Central Agency for Jewish Education Formerly the Central Agency for Jewish Education

Center for Jewish Learning

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Director/Faculty Instructor Bios Registration/Tuition Location
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If you'd like to further your Jewish education, or begin it, you can do so at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. We offer a wide selection of courses, nearly all without prerequisites, for adults with varied interests and backgrounds. All are taught by experienced teachers who welcome and value every Jewish learner.Whether you're a newcomer to adult Jewish study, a seasoned veteran, or someone in-between, you're certain to find a course that suits your needs and your interests - and in which you feel "at home."

As you plan for the fall and winter, we hope that adult educational opportunities will be a part of your planning process. We welcome you to LEARN JEWISH!

Contact Cyndee Levy, Director of the Center for Jewish Learning, at (314) 442-3754.

Cyndee Levy is the 2010 recipient of the JProStl Educator Award.

Click below to view our new classes.



Click here to register by credit card through our
NEW Jewish Federation of St. Louis on-line service.

Pre-registration is encouraged to guarantee your class choice!


Generous Scholarships Available

Please contact Cyndee Levy at (314) 442-3754.

Payment Options

  • On-line registration through Jewish Federation of St. Louis
  • Check
  • Cash
  • Payment plan may be arranged at the time of enrollment. Contact Cyndee Levy.

If you prefer to register by hand, download the registration form below:

Manual Registration Form (pdf file)


All classes are held at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis except where noted.

Jewish Federation - Kopolow Building
12 Millstone Campus Drive
St. Louis, Missouri, 63146

Melton is Back!

Melton Core Curriculum
The Melton School Core Curriculum is a comprehensive, sequential series of text-based lessons, comprised of four courses. Each course focuses on at least one major area of Jewish learning and forms a thread in a carefully woven fabric which integrates Jewish history, religion, ritual, language, ethics, philosophy, literature, theology, and contemporary Jewish life.
This two hour curriculum offers two courses:
Purposes of Jewish Living asks…Why do Jews believe as they do? What are the big questions of life and how do Jewish thinkers answer these questions? This course explores ancient and modern responses to many of the major issues of Jewish thought and theology.
Rhythms of Jewish Living asks…What’s the point of living Jewishly? What ideas, beliefs, and practices are involved? This course examines a wide variety of Jewish sources to discover the deeper meanings underlying Jewish holidays, lifecycle observances, and Jewish practice.
Instructors: Rabbis from Central Reform Cong. and Bais Abraham Cong.

Wednesday 7-9:30 p.m. 25 sessions begin October 28
Cost: $500 plus $60 book fee

Registration is done directly through the Melton School at

A Minimum of 15 participants is required to hold this course.
This course will be rotated between CRC and Bais Abraham Congregations.

Melton Classes Beginning December 2 at Jewish Federation
The Federation’s new Center for Jewish Learning is excited to announce plans to hold a second Melton Core course set to begin in December 2015.  After a four year absence of Melton’s flagship, the Core Melton 2 year course, in our community, we are so please to be able to once again provide the opportunity to bring this outstanding, text-based course to the Adult Jewish Learning community. The initial offering, a collaborative effort between Central Reform Congregation and Bais Abraham Congregation, sold out with 27 students and the creation of a waiting list.  In response to this powerful community response we are now launching an additional Core Melton course.

Join fellow adult learners for A Workout for the Brain…Refreshment for the Spiri.

Sign up for enlightened Jewish study sponsored by the Jewish Federation’s Center for Jewish Learning in collaboration with area Jewish Congregations.

This 25 week, course will be offered on Wednesday nights, 7 – 9pm beginning on Wednesday, December 2, 2015; course location will rotate between several west county congregations.  A minimum of 15 participants is required in order to hold the course.

Tuition is $500, $60 for book fees

To register go to www.events.org/meltonstlouis

For additional information or for confidential scholarship information contact Cyndee Levy, Director, Center for Jewish Learning 314-442-3754, clevy@jfedstl.org

Foundations of Jewish Family Living
Foundations of Jewish Family Living provides a thought-provoking encounter with the core values of Judaism. This rich learning experience will provide an opportunity for adult students to bring the conversation home to share with their children and families.

Instructors: Community Rabbis and Jewish Educators
Tuesdays 7:30-9 p.m. 20 sessions begin December 1
Cost: $300 plus $45 book fee
10 sessions for $150 plus book fee

Registration is done directly through the Melton School at

A Minimum of 15 participants is required to hold this course.

What Parents are Saying About the Foundations Course:

“Foundations is a wonderful way to think about parenting issues from a Jewish perspective.” Nomi Weiss, Miami

“This course was a life-enriching experience that helped me become a better parent in the process.” Shira Zigler, Kansas

“The experience helped strengthen our foundation as a couple and think about how we can be better Jewish role models to our children.”
Hannah Martin, Atlanta

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Adult Education Faculty

Cyndee Levy - Director, Adult Education

Instructors you have come to appreciate

Robert (Bob) Cohn

Marcia Moskowitz

Ken Birenbaum

Maharat Rori Picker Neiss

Cantor Ron Eichaker

Howard Schwartz

Rabbi Seth Gordon

Rabbi Mrk Shook

Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

Will Soll

Cyndee Levy

Rabbi Lane Steinger
Ophira Melnick  











Read more about our instructors.



1501. Jewish Current Events
Robert Cohn
1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month
9-10 a.m. 19 sessions begin October 1 $180

Participants will explore current events with an eye on the astonishingly large number of news stories that have Jews and the Jewish world at their center. Explore the events of the day through a Jewish lens and enjoy a spirited discussion.

1502. Focus on Film
Robert Cohn
Last Tuesday of Every Month
3:30-4:30 p.m. 10 sessions begin Oct. 27 $100
10 Sessions: Oct. 27, Nov. 24, Dec. 29, Jan. 26, Feb. 23, Mar. 29, May 31,
Jun. 28, Jul. 26, Aug. 30

This course will use a Jewish lens to focus on films currently or recently playing in local cinemas, as well as classic favorites. Designed for those who love film and want to engage in facilitated lively debate.

Hebrew Curriculum

1503. Ulpan Ivrit: Hebrew Literacy & Conversation
Ophira Melnick
Unit 1: Mondays 1:30-3 p.m. 12 sessions begin October 12 $300 *NEW DATE*

Unit 2: Mondays 1:30-3 p.m. 12 sessions begin January 25 $300

A Hebrew language course designed for students who already read Hebrew at an advanced level who would like to deepen their reading and comprehension of modern Israeli literature in Hebrew. Participants will acquire a rich vocabulary and grammar crucial to the understanding of texts, as well as speaking Hebrew with comfort.

Jewish History & Heritage

1504. Classic Jewish Folktales
Dr. Howard Schwartz
Unit 1: Thursday 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 6 sessions begin Nov. 5 $90

Unit 2: Thursday 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 6 sessions begin Jan. 7 $90

Unit 3: Thursday 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 6 sessions begin Feb. 25 $90

Unit 4: Thursday 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 6 sessions begin April 14 $90

Participants will examine the nature, sources and meaning of Jewish folktales, focusing in particular on the four primary types of Jewish tales: fairy tales, folktales, supernatural tales, and mystical tales. These stories invoke enchanted worlds, demonic realms, and mystical experiences and include themes of heavenly journeys, lifelong quests, and descents to the underworld. The course will also include considerable discussion of the process by which folklore evolves, differences between written and oral sources, and examination of stories that have their origins in early rabbinic literature, and can be found in variants throughout the Middle Ages and in oral variants collected in the 20th century in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The text for this class will be Leaves from the Garden of Eden: One Hundred Classic Jewish Tales, edited by Howard Schwartz.
Class location: Saul Brodsky Jewish Community Library

1505. The History of Anti-Semitism
Rabbi Seth Gordon
Unit 1: Wednesday 7:15-8:30 p.m. 8 sessions begin October 21 $100 Canceled

Unit 2: Wednesday 7:15-8:30 p.m. 8 sessions begin February 3 $100

Sometimes called "the longest hatred," anti-Semitism has persisted in many forms for over two thousand years, based on stereotypes and myths that target Jews as a people, their religious practices and beliefs, and the Jewish State of Israel. Historically, what began as a conflict over religious beliefs evolved into a systematic policy of political, economic and social isolation, exclusion, degradation, and attempted annihilation. Explore this topic through a variety of source material and engaging conversation.
Class location: Saul Brodsky Jewish Community Library

1506. Songs My Bubbe Should Have Taught Me
Dr. Will Soll
Tuesdays 7-8 p.m. 4 sessions begin October 20 $40

Will Soll leads this four week introduction to Yiddish through song. By singing and studying three or four songs a session, you'll learn something about the Yiddish language, about Yiddish culture, and some Yiddish vocabulary. Plus, you'll learn some songs your Bubbe should have taught you.
Class location: Saul Brodsky Jewish Community Library

1507. Spinning Spinoza: Coming to Terms with the
17th Century Excommunicated Jewish Thinker Who
Changed Western Philosophy Forever
Rabbi Mark Shook
Tuesday 7-8:30 p.m. 4 sessions begin October 27 $60

This class will examine the ideas and forces that made Baruch de Espinosa (Benedictus Spinoza) the single greatest challenge to traditional Western religious thought, greater even than Martin Luther himself. Questions we will explore: Is Spinoza a Jewish philosopher, or a just a philosopher with a Jewish upbringing?; Is Spinoza a destroyer of Torah, or a revealer of Torah?; Is the pantheism of Spinoza a theology whose time has come?

Judaic Literature

1508. Contemporary Jewish Writers
Marcia Moskowitz
Unit 1: Wednesdays 9:30–11 a.m. 9 sessions begin September 30 $135

Unit 2: Wednesdays 9:30-11 a.m. 8 sessions begin January 6 $120

Unit 3: Wednesdays 9:30-11 a.m. 8 sessions begin March 16 $120

This discussion-based class explores the characters and the themes that combine to give insights into the complexities of Jewish life. All books will be penned by contemporary Jewish writers. Books not included, must be purchased separately.

1509. Short Stories: Edith Pearlman -  Canceled
Marcia Moskowitz
Wednesdays 7:30–9 p.m. 4 sessions begin October 28 $60

A feast for fiction aficionados, selected short stories of one of the premier storytellers of our time, Edith Pearlman. “A master of the short story, her characters are complicated, fully alive. You can’t stop reading…” Alice Mattison, author of the Book Borrower.

Judaic Studies

1510. The Oven of Akhnai: A Story and a Puzzle
Maharat Rori Picker Neiss
Wednesdays 12 noon-1 p.m. 8 sessions begin October 21 $80

In recent years, the Oven of Akhnai has become an immensely popular Talmudic story. It is a great example of the Talmud’s way of teaching several lessons at once. One of its major themes is that Jewish religious decisions are made through majority rule, and no longer through divine revelation. However, another major theme is that abusing others, in this case dissenters, is an offense against God.
This course will provide students with the opportunity to engage in Talmudic study within a group setting, pondering questions while searching for answers to complex issues of theology and human behavior. Tractate Baba Mezi’a 59a-b
Class Location: Saul Brodsky Jewish Community Library

1511. Browsing the Bible: Biblical Books We Don’t Often Study
Rabbi Lane Steinger
Unit 1: Tuesdays 10:30-11:30 a.m. 6 sessions begin November 3 $60

Unit 2: Tuesdays 10:30-11:30 a.m. 6 sessions begin January 26 $60

Unit 3: Tuesdays 10:30-11:30 a.m. 6 sessions begin March 8 $60

Mining the Minor Prophets? Over the course of 3 units of study we will explore each of the “minor” prophets, minor only in words not message. Unit One: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah; Unit Two: Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk; Unit Three: Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.

1512. Introduction to Maimonides Roundtable
Cantor Ron Eichaker
Wednesdays 12 Noon-1:30 p.m. 6 sessions begins October 7 $50

Bring your brown bag lunch, and sit among the stacks at the Brodsky Library; engage in an exploration of Maimonides, the Rambam, whose Guide for the Perplexed is numbered among the fundamental texts that influenced all subsequent Jewish Philosophy. This discussion-based class will use Micah Goodman’s Maimonides and the Book That Changed Judaism: Secrets of the Guide for the Perplexed as a text; participants must purchase the text on their own. Space is limited, early registration is encouraged.
Class location: Saul Brodsky Jewish Community Library
1513. Introduction to the Talmud
Rabbi Seth Gordon
Unit 1: Mondays 12 noon-1 p.m. 8 sessions begin October 12 $120

Unit 2: Mondays 12 noon-1 p.m. 8 sessions begin January 25 $120

Unit 3: Mondays 12 noon-1 p.m. 8 sessions begin March 28 $120

In this Introduction to the Talmud course, participants will explore and openly discuss the richly edited conversations, teachings, insights, wisdom, and anecdotes that have reflected and shaped the Jewish people’s practice, thinking and values even these many centuries later. The primary text will be Tractate Yevamot; its subject matter involves children and marriage. This course is especially designed for beginners, but will also be challenging for intermediate learners.

1514. Jewish Art and Visual Culture
Community Rabbis and Jewish Educators
3rd Thursday of the Month 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 7 sessions begin October 15 $140 for all 7 sessions or $20 per session
7 sessions: Oct. 15, Nov .19, Dec. 17, Feb. 18, Mar. 17, Apr. 21, May 12

We will examine the multiple ways in which Jewish identity has surfaced within and been influenced by the visual arts. This course is designed to provide insight and inspiration for those that embrace and continue to explore Jewish heritage and Jewish life through the lens of Jewish visual arts. The course will culminate with a fascinating local tour of selected synagogue art collections.

1515. A Season of Mussar
Cyndee Levy
Monday 11 a.m.-12 p.m. 13 sessions begin October 12 $136

A millennium-old Jewish tradition of personal spiritual development, Mussar is based in the texts and wisdom of Judaism. As a Jewish spiritual practice, Mussar offers insight and guidance for living by directing us to pay attention to the impact that our character traits (middot) have on our lives.

A Season of Mussar is a 13 week program that guides participants through a supervised course of Mussar learning and practice. Drawn from the Jewish tradition and developed for the modern learner by Alan Morinis, and made available through the Mussar Institute (www.mussarinstitute.org). Cyndee Levy is a certified facilitator through the Manchim facilitator training program of the Mussar Institute.

1516. A Season of Mussar - Canceled
Cyndee Levy
Wednesdays 7:30-8:30 p.m. 13 sessions begin October 21 $136

See description for Class #1515

1517. Searching for Meaning in the Great Stories of Our Tradition
Cyndee Levy
3rd Tuesday of the Month 12 noon-1:30 p.m. 7 sessions $15 per session
Oct. 20, Nov. 17, Dec. 15, Jan. 19, Feb. 16, Mar. 15, May 17
At the Home of Cyndee Levy, 1321 Petite Royale Court, 63146

A light kosher dairy lunch will be served at each session. (Reservation Required)

Text-based discussions will focus on uncovering the hidden wisdom in selected stories from our tradition searching for messages for today. We will attempt to understand the lessons the rabbis sought to impart through their personal sagas.

1518. The Torah Portion of the Week
Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh
Thursdays 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 22 sessions begin October 29 $220

"It is a tree of life to all who grasp it, and whoever holds on to it is happy; its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are peace." (Proverbs 3:17-18)
Rabbi Hersh will facilitate discussion around the weekly Torah reading with an emphasis on seeking relevance in our time.
This Jewish Federation class will be hosted by Temple Emanuel, 12166 Conway Road, 63141.

1519. Turning to the Talmud
Rabbi Seth Gordon
Unit 1: Mondays 7-8:30 p.m. 8 sessions begins October 12 $120 Canceled

Unit 2: Mondays 7-8:30 p.m. 8 sessions begins January 25 $120

Unit 3: Mondays 7-8:30 p.m. 8 sessions begins March 28 $120

Turning to the Talmud moves beyond the introductory level Talmud course. Participants will explore and openly discuss the richly edited conversations, teachings, insights, wisdom, and anecdotes that have reflected and shaped the Jewish people’s practices, thinking, and values even these many centuries later. The primary text will be randomly selected Talmudic passages. This course is especially suited for intermediate adults, but will include a special single private session for beginners to help introduce Talmud and the Talmudic way.

This Jewish Federation class will be hosted by Traditional Congregation, 12437 Ladue Road, 63141.

1520. Tu B’Shevat Sameach
Monday, January 25, 2016 7-9 p.m. $20

Join us for a wonderful evening in celebration of trees and the beauty and bounty of the earth as we ponder the sheer wonder of creation. This program will bring together wonderful vegetarian recipes, new tastes and tips, and the opportunity to share a fantastic meal together in honor of Tu B’Shevat. Registration required.
Co-sponsored by Jewish Federation and Garden of Eden. This Jewish Federation class will be hosted by Traditional Congregation, 12437 Ladue Road, in the kosher dairy kitchen.

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Questions and Answers

• Who decides what classes to have? The students in the classes are asked what they would like to learn. We try to offer inspiring classes with excellent teachers.

• I am a beginner. Where should I start? There are many classes that fit everyone who wants to learn.

• Do I need to know Hebrew? Hebrew is not a pre-requisite for any class. Although through our Hebrew curriculum, you can learn to read, understand and speak Hebrew.

• Will I have to buy a lot of books? In most classes there is no need to buy any books. Where a book is required for your class text, it would be one that you will enjoy owning.

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Snow Schedule and School Closing


When Parkway schools are closed due to snow or ice, then morning Adult Education classes are cancelled.


Class cancellations will be decided by 4:00 p.m. Cancellation announcements will be made on the following stations, as well as, on the School/Class Closing Phone line and this web site:
TV Channels: 2, 4, 5
Radio Stations: KMOX 1120 AM

Center for Adult Jewish Learning classes will be referred to as the "Adult Education Classes-Morning" or "Adult Education CLasses-Evening."

Efforts will be made to call all program participants about school and class cancellations.

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Community Development

12 Millstone Campus Drive  l  St. Louis, Missouri  63146  l  Tel. 314.432.0020  /  Fax 314.432.6150