Lifelong Learning

Lifelong Learning 5778: September - December 2017

At Mishkan Shalom, we learn for life.

That means classes and events to stretch your mind, use your body, inspire your creativity
and deepen your engagement with Judaism.

It means that no matter your age or expertise, you can try something new, make friends,
share experiences and join a community of learners.

For many of our offerings, there are no fees and
no registration required.

For classes with fees, registration is open. Register now!

Online: Use links below

By phone (215-508-0226) or e-mail:
Let us know your registration details and mail your check to:
4101 Freeland Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19128

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Join the Lifelong Learning Committee!

To learn more, or to suggest a course you'd like to take, or teach,

please contact Jennifer Coburn, Committee Chair.


Navigating the Prayerbook
Sundays, 10:30 a.m. - noon: 11/19, 12/6, 12/17
Led by Dr. Elsie Stern

Each session: $10 members/$15 non-members
All 3 sessions: $25 members/$35 non-members

While each service has its own flavor, all Jewish prayer services share a similar "plot." In these workshops, Mishkan member Elsie Stern will introduce the story line of Jewish prayer services and explore how the individual prayers fit into the common structure of every service. Feel free to register for all 3 sessions or just one.

  • 11/19/17: Amidah
  • 12/6/17: Torah service
  • 12/17/17: Aleynu and Kaddish

Dr. Elsie Stern is the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College where she teaches Bible and Rabbinic Judaism.

Register online: Navigating the Prayerbook


Walk the Talk: Knowing Nature through a Jewish Lens
Saturday, Oct. 14: 12:30 - 2:30 p.m.
(Meet at Mishkan, then carpool to the woods.)
Led by Steve Jones 

$5.00/session (members and non-members).
We will not collect money on Shabbat; please register and pay in advance via the website.

Led by Steve Jones, Walk the Talk is a series of guided outdoor experiences in which participants learn about 'reading' the natural landscape as a text. Participants walk for about an hour-and-a-half in the nearby Wissahickon forest, observe elements of the natural world, learn about ecological relationships and consider short Jewish texts.

On this Shabbat walk, which falls on the day after Simchat Torah, we will consider what Jewish teaching has to say about the conservation and appreciation of natural places. All ages are welcome. We meet at Mishkan Shalom, after services at 12:30 p.m., then carpool to a starting point for the walk in the nearby woods. Participants should wear sturdy shoes and sensible clothes for the outdoors.

Steve Jones teaches English at Community College of Philadelphia and is president of Wissahickon Restoration Volunteers, a community-based ecological restoration program. He teaches English at Community College of Philadelphia and Chairs Mishkan Shalom's Spiritual Life Council. Steve also leads Nature Walks at Mishkan's annual Weekend in the Woods at Camp JRF in the Pocono Mountains.

Register online: Walk the Talk


Spiritual Direction: A Monthly Open Circle
Saturdays, 9:00 - 9:55 a.m.: Oct. 14, Nov. 11, Dec. 9, Jan. 13 (continuing monthly through June, 2018)

Led by Dr. Meredith Barber

No fee.

Jewish Spiritual Direction is a process of exploring our connection with what we experience as sacred. Please come promptly at 9:00 a.m. so we may begin together. The Spiritual Direction Circle will continue to meet on the 2nd Shabbat of each month.

Meredith Barber is a trained Spiritual Director; she has been a leader of Mishkan Shalom's monthly Spiritual Direction Circle for many years. This work combines a number of her passions, including group work, spiritual exploration and creativity. A psychologist for 20 years, she leads groups and teaches graduate-level classes in psychotherapy. Meredith completed the Lev Shomea program in Jewish Spiritual Direction.

Click here to learn more about Jewish Spiritual Direction and our Monthly Open Circle.


Shabbat Lunch and Learn: Brown bag lunch discussion following Shabbat services
Saturday, Nov, 18th, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.
Led by Lisa Joy & Alan Tuttle

No fee.

“How does our personal relationship with food help us affirm our Jewish identity? Our ethical, ecological, and economic values?” Please join Lisa Joy and Alan for a conversation about Kashrut (Jewish dietary law) from a Reconstructionist perspective, as presented in A Guide to Jewish Practice, Vol. 1: Everyday Living, by David A. Teutsch. We will explore how traditional and contemporary practices of kashrut can offer us opportunities to bring holiness to the act of eating and to affirm our values.


Pause & Refresh Your Soul: An Exploration of Shabbat Unplugging
Saturdays, 4:30 - 6:00 p.m.: Nov. 18, Dec. 16, Feb. 24, Mar. 17, Apr 28.

Led by Rabbis Shawn & Simcha Zevit at their home in Mt. Airy (address provided upon registration)

$10.00/session (members); $15.00/session (non-members)
We will not collect money on Shabbat; please register and pay in advance.

Monthly reflection, study and song that blend Shabbat afternoon tradition and reflection with text study, contemplation, prayer and spiritual practice, all connected to this year’s theme of keeping our eyes on life our commitments, choices, time and energy for a sustainable and just world. Throughout the year we will explore the Jewish approaches to middot (values, characteristics, virtues) focusing session-by-session on different middot we might take on to live our lives more fully, consciously and in relation to the people and world we are part of.


Rabbi Shawn Zevit,, is the lead rabbi of Mishkan Shalom. He is also a consultant, liturgist and recording artist, community organizer, faculty member and associate director of ALEPH Hashpa’ah (Spiritual Direction) Training Program.

Rabbi Simcha Zevit is the rabbi of the Narberth Havurah, the Jewish chaplain at HUPP and a member of Mishkan Shalom.

Register online: Pause & Refresh Your Soul


SoulCollage® with a Jewish Spin
Sunday, Oct. 22, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. in the Social Hall
Facilitated by Susan Richards

$40.00 per session; includes all supplies (members and non-members)
Maximum 12 participants for this workshop.

Join us in this season when our hearts are most open, and let the cards we make reveal to us who, and where, we are in this new year. Intuitively chosen visual images can be both pithy and surprising, and a nonverbal creative way to consolidate and reflect what we have learned through all the High Holidays.

SoulCollage is an intuitive, imaginative, creative and fun process. If you can use scissors and glue stick you can do it! Newcomers are welcome as well as previous SoulCollagers. No art experience is necessary — just receptivity, trust in the process, and a spirit of adventure.

Susan Richards says, “Being a SoulCollage® Facilitator is the perfect integration of my life-long spiritual pursuits, my 30 years as a psychotherapist in private practice in Solana Beach, California, and my current life as a full-time artist in the Philadelphia area.” For more information, see Susan's SoulCollage website.

Register online: Soul Collage


Let it Rise: Challah Baking
Thursday, Oct. 26, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. in the Mishkan Kitchen
Led by Elissa Goldberg and Anndee Hochman

$10 members/$15 non-members
To ensure we have enough ingredients, cooking space and instructional guides, PLEASE pre-register.

Participation essentials: Pre-registration; bring your own mixing bowl.

Join seasoned challah-makers Elissa Goldberg and Anndee Hochman to learn a generations-old family challah recipe; practice mixing, braiding and baking; and learn a bit of challah history and ritual.

Come to the class with a large mixing bowl; return home with a freshly baked mini-challah and dough ready for an overnight refrigerator slow-rise so you can braid and bake a full-size loaf in time for Shabbat (Mishkan’s Village Kabbalat Shabbat is on the 27th!). You’ll also bring home a packet with the basic recipe, some variations (raisin challah! pesto challah!) and printed challah blessings.

Register online: Let it Rise: Challah Baking


Roll it Up: Rugelach Baking
Wednesday, Dec. 6, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. in the Mishkan Kitchen
Taught by Pat Quigley

$10 members/$15 non-members
To ensure we have enough ingredients, PLEASE pre-register.
Participation essentials: Pre-registration and your own mixing bowl with wooden spoon.

Celebrated in the Mishkan community for her cinnamon challah, Pat Quigley is branching out to teach another traditional delicacy Rugelach. Together with Pat we’ll roll-out, fill-in and roll-up some of these Eastern European pastries; mix up a batch of dough to roll out at home; and review some rugelach lore and alternative recipes.

Come to the class with a large mixing bowl and a wooden spoon; return home with some freshly baked rugelach samples and dough to pop into your refrigerator until you’re ready for your own rugelach rollout just in time for Hanukkah. You’ll also bring home several recipes, including a vegan alternative.

Register online: Rugelach Baking


Shining a New Light on Love, Loss & Re-Emergence
Thursdays, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Dec. 7, Dec. 21
Led by Rabbi Tsurah August

Each session is $18 members/$36 non-members.
You may register for 1 or both sessions.

These sessions are interactive, integrating Jewish traditions, texts, and rituals along with utilizing the arts, e.g., drawing, writing, and music, and are open to anyone interested in exploring end-of-life issues.

Session 1, Dec. 7: Saying Good-bye. We will explore different ways of having meaningful interactions with our beloveds who are living their final weeks and days, as well as exploring ideas we might want to incorporate into our own final days.

Session 2, Dec 21: Re-Emergence. Many of us think “grief” and “mourning” are synonymous; however, “grief” is the amalgam of a myriad of feelings – emotional, physical, spiritual – that we may experience upon a significant loss. “Mourning” is the assortment of ways we use to move through loss and grief to wholeness. We will explore a variety of mourning practices from Judaism and other spiritual traditions as well as ‘out-of-the-box’ creative techniques to embrace life again.

Rabbi Tsurah August is Hospice Chaplain for the Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Philadelphia. As a rabbi and chaplain working with people at major life transitions including life/death, illness/health, she works to clear, comfort, ease and inspire patients and their families before, during and after the passage.

Register online: Shining a New Light


One Book Mishkan: 13th Annual Selection
The First Love Story: Adam, Eve, and Us, by Bruce Feiler

Watch Kol Shalom, Ma Hadash and this page for 5778’s One Book Mishkan programs.

If the story of Adam & Eve is about romantic love, and not of sin; if one of the most well-known stories of all time is actually about introducing the idea of love into the world; what might this signify about the Bible, in general, or about modern religious practice? Join us for a revelatory journey across four continents and 4,000 years with master storyteller Bruce Feiler as our guide.

Questions? Suggestions? Write See you in the Library!

Click here for full details on our One Book Mishkan Series.


Torah Study
Shabbat (Saturday) mornings, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. in the Library

Each Shabbat morning we gather to read, discuss, question and explore that week’s Torah portion in sessions led by Mishkan rabbis, members and friends of the community. Together, we become both teachers and students. Open to adults and teens. If you’d like to lead a session or have questions about Torah study, Eugene Fleischman Sotirescu, Torah Study Coordinator, welcomes your questions.

Click here to learn more about our weekly Torah Study.


How to Register for Classes: You can register and pay online for classes with fees by following the links after each class. If you prefer to pay by check, please call the synagogue at (215) 508-0226 or e-mail and provide your name, contact information and the class you wish to take.

Download the "Lifelong Learning Fall 5778/2017 Brochure" by clicking here.


Mishkan Shalom is a Reconstructionist congregation in which a diverse community of progressive Jews finds a home. Mishkan’s Statement of Principles commits the community to integrate Prayer, Study and Acts of Caring — and to work with other people of faith to repair the world in justice and peace.

4101 Freeland Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19128 - ph: (215) 508-0226 / Site map