home” possible and the overwhelming response by our congregants encourages our efforts. We are grateful for both.

For the first time, TJC will be offering classes in June and July. We will be focusing our efforts on interactive Zoom programs presented by both guest scholars and TJC members. Guest scholars include Prof. Rebecca Kobrin of Columbia University, who is an expert on Jewish Immigration to the US, and Rabbi Dr. Vanessa Ochs of the University of Virginia, who will talk about new rituals practiced by American Jews since the coronavirus. Deborah Strauss of TJC will be among those presenting during the summer.

Look for program details in upcoming emails and the weekly newsletter.

During the coming months, the members of the Adult Education Committee will be both conducting the summer programing and planning for the 2020/21 program cycle. Committee members are Lynn Coopersmith, Sharon Diamondstein (Director of Lifelong Learning), Heidi Joseph (VP Programming), Jon Katz (Co-chair), Jerry Kaufman, Frank Lees, Moshe Margolin (Co-chair), Warren Mitlak, Fredi Pearlmutter, Mik Rosenthal and Nancy Sobin.

We are interested in new members joining our Committee.
Please let us know if you would like to help to enrich the adult learning experience at TJC: adulteducation@thejewishcenter.org