I didn’t go to Hebrew school, and I never had a bat mitzvah. I really like shellfish. I grew up in Salt Lake City, for gosh sake! But I am 100 percent, certifiably, pure-grade Jewish. Both parents, all grandparents and so on and so forth. My lineage is legit.
Despite the genetic background, I’ve always embraced the cultural aspects of Judaism more than anything else. To wit: I require regular bagel feedings like some sort of poorly written stereotype. I defiantly flaunt my Jewfro during the hazy, hot and humid Baltimore summers. I only go to shul when familial Jewish guilt cajoles me into it. I vaguely remember reading the Old Testament once, but I’m pretty sure it was as a requirement for a college religion seminar.
And yet over a 20-plus-year career in media, I have found myself – as surprised as my closest tongue-clicking relatives – employed by two different Jewish-themed publications.
So, perhaps it’s time I adopted the true traditions of my religion and got some knowledge. Luckily for me, Rabbi Eli Yoggev of Beth Tfiloh Congregation may be just the guy to drop some Yiddishkeit on my tuchas. The synagogue is holding a “Judaism for Beginners” 13-week crash course from Nov. 19 through Feb. 11, and I’m ready to get schooled. I mean, as Jmore’s Digital Manager, it couldn’t hurt to know the difference between a mohel and meshugah, a mitzvah and a mikveh, a schlemiel and a schlamazel. These are things that might be good to have in my M.O.T. (Member of the Tribe) toolbox.
The class is intended for those converting to Judaism, brand new members of the Tribe, or someone like me who just wants to gain new insights into the basics of Jewish thought, practice and customs. So, yeah, I’m crashing this crash course.
Topics to be covered include Shabbat and the festivals (I’m all about embracing a tech-free weekend), Jewish food and dietary laws (I’m one of those Maryland crab-eating Jews, so …), customs (these, I can dig), an introduction to the Jewish library (I hope this means Michael Chabon and Elinor Lipman) and much more. I’ll be attending each of the classes and blogging about it afterward. You can follow my adventures in Jewish learning right here each week.
Or, you can attend the sessions yourselves. For more information, contact email@example.com.