Emanu-El Scholar Courses

Madeleine Haas Russell Institute of Jewish Learning
All of Rabbi Kushner’s courses are drop-in.
(We’re always grateful if you register but it’s not a deal-breaker)


The Every Fourth Week Weekly Torah Portion

With Rabbi Lawrence Kushner
Monthly Mondays, 4:30 – 5:45 pm

Each month the class will choose one of the next four parshiyot (Torah portions) to read and argue about. The class will explore its classical themes, problems, anomalies, and, generally, learn how to read a holy text.

October 21; November 18; December 16; January 13; February 24; March 17; April 28; May 19

Free to members; $20 non-members
“Drop-ins” are welcome, but we appreciate it when you register.

The School of Mezritch on the Parasha

With Emanu-El Scholar Rabbi Lawrence Kushner
Saturdays, 9:15 – 10:15 am  


Rabbi Dov Baer of Mezritch (The Great Maggid) was the principal disciple of the Baal Shem Tov. He and his students literally set the agenda for contemporary Jewish spirituality. The class will read from the just published Speaking Torah: Spiritual Teachings from around the Maggid's Table (Jewish Lights Publishing) edited and translated by Arthur Green. This edition includes the Hebrew text and, while the discussions will be in English, students will be encouraged to try their hand at the Hebrew original.
No registration necessary.

Tales of the Hasidim - Spring

With Emanu-El Scholar Rabbi Lawrence Kushner at the Mechanic's Institute 
Thursdays, noon – 1:00 pm - Starting March 13, 2014

 Class dates: March 13, 27; April 10, 24; May 8, 22

Every great spiritual re-awakening begins with a resurgence of narrative as a literary art form. Indeed, that's what all holy books effectively are: stories. As a young scholar, Martin Buber collected and arranged these short, sometimes miraculous, zen-like, always profound and instructive stories the early Hasidim* told about their spiritual leaders or "rebbes." Criticized for being "more Buber than Hasidism," his two volume English classic is nothing less than a roadmap of the Jewish soul. Over the year, the class will read them all and learn how to tell stories about our own yearnings. 

This class is a continutation of the fall and winter course, new and contintuing students are welcome.
Location: The Conference room in the Mechanic's Institute, 57 Post St., San Francisco, CA 94104


 Space is limited. Drop-ins are welcome. 

*They are not to be confused with their contemporary Brooklyn descendants.

Cover of Kabbalah: A Love StoryKabbalah: A Love Story

Rabbi Kushner's first novel

Four years in the making! Soon to be a major motion picture! (Hey, it could happen.) After sixteen books of non-fiction, Rabbi Kushner's first novel, KABBALAH: A LOVE STORY is the fable of a rabbi who accidentally discovers a hidden, lost page to the Zohar (the master text of Kabbalah) and what that discovery does to his life and the life of a woman he doesn't (yet) know he loves who teaches astronomy at Columbia University. A short selection from the first chapter and endorsements are available here.


Search Site:


© 2012 Congregation Emanu-El 2 Lake Street, San Francisco, CA 94118
Phone: (415) 751-2535
Fax: (415) 751-2511