THE BETH EL Beit Midrash (“House of Study”) — a partnership of Congregation Beth El and Project Zug, which is run by Mechon Hadar, an internationally recognized educational institution — will launch its 2018 chavruta, or partnered study, program on Sunday, Jan. 28, at 9:30 a.m. at the synagogue in South Orange. Mechon Hadar cofounder Rabbi Elie Kaunfer will teach a lesson and model the process; breakfast will be served.
Since ancient times, Jews have met in pairs for study (the word “zug” is Hebrew for “pair”). Individuals may sign up for the Beit Midrash as a pair or ask to be paired with someone who wants to study the same course. The requirements are a computer with a good Internet connection to view video lessons and download discussion guides. Pairs are encouraged to study in person, over the phone, or via Skype or FaceTime.
Each pair will choose one of the 28 Project Zug courses (projectzug.org/courses/list), which include topics in art, Bible, philosophy, rabbinic literature, social justice, and Jewish culture and history and are geared to all knowledge levels. Knowledge of Hebrew is not required.
Beth El’s Rabbi Jesse Olitzky said the Beit Midrash “is intellectually stimulating; it is also a social experience. Most importantly, it is a sacred experience.”
After the launch, each pair will schedule their own study time for an 11-session course. The program also includes, at the synagogue, a mid-semester meet-up on Sunday, March 18, and a siyum (“completion”) celebration on Sunday, April 29. Participants do not have to be available on these dates.
The Beit Midrash program, appropriate for teenagers and adults and for intergenerational learning, is open to the community at a cost of $36 per participant; visit bethelnj.org/form/projectzug to register or contact AdultEd@bethelnj.org.