Center for Jewish Learning
“Get yourself a teacher and find yourself a friend.”
Follow your path to shalom.
Connect to community through Jewish learning
To register for classes, click on the purple bar located beneath the date and time of the event. Complete the registration information. For online programs, you will immediately receive a unique Zoom access link to the class. Be sure to keep this link as it is your entry to all sessions for the class.
Explore classes by teacher
Alison Kur, Temple Beth Elohim’s Executive Director, Jewish Living & Learning, oversees Jewish programming at TBE that connects members of all ages — children, youth and adults — to Jewish history, traditions and values. In 2014, Alison received the prestigious Covenant Foundation Award for excellence and innovation in Jewish education.
Learn with Alison: Engaging in Civil Discourse Guided by Jewish Wisdom, Tikkun Middot
Rabbi Vanessa Harper
Rabbi Vanessa Harper joined the TBE team in 2021 following her ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Rabbi Harper brings a passion for creative, joyful, and meaningful Jewish learning and living to her dual role as Rabbi-Educator of TBE and as Reform Rabbi-in-Residence of Gann Academy. Rabbi Harper is also the creator behind @lechlechallah, an online education project that uses challah as an artistic medium for interpreting and teaching Torah and the Jewish calendar.
Rabbi Bob Orkand
Rabbi Bob Orkand retired from the pulpit rabbinate in 2013 and moved with his wife, Joyce, to Natick to be near their son and his family. He has taught classes for TBElle and at a number of other adult learning programs in the Boston area.
Cantor Shanna Zell
Cantor Zell received her ordination from the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music (HUC-JIR) in May 2017. She was a Be Wise Fellow, working with the institution and classmates to digitize the Sacred Music Press. From 2014-2016 Shanna served as a UJA Federation PENS fellow, meeting monthly with other fellows to explore issues facing local and global Jewish communities as well as innovating for a bright Jewish future.
Rabbi Joel Sisenwine
Rabbi Sisenwine has distinguished himself as a leading voice in the local and national Jewish community. He was a founding member of the region’s Reform Beit Din and has served on several local and national leadership boards, including the Jewish Community Center, the Rashi School, and the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis.
Noam is a musician and a spiritual teacher specializing in hand percussion and in using his voice as a soulful vehicle to inspire joy and peace. Noam plays hand drums and teaches regularly at TBE and other Boston area synagogues.
Dr. Judy Avnery
Dr. Judy Avnery recently retired from her position as the Jewish Living & Learning Director at Temple Beth Elohim. Since joining the TBE team in 2005, Judy spear-headed the development of a spiral, engaging and integrated formal and informal learning program for grades K – 7, led TBE’s first women trip to Israel and created and facilitated an adult course on Israeli Poetry and Hebrew for the adult b’mitzvah class. Judy holds a Bachelors and Masters of Jewish Education from Hebrew College and a Doctorate in Teaching and Curriculum from Boston University.
Don has a BA in music Education from Boston University and has seen hundreds of Broadway shows in Boston and New York. His experience with, and excitement for, the music and arts adds so much joy to every class he teaches.
Cantor Ellen Dreskin
Cantor Ellen Dreskin is a communal prayer leader, educator, and mentor in the areas of liturgy, worship, and spiritual practice. She has served as a scholar-in-residence at dozens of congregations across the country, and as an educator and worship leader at numerous Institutes, Camps, and Conferences, including the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, HUC-JIR, SongLeader Boot Camp, Hava Nashira, URJ Biennials, and the JCCA’s Sheva Center for Early Childhood Education.
Ellen was ordained by HUC-JIR in 1986, and has a Master’s Degree in Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University. She is married to Rabbi Billy Dreskin, and is extremely proud of their joint projects: Katie, Jonah (z”l), and Aiden.
Yoni Kadden, a 25+-year veteran teacher, joined the faculty of Gann Academy in 2000. He has since spear-headed numerous student-centered public history projects including the development of a nationally recognized museum of disability history, a published Yizkor Book of a community buried anonymously in a local cemetery, and the production of a play based on original letters from the Shoah. He has also designed and led place-based explorations for both students and educators including a Civil Rights journey to Alabama and a politics deep-dive in Washington DC.
Stephanie Javaheri is a 500 hour certified yoga teacher. She has taught yoga in her home, on the beach, in corporations, religious institutions, in studios and beyond for nearly a decade. The call to yoga began with the physical practice, however, Stephanie’s current classes focus more on the inside such as breathwork and mindfulness techniques to help calm the body and mind. Moving toward stillness is her goal in order to slow down and appreciate being fully alive and finding gratitude in all of life’s offerings. When not on her mat, Stephanie can be found keeping active with her hilarious husband and three teenage boys.
Cantor Emerita Jodi Sufrin
Cantor Jodi Sufrin was raised in Toronto, Canada. From her ordination in 1983 until June 2020, Cantor Jodi Sufrin has served as cantor at Temple Beth Elohim. In the mid 1980s, Cantor Sufrin participated in a group of clergy and lay leaders that laid the foundation for the Rashi School. For many years, she and her husband co-chaired cantorial concerts to benefit the school. Cantor Sufrin also served on the ritual development committee for the Mayyim Hayyim mikveh. Cantor Sufrin became Cantor Emerita in June 2020.
Jewish Learning in Action
See what it means to be living our Jewish learning. From reflections from our clergy and teachers to brief teachings of Torah to recordings of our cooking classes, these videos offer a glimpse into adult learning at TBE.
Discover our stories
Read the stories of Holocaust Survivors in the TBE community. Watch recordings of them sharing their testimonials, view a map to see where they are from, and access resources for Holocaust education.
We are delighted to offer a wide range of learning opportunities that are designed to foster connection, discovery and personal growth as we each travel our paths to shalom. Our programs are available and accessible to all. Many of our adult learning opportunities are provided at no cost. While some programs require a fee, cost should never be a barrier to participation for our members. Please contact Lynn Burke for a confidential conversation about financial assistance.
Learn more about our class and program policies.
Many of our programs are now available through Zoom video conference calls. If you need assistance accessing Zoom, email [email protected].
Registering for TBE Events:
Watch a step-by-step tutorial to register for TBE events.