We are excited to announce the courses for this Fall/Winter. All classes are at Temple B’rith Kodesh (2131 Elmwood Avenue) unless otherwise noted.
Registration begins on September 25, 2017.
When possible, please register at least THREE (3) weeks prior to the start of the class.

New this semester: Walk-ins are welcome. It is important to note that the students planning to walk in should contact the Kollel office prior to the class (2 to 3 days before is preferred – same day contact may not be in time) in order to confirm that the class is taking place.  Additionally the Walk-in student should register and pay through the Kollel office, not through the instructor.

Classes can only be confirmed when six (6) people have registered.
Please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at (585) 244-7060 x242.

If you are in need of financial assistance, please contact Herb Skerker. All information will be kept strictly confidential.


Jewish Perspectives on the World to Come
Rabbi Peter Stein

Drawing on biblical and rabbinic sources, we will explore various ideas about the world to come, heaven, life after death, and social justice.  We will read passages from Torah, Talmud, Midrash, and medieval commentaries.In addition, we will study the contrast between Jewish and Christian ideas in this realm.
Wednesdays: 10:00am-11:30am Oct 18 Nov 1, 15, 29 Dec 13 Jan 10, 24 Feb 7 Fee: $60

Torah Through the Voice of Women
Rabbi Kelly Levy

Since its publication in 2008, The Torah: A Women’s  Commentary has brought the voices of women out of the shadows of our Biblical text. Join us for a close reading and exploration of Torah, enhanced by the commentary and poetry of notable female scholars. This class is open to men and women. New and returning students are welcome.
Tuesdays: 12:15pm-1:15pm
Session 1 Oct 17, 31 Nov 14 Dec 5, 12, 19
Session 2 Jan 9, 16, 30  Feb 6, 13, 20
Fee: $40 per session

 Matthew’s Gospel: A Piece of Jewish Literature
Dr. Joseph Kelly

The Gospel of Matthew is today part of the Christian New Testament. But most people are not aware that it was written shortly after the fall of the Temple in 70 CE for a group of Jewish people living in Antioch who had embraced the teachings of Rabbi Jesus. These Jews were struggling to decide how they could be faithful to their Jewish tradition and still follow Jesus. Matthew’s Gospel tried to provide an answer to this question. Far from being anti-Jewish, it is a piece of literature produced for Jews living in the pluralistic society of 1st century CE Judaism. Text: The Gospel of Matthew (New American Bible or New Revised Standard Version)
Mondays: 10:30am-12:30pm Oct 23, 30 Nov 6, 13

Isaiah Says What He Sees
Rabbi Shaya Kilimnick

There are more chapters in the book of Isaiah (66) than in any other single book of the Scriptures, and there are more Haftarahs from the book than any other in the Tanach. Isaiah was a prophet during the time of the Prophets Hosea, Amos and Micha, and he was the Prophet during the monarchies of King Uzza, Hezekiah and Menasha. The book predicts the exile of the children of Israel and also peeks into the End of Days entering into the Messianic Era. His teachings, lectures and prophecies are instructive, frightening and reassuring of God's promises being fulfilled. The excerpts of his prophecies will be analyzed and examined so as to enable a clear appreciation of this complex text which is woven into our daily and holiday prayers and theology. A focus on the history of this time and the Syrian and Babylonian exile will be studied, providing a wealth of knowledge needed to understand the miracle of the Jewish people's return to the land of Israel after 2000 years.
Tuesdays: 9:30am-11:00am Oct 17, 24, 31
Nov 7, 14, 21 Dec 5, 12 Fee:

21st Century Holocaust Denial: the new Anti-Semitism
Thomas Driscoll

Some deny the Holocaust for overtly racist, political, or strategic reasons. They deny the Holocaust as an article of faith, and no amount of rational argument can dissuade them. This denial is irrational, an innate anti-Semitism. Other deniers argue that reports of the Holocaust are really part of a vast shadowy plot to make the white, Western world feel guilty and to advance the interest of Jews.
21st Century pm Tuesdays: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Oct 17, 24 Nov 7, 14
OR (choose one)
21st Century am Thursdays: 9:30am-11:00am
Oct 19, 26 Nov 9, 16
Fee: $40

Still Crazy After All These Years:
Children of Holocaust Survivors
Bonnie Abrams

There have been chapters added to psychology textbooks about children of Holocaust Survivors and all the problems they are supposed to have. Intergenerational transmission of PTSD in second generation Holocaust survivors is still being explored, even as children of survivors are becoming senior citizens! Explore some of these studies with the second generation Director of the Center for Holocaust Awareness and Information of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester, Bonnie Abrams.
Wednesdays: 12:00 noon-1:00pm
Oct 25 Nov 1, 8, 15, 29 Dec 6  Fee: $60
Location: Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester

David A. Orange

A personal examination of the illusions we create that obscure us from knowing who we are. What? That's right. This course will merge ancient and current Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist mysticism with recent discoveries in quantum physics to explore the myths and illusions that cloud our existence. Class includes discussions on: perception, intuition, separateness, aging and death. This course will appeal to those who are spiritually seeking, willing to open their minds and engage their brains, and explore something that might change their lives.
Tuesdays: 6:30pm-8:00pm Oct 17, 24, 31 Nov 7
Location: St. John's Meadows Briarwood
Activity Room.
No fee, registration required.
Generously sponsored by St. John's and the Ames Amzalak Foundation.

Cooking Culture with Nira
Nira Mehlenbacher

Come learn and experience cooking healthy and delicious Israeli food. Israeli food is an amazing mix of traditional foods from the Middle East to the Mediterranean, into Europe, and all over the world. Jews were forced to spread around the world, and when they came back to the land, they brought new traditions with them. Israeli cuisine is a healthy diet with vegetables in every meal (Israeli salad), legumes, goat meat and cheese, olives, techina sauce, and the list can go on and on. Come hungry because, after your hard work learning and cooking, you will get to sit and enjoy your yummy dinner!
Mondays: 6:30pm-7:30pm in classroom
6:30pm-8:30pm in kitchen
Cooking Culture (Oct-Dec Session) 
Class Oct 23, Kitchen Oct 30, Class Nov 13, Kitchen Nov 27, Kitchen Dec 4, Class Dec 11 (please note that the December Kitchen is before the December Class)
Fee: $60 plus $30 fee for food AND/OR (choose one or both)
Cooking Culture (Jan-Mar Session)
Class Jan 22, Kitchen Jan 29, Class Feb 12, Kitchen Feb 19 Class Mar 12, Kitchen Mar 19
Fee: $60 plus $30 fee for food

Jews and Mah Jongg for Beginners
Juleen Squires

How did a 19th century Chinese parlor game come to be a favorite pastime for Jewish women? Learn how they kept the game alive and learn to play!  No experience necessary.  Men and women are welcome.
Wednesdays: 7pm-8:30pm Oct 18, 25 Nov 1, 8, 15
Fee: $50

Migration: A Film Course
Jenna Silpe

Migration can take different forms:  physical migration (as in immigration); emotional migration and emotional development; and spiritual migration.  In this course, we will watch and discuss four films that tackle the challenges of human and animal migration. Discussion will take place after each film viewing. Popcorn and snacks are welcome!
El Norte (The North)  Guatemalan teenage siblings, Rosa (Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez) and Enrique (David Villalpando) manage to escape massacre and decide to start a new life in El Norte -- the USA. The two trek through Mexico, meeting a variety of characters and facing trials and tribulations on their journey toward Los Angeles.
The Grapes of Wrath The Joad clan, first introduced to the world in John Steinbeck's iconic novel, is searching for a better life. After their drought-ridden farm is seized by the bank, the family -- led by just-paroled son Tom (Henry Fonda) -- loads up a truck and heads west. On the road, beset by hardships, the Joads meet dozens of other families making the same trek and holding onto the same dream. Once in California, the Joads soon realize that the promised land isn't quite what they hoped.
The Namesake  Based on the critically acclaimed novel by Jhumpa Lahiri.  After moving from Calcutta to New York, members of the Ganguli family maintain a delicate balancing act between honoring the traditions of their native India and blending into American culture.  While parents Ashoke (Irrfan Khan) and Ashima (Tabu) are proud of the sacrifices they make to give their children opportunities, their son Gogol (Kal Penn) strives to forge his own identity without forgetting his heritage.
An American Tail A young mouse named Fievel Mousekewitz (Phillip Glasser) and his family emigrate from Russia to the United States by boat after their home is destroyed by cats. During the trip, a fierce storm throws Fievel from the ship, and he loses contact with his family. Luckily, he manages to sail to New York in a bottle. There, Irish mouse Bridget (Cathianne Blore), an Italian mouse named Tony (Pat Musick) and a kindly cat named Tiger (Dom DeLuise) help Fievel search for his loved ones.
Wednesdays: 6:15pm-8:45pm Oct 18, 25 Nov 1, 8 Fee: $60

Writing Your Own Ethical Will
Joy Getnick

An ethical will is a non-legal document designed to help pass ethical values and wisdom from one generation to the next.  This class will provide tips and pointers on how to draft one of your own.  Some class time will be spent supporting each other with the brainstorming and writing process.  Supplemental readings and sample ethical wills to be provided.
Mondays: 10:00am-11:00am Oct 16, 23, 30
$25 Location: JCC Yiddish Culture Center 

Islam 101
Andrea Gluckman

This class aims to give a broad and informed context to Islam as a holistic tradition.  The course will begin with unpacking headline stereotypes and then move into the origins, theological premises, prophetic tradition, and sacred text(s) of Islam. Additionally, divisions within Islam will be discussed within the context of the development of the Islamic empire. There is no general required text, but articles will be provided throughout the course.
Wednesdays: 7:00pm-8:30pm Nov 1, 8, 15, 29
Dec 6, 13, 20 Fee:

Radical Women in the Bible
Ayala Emmett and Paul Gongloff

We will explore powerful/radical women in Jewish and Christian sacred texts.  By radical, we mean women who cross confines of normative domesticity and, in their time and over time, leave an imprint in the public sphere. Radical women are agents making choices about their lives traditionally controlled by male kin and the dominant powerful elite. They speak truth to power and make history.No prerequisites. Texts will be announced 2 weeks before the first class.
Tuesdays: 10:30am-11:45am Nov 14, 28
Dec 5, 12, 19 Fee: $40

Writing the Maternal Experience
Lisa Carley Hotaling

This completely interactive writing workshop will create a space to safely share our maternal experiences through writing. We will learn how to develop our narrative voice with depth and clarity. Prompts will be provided and the classes will consist of interactive activities and sharing our writing.
Fridays: 10:00am-11:30am
Nov 3, 10, 17 Dec 1, 8, 15 Fee:

Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit: Jewish Daily Life at the time of Jesus
Thomas Driscoll

How did folks live and function in Palestine in the first century C.E.?  What were everyday activities – dining, Sabbath observances, water collection, fasting, toilet habits, child care, work, recreation, burial customs, marriage and sex? It was a time of turbulence: the outlawing of Judaism, reigns of Herod the Great and Pontius Pilate, rise of rabbinical Judaism, and the emergence of a variety of Judaic movements.
Jewish Daily Life pm
Tuesdays: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Nov 28, Dec 5, 12, 19
OR (choose one)
Jewish Daily Life am
Thursdays: 9:30am-11:00am

Nov 30, Dec 7, 14, 21

Fee: $40

Judaism 101
David A. Orange

A ten-week program to explore, discover and connect to the Jewish faith. Whether a refresher course or a first time exploration of the Jewish religion, this is an introductory program covering fundamental Jewish beliefs and practices. Open to all religious affiliations.
Wednesdays: 6:30pm-8:00pm Nov 29 Dec 6, 20, 27 Jan 3, 17, 24, 31 February 7, 21
Location: St. John's Meadows Briarwood
Activity Room
No Fee, registration required.
Generously sponsored by St. John's and the Ames Amzalak Foundation.

 Hitchcock and the Holocaust
Jenna Silpe

Did you know about famed director Alfred Hitchcock’s connection to the Holocaust? In 1945, British media baron Sidney Bernstein was commissioned by the Allied Forces to create a documentary that chronicled the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps.  He enlisted his friend Alfred Hitchcock to serve as its supervising director.  Unfortunately, the film was shelved amongst political, artistic and social turmoil.  The unseen documentary footage was only released to the public as part of a larger 2014 film entitled Night Will Fall.In addition to watching Night Will Fall, we will watch scenes from several of Hitchcock’s most well-known films, including The Birds, Psycho and North by Northwest, examining shared themes of isolation, persecution and fear.  We will also ask the big questions:  Are Hitchcock’s films still relevant today?  What can they teach us about our modern political and cultural landscape?
Hitchcock and the Holocaust am
Mondays: 10:00am-11:30am Nov 27 Dec 4, 11, 18
OR (choose one)
Hitchcock and the Holocaust pm
Wednesdays: 7:00pm-8:30pm Nov 29 Dec 6, 13, 20
Fee: $40

Where do we go from here?
The Rev. Dr. Christopher Luedde

We look toward the Book of Acts to see the early church after the death of Jesus. The disciples are hiding and not sure where they go from here. The Book of Acts looks at the course of actions in the Church of Jerusalem headed by James where we meet a man named Saul who becomes known to the world as Paul.  This is an interactive course which looks at the early history and “in situ” lives during the first century C.E.
Wednesdays: 10:30am-12:00 noon
Jan 31 Feb 14, 21, 28 Fee: $40


Banned Books Discussion Group
Jenna Silpe

These four classic banned/challenged books will be discussed. You do not have to read the book(s) beforehand.  Animal Farm by George Orwell - “Four legs good, two legs bad!”  This novella by George Orwell, first published in 1945, examines human-animal relationships, equality, and political uprisings.  Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Widely recognized as Kurt Vonnegut’s most popular and influential novel.  Billy Pilgrim tells of his experiences as a US Army chaplain’s assistant in WWII through flashbacks and time travel experiences. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Scout’s father Atticus Finch defends a black man accused of raping a white woman in small-town Alabama.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood -
A recent miniseries on Hulu, this dystopian novel is set in New England in the near future.  Exploring themes of dominance, independence and political power, The Handmaid’s Tale is touted as a dire warning for America under its current regime.
Wednesdays: 7:00pm-8:30pm Jan 3, 10, 17, 24
Fee: $40

The Megillot
Athene Goldstein

Have you ever wondered what texts are read during the liturgical year – other than the Pentatuch? Join us as we explore the five Megillot, plus Jonah, that are read on the festivals.
Wednesdays: 2:00pm-3:00pm
Dec 6, 13, 20 Jan 24, 31 Feb 7
Fee: $40
Note: maximum of 12 students

Great Decisions: A Jewish Perspective (2018)
Joy Getnick

A unique version of the Foreign Policy Association’s “Great Decisions” program, designed to engage students in critical debate regarding contemporary foreign policy challenges.  Our course will evaluate these challenges through a Jewish lens, with an emphasis on Jewish values and ethics in practice. Text: “Great Decisions” manual, supplemented (in-class) by the “Great Decisions” DVD. Some reading prior to each course session will be required.
Thursdays: 10:00am-11:30am:  Jan 25 Feb 8, 22 Mar 8, 22 Apr 12, 26 May 10
Fee: $60 plus $25 textbook
Location: JCC (Yiddish Culture Center)


200 Questions and Answers about Catholicism

Thomas Driscoll

From ashes to rosaries to the conclave, to Mass, to papal infallibility. The class will examine Roman Catholicism’s worldview, imagination, teachings, and the fascinating turning points in church history. We will discuss how to speak with a Catholic and not embarrass yourself. All of your questions will be answered.
Catholicism pm Tuesdays: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Jan 9, 16, 23, 30
OR (choose one)
Catholicism am Thursdays: 9:30am-11:00am
Jan 11, 18, 25, Feb 1
Fee: $40


What does it mean to be an ally?
Jenna Silpe

LGBTQI.  Why are those letters important to all of us?  The 1950’s and 60’s had the civil rights movement, and we are currently living through another historical movement—gay rights.  We will discuss same-sex marriage, the historical significance of Stonewall, the meaning behind the rainbow flag, and Judaism’s connection to gay and transgender issues.  Using research, personal interviews and guest speakers, we will attempt to figure out how to educate and advocate, as well as discover what Torah says, if anything, about homosexuality.  What does it mean to be part of a targeted group?  Are gays and Jews more alike than previously realized?  Is it realistic to “love the sinner and hate the sin,” as other mainstream religions propose?  Is coming out of the closet still important and necessary?
What does it mean to be an ally?
am Mondays: 10:00am-11:30am Jan 29 Feb 5, 12, 19
OR (choose one)
What does it mean to be an ally?
pm Wednesdays: 7:00pm-8:30pm Jan 31 Feb 7, 14, 21
Fee: $40

Gypsies: History, Culture, Music & Genocide

Thomas Driscoll

The Romani faced discrimination because of their dark skin. Portrayed as cunning, mysterious outsiders, Gypsies told fortunes and stole before moving on to the next town. Nazis killed thousands of Roma in the German-occupied territories of the Soviet Union and Serbia. Thousands more Roma were killed in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Sobibor, and Treblinka. 

Perhaps up to 220,000 Roma died in the Holocaust.

Gypsies pm Tuesdays: 6:30pm-8:00pm

Feb 13, 20, 27 Mar 6 

OR (choose one)

Gypsies am Thursdays: 9:30am-11:00am

Feb 15, 22, Mar 1, 8

Fee: $40

 Adult B’nai Mitzvah

Rabbi Peter Stein

Have you always dreamed of reading from the Torah? Did you miss having a bar or bat mitzvah as a child? Do you want to immerse yourself in an intensive period of study, personal growth, and bonding with fellow students?  If so, consider joining our Adult B'nai Mitzvah class. This 18-month experience will begin in January 2018 and will culminate on Shavuot 2019 with the class members leading the congregation in worship. Classes with Rabbi Stein will include study of biblical and rabbinic texts, a survey of Jewish history and theology, and consideration of spiritual practices. In addition, students will participate in Hebrew language study at whatever level they need (please see Learn to Read Hebrew for Beginners and Hebrew Prayer Reading and Comprehension listed below). There are no prerequisites for this experience, other than a willingness to learn. Students will be asked to bring a “brown bag” dinner.

Tuesdays: 6:00pm-7:00pm

Jan 9, 23 Feb 13, 27 Mar 13, 27

Apr 10, 24 May 8, 22

Fall 2018 through May 2019 dates to be determined.

Fee: $100


For all Hebrew Classes Please call or email the Kollel office regarding appropriate placement


Learn to Read Hebrew for Beginners

Gene Spiro

Learn the basics to read Hebrew. Letter and vowel recognition and development of phonetic skills.

Mondays: 6:30pm-7:30pm Oct 30 Nov 6, 13 Dec 4, 11 Jan 8, 15, 29 Feb 5, 12, 19, 26 Fee: $80

Hebrew Prayer Reading and Comprehension

Gene Spiro

For those with a basic knowledge of Hebrew literacy. Improve reading fluency of prayers and learn basic Hebrew vocabulary to facilitate prayer comprehension.

Mondays: 7:30pm-8:30pm Oct 30 Nov 6, 13 Dec 4, 11 Jan 8, 15, 29 Feb 5, 12, 19, 26 Fee: $80


Hebrew with Orna Korn

Note: maximum of 12 students per class

Basic Beginning Hebrew Orna Korn

Focuses on comprehension of basic two-word sentences and progresses to the understanding and usage of complex sentences.

Basic Beginning Hebrew Tuesdays am:

11:00am-12:00 noon Oct 31 Nov 7, 14 Dec 5, 12

Jan 9, 16, 30 Feb 6, 13, 20, 27

OR (choose one)

Basic Beginning Hebrew Tuesdays pm:

6:30pm-7:30pm Oct 31 Nov 7, 14 Dec 5, 12

Jan 9, 16, 30 Feb 6, 13, 20, 27

Fee: $80


Advanced Beginning Hebrew Orna Korn

This class uses the vocabulary learned in Basic Beginning Hebrew to construct short stories of four to six sentences in length. A great variety of learning experiences are provided.

Mondays: 5:30pm-7:00pm Session 1 Oct 30 Nov 6, 13 Dec 4, 11 Jan 8 Fee: $60

Mondays: 5:30pm-7:00pm Session 2 Jan 15, 29

Feb 5, 12, 19, 26 Fee: $60


Advanced Hebrew Do you know Hebrew and want to practice? This class focuses on comprehension of basic sentences and progresses to the understanding and usage of complex sentences.

Mondays: 7:30pm-8:30pm Session 1 Oct 30 Nov 6, 13 Dec 4, 11 Jan 8 Fee: $40

Mondays: 7:30pm-8:30pm Session 2 Jan 15, 29

Feb 5, 12, 19, 26 Fee: $40

Salon ~ Current Issues in Depth

Thomas Driscoll

What is underneath today’s news? New ways of thinking about the issues. Key bearings to keep in mind. Clear fact sheets. Examination of causes. Wisdom for the future. New voices. Prayer for those in need.

Nov 6 How False Stories Spread &

 Why People Believe Them

Stanford researchers assessed students from middle school to college and found they struggled to distinguish ads from articles, neutral sources from biased ones and fake accounts from real ones. Fake news is a type of yellow journalism that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via the traditional print, broadcasting news media, or via Internet-based social media. Fake news is written and published with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically, often with sensationalist, hateful, exaggerated, or patently false headlines that grab attention. Who can you trust? How to check the news, get facts, and take steps to confront fake news.

Mondays: 7:00pm-8:30pm Nov 6 Jan 8 Mar 5 May 7

Fee: $10 for each date in advance,

$12 for each date at the door


Lively Spiritual Book & Film Discussions

Thomas Driscoll

Explore societal issues, moral values, passions and grief.

Oct 16 The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman (film & book)

Nov 20            The Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (book)

Dec 11 Manchester by the Sea  (film)

Jan 22 The Vanishing American Adult  by Ben Sasse (book) 

Mar 12            The Moth Presents all these Wonders: True stories about facing the Unknown 

by Catherine Burns  (book)

May 14           Lion a 2016 biographical film directed by Garth Davis based on the non-fiction book  A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley (film & book)

Mondays: 6:30pm-8:00pm

Fee: $60 all dates, $12 per session at the door

The Joy and Oy of Yiddish: Intermediate and Advanced

with Deborah Rothman

 Come explore the humor and beauty of this quintessential Jewish language.

 Born in post-war Vilna, Deborah Rothman is a native Yiddish speaker, a long-time instructor of the cultural and literary heritage of mameloshn, and a translator for the Yiddish Book Center.

 Tuesdays: 10:30am-12:30pm

Oct 10 through Dec 12

(no class Nov 21)

Fee: $120 ($90 for JCC Members)

Register with the JCC

461-2000, jccrochester.org

Jewish Living

(Co-sponsored with the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester) with Elliot Fix

This course and inclusion program is designed for adults with disabilities who want a program which accommodates their learning needs and interests. Participants will be actively engaged in learning about Jewish holidays, prayers, songs, rituals, and Israel.  Class sessions also include crafts, baking projects, and guest presenters.  Participation in relevant Jewish community events is scheduled throughout the year.

Wednesdays: 7:00pm-8:15pm

Sessions and programs scheduled on Wednesdays throughout the year from

September through June. For fee and information about joining, please contact Elliot Fix via The Rochester Kollel.