Adult Education

At Sha’ar Zahav, you will find adult education opportunities as diverse as our membership. Whether you are looking for basic Hebrew reading classes, guest lecturers speaking about LGBTQ Jews in Israel, or higher level Jewish learning presented by Lehrhaus Judaica, there is something at Sha’ar Zahav that will excite the learner in you. Some of our own members are our most respected teachers and we are always keeping an eye out for those instructors who can help us “transcend the ordinary.” If you have a request for a class topic, please contact Director of Engagement.

Ongoing Courses


Talmud Study Group

Dates:  Saturdays (except B’nei Mitzvah days)

Time: 9:00 am

Location: Sha’ar Zahav – 290 Dolores Street SF 94103

Registration: None Required

Join a lay-led weekly Talmud study group where we will look at a tractate/section of Jewish commentary called Moed Katan. No experience studying Talmud is necessary, text read in English translation. No experience necessary. For information, contact Jackie Kaplan.


Summer 2019 Courses


Intro to Kabbalah

Dates: July 10, 17, 31 & August 7

Time: 12:00-1:15 pm

Have you wondered why the Zohar, the medieval book of Jewish mysticism, gets so much attention? Come to a beginner’s session as Rabbi Copeland leads us through a bit of historical background before delving into some juicy texts in English translation. Contemplate the nature of reality and divinity over tea, coffee, and whatever you bring for your lunch. No RSVP needed. Drop-ins welcome! For more information contact


Spring 2019 Courses

The Origins of the Bible and How to Read It: Genesis and Exodus 

Dates: Thursdays, April 11-May 2

Time: 7:00-9:00 pm

Location: Sha’ar Zahav – 290 Dolores Street SF 94103

To many contemporary readers, the Bible often feels impenetrable and outdated, principally because of the way Jewish texts are taught in religious schools. This course will explore methods for reading the Bible that are central to liberal Judaism’s orientations to reading sacred texts, but are not often used in synagogue settings. We will discuss myth and metaphor and the Bible’s literary history to uncover the ancient meanings of several of the Bible’s classic narratives and its law codes, and to determine their relevance to modern-day Jews and the world in which we. Instructor: Rabbi Jeremy S. Morrison, Ph.D. Lehrhaus Executive Director. Newcomers to the series are always welcome! Register at


Winter 2019 Courses

Are Jews like Queers?

Dates: Mondays, February 4-March 18 (excluding February 18)

Time: 8:00-8:00 pm

Location: Manny’s – 3092 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Registration: None Required

Are queers like Jews? Are Jews like queers? We might be accustomed to thinking of queer Jews as a subset of the Jewish community–but to what extent is the diasporic Jewish experience already queer? What parallels do we see between how queerness and Jewishness are policed, especially in gendered terms–and how can the two communities learn from one another in their modes of resistance, connection, and adaptivity? This casual evening class will look at works of queer theory written by and about Jews to think through these questions and to make sense of the two intersecting categories. Join member Annie Atura Bushnell, Assistant Director of Jewish Studies at Stanford, and Rabbi Mychal Copeland for low-key discussion over coffee or tea! Readings will be pre-circulated, but never mandatory–come as you are. Cost is what you purchase to imbibe. No sign-up: drop-ins are welcome. Free and open to all. Donations welcome. Readings can be found here.


Continuing Hebrew

Dates: Thursdays, January 24-April 11, 2019

Time: 7:00-8:00 pm

Location: Sha’ar Zahav – 290 Dolores Street SF 94103

Registration: Click Here 

A continuation of our beginning Hebrew class, this course is for students who have already learned the Hebrew alphabet and know some basic vocabulary. This class will provide opportunities to practice reading and decoding Hebrew, and expand your Hebrew vocabulary. Additionally, we shall study several key prayers in the Sha’ar Zahav’s siddur (prayer book). This class provides a friendly and supportive learning environment, and patience and sensitivity will be shown to adult learners with limited time for study. New students who have already mastered the Hebrew alphabet (or who have mostly mastered the Hebrew alphabet) are encouraged to join! Please feel free to contact the class instructor ( if you’re not sure if this class will be the right level for you.

Click Here To Register

Non-members: $126

Members: $54


Fall 2018 Courses

Introductory Hebrew

Dates: Thursdays, October 4-December 6, 2018 (meets weekly for 10 sessions)

Time: 7:00-8:00 pm

Open to members and non-members of Sha’ar Zahav

Would you like to be able to decode Hebrew, so that you can follow along in the prayer book? Have you always wondered how the Hebrew language works? It is never too late to start learning Hebrew! This class is intended for first time Hebrew students, and will begin by learning the letters and the sounds that they make. You’ll be reading Hebrew words in no time! This course will be led by Michael Lederman. If you have any questions, please contact Adult Education chair, Mark Pressler at

Judaism 101

Dates: Mondays, October 15-December 17, 2018 (meets weekly for 10 sessions)

Time: 6:30-8:30 pm

Open to members and non-members

The intro to Judaism course, will cover the basics of Jewish history, texts, liturgy, holidays, customs, theology, with plenty of room for you to ask your own questions.The intro class is designed for anyone from any background and any level of Jewish learning, and all are welcome to attend. The class will be facilitated by Director of Education, Sue Bojdak. If you have any questions, please contact Sue at

Practical Mussar

Dates: Mondays, October 15-December 17, 2018 (meets weekly for 10 sessions)

Time: 6:30-7:30 pm

Open to members and non-members

Do you sometimes find it difficult to be good? To reach deep for compassion? While Jewish ideals and mitzvot are laid out fairly well, we often have trouble following them. Well, look no further. Join long-time member, Mark Pressler, as he leads us in Practical Mussar.

Mussar is a Jewish spiritual practice based on ethical and moral values. It’s an everyday hands-on guide to cultivating inner virtues to improve ourselves. We will meditate, study and improve all of our interactions and relationships. If you have any questions, please contact Adult Education chair, Mark Pressler at

Where do we go from here? Jewish thoughts on the afterlife

Dates: Mondays, October 15-November 19, 2018 (meets weekly for 6 sessions)

Time: 6:30-7:30 pm

Open to members and non-members

We often know what other traditions have to say about the afterlife far better than our own. We will explore why this is an underdiscussed issue in Judaism and we’ll take a trip through our fascinating and often inconsistent history. Stops along the journey include messianism, the world to come, Kabbalistic levels of the soul, and reincarnation. Led by Rabbi Mychal Copeland. No previous experience with Jewish thought, Hebrew or text is necessary. If you have any questions, please contact Rabbi Copeland at