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Advanced Learning Institute: Mondays 9:30-10:30 AM (Pacific)

Looking for in-depth Jewish learning? Join our ongoing group of adult learners and engage with gifted Jewish scholars from around the country.
To join the class, or just drop in from time to time, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page so we can send you the Zoom link and password.

Disruptive Innovations in Jewish Music | With Cantor Matt Austerklein

A journey through four crossroads in Jewish music in which musical innovation disrupted the theological and societal status quo. This subversive history will interrogate musical figures and forms that we take for granted, as we enter new territory for Jewish life and the arts in the 21st century.

Nov. 15 |Session 1: Breaking the Sacred Silence: King David & the Rise of Temple Music

This session will explore the transition of biblical worship from silence & sacrifice through King David's musical reformation, including the eventual inauguration of the Temple orchestra & choirs. Following the rise & fall of temple music, we will ask the timeless question: how do we avoid putting musical product over musical process? 
November 15th Source sheet | November 15th class recording

November 22 | Session 2: Jewish Worship Wars in the Age of (Musical) Exploration

This session explores the exciting growth and heated controversies that surrounded the musical innovations by Ashkenazi Jews in early modern Europe. We will here discover more about the subversive role of cantors, equally acting as pious prayer leaders and transgressive musicians. Source material and slides | November 22 class recording

November 29|Session 3: The Priesthood Remade: Sulzer's Modern Cantorate
The Torah service sung by Jews across America is the invention of the most disruptive cantor in Western history: Salomon Sulzer. This session will examine Sulzer's superstar career and viral musical innovations, as well as seek both the riches and limits of Jewish music's deepening flirtation with European musical ideals. 

December 6|Session 4: Vocally Equal before God: Musical Equity & 21st century Judaism
Today's culture of guitar services, singing circles, and meditative chant have major connections to concurrent changes in Jewish theology, social organization, and leadership. This class will examine the disruptive rise of these "musics of equity," as well as seek the meaning of both folk and art music in contemporary Jewish life.

Cantor Matt Austerklein is a prayer leader, musician, and scholar. A mentor to cantorial students and a theologian of Jewish musical forms, Matt is currently a PhD candidate in Jewish Studies at Halle-Wittenberg University (Halle, Germany). Read more at

Click here for the series flyer.

The Book of Daniel in 14 Weeks with Rabbi David Lazar

July 12,19, 26
August 2,16, 23, 30
October 4, 11, 18, 25
November 1 - The Apocryphal Additions to Daniel
December 13 - Daniel and the Book of Ezekiel
December 20 - Daniel and the Book of Revelation
January 3 - Daniel and Rabbinic Literature

Piety, Politics and Prophecy: The Surprising Book of Danielan in-depth study of the youngest book in the Jewish cannon. From tales of the Babylonian royal court, to visions of the future, Daniel provides us with some of the most colorful and bizarre literary traditions of the late biblical period. 

July 12th Source sheet and recording
July 19th Source sheet and recording
July 26th Source sheet and recording
August 2nd Source sheet and recording
August 16th Source sheet and Zoom recording
August 23rd Source sheet and recording
August 30th Source sheet and recording
October 4th Source sheet and Zoom Recording
October 11 Source sheet and Zoom Recording
October 18th and 25th Source sheet one and Source sheet two and Recording (10/18) Zoom recording (10/25)
November 1 Source sheet  and recording

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Rabbi David Lazar has been a spiritual leader and social activist in Israel, Sweden and the United States for over 30 years. He has led the way as an effective rabbinic supporter of LGBTQ causes as well as interfaith study and prayer. In Israel, he founded and directed RIKMA, an organization devoted to Spiritual Community Leadership Training, served congregations in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Stockholm. He also served as the rabbinic chaplain for the Israel AIDS Task Force.

He is the founding rabbi of Or Hamidbar – Light in the Desert, a non-profit organization in Palm Springs devoted to a spiritual Jewish approach to prayer, study and social justice.

Click here to register and learn more about our  ALI Evening Series: Remix Judaism

Thu, December 2 2021 28 Kislev 5782