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.

Advanced registration required.

Classes are subject to change pending minimum enrollment. Courses are open to all and offered on a suggested tuition basis.

Weather Closures

Closures will be determined by the organization hosting the class and announced via the host’s website and/or social media.

Class Cancellations

In the event that a class is cancelled unrelated to a weather closure, we will attempt to notify all registered students via email, and call any students who cannot be reached by email.

Withdrawals & Refunds

Please notify us in writing if you need to withdraw from a class – email info@shalomme.com. Refunds are available prior to the first week of class. If you withdraw after the class has begun, we will issue a pro-rated refund for medical reasons only.

Current Courses


American Jewish History, Part I – 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

American Jewish History – Part I will use primary source analysis and group discussion to explore basic themes, significant events, and broader contexts of American Jewry from the 1600’s to the turn of the 20th century. 

Part II will examine the 20th into the 21st centuries.  Dates for Part II TBD with no pre-requisite for enrolling. 


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.

Create Your Own Ceramic Judaica – With Toby Rosenberg – CANCELLED

Wednesday evenings – November 6, 13, 20; December 4, 11, 18  (skip Nov. 27)
6:00 – 8:00 PM
JCA – 1342 Congress St., Portland
Suggested tuition: $90  ▪  Materials fee (required): $40
Registration deadline: October 28

In this class, we will use different hand-building methods to create ceramic Judaica. We will make a mezuzah cover (the small decorative container affixed to doorways of Jewish homes, which holds specific Hebrew verses from the Torah), Shabbat candle holders, a hanukkiah (the candelabra used for the holiday of Chanukah) and possibly a kiddush cup (used for the blessing over the wine at the beginning of a Sabbath or holiday meal). The other two classes would be for glazing and the possible making of a yad (pointer for reading the Torah) out of fimo. Materials fee includes 25 lb of clay, glazes, use of tools, and kiln firing.

From Tribes to Nation – The Significance of the Davidic Monarchy – Part I – With Ellie Miller

Tuesday mornings: Nov. 12, 19, 26; Dec. 3, 10, 17; Jan. 7, 14 (Skip Dec. 24, 31)
9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Location: JCA – 1342 Congress St., Portland
Suggested tuition: $96
7 sessions
Registration deadline: Nov. 1

Why did biblical Israel need a monarchy? This course will explore the failures of earlier systems including the Judges and Saul’s kingship, and the subsequent success of King David and his son Solomon in establishing a dynasty that united the people of Israel and created an enduring common memory for the Jewish people. The course will focus on texts from the Books of Judges, Samuel, and Kings.

Please bring an English translation or Hebrew/English edition of the Tanakh (the Jewish Bible). 8 sessions.

(Part II will be offered in Spring 2020, focusing on the split of the kingdom into Israel and Judah, the kingdoms’ subsequent monarchs and the ultimate end of both kingdoms at the hands of the Assyrians and Babylonians)

Family Dynamics in Genesis – From Abraham to Joseph
With Ellie Miller

Monday evenings, Nov. 18, 25; Dec. 2, 9, 16
6:00 – 7:30 PM
JCA – 1342 Congress St., Portland
Suggested tuition: $60
Registration deadline: Nov. 8

Free childcare available for ages 3+ with advanced registration only.

What kind of parents were the patriarchs and matriarchs? Can we learn from their mistakes? While all are welcome, this class is particularly focused on facilitating conversations among parents raising young children. Please bring an English edition of the Tanakh (the Jewish Bible). 5 sessions.

Einstein & Oppenheimer
With David Hecht

Sunday mornings Jan. 5, 12, 19, and 26
10:00 – 11:30 AM
Temple Beth El – 400 Deering Avenue, Portland
Suggested tuition: $54
Registration deadline: Dec. 23

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 widespread fame for this role as the “father of the atomic bomb.” Two sessions devoted to each scientist 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.