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adult jewish learning


New classes for 2005!

BJE Offers Two Groundbreaking Classes for Adults:

“Jews Learning About Christianity” and

“Marrying Our Faiths”


Ever Wonder why

Christians cross themselves?

Ever wonder how they decided

Jesus was a messiah?

            How Jewish was Jesus?  Where did hostility to Jews come from?  What do Christians believe about Jews and salvation? 

These and other questions will be up for discussion in a four-session class, “Jews Learning About Christianity,” led by Rabbi Michael Mayersohn on Monday evenings, February 28, March 7, 14, 21.   Participants will explore what Jews should know about Christianity, what we have in common and what separates us.  The program is sponsored by the Orange County Bureau of Jewish Education and will meet in the BJE meeting room at the  Samueli Jewish Campus in Irvine. 


Marrying Our Faiths:

What we should know about each other


            The second class, “Marrying Our Faiths: What We Should Know About Each Other,” is also sponsored by the Bureau and will be co-taught by Rabbi Mayersohn, Director of the Alliance for Christian and Jewish Studies, and BJE Director, Dr. Joan Kaye.  Intermarried couples attending the program will discuss issues in an informal setting and learn about each other’s beliefs.  They will learn how to make decisions that reflect their religious identities and will gain cultural understandings from their respective customs and traditions.  This class will also be held at the BJE meeting room at the Samueli Campus and will meet on Monday evenings, April 4, 11, 18 and May 2, 9, 16. 

Couples attending this program will:

·        Discuss issues in an informal and welcoming setting

·        Learn about each other’s beliefs

·        Learn how to make decisions that reflect religious identities

·        Gain cultural understandings from customs and traditions

            Both classes will go from 7:30 to 9 p.m.  The fee for the “Jews Learning About Christianity” course is $65 in advance, $75 on February 28.  Or come for a sneak preview on the 28th for $15 and then decide whether to come for the entire class. 

            The fee for “Marrying Our Faiths” is $95 in advance, $115 on April 4 and couples can come for a sneak preview on April 4 for $15. Registration for either class can be sent in advance to the BJE, One Federation Way, Ste 205, Irvine, CA 92603.  For more information call 714-336-0904 or contact Rabbi Mayersohn at [email protected]

Jewish Academy of Growth and Learning

The Adult Education Task Force, made up of 30 volunteers, educators, and clergy from every synagogue and Jewish organization in Orange County, bring this idea to you. The idea was nurtured by an eclectic sub-committee made up of a Reform educator, a Chabad rabbi, and 3 adult learners. Out of their hard work, they crafted the outline of the “Academy without Walls”. You have a chance to participate in this innovative program!

 “There are so many educational activities happening in the community; this is a way to recognize and make them even more useful”, says Joan Kaye, Executive Director of the Bureau.  “This academy allows students to take advantage of the array of community events and opportunities”. 

Headed by Rabbi Michael Mayersohn, the certification curriculum is structured over (at least) three years, allowing students to customize their certification by choosing a variety of learning formats.  This might include attending lectures with visiting scholars, synagogue or university classes, and participating in new Jewish experiences.

 The customization is what gets new participants excited. “I think it’s important to get involved with the community other than just your own congregation”, says Patrick Schlup, a tireless supporter of adult education. This is the first time adult learners will be eligible for a personal mentoring/personal learning community-wide plan in Orange County.

.If you would like to get the most up-to-date information, sign up on the Academy update list, or visit


Build your foundation of knowledge and experience of Jewish the Bureau!

Foundations meets on Tuesday mornings (9:15-11:30am) for 30 weeks and "Scholars & Sages" meets on Tuesdays at noon for 15 sessions.  Classes began September 14th.

Your willingness for Jewish learning is the only prerequisite for enrollment. There are no grades or examinations.

What a great way to learn through informal discussions (and always a few stories thrown in just for fun!) We talk, we read, we schmooze and we laugh.  And, by the end of each session...we realize how much we have learned! Join us!

We recommend: Abraham Joshua Heschel's The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man



Scholars & Sages

In partnership with the Orange County Jewish Community Scholar Program (the “CSP”), the Bureau co-sponsors this study series where you  experience and explore the richness of the Biblical text as Rabbi Michael Mayersohn brings the language, poetry and rhythms of the words of the Bible to life. Study the metaphors of Biblical writing from the Creation story in Genesis to the dramatic and poignant story of Ruth. Students learn the traditions and latest scholarship regarding the creation of the Bible. See how the Bible comes alive once you can unlock the meanings of the sacred and eternal literature of the Jewish people in dialogue with God.

Plus: We will set the stage for many of the Jewish scholars that will visit Orange County during the year.  We will review the relevant texts and topics, allowing you to best appreciate these scholar visits.

Scholars & Sages meet every other Tuesday. Classes will be offered at noon.

Co-sponsored with the CSP (Community Scholar Program), the course will be taught by Rabbi Michael Mayersohn.

Ready to Register? Call the Bureau office at 949-435-3450 to get an application!

      Meet the Bureau Staff!


All of our Family and Adult Education

Mitzvah Mania

Community-wide annual event for pre-bar/bat mitzvah students and their parents. During preparations for a bar/bat mitzvah, most 6th graders choose a "mitzvah project" that will help the community while teaching these young adults important skills. The students meet teen "mitzvah makers" and see how they make a difference and find out how they can create a community Tzedakah project. Check out our Teen Mitzvah Resource Guide!


Teen Family Education

The Orange County Bureau sets the standard nationally for family education with teens. Adat Noar parent sessions, Teen/Parent retreat weekends and special holiday booklets all work together to improve communication between parents and teens and enhance their Jewish experiences.



A sophisticated adult learning program offering a broad spectrum of Jewish knowledge in areas such as Jewish history, ethics, ideas and ritual.  A terrific opportunity to become a comfortable, knowledgeable Jew. (see above!)


Teen Family Education

 The Orange County Bureau sets the standard nationally for family education with teens. Adat Noar parent sessions, Teen/Parent retreat weekends and special holiday booklets all work together to improve communication between parents and teens and enhance their Jewish experiences.


Adult Education Task Force

The Bureau invites representatives from all synagogues and communal agencies to participate in communal projects designed to increase opportunities for adult Jewish learning in Orange County. This year, 12 institutions participated in the design and publication of a brochure to publicize their major programs throughout the community


Professional Development

Believing that “Our teachers deserve the best teachers” the Bureau brings outstanding master teachers to Orange County for an extensive program of professional development for religious school teachers. In partnership with the synagogues, we offer religious school teachers an amazing range of interesting and informative classes designed to deepen their own Judaism as well as teach them how to make their classes exciting for their students.


Pirke Avot Project

The Orange County Board of Rabbis joined the Bureau with the publication of a special series of ethical discussions. Each study piece was based on a verse from Pirke Avot and came with a brief story illustrating the lesson, followed by provocative discussion questions relating the text to contemporary issues of Jewish life. The discussion was intended to take from 10 - 15 minutes and can be conducted by lay leaders as well as professionals.

The materials were developed by Rabbi Shelly Donnell, Rabbi Joel Landau and Joan Kaye.

In addition to their use as divrei torah at the beginning of organizational board meetings, they can be mailed to families for Shabbat dinner discussions, given to Havurot to enhance their meetings, or used in whatever manner you feel to be most valuable.  See our examples.

  In Association with



Bureau of Jewish Education
of Orange County

Phone: 949-435-3450, FAX 949-435-3456
[email protected]

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