Rabbi Aaron Gold

Rabbi Aaron S. Gold Institute of Adult Jewish Studies


The Tribes of Israel

Beginning Thursday, November 3rd, 7:00 p.m.

Location TBA

“The Tribes of Israel: A Shared Homeland for a Divided People” confronts the challenge of creating a Jewish and democratic public space in the modern State of Israel—a shared common space for a people divided along “tribal” affiliations: religious, ideological, national, and geographic.

What is the significance of the State of Israel as a Jewish public sphere? How does a people divided along religious, geographic, and ideological lines build a shared society?

The Tribes of Israel begins a conversation to restructure the relationship between the collective and the individual tribes that comprise Israel.

The “Tribes of Israel,” the second iEngage Video Lecture Series of Israel’s Shalom Hartman Institute, is being hosted in East County by Temple Emanu-El and Tifereth Israel Synagogue and co-facilitated by Rabbi Devorah Marcus and Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal. For class dates, locations, and times please click here.

This series is free and open to the community.


  Previous Offerings



Previous offerings included:

The Role of WomenHebrew Before the High Holy Days
Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m.
July 28, August 4, 18, 25, 2015
Instructor: Cantorial Soloist Cheryl Katz

Looking to learn (or brush up on) Hebrew reading skills in advance of the High Holy Days? The goal of this alef-bet and decoding strategies crash course is to assist you in being more comfortable following and participating during services. This 4-session series will be held in July and August. Read more here.

Email Cheryl Katz here or call her at (619) 697-6001, ext. 109 for more details or to sign up.

Judaism 101
Mondays at 7:00 p.m., January 5 – June 1, 2015
Instructor: Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal

“Judaism 101” is a survey class. Students will receive a basic understanding of Jewish religion, culture, history, holidays, rituals, and theology. The class is taught on an adult level and the approach is far different than you may remember from your Torah School days. This course is appropriate for Jews who want a review course, for non-Jews who are thinking about conversion, or for anyone who wishes to study about Judaism in a non-pressured but challenging environment. Judaism 101 is a prerequisite for the Adult B’nai Mitzvah class. Tuition* is $100 for members and $150 for nonmembers; books and supplies are extra.

Hebrew 101
Mondays at 8:00 p.m., January 5 – March 30, 2015
Instructor: Cantorial Soloist Cheryl Katz

“Hebrew 101” is for those who want to learn to read Hebrew. Students will learn how to pronounce the Hebrew alphabet and participate in services. Please note: this is not a conversational Hebrew class. Tuition* is $35 for members and $45 for nonmembers; books and supplies are extra.

Adult B’nai Mitzvah
Mondays at 8:00 p.m., April 13 – June 1, 2015
Instructor: Cantorial Soloist Cheryl Katz

Cantorial Soloist Katz will study the service, Torah reading, and Haftarah with any adult who wishes to become B’nai Mitzvah. A special service will be scheduled later in the year in which students will lead the service and be called to the Torah. Anyone can participate, not only those who were not Bar or Bat Mitzvah at the age of 13 but anyone else who wants to repeat the experience. This class is limited to TIS members. (Read about membership here.) Tuition* is $100; books and supplies are extra. Judaism 101 is a prerequisite for this class.

You may enroll in Judaism 101, Hebrew 101, and/or Adult B’nai Mitzvah classes online — please enter your payment in the “Other” box and specify which class(es) you are registering for in the comments — or by calling the synagogue office for a mail in application (619-697-6001).

*Those enrolling for all three receive a discounted rate of $150.00. No one who wishes to study will be excluded and financial assistance is available. Please contact Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal about scholarships.


Melton MFlorence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning

Are you a “Wondering Jew”? If so, consider attending our Florence Melton 27-week course beginning  Thursday, October 23. This is your opportunity to explore classic Jewish sources, investigate issues of Jewish thought, practices and ethics, and advance your knowledge of Jewish history.

The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning, a project of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is an innovative concept for Jewish learners from all backgrounds, aimed at enabling Jewish adults to learn seriously about our heritage and culture in a challenging and inspiring course of study.

For more details, click here.

“What’s Up?” Current Events Forum

with Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal

Rabbi Rosenthal will be conducting an “Open Forum”, discussing current events from 9:00 -10:00 a.m. in the Cohen Social Hall on select Sunday mornings. Parents with children attending the Gesher Program are welcome to join us for T’fillah and a group discussion for the last 30 minutes of the class from 10:00 – 10:30 a.m.!

You do not need to attend every session. Drop in and join the discussion.

Engaging Israel: Foundation for a New Relationship

A nine-week learning experience beginning November 18, taught by Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal

“The Jewish community has been living off the crisis narrative for too long and has not yet begun to develop a language and argument for integrating the meaning of Israel in the new and complex Jewish consciousness.”

This intriguing and challenging quote comes from the Shalom Hartman Institute’s sourcebook for their course: “Engaging Israel: Foundation for a New Relationship.”

This nine-week learning experience is predicated on the belief that American Jews will no longer support Israel because they believe it is the diminutive David against the hulking Goliath, but must learn new substantial and meaningful reasons to back the Jewish state. Such new exploration must also take into consideration Israel’s critics as well as champions.

As part of an initiative sponsored by the Southern California Board of Rabbis and the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal will be teaching the Shalom Hartman Engaging Israel course at Tifereth Israel Synagogue beginning on Monday, November 18th from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.


Torah Discussion Group

Attend our Torah Discussion group, which will occur after specific Shabbat morning services. These are not “lectures.” Rather, the format is interactive with “challenge questions” that make for interesting discussion and participation. Click here for more information.


The Hebrew Alphabet

Instructor: Professor Zev Bar-Lev

Lift yourself to the loftiest levels of Judaism with the Hebrew alphabet. This ten-week course teaches and practices the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet (zero prior knowledge assumed). And it won’t be very hard; it’s nice that the letters are a lot like English letters. Just add an arc below L and you’ve got Hebrew Lamed (and they mean the same thing too)!

Dates and times: 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Sunday mornings, beginning September 15th (no class on November 10th)

Book: The Alef-Bet Goes Global (available through University Readers)


Everything You Need to Pronounce the Siddur

Taught by Becky Henning

Do you want to catch up to your child? Do you want to be able to “read” the siddur? This course will teach you all the letters and vowels you need to pronounce all the Hebrew in the siddur. In four sessions of one and a half hours each, you’ll learn the letters and vowels using fun associations that help you remember both the sound and shape of each letter and vowel. Practice what you learn in the Siddur from the first session. This course is for those who don’t know all the letters and vowels of the Alef-Bet.


Basic Judaism

Taught by Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal
Sundays, February 10 – June 9, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (some sessions are from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.)

This course explains Jewish concepts, values, and rituals. It is a required course for those interested in conversion, but open to anyone who wishes to expand their knowledge about Judaism.

Click here for the full syllabus.

The course is $40 for synagogue members, and $150 for non-members, plus books (scholarships are available). Please email Rabbi Rosenthal to let him know you’d like to attend.


The Spirituality of Prayer

Taught by Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal
Sundays, through June 9, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Instructor:  Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal.

Have you ever felt lost in the synagogue, even when reading the English part of a Siddur? In this class we will focus on several of our most familiar prayers. We will go below the surface to discover the multifaceted interpretations of traditional prayers and how they can connect us with God and each other.


Dive for the pearls & deeper meanings of the Hebrew Bible and fly to up its clouds…all with “Magic Letters”

Hebrew 1 will teach the alphabet and sounds. It will teach the meanings of Hebrew “magic letters”… and how all Hebrew word-meanings (superficial and deep) derive from these, via “tweaking.”


Are you Jewish or Jew-ish?

This will be a series of workshops focused on the burning issues of Jewish identity. These forums will include background material, the personal stories of community members, and ample opportunity for freewheeling and open discussion. Click here to learn more about these engaging opportunities.


Mini-Course: War and National Security

Instructor:  Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal.

Is there such a thing as a “just war?” Is “all fair in love and war,” or are there limits to appropriate behavior by countries and their armed forces? What constitutes torture and is it ever justified? Our primary text for this class will be “Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices – War and National Security” by Elliot Dorff and Danya Ruttenberg. We will compare Judaism’s stance on critical issues compared to those of the United States, Israel, and other nations.


Advanced Talmud Seminar

Are you interested in studying the Talmud in the original Hebrew/Aramaic? A small chevruta (study group) will be available to a limited number of participants. No previous experience is necessary, but Hebrew reading ability is a prerequisite. The days and times of the chevruta will be set in accordance with the needs of the participants.