Congregation Beth El–Keser Israel

85 Harrison Street, New Haven, CT 06515-1724 | P: 203.389.2108 |

Our banner is based on BEKI’s stained glass, designed in 2008 by Cynthia Beth Rubin. For information on this and other of Cynthia’s work, go to: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. Artisan Fabrication by JC Glass of Branford, CT

Adult Education

Congregation Beth El–Keser Israel (BEKI) in New Haven offers a wide array of adult education opportunities for the committed, the curious and the concerned.

Adults seeking wholeness and holiness through Torah or who want to explore their relationship with Tradition find food for their hungry minds and souls at BEKI. Adult Studies at BEKI are a supportive setting for exploring and developing spiritual and communal identity through study and discussion of classical and contemporary texts and ideas.

Torah for the Hungry Mind provides the opportunity for single adults and couples to meet others who share their interests and commitments in a warm and wholesome setting. Most classes and programs are open without charge. See the BEKI Bulletin for times and dates and in some cases registration and payment instructions. Most programs are held in readily accessible spaces.

Classes, programs and services are open to all without respect to age, gender, personal status or synagogue affiliation. BEKI encourages all adult Jews to become part of the synagogue-based community of their choice.

Classes & Programs

Steven Fraade

Steven Fraade

Shabbat Shalom Torah Study meets every second Saturday morning year-round from 10:45a to 11:45a in BEKI‘s office. The SSTS combines study, prayer and discussion based on the weekly Scriptural readings and Sabbath prayers. Taught by Steven Fraade (pictured at left), Alan Lovins and others, the SSTS provides an open setting for religious enrichment for adults wishing to further their understanding of the texts and liturgy.

Shabbat Divrei Torah are presented every Saturday morning year-round at about 11a during services as a teaching discussion about the weekly Torah portion. Presented by members of the Congregation, distinguished visitors, and by Rabbi Tilsen, the Divrei Torah help us confront the Torah texts and allow the Congregation to struggle together to bring the ancient teachings into our lives.

A Shabbat Schmooze is presented occasionally to explore contemporary, historical and textual issues of interest to the congregation. The Shabbat Schmooze follows qiddush (about 12:45p) and is held in the Beit Midrash (Rosenkrantz Family Library).

Shabbat Afternoon Study Session is held on Shabbat afternoons before the evening service from November through February. This half-hour of study gives a taste of the wisdom of our sages and an opportunity to discuss the application of the teachings to our lives.  Topic 2015-2015:  Mishna Ta`anit.

Rashi Study Group meets most Monday mornings from 7:45a to 8:30a in the George G. Posener Beit Midrash to study Rashi’s commentary on the Torah. Knowledge of English, Hebrew and Old French are helpful but not necessary. The Rashi Study Group has met weekly since January 1994.

LaMaazel: The Jewish-Spiritual Way in Childbirth and Parenthood is a series of workshops presented occasionally for expectant parents and others interested in spiritual approaches to pregnancy, birth and naming.

Wednesdays with Murray is a weekly study group exclusively for rabbis, facilitated by Rabbi Murray Levine. The Wednesday study group affords local rabbis an opportunity to pursue their own talmud torah(Torah study) in a “safe” setting and with opportunities to learn from each other’s experience and insight. For more information, call Rabbi Murray Levine at 203.397.2513.

The Sanhedrin Talmud Study Group met weekly on Thursdays from 1999 through its conclusion in April 2017.

The Berakhot Talmud Study Group began meeting in April 2017 to explore the tractate Berakhot.  It meets on Thursdays from 10a to 11a in BEKI’s Rosenkrantz Family Library.  For some participants, this is their first direct experience with Talmud text. The Group focuses on the issues raised in the Talmud, with some attention to the technical aspects of the text. For information contact Rabbi Tilsen at

Hebrew Language classes are held periodically at beginner and intermediate levels.  Three different courses are on offer in the first quarter of 2016; see the calendar or January Bulletin 2016 for details.

Tiqun Leil Shavuot night of adult study is held annually on the first night of the Shavuot Festival during the summer.  See the Tiqun Leil Shavuot schedule and see the calendar listing for the coming festival.

Special Lectures, Discussions and Workshops are held year-round for adults and children.  Visiting scholars have included Noam Zion (2017), Rabbi Elie Kaunfer (2015), Avivah Zornberg (2015), Judy Klitsner (2015), Rabbi Stuart Kelman (2014), Ron Wolfson (2014), and participating scholars with a New Haven-based sabbatical.

Writings on Nonviolence by Rabbi Tilsen are available as well as selected messages on contemporary and historical Judaism.

Ask about BEKI‘s extensive programs for children of all ages.

BEKI offers Kulanu Ke’Ehad for adults with special needs due to developmental disabilities.

BEKI also offers Saul’s Circle for mental health services consumers.