Receive weekly insights from the Chief Rabbi
Office of the Chief Rabbi

Educational Programming Ideas

CCE is looking to foster the creation of innovative educational programmes that put Jewish learning centre stage, while consolidating the Shul’s role as a social hub and community classroom, to the benefit of affiliated and less affiliated members alike. We have consulted Rabbis and sifted through educational ideas to create a bank of inspirational programmes, which we hope will prove a useful resource.  We will be adding to this list.

Do you have a great educational programme in mind to recommend to other communities? Please tell us about it here.

If you would like to bring one of these programmes to your community, invite the course developer to teach, or access resources and more information, please be in touch with CCE either by emailing rachel@chiefrabbi.org or calling 020 8343 6241.

You can also apply for CCE funding for such programmes here.

 

Model Programmes

Yoga and Yiddishkeit


Rebbetzen Talia Rose, Mill Hill

Length: 1 hour session

Overview:

An innovative workshop that incorporates both Yoga and Torah.Starting with a 45 min intro level yoga class followed by a discussion on body and soul, the Jewish concept of spirituality etc over light refreshments. It gives students an opportunity to switch off and come into a more connected internal space and creates an environment for discussion.

 

Bat Mitzvah Revisited


Rebbetzen Rachie Binstock, Rebbetzen Ma’ayan Jaqueline Feldman

Length: 6 x 1.5 hour sessions

Bat mitzvah Revisited is a 6 week course with each session focusing on different topics including women’s role, prayer, shul, kashrut, Shabbat, mikve, life cycle, cycle of the year, beauty and modesty. Can include visiting a mikve and practical activities to understand the Mitzvot. Graduation is either in shul with certificates or at a restaurant. Each woman chose one mitzvah, met with the Rebbetzen individually to discuss it and to discuss how to research it and produced a Dvar Torah. Some said them in shul, others said them amongst the group and they were all then printed it in a booklet for the women.

 

The Big Questions


Rabbi Samuel Landau, Kingston

Length: 4 x 1.5 hour sessions over 4 weeks

Overview:

‘The Big Questions’ was a programme intended to offer people the chance to explore the big questions that they have about Judaism which bar further connection with their faith. It had the format of a four week facilitated group using psychological theory and process to access religious content. Topics discussed included the existence of G-d, the wording of prayers and the unfairness of life.

 

Shiurim for Women: Out and About


Rebbetzen Anna van den Bergh

Length: Ongoing

Target audience: Women 55+

Overview

This programme is about thinking outside the box, the confines of the Shul’s four walls and our ‘Jewish bubble’.  Rebbetzen van den Berg interspersed the monthly Women’s Shiur hosted at her home with various Shiurim ‘Out and About’ in Liverpool itself.  It has proved highly successful, with visits to a sensory garden, a Jewish care home and Museum of Slavery to stimulate themed discussions. Shul-based shiruim also had more creative formats, such as the Candle Light Shiur which culminated in a creative writing session.

 

Parallel Thinking: Science and Torah


Rabbi Moshe Freedman

Length: 12 x 1.5 hour (weekly/monthly?) sessions

Target audience: Adults and teenagers

Overview

Each lecture explores philosophical issues in science and Torah by examining both the science and Torah elements separately. There are twelve lectures covering the Age of the Universe, Evolution, Chaos theory and Divine Providence as well as psychological areas such as consciousness, free will and the sense of self, dreams and prophecy and cognitive dissonance. The subject matter often covers wide areas of Jewish thought all condensed into one hour of lecture time with around 30 mins for questions. After a successful run at Northwood, many other shuls, schools and educational organisations including LSJS asked Rabbi Dr Freedman to run the programme for them.

 

A History of Inclusivity in Judaism


Rabbi Yoni Birnbaum

Length: 3 weekly sessions

Target Audience: Entire community

Overview

Rabbi Birnbaum’s eponymous history course is divided into three time periods: Medieval, Modern and Contemporary.

 

Jewish Perspectives on Christianity and Islam


Rabbi Yoni Birnbaum

Length: 4 x weekly sessions

Overview

A series designed to impart new insight into Jewish perspectives on other Abrahamic faiths, and promote debate. It covered the views of early Rabbinic Judaism, the meaning behind key primary sources that discuss the relationships between religions and opportunities to debate whether these sources can help us solve critical questions faced by humanity today.

 

Judaism Faces Modernity: The Big Issues


Rabbi Yoni Birnbaum

Length: 11 + weekly sessions

Overview

Meaty topics are tackled head on with the help of halacha and contemporary Jewish thought. Topics discussed includ interfaith issues, designer babies, the ‘Big Bang’ and the Temple Mount.

 

Link the Chain: Batmitzvah Programme


Rebbetzen Nechama Atlas

Length: 10 x 1.5 hour monthly sessions

Target audience: mothers/ grandmothers & daughters

Overview

Mothers (or Grandmothers) and daughters attend together and learn together.  Half of the session is arts and crafts relating to the topic discussed e.g. role models, heroism, priorities, freedom. A Jewish theme is added to these topics, but it is primarily aimed at providing life skills at this time in the young girls’ lives, with an opportunity to discuss things openly with their mothers. The programme enabled the Rebbetzen to develop connections with the girls and Moms and to show them that Judaism is relevant in their life. The format is based on Rebbetzen Freda Kaplan’s Batmitzvah programme.

 

Shtisel: Watch and Learn Programme


Rebbetzen Nechama Atlas

Length: 12 x 1.5 hour weekly sessions

Target audience: entire community

Overview

12 film classes to discuss and learn from “Shtisel” – an Israeli hit television drama (with English subtitles). Shtisel’s strength lies in its very human portrayals of its characters as they deal with life issues such as finding a spouse, marital issues, child vs parent issues and work ethics. A 30 minute discussion would follow each viewing, taking an issue in the episode as a point of departure for conversation on e.g. Laws of Yichud, prayers, Jewish wills, adoption, Hitbodedout.  Many new Jewish concepts were learnt and it was a good opportunity to practice Hebrew.

 

Yeshmud


Rebbetzen Nechama Atlas, Rabbi Chanan Atlas, community members

Length: 4/8 weekly learning sessions

Target Audience: Entire community

Overview

A Winter Learning series covering a broad range of subjects including Parenting, Women’s Issues, Reading the Tanach as Literature, The Siddur from Cover to Cover, Ceramics course over 8 weeks etc.  When a programme is limited in time, ie not every week, people are more inclined to commit and enjoy the choice of subjects on offer. There was a lovely atmosphere in Shul each week, refreshments were served and it brought people together who may not normally meet.

 

West Midlands Jewish Medical Ethics Forum


Rabbi Yehuda Pink, Solihull

Target Audience: Healthcare professionals and students (as ongoing forum). Could work for general shul audience for one-off seminar or short series.

Length: Monthly session for two hours (one hour presentation and one hour discussion)

Overview

A very successful programme that attracted people who would never normally attend a shiur or event of Jewish interest, this Forum garnered high praise from medical professionals. It was also attractive because it was accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and participants earned 2 CPD credits per session, so could be re-certified through a year’s attendance. Dr Tony Hockley, who encouraged Rabbi Pink to establish the Forum and was Emeritus neurosurgeon for Birmingham Children’s and Queen Elizabeth Hospitals, said: “I support these excellent seminars in Jewish Medical Ethics developed by Rabbi Pink. They are of great value both clinically and academically.” Rabbi Pink was well-placed to deliver comprehensive explorations of the topics having previously undertaken a Masters in Health Care Ethics & Law and written a textbook on