Torah-Tuesday, now a long-standing tradition at UAlbany, is a weekly Torah themed text-study class at Shabbos House (going strong since 2000) geared to all levels of Jewish learning, beginner as well as advanced, prepared and presented by Rabbi Mendel Rubin (unless otherwise noted – student and guest presenters). A dairy dinner is served. There’s no charge, no RSVP*, no commitment necessary, you can come for one or two classes or come for all. The same class is presented 2x each Tuesday to accommodate class schedules: 6pm and 9pm (unless otherwise noted).



6 or 9pm and by Rabbi Mendel, unless otherwise noted.

1/16: Welcome Back w/ I. Kadoozy
6:30-8pm. Roll Your Own Sushi (or Poke Bowl). Bluma will present’s “Itche Kadoozy” cartoons.

1/23: 770 “Tunnel” into Tu Bishvat
Background & context to infamous recent incident, Tohu vs. Tikkun, & take-away Tu-Bishvat related messages for us all.

1/30: Israel’s Holy-Sites
Mendel & Raizy’s birthday getaway trip, a virtual tour!

2/6: Club 25—what it entails
by Sam Bergman & Ben Marzouk. What goes into and what we take from observance of Shabbat’s 25 Hours.

2/13: We Need To Talk
In lens of Jewish life, Chassidus & our relationships.*

2/20: Unhealthy Relationships
Identifying concerns, growth areas, & lessons learned.*

2/27: Secrets of Jewish Intimacy I
Class by Raizy & Mendel on relationship harmony.*

3/5: Secrets of Jewish Intimacy II
Class separated by gender for frank, open discussion.*

3/12: Purim’s Cast of Characters
Pre-Purim class on main & supporting Megillah actors.

3/26: Jews Sing The Darnest Things
Inter-denominational Synagogue classics convey more complex fundamentals than simple songs suggest.**

4/2: Chassidic Drinking Songs
Adapted peasant folk songs & their deep meanings.**

4/9: Contemporary Israeli Singers
Explore a sampling of lyrics & their messages. **

4/16: Seder Song Symbolism
1 goat, Who Knows 1? – what does it all add up to?**

JewishU Credits: * = “Relationship Matters” ** = “Song Symbolism”


FALL 2023

6pm & 9pm this Spring semester

8/22: Andy Goes to College
Charting the depth of the “Toy Story” trilogy #’s 1-3 from lens of Chassidus with relevance to Jewish campus life.

8/29: First Fruits
An biblical Israel mitzvah with contemporary application.

9/5: The Holiday Suitcase
Game familiarizes with details of the 4 biblical holidays of Tishrei month, their observances & takeaway messages.*

9/12: Sounds Good
Shofar’s background, observance, meaning & messages.*

9/19: Meaning of Memes
What makes memes tick? Captioning study & prayer.*

9/26: Despite vs. Because
Insight into 2 Sukkot Mitzvot: Lulav vs/& Sukkah.*

10/3: Rashi—The Movie
Animated film selections & inspiration—in the Sukkah.

10/10: Fall Break Outing
No classes, post-Tishrei holidays, join us on a local outing.

10/17: Animals & Kibbutz Life
A petting Zoo visits for Parsha Noach + guest speakers sharing memories & impressions of life on Israeli Kibbutz.

10/24: Torah on Self-Esteem
Handbook of relevant psychological insights and life messages via the lens of classic Torah texts.**

10/31: Hillel The Psychologist
3 Talmud life of Hillel stories with profound messages.**

11/7: The Struggle is Significant
Tanya 15, 27 & 30 selections on struggle, effort and challenge in our personal lives & understanding others**.

11/14: The Ugly Man
Tackle a tough Talmud story w/ commentary & insight.**

11/28: Light and Vessel
A balance in Chassidic thought and throughout our lives.

JewishU credits: * = High Holiday Essentials ** = Torah EQ



6pm & 9pm this Spring semester

1/17: A Poll on “How Chabad Rolls”
night before classes, along with Roll Your Own Sushi

1/24: Are We Avatars?
The movie is back, explore its Jewish (metaphor) dimensions and “The 2 Trees” dual-realities of Chassidic perspective.

1/31: Spiritual DNA (I)
Mapping the inner makeup of our souls and personalities.

2/7: Spiritual DNA (II)
Mapping the inner makeup of our souls and personalities.

2/14: The Chasynthesis Game
Blend of dominoes & apples to apples, developed here!

2/21: Sinai to SUNY
Birds-eye historical overview of Torah texts & transmission.

2/28: The Torah Wheel of Fortune
Using an illustrative color-esque wheel for spectrum, hues & saturation of angles, aspects and styles of Torah study.

3/21: Torah as a Prescription
Using medicine as a detailed metaphor for Torah learning.

3/28: My Portion in Your Torah
Find our own niche in Torah, making it our own.

4/18: Survivors turned Founders
Stories of 3 Holocaust survivors who each in their own way contributed as founders in fledgling Israel.

4/25: Israel’s Oldest Diaspora Charity
The history and mission of Colel Chabad

5/2: Midnight Breakfast
on the eve of reading day, after last day of classes.

5/9: Lag B’Omer Firepit Farbrengen
It’s the last day of finals, for those still up here.

FALL 2022

8/23: All Together Now – T.G.I.H.
Jewish Year 5783 is a “Hakhel” year. Find out what that meant historically and what it can mean & do for us today.

8/30: IDF Courage & Sacrifice
B’Lev Echad Tour of wounded IDF soldiers. Hear Matan & Dana share their deeply personal stories of resilience, recovery & inner strength. 7:15pm Dinner, 8pm Talk.

9/6: What’s In a (Jewish) Name?
Biblical & Talmudic background, spectrum of traditional customs and modern-day usage. Bring along a tidbit about your namesake or your name’s meaning.

9/13: Alter Rebbe’s Inter-Textuality
On eve of “Chai-Elul” exploring examples of his masterful paraphrase, rich adaptation twists of earlier classic texts.

9/21: Getting to the (Inner) Point
With help from Eric Carle’s “Hello Red Fox” & Chassidus, as we turn & reflect inward leading up to High Holiday season.

10/25: Play Ball! – on Shabbat?
by Jason Floumanhaft & Noah Marzouk – exploring various halachic opinions & conditions re playing sports on Shabbat

11/1: Mitzvah Categories
Are all Mitzvot created equal? Simplified chart explain levels & categories, and insights helps frame our approach.

11/8: Stuttering Curses & Blessings
By Ben Marzouk. Inspiration from Moe Mernick’s book and life experience. Followed up by the acclaimed “The King’s Speech” film on (the first early) Sat Night 11/12.

11/15: Talmudic Halacha Tracing
Using the example of whether a Shul requires a Mezuzah or not, this study of classic texts traces a law back to its source.

11/29: Abortion & Contraception
through the complex & nuanced lens of Jewish law.

12/6: Charting Toy Story’s Depth
Mendel’s take explores Toy Story 1-3, does 4 fit the theme?



For Spring 2022, we’re doing Torah-Tuesday at 6:00pm and 9:00pm. 

1/25: Power of Psalms
by Raizy for her birthday. See how Psalms can work for you.

2/1: Heaven, Hell and the Afterlife
We get this Q a lot. What Jews believe & why it matters.

2/8: Jewish Medical Ethics
by Emily Bainnson & Ben Marzouk. Cases of contemporary medical issues through the lens of Jewish law & observance.

2/15: Who Was R’ Adin Steinzaltz?
Glimpse into the life & many works, (even controversies) of a uniquely brilliant Israeli scholar & thinker, a prolific author, translator and teacher who passed away in 2019.

2/22: Torah’s Take on Gambling
by Jason Floumanhaft. A Study of Talmudic & Halachic texts & how to apply them to contemporary sports gambling etc.

3/1: The Ugly Man – A Talmud Study
Tackling a tough Talmud story, its commentary & relevance.

3/8: The Blessing of Blessings
by Noah Marzouk & Hannah Slavsky. On the Basics and Meanings of the Food Blessings.

3/22: Secrets of Jewish Intimacy I
This class on relationship harmony is by Mendel and Raizy.

3/29: Secrets of Jewish Intimacy II
This class separated by gender for a frank, open discussion.

4/5: Songs of Naomi Shemer
Reading & appreciating the Hebrew lyrics of some beloved songs of one of Israel’s greatest poets & songwriters.

4/12: Rebbe’s Take on the Four Sons
Unconventional, deeply relevant. Seder & life inspiration.

4/19: Personal Exodus & Redemption
Learn how Egypt is a state of mind, Exodus a journey.

4/26: Jewish Sparks in Harry Potter
Jewish parables, messages and insights as viewed through details of the wizarding world in the Harry Potter series.

FALL 2021

8/24: You Have Arrived!
As students arrive in Parsha Ki Tavo (“When you arrive”) a glimpse at relevant coming to college biblical commentary

8/31: Shemitta Options Argument
Learn the issues & varied opinions in how to observe the agricultural sabbatical year, a big debate in modern Israel

9/14: Make Machzor Meaningful
A day before Yom Kippur, dive into select Machzor prayers, how to keep it meaningful, even as it’s “again” each year

10/5: Behind the Iron Dome
Rocket scientist Ari Sacher of Rafael speaks to us on the backstory of Israel’s life-saving technological marvel

10/12: We All Need A Break
Even Moses! Torah Insights on breaks for Fall Break

10/19: Hillel the Psychologist
3 Talmud stories & profound messages from the life of Hillel

10/26: Power of Parable
A glimpse into the how, why and relevance of parable in Rebbe Rashab’s “Vyadayta Moskve” (for 20th of Cheshvan)

11/2: What’s Your Take On That?
Participants share thoughts using prompts on random cards.

11/9: Faces of Orthodoxy
Stereotypical mapping to know who’s who in Jewish groups

11/16: Jewish Weddings
Customs, traditions & meanings of traditional weddings

11/23: The Katonti Letter
Gratefulness message from Alter Rebbe post-19 Kislev 1798

11/30: Lights Cartoon Commentary
light but deep learning for one night of Chanukah + Latkes!

FALL 2020

8/25: Jewish Dorm Essentials
Powerpoint & discussion. Plus materials to create/take.

9/1: Keeping Distance!
Judaism is usually big on closeness, but given the situation, here are some Torah areas where there’s value in distance.

9/8: Happenstance 2.0
So, 2020 happened. What can the Baal Shem Tov’s 18th century teachings of Happenstance 2.0 do for us today?

9/15: Shofar, So Good!
Just in time for Rosh Hashanah, a cornucopia of insights, parables, stories, messages, laws & traditions about Shofar.

9/22: Positives & Negatives
Covid flipped this one upside down. Negatives are in again. Let’s see how (some) negatives can be quite positive.

9/29: The Lulav Movement
What’s behind the Lulav set? What do these four species represent & mean to us, on various levels & applications.

10/6: Inside Out – in the Sukkah
A Chassidic take on the Pixar film on our inner emotions.

Many of this semester’s Torah-Tuesdays switched to Kahoot games with different topics during Covid, and into the Spring of 2021 as well.

10/8: Thurs night Hoshana Rabba late study in the Sukkah

10/13: Hillel the Psychologist
3 Talmud stories & profound messages from the life of Hillel

10/20: What’s Your Animal?
Headbandz-type game where you find out your animal along with a life lesson, in time for Noah’s Ark in the Parsha.

10/27: Prayer Paradoxes
A few prayer sections that express complementary balance with multi, paradoxical layers of perspective & truth.

11/3: A Talmudic Payment Dilemma
Your thoughts on why 3 similar cases have different rulings.

11/10: Sarah’s Tent
Midrashim on this matriarch and how we live that today.

11/17: Food Blessings
trivia, texts, takeaway – in time for Thanksgiving.


1/28: Torah on Self-Esteem
Handbook of relevant psychological insights and life messages via the lens of classic Torah texts.

2/4: The Twelve Pesukim
Thoughts on Rebbe’s choice of 12 specific Torah passages for kids (& all young at heart) to memorize (& internalize!).

2/11: By Foot, By Bike, By Trail
by Ryan Fox – How journeys of our own power can impact us in different ways.

2/18: The Wake-Up Blessings
by Raizy Rubin – for her birthday. Learn about the morning blessings and their import, meaning and impact.

2/25: Secrets of Jewish Intimacy Part I
This class on relationship tips is joint with Mendel and Raizy

3/3: Secrets of Jewish Intimacy Part II
This class is separated by gender and led by Mendel and Raizy respectively. An open and frank discussion on Jewish Intimacy and traditional Jewish marital observances.

3/10: Purim Day Meal
Instead of a class, a festive Purim meal & farbrengen in the late afternoon of this joyous Jewish holiday.

3/24: Sesame Street Muppet Insights
In honor of the show’s 50th year we’re going to explore some of the muppets’ real-life messages.

3/31: The Gift of Matzah
Take this class before eating Matzah this Passover, hopefully it will enrich your taste and appreciation.

4/14: Eve of the 7th Day of Passover
No class, but a festive Passover holiday meal instead.

4/21: The Audacity of Hope
This class on survivor resilience will be in late evening with dinner & the Maariv service at the Yom HaShoah Vigil.

4/28: Secular Israelis
Not as simple as you might think. A closer look at what this stereotypical demographic can teach American Jewry.


FALL 2019

Stay tuned, hope to finalize and confirm soon!

8/27: Jewish Time Management
“Jewish Standard Time” jokes aside, start of a new semester is opportune to explore Jewish texts & concepts on good Time Management & productivity! Be on time 😉 5:45/7:45!

9/3: Teshuva Stories in the Talmud
As we enter month of Elul preparing for the High Holidays read and interpret stories of R’ Elazar ben Durdaya, Reish Lakish etc with messages of change & self-transformation.

9/10: “The In-Between”
by Noah B. ‘00 – a Jewish Photography workshop based on unique photos he took in Israel this summer.

9/17: 5 Layers of a 1-Line Prayer
An in-depth layered look at “Modeh Ani” a simple, common basic prayer & how it can be utilized as everyday mindset.

9/24: The Holiday Suitcase Game
This new game familiarizes with details of 4 biblical holidays of Tishrei month, their observances & takeaway messages.

10/29: Water: Biblical & Israel Now
This class explores water in biblical stories, in religious symbolism & modern Israel’s water transformation story – just in time for Torah portion of Noah & the Flood this week.

11/5: Crown Heights Virtual Visit
Whether/not you’re joining Chabad on Campus Shabbaton, get introduced to this special community from Jewish orgs to Kosher eateries. Get a little glimpse of where Raizy grew up.

11/12: Sponsored by a Swear Jar
An alumni workplace didn’t want to benefit from their swear jar contents so they’re using the proceeds to sponsor a TorahTues about good words and positive speech instead!

11/19: Just Do It!
Why is Judaism so interested in physical action Mitzvot?

12/3: Jewish Migration
Bird’s eye view of historical Jewish migration over centuries, push & pull factors & effects of diaspora host countries.



1/22: Warm Welcome to Semester
7:45pm. Soup Bar, Hot-Cocoa Bar, Indoor S’mores for a nice warm-up social get-together on the night before classes.

1/29: Psalm Selections
By Raizy Rubin in honor of her birthday! Psalms are often said, this is an opportunity to study some of its riches.

2/5: Revisiting the Alef-Bet
A deeper look inside many layers & angles of the Hebrew alphabet: numeric value, shapes, codes & creation & more.

2/12: Greeting Card Mysticism
A Chassidic take on what makes a greeting card magical.

2/19: Mini-Purim Party
7:45pm only. Real Purim falls in break, but as there are 2 Adar months this year we’ll have a fun Mini-Purim in Adar I.

2/26: One Foot before the Other
By Ryan Fox – 14 Lessons (for the 14 States) learned from hiking through the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia.

3/5: Bitcoin and Judaism
By R’ Michoel Caras, a powerpoint presentation about modern cryptocurrency & ancient Jewish texts.

3/12: Hamamantasch Bake-Off
7:45pm only. Bake & Taste, along with light Purim learning.

3/26: Playing with Anger
Texts and interactives exploring Jewish concepts on anger.

4/2: Goats Vs. Sheep
A strange royal argument in the Talmud and a life lesson.

4/9: R’ Rubin’s Haggadah Collection
Scholarly, historical, illustrated & more. A unique book tour!

4/23: Mid-Passover Picnic
Stay tuned for study topic and nearby “away” location.

4/30: Ranking Holocaust Memorials
Interested in your say on a set of selected memorials & why.

5/7: Honoring Parents
Timely before the summertime. Text-polling, Texts & Talmud.


FALL 2018

8/28: Jewish Identity Game
This new card game explores forms of Jewish identity, the differences between identity and expression, being Jewish vs. living Jewishly, and how all this plays into Jewish campus life.

9/4: Too Much Yom Tov (Holiday)? + Pre-RH Challah Baking
Before we enter the holiday-rich Hebrew month of Tishrei that begins with Rosh Hashanah and climaxes with Simchat Torah, let’s explore what all this holiday does to and for us. And we’ll braid & bake Challah to get into the spirit (& aroma!)

10/9: The Handwashing Ritual
Background, source texts and practical observance regarding the Jewish handwashing ritual.

10/16: Staying Afloat vs. Anxiety
A 2-part hands-on marble experiment demonstrating ways of dealing with anxiety from a Jewish perspective.

10/23: What’s Your Move?
By Jeremy Berman – PhD student and chess master. Exploring moves & techniques of chess, its Jewish fascination & history.

10/30: Love: Powerful & Powerless
Irrational love’s blindness can be a double-edged sword.

11/6: Hope in the Minor Prophets
7:45pm only. By Seth Brooks ‘20. “Trei-Asar” is the name of the collection of the Books of the Minor Prophets like Jonah, Hosea, Amos, Micah… whose books are too small for their own volume. They are combined as “Trei-Asar” the Twelve. Seth will present on the hopes found in their writings.

11/13: Jacob’s Ladder
Exploring commentaries perspectives on the famous Biblical story of Jacob’s Dream in the weekly Torah portion Vayeitze.

11/27: Supporting Israel since 1788
Colel Chabad is the oldest continuously operating Tzedakah network in Israel dating back to 1778. Learn the history of this diaspora support for Israel as it is intertwined with mystical letters, Czarist imprisonment, Chassidic Rebbes, financial systems and more!

12/4: Challenge!
Inspiring, humorous Rebbe video on kicking it up a notch, not to be satisfied with yesterday’s accomplishments, keep adding light – in the Chanukah spirit! Plus a Chanukah Party.



1/30: Peel Appeal & Shells of Life
Tu Bishvat fruit and nut tasting, texts & discussion of life’s desired vs undesired. Allergy warning: tree nuts served.

2/6: UAlbany + Israel = Book
by Ben Lieb ‘04. 8:15pm. Israeli Alumnus discusses how both UAlbany & Israel helped shape his novel “Outdated”.
7:30pm Mendel’s birthday celebration.

2/13: Why do you Jew that?
Matching diverse Jewish observances & customs with their reasons & sources.

2/20: Wheel of Jewish Fortune
Torah is indeed a fortune! Spin off color wheel to explore spectrum of Jewish learning styles: hue, saturation & value.

2/27: Will the Real King Stand Up?
Analysis of Talmudic texts on Achashvairosh, king of Purim with relevant psychological insights + Hamantasch Baking.

3/6: Wrestling with Sadness
Selections from Tanya on dealing with depression.

3/20: Making Seder of the Seder
Many are familiar with the Seder already, but we’ll take a closer look at reasons & meaning behind the observances.

4/3: Holidays: Israel vs. Diaspora
Passover picnic with a study of Israel holiday differences.

4/10: Raw vs. Filtered
From photography to politics, communication to Kabbalah, these extremes and their balance play a huge role in life.

4/17: Secrets of Jewish Intimacy (I)
This class on tips for relationship harmony is given jointly by Mendel and Raizy.

4/24: Secrets of Jewish Intimacy (II)
This class is divided by gender for a frank, open discussion.

5/1: The Chasynthesis Game 
On the night before Lag B’Omer: Learn Chassidic paradoxes via a blend of Dominoes & Apples to Apples.

5/8: Lessons from the Book of Ruth 
By Raizy Rubin – insights into this classical biblical story.


FALL 2017

8/29: Torah as a Prescription
Understanding Torah’s effect using a medication analogy.

9/5: American Idol?
Does 21st century idolatry exist? Why does it persist? An antidote relevant to Jewish college life & its challenges.

9/12: Meaning of Memes
Cute pictures aside, what makes memes tick? Relevance to Rabbinic literature & keeping the Prayerbook personal.

9/18: Memories of Six Day War
MONDAY 7:30pm. 1967-2017: 50 Years. IDF veterans and others share vivid memories of those 6 Days in June ’67.

9/26: Rebbetzin Chana’s Memoirs
Readings from selections of the Rebbe’s mother’s memoir on occasion of her 6th Tishrei yartzeit.

10/10: Late Night in the Sukkah
After 9pm. Traditional late night Hoshana Rabba text study & schmooze in the Sukkah with soups, hot drinks & nosh.

10/17: Shabbos Food Laws
Learn the key principles and play a game with situation cards regarding cooking, sorting & grinding on Shabbos.

10/24: Judging Favorably
Don’t judge others? Here’s a way that you should.

10/31: Mama Rochel
This date marks the passing of matriarch Rachel, this class explores her life & passing, & history of her burial place.

11/7: History of Hebron
Jewish history in Hebron dates back to Abraham & Sarah, and continues to this day. Take a peak through the years.

11/14: NOTE CHANGE to 11/14: Instead of the originally planned “Love: Powerful/Powerless” class, we’re going to be doing a Torah-Tues field trip down to UAlbany’s Page Hall to see “The Zookeeper’s Wife” an unusual Holocaust film presented by UAlbany Judaic Studies, the Federation’s Holocaust Center and others. Film is at 7pm, we will arrange car-pools from Shabbos House.

11/28: Is it Kosher?
FAQ’s all about Kosher, from symbols to standards, and backgrounds to some of the extra stringencies some have.

12/5: Talmud on Chanukah
Chanukah begins one week from this Tuesday night, a good way to prepare is studying the Talmudic arguments, discussions & descriptions of Chanukah observances.



Full detailed schedule coming soon, here’s some of what we’re working on…

1/24: For Better or For Worse
This first TorahTues of the semester falls in the “Shiva”/”Sheva Brachos” (depending on your viewpoint) of Trump’s Inauguration, like Trump or not this class is a  historical view from the Talmud to the Tsars how Jews dealt with governments of all types and stripes. MENU: Parve/Dairy Taco Bar

1/31: The Ugly Man
We did this class and discussion on a very hard-to-understand Talmud story back in 2011, it’s time to bring it back. We’ll use your input, classic commentaries, and Rebbe’s psychological insight.

2/7: Running Commentary!
by Ryan Fox, a UAlbany runner coming off his first (of many!) marathon

2/14: Texting, Torah & Relationships
The Written & Oral Torahs and Mishna vs. Talmud as reflected in the ascendancy of texting in this generation.

2/21: “Mekonen” Israeli Movie Night
8pm with Israeli dinner. This film about an African Jewish journey in the IDF is sponsored here by Great Danes for Israel.

2/28: Know Your Own Bible
by Rabbi A. Kelman of Schenectady. 5:45pm only. A closer reading of certain biblical texts as a response to missionaries.

3/7: Gratitude in Relationships
What a gratitude attitude does for love, friends, customers – and the Purim story

3/21: Come One, Come All
Rebbe’s Waldo-esque vision “Never Get Lost in the Crowd!” seeing individual within community, Vayakhel & Pekudei style.

3/28: Mitzvah Categories
The different ways Torah’s Mitzvot can be divided or grouped by various Rabbinical categories and criteria.

4/18: Crossing Seas into Israel
20th century ships & stories: Sturma, Exodus, Altelena & Cherbourg… Get your feet wet on this swim against the tide over a 7th Night of Passover festive holiday meal.

4/25: Hamilton!
Besides for Hebrew education, we’ll find some Torah parallels to the hit musical about this American founding father.

5/2: The Six Day War and the Rebbe
June marks 50 years since Israel’s stunning 1967 victory.

5/9: Synagogue Stuff
What’s behind Peroches curtain, Mechitzah divider, position of Bima, source of Ner-Tamid and more of Shul furnishings. A powerpoint presentation.


FALL 2016

Classes this semester will be at 5:45 and 7:45pm. Thanks to grad student request we are keeping the 8:45pm slot as well.

8/30: Pro-Choice & Pro-Life @ College
This isn’t about abortion or only for women, it’s about choices at college; how & why we make them, how they shape us.

9/6: What ELUL Stands For
5 acrostics of the name of this Hebrew month, the last of the Jewish year, plus classic parables to understand its purpose and paradox.

9/13: Entebbe Rescue Commando
Sassy Reuven was the 2nd IDF commando to land at Entebbe on July 4th, 1976 in one of the most daring & successful hostage rescue raids ever. He’ll share his memories & experiences 8pm at Shabbos House. Buffet at 7:30pm. See more about this special event at: There will be only one TorahTuesday slot this week, no 5:45 or 8:45pm, only Sassy’s presentation beginning at 8pm, with food buffet starting at 7:30pm.

9/20: Seeking Location
Juxtaposition of 2 Tanya “King and Commoner” parables (in chapters 33 & 46) & their personal relevance – on eve of Chai-(18th of) Elul, the Alter Rebbe’s birthday.

9/27: Digital High Holiday Metaphors 
Technology can be great metaphors for spiritual connections. See the High Holidays in a different lens, and you might even learn a couple of things about technology, too!


11/1: Jewish Sparks in Harry Potter
Jewish parables, messages and insights as viewed through the wizarding world of JK Rowling, an older Torah-Tuesday class revisited in honor the newly released Harry Potter book.

11/8: Until the Polls Close
The 7th of Cheshvan is a date noted Halachicly & historically for a minor prayer switch yet with deeper life significance. Find out more about both. Interestingly, it falls this year on Election Day in the USA.

11/15: Oil in Empty Vessels
A deeper look inside the empty vessel story of the prophet Elisha and a poor widow, in this week’s Vayeira Haftorah. It’s a beautiful story, poverty may be the setting but it is rich in metaphor.

11/29: Rabbi Yochanon Ben Zakkai
A pivotal Jewish historical figure during and after the Jerusalem Temple’s destruction, founder of the Academy at Yavneh, which later wrote the Mishna.

12/6: Israel’s Holy Sites
Pictorial tour with background commentary to a selection of holy burial sites in Israel… places birthright doesn’t go!  



1/19: The 10-Point Mitzvah Campaign
Background and philosophy behind the Rebbe’s 10-point Mitzvah Campaign, which began in 1967 (5:45 and 7:45pm only)

1/26: Can an Apple be Treif?
A snapshot view of certain biblical and Talmudic agricultural laws for this class on the night after Tu Bishvat – the Jewish New Year for Trees

2/2: Proverbs Points to Ponder
In honor of her birthday that night, Raizy will be leading this TorahTues, on Proverbs texts that she enjoys

2/9: The Payment Dilemma
We’ll analyze three similar yet different Talmud  cases on money in doubt, whom to pay and how much? Why do the rulings differ?

2/16: Shabbat VS Weekday
Which offers greater spiritual opportunities? What’s your take?

2/23: Fear Not!
Exploring fear in Jewish texts and its connection to the Purim story, for Purim-Kattan (the mini-Purim of Jewish leap years when we have two months of Adar)

3/1: Time Management
Besides its practical relevance to students (and all of us), this class goes a step deeper to see it all from a meaningful and spiritual life-perspective.

3/8: A Halachic Dilemma
Exploring a case with classic texts and Rabbinic opinions in new applications

3/22: Purim is coming, getting ready!
This is the night before the Fast of Esther, one day before Purim. We’ll be doing more Purim prep than study on this night.

3/29: Secrets of Jewish Intimacy (I)
Jewish themes on “Shalom-Bayit” – relationship harmony, presented jointly by Mendel and Raizy

4/5: Secrets of Jewish Intimacy (II)
Guys join Mendel and Girls join Raizy for a frank, eye and heart-opening talk on “Taharat-HaMishpacha” family purity – this class is given separately and simultaneously for boys and girls

4/12: Inside Out! (based on the film)
Spoiler Alert! This class features student input and insights along with Torah texts into this film on the inner workings of our emotions

4/26: Torah-Tues to GO! An outing… 
Location is still TBA, but this mid-Passover TorahTues will hit the road. How far and for how long we go depends on the feedback with get from students on their schedules and availability. Stay tuned for more details on this one…

5/3: Ordinary Heroes
We haven’t settled on a film yet, but we’re looking to show a documentary about ordinary people who did extraordinary things during the time of the Holocaust or its aftermath. Announcement of film title as we get closer.

FALL 2015

Here’s the new Torah-Tuesday class schedule & topics for Fall 2015. Two (Rabbi Akiva & Ben Ish Chai) are repeats from earlier years (2009-2010) but all the rest are all-new classes for this semester. We’ll be giving out a schedule bookmark as usual.

9/1: Baal Shem Tov Goes to College?
At the start of a new academic year, on the Baal Shem Tov’s (founder of Chassidism) Chai (18th of) Elul birthday, explore some of his key teachings thru lens of a college experience.

9/8: Entering a “Hakhel” Year
After Shmitta (Sabbatical) year was Hakhel, year of gathering. Find out how it was in times of the Temple as well as today.

10/13: Ben Ish Chai
Life & Teachings of a beloved Sephardic Rabbi in the 1800’s

10/20: Act & Intent in Sabbath Law
A dual Talmudic argument between Rabbi Shimon & Rabbi  Yehudah, exploration of the cases, underlying issues and broader life relevance.

10/27: Rabbi Akiva’s Life & Teachings
Talmudic texts on the life of a late bloomer who became one of Israel’s greatest sages, back in the times of the Mishna.

11/3: What’s Your Mitzvah? 
Every Mitzvah is important, but we may excel at or especially appreciate certain ones. Explaining the overall “Zahir” concept, with students presenting their favorite Mitzvah. Lookin!

11/10: The Morning Blessings
Sometimes the basics we take for granted are most beautiful, and what seems simple can be quite complex. A closer look at the Morning Blessings in the daily prayerbook.

11/17: Strong Jewish Women
by Lianne Hikind. From biblical history to our own time, a glimpse of Jewish women who were leaders and pioneers.

12/1: Intellect VS/& Emotions
Thinking and feeling, how they are different and how they can be synthesized in the light of Chassidic teaching.

12/8: 8 Minute Film for Chanukah
“Naturalized” is an 8-minute short about circumcision, Jewish choices & fitting-in, with a most impactful final 30 seconds. Watch & discuss, light Menorah and enjoy a Chanukah Party.



1/27: Basi L’Gani Cliff-Notes
5 Chapters of a classic legacy Chabad Chassidic discourse (1950) in 50 minutes, in accessible user-friendly format.

2/3: Tu Bishvat Fruit for Thought
A smorgasbord of fruity “New Year for Trees” insights with metaphor & life-messages for “Man is a Tree of the Field”

2/10: #42, & a 42-minute Farbrengen
Mendel turns 42, which has biblical & Kabbalistical meaning beyond/including Jackie Robinson & the Hitchhiker’s Guide. Farbrengens defy time-limits, but we’ll compress this one.

2/17: 4 Special Spring Torah Portions
In the span leading up to Purim until before Passover, four special Torah portions are added, find out what they’re about.

2/24: Shmitta Opinions & Observance
This year is a Sabbatical Year in Israel with many agricultural laws as well as varying Rabbinic ways to practically deal with it.

3/3: Behind the Mask
What’s behind the mask of the Megillah, and how that applies in relationships as well as within ourselves. Plus Hamantasch Baking!

3/10: The Struggle is Significant
Selections from Tanya chapters 15, 27 & 30 on the meaning, significance & value of struggle, effort and challenge in our personal lives, spiritual growth and in understanding others.

3/24: Pesach Notes
Overview of Passover Laws with Seder inspiration, too!

4/14: The Audacity of Hope
Learning from post-Holocaust survivor optimism and resilience.

4/21: Dig into Israeli Archeology
by Larry Ginsburg a look at Biblical & Jewish history through the lens of Israeli archeology and artifacts.

4/28: Honoring Parents
Selections from Talmud Kiddushin and other classic text sources on the 5th Commandment.

5/5: Soulful Networking
with Owen Strong – using Social-Media as a parable for spiritual connection and soulful networking


FALL 2014

8/26: Jewish Dorm Essentials
Think Dorms are the antithesis of holiness? Think again!

9/2: Tzedakah – a Prospectus (I)
Classic texts on this classic Mitzvah & value of charity, using appropriate matching headers from financial industry lingo.

9/9: Tzedakah – a Prospectus (II)
Classic texts on this classic Mitzvah & value of charity, using appropriate matching headers from financial industry lingo.

9/16: Answering History’s Call
“Hu Ya’anaynu” each stanza of this liturgical poem & prayer is a story of its own. Take a walk through the generations.

9/30: Meaningful Prayer & Melody
with Rabbi Avraham & Rachel Trugman, a founding family of Moshav Meor Modiim, Israel and Ohr Chadash Educators. 5:45 and 7:45pm classes only.

10/14: Movie & Late Night in Sukkah
Note later time: 8:30pm start. Stay tuned for film, maybe Jam, and late night study that follows for “Hoshana Rabba” eve.

10/21: Seussian Talmud
Using both a segment of Dr. Seuss & an actual piece of Talmud to demonstrate Rashi & Tosefos commentary styles.

10/28: Curb Your Enthusiasm
with Greg Pollak (‘10) now Channel 10 meteorologist Jewish messages from a selection of Larry David’s hit TV series.

 11/4: Heaven, Hell & The Afterlife
What do Jews believe? Why does it matter?                             `

11/11: Happiness Matters
In connection to this year’s JSAM theme: “UA-HAPPY!”

11/18: Ashrei – The Happy Psalm
a 3x daily cornerstone of our prayers, this alphabetical Psalm has many rich one-liners, with multiple layers of meaning.

12/2: The Eruv Controversy
Halachic issues surrounding the Shabbat string/wire fence

12/9: The Struggle is Significant
Selections from Tanya chapters 15, 27 & 30 on the meaning, significance & value of struggle, effort and challenge in our personal lives, spiritual growth and in understanding others.

NEW THIS SEMESTER: post-Minyan Brunch SUNDAY TALMUD, one section each week, with the goal to finish Brachos Chapter 4. Open to all learner levels, no prior Talmud experience necessary.



1/28: Vessels of the Holy Temple
Menorah is well-known, fewer are familiar with the Incense/Inner Altar & Showbread Table. This class focuses on vessels in Holy Sanctum of Tabernacle & Temple & relevance today.

2/4: From Sinai to SUNY (I)
Birdseye view of Jewish history in a nutshell. Learn about key people, books and places, and corresponding secular eras.

2/11: From Sinai to SUNY (II)
Birdseye view of Jewish history in a nutshell. Learn about key people, books and places, and corresponding secular eras.

2/18: Prayer Paradoxes
A closer look at a few prayer sections that express yin & yang balance with multi, paradoxical layers of perspective & truth.

2/25: My Mighty Morphin’ Torah
by Scott Stofenberg (’12/’14) a class with valuable life messages connecting Power Rangers and Torah.

3/4: All about Havdalah
It’s philosophical, multi-sensory, serves as both firewall & a port, a weekly ritual that’s so familiar yet also quite unknown.

3/11: The Time Rabba Killed R’ Zeira
Relevant life insights gleaned from a disturbing & perplexing Talmud Megillah (7b) Purim story and related commentary.

3/25: Secrets of Jewish Intimacy (I)
Jewish themes on “Shalom-Bayit” – relationship harmony

4/1: Secrets of Jewish Intimacy (II)
Guys join Mendel and Girls join Raizy for a frank, eye and heart-opening talk on “Taharat-HaMishpacha” family purity

4/22: Moshiach Songs – 8th of Pesach
Not exactly a Torah-Tues, it’s the 8th Night of Passover. We’ll have prayers & the holiday meal, plus an emphasis on Jewish songs on Moshiach, and why contemporary Moshiach songs are avant-garde, ahead of the curves of the exile.

4/29: Golden Girls’ Jewish Messages
by Ben Zaientz (‘12/’14) select segments of this critically acclaimed TV sitcom as a springboard for Jewish learning.

5/6: Jewish Super Heroes
by Eliot Hecht (Dec ‘14). This class blends Eliot’s fascination with superheroes with Jewish messages, & Israeli heroes, too!


FALL 2013

8/27: Getting Accustomed
Why customs matter. Thoughts on the start of a New Year before Rosh Hashanah & a new academic year at UAlbany.

9/10: Teshuva Stories in the Talmud
Read and interpret the stories of R’ Elazar ben Durdaya, Reish Lakish etc. & their messages of change & self-transformation.

10/1: Halacha Trace
A case study in historical Halachic development using two specific issues in the laws of Mezuzah – from Biblical verse through the Talmud, commentaries and Code of Jewish Law.

10/8: Pray Different
The High Holidays may be over, but prayer continues to be a big part of Jewish life. Tips for more meaningful prayer.

10/15: Torah on Self-Esteem
Relevant psychological insights in classic Jewish texts.

10/22: Temptations
Lust, desire and fantasy. What’s the Jewish take?

10/29: Addiction Recovery & Judaism
Time TBA. by Rabbi Shais Taub, featured lecture for this year’s Jewish Social Action Month project “A4A@A” (Action for Addiction at UAlbany) open to students & community.

11/5: Video Gaming Messages
by Aaron Weil, Zach Ganzarski & Eliot Hecht

11/12: What’s in a Name?
Jewish Names – their history, custom, and modern-day use.
by Sara Rubin & Rabbi Mendel in honor of her 11th birthday.
. `
11/19: Hasid vs. Hipster
Surprising similarities & important differences.

12/3: Chanukah Thanksgiving
Time TBA. This year’s rare scheduling highlights connection between the two holidays, 18 centuries apart. Shorter study planned as part of larger Chanukah activities & celebration.


1/29: Hillel the Psychologist
an in-depth reading of 3 Talmudic Aggadah stories in Tractate Shabbos about Hillel the Mishnaic sage, his life and teachings

2/12: L’cha Dodi Lyrics 
Inner meaning and relevance of this beloved Friday Night song, composed by R’ Shlomo Alkabetz in 16th century Tzfat.

2/19: Spiritual Fracking
Without taking sides on this heated issue, there are relevant pro & con messages about fracking into the shale of our lives.

2/26: A Letter in the Scroll
As we approach the Lorence “Alumni Torah” dedication, here’s a look on “our portion in Your Torah” for each of us.

3/5: Moshe’s “Maamar” Messages
This weekend we’ll celebrate Moshe’s Bar-Mitzvah, so we’ll share themes from the Bar-Mitzvah Chassidic discourse.

3/12: Jews Sing the Darnest Things
Cross-denominational synagogue classics that convey deep fundamentals that are more complex than the songs suggest.

4/2: End-of-Passover Moshiach Meal
Not your typical Torah-Tues! Passover ends on a high, as we look forward to redemption with songs, stories & inspiration

4/9: Paul Simon Says…
by Ian Goldstein (‘13) – Life messages and Jewish insights in some of Paul Simon’s lyrics.

4/16: Faithful & Fortified III
5:45 & 7:45pm only – 3rd in series of video interviews of the Rebbe’s interactions with Israeli military leaders, journalists and now with Prime Ministers. Downstairs in Lounge.

4/23: The Neighbor Law
The Talmudic Neighbor Law and it’s allegorical application to the Angel vs. Human argument over the Torah.

5/7: All about the Shavuot Holiday
Shavuot (3rd of the “3 Festivals”) rarely falls during the Academic Calendar, but this year it falls in Finals Week.

FALL 2012

8/28: Torah as a Prescription
Viewing Torah via a prescription medication analogy.

9/4: Friday-Light
Laws, customs and meaning of Shabbat candle-lighting.

9/11: Packing a Holiday Suitcase
A broad multi-level view at what each holiday in Tishrei offers, how they come together as a set, and more!

10/16: A Rabbi Against Outreach
The story of R’ Yosi ben Kisma (Ethics of our Fathers) seems to go against outreach. Talmudic archeology gives it a twist.

10/23: The Penn State Dilemma 
Exploring Jewish values and texts that relate to the biggest college sports story of the past year.

10/30: Care & Concern for Soldiers
The educational component of this year’s JSAM project, messages of hope & inspiration for those in the military.

11/6: Run for a Mitzvah
by Owen Strong – UAlbany Track & Field  Get inside the mind & training of a runner, along with a Torah perspective.

11/13: Texting and Torah
The Written & Oral Torahs and Mishna vs. Talmud as reflected in the ascendency of texting in this generation.

11/27: Rambam-Ends
Rambam’s (Maimonides) “book-endings” are spiritual poetry and perspective in a book of practical Jewish law.

12/4:“Lights”Cartoon in a New Light
Lights! is a classic Chanukah cartoon. Rabbi Mendel’s running commentary will highlight profound Chassidic insights behind what seems to be a kids’ tale.


1/24: 10 Plagues – what’s the point?
by Rabbi Yoni Rosenzweig, Yeshivat HaMivtar – Israel

1/31: Coming Out of the Ark
Prayers, rituals and customs of the Torah reading ceremony

2/7: Social Pollution
On the eve of Tu Bishvat, a twist on the far-reaching environmental impact of negative, destructive speech.

2/14: Secrets of Jewish Intimacy I
Jewish themes on “Shalom-Bayit” – relationship harmony

2/21: Secrets of Jewish Intimacy II
Guys join Mendel and Girls join Raizy for a frank, eye and heart-opening talk on “Taharat-HaMishpacha” family purity

2/28: Rabbi Yehoshua
Talmudic stories that shed light on this great Mishna teacher

3/6: Sleepless in Shushan
Insomnia & the Purim story with relationships analogies

3/20: Kiddush-Havdalah Combo
by Moshe Rubin (12th birthday) Talmudic argument on the set-up for the 2nd night of the Seder this year on Sat Night

3/27: How to be Shomer the Omer
The history, laws and spiritual symbolism of the Omer Count

4/10: The 4 Sons Remixed – Passover meal
The Rebbe’s unconventional wisdom on Haggadah’s 4 Sons

4/17: Yiddish Apples to Apples
Learn some of Yiddish’s juiciest expressions via a card game

4/24: Israel’s Security; Rebbe’s View
Video interviews with defense officials & politicians on their interaction with the Rebbe on Israeli security matters

5/1: Faces of Orthodoxy
A snapshot view of various movements & perspectives, and their “locations” on the big map spectrum of Orthodoxy

FALL 2011

8/30: Kosher Hypocrisy
Can hypocrisy be Kosher? Something to think about when beginning a year of Jewish college life.

9/6: Jewish Standard Time
A closer look at time, exploring the Jewish day and calendar in Halacha and Jewish mysticism.

9/13: The Beekeeping Rabbi
by Rabbi Laber of Troy who makes his own honey for Rosh Hashanah. Find out more about bees, honey and Judaism.

9/20: Sounds of the Shofar
Background to the Shofar in classic Jewish texts.

10/4: The Amidah
In time for Yom-Kippur, get a better understanding of the central piece of our daily, Sabbath and holiday prayers.

10/25: Kabbalah of the Alef-Bet
by Rabbi Yossi Rubin Discover how the letters of the Hebrew alphabet are the building blocks of Creation and our world.

11/1: Emotional Space
Respecting and valuing personal space, based on Torah teachings as reflected in inter-personal relationships.

11/8: Harry Potter’s Jewish Sparks
Jewish parables, messages and insights as viewed through the wizarding world of JK Rowling.

11/14: Talmud on the Ugly Man
Part II of the TIC-TAC-TOE series: TACkling a tough Talmud story about “Rabbi Eliezer and the Ugly Man” (Taanis 20)

11/29: Jacob’s Ladder
Exploring commentaries perspectives on the famous Biblical story of Jacob’s Dream in the weekly Torah portion Vayeitze.

12/6: Business Law & Talmud
Compare & contrast Talmudic texts with a sampling from the (BLAW 220) textbook “Business Law & Legal Environment”.


1/25: The Dirt on Dirt
Soil as a nurturing environment for growth – for Tu Bishvat

2/1: Bentsching / Birkat HaMazon
a closer look at the first paragraph we sing after meals

2/8: Smartphone Spirituality
The mobile computing revolution has soul messages, too

2/15: The Ben-Ish-Chai
Life & Teachings of a beloved Sephardic Rabbi in 1800’s

3/1: Seinfeld’s Jewish Messages
originally created by Laura Novello ’07 with Rabbi Mendel: 4 episodes: Mohel, Talking Rabbi, Lobster & Anti-Dentite

3/8: The Always Bookends
Rema’s Code of Law begins and ends with these keepers…  plus Purim-Packet Packing

3/15: Gratitude in Relationships
what it does for love, friends, customers – & the Purim story

3/22: R’ Yochanon Ben Zakkai
Pivotal figure in Jewish history at the Temple’s destruction

3/29: The Giving Up Argument
by Moshe Rubin, a beginners Talmud piece in Bava Metzia

4/5: Speak No Evil
by Aron Cepler, on the impact of gossip and negative speech

4/12: Haggadah Insights
Take something home to share at your Seder this year

5/3: Student Papers (FontCast)
Wrote a Jewish paper? Submit to be “published”, and 3 will present synopsis for their peers at this last Torah-Tuesday.

FALL 2010

8/31: Rosh Hashanah’s 3 Blessings
Explore the core of RH’s Amidah with Computer Analogies.

9/14: The Ten Martyrs
by Ben Zaientz Background & Insights into a highlight of the Yom Kippur Service

9/28: Soup & Study in the Sukkah
8pm only. Traditional “Late-Night Hoshana Raba” study.

10/5: Many Faces of Orthodoxy
movements, groups, schools of thought, styles, stereotypes

10/12: The Bose Shema I 
Better “Hear O’ Israel” Through Research.

10/19: The Bose Shema II 
Better “Hear O’ Israel” Through Research.

10/26: A Jewish Wedding
Laws, Customs & Traditions of a Jewish Wedding Ceremony.

11/2: Tanya’s “Inside-Outside” I
Meaningful Chassidic insight into seeking inward for soul & spirituality in self, our fellows and the world around us.

11/9: Topic TBA
Rabbi Mendel’s brother’s wedding is this evening, so we are arranging for a guest presenter at this Torah-Tuesday.

11/16: Pass it On
by Sara Rubin (& Rabbi Mendel) on her 8th birthday. Mitzvot & lessons learned from our matriarchs & patriarchs.

11/30: A Spin on Toy-Story

12/7: Hillel vs. Shammai
Talmudic selections of their Halachic arguments.


1/26: Are We Avatars?
This popular hit movie has a profound Chassidic message!

2/2: Rabbi Eliezer the Great
Talmud selections on the life, times and teachings of the fiercely independent R’ Eliezer ben Hurkanos of the Mishna

2/9: Radical Rambam for Our Age
passages from Mishna Torah & The Guide on goals of Torah study by Rabbi Joel Zeff, Dean of HaMivtar in Efrat Israel

2/23: Purim’s Supporting Actors
The lesser-known folks also play important Megillah roles. Plus, we’ll pack Purim Packets for the Quad Dining Halls

3/9: Secrets of Jewish Intimacy I
Jewish tips and insights into Relationship Harmony

3/16: Secrets of Jewish Intimacy II
boys with Rabbi Mendel and girls with Raizy for a frank and open discussion on intimacy and Jewish observance

3/23: Maror: The Bitter Herb
Background, Halacha & relevance of the Seder centerpiece

4/13: Rashi on the Joseph Story
study of selections of Rashi commentary on the Torah

4/20: Israel’s Holy-Sites
pictorial tour, background & commentary of holy burial sites

4/27: Principals & Agents
a case study contrasting Talmudic and American Law


FALL 2009

9/1: Jewish Dorm Essentials
Think Dorms can’t be holy? Think again!

9/8: Kick it Up a Notch
Chassidic background to Emeril’s encouraging uplift – plus packing Rosh Hashanah Packets for the Quads

9/15: A Talmudic Impeachment
Meet Rabbis Gamliel, Joshua & others in a Talmud story

9/22: Kosher Symbols & Standards
basic Kosher law, background to symbols, stringency levels

9/29: Abbaye’s Sukkah Thread
Common denominator underlying 8 Talmudic arguments

10/13: Trees of Knowledge & Life
why we need both trees for the total human experience

10/20: Back To Barter
Power of exchange in economics, community & relationships

10/27: Curb Your Enthusiasm
by Greg Pollak – Jewish messages from the hit TV series

11/3: Spiritual DNA (I)
Mapping the inner makeup of our souls and personalities

11/10: Spiritual DNA (II)
Mapping the inner makeup of our souls and personalities

11/17: Spiritual DNA (III)
Mapping the inner makeup of our souls and personalities

12/1: Menorah Specs
plus Chanukah Packets for the Quads & Sara’s Birthday


1/27: The Forever Blessing
Festive Sheva Brachos Dinner celebrating the wedding week of alumni Adam (‘06) and Allie (‘07) and a study on the blessing of “an everlasting home.” 5:30pm only

2/3: Rebbe Reflections
10th of Shvat (1950) marks the start of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s leadership. Video highlights of 5 of his teachings and their reflection in the lives of Chabad Shluchim.

2/10: Wine in Jewish Tradition
Post-Tu-Bishvat fruity Seder with readings about wine

2/24: Downturn Torah
May the economic downturn pick up by then – but the spiritual life messages remain timeless and relevant

3/3: The Havdalah Refrain
Insights into the Havdala quote from Purim’s Megillah, plus packing Purim holiday packets for all Quads

3/17: Moshe’s Sicha-Art
In honor of his 9th birthday, Moshe Rubin will explain the messages behind a selection of his Sicha-Art paintings

3/24: And Justice For All
By Aleeza Sklover, in connection with Hillel’s Global Awareness Week: Social Justice – Tzedek in Judaism

3/31: Sounds of Silence
Jews like to talk but there’s a lot to be said for silence too

4/21: Audacity of Hope
Understanding post-Holocaust survivor optimism

4/28: Israel’s Shabbat Policies
Shabbat’s major role in Israel’s religion-state identity issue

FALL 2008

8/26: Life & Times of Rabbi Akiva
Talmudic texts on the life of one of the greatest sages

9/2: “I > < Beloved”
Insights into this romantic passage from Song of Songs

9/9: The Handwashing Ritual
Meaning, background and Halachic regulations

9/16: Juicy Yiddish Adjectives
Learning Yiddish with apples to apples, plus packing Rosh Hashanah packets for all Quads

9/23: Heaven, Hell & the Afterlife
What do Jews believe? why does it matter?

10/7: Pray Different
In time for Yom Kippur – tips for more meaningful prayer

10/28: Torah, Science & the Age of the Universe
by Aron Cepler, graduate student at UAlbany CNSE

11/4: Torah on Self-Esteem
Relevant psychological insights in Jewish texts

11/11: The Eruv Controversy
What are the issues surrounding the Shabbat wire fence?

11/18: Anatomy of a Blessing
inside look at daily blessings as Thanksgiving nears

12/2: Jews & Comic-Books
8:30pm only -by Rob Kovach, avid collector & enthusiast


1/29: Tea and Tehillim
Customs, background and meaning of “Saying Psalms” and dairy dinner accented by teas and pastries

2/5: People-Count
In honor of Super Tuesday’s primaries, we’ll take a closer look at Jewish census-taking in the Torah.

2/12: Judaism & the Environment
by Joy Newman on our partnership with the world

2/26: The Rice Blessing
Exploring Talmudic and Halachic opinions on the proper rice blessings along with sushi, tomato-rice soup etc…

3/4: Distilled Faith
Habakuk’s 3 words “righteous live with faith” which sparked multiple movements and varied perspectives

3/11: Behind the Mask
What’s behind the mask of the Megillah, in relationships and in ourselves + Purim Packet Packing for the Quads

3/18: Hamantalogy: Torah Take 3
Learning the Jewish take on the number 3 along with actually baking 3-pointed Hamantasch cookies for Purim

4/1: NoChametz: Talmud>Halacha
Talmudic text and how it plays out in practical observance

4/8: Mapquest: Biblical Israel
by Craig Messer exploring historic journeys in the Land of Israel using Biblical sources

4/29: Eleven Messages
By Mushky Rubin in honor of her 11th birthday

FALL 2007

9/4: getting acCUSTOMed
Why customs matter. Plus Rosh Hashanah packets.

9/11: understanding steve JOBs
Torah source texts connected to Steve Job’s 2005 Stanford commencement address and his JOB story

9/18: Temptations
Lust, desire and fantasy. What’s the Jewish take?

10/2: Late Night Torah Study
Hoshana Rabba (7th night of Sukkot) is for late night study. 10pm to Midnight with coffee and refreshments.

10/9: Jewish History Panorama
Part 1 – Get the bird’s eye view in chart form.

10/16: Jewish History Panorama
Part 2 – Even in a nutshell, one class won’t cut it.

10/23: Secrets of Jewish Intimacy
Jewish themes on “Shalom Bayit” relationship harmony.

10/30: Secrets of Jewish Intimacy
Join Mendel and Raizy for a frank eye and heart-opening discussion on “Taharat HaMishpacha” Family Purity.

11/6: Torah from Jerusalem
Guest presenter from Israel via JERNY topic TBA

11/13: Do Stones Speak?
Genealogist and historian Rabbi Avraham Laber on reading history from gravestone inscriptions.

11/27: Challenge
Inspiring and humorous video of the Rebbe on kicking it up a notch. Produced by JEM. Plus Chanukah packets.

12/4: Represent!
by Ariel Lipper – in the spirit of Chanukah’s Maccabees, on representing our heritage and our people. 8:30 only along with Menorah, Latkes and Chanukah Party.


1/23: Halacha Trace
Tracing Torah > Talmud > Halacha texts using “Synagogue Mezuzah” as a sample

1/30: Basi LGani CliffNotes
a classic Chassidic Discourse (1950)

2/6: Seussian Talmud
by Craig Messer & Justin Hirsch Seuss Talmud page mock-up to learn commentator styles

2/13: Yours Truly
on Truth in Relationships (between us and G-d, and between people).

2/27: Sleepless in Shushan
Insomnia and the Purim Story

3/13: Topic TBA
Class by Moshe & Rabbi Mendel for Moshe’s 7th birthday

3/20: Talmud VS. US Law
on Principals and Agents

3/27: Seder Song Symbolism
One Goat, Happened at Midnight etc…

4/17: Jewish Medical Ethics
by Laura Novello Stem-cell Research, Organ-Transplants etc. in Halacha

4/24: Building Momentum Keeping it going strong! 3rd generation Zionism, or all good things in life.


FALL 2006

9/12: Why Shofar?
Background of Rosh Hashana’s Shofar

9/19: Jewish Standard Time
Timelessness of Jewish time & calendar, understanding key concepts & features

9/26: Jews Sing the Darndest Things
Profound themes behind traditional popular songs sung at all synagogues

10/24: Matisyahu’s Lyrics I
Chassidic texts behind his reggae

10/31: Matisyahu’s Lyrics II
Chassidic texts behind his reggae

11/7: Hillel the Psychologist
an in-depth reading of three Talmudic Aggadah stories in Tractate Shabbos

11/14: Vicarious Relationships
Empathy in Jewish thought & living

11/28: Jacob’s Ladder
exploring commentary on weekly Parsha

12/5: Alternative Energy
Quantifying and qualifying the Menorah miracle (and Chanukah Packet Packing)


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