Adult Education

 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.


March 1
10 – 11.15 Rabbi Altshuler on the Shoah (part 6): WW1 and its Aftermath
11.15-12.30 Jonny Gould, “Talk radio” presenter: The People I have Interviewed  – Surprises, Joys and Controversies

March 8: No session, Jewish Book Week

March 15
10.00-12.00 Norma Cohen PhD, ex Financial Times journalist: How Britain Paid for War – Bond Holders in the Great War 1914-32 (sic)
12.00-12.30 Open forum discussion

March 22
10.00-11.15 Rabbi Altshuler on Prayer: The Amidah and Kedushah (continued)
11.15-12.30 Joe Ozer, European Director of Israel Bonds: Israel’s Economic Development – From Fruit and Veg to Hi Tech

March 29
10.00–12.30 Mike Schraer PhD, mediaeval Spanish historian: 1391 – How Anti-Jewish Riots in Spain led to Inquisition and Expulsion
11.15-12.30 Rabbi Altshuler on the Shoah (part 7): Adolf Hitler and the rise of the Nazi Party

April 5 and 12: Pesach break, no sessions

April 19
10.00–12.30 Rabbi Altshuler on Prayer: The Kaddish
11.15-12.30 David Collier, undercover researcher into Anti-Zionism & Antisemitism, and Joseph Cohen, co-founder of Campaign Against Antisemitism & pro-Israel British activist: Fighting the Hatred on Line

April 26
10.00–12.30 Rabbi Altshuler on the Shoah (part 8): Evolution  of Nazi Anti-Jewish Policies 1933-38
11.15-12.30 Marie Van der Zyl, 48th President of The Board of Deputies of British Jews: Title TBC

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

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.