Torah has 70 faces

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.

All classes are open to the CSAIR congregation/public and requires no registration unless otherwise indicated.


929Tanakh Together: Join the Oldest Book Club in the World
There are 929 chapters of the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible. What would it be like to read all of them? Shabbat afternoons between mincha and maariv, Rabbi Barry Dov Katz and guest leaders will lead a discussion on that week's chapters with others who are reading as well.

Times will change each week.
Learn how to participate here!
Free and open to all.



Rabbi Katz

A House Divided: The Book of Kings I and II
King Solomon's death begins a period of political instability for Israel. The nation will confront a civil war, assassinations, religious challenges, and ultimately exile. As we study the Book of Kings I (chapters 11-22) and Kings II (chapters 1-25), we will meet royalty, watch the prophets Elijah and Elisha in action, and encounter women and men attempting to survive and maintain faith during chaotic times. What kind of leader can help a nation thrive? What is the role of religion in society? Can a prophetic voice remind people of ultimate values? These are some of the
questions we will explore together.

This year-long class is free for Sisterhood members or members of CSAIR and an affiliate. Others: Nominal fee. All texts will be provided in English. You may bring a Hebrew text for reference.

Sponsored by the CSAIR Sisterhood
Tuesdays, 10:30 AM - Noon. Started October 16, 2018
Rabbi Barry Dov Katz


Book ClubBook Club
Book group will be facilitated by Sharon Kern-Taub.
Free and open to all.

Waking Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
Sunday, January 6, 2018 at 10:30 AM
A gripping, suspenseful, and morally devastating drama of guilt and survival, shame and desire from a remarkable young author on the rise. A New York Times Notable Book of 2017.

I Married a Communist by Philip Roth
Sunday, March 3, 2019 at 10:30 AM
The story of the rise and fall of Ira Ringold, a big American roughneck who is destroyed, as both a performer and a man, in the McCarthy witch hunt of the 1950s. Philip Roth has written a brilliant fictional portrayal of that treacherous postwar epoch.

Kaaterskill Falls by Allegra Goodman
Sunday, June 23, 2019 at 10:30 AM
In the summer of '76, the Shulmans and the Melishes migrate to Kaaterskill, the tiny town in upstate New York where Orthodox Jews and Yankee year-rounders live side by side from June through August.


From Our Table to Yours: Kosher Cooking Classes
Four dinner menus that include new and cherished recipes such as grilled salmon, Jamaican chicken, and Iberian braised chicken along with delicious salads and desserts.

Session II: Mondays, January 14 & January 28, 2019 6:30 to 8:30 PM

$90 per person for two classes (includes dinner and take-home leftovers) Enrollment limited to 12 people.
Pre-registration required.
All classes taught by Judy Matthews, assisted by Leona Chudy and Faye Warren.


Homer's Odyssey: What Our Most Challenging Journeys Do to Us
Read some of the greatest non-Jewish texts of the ancient Mediterranean world, and then compare them with Biblical texts. The first two sessions will focus on the classical text, with the third session focusing on comparative discussion. Homer's Odyssey, confronts us with questions of what the process of journeying does to us, questions also very much on the mind of Genesis as it asks us to contemplate what happens to Abraham and Jacob on their extended sojourns away from home.

Thursdays, January 24, February 14 and March 7, 2019 at 8:00 PM
Free and open to all.

Dr. Richard Sacks, Classics Department, Columbia University


The Status of the Status Quo on Religion in Israel
Yair Ettinger has served as a journalist with Haaretz since 1997. His work primarily focuses on the internal dynamics and processes within Haredi communities. Previously, he covered issues relating to Palestinian citizens of Israel and was a foreign affairs correspondent in Paris. Ettinger studied Middle Eastern affairs at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is currently writing a book on Jewish Modern Orthodoxy. He lives with his family in Jerusalem.

Saturday, February 9, after Kiddush (12:15 PM)
Free and open to all.


The Secular Hebrew Religious Renaissance: Hebrew Poetry and Prayer
Ever since the shocking assassination of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, a concerted effort has been underway in secular Israeli circles to re-infuse Israeli identity and Zionist Hebrew culture with a new connection to classical Jewish text . This has found expression in the establishment of secular prayer communities which have eagerly incorporated modern Hebrew poetry as new kind of holy text generating new prayer books. This class will focus on modern Israeli poems that explicitly invoke, respond to or rewrite the classical tefilot. Topics to be covered will include the nature of prayer in a secular age, the conflict between keva (fixed liturgy) and kavanah (meaning or intention in prayer), the morning blessings, the Amidah, and issues of gender in liturgy.

Tuesdays, March 12, 26 and April 9, 2019 at 8:00 PM
Free and open to all.

Dr. Wendy Zierler, Sigmund Falk Professor of Feminist Studies and Modern Jewish Literature, Hebrew Union College


Talmud-apaloozaTalmud-apalooza: A CSAIR Celebration of Talmud Study
The CSAIR community is unique in the extraordinary number of members who are rabbis and Jewish studies professors, committed to the teaching and study of Talmud. Join some of these renowned teachers for an evening of fun and study to celebrate the joys of learning Talmud together.

March 28, 2019, 8:00 PM
Free and open to all.



Journeying to Freedom: Interfaith Model Seder
Christians, Muslims and Jews join together to experience elements of the Passover Seder and to share personal and communal stories about freedom.

Sunday, April 7, 2019 at 6:00 PM
Free and open to all.

Pre-registration is required.
To register please contact the office in February.


The Benefits and Limits of Pluralism: Can We Accept Others Without Losing Ourselves?
Rabbi TuckerRabbi Ethan Tucker, President and Rosh Yeshiva of Mechon Hadar and chair in Jewish Law. Rabbi Tucker, a CSAIR member, was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and earned a doctorate in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a B.A. from Harvard
College. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, he was a co-founder of Kehilat Hadar and a winner of the first Grinspoon Foundation Social Entrepreneur Fellowship. He serves on the board of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and the Ramaz School. He is the author, along with Rabbi Micha'el Rosenberg, of Gender Equality and Prayer in Jewish Law (2017).

Join us for a fascinating series of talks over Shabbat that will explore vital questions of Jewish pluralism.

Friday, April 12 - Saturday, April 13, 2019
Sponsored by the Helen and Leonard Tureff Memorial Fund

Sign Language Available


Bake Your Own MatzahBake Your Own Matzah
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.
Monday, April 15, 2019 at 8:00 PM
Free and open to all.



Yom Hashoah: These We Remember
Join us in an informal and intimate setting as we remember the lives of the six million Jews lost in the Holocaust. We will hear testimony of people impacted by the Holocaust, including the second and third generation. We will share the names of those that perished and have open conversations about the meaning of the Shoah in our lives.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM
(includes evening minyan, Kaddish and memorial prayers, and music)

We encourage people to bring their children to this unique event.
Free and open to the public.

Sign Language Available


History of Jewish Music from the Temple to the Great 19th Century Cantors
Learn about the progression of Jewish music, starting with what we can learn about the music of the Second Temple, through the emergence of cantillation and prayer modes. We will look at the creation of professional Jewish musicians, including klezmorim and hazzanim.

Monday, May 6, 13, 20 at 8:00 PM
Free and open to all.

Cantor Marcia Lane, Director of Jewish Education and Engagement at UJA Federation of Greater Stanford


Holiness: How to Serve an Unpredictable God
Sometimes it seems that religious laws and conventions make no sense to us. We feel scornful, or skeptical, or unworthy when we talk about the holy or sacred. We don't understand what animal sacrifice has to do with us. And what kind of God allows random tragedies? In this course we will unlock the underlying hidden meaning of obscure biblical rituals, mysteries, and priestly secrets in the challenging book of Leviticus. What can we learn about how to live a sacred life when the God we worship can seem to be capricious and unpredictable?

Tuesdays, May 7, 14, 21, 2019 at 10:30 AM
Free and open to all.

Professor Diane Sharon, Professor of Hebrew Bible, Comparative Religions, and Ancient Near Eastern Literature


Halakha, Jewish Law, and Public Policy
Judaism cannot fairly be classified as populist, leftist, or rightist. It was born in antiquity and predates these contemporary political labels. Because classical Jewish thought is at a great intellectual distance from our current political discourse, its study opens the possibility of new
ideas on how to develop a public policy that can offer relief from the political and economic tensions on full public
display since 2016.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 8:00 PM
Free and open to all.

Rabbi Dr. Abraham Unger, Associate Professor and Director of Urban Programs in the Department of Government and Politics, Wagner College. Author of the recently published book Jewish Public Theology: God and the Global City


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.
Saturday, June 8, 2019


Regular Services & Programs

Friday Evening*
Welcome Shabbat at our regular Friday evening services, or join us for these special Shabbat experiences: Friday Night Ruach Services and Dinner Services full of fun melodies, stories and dancing for kids and their adults. Followed by dinner featuring parallel activities for kids and adults.

Lechu Neranena Services and Dinner
Come ready to sing and be inspired by a short teaching at this intimate, spirited Kabbalat Shabbat service which meets once a month and is often followed by a Shabbat dinner.

Artists Welcome Shabbat
On selected summer Friday nights, unwind as members of CSAIR perform live music, sing, or recite poetry as an introduction to the service. Cool refreshments.

Shabbat Morning*
Main Sanctuary Service
Every Shabbat morning, inspiring services are held in our Main Sanctuary, starting at 9:00 AM. The service includes lots of singing, the entire Torah portion reading for the week, traditional prayer, the commemoration and celebration of lifecycle events, and a thought provoking sermon. For babies, children and adults of all ages. Led by our Rabbi and Cantor along with volunteers. Join us at Kiddush after services which usually end by Noon.

The Havurah is committed to spirited prayer and engaging learning in a warm and intimate atmosphere. The Havurah is entirely lay-led; members lead t'fillot, read Torah and Haftarah, and give Divrei Torah. The Havurah is proud to be multigenerational, with membership including older adults, families, and singles. The Havurah invites families to bring their small children. Services begin at 9:15 AM and end in time to join in Kiddush with the entire community. Havurah will also lead two Shabbat minha services this year.

Prayer Study Group
Are you looking to access a more meaningful experience with prayer? Do you have questions about the traditional Shabbat morning service? One Saturday morning a month, join Rabbinic Intern Rory Katz for a lively discussion to increase your knowledge of our service's structure, uncover the layers of meaning embedded in the standard liturgy, and to grapple with prayer's relevance for contemporary life. (Participants in the Prayer Study Group may want to consider joining the main service or Text Wrestlers following the study group.)
Led by CSAIR Rabbinic Intern Rory Katz.
Services begin at 9:45 AM

Text Wrestlers
Join the discussion as Dr. Diane Sharon, scholar of Hebrew Bible, Comparative Religions, and ancient Near Eastern Literature,
leads an exploration of the weekly Torah portion.
Saturdays, 11:00 AM
September 22, October 6, November 17, December 22, January 5, February 2*, March 9, May 11, June 15

*Please note the February 2 program may be rescheduled. Please check for schedule change.

Minyan Kivinu
This service focuses on full traditional liturgy incorporating spirited singing and minimal interruptions during the service. The goal will be to create a sense of intense focus on the davvening. Both Siddur Sim Shalom and the Koren Siddur will be available for use by participants along with the Humash Etz Hayim. At the end of services there will be a 30-minute shiur (class) on a topic of interest.
Services begin at 9:00 AM

Hug Ivri
CSAIR's monthly Hebrew discussion group meets following Kiddush the second Shabbat of the month to talk about politics, literature, current events, and more.
Dr. Yaakov Taitz, Coordinator. Open to all Hebrew speakers.

Yiddish Vinkl
Informal classroom style Yiddish conversations held monthly the third Shabbat of the month after Kiddush with an array of members. Enjoy the joys of Yiddish with a group that meets to schmooze together.
Charles Pripas, Coordinator. Open to all who speak Yiddish or like to try.

Shabbat Afternoon*
As the sun sets, join us for a short afternoon service, study of the Tanakh/Bible, and discussion followed by the evening service and Havdalah (one hour before candle lighting time).

Daily Minyan*
The only egalitarian daily minyan between the Upper West Side and Westchester, these 20-45 minute services meet every morning and evening throughout the year.

Morning Minyan (Shaharit)
Monday-Friday mornings – 7:00am (9:00am on Sundays and some holidays).

Evening Minyan (Maariv)
Evening services are generally held at 7:30pm, Sunday-Thursday.

CSAIR KIDS includes spiritual, educational and engaging experiences for kids ages 0-12 and their families. Highlighted by our lay led YCFP (Young Children's Family Program), our weekly programs include:

Shabbat Shelanu (ages 0-4 and families) is held twice per month. It is led by a professional early childhood educator, and includes
tefillot (prayers), songs, storytelling, a Torah Parade, and shmoozing time. It is followed by a kiddush, often sponsored by families in honor of a child's birthday.

Young Children's Havurah (ages 0-4 and families) is held twice per month. It is entirely parent-led and features a creative activity
related to the parsha (Torah reading of the week) or holiday.

Tefilat Yeladim (ages 4-6, adults welcome) is held each week and features an interactive service featuring movement, stories and songs. Throughout the year, YCFP welcomes children and their families to special programming celebrating the uniqueness and treasures of the Jewish calendar. These include children's services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Sundaes in the Sukkah, a Chanukah Pajama Party, Tu B'Shevat seed and tree planting, and a Purim Carnival with storytelling, face painting, and crafts. Children are always welcome in all services in the synagogue. Contact our YCFP lay leaders at

HaMoadon (ages 7-11)
Starting after the holidays, we are excited to launch HaMoadon (clubhouse), a new Shabbat morning experience for youth ages 7-10 and led by teens and pre-teens. This new program will include a group of teen Merakzim who, with professional support, will plan games, Jewish learning and group building experiences. The teens will lead these activities with the help of pre-teen madrichim. The goal is to create an engaging, substantive and exciting Shabbat morning experience for our elementary school aged kids and to create a process to build the leadership capacity of our teens and pre-teens.

For more information about these and other youth programs, please contact Mason Voit, Director of Education, at


Sign Language Available
Sign language interpreters will be available where indicated.

*Over the course of the year, the dates and times of some services and other programs may change. Always be sure to check back for updated schedules and times.

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