Explore Jewish Thought and Experience

Ask questions, find meaning, learn and join in community with others as we investigate Jewish life, thought, and experience.


The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning provides in-depth Jewish learning for adults. These are college level classes, but with no homework and no exams. You can learn more on the Melton website. For more information, contact

Social Justice: The Heart of Judaism in Theory and Practice
This course will draw from text and history to explore how social justice work goes beyond addressing short-term needs, and looks at structural causes of injustice today. Topics include issues related to poverty, immigration, and environmental degradation. Participants will be encouraged to identify issues that are particular to their own communities and that they would like to explore in greater depth. Taught by Rabbi Hugh Seid-Valencia, the APJCC’s Director of Community Engagement, and Diane Fisher, Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation.
Mondays 2/24-6/1 (no class 3/9, 3/30, 4/20, 4/27, 5/25)
$250 plus cost of class reader
How to Register: Click here to register on the Melton website.

Jewish Medical Ethics: A 21st Century Discussion
Join Rabbi Leslie Alexander for this brand new Melton class. Within the field of ethics, one of the most challenging frontiers is medical ethics. While contemporary medical knowledge preserves life, modern advances have raised moral and ethical issues related to the sanctity and dignity of life – issues whose scope was unimaginable a generation ago. This course explores Jewish approaches to a number of challenging dilemmas including human cloning, surrogate motherhood, assisted suicide and genetic manipulation.
Dates & Time: Every Monday 10/28-12/30, 10:30am-12:00pm
Fee: $250 for the class, plus $45 for class reader
How to Register: Click here to register on the Melton website.

Foundations of Jewish Family Living
A thought-provoking encounter with the core values of Judaism. Explore the master stories from Jewish tradition and the profound messages they convey. This rich learning experience for adults will provide an opportunity for you to bring the Jewish conversation home to share with your young child. At a time in your family’s life when your child is experiencing his or her own Jewish education, Foundations of Jewish Family Living provides you with the learning, the language, and the confidence to teach Jewish traditions to your child. With instructor Rabbi Laurie Hahn Tapper. Offered in partnership with Yavneh Day School.
Dates: Fridays 10/4, 10/11, 10/18, 10/25, 11/15, 11/22, 12/6, 12/13, 1/10, 1/17
Time: 9:00am-10:30am
Fee: $150 plus cost of class reader
How to Register: Click here to register on the Melton website.


Want to sample a Melton lesson? Click here!

Rabbi Joey Felsen of the Jewish Study Network guides you through the early rabbinic classic Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers). No Hebrew necessary.

For more information, contact

Tue ongoing* 9:30-11:00am Free

CM = Full Center Member   SM = Social Member   NM = Non-Member

This is a free, drop-in class. No need to register.

* This class meets every Tuesday, except on holidays. No class on 7/2 and 7/9.

An overview of the Jewish life-cycle, holidays, and ritual. Students will gain an understanding of Jewish belief, history, and calendar, and gain exposure to important Jewish books including the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud. Each session includes thirty minutes of Hebrew instruction. Please note that the class location rotates among local synagogues and the JCC based on which rabbi is teaching that day. For class locations, please check the syllabus (available this fall) . Instructors: Rabbi Berkenwald of Congregation Sinai, Rabbi Aron of Congregation Shir Hadash, Rabbi Alpert of Congregation Beth David, Rabbi Magat of Temple Emanu-El, and Rabbi Seid-Valencia of the APJCC. More information: Maya Jacobson at

Register now for the 2019-20 year.

Tue 10/29-5/5* 7:00-9:00pm $180

CM = Full Center Member   SM = Social Member   NM = Non-Member

* No class 11/26, 12/24, 12/31, 3/10, 4/7, 4/14

Drop in to study and discuss the writings of Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan, with instructor Rabbi Hugh Seid-Valencia. Each week, we’ll read and discuss a short selection from his book, The Future of the American Jew. No experience or specialized knowledge necessary. This is a free, drop-in class. No need to register. For more information, contact

Wed ongoing* 9:00-10:30am Free

CM = Full Center Member   SM = Social Member   NM = Non-Member

This is a free, drop-in class. No need to register.

* This class meets every Wednesday, except on holidays. No class on 1/1, 4/8

Monthly Moms’ Circle

Connect Your Life to the Jewish Calendar

Join Rabbi Laurie Matzkin, Mindful Jewish Journeys Educator, for an exploration of the themes of the Jewish months and how their unique energies can help focus our personal growth throughout the year. This framework for reflection and mindfulness is organized around the Jewish calendar but applies to women of all faiths. Diverse women come together to enjoy text study, self-reflection, journaling, and real life themes relevant to mothers of all ages and stages. We welcome all moms, including first-time participants!

Upcoming Dates: Mondays, 12/9, 1/13, 2/10, 3/9, 4/6, 5/11
Time: 8:45-10:15am
Fee: First session is free, then $10/session.

More info:

This program is a partnership between the APJCC and the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley.

Meet to discuss the weekly Torah portion with Rabbi Ilana Baird. This lively class and all discussion is in Russian. This is a free, drop-in class. No need to register. For more information, contact

All Russian Language Torah Study Programs at the APJCC are made possible, in part, by a generous gift from Larisa Margulis & Mikhail Guz.

Tue ongoing* 10:00-11:30am Free

CM = Full Center Member   SM = Social Member   NM = Non-Member

This is a free, drop-in class. No need to register.

* This class meets every Tuesday, except on holidays. Also there will be no meetings on November 19 and 26 and December 3, 2019.
Class does not meet during the summer. 

Learn Talmud in English. This class is presented in collaboration with Lehrhaus Judaica.

Lehrhaus Talmud Circle is a growing, dynamic, and welcoming community of adult students engaged in modern Talmud study and active conversation.

Lehrhaus Talmud Circle students study with the Koren Talmud Bavli, Ta’anit, available in various print sizes and in digital editions.

For more information or to register for Talmud Circle, please contact Abra Greenspan at

Sun 9/15, 11/3*, 12/15, 1/12, 2/9, 3/8, 4/5, 5/3 10:00am-12:00pm $195**

* The 11/3 class was originally scheduled for 10/27 but it has been moved to 11/3.

** $175 with early registration

Understanding Muslim Neighbors

Part 1: Sunday, November 17, 9:30am-5:30pm
Parts 2 & 3: Sunday, December 8, 9:30am-5:30pm

Part 1 will be held at Temple Emanu-El, 1010 University Ave., San Jose, and Part 2 will be held at Congregation Shir Hadash, 20 Cherry Blossom Lane, Los Gatos.

An intensive, in-depth seminar for the Jewish community to build bridges of understanding and respect with Muslims. In two full days with a world-class scholar on Islam, this seminar navigates through a maze of conflicting information and stereotypes to equip Jews with the knowledge and tools to better understand and collaborate with Muslims in tikkun olam (repairing the world). Fee is $60 (or $50 if you sign up before November 11).

Register at

For more information, contact

This event is held in collaboration with Abrahamic Alliance International, Temple Emanu-El, Congregation Shir Hadash, and Congregation Sinai.

Abrahamic Alliance International logo

Are you interested in developing tools for mind/body/spirit self-care? Join Rabbi Hugh, the JCC’s Director of Community Engagement, for monthly wellbeing walks.

We will meet in the main lobby, investigate how the JCC’s value of the month might inspire wise action through brief text study and intention setting, walk together to the Los Gatos Creek, practice a brief meditative exercise in a beautiful setting, and return to the JCC for a closing reflection.

First Wednesday of every month. Please dress comfortably and wear your preferred walking shoes.

This program is free. No need to register, just drop in.

More information:


First Wednesday of every month ongoing 11:00am-12:00 noon Free

CM = Full Center Member  SM = Social Member  NM = Non-Member


About the JCC’s Value of the Month

The Addison-Penzak JCC is founded on eight Jewish values which are also universal values:

  • Building Character (derech eretz)
  • Community (kehillah)
  • Conscious Giving (tzedakah)
  • Lovingkindness (chesed)
  • Respect (kavod)
  • Social Justice (tikkun olam)
  • Welcoming Guests (hachnasat orchim)
  • Wisdom (chochmah)

Events for young adults ages 22-36 are arranged by Maya Jacobson, the JCC’s Community Engagement Administrator. Contact her at

Join the Young Adults at the APJCC Facebook group to get information on the latest happenings.

Upcoming events include:

Monthly Shabbat Hike
Every fourth Saturday of the month*, location varies
A Shabbat experience for those who do not connect to traditional Shabbat practices. Join us every fourth Saturday of the month for a hike with meditation and a picnic lunch (kiddush included!) at the midpoint. We encourage people to leave their phones behind or on airplane mode so we can all truly be present during this Shabbat experience.
*Occasionally the hike is on a different Saturday–always double check the Facebook group


The APJCC is proud to be a part of the Initiative on Jewish Peoplehood, co-funded by the Koret Foundation and the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture, and supported further by the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley and other generous supporters.