Adult discussion group
Twenty years and still going strong, the Adult Discussion Group meets on Sunday mornings during the cheder term.
The group was originally started by parents of children attending cheder who lived too far to drop their children, go home and then return in under three hours.
The format of the morning has evolved over the years to the current two sessions, with a short coffee break in between. Rabbi Altshuler leads the first session and a member of the group, the shul or a guest speaker leads the second session.
The programme has a delayed start this Autumn because of Yomtovim, funerals and cheder half term, but will open as follows:
10.00 – 11.15 Rabbi Altshuler: The History of Ancient Israel: Methodological issues in studying biblical history/archaeology – Revisionism, Documentary Hypothesis, Higher and Lower Criticism, History vs Theology
11.15 – 12.30 Open Forum Discussion
10.00 – 11.15 Rabbi Altshuler: The History of Ancient Israel: Historical precedents to ancient Israel – Mesopotamia
11.15 – 12.30 Maya Ilany, Deputy director of Yachad: How Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination changed Israeli political culture
November 18: Change of venue: at Claire Walford’s home
10.00 – 11.15 Rabbi Altshuler: The History of Ancient Israel: Historical precedents to ancient Israel – Egypt
11.15 onwards Mitzvah Day activity: at Keats Community Library
10.00 – 12.30 Film and discussion: The Green Dumpster Mystery – Docu-detective film: travelling on his scooter filmmaker Tal Haim Yoffe finds a discarded box of old photos in a green dumpster and starts an investigation….
December 2: No adult discussion: Hanukah Market
10.00 – 11.15 Rabbi Altshuler: The History of Ancient Israel: Understanding Genesis 1-11
11.15 – 12.30 Naomi Layish, journalist and author: Britain and the Zionists
10.00 – 11.15 Rabbi Altshuler: The History of Ancient Israel: Patriarchal / matriarchal narratives in Genesis
11.15 – 12.30 Jonathan Paris, journalist and political analyst: Middle East update
December 23: No adult discussion: Winter break
The Rabbi’s sessions have covered a wide range of subjects from Pirkei Avot, Tractate Brachot of the Talmud to the history of Russian Jewry and Islam for Jews. No former knowledge is required; only an interest in finding out more about Judaism, stimulating your mind and/or a willingness to discuss issues. ‘Two Jews, three opinions’, a very old Jewish truism, reflects the group and how we welcome and value everyone’s opinion.
The second session can range from current topics, Israel, the arts, people’s lives and experiences, medical ethical issues, the economy or, on occasion, a film followed by discussion.
The group is very fluid, with some people attending every week to others coming once in a while. Some come along just for the occasional outing, for instance to the British Museum or a walk around the ‘Radical East End’.
There is no membership commitment and no fee; just a warm welcome whenever you come. Our programme for each month is published in Our Congregation, and for the coming weekend in the weekly emailed News from the Square. It is also announced in Shabbat services but if you would like to be on the Adult Discussion Group mailing list, please contact Claire Walford on email@example.com.
Introduction to Judaism course
The Introduction to Judaism course is a springboard towards completing an adult Bar or Bat Mitzvah following a year of study with Rabbi Altshuler: Monday evenings, 7:00-8:15 pm. It forms part of our conversion programme as well as welcoming existing members who wish to strengthen their Jewish knowledge and commitment. Content includes Hebrew reading (some vocabulary and comprehension), Jewish theology, holidays, life cycle, synagogue ritual and liturgy, literature, Torah, comparative religion, musar (ethics) and history from the Biblical period to the contemporary world.