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Anshei Mitzvah

Photo: Anshei Mitzvah Class 2018

 

Anshei Mitzvah Program Highlights 2021-22 / 5782 

Jewish tradition encourages us to interpret the giving of the commandments at Sinai as if we, too, were standing there. This covenant between God and God’s people is more than an inherited legacy; it is a direct, personal pact between each Jew and God. Undertaking the Anshei Mitzvah experience is a way of living and demonstrating this unique relationship. 

This nine month long experience will engage you in a variety of Jewish learning opportunities designed to provide a fundamental grounding in Jewish tradition and practice. The program will culminate in a Shabbat morning service led by the 5782 cohort. 

  • Program Term: Sept. 22, 2021 - May 14, 2022 
  • Class Time & Location: Wednesdays, 7:30-8:30pm, in JRC’s Mirkaz Limud (education building)
  • Application processAPPLY HERE 
  • Program Fee: $1,000 (scholarships are available through the Gracie Robinson Fund). Apply here for tuition assistance.
  • JRC Membership: JRC membership is required for participation in the program
  • Program Director and Instructor: Stacy Lubov (slubov@judeareform.org) 

 

Anshei Mitzvah Calendar & Roadmap

September-December 2021: 

Intro to Hebrew reading (Aleph Bet, vowels, decoding)

January-February 2022: 

Fundamentals in Judaism: Torah and Sacred Texts, Shabbat, Festivals and Holidays, Tikkun Olam, Theology, Worship

March-April 2022: 

Introduction to Liturgy and Mishkan T’filah Shabbat Morning Service

May 2022:

Service Rehearsals

MAY 14, 2022: ANSHEI MITZVAH SERIVCE


 

 

Course Requirements

Weekly class attendance, completion of assigned homework and projects, participation in the experiences listed below, Hebrew reading practice, service rehearsal attendance, and keeping a journal (your choice of medium) to reflect on your studies and explorations. 

 

 

Components of the Experience 

Jewish Literacy and Competency 

In preposition for and during a weekly Wednesday night class, students will delve into Hebrew reading, liturgy, theology, ritual practice, holiday observance, and spiritual development using a variety of instructional modalities including written texts, videos, self-guided experiences, peer-to-peer learning, and personal reflection. 

Participation in Jewish Communal Life 

Participation in Jewish communal life enlivens study and creates tighter bonds to the Jewish people and community. During the course, students will be asked to attend one Judea Reform worship service per month (including at least two B’nei Mitzvah during the school year), two Jewish worship services with an affiliation other than the Reform Movement (may be done virtually), attend a life cycle event (if possible), and volunteer for a Shabbat service honor at JRC. 

Ritual Practice 

A cornerstone of Jewish practice is observing ritual customs, holidays, and mitzvot. Students will be asked to participate in Shabbat and holiday celebrations, and commit to an ongoing practice of a new-to-you ritual or mitzvah. 

Mitzvah Project 

During the course, students will be asked to undertake a meaningful act of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), aligning your values with the conduct of your daily life. You will develop and implement a Mitzvah project to demonstrate your connection to our prophetic tradition, and put scholarship and belief into action. 

Anshei Mitzvah/Shabbat Morning Service Preparation 

Pursuing study to lead and teach others is a blessing and commandment. During the second portion of the course, students will prepare and lead a portion of the Shabbat morning service, read Torah and Haftarah, and offer a D’var Torah (written interpretation of the Torah text).

 

 

Required & Encouraged Components of the Anshei Mitzvah Experience 

Class Attendance 

Please do your best to attend all of the classes and planned events. If you do miss a class, please try to stay current with the reading, journaling, and other assignments. Stacy will send a “Kitah (class) Note” following each session with reminders and any notable information. 

Assigned Homework 

Homework will include reading, journaling, and engaging in Jewish experiences. You will also be asked to practice your Hebrew, Torah portion, and service part(s) outside of class.

  • Hebrew: Aleph Bet, vowel, and decoding practice and memorization will be necessary to learn to read with confidence and accuracy.
  • Reading: The assigned reading, noted on the syllabus for each session, is to be completed prior to each class. There may be additional readings assigned as we move through the experience.
  • Journal: Reflecting on and reacting to your study and exploration is an important aspect of this experience. This may be accomplished with pen and paper, electronically, in blog form, or another medium that allows you to express yourself in a comfortable and meaningful fashion. In addition to written reflections, you may choose to use different art forms to respond to questions/experiences such as painting, movement, photography, vocal or instrumental composition, etc. At several points in the course you will be encouraged to share your reflections with each other.
  • Service Preparation: When we begin the liturgy section of the class, and to prepare for the Anshei Mitzvah service, you will need to commit some time everyday to studying your assigned verses and prayers, and meeting with your assigned tutor at a mutually agreed upon time.

Participation in Jewish Communal Life 

These are required activities that you will self-track, and will likely be topics of your journal reflections. 

  • Attend one Judea Reform worship service per month, and at least one Bar or Bat Mitzvah at Judea Reform during your Anshei Mizvah experience.
  • Attend two Jewish worship services with an affiliation other than the Reform Movement.
  • Volunteer for at least one Judea Reform Shabbat service honor (opening/closing the ark, lifting/dressing the Torah, etc.) To arrange this, contact Allan Friedman, Director of Music & Community Engagement, afriedman@judeareform.org
  • Participate in Jewish holiday celebrations and observances, as much as you are able.
  • Commit to an ongoing practice of a new-to-you ritual or mitzvah (e.g. lighting Shabbat candles, saying the Sh’ma before you go to sleep, taking a weekly meditation walk, read the weekly Torah portion). For more ideas, contact Stacy.

Suggested Elements to Enrich Your Experience 

  • Create community among yourselves. Invite the cohort to your home for Shabbat dinner, lunch, or a Havdalah service; meet at a restaurant for dinner before or after services; organize a trip to the NC Museum of Art to see the Judaic Collection; plant a tree together on Tu B’shvat; organize a wine and cheese gathering for the class in the Judea Reform Sukkah, etc. Contact Stacy for more suggestions. 
  • Attend Judea Reform, university, and Jewish community sponsored events and lectures.
  • Attend a Jewish life cycle event (brit milah/brit bat, wedding, funeral).
  • Attend Saturday morning Torah and Talmud study at JRC. 
  • Read Jewish books. For recommendations based on your interests and growing edges, contact Stacy
  • Visit Jewish sites and synagogues while you are travelling. 
  • Volunteer at Judea Reform. There are many tasks and committees that need hands.
  • Watch the live stream of Judea Reform services, if you aren’t able to attend in person. To watch, go to this webpage or the JRC Facebook page. 
  • Introduce yourself to folks you don’t know when you are at JRC to widen your network and help you and others feel more connected to the temple. 
  • Give Tzedakah, as you are able. 
  • Practice reading Hebrew to keep your skills fresh and strong. 

For more information, contact Program Director & Instructor, Stacy Lubov at slubov@judeareform.org

 

 

 

Anshei Mitzvah FAQ 

 

1) Do I need to attend every class and all the rehearsals?

Yes, your consistent presence is vital. Please consider whether you are able to make the nine month long commitment before you register. The schedule includes weeks off for the winter holidays and Pesach. 

In addition to the content learning that takes place in the classes, other members of the cohort will depend on your participation to enrich their experience, and make the class and rehearsals flow smoothly. 

We understand that unforeseen circumstances arise. Barring illness and emergent and critical events, please plan to be at all of the scheduled sessions. All of the class and rehearsal dates will be given to you prior to the start of the course. 

2) Will the classes be in person or virtual? 

As of today’s date, 6/27/21, we are planning to hold in person classes at JRC. If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to wear a mask. If you are not, you need to wear a mask inside JRC’s buildings, per temple policy. If the temple shuts down at any point, we will switch to virtual learning and a virtual service. 

3) Do I need to know Hebrew to participate? 

No, learning to read Hebrew is the first part of the course. You don’t need to know a single letter or vowel. 

4) Will I learn Modern Hebrew as a part of this experience? 

Generally, no, Modern Hebrew will not be taught in the class. You may encounter/learn a few words here or there, but it is not a focus of the curriculum. 

5) How will I learn my Torah and Haftarah portion? 

Each participant will be assigned a volunteer tutor from the congregation who will work with you on learning and practicing your portion. 

6) Do I need to chant my Torah portion? 

No, it is completely acceptable to read your portion.

7) Aside from tuition, will there be other expenses to participate in the experience?

Each participant will need to borrow or purchase Mishkan T’filah, the Reform Movement Siddur (prayer book), a TANACH, a Hebrew reading primer, and possibly one additional book. 

You may also choose to wear a kippah (head covering) and/or tallit (prayer shawl) for your Bar/Bat Mitzvah, and may want to purchase one or both for yourself. 

There has been a tradition at JRC of each Anshei Mitzvah class donating something to the temple in honor of the experience. (Examples of past donations include: gifts to the Gracie Robinson Fund for B’nei and Anshei Mitzvah scholarships, bimah furniture, and a bench in the meditation garden.) This is certainly not required and you will decide on this as a group. In any case, whether to participate and at what level is completely up to you. 

Historically, classes have hosted a Kiddush luncheon for the congregation following the Saturday morning service. Whether this will happen and how it will be funded will be a group decision. 

8) Do I need to attend the Friday night service on 5/13/22? 

Yes, please plan to be there. It is likely that some or all of you will have a part in the Friday night service. 

9) Will there be a group and/or public celebration after the Shabbat morning service?

This will be a class decision. Historically, classes have hosted a Kiddush luncheon for the entire congregation. Some classes have also elected to have a Friday night dinner together at the temple before or after services. 

10) Is there any required reading or preparation prior to class starting in September?

No, there is no preparation required for the experience. If you would like to do some reading over the summer, here are a few suggestions: The Torah, Jewish Literacy by Joseph Telushkin, Living a Jewish Life by Anita Diamant, and Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life--in Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There) by Sarah Hurwitz.

Tue, November 30 2021 26 Kislev 5782