Creating opportunities for meaningful, purposeful and relevant Jewish exploration.

Adult Engagement + Learning

The Center for Jewish Engagement and Learning offers a multitude of learning opportunities and classes for adult learners of all ages and levels. Contact Susan Schwartz directly for information about upcoming Hebrew classes, Intro to Judaism, Mussar cohorts, and Wise Aging groups. Or, reach out to explore creating a new learning opportunity through The Center for Jewish Engagement and Learning.

Susan Schwartz

Susan Schwartz

Director, Adult Engagement

Susan’s Buffalo roots run deep. She has strong connections to individuals and families across multiple generations in Jewish Buffalo, and also a strong and personal connection to Israel. Susan is a master Jewish educator who finds great joy in learning about people’s personal Jewish stories, and facilitating connections with others who share similar interests. When not in the office, you can find Susan with her granddaughter, with her guitar leading Shabbat services, or on a kayak exploring the inner harbor.


Introduction to Judaism

Instructors: Board of Rabbis and Cantors
Day/Time: Wednesdays, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Fee: $72/Session

 In collaboration with the Buffalo Board of Rabbis and Cantors, this exceptional course is designed for:

  • Couples considering intermarriage
  • Individuals interested in conversion or learning more about Judaism
  • Jews wishing to learn more about their religion and history

The Jewish calendar and life cycles, worship and beliefs are all explored. In addition, the Bible, Rabbinic literature, anti-Semitism, the Holocaust, Zionism and the State of Israel are discussed.

Alef-Bet: Beginning Hebrew

Instructor: Michal Lewis
Time: Wednesdays, 7:45pm – 9:00pm
Fee: Fee: $175/Session (books purchased separately)

This basic introductory Hebrew reading course is for beginners interested in learning the Hebrew alphabet, grammar and vocabulary. During the process of teaching the letters and vowels, students will start reading prayers for Shabbat, synagogue services and traditional blessings. The goal of the course is for students to become familiar enough with Hebrew to be able to follow along in the prayer book when they attend any Jewish service.

Intermediate Hebrew

Instructor: Michal Lewis
Time: Wednesdays, 6:15pm – 7:30pm
Fee: Fee: $175/Session (plus one-time $60 for new curriculum)                    

This course is for students who already know the Hebrew alphabet and can read several Hebrew words and phrases. Students will review prior learning and be taught additional Hebrew prayers for Shabbat and holidays. The history of the Hebrew language and structure will also be explored, in addition to modern Hebrew vocabulary related to holidays, traditions and Israel.   We will be using a new language curriculum from Ulpan Or – iHebrew which encourages individual learning at a student’s own pace and at their Hebrew level.

Session 1 (14 weeks, September 2018 – January 2019)
September 26
October 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
November 7, 14, 28 (no class 11/21)
December 5, 12, 19
January 9, 16

Session 2 – (14 weeks, January 2019 – May 2019)
January 23, 30
February 6, 13, 27 (no class 2/20 – February break)
March 6, 13, 27 (no class 3/20 – Purim)
April 3, 10, 17 (no class 4/24 – Passover)
May 1, 8, 15

General information for all:

All classes take place at the JCC Benderson Building: 2640 North Forest Road, Getzville; 2nd Floor

For more information, contact Susan Schwartz, Director of Adult Engagement, Center for Jewish Engagement and Learning:


Mussar for Moms

Mussar, a Jewish spiritual practice, provides tools for living a more balanced life. If you are a working mom in your 30s or 40s, you probably have more on your ‘to-do’ list than time!  But, many have found that taking time to reflect, be more mindful and grateful, has helped provide more balance.  If you are intrigued, consider joining us for a 5-month long Jewish learning journey with other women.

Mussar for Moms will meet on Sunday evenings twice a month from November – March.



Mussar for Couples

Mussar, a Jewish spiritual practice, provides tools for living a more balanced life. This Jewish learning experience is designed for couples where one partner identifies as Jewish and the other partner identifies within a different faith. Mussar for Couples will be open to partners at any stage of committed relationship regardless of age. Participants will be exposed to Jewish thought and ideas and the flow of the Jewish calendar.

Mussar for Couples will meet one Sunday a month from November – June.


Upcoming Events