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.
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. 


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.  
. Yonatan Cohen — Tuesdays @ 12:00 pm. Class is on hiatus

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!) 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.

What’s in a Name?  Some of the most well-known and critical characters in Biblical narratives remain anonymous, leaving us to wonder why we never learn their  names. Names and identities are essential to our understanding of various personalities in Tanakh, and their enduring legacies. We will explore why these significant individuals remain anonymous. As many of these unnamed characters are women, we will also touch on the larger issues of how women’s stories are told, and how they are not told, in Tanakh.
M. Victoria Sutton — Tuesdays, Jan. 8, 15 7:30-9:00 pm


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. Class is on hiatus
R. Yonatan Cohen • Fridays @ 9:00 am