Koleinu Beit Midrash

Koleinu Beit Midrash (or “Koleinu” for short) is Germantown Jewish Centre’s new center for learning. Led by Rabbi Rebecca Richman, our Assistant Rabbi and founding Beit Midrash Director, the beit midrash (house or center for learning) offers an exciting, traditional Jewish model for communal gathering, study, relationship building, spiritual inquiry, and creative expression. Inspired by the wisdom of our ancestors, our learning gives us language, tools, and strength to create a more just world. 

“Koleinu” means “our voice.” Koleinu is a beit midrash for each of us, one that that values our life wisdom as essential to our learning of traditional text; it’s one that works hard to bring in the people and voices who have traditionally been left out of the beit midrash; and it’s a space where we harmonize our different voices and perspectives, honoring the Jewish tradition of sacred argument.

Check out our CALENDAR or hover over “Koleinu Beit Midrash” under the “Learning” tab at the top of your page for an up-to-date list of offerings! 

What is it like to learn in our beit midrash

The shiurim (lessons) offered through Koleinu mostly center around text-based learning, achieved through hevrutah (partnered) study. 

We learn ancient, traditional texts, as well as modern, contemporary writings. We learn by translating texts from their original language (most often Hebrew or Aramaic) or by studying a text already translated into English. 

Sometimes, we center our learning around discussion. Other times, we use creative modalities (such as visual arts and creative writing) to explore our relationship with the text and uncover deeper layers of meaning. And sometimes, we offer skills-based classes, to build the skills necessary to further access to materials in our tradition. 

As much as we can, we offer learning in multiple sessions or over the course of an extended period, hoping to build relationships and strengthen community through our study.

Who teaches in the beit midrash?

Koleinu benefits from the wisdom of our community members. Many of our teachers are from our own community, giving us the blessing of learning from one another. Sometimes, we bring in visiting guest scholars, as well. 

Who gets to learn in the beit midrash? Do I have to be a member? 

We welcome you to join us in the beit midrash, even if you are not a member. You can check registration pages for the specific learning opportunity you are interested in to learn about non-member rates for participation. And, we welcome you to become a member of Germantown Jewish Centre! You can visit our membership page to find out more about becoming part of our community. 

Are you still learning together, during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Yes! Our work and opportunities for learning only increased with the COVID-19 pandemic. We have added many online learning sessions, creatively adapting to the constraints and opportunities that have come our way. Check out our calendar for up-to-date information about online offerings. 

What other classes and learning opportunities have you offered in the past? 

  • Studio Elul: Return to the Creative Self
  • GJCC Talmud Study with Rabbi Richman
  • Shabbat Study: The Rebellious Child with Rabbi Zeff and Rabbi Richman
  • My First Look at Jewish Text with Rabbi Fredi Cooper
  • Reclaiming and Reframing Mikveh: One Rabbi’s Personal Story
  • Haftarah Trope with Eve Pinkenson
  • The Studio Series (Monthly Creative Arts Beit Midrash) with Rabbi Richman and Volunteer Leaders, Including Rabbi Elyse Wechterman and Lauren Pokras
  • Communal Creative Practice with Rabbi Richman
  • Center City Lunch & Learn: Law, Narrative, and Jewish Ethics with Rabbi Zeff
  • Lunchtime Torah with Rabbi Zeff
  • Daf Yomi with Rabbi Richman and Josh Davidson
  • Pre-Pesach Learning: Shir HaShirim with Rabbi Zeff
  • Pirkei Avot Shabbat Study with Serena Levingston, Rabbi Judd Kruger Levingston, Rabbi Adam Zeff, Rabbi Rebecca Richman, Sarah Braun, Rabbi Shai Gluskin, Cantor Naomi Hirsch, and Rabbi Malkah Binah Klein
  • Midrash and Conversation with Rabbi Zeff
  • Virtual Art Beit Midrash with Rabbi Richman
  • Women’s Talmud Study with Rabbi Richman
  • GJCC Passover Study with Rabbi Richman
  • Weekly Torah Study and Discussion of Relevant Sacred Times throughout the Year Cycle with Rabbi Fredi Cooper
  • Shavuot Fundamentals: GJCC Study with Rabbi Richman
  • Preparing for Shavuot with the Zohar with Mitch Marcus
  • Tikkun Leyl Shavuot: Connecting in a Fractured World with Rabbi Richman, Rabbi Zeff, and volunteer teachers (Mitch Marcus, Josh Davidson, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Lila Berman, Jared Jackson, Rabbi Avruhm Addison, Maria Pulzetti, Chava Weissler, Rachel Davidson, and Rebekka Goldsmith, Rabbi Erica Steelman)

Questions? Want to learn more? 

If you would like to learn more, or if you have questions about Koleinu, please reach out to Rabbi Rebecca Richman, our Assistant Rabbi and Beit Midrash Director: beitmidrash@germantownjewishcentre.org