Adult Discussion Group

The adult discussion group meeting in the BSS library

The adult discussion group meeting in the BSS library

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 group is continuing to meet virtually online during restrictions due to the covid-19 pandemic – see the weekly News from the Square email for Zoom meeting IDs and passwords:

3 May
10.00 – 11.15: Rabbi Altshuler: Prayer – Aleinu
11.30 – 12.45: Luke Akehurst, Director of We Believe in Israel and Secretary of Labour First: What does Keir Starmer’s leadership mean for Labour’s stances on Israel, Jews and Antisemitism

10 May
10.00 – 11.15: Rabbi Altshuler: The Amazing Lives of Heinrich Heine, George Eliot and Charles Dickens
11.30 – 12.45: Jonathan Charles, Director of Communications, European Bank of Reconstruction and Development: How Coronavirus will Change our Economy and our Lives

17 May
10.00 – 11.15: Rabbi Altshuler: Prayer – Yigdal
11.30 – 12.45: Jonathan Paris, Journalist and Political Analyst: Why the World needs to worry about the Expiration of the Iran Arms Embargo in October 2020

24 May
10.00 – 11.15: Rabbi Altshuler: The Amazing Lives of Samson Raphael Hirsch, Sarah Bernhardt ( Bizet and Carmen), Marcel Proust
11.30 – 12.45:  Mor Altshuler (from Israel), Scholar of Hassidism, Kabbalism and Jewish Messianism: Title TBC

31 May
10.00 – 11.15: Rabbi Altshuler: Prayer – Ashrei
11.30 – 12.45: TBC

7 June
10.00 – 11.15: Rabbi Altshuler: The Amazing Lives of Eliezer Ben Yehuda, Emma Lazarus, Solomon Schechter and Herzl
11.30 – 12.45:  Dr Annette Boeckler (from Switzerland), Rabbinical Student, former Chief Librarian Leo Beck College: Session TBC

14 June
10.00 – 11.15: Rabbi Altshuler: Prayer – Kaddish
11.30 – 12.45:  TBC: David Collier, undercover researcher into Antisemitism: Fighting Hatred online – Part  2

21 June
10.00 – 11.15: Rabbi Altshuler: The Amazing Lives of Freud, Irving Berlin, Arnold Schoenberg, George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein
11.30 – 12.45:  TBC

28 June
10.00 – 11.15: Rabbi Altshuler: Prayer – Lecha Dodi and Kiddush
11.30 – 12.45:  TBC

5 July
10.00 – 11.15: Rabbi Altshuler: Going forward – a discussion about what matters for High Holydays 5781
11.30 – 12.45: Janet Daby, Shadow Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government

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