Community Education

Feed Your Mind and Soul

Temple Beth Israel provides a range of Jewish cultural and educational experiences. Programs and classes are open to all and we welcome students from within TBI and from the larger community.

General Information:

  • Registration: Please check individual program listings for details.
  • Programs scheduled on Shabbat: Fees and donations for programs scheduled on Shabbat must be paid in advance or after Shabbat. We will not collect money on Shabbat.
  • Refunds: No refunds will be given to participants who drop classes after the registration deadline. If classes or events are cancelled due to lack of enrollment or other unforeseen circumstances, full refunds will be given to pre- paid registrants.
  • All programs meet at Temple Beth Israel, 1175 E. 29th Ave., Eugene unless otherwise noted.

If you are interested in joining the Community Education Committee, or have ideas for teaching or a class offering, please contact Nina Korican.

Introduction to Judaism for Adults
with Rabbi Jacob Siegel

Thursdays, 6:30pm, January 4, 11,18 & February 1, 8,15

$36 for members of TBI, $60 for non-members

This 6-session interactive course offers an introduction for those seeking to deepen their connection to Jewish heritage and tradition . We’ll cover everything from prayer and Shabbat, to dietary laws and lifecycle events. The course will offer basic framing and building blocks for key Jewish practices and concepts, as well as resources and direction for those seeking to learn more, and will cover a pluralistic range of Jewish practices. Reading materials will be provided.  No prior knowledge of Judaism or Hebrew necessary. Register using the link below.

Sisterhood presents: The Zookeeper’s Wife

Sunday, January 7th,  2:00 pm

This historical drama is set in 1939 Poland. Antonina Zabinska (two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain) and her husband successfully run the Warsaw Zoo and raise their family in an idyllic existence. Their world is overturned, however, when the country is invaded by the Nazis and they are forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed zoologist (Daniel Brühl). To fight back on their own terms, the Zabinskis risk everything by covertly working with the Resistance and using the zoo’s hidden tunnels to save families from Nazi brutality.

Light refreshments will be offered.

Skin in the Game
Antisemitism and the Struggle for an Inclusive Democracy
with Eric K. Ward

Sunday, January 14th, 10:00 am 
Free. Donations accepted.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday and, as a follow up to Rabbi Ruhi’s presentation on anti-Semitism, Eric Ward will speak on equality and democracy, anti-Semitism and the rise of white nationalism and take questions. In addition to the talk on Sunday, Eric will offer brief reflections during services on Friday, January 12th.

Presented by the TBI Community Education Committee, co-sponsored by TBI Tikkun Olam Committee and The Jewish Federation of Lane County.

Erick K. Ward is a long time civil rights strategist and newly appointed Executive Director of Western States Center. The organization, based in Portland, works with leaders in the West to reduce inequality and advance opportunity.  Eric is considered a national expert on the relationship between hate violence and preserving democratic institutions, governance and inclusive societies.  From 2014 – 2017, Eric worked as a Ford Foundation Program Officer.  Before joining the Ford Foundation in 2014, Eric was the Program Executive for The Atlantic Philanthropies, U.S. Reconciliation and Human Rights Programme, and led the foundation’s grantmaking efforts in immigration and national security and rights.
Originally from Los Angeles, Eric began his civil rights career in Oregon as a student at the UO in the early 90’s. A former staff member with Community Alliance of Lane County from 1990 – 1994, Eric founded and directed a community project designed to expose and counter hate groups and respond to bigoted violence. In 1994, Eric joined the staff of the Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment and worked with government leaders, civil rights campaigners, businesses leaders and law enforcement officials in establishing over 120 task forces focused on human rights and anti-violence in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. From 2003 until 2011, Eric served as the National Field Director for the Center for New Community and assisted immigrant rights advocates in addressing the growing xenophobic influence on public policy. Most recently, he worked as a Ford Foundation Program Officer, supporting efforts to combat inequality around the world.

From Generation to Generation: Healing Intergenerational Trauma Through Storytelling
with Emily Wanderer Cohen

Sunday, January 21st, 10:00 am-12:30 pm (with a break)
$10-$15 suggested donation. Minimum participants is 6 maximum of 20.  Please pre-register using the link below.

Bring up the Holocaust in a conversation and you’ll often hear, “That was so long ago. It’s over. It’s history.” But to descendants of Holocaust survivors, it’s anything but. What most people don’t realize is that the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of those who survived the Holocaust live with the invisible weight of the trauma they didn’t experience first-hand—every single day. In a time when anti-
Semitism is back in fashion, understanding the phenomenon of intergenerational trauma has never been more important. Emily Wanderer Cohen will discuss how intergenerational trauma can appear both mentally, physically, and emotionally and then she’ll lead a hands-on workshop to demonstrate how writing about trauma can help you heal from it. More info:

Poetry Workshop
with Ana Lara

Sunday, January 28 2:00-5:00 pm (w/breaks, light snacks provided)
Suggested donation $15-$25 Please pre-register on line.
Age range: 13 and up  Writing levels: All

In this workshop we will explore our individual and collective experiences of Jewish belonging, migration, home and memory through a range of poetic forms. We will draw on works from established poets to explore our own voices, examine poetic elements such as line breaks, syntax, structure, sound, etc. More than anything, this workshop is an opportunity to enjoy some of what poetry has to offer in terms of personal and creative expression.  Minimum of 4 people max 10.

Ana-Maurine Lara, Ph.D., is a national award-winning poet and fiction writer. She is author of the fictional works Erzulie’s Skirt (RedBone Press, 2006), When the Sun Once Again Sang to the People (KRK Ediciones, 2011), and Watermarks and Tree Rings (Tanama Press) and the poetry manuscript Kohnjehr Woman  (RedBone Press, 2017). In 2015, she completed the first of her decade-long projects, Cantos, including her original poetry, with music composition by Martin Perna and original artwork by Youmna Chlala. She is an assistant professor at the University of Oregon and a member of TBI.

Immigrant Integration Network Speakers Series

Presentations include a brief introduction to immigration basics, an update on the status of immigration policy, ways to stay informed, ways to help, and an opportunity to complete a survey about attitudes towards immigration

February 10th 10:00 am
Used and Abused with Bob Bussel
An honest look at the politics of immigration.  A classic case of strange bedfellows.

April 29th  10:00 am
Why Don’t They Just Get in Line? with Lise Colgan
How our immigration system works-or doesn’t.

TBI Sisterhood presents: Paper Craft Party

Thursday, February 15th  6:00-9:00 pm
The Artists’ Palette Studio, 1710 Oak Street  

Looking for some creative ideas for those rainy evenings? Come to a paper craft launch party to create cards with coordinating papers, stamps and dies. The owners of The Artists’ Palette Studio will create a couple of unique designs to help get your creative juices flowing! You will receive all the supplies and instructions you need to make those projects and you will be able to use the stamps and dies in the class.

Must register and pay in advance. Send checks for $15.00, no later than January 31st  to: Linda Gordon, 2567 Willakenzie Rd. Apt 1, Eugene, OR 97401

Class limited to 13 people.

Israel Program Task Force Presents: What is anti-Semitism relative to Israel?

February 22nd – 7:00 pm
Free. Donations accepted.

How do we distinguish between legitimate questioning of Israeli policies and anti-Israel bias, or anti-Semitism? When are anti-Israel statements or actions rooted in Antisemitism? How can you respond to people whose expressed views of Israel feel biased, or anti-Semitic? This will be a forum for guided, respectful discussion.

Klezmer Concert with Stefanie Brendler & Mai Li Pittard

Saturday, February 24th –  7:30 pm 
$5-$10 sliding scale

After a whirlwind summer tour surrounding the largest annual klezmer gathering in North America (KlezKanada in Montreal), Stefanie Brendler (accordion/vox, Brivele) & Mai Li Pittard (violin/vox, The Debaucherauntes) bring the Pacific Northwest their learnings and love of klezmer. Packing years of solo artist songwriting, Balkan and klezmer band playing into a tiny duet package, these two will surprise you with their juxtaposition of the nuanced and gritty, in earthy, cuts-to-the-quick music.

Lunch & Learn with Mark Watson

Thursday, January 11th – 12:00 pm

Join Mark Watson for a closer look at one of the most famous archaeological sites mentioned in the Torah:  the Cave of Machpelah. Using passages from Bereshit and modern media sources, the group will get a better understanding of this sacred place and what it has meant over time and its significance into the present day.

Lunch & Learn with Rabbi Ruhi Sophia Motzkin Rubenstein

Thursday, February 8th – 12:00 pm

Join Rabbi Ruhi Sophia for a close reading and discussion of a story from the Talmud and other traditional Jewish sources. Set aside an hour of your day to learn, eat, and socialize. Feel free to bring a lunch. Please no meat or shellfish.

Free. Donations gratefully accepted.

Reading with the Rabbi

Understanding Antisemitism: An Offering to our Movement –  A Resource from Jews For Racial & Economic Justice
Sunday, February 4th – 11:30 am

Join Rabbi Ruhi Sophia for a spirited discussion of a relevant contemporary issue, as informed by a work of non-fiction chosen by the rabbi. Everyone is welcome! Each meeting will stand alone, so feel free to come only when you are particularly interested in the topic. If you only had time to read a review, you are still welcome to observe the discussion. This is not a ‘club’ but a dynamic group of people who love books, reading, discussions and expressing strong opinions

Free. Donations gratefully accepted

Jewish Literature Group – 7:00 pm

FREE; Donations gratefully accepted

December 28th: The Grace Paely Reader
January 25th:  A New Life by Bernard Malamud
February 22nd: All the Rivers by Dorit Rabinyan
March 22nd: The Outside World by Tova Mirvis
April 26th:  Judas by Amos Oz

Jewish Genealogy Group

Sunday, January 7th 1:00 p.m.
Introduction to Yizkor Books by Hap Ponedel and Reeva Kimble

Sunday, February 4th – 1:00 p.m.
Mining Genealogical Information through Archival Interviews from the Oregon Jewish Museum Collection by Linda Slate

Sunday, March 4th  1:00 p.m.
A webinar from the IAJGS Meeting of summer 2017

Ongoing Events

Chanting Group – Thursdays, 5:30 pm

Tom Broeker and David Ouellette are offering a weekly, 2-hour workshop…an ongoing/drop-in group experience wherein each participant will experience his/her unique response to self-generated sound vibration within a group setting. The sound generated by a group of people weaves among all participants, uniting them via the vibration they share. The experience continues for 15 to 30 minutes, followed by a period of silence. Come join us. This practice is powerful.