Advanced Learning Institute

Looking for in-depth Jewish learning? Join our ongoing group of adult learners and engage with gifted Jewish scholars from around the country.
The Advanced Learning Institute meets on Monday mornings, 9:30 – 10:30am via Zoom.
To join the class, or just drop in from time to time,
please fill out the form below so we can send you the Zoom link and password.

Email with any questions.

Upcoming ALI Classes

Monday, March 8 with Julie Gersten
Everybody Counts: Welcoming Refugees and Asylum Seekers into our Communities

Through text-based learning, Julie will facilitate a discussion on what it means to count refugees and asylum seekers as valuable contributors to our society.  

Julie Gersten is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Refugee Action Fund, an organization that mobilizes philanthropic giving to help refugees and other forcibly displaced people achieve safety, dignity and opportunities to live productive lives. Julie has over 15 years of experience in the non-profit sector building social change movements, including nine years at two human rights grantmaking foundations—American Jewish World Service and the New Israel Fund.  She currently serves on the board of HIAS, a global non-profit organization that supports refugees. She holds a Certificate in Jewish Experiential Education from Yeshiva University, an MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and a BA in Political Science from Vassar College. 

Monday, March 15 & 22 with Miriam Saperstein
Punk Prayers, Jewish Zines
March 15: What is a Zine?
March 22: Making Zines!

Since zines (self-published magazines) emerged as an artform in the late 20th century punk scene, Jews have been using this medium to question the ways things are and how things could be. In this two-part workshop, we will learn about the history of zines, focusing on examples made by queer and trans Jews. We will look at zines which question the status quo as a way to connect and build new possibilities. In other words, these zines are prayers for olam haba (the world to come/a just future). 

This is a two-part series, come for one workshop or both. The first workshop will focus on exploring different zine examples and learning a folding technique to make our own. The second workshop will be a chance to try out the art form for ourselves. There will be optional opportunities for show and tell, banter in the zoom chat window and creative question asking.

Bring your enthusiasm for trying out some low-stakes creative exercises, a few pieces of printer paper (or paper of a similar size) and a writing utensil. Optional supplies include anything you like to make art with—old magazines? ketchup? sequins? (But really, all you need is a pen and a piece of paper.)
All are welcome, including those who’ve never heard of a zine, and those who feel nervous about making art. Love making zines? You’re welcome, too! 

March 15: What is a Zine? In this interactive session we will learn about zines, which are self-published magazines that anyone can make. We’ll explore multiple zine histories and formats through digital examples. Participants will learn how to fold their own mini-zine. All are welcome, from those who don’t even know what a zine is to seasoned zinesters. Please bring a piece of printer paper (or paper of a similar size) and something to write with!

March 22: Making Zines! In this hands-on session, participants will be guided through creative exercises which will become a mini-zine of their very own. Using whatever supplies are at hand—scissors, old magazines, paint, ketchup, sequins, or just a pen and paper—we will play and try out different zine techniques. No previous art experience necessary—this is a low-stakes, fun opportunity to play and try something new!

Miriam Saperstein (they/them) is a zine maker, poet, ritual crafter and aspiring archivist living on Anishinaabe land near Waawiyaataanong/Detroit. Their art and writing has been featured in Jewish Currents Magazine, PROTOCOLS, New Voices Magazine and ctrl + v. Their zines are available at

March 29th – NO CLASS (Passover)

Jews and Christians – Related but Distinct, with Dr. Reinhard Krauss

ALI resumes April 5th: Dr. Reinhard Krauss will teach a six-part series that will be offered the first and third Mondays of the month during April, May, and June.
April 5: Paul of Tarsus: New Branches Grafted Into an Old Olive Tree
April 19: Gotthold Ephraim Lessing: Ethics as the Measure of Truth
May 3: Abraham Joshua Heschel: Parental Care and Filial Respect
May 17: Nostra Aetate: Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions
June 7: Dabru Emet: A Jewish Statement on Christians And Christianity
June 21: To Do the Will of Our Father in Heaven: Toward a Partnership between Jews and Christians

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Jesus of Nazareth was an observant Jew who, based on the historical evidence, did not intend to become the founder of a new religion. Rather, like many Jews before and after him, he questioned some of the ways in which Judaism was being practiced in his day. After his death, his followers embraced a number of beliefs and practices which diverged from mainstream Judaism. Gradually, the two communities parted ways and evolved into two separate religious traditions, known as Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity. Ever since this early parting of the ways, both Jewish and Christian thinkers have grappled with the question of how to define and understand the relationship between Judaism and Christianity – not just historically but also within the framework of their respective theological traditions. 

The study series will explore the writings of several exemplary thinkers who have proposed models for understanding the complex relationship between Judaism and Christianity. In addition, participants will study and discuss public declarations by both the Jewish and Christian communities which call for a reassessment of traditional views in light of the Shoah.

APRIL 5th: Paul of Tarsus was a highly influential theologian in the formative stage of the Christian religion. He is the author of the majority of the texts in the Christian part of the Bible. To prepare for this study session please read the following text prior to class: Romans 9-11, approx. 56 CE.

APRIL 19th: Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was a prominent German philosopher and author during the Enlightenment. Lessing was a close friend of the Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelsohn Text: ‘The Parable of the Rings’ in Nathan, the Wise, a play by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, 1779


It our pleasure to bring great learning to ALI participants every week. Your voluntary contributions make this possible. Please consider a gift of $500 to enjoy a full year of learning. Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated. Click here to contribute.

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