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.


Key Books in Tanach: Judges
The cycle of the period of the Judges spans several hundred years from the days of Joshua to the prophet Samuel. In the absence of strong, central leadership, individuals rose up to meet the challenges facing the nation. Some of these leaders are larger than life, such as Samson and Deborah, while others’ stories are less known yet compelling and thought provoking. Through learning the book of Shoftim, we will compare and contrast these diverse leaders and gain an understanding of this liminal period in Jewish history.
M. Victoria Sutton — Mondays @ 12:00 pm. 

The Hart Yearns: The Inner Life of King David w/Raizy Lichtenstein:
The book of Psalms illuminates King David’s passionate personal responses to historic events. In this series, we will explore three major events in the life of King David as they are recorded in Samuel I, followed by close readings of three corresponding psalms. We will focus on medieval and modern interpretations of distinctive expressions to consider the psalmist’s powerful—and often surprisingly relatable—approaches to life’s challenges.
Raizy Lichtenstein has taught Judaic Studies and English Literature in a wide variety of educational settings. She holds a master’s degree in English Literature from the Hebrew University, and currently teaches English at Touro College. She recently moved to the Bay Area, and thanks the CBI community for its warm welcome.
aizy Lichtenstein Mondays @ 7:30-9:00 PM, October 15, 22, 29


Laws of Shabbat: In this class we will re-use R. Eliezer Melamed’s well-organized, clear and concise halakhic (Jewish legal) writings as a springboard to deepen our understanding and our observance of the laws of Shabbat. Each class will focus on a specific area of religious practice and move from general principle to practical details. Class is not meeting Tuesday, October 23.
R. Yonatan Cohen — Tuesdays @ 12:00 pm. 

People of the (Artists’) Book:  Creating Around the Jewish  Sacred Cycle
7:00-9:30 PM, TUESDAYS, OCT. 23, NOV. 20, 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!) Register here 
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.


Teen Beit Midrash with Oren Yirmiya: This class affords the opportunity to engage with the unfiltered foundational Jewish texts–Torah, Tanach, Talmud–in an atmosphere that encourages curiosity and multiple readings. For 8th-12th graders. All experience levels welcome.
Oren Yirmiya is a PhD student in the Near Eastern Studies Department of UC Berkeley where he studies Hebrew literature.  He holds an MA in Hebrew Literature from Tel Aviv University and has extensive teaching and mentoring experience from both inside and outside of academia.
Oren Yirmiya Wednesdays 4:30-6:00 October 17, 24, 31, November 7, 14, 28, December 5, 12, 19, January 9, 16, 23, 30, February 6, 13, 20, 27, March 6, 13, April 10, 17, 24, May 1, 8

CBI Beit Midrash: look out for exciting new programming information coming soon. Please reach out to Maharat Victoria with any questions or suggestions at
Victoria Sutton — Wednesdays, 7:45—9:00 pm (dates TBD)

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 the class will not meet November 9.
R. Yonatan Cohen • Fridays @ 9:00 am