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.
  • Please note there will be no class on Monday, May 17th for Shavuot nor on Monday, May 31st for Memorial Day.
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.

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Upcoming ALI Classes

The Book of Ruth: A two-part series with D’vorah Miller on April 26 and May 10

D’vorah Miller has been teaching and facilitating classes and workshops on Jewish Studies, relationships, self-esteem and spirituality for children, teens and adults for over 30 years across four continents. D’vorah recently served as Director of Jewish Studies for Irvine Hebrew Day School. She holds a Judaic Studies teaching certification from Bnot Chayil College in Jerusalem, Israel, a General Teaching Certification from New South Wales Board of Education in Australia and a certification in Therapeutic Counseling from MST College in London, England. D’vorah is the author of Elevated Living, due out this winter. D’vorah and her husband, Rabbi Shmuel Miller, are the blessed parents of eight great kids and at least as many grandkids.

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

DATES: April 5, April 19, May 3, May 24, June 7, June 21

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: New Branches Grafted Into an Old Olive Tree: 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: Ethics as the Measure of Truth: Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was a prominent German philosopher and author during the Enlightenment. Lessing was a close friend of the Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelsohn. Reading: ‘The Parable of the Rings’ in Nathan, the Wise, a play by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, 1779.

May 3rd | Abraham Joshua Heschel: Parental Care and Filial Respect: Abraham Joshua Heschel was one of the most eminent Jewish theologians of the last century. He was deeply engaged in the civil rights struggle and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King. Text: “No Religion Is an Island,” Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Inaugural Lecture as Visiting Professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, 1966. Reading: Heschel: No Religion Is An Island

May 24th | Nostra Aetate: Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions: An official statement adopted by the largest Christian community, the Roman Catholic Church, in 1965 as part of a global leadership conference called the Second Vatican Council. Reading: “Nostra Aetate. Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions.” official text

June 7 | Dabru Emet: A Jewish Statement on Christians And Christianity:
A statement by Jewish rabbis and intellectuals published in 2000 in response to Nostra Aetate. The more than 200 signatories come from all branches of Judaism. Text: “Dabru Emet. A Jewish Statement on Christians And Christianity,” 2000. Reading: 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: A Statement published in 2015 by prominent Orthodox rabbis in Israel, the United States, and Europe. It has since gained over 60 signatories. Text: “To Do the Will of Our Father in Heaven. Toward a Partnership between Jews and Christians,” 2015. Reading: Orthodox Rabbinic Statement on Christianity (December, 2015)

Dr. Reinhard Krauss is the Executive Director of the Academy for Judaic, Christian, and Islamic Studies. Since 2008 he has taught Inter-religious Studies as a Lecturer at the Center for the Study of Religion at UCLA. In addition, he is a member of the faculty of the New Theological Seminary of the Westand of Bayan Claremont, a Muslim graduate school in Southern California.

A native of Germany, Dr. Krauss studied at the German universities of Tübingen and Bonn and received his Ph.D. in Theology from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He is an accomplished academic translator, including being one of the main contributors to the new English edition of the works of the German theologian and pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a key leader of the resistance against Hitler’s Nazi regime.

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.
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