Adult Jewish Learning | Shalom Austin



Your health and safety is important to us. Due to COVID-19, some in-person programs and services may be offered online, have a new in-person schedule and requirements, or may be suspended. Please check our website or contact us for more information. Click here for our COVID-19 safety precautions and updates.


Shalom Austin Adult Jewish Learning (AJL) is a series of high-quality Jewish learning opportunities that provides a cohort experience for individuals of all backgrounds and beliefs. Additionally, AJL provides more flexibility to students as each person is able to choose the best learning opportunity for them based on topic, instructor, and time. Each module has a new topic and a new teacher. Most modules are 4 week sessions.

Looking for a daytime, virtual way to learn with us from the comfort of your own home? Join us for Adult Jewish Learning @ Lunch!

Module options:
Monday evenings, 7-8:30 PM
Wednesday afternoons (virtual), 12-1 PM
*Please make sure to check which classes take place at which times.*

Students can sign up for the entire semester for $360 or individual modules for $72 per module.

Unless otherwise noted for a specific module, it is our hope to have these sessions in person at Shalom Austin. We will communicate with you before each module to confirm.

Modules and registration below.

For questions, please contact Alachua Nazarenko at or (512) 735-8052.


Rabbi Daniel Septimus

Module 1: Finding Balance

Rabbi Levi Levertov

October 4, 11, 18, 25 | 2021

Are you ready to retrain your mind to think healthy thoughts? Utilizing tools of the Torah and Kabbalah, we will dive inward to examine patterns of thought, and strategies for untangling and transforming them.

Happiness is the engine that drives life. In this lesson, we explore some common things that tend to bring us down and what we can do to counteract these negative emotional forces.

Is guilt the sign of a healthy conscience or the inability to move forward? In this lesson, we differentiate between different forms of guilt.

Successful people — from Michael Jordan to Steve Jobs — have spoken about accepting the role of failure in the journey toward success. So why are we always so anxious about it?

We explore methods of challenging our inner cynic to respect other people’s journeys and focus on our own growth.

Registration for this module has closed.

Rabbi Daniel Septimus

AJL @ Lunch: Torah Study Through a Mussar Lens

Rabbi Amy Cohen

October 6 & 20, November 3 & 17, December 1 & 15 | 2021
12-1 PM (via Zoom)

Join Rabbi Amy Cohen, the Chief Social Services Officer at Shalom Austin for Torah study through a Mussar lens. This bi-weekly class will begin and end with a reflective experience, a song or meditation. We will study the Torah portion of the week using the book The Mussar Torah Commentary edited by Rabbi Barry Block, and we will reflect on how lessons from Torah interwoven with middot (measure or values) influences our lives. Come ready to share, interact, learn and be changed by our sacred text.

Registration for this module has closed.

Module 2: Jewish Sociology and Jewish America Today

Rabbi Will Hall

November 1, 8, 15, 29 | 2021

Ever had a question about Jews and intermarriage? Race? Engagement? Identity? Just as we study Jewish texts, we can also analyze Jewish people, their trends, and our collective past and present. Together we’ll explore these topics, the questions they bring about, and discuss what they mean in our own lives and communities.

Registration for this module has closed.

Module 3: Jewish Bioethics

Rabbi Allison Poirier

December 6, 13, 20, 27  | 2021
(via Zoom)

Bioethics is the study of the ethical issues emerging from advances in biology and medicine, along with moral discernment as related to medical policy and practice. As participants in a Jewish education program, it is natural for us to wonder what the rich tradition of the Torah, Talmud, and modern scholarship has to say about these ethical issues. When does life begin? When does life end? What are our responsibilities to our bodies and the bodies of others in the short time between those points? Are tattoos OK? What about organ donation? While there is no one “Jewish Answer” to these complicated questions, there are lots of Jewish texts and Jewish values and, of course, Jewish opinions.

Registration for this module opens November 1.

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Module 4: “The Reward Awaits in the World to Come”: The Practices of Visiting the Sick, Burying the Dead, and Comforting the Mourner

Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe

January 10, 18, 24, 31 | 2022

Please note that January 18 is a Tuesday.

This class will be taught by Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe, Spiritual Leader of Congregation Beth El and Chaplain at Saint David’s Medical Center and Heart Hospital of Austin. We will look at Jewish tradition as well as practical lessons from spiritual care in the healthcare setting.

Registration for this module opens December 6.

Module 5: In the Tower of (Jewish) Song

Rabbi Neil F. Blumofe

February 7, 14, 21, 28 | 2022

What is the soundtrack of our life? How do songs create a culture? We will listen to and learn about the power of song to lift our spirit, offer dissent, sustain memories, and knit people together. We will explore various movements and moments in Yiddish, Hebrew, and English where music became the primary vehicle and vernacular of expression.

Registration for this module opens January 10.

Module 6: Preparing for Pesach: Jewish Teachings on Slavery and Freedom

Dana Baruch

March 7, 14, 21, 28 | 2022

We will explore some of the Biblical and Rabbinic bases of the Passover story and seder, as we delve into the complex topics of slavery and freedom. Our course will culminate with a co-created model seder, providing fresh thoughts and ritual ideas to bring to your own seders.

Registration for this module opens February 7.

Alachua Nazarenko

AJL @ Lunch: All About Jews, According to Pew

Alachua Nazarenko

March 9, 16, 22, 30 | 2021
12-1 PM (via Zoom)

In 2013, the Pew Research Center published “A Portrait of Jewish Americans”, a landmark study that has framed the conversation around American Judaism for close to a decade. In 2021, the Pew Research Center published the second edition of this study, “Jewish Americans in 2020”, which will continue to shape the narrative of who we are and where we are going. What’s changed? What’s stayed the same? What does it mean for us? Join Alachua Nazarenko, Shalom Austin Education & Engagement Director, as we delve into these two studies and essential questions facing the Jewish future.

 Registration for this module opens February 7.

Module 7: 5782 – A Shmita Year

Rabbi Ellie Steinman

April 4, 11, 18, 25 | 2022

Shmita is part of a seven year cycle, described in Torah, that calls for forgiveness of debts, land lying fallow, and time limits on indentured servitude. In this course we will look at biblical, rabbinic, and modern texts and consider how we might incorporate ideas of Shmita into our own lives.

Registration for this module opens March 7.

Module 8: Jewish Views on the Messiah

Rabbi Dan Millner

May 2, 9, 16, 23 | 2022

Who or what is the Messiah in Judaism? Is it a person, an idea, an era? How will the Messiah come? What will the Messiah do? How and why has this enigmatic yet central pillar of Jewish faith become the primary source of division between Judaism and other faiths? In this class, we will explore the personality, function and prophetic expectations of the Messiah in Jewish text, tradition and faith.

Registration for this module opens April 4.

More Adult Education

Learn about other adult Jewish education programs in Austin offered by our community partners, including Hebrew, Prayer & Spirituality, Text & Torah Study and much more.

Alachua Nazarenko

Alachua Nazarenko

Education and Engagement Director