Jewish texts deal with significant questions about the meaning of life, from the theological and the philosophical to the legal and practical, guiding not just how we look at the world, but how we live in the world. Classes are offered most days of the week, many taught by Rabbi Cohen, several others led by community members. All classes at CBI, unless otherwise noted.


Jewish Meditation Group: A Hasidic Approach to Jewish Meditation based on the Teachings of the Maggid of Mezeritch and other Hasidic Masters, in theory (haskafah) and practice. We will cover:

  1. Preparatory Practices
  2. Quieting/Settling the Mind (hashkatah)
  3. Meditative Mussar (yeshuv da’at): Strengthening Positive Qualities (middot)
  4. Developing Meditative Concentration
  5. Thinking Deeply (nachshav ha-ruchaniyut) and Transforming Confusion (aliyat machshavot zarot)
  6. Experiencing Unity

R. Ken Lipman, Ph.D. Sundays, 9:30 am-10:45 am


Key Books in Tanach: Book of Samuel
Following the chaotic period of the Judges, the Book of Samuel narrates the centralization of leadership in Israel. The book opens with the birth of the prophet Samuel, who unifies the nation, and crowns the first kings of Israel.  The Book of Samuel presents a gripping exploration of political personalities, palace intrigue and the role of God in the lives of kings and nations.
Maharat Victoria Sutton is the Director of Education and Community Engagement at Congregation Beth Israel, Berkeley. She received ordination from Yeshivat Maharat and graduated from Barnard College, with a BA in Biological Sciences.
M. Victoria Sutton — Mondays @ 12:00 pm.  

NCSY LNL – Latte & Learning (for Teens; Grades 9-12): Our Special Blend: Coffee & Torah Every week. In addition to coffee, NCSY’s Latte & Learning initiative serves up Judaism in a relaxed, inspirational, and fun environment. LNL is the place for teens to ask questions, voice their feelings, and connect with each other. On hiatus until April 15.
Mondays @ 7:30-8:30 pm @ CBI


People of the (Artists’) Book:  Creating Around the Jewish  Sacred Cycle
7:00-9:30 PM, TUESDAYS, DEC. 11, JAN. 29, FEB. 26, MAR. 26 @ CBI
Our tradition teaches that the essence of each Jewish month can be expressed through a single corresponding biblical verse. Over the course of six monthly sessions, we will collaboratively create interactive artists’ books (i.e., handmade, multi-dimensional books) inspired by our investigation into these mysterious verses. Join Atiq (previously known as Beyond Noah’s Ark) and CBI  in learning and making as we explore the spiritual opportunities of every month. A gallery show at CBI at the conclusion of the series will share our work with the whole community. All levels of background in Jewish text study and art making are welcome, and all materials will be provided. This course is designed as a series, and participants (to the greatest extent possible) should expect to attend every session. Participation/materials fee: $50 (Scholarships based on need are available. Please ask!)
Adina Polen is the founder of Atiq (, a Jewish Maker Institute where people of all ages delve into  Jewish sources and create sacred material resources  for deepening personal paths of meaning. Atiq partners  with Jewish organizations throughout the Bay Are to  bring sacred art making into a wide variety of contexts,  and by November 2018 will be launching a community makerspace within the East Bay.

The Most Telling Rabbinic Stories of Dispute: Every page of the Talmud is replete with rabbinic disagreements concerning Jewish law and practice. At several points, the Talmud also provides detailed descriptions of some of the more critical controversies that both plagued and enriched the rabbinic culture of dispute in its early and later stages of formation. This series will examine some of the most telling stories that best characterize this feature of our rabbinic inheritance.
R. Yonatan Cohen •  Tuesdays @ 7:30-9:00 pm. March 5, 19, April 2


Nine Talmudic Readings by Emmanuel Levinas: Nine readings of the Talmud by the French Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas translate Jewish thought into the language of modern times. Here Levinas applies a hermeneutic that simultaneously allows the classic Jewish texts to shed light on contemporary problems and lets modern problems illuminate the texts. Besides being quintessential illustrations of the art of reading, the essays express the deeply ethical vision of the human condition that makes Levinas one of the most important thinkers of our time.
uni Schweig — Wednesdays @ 8:00 pm @ the Schweig home


Talmudic Wisdom: Join us for a weekly class that explores key sugyot (talmudic units) that discuss major Jewish questions of practice and thought. (Please note class will not meet on March 22.)
R. Yonatan Cohen • Fridays @ 9:00 am