Welcome to Shalom Maine

Shalom Maine is an Adult Education collaboration between Portland area Jewish organizations, meant to bring together learners from our entire Jewish community.  Classes are open to everyone and we use a pay-what-you-can tuition system, allowing people of all means to attend.

Shalom Maine was founded by Congregation Bet Ha’am, Temple Beth El, and the Jewish Community Alliance. Thank you to our community partners, Etz Chaim Synagogue of Portland, Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh,  Beth Israel Congregation of Bath, and Congregation Etz Chaim of Biddeford.

Current Courses

 
 

Israeli & International Folk Dance – With Barbara Merson

Thursdays: May 23, 30; June 6, 20, 27 (skip June 13)
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: Temple Beth El – 400 Deering Ave., Portland
Suggested tuition: $50
5 sessions
Enrollment: Minimum 14 /Max. 22
Registration deadline: May 20

This is an Israeli and international folk dance class for beginners, including basic Israeli dances and dances from Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania and other countries. Physical level will be tailored to the class — there are plenty of lovely dances with beautiful music that are not strenuous. This is also a great way for people who are interested in Israeli dance to see some of its roots.

 

Jewish Songs For Everyone – With Russell Kaback

Wednesdays: May 29; June 5, 12, 19
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Location: Congregation Bet Ha’am – 81 Westbrook St., South Portland
Suggested tuition: $36
4 sessions
Enrollment: Minimum 14 /Max. 22
Registration deadline: May 23

Students will learn a repertoire of songs from Jewish sources, including songs for children, shabbat songs, Israeli songs, songs in English, Hebrew and Yiddish, modern songs, songs of the Holocaust, and more. For singers of all abilities, no experience necessary!  A CD of songs will be included. The aim is for you to become familiar with the great wealth of Jewish songs and to bring them into your life.

 

Jewish Voices in Russian Literature – With Alyssa Gillespie

Sundays: June 16, 30; July 7, 14 (skip June 23)
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: Beth Israel Congregation – 862 Washington St., Bath
Suggested tuition: $54
4 sessions
Enrollment: Minimum 14 /Max. 22
Registration deadline: June 12

An introduction to several major Jewish-Russian poets and writers from the pre-Revolutionary era to the present. This course will focus on short works by Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938), Boris Pasternak (1890-1960), Isaac Babel (1894-1940), Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996),  and Ludmila Ulitskaya (1943- ). We will explore how these great Russian-language writers express their ambiguous identities as both Russian and Jew, both insider and outsider, thereby claiming their rightful place in the Russian literary canon.


A Taste of Mussar (Soul work using Jewish texts) – With Barbara Merson

Tuesdays: June 18, 25; July 2, 9
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: Congregation Bet Ha’am – 81 Westbrook St., South Portland
Suggested tuition: $54
4 sessions
Enrollment: Minimum 14 /Max. 22
Registration deadline: June 13

A Taste of Mussar is a four week course curriculum that has been developed by the Mussar Institute as an entry to learning about the tradition of Mussar learning and practice that has engaged and helped people for centuries. In a nutshell, Mussar practice developed in the 19th century and focuses on “soul work” using middot (virtues or values) and texts to illuminate our how we live our lives through values. The first week focuses on the history and principles of Mussar practice, the next two weeks focus on specific middot, and the final week looks at texts and practices.

 

Einstein & Oppenheimer – With David Hecht

Sundays: June 30; July 7, 14
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: Temple Beth El – 400 Deering Ave., Portland
Suggested tuition: $36
3 sessions
Enrollment: Minimum 14 /Max. 22
Registration deadline: June 26

This course looks at two of the most famous Jewish scientists: Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer. Einstein is perhaps the most well-known scientist in history, and Oppenheimer earned widespread fame for this role as the “father of the atomic bomb.” Class sessions will explore their scientific achievements, political involvement, and cultural legacies. We will also look at the role that Judaism had in each of their lives, as well as the ways that anti-Semitism affected their careers.

 

Create Your Own ceramic Judaica – With Toby Rosenberg

Wednesdays: July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31; Aug. 7
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: JCA – 1342 Congress St., Portland
Suggested tuition: $90 – Materials Fee (required): $40
6 sessions
Enrollment: Minimum 6 /Max. 10
Registration deadline: June 28

During this six week class students will create Judaic objects from stoneware clay using hand building methods. Each making class will focus on a different Judaic object and the last class will be used for glazing. Handbuilding techniques  and surface decoration will be taught in each session. This class is open to beginners as well as experienced ceramicists.

Toby Rosenberg is a professional potter who has made her living creating and teaching pottery since 1975. She has taught at the JCA, Center Day Camp, her own studio and at local schools. Much of her work is Judaic. See www.tobyrosenberg.com

Materials fee includes 25 lb of clay, glazes, use of tools, and kiln firing.

 

Introduction to Holocaust Education – With David Greenham

Tuesdays: July 16, 23, 30
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: Congregation Bet Ha’am – 81 Westbrook St., South Portland
Suggested tuition: $36
3 sessions
Enrollment: Minimum 14 /Max. 22
Registration deadline: July 11

The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine (HHRC) reaches nearly 4,000 secondary school students throughout Maine with its free educational outreach. This class will focus on the programs and lessons we teach, as well as information about our partners: Facing History and Ourselves, Teaching Tolerance (Southern Poverty Law Center), and Echoes and Reflections (Yad Vashem), among others.

 

Famous (& Favorite) Disputes in the Talmud – With Zoë Lang

Sundays: July 21, 28; Aug. 4, 18 (skip Aug. 11)
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: Temple Beth El – 400 Deering Ave., Portland
Suggested tuition: $54
4 sessions
Enrollment: Minimum 14 /Max. 22
Registration deadline: July 17

This course will present a survey of Talmudic texts that feature disputes. We will see rabbis arguing with rabbis, rabbis arguing with Romans, and even rabbis arguing with God. Who will reign supreme? Come find out how the Talmud presents the art of the dispute!


Jewish Genealogy: How to find good sources for ‘your’ history – With Harris Gleckman

Wednesdays: Sept. 11, 18, 25; Oct. 2, 16, 23, 30 (skip Oct. 9)
6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Location: Congregation Bet Ha’am – 81 Westbrook St., South Portland
Suggested tuition: $65
7 sessions
Enrollment: Minimum 14 /Max. 22
Registration deadline: Sept. 6

Week 1 : Start with the living members of your family

Week 2 : Using government records and Ancestry.com

Week 3 : Using Documenting Maine Jewry records, part I

Week 4 : Connecting genes to the community : Documenting Maine Jewry resources part II

Week 5 : Historical context

Week 6 : Going back 2, 3, 4 generations with JewishGen – introduction, Part I

Week 7:  Going back 2, 3, 4 generations with JewishGen – Part II

 

American Jewish History – With Anna Wrobel

Wednesdays: Oct. 16, 23, 30; Nov. 6, 13
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: Temple Beth El – 400 Deering Ave., Portland
Suggested tuition: $72
5 sessions
Enrollment: Minimum 14 /Max. 22
Registration deadline: Oct. 11

This course will delve into a textual analysis of primary documents related to the more than four century span of American Jewish history; some secondary literature will be used to provide context. Discussion will be guided by Anna Wrobel, anAmerican historian and teacher to connect the variety of factors involved in each epoch of Jews in America.

 

Jews, Baseball & Social Justice – With Paul Linet

Wednesdays: Oct. 16, 23, 30; Nov. 6
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: Beth Israel Congregation – 862 Washington St., Bath
Suggested tuition: $54
4 sessions
Enrollment: Minimum 14 /Max. 22
Registration deadline: Oct. 11

This course focuses on the under publicized story of the efforts of a Jewish politician to force the Boston Red Sox to integrate BEFORE Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

 

Teaching Jewish Values Through Film – With Barbara Merson

Thursdays: Oct. 17, 24, 31; Nov. 7, 14, 21
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: JCA – 1342 Congress St., Portland
Suggested tuition: $86
5 sessions
Enrollment: Minimum 14 /Max. 22
Registration deadline: Oct. 11

This course will look at Jewish values (both mitzvot – commandments or good deeds, and middot – values or virtues) by using film examples. Some of the films will be features, some will be shorter films. The first session will frame the discussion and all films will be followed by analysis and discussion facilitated by the instructor.