Adult Education

Referring to the Torah (all of Jewish learning) and meaning “Tree of Life,” Eitz Chaim is the name of our Life-Long Learning Program here at Temple Shalom. From the children in our schools to our adults, each member of Temple Shalom can create his or her own leaf on one of the many branches of learning we offer. Like a tree, our learning opportunities will grow along with the number of members choosing to participate in “Talmud Torah,” the study of Jewish tradition and practice.

We are committed to teaching Judaism as a thriving religion, at once relevant to our modern lives and enlightened by our ancient texts. As a blueprint for life, Reform Judaism comes alive in our classrooms and in our halls. Study the Torah in English, watch and discuss a film, or hear the views of a prominent Jewish mind. It is our hope that ongoing learning by our adult members will not only foster Jewish literacy, but also nurture a lifelong commitment to the Jewish community.


Judaic Learning Options

Adult B’nai Mitzvah and Kabbalat Torah – Temple Shalom offers a program for those who never had the opportunity to celebrate becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah at the age of 13 or who wish to experience a meaningful ceremony filled with knowledge and purpose. The program, culminating in being called to Torah, utilizes all of the adult learning options given here at the Temple and around the community. Membership at Temple Shalom is required. Contact Rabbi Malinger for additional information.

In addition, after the Adult B’nai Mitzvah or you wish to study our tradition once again, we offer an Adult Kabbalat Torah. The Kabbalat Torah program is designed to encourage a “fixed time” of Torah study.  The program will change to meet the needs of the students as well as the interests of the faculty members.  


Adult Learning Classes – Throughout the year, there will be three mini-courses (5 sessions each) of adult learning offered on Wednesdays – Afternoon (12:30-2 pm) or Evenings (7:30 -9 pm). See the calendar for the class schedule. During the 5778 year, the following courses will be offered:

Comparative Judaism – a discussion and exploration of Orthodoxy, Conservatism and Reform Judaism as well as other expressions of Jewish identity. We will explore how we are similar and different and why there are so many challenges among the greater Jewish community.

Understanding Israel and Our Connection as Reform JewsReform Judaism and Zionism aren’t often mentioned in the same context. It’s not so much that they’re unrelated or mutually exclusive – they rather seem to independently occupy separate, parallel spheres of the Jewish world, only occasionally overlapping, neither directly at odds nor necessarily complementing each other. The convergence of both movements is most likely to be discussed in instances of peripheral clashes between the two – disparaging remarks made by an Israeli politician or growing apathy towards Israel in Reform circles. Examining the foundational principles of each movement serves to gain meaningful insight into its core assumptions, and may shed light on its inherent present-day outlook. Such wider perspective ultimately reveals two surprising conclusions – first, that Zionism and Reform share a great deal in common and originated as an answer to a common question; and second, that the opposing solution offered by each is antithetical to the other, fundamentally influencing their subsequent relationship.

Introduction to Talmud and Medical Issues – Students will learn how the Talmud works and study pages related to Medical practices as well as ethics.


Movie Nights

Wednesday evenings throughout the year (see calendar for schedule) – films with Jewish themes to help us learn more about ourselves and the greater Jewish world.


Worship Workshops

“Being a Menstch – Come Learn How to Lead a Minyan Service” – It is a mitzvah to comfort the mourners and the best way is to help lead a minyan service in a House of Shiva.  Come and learn how to do this wonderful act of kindness and be the best mentsch you already are! Instructor – Ed Miller

“So You Want To Lead A Shabbat Service” – Come learn how to lead a Shabbat service and volunteer to lead or co-lead with our clergy on a Friday night or Saturday morning.  Instructor – Ed Miller

Adult Choir – Led by Music Director Peter Isherwood, this volunteer choir rehearses twice a month, on Monday evenings, preparing to help lead our Congregation in song at many Shabbat services during the year. If you love to sing, this is the place for you! Contact Peter Isherwood, isherwoodp@middletownk12.org, for additional information.

Shabbat Speakers – Watch the SHALOM for featured guests who will be welcomed to the bimah to share lessons of Torah and Jewish answers to today’s tough questions.

Torah Trek – Imagine a worship experience which strengthens the intimate connection between humanity and the earth.  Come and join us for an outdoor nature worship experience guided by members trained in the skill of Torah Trek.

Shabbat Morning Torah Study – Led by our rabbi and at times by lay leaders, this interactive discussion group examines weekly Torah portions and selected books of the Prophets and Writings, the second and third sections of the Torah. Join us each Shabbat morning from 9:15 am -10:15 am for lively conversation and stay for the Shabbat service afterward! No background required—just a willingness to learn and share ideas or just listen. Contact Rabbi Malinger, rabbi@templeshalomnj.org, for additional information.


Your Ideas are Always Welcome! Our Life-Long Jewish Learning program at Temple Shalom will continue to grow over the years. Please offer your suggestions or volunteer to teach a class in an area of interest, or help sponsor a program with a donation. Contact Ed Miller or Rabbi Malinger, for more information.