Jaimie Baxter, co-executive director of HaMaqom | The Place
Jaimie Baxter, co-executive director of HaMaqom | The Place

From Israeli politics to Moroccan Passover, online classes spring forth from HaMaqom

Can’t leave the house to go to a primer on the Israeli election or a workshop on Jewish approaches to death?

HaMaqom | The Place has got you covered with a host of new and free online classes for people stuck at home.

Jaimie Baxter, co-executive director of the East Bay-based Jewish learning institute, said HaMaqom wants to help people maintain a connection with Jewish culture and scholarship despite the current circumstances.

“That’s exactly why we did it,” said. “Our whole organization exists to build community and support learning.”

HaMaqom has set up a robust roster of one-time courses, from a primer on contemporary Jewish philosopher Rabbi David Hartman to an introduction to the Moroccan post-Pesach tradition of Mimouna.

No registration or fee is required — although donations are welcome, of course. All a person needs is a computer or phone with internet and a camera for video conferencing with Zoom.

The classes were set up when HaMaqom officials realized a societal shutdown was looming.

First they got ready to put all of their regularly scheduled classes — such as “Zohar in Aramaic” or “Introduction to the Jewish Experience” — online. Then they got to work setting up the new, free classes.

“We have a great network of educators,” Baxter said. “And they have so much material.”

The nine classes that ran last week had a great response, she said. There were 16 more scheduled as of earlier this week, and another half-dozen in the planning stages.

“We’re adding more and more all the time,” Baxter said.

Although the lineup has been branded as the “Spring Festival of Jewish Learning,” Baxter said there are no plans to stop creating new opportunities any time soon.

“It’s open-ended. It’s as long as we can. As long as this lasts,” she said. “We’re not planning on going anywhere.”

For more information, visit hmqm.org/spring-festival-of-jewish-learning, call (510) 845-6420 or send an email to info@hmqm.org.

Maya Mirsky
Maya Mirsky

Maya Mirsky is a J. Staff Writer based in Oakland.