Adult Jewish Learning Brochure


Gerson D. Cohen Institute for Adult Jewish Learning

We are a center for serious Jewish learning. Synagogue classes offer everyone opportunities to discover new meanings in Judaism and Jewish culture. Our adult learning program is named for Rabbi Gerson D. Cohen, a widely respected historian and Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America from 1972 to 1986.


King DavidKing David: It's Complicated (Fall Semester)
King Solomon's Wisdom (Spring Semester)

Tuesday mornings, from 10:30 AM - Noon
Taught by CSAIR Rabbi Barry Dov Katz
Palace intrigue combines with personal drama to make the end of King David's reign a study in complexity. After his death, Solomon assumes the throne and is known for his wisdom, building, and political prowess. Come share in our discussions about David's last days then study the very different story of King Solomon's successes (and excesses) as king. No background necessary. All texts provided in English along with the Hebrew.


Class Meets:

2018: January 23, 30 (No class 1/ 2) Februrary 6, 13, 20, 27, March 6, 13, 20

Free to CSAIR Sisterhood members and members of CSAIR affiliates. Nominal fee for others. Sponsored by Sisterhood.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah ClassAdult Bar/Bat Mitzvah Class
Wednesdays, 7:45 PM-9:00 PM

Taught by Rabbi Barry Dov Katz, Rory Katz (Rabbinic Intern), and
Cantor Elizabeth Stevens

Perhaps you never had the chance to ascend the bimah as a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. Maybe you did, but want to do it again at a time in your life when you will appreciate your connection to Judaism in a different way. This course is designed for adult learners of any age who are members of CSAIR. It will provide an in-depth study of the Jewish lifecycle, holidays, history, and core Jewish concepts. You will learn to chant from the Torah and participate in a Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony in Spring 2019. No prior experience is necessary. If you need to learn/improve your Hebrew reading, we will work together to find a tutor/class who can help you. RSVP to

Class Meets
2018: January 17, 24, 31 (No Class 1/3), February 7, 14, 21, 28, March 7, 14, 21, 28, April 11, 18, 25 (No Class 4/4), May 2, 9, 16


Sundays, April 22, June 10, 2018 at 10:30 AM
Coordinated by Sharon Kern-Taub

Free and open to all. Pre-registration required - email

The Zookeeper's Wife

The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
Sunday, April 22, 2018 at 10:30 AM

A true story in which keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands. Diane Ackerman combines extensive research and an exuberant writing style to re-create this fascinating true life story – sharing Antonina Zabinski's life while examining the disturbing obsessions at the core of Nazism.




Moonglow by Michael Chabon
Sunday, June 10, 2018 at 10:30 AM
A wonderful book that celebrates the power of family bonds and the slipperiness of memory. Moonglow is an enchanting story about the circuitous path that a life follows, about the accidents that redirect it, and about the secrets that can be felt but never seen, like the dark matter at the center of every family's cosmos.


Text Wrestlers
Saturdays, February 10, March 3, May 5, June 2, 2018 at 11:00 AM
Join the discussion as Dr. Diane Sharon leads an exploration of the weekly Torah portion.

Kosher Cooking 2017-2018 Main Dishes and Light Desserts
Second Session: Two Mondays - January 22 and February 5, 2018, 6:30 to 8:30 PM

All classes taught by Judy Matthews, assisted by Leona Chudy, Barbara Harris, and Faye Warren
Both classes are currently wait listed.

spanakopitaClass 1 In this class, we will make a richly flavored and fragrant chicken dish from Georgia that includes pomegranate and tamarind sauce, accompanied by aromatic basmati rice. Dessert will be a Bohemian fruit cloud (Bublana).

Class 2 We will start with an enticing cocktail of sweet and spicy nuts. It will be followed by fish Provencal, rice pilaf with marinated artichoke and spanakopita. Dessert will follow, with citrus salad and marsala. $90 per person for two classes (includes dinner and take-home leftovers). Enrollment limited to 12 people.

Pre-registration required. For more information email Sponsored by Silverleaf Caterers.


Intimate Voices ~ Chamber Music in an Intimate Setting
Saturdays, January 20 and March 3, 2018 at 8:00 PM

Come join us in 2017-2018 for the 9th season of Intimate Voices, presenting world-class chamber music in the intimate and acoustically excellent sanctuary of CSAIR. Music Director Sheila Reinhold (a long-time member of CSAIR) and the other participating musicians have performed in venues all over the United States and abroad as soloists as well as in ensembles ranging from major string quartets to the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. The performers introduce the pieces, and each concert features complimentary refreshments and an informal reception with the musicians. For artist, program and ticket information, visit

Poetry Workshop
Three sessions: Thursdays, February 1, 8, 15, 2018 at 7:45 PM
What makes a poem? Sarah Stern will lead a three-part poetry workshop and provide writing exercises that will inspire and motivate. In the first class, participants will read and discuss selected contemporary poems with a broad range of topics and techniques. In the following two classes, participants will bring their own written poems to share and discuss. Beginning, emerging and seasoned poets are encouraged to attend. This workshop is meant for those looking for a supportive community of writers. Author of But Today Is Different and Another Word For Love, Sarah is a five-time winner of the Bronx Council on the Arts' Poetry Award.


The Iranian Jewish Experience
Sunday, February 25, 2018 at 10:00 AM
Taught by Eliran Isaacson, Psy.D.

Today's Iran sustains the second largest Jewish community in the Middle East after Israel. What accounts for this surprising fact? To shed light on this question, this presentation will provide an overview of Jewish life in Iran, within the larger context of its political and religious history, including its pre-Islamic beginnings, the introduction of Shiite Islam, and the Islamic Revolution of 1979 . In anticipation of Purim and the story of Queen Esther, a Jewish Iranian, this presentation will include images, historical information, and personal vignettes to offer a broad understanding of Jewish Iranian experience, past and present.

Journeying to Freedom: Interfaith Model Seder

March 11, 2018 at 6:00 PM

Christians, Muslims and Jews join together to experience elements of the Passover seder and to share personal and communal stories about freedom.

Bake Your Own MatzahBake Your Own Matzah
Sunday, March 25, 2018 at 10:00 AM - Noon

Join Rabbi Ethan Tucker, President and Rosh Yeshiva of Mechon Hadar, for a special opportunity to bake your own matzah for the Seder. Learn a bit about the laws of matzah baking and get ready to move quickly to get the dough into the oven! This activity is intended for adults; older children can attend if they are being fully and actively supervised by a parent.

Special Yiddish Reading of Yankel and Leah with Author Simon FeuermanYankel & Leah

Sunday, March 11, 2018 at 10:30 AM
Coordinated by Sharon Kern-Taub
Set in Brooklyn in the late 1980s, Yankel and Leah tells the story of a 28-year-old-tormented-about- women Talmudist who frustrates the most able of Flatbush's matchmakers. When he is introduced to Leah, a Portia-like powerhouse of a Jewish woman, this deeply-principled Yeshiva boy begins to unravel.



Scholar in ResidenceScholar-in-Residence Women of Valor in the Modern World
Friday, March 16 - Saturday, March 17, 2018

Judith Rosenbaum, PhD, Executive Director of Jewish Women's Archive The Proverbial "Eshet Chayil" is celebrated for her tireless commitment to family, livelihood, community, and God. Who are modern "Women of Valor" and what can we learn from them about leadership, vision, and social change? In a series of talks exploring Jewish Feminism, Dr. Judith Rosenbaum will take us beyond the iconic stories of celebrated leaders and into the texts of modern Jewish history to explore how Jewish women havebuilt on or broken with traditional feminine communal roles to pursue egalitarian Judaism and social justice.

Sponsored by the Helen and Leonard Tureff Memorial Fund.
Sign language interpreters will be available

Immolation and Conflagration In The Biblical
Thursdays, May 31, June 7, and June 14, 2018 at 7:45 PM
Taught by Dr. Diane Sharon, The Skirball Academy at the Streicker Center of Temple Emanuel

World Fire signifies God's presence in the Bible. It is an agent of the miraculous, a comforting sign of civilization, and an element of Israelite worship. It is also punishment for transgression as it falls from the sky or erupts from the earth. In this course we will examine selected biblical episodes marked by fire, and discover the astonishing range of meanings embedded in this powerful element. Please bring a complete Tanakh to each class. The JPS Hebrew-English edition is recommended.


Regular Programming

Hug Ivri
CSAIR's monthly Hebrew discussion group meets following Kiddush one Shabbat a month to talk about politics, literature, current events, and more. Dr. Yaakov Taitz, Coordinator. Free and open to all Hebrew speakers.

Yiddish Vinkl
Informal classroom style Yiddish conversations held monthly after Kiddush with an array of members. Enjoy the joys of Yiddish with a group that meets to schmooze together. - Charlie Goldfischer, Coordinator. Free and open to all Yiddish speakers.

Hazzan's Tisch (Led by CSAIR Cantor Elizabeth Stevens)
During Kiddush on Saturdays, January 6, 2018
Tentatively set for February 3, March 3, April 7, June 2 and June 9, 2018
Between Mincha and Maariv on Saturdays, October 28, November 25, December 30, 2017, January 20, February 24, March 24, April 28 and May 26, 2018
Enjoy Shabbat to the fullest with more chances to sing. We will gather on Shabbat during Kiddush or between Mincha and Maariv to sing zemirot (table songs), niggunim (wordless melodies) and more. Free and open to all.

Yom Hashoah
Saturday, May 19, 2018
A program of song, names, music, and testimony in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. Thursday, April 12, 2018 Yom Hazikaron An evening remembering Israeli fallen soldiers with the Riverdale Jewish community. Wednesday, April 18, 2018 Yom Haatzmaut A celebration in honor of the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel. Thursday, April 19, 2018 Tikkun Leil Shavuot Unroll the Torah, hear 5th graders chanting sweetly for the first time and learn Torah with us in honor of Shavuot. Learning will go all night long and conclude with a sunrise service.

Yom Hazikaron
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
An evening remembering Israeli fallen soldiers with the Riverdale Jewish community.

Yom Haatzmaut
Thursday, April 19, 2018
A celebration in honor of the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel.

Tikkun Leil Shavuot
Saturday, May 19, 2018
Unroll the Torah, hear 5th graders chanting sweetly for the first time and learn Torah with us in honor of Shavuot. Learning will go all night long and conclude with a sunrise service.

CSAIR :: 475 West 250th Street :: Bronx, NY 10471 :: 718-543-8400