Shalom Austin Adult Jewish Learning Offers Something for Everyone | Shalom Austin

Shalom Austin Adult Jewish Learning Offers Something for Everyone

Community News, Shalom Austin, The Jewish Outlook

Nov 23, 2020

Screenshot of Adult Jewish Learning Engaging Israel Class Zoom. Credit: Wendy Goodman

By Alachua Nazarenko

In October, Shalom Austin kicked off its second year of Adult Jewish Learning. This exciting program is a series of high-quality Jewish learning opportunities that provides a cohort experience for individuals of all backgrounds and beliefs. Each month, there is a new topic and a new teacher presenting a monthlong module around a specific theme. The lineup this year is diverse, ranging from Israel to Talmud to Jewish music, culture and cuisine. With Adult Jewish Learning, there is something for everyone.

Shalom Austin CEO Rabbi Daniel A. Septimus taught the first four-session series on Engaging Israel: Foundations for a New Relationship. Twenty students of different ages and backgrounds gathered online weekly to learn through instructor lectures, class discussions, video recordings and readings about the response to growing feelings of disenchantment and disinterest toward Israel among an ever-increasing number of Jews worldwide. The curriculum was guided by the Shalom Hartman Institute faculty including Rabbi Donniel Hartman, Ph.D.; Tal Becker, Ph.D.; Yossi Klein-Halevi; Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Ph.D.; Professor Gil Troy; and others. 

The students also met online with residents living in Israel, an opportunity made possible through the Jewish Agency and Partnership2Gether, a partnership between Shalom Austin and the Western Galilee region of Israel.

Adult Jewish Learning students have the opportunity to learn from incredible teachers from a variety of organizations, congregations and denominations. 

Ian Spechler, a participant in the first year of Adult Jewish learning, said, “Adult Jewish Learning was an amazing experience to share with teachers and fellow students of such diverse Jewish backgrounds. Every Monday for seven months, I knew I could look forward to hearing from the best Jewish teachers in Austin while making friends with fellow community members who share my passion for learning. I cannot recommend it highly enough to all the passionate talmidim (students) looking for a unique learning opportunity.”

It is not too late to delve into Jewish learning, meet fellow Austin Jews and experience all that Adult Jewish Learning has to offer. There are still six modules remaining in this semester. The next module, “Diaspora – Jews and Jewish Communities Around the World,” with Rabbi Neil Blumofe of Congregation Agues Achim kicks off Dec. 7.

To learn more about all the modules and to register, visit For questions, contact Alachua Nazarenko, Shalom Austin education and engagement director, at ■ 

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