Here in the Bay Area, there is no end to the learning opportunities for Jews eager for study.
Similar to other centers of Jewish learning around the world –– from Tsfat, Israel, to Brooklyn, N.Y. –– the Bay Area is home to many remarkable rabbis, scholars and educators, all eager to share their knowledge and insight.
In the days ahead, Bay Area Jews will have at their fingertips a wealth of study opportunities, starting with this weekend’s Jewbilee, a daylong event that takes place Sunday, Jan. 23 at the Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center in Los Gatos.
Jewbilee blends classroom study with fun and schmoozing. For a nominal admission fee, attendees can choose from among dozens of workshops on Jewish themes. There will be plenty of music, games and other activities for the kids, and organizer Rabbi Joshua Fenton promises glatt kosher food all day long.
While we’re on the subject of Jewish study, the upcoming calendar also includes the granddaddy of them all, the Bureau of Jewish Education’s Feast of Jewish Learning.
Set to take place Jan. 29 at Palo Alto’s Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, the event presents an array of superstar Torah educators. As always, workshop topics vary widely, from poetry to history to dance, with most classes anchored in classical Jewish texts.
Though taking place in the South Peninsula, the Feast of Jewish Learning is truly an event for the entire Bay Area Jewish community. And thanks to generous sponsors, it’s entirely free.
And then there is the Queer Shabbaton, which takes place Jan. 28-30 at the Women’s Building in San Francisco. Co-sponsored by S.F. Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, the Progressive Jewish Alliance and the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation, the Shabbaton offers a weekend of cutting-edge Jewish thought geared toward the LGBT community.
Though all Shabbaton workshops will weave in LGBT themes, issues and concerns, like the other local events, this one also stresses classic Jewish texts and Torah study.
There are countless ways to celebrate one’s Jewish identity, but the path that unites Jews of every level of observance is the path of study. Learning is the thread that ties Jews of all times and places.
Happily, the Bay Area has become one of the most bountiful centers of Jewish learning. So put down that Wii controller and TV remote, and get back to the sources. There’s never a bad time to learn.