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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. Classes meet on Monday evenings (7-9 PM). Each month there is a new topic and a new teacher presenting a month-long module around a specific theme.

Students can sign up for individual modules for $72 per module. 

*All classes will be held online via Zoom until further notice.

Modules and registration below.

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

Rabbi Daniel Septimus

Module 1: Rabbi Daniel A. Septimus

Engaging Israel: Foundations for a New Relationship

October 5, 12, 19, 26 | 2020

Utilizing the resources of the Shalom Hartman Institute iEngage curriculum, we will cover over four sessions the response to growing feelings of disenchantment and disinterest toward Israel among an ever-increasing number of Jews worldwide by creating a new narrative regarding the significance of Israel for Jewish life. Through source sheets and video recordings, we will hear from the incredible Shalom Hartman Institute faculty including Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman, Dr. Tal Becker, Yossi Klein-Halevi, Rabbi Dr. Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Professor Gil Troy and others. We will also have an opportunity to engage with residents living in the Western Galilee through our partnership with the region.

 Registration for this module is closed.

Module 2: Renee Lafair

Antisemitism, Racism, and Our Collective Responsibility to Both

November 9, 16, 23, 30 | 2020

Explore antisemitism, how it has evolved, and how it is both similar to and different from the systemic racism that exists in this country. Encourage each other in our personal journeys of understanding the legacy and societal cost of racism. Finally, we will explore different philosophies on roles, responsibilities and tactics in creating a just world.  We will be using a combination of articles, videos, books, and websites as source materials.

Registration for this module is closed.

Module 3: Rabbi Neil Blumofe

DIASPORA – Jews and Jewish Communities Around the World

December 7, 14, 21, 28 | 2020

Join Rabbi Neil Blumofe to discuss and celebrate the music, culture and cuisine of Jews communities around the world.  

Communities that we will enter:

  • Vilna (Lithuania/Poland)
  • Aleppo (Syria)
  • Brooklyn (USA)
  • Tripoli (Libya)
  • Sana’a (Yemen)
  • Gerona (Spain)
  • Vienna (Austria-Hungary)
  • Shanghai (China)

Registration for this module is closed.

Module 4: Rabbi Mendy Levertov

Real-Life Ethics: Real Cases with Ethical Dilemmas Solved by Talmudic Debates

January 4, 11, 19, 25 | 2021

Apply real, informed, precise Talmudic reasoning to solve real-life modern dilemmas — cases and situations that actually happened yet seem impossible to solve. Prepare for a mental expedition and discover how Judaism frames situations that force us to choose between two reasonable truths.

  • Lesson 1 — Accidental Good: When breaking a window to steal a laptop saves a dog’s life, do we punish the thief? Plus 2 similar cases.
  • Lesson 2 — Taking the Law into Your Own Hands: Can you stop a thief from stealing your lawn furniture or should you wait for a court case? Plus 2 similar cases.
  • Lesson 3 — Finders Keepers: Who gets a pearl found in a seafood restaurant? Does it make a difference if it’s on the diner’s plate or on the ground near her feet? Plus 2 similar cases.
  •  Lesson 4 — The Trolly Problem (Only with a Tesla): In a life vs. life situation, who should the car save? The driver or the pedestrian? Are there factors (age, health, wealth) in the mix?

Registration for this module is closed.

Module 5: Dana Baruch

MORE Subversive Sisters: Getting to Know MORE of the Women of Tanakh (Hebrew Bible)

February 1, 8, 15, 22 | 2021


This is a continuation of the first AJL class offered last February. Join us as we unpack stories of some of the seldom studied, but remarkable ancient women who teach us very contemporary lessons! February will be our month to get to know some of our Biblical women ancestors, exclusively relying on the teachings of contemporary women rabbis, scholars, and creative thinkers. This class will have completely new material, so newcomers and repeat learners to Subversive Sisters are welcome!

50 years ago, almost all teachings about the women found in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) came to us through the lenses of men–rabbis, teachers and scholars. It wasn’t until about 50 years ago that this began to shift.  In 1972 the first female rabbi was ordained in the U.S., and around this same time, Jewish academic feminism was beginning to come into its own.  Over the past several decades, our remarkable Biblical female characters have begun to speak to us in perhaps new and more rounded ways.  This course utilizes texts from the Tanakh, along with commentary exclusively written by women, in an effort to learn new messages–powerful, remarkable and sometimes subversive ones–from the Women in Tanakh.  Likely “visitors” to our class will be  Sarah and Hagar, Hannah, Deborah and Yael, and we’ll round things out just before Purim with a study of Esther and Vashti.   Together, we will explore and discover, perhaps for the very first time, who these ancient women were and what they have to teach us in 2021!

Registration for this module is closed.

Module 6: Rabbi Alan Freedman

The Root of the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Between World Wars

March 1, 15, 22, 30 | 2021

Much of what shapes the current conflict between Israelis and Palestinians can be traced to the time period between World Wars I and II. This Zoom seminar will explore not only the basic parameters of the conflict but also how little the arguments on both sides have changed. We will also examine how ghosts of the British Mandate still affect events and the ongoing clash between maximalists and those who seek accommodation on both sides.

Please note, March 30 is a Tuesday.

Registration for this module is closed.

Module 7: Rabbi Rebecca Reice

Wonder of Wonders, Miracle of Miracles

April 5, 12, 19, 26 | 2021

What is a miracle? To you? To the Torah? Does the meaning of miracles change through the Hebrew Bible and into Rabbinic Literature? This non-rational side of Jewish faith pushes our boundaries and expectations of the world and our lives as human beings.  How do these stories challenge our rational attachments to Judaism?  How do these stories challenge our rational attachments to science and secular, academic thought?  Alternatively, what do these stories have to offer the spiritual seekers in our midst? Join Rabbi Rebecca Reice as we investigate these questions and many more, while we study miracles in the Hebrew Bible and early Rabbinic Literature together.

Registration for this module is closed.

Module 8: Rabbi Dan Millner

The Shabbat Table: Friday Night Rituals Explained

May 3, 10, 19, 24

In this class, we will learn some of the most time-honored Shabbat traditions and rituals. Where do they come from? Why do we do them? What do they mean? By exploring the answers to these questions, and more, we will be able to connect more fully and appreciate more deeply the blessing of Shabbat at our own Friday night tables.

Please note, May 19 is a Wednesday.

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