Adult Education

The Alan & Linda Cohen Center for Jewish Learning & Living at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck

A rich adult and family education program provides courses in Hebrew and in various aspects of Jewish personal and family life. Course are taught by the Rabbis, Cantor and guest instructors. Through our Sam Smulyan Memorial Lectureship and Cultural Arts Fund, we feature nationally renowned guest speakers, artists and scholars-in-residence each year. The Feigenbaum Adult B’nai Mitzvah Program prepares members for participation in this meaningful life cycle celebration. For more information on these programs contact Jennifer Hodes, jhodes {at} bez613(.)org or 317-253-3441.

Click the Adult Education 5777 brochure to access our full list of programs.


COCKTAIL JUDAISM: for those 40+


Upcoming Cocktail Judaism topics:
December 4—Reproductive Health and Rights:  Medicine, Politics, and Religion
February 5—Public Safety and Law Enforcement:   Perspectives from the “Beat” and from the “Bench”
March 5—The Millennials’ Perspective on Jewish Life and Social Values


TORAH ON TAP: for those in their 20s and 30s

Join us for cozy Shabbat dinners in our homes, appetizers & intellectual discussions out on the town, picnics in the park, and our playful Purim Party.  If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please get their name, phone number, and email address to Rabbi Shelley Goldman, sgoldman {at} bez613(.)org or (317) 253-3441.

Upcoming Torah on Tap events:
Thursday, November 2 · 6:00 p.m. — Torah on Tap Night on the Town – dinner and discussion at a downtown bar
Friday, December 15 · 8:00 p.m. — Hanukah Celebration & Jam Session (voices, instruments, and Jewish songs)
Saturday, January 27 · 10:00 a.m. — Shabbat morning services
Wednesday, April 25 · 8:00 p.m.  — Taste of Text (Jewish learning in a festive setting)
Sunday, May 20 · 10:00 a.m. — Shavuot Services, Learning & Cheesecake!


Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. in the Alpert-Solotken Library

Join Rabbi Shelley Goldman Shabbat mornings to engage with our people’s most sacred text. We will follow the weekly parsha focusing on the second triennial cycle of readings, a.k.a. “the middle” of each week’s story. We begin and end each discussion with sacred Hebrew chanting. All are welcome, and drop-ins are encouraged.


Sundays, 10:15 a.m.—noon
Not Jewish and want to explore… Jewish and want to learn more… Have a Jewish ancestor, and you are curious… In an interfaith family relationship… Whatever your reason, join Rabbi Dennis Sasso in an open conversation of discovery about the meanings of Jewish Identity, Beliefs, and Practices.

October 8:  How Judaism Began (Biblical origins)
October 22:  How Judaism was Shaped (The ancient teachers)
October 29:  How Judaism was Changed (Modernity — Judaism under freedom)
November 5:  What We Believe — God, spiritual values, and prayer
November 12:  How We Behave — the yearly cycle/the life cycle
November 19:  Ways We Belong — family, community, synagogue, Israel
December 3:  Judaism Today and Tomorrow


Sundays, 9:00—10:00 a.m.
October 8, 15, 22, 29; November 5, 12, 19; December 3, 10, 17
Interested in learning Hebrew?  Preparing for conversion?  Need a refresher?  This is the class for you. Instructor:  Clara Sharon. Fee:  $60/person (includes texts).



First Steps is a program of study and conversations with our Rabbis and Cantor for interfaith couples, for non-Jews, for anyone interested in a better understanding of Jewish culture and faith, and for those considering conversion to Judaism.  For more information, contact the Rabbis’ office at 317-253-3441.


Thursday, October 26 @ 7:00 p.m. in the JCC Laikin Auditorium
Our own and the IBJ’s Mickey Maurer reprises the Emmy Award-winning Mickey’s Corner with special guest Mayor Joe Hogsett.  Fee:  $10
Part of the JCC Ann Katz Festival of Books & Arts. Sponsored by The Alan & Linda Cohen Center for Jewish Learning and Living at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck.


Tuesday, November 7 @ noon in the JCC Laikin Auditorium
Pack a brown bag lunch (dairy/parve) and head to the JCC!  A fun annual event with some of our favorite rabbis, complete with books, music, and arts & crafts, during the Libby Fogle Senior lunch.  You won’t want to miss it!  Free. Part of the JCC Ann Katz Festival of Books & Arts.


A Spirit & Place Festival Program
Wednesday, November 8 · 7:00 p.m.
Max & Mae Simon Sanctuary · Congregation Beth-El Zedeck

The role of civility is being challenged on many fronts by extreme expressions of political, religious, and special interest groups.  How do we recapture and revive civil discourse in an age of contentious antagonism and polarization?

Former Indiana congressman Lee Hamilton, one of the most respected statesmen of our generation, will address the importance of civility in government as a basis for our democracy.  He will join a distinguished panel including:  Rabbi Sandy Sasso, Rabbi Emerita, Congregation Beth-El Zedeck; former Indianapolis mayor Bart Peterson; Adrianne Slash,  Diversity & Inclusion Consultant, Community Health Network; and Sheila S. Kennedy, Professor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs.  The conversation, moderated by Sherry Queener, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology, IU School of Medicine, will be enlivened by spoken word poetry by local youth of Indy Pulse.

Visit for more information on this event.

Presented by The Alan & Linda Cohen Center for Jewish Learning and Living at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, The Senior Academy of IUPUI, Women4Change Indiana, and Indy Pulse.


Sundays, noon — 2:00 p.m.
Nourish mind and body through this series with Rabbi Shelley Goldman.  Lunch provided.  Details TBA
November 5:  The Spiritual Practice of Mussar – Come be part of a rollicking conversation about a 150-year-old Jewish tradition of daily reflection on core ethical character traits.
December 10:  A Taste of Text – Join us as we read, study, argue with and celebrate our ancient texts.
January 21:  Thinking about Israel. Talking about Israel. – Reflect on your own experiences with and ideas about the modern State of Israel.  Practice speaking your truth and hearing others as they speak theirs.
February 25:  Poetry from the Holy Land – In honor of the State of Israel’s 70th birthday we will explore poetry that has been produced in the Land of Israel in the last 70 years.


March 22—23, 2018
Professor Levine will speak at a joint program of Butler University and Congregation Beth-El Zedeck. She is a Vanderbilt University distinguished scholar of New Testament and Jewish/Christian relations and author of The Misunderstood Jew:  The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus and The Jewish Annotated New Testament. Details TBA.


Spring 2018
Ancient teachings; modern situations.  With Rabbi Dennis Sasso. Details TBA.


Celebrate with our current Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah class when they are called to the Torah on Shavuot, Sunday, May 20.  Anyone who wishes  to participate in the future adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah programs should contact Cantor Melissa at (317) 253-3441 or mcohen {at} bez613(.)orgMust be a Beth-El member to participate.