Introduction to Judaism

This class offers an overview of Jewish holidays and life cycle observances, rituals, prayer and liturgy, sacred texts, beliefs and values. We will discuss and explore the meaning of primary Jewish texts on each of these topics.

The class is open to non-Jews and Jews interested in learning more about Judaism. Part 2 of the class, which will examine Jewish history, is offered in the spring.

Below are handouts from the course. Keep checking this page as handouts are posted periodically.

FALL 2016

September 14


The Jewish Calendar

Jewish Calendar - Sources

Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur Glossary

Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur Texts

Gathering Around the Rosh HaShanah Table

September 21

Blessings for Sukkot

Order of the Seder

The Three Pilrimage Festivals

September 28

Shabbat - the Jewish Sabbath

Welcoming Shabbat

Take a Day of Rest

Shabbat Texts

Minor Holidays and Fast Days



October 5

Jewish Scriptures

Jewish Texts


Tanakh 2

October 12

Brachot 2a

From the Talmud and the Internet


Order Nezikin

Rabbinic Literature – The Oral Torah


Talmud page

October 19

Brachot 2a

From the Talmud and the Internet


Order Nezikin

The Oral Torah


Talmud Page

November 9

God, Suffering, and Evil

November 30

A Taste of Judaism: Israel - Community

A Taste of Judaism - Bibliography - Israel


February 1


History and Memory

February 8

Biblical History Part I - Abraham and Moses

February 15

Jewish History - Joshua - Ezra

February 22

Biblical History Part III - Greece and Rome

March 1

Judaism and Jesus

March 8

Rabbinic Judaism and Karaism

March 15

Sephardic Judaism

April 12

Judaism and the Modern World

The Assembly of Jewish Notables

April 19

American Jewish History

May 4


The Balfour Declaration

The Declaration

War Maps

Zionism and Israel




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Introduction to Judaism