Adult Jewish Learning Comes Together in the Austin Jewish Community
By Alachua Nazarenko
In Pirkei Avot, a compilation of Jewish ethical teachings, Rabbi Shimon ben Zoma asks, “Who is wise?” and answers, “He who learns from everyone.” In the Austin Jewish community, adult learners have the opportunity to do just that.
There are numerous quality adult education courses, spanning different topics and led by a variety of teachers at different congregations and organizations. In the fall of 2020, educators for these congregations and Shalom Austin came together to form a community adult education council to make each other aware of the amazing opportunities that exist, make a plan to get the word out about classes to a wider audience, organize classes by topic for easy access, and set common goals for Austin’s adult Jewish education.
The group is committed to ensure that adult Jewish education will:
- Be open to all members of the community.
- Be financially accessible.
- Be accessible for adults with different learning needs.
- Create welcoming, safe, and inclusive learning spaces.
- Represent and celebrate a diverse Jewish community.
- Encourage participants to try out and experience classes in different settings.
- Introduce and connect people to a variety of Jewish practices.
- Give Jews the tools and skills to live Jewish lives.
- Strengthen Jewish identity and Jewish community.
- Celebrate and showcase Austin’s collection of quality and diverse Jewish educators.
- Each congregation offers classes from one or more of the following categories:
- Jewish Lifecycle
- Jewish Belief & Practice
- Judaism in the Home
- Miscellaneous/Special Topics
- Prayer & Spirituality
- Text & Torah Study
- Arts & Culture
- Jewish History
- Informal/Social Gatherings
All classes exist in a community adult education brochure at shalomaustin.org/adultjewishlearning. Topics include adult b’nai mitzvah classes, mussar, Talmud and more, along with Shalom Austin’s Adult Jewish Learning series of eight classes, spanning from Israel to Shabbat rituals.
This project would not have been possible without the Community Adult Education committee, meeting regularly and with a passion for making Austin adult Jewish learning as strong as possible. The meetings have yielded collaboration, such as a community food and cooking series.
For more information, visit shalomaustin.org/adultjewishlearning. ■
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