Midreshet Rockland

June 3-25, 2020

Midreshet Rockland June 2020 classes are now in progress. Federation is continuing to offer Zoom classes from instructors, Carol King Berkman, Rabbi Brian Leiken, and Sharon Halper on Wednesdays and Thursdays, during the month of June.  


This month, the class offerings include these titles: “The Shtetl”, “Modern East European Jewish History, 1772-1945”, and “Food, Sex, and Other Fund Things You Didn’t Know About Leviticus” (we’ve left the descriptions up for all three, below). 

If you missed out on taking any or all of these classes, and don’t want to be left out when Fall Midreshet class descriptions go public, please send your contact info to us at info@jewishrockland.org, and we’ll put you on the list.

J1- The Shtetl

Wednesdays June 3, 10, 17, 24
from 11:00-12:15

For Ashkenazic Jews the shtetl is our history and our legacy. It’s the foundation of our Jewish cultural life and lore. We see it onstage in Anatevka, and on canvas in Chagall’s dream-like artistry. Let’s connect with our forebears and learn about ourselves as we explore the way of life in the small Jewish towns of pre-Holocaust Eastern Europe.


Carol King Berkman is an adjunct instructor of History at Rockland Community College and a Social Work Clinician at Rockland Jewish Family Service. She received her MSW/MA from Columbia University and The Jewish Theological Seminary. She has taught in many educational settings.

J2- Modern East European Jewish History, 1772-1945

Thursdays June 4, 11, 18, 25
from 9:30-10:45

When the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was dismembered in the late 18th century, East European Jews encountered a brave new world. New political arrangements and, increasingly, ideologies demanded new modes of interaction with the state and surrounding society. Global economic transformations wrought havoc with traditional livelihoods, provoking far-reaching changes in everyday life and mentalities. New intellectual vistas suggested alternative secular identities, as well as innovative understandings of religiosity and tradition.


By the early 20th century, the communities spread throughout the lands of the former commonwealth represented the largest and most vibrant concentration of Jewish cultural, political, and intellectual life in the world. Few, if any, could imagine or predict the catastrophe that lay ahead.


This course will examine actions and writings of well-known individuals to the “Jewish street,” considering responses by ordinary men and women to the changes taking place around them. Join Rabbi Leiken for a fascinating journey into the Jewish world of Eastern Europe before and during the Holocaust.


Rabbi Brian Leiken has been the Senior Rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom since June of 2012. He is passionate about social justice, Jewish history, and the study of modern American Judaism. As the religious leader of Temple Beth Sholom, Rabbi Leiken has transitioned the temple into a relational synagogue, one that is built upon the inter and intra-relationships between the clergy and its members. He attended the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, where he was ordained in May 2007.  Rabbi Leiken is an instructor for the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning

J3- Food, Sex and Other Fun Things You Didn't Know About Leviticus

Thursdays June 4, 11, 18, 25
from 11:00-12:15

The book of Leviticus includes not only food and sex but disease, uncleanliness, sacrifices, blasphemy, and lots more. This ancient code is not only relevant but fascinating when studied in the proper context. Come join a self-styled Lover of Leviticus, examine Leviticus in a new light (that’s been there all this time), and find your love for Leviticus.


Sharon Halper has been in the field of Jewish education for three decades, first in the field of informal youth education, as a Reform congregational educator, and then as a Melton Adult Mini-School teacher and director. Sharon has also served as regional educator for the Union for Reform Judaism.

Registration questions: call Emma Lebowitz 845 362 4200 x 180 or email elebowitz@jewishrockland.org

General questions: call Cantor Barry Kanarek 845 362 4200 x 170 or email bkanarek@jewishrockland.org