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Our mission

The Temple Israel of Albany Jewish Learning Center (JLC) is the manifestation of Beit Hamidrash (House
of Study). The goal of the JLC is to instill Jewish values and learning through cutting edge Judaic
educational coursework that enhances the Jewish experience in the Capital Region. The JLC strives to
strengthen the Jewish community by engaging all generations and facilitating interactions between them,
to fulfill the ultimate mitzvah of learning. Our overarching goal is to maximize and transform your Jewish
experience by reinforcing the reality of the Jewish people as an extended family of learners.

SO What is the JLC?


The JLC is the brand new Jewish academic center of the Capital Region, featuring local Judaic scholars
teaching courses revolving around classic and modern Judaic themes in our society. The prestigious
faculty are skilled in teaching diverse populations at all levels to meet the needs of their students and are
dedicated to the concept of lifelong learning for people of the Jewish community. Our wide variety of
subjects is specially designed to bring a well-rounded education to anyone who registers. The JLC
particularly prides itself on the diversity of subjects within the curriculum, guaranteed to meet your and
your loved one’s interests!

We appreciate your interest and look forward to seeing you in our classrooms soon!

Steering Committee

Ken Dymond Rabbi David Eligberg Leon Halpert


Steve Huz Cantor Rogerio Marx David Gordis
Sandor Schuman Victor Asal Steven Stark-Riemer
Daniel Grossberg Federica Francesconi

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A Message from the President &


the Executive vice president
This past year has featured many changes for Temple Israel as we know it. One of the many changes
being the creation of the Program Development Office, leading to the Jewish Learning Center. The
Temple Israel Jewish Learning Center is the Capital District’s prestigious academic lifelong learning
center. We are proud to be at the forefront of such a development that encourages Jewish learning in an
atmosphere of engaged teacher student discourse and views the myriad ways Judaism confronts and
interacts with the modern world. Our tradition holds learning and teaching as our highest values and we
believe our Jewish Learning Center fulfills that promise with the help of distinguished faculty. Please take
advantage of the incredible offerings in the Fall and Spring semester and let us learn and enjoy together
fulfilling the mitzvah of study and community.

Bob Crystal, Kenneth Dymond,


President Executive Vice President

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Fall Courses

Defining Jewish in the 21st Century (HIS-106)


Rabbi David Eligberg
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM | Thursdays October 11, 18, 25; November 1, 8 & 15
Temple Israel Kahn Meeting Room
The nature of Jewish identity in today’s world has become increasingly complex with a multiplicity of ways
of articulating and living different visions of Jewishness. Together, we will explore what constitute the
distinct dimensions of Jewish identity and if any must be considered indispensable prerequisites to being
part of the Jewish conversation today. The course will consider how these expressions of identity help us
respond to the challenges faced by an increasingly diverse Jewish community.

Seven Biblical Women Through the Prisms of Midrash and Modernity


(JWS-106)
Rabbi David Eligberg
10:30 AM – 11:45 AM | Wednesdays October 24, 31; November 7, 14, 21 & 28
Temple Israel Library
The 13th century rabbinic work Midrash Hagadol incorporates a remarkable passage in its discussion of
our matriarch Sarah. Midrash Hagadol uses the familiar poem Eishet Chayil (A Woman of…) as the
framework for its presentation of twenty-two biblical women each being a reflection of a verse in Eishet
Chayil. Together we will explore these less well-known biblical women - Batya, Yael, the Widow from
Tzarephath, Rachav, Bat-Sheva, Michal, and the Wife of Obadiah – to hear their voices and learn from
their life experiences.

The Archaeology & Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls (ARC-108)


Mr. Steven Stark-Riemer
7:30 PM – 9:15 PM | Tuesdays October 16, 23, 30; November 6, 20, 27; December 4 & 18
Temple Israel Kahn Meeting Room
The Dead Sea Scrolls are the most important collection of Jewish texts from the Second Temple Period
before the rise of Christianity. Early on they were hailed as virtually a primary source for the development
of Christianity. However, since their full publication in the 1990s, scholars have increasingly learned that it
is only through efforts to understand what the Dead Sea Scrolls can teach us about the history of Judaism
is it possible to learn what they have to teach us about the history of Christianity, because Early
Christianity came into being only after these texts were composed and copied.

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Fall Courses

The Rabbis’ Rules of Order: Jewish Ground Rules for Groups, Meetings,
and Decision Making (GRP-104)
Dr. Sandor Schuman
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM | Wednesdays November 14, 28 & December 5, 12
Class Cap: 12
Temple Israel Kahn Meeting Room

What can you do to make meetings more effective? Complaining—although a common response to
meetings that rehash old ground, are dominated by only a few people, don’t accomplish anything, or just
take too long—is not a sufficient remedy. The 150-year-old Robert’s Rules of Order is often applied, but
what about the 2,000-year-old Rabbis’ Rules of Order? Rabbinical texts provide numerous principles to
guide you to more effective meetings, but typically lack the practical “how to.” This course will apply our
age-old sources of wisdom and demonstrate practical steps you can take to make your meetings more
effective.

Fall NYC Trip (NYC-100)


Sunday, October 21 | 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Trip Cap: 35
Meet up and drop off at the Temple Israel Parking Lot
Temple Israel is taking a trip to New York City to explore Jewish Life in the Upper East Side. The first stop
in the trip will be to the Temple Emanuel Streicker Center to witness the court case “The People Versus
Noah” featuring Rabbi Norman J. Cohen, Joe Lieberman, Esq., Alan Dershowitz, Esq., and the Honorable
Michael Mukasey. The group will then have lunch at Eighteen Restaurant followed by a visit to the Jewish
Museum to see the Eliza Douglas, Scenes from the Collection, and Chagall, Lissitzky, Malevich: The Russian
Avant-Garde in Vitebsk 1918-1922. Breakfast and Lunch are included in the price.
Registration required with full payment no later than Monday, October 8.

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Spring Courses

Loss of Faith & Aversion to Tradition in Contemporary Israeli Literature


(LIT-104)
Dr. Daniel Grossberg
7:30 PM – 8:45 PM | Tuesdays March 5, 12, 19 & 26
Temple Israel Kahn Meeting Room
In an age marked by an absence of certainty and a rebellion against the religion of the past, contemporary
Israeli artists treat religious themes that often smack of spirituality. Our reading and discussion of striking
Israeli poems expose us to fascinating works that border on both the mystical and the atheistic. Do we ever
share a similar religious outlook?

Familiar Songs & their Unfamiliar Stories (MUS-104)


Dr. Sandor Schuman
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM | Wednesdays March 6, 13, 27 & April 3
Temple Israel Kahn Meeting Room
Learn how some of the best-known American songs came to be written and uncover their Jewish roots. This
program features songs from the Great American Songbook and stories about the Jewish songwriters who
wrote them – Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Jay Gorney, E.Y. Harburg, and others.

Jewish-Americans: An Examination of Political Attitudes and Voting


Behavior (POL-104)
Dr. Leon Halpert
11:00 AM – 12:30 PM | Wednesdays March 13, 27; April 3 & 10
Temple Israel Library
The topics covered would be- The distribution of Partisan Identification among Jewish American; Changes
and Continuity of Jewish American Presidential Voting Behavior; Comparing Voting Choices of Jewish-
Americans with Other Ethnic and Religious Groups; and Comparing Political and Policy Attitudes of American
and Israeli Jews.

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Spring Courses
Ethnicity, Religion, and Conflict (REL-106)
Dr. Victor Asal
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM | Thursdays April 4, 18; May 16, 23 & 30
Class Cap: 25
Temple Israel Kahn Meeting Room
This class will explore the issues of Ethnicity Religion and Conflicts through an investigation of the theories
that are used to explain the phenomena, the examination of their application to conflict , and the use of
exercises and games to get at key elements of identity and conflict.

Unlocking “Noah” Bible Midrash & Moviemaking (FIL-106)


Mr. Steven Stark-Riemer
2:00 PM -3:45 PM | Tuesdays April 9*, 16, 30; May 7, 14 & 21*
*Different class time: 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Temple Israel Kahn Meeting Room
Even before its 2014 release, Darren Aronofsky's film, "Noah," starring Russell Crowe, was criticized for not
providing an accurate depiction of the Biblical narrative. Of course, the biblical story is really little more
than a skeletal narrative on which readers for millennia have projected their own experiences, imagination,
emotions and conflicts to fully realize its many complex meanings and implications. We will examine
ancient Jewish apocryphal and rabbinic literature used by the moviemakers to flesh out the skeleton and
provide a basis for their own “midrashic” retelling. We will view the movie before and after four study
sessions.

Jewish-Christian Relations through the Ages (JCR-106)


Dr. Federica Francesconi
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM | Wednesdays April 10, 17; May 1, 15, 22 & 29
Temple Israel Kahn Meeting Room
An introduction to the history of Jewish-Christian relations from the first century of the Common
Era through the present. The course focuses both on the history of interactions between Jews and
Christians – persecutions, collaborations, conversions, etc. – and also on the history of theological stances
and popular attitudes. The aims of the course are three-fold: first, to acquaint with the general outlines of
the history of Jewish-Christian relations; second, to hone some of the skills of the historian (especially the
critical analysis of primary sources); and third, to grapple with questions that confront Jews and Christians
in the present, questions about history, memory, theological differences, and the potential for dialogue.

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Year Round Courses

Talking Torah (BIB-103)


Rabbi David Eligberg
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM | Tuesdays (Year round with the exception of holidays)
Temple Israel Library
Join Rabbi Eligberg for a tasting of text from the Torah to the Talmud. The class will be an overview of
different styles of Jewish literature through the ages built around the weekly Torah portion.

Torah Cantillation (MUS-100)


Cantor Rogerio Marx
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM | Thursdays (Year round with the exception of holidays)
Temple Israel Kahn Meeting Room
Everyone can learn to chant Torah portions on Shabbat, using the correct trope... Cantor Marx will offer a
series of classes on learning Torah cantillation trope! Students must be able to read basic Hebrew. No
prior music training necessary! The course will cover: · Basics of Music · Basics of Cantillation Recording
and written materials provided!

Shabbat Shmooze (RAB-100)


Rabbi David Eligberg
Saturdays (Generally, last Saturday of the Month) Following Kiddush
Temple Israel Founder’s Hall
Rabbi Eligberg confronts contemporary issues, hot topics and
subjects that capture his imagination. The learning, sharing
and conversation take place following Kiddush on Shabbat
morning, once a month on the designated Shabbatot. By its
nature topics are selected on an ongoing basis throughout the
year. Topics are available on our website, in our monthly
bulletin, and our weekly Shabbat Sheet along with the date for
that month. The rabbi is open to your suggestions of topics
without promising to address that subject.

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Faculty

Dr. Victor Asal


Dr. Victor Asal is Chair of Public Administration and Policy and Professor of
Political Science at Rockefeller College, University at Albany SUNY. He is
a Research Associate of the National Center for the Study of Terrorism
and Responses to Terrorism (START). His first area of research focuses on the
choices of violence by nonstate actors. To do this research he has worked to
create organizational yearly datasets that allow for a variety of analyses. One such
dataset is the Big Allied and Dangerous Dataset that collects data on insurgent
and terrorist organizations worldwide. The second is the Minorities at Risk
Organizational Behavior Dataset that collects data on both violent and nonviolent
ethnopolitical minority organizations. His second area of research focuses on the causes of political
discrimination by states against sexual minorities, women and ethnic groups. In addition, Professor Asal has
done work on using simulations to teach.

Rabbi David Eligberg


Rabbi Eligberg, who was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec,
was ordained in 1985 by the Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Eligberg holds a
B.A. in Political Science from Columbia University, a B.A. in Talmud from
The Seminary College of Jewish Studies, an M.A. in Jewish Studies from the Jewish
Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Hebrew Letters Honorus Causa from the
Jewish Theological Seminary.
Since arriving at Temple Israel Rabbi Eligberg has been a teacher, guide, and role
model for all who wish to explore meaningful lives according to Jewish tradition.
Along with his family, Rabbi Eligberg has routinely opened his home to
congregants, creating opportunities to experience the warmth of Shabbat and the joy of festivals. Rabbi
Eligberg has enriched the congregation’s celebration of holidays through creative programs, multimedia
presentations, storytelling, theatre arts, and puppetry.
A regular visitor to our Herman and Libbie Michaelson Early Childhood Center, Rabbi Eligberg is also an
active presence in B’Yachad as well as our youth program.
Rabbi Eligberg is a visible presence in the community, now serving as the Immediate Past President of the
Capitol District Board of Rabbis, and our local Federation’s Israel Action Committee.
Rabbi Eligberg is the author of several Halachic (Jewish law) articles, crafted a restructured version of the
Musaf service for Rosh Hashanah and reviewed segments of the French translation of the Masorti Siddur.
Currently, Rabbi Eligberg is working on a children’s book about Jewish mitzvah heroes and a Yamim Noraim
guidebook for adults.

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Faculty

Dr. Federica Francesconi


Federica Francesconi is Assistant Professor of History and Director of the
Judaic Studies Program at the University at Albany, State University of New
York. Her research and publications address the social, religious, and cultural
aspects of the early modern history of Jews in Italy, focusing on the multifacet-
ed politics and dynamics of ghetto life. Her forthcoming monograph is titled
Invisible Enlighteners: Modenese Jewry from Renaissance to Emancipation. She
is currently co-editing two volumes: From Catalonia to the Caribbean: The
Sephardic Orbit from Medieval to Modern Times (forthcoming with Brill) and
Gender and Jewish Women in Historical Perspective (forthcoming with Wayne
State University Press). Federica is Associate Editor and Book Review Editor of the journal Jewish History.

Dr. Daniel Grossberg


Dr. Daniel Grossberg is Professor Emeritus at SUNY Albany where he
was Director of the Hebrew Program and taught Hebrew language, literature
and Bible. Grossberg authored a monograph on biblical poetry for the Society
of Biblical Literature, a Commentary on Lamentations for the Oxford Jewish
Study Bible and numerous studies for professional Journals. He also served as a
visiting Scholar at the Oxford Center for Post Graduate Hebrew Studies in
Oxford, England and was an invited international presenter at Limmud UK.

Dr. Leon Halpert


Dr. Leon Halpert received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the
University of Michigan. His teaching experiences is vast ranging from
elementary school level education to teaching at the undergraduate level as
both a teacher’s assistant and full-time faculty member, more recently , 5
years of teaching as an emeritus faculty member at Siena College. Dr. Halpert’s
interests and expertise lie in American National Government and Politics, with
his teaching curriculum reaching a full range of courses examining American
institutions (formal and informal), processes and political electoral behavior.

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Faculty

Cantor Rogerio Marx


Hazzan Marx is a 1995 graduate of the School of Sacred Music of the
Hebrew Union College. Originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Hazzan Marx has spent
the last 16 years between Jerusalem, New York and Texas. Hazzan Marx received
a Master of Arts in Judaic Studies from the HUC in 1997; and also received an
Engineering degree in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and upon graduation studied at the
Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. He is a member of the Cantors
Assembly, American Conference of Cantors and the Arza/World Union – Cantorial
Cabinet.

Dr. Sandor “Sandy” Schuman


Sandy Schuman leads a double professional life. As a storyteller, he entertains
and educates audiences with stories about songs and songwriters, personal
adventures, historical sagas, folk tales, and stories in the Jewish storytelling tradition.
He’s performed at Caffè Lena, Proctors, Limmud Boston, and the Northeast Storytelling
Festival and won the St. Louis Jewish Storytelling Contest in 2015. His stories have
appeared in Tablet, New Mitzvah Stories, Memoir Magazine, Story Club Magazine, and
his book, Welcome to Chelm’s Pond.
As a group facilitator, Sandy helps groups solve complex problems, make critical
decisions, and work together more effectively. He is the editor of the Jossey-Bass/Wiley
series of handbooks on meetings, facilitation, and collaboration. He received the
International Association of Facilitators Lifetime Membership Award in 2008 and was inducted into the
International Facilitators Hall of Fame in 2014. Sandy earned his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University
and his m aster’s and PhD from the University at Albany.

Mr. Steven Stark-Riemer


An attorney by profession, Steven Stark-Riemer graduated magna cum
laude from the City College of New York in 1972, studying Anthropology, and
specializing in Archaeology. He participated in fieldwork at the Tell Gezer
excavations in Israel under the direction of William G. Dever, today’s
preeminent American biblical archaeologist. Following graduation, he was
elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society and accepted into the doctoral program in
Anthropology at UCLA. Though he did not formally pursue this line of study, his
interest in the archaeology, history, and religion of the biblical world continues,
and he is well-read in these fields, and in biblical studies, generally. Since 2007,
Mr. Stark-Riemer has taught courses on Ancient Israel at area synagogues and lifelong learning programs,
and has acquired a devoted following in the Capital District.

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Temple Israel of Albany


600 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208

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