Advanced Learning Institute 2018-2019

Looking for in-depth Jewish learning? Join our ongoing group of adult learners and engage with gifted Jewish scholars from throughout southern California.

The Advanced Learning Institute meets on Tuesday mornings, 9:30 a.m. to noon, from October through May. Please register below for this academic year!

Academic Year Schedule 5779 / 2018-19 


Shai Cherry

October 9, 16, 23, & 30:
Rabbi Shai Cherry
Maimonides: The Man and His Message

Rabbi Shai Cherry, PhD, is currently a lecturer in Theology and Religious Studies at University of San Diego. He is the author of Torah through Time: Understanding Bible Commentary from the Rabbinic Period to Modern Times and is the featured lecturer for The Great Courses’ Introduction to Judaism.   His next book, Coherent Judaism, will be published in 2019.




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Dr. Scott Spitzer

November 13,  December 11 & 18, January 15 & 22, February 12 & 19, March 12 & 19, April 9:
Dr. Scott Spitzer & Rabbi Marcia Tilchin
OC iEngageJewish Values and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Scott J. Spitzer is an Associate Professor of Political Science at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF).  He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science at Columbia University in 2000.  Prior to joining the faculty at CSUF, Spitzer was an Assistant Professor at Chapman University (2002-2004) and at Seton Hall University (2000-2002).  His research addresses the dynamics of racial politics and social welfare policymaking in the United States, with an emphasis on the role of presidential leadership. Scott is currently working to create a summer study abroad program in Israel for CSU Fullerton, working in conjunction with the UC Irvine Olive Tree Initiative (OTI), for which he serves as a member of their Advisory Board.

The iEngage course is free for 2018-2019 ALI registrants. All others $180. More details about iEngage are here


Rabbi Jason Rosner

November 20 & 27
Rabbi Jason Rosner on
Secret Political Agendas Behind Jewish Law

For years Rabbi Rosner listened as friends and colleagues expressed ideas for programs, innovative religious services, art classes, and lecture series. In an effort to offer a channel for unrealized Jewish intellectual and spiritual curiosity, Rabbi Rosner co-founded Oneg Shabbat – North East Los Angeles Jewish Collaborative, with his wife Noémie. Rabbi Rosner is a hospice chaplain and has a background in pulpit work and fundraising. He was ordained by Hebrew Union College and is a member of the CCAR. In addition to rabbinic work, he enjoys teaching about Jewish history, specializing in historical context and making the culture and religion approachable without sacrificing depth.


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Rabbi John Carrier

January 29, February 26, March 26, & April 30:
Rabbi John Carrier
The Heart of the Stranger: Converts in the Jewish Tradition

Rabbi John Carrier teaches people how to find meaning, joy, personal growth, and human connection by engaging with Jewish wisdom and traditions. After living in a Jewish family for several years, Rabbi Carrier joined the Jewish people in 2000, was ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2014, and served as spiritual leader for Burbank Temple Emanu El for four years.

Rabbi Carrier is author of the new book, “The Promised Life: Overcome Your Crisis and Find Your Purpose with Seven Gifts from a Time-Tested Tradition.” Today Rabbi Carrier teaches Jewish and “Jewcurious” people worldwide online through YouTube and his podcast – “The Jewcurious Show” – as well as the Miller Introduction to Judaism program and the Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning. Coming full circle, he also now serves on rabbinic courts for conversion.


Reyna Gevurtz

November 6,  December 4, January 8, February 5, March 5, April 2 & May 7:
Rabbi Reyna Gevurtz
Topic TBD

Rabbi Rayna Gevurtz is originally from Portland, Oregon, where she was raised as an active member of Congregation Beth Israel.  After earning her degree in psychology from the University of Oregon, Rabbi Gevurtz completed her rabbinic studies in 2001 at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Rabbi Gevurtz current serves Temple Bat Yahm, and has previously served congregations in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Melbourne, Australia. She organizes and leads the JCAL K-2 Family Education Days, leads the monthly WTBY Rosh Chodesh program and participates bi-monthly Saturday morning Shabbat activities including Torah Study and morning services. Rabbi Gevurtz also manages the Seaside Musical Theater program through Temple Bat Yahm.

April 16, May 14, & May 21 TBD

Please let us know if you are interested in ALI and we will contact you: 


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