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 [email protected].

From Sinai to Seinfeld: Jews and their Jokes

This new Melton Scholars Course will show how the things that make the Jewish people laugh represent a distinct period, theme, or preoccupation in Jewish history. Jewish jokes are deeply revealing sign posts along the Jewish journey. This course treats Jewish jokes as Jewish text, and invites students to “read” and interpret jokes and humor in an attempt to reveal the concerns, styles, rhythms, preoccupations, and values of the Jewish people buried deep in words that make us laugh as Jews, and that continue to bond us as a people.

Day: Mondays beginning on October 8, 2018 for 10 weeks
Time: 10:30am – 12:00pm
Instructor: Rabbi Leslie Alexander
Cost: $250
How to Register: Click here to register on the Melton website. Note: You must register for this class through the Melton website, not through the JCC website.

Want to sample a Melton lesson? Click here!

Dr. Nirit Bernstein will be exploring Israel’s latest groundbreaking contribution to agricultural research in the field of Medical Cannabis. With governmental approval and encouragement, Israel is a global leader when it comes to pioneering medical cannabis research and development.

Sun 10/7 7:00-9:00pm $8 (advance), $10 at door $12 (advance), $15 at door

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

Special thanks to Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley for sponsoring this event.

The public is invited to a talk with Yonatan Winetraub, co-founder of SpaceIL, who will discuss his organization’s project to land an unmanned Israeli spacecraft and win the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition.

Date and time: Tuesday, October 30, at 6:30pm

Event schedule:

  • 6:30pm networking and light dinner
  • 7:15pm intros
  • 7:30pm lecture and Q&A

Admission: $10 in advance, $15 at the door.

For more information, contact Maya Tripp at [email protected].

Yonatan Winetraub is the co-founder of SpaceIL, an Israeli non-profit organization that is attempting to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon in February 2019 and win the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. A key goal of this mission is to inspire the next generation of space researchers and to promote education and scientific exploration. To date, SpaceIL has reached over 300,000 children across Israel. Yonatan is currently a PhD candidate at Stanford in biophysics, studying a method to interpret and intercept cancer cell communication. In addition, he was part of the International Space University Program at NASA Ames studying how we can create Martian colonies using shelter and water from Martian lava caves. He studied Electrical Engineering and Computational Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University focusing on how regions in the brain collaborate to create our emotions.

This event has been organized in conjunction with the Jewish High Tech Community and the Silicon Valley Space Center.

Dates: One Monday each month during the school year.  Dates for 2018-19 are 9/17, 10/8, 11/12, 12/10, 1/14, 2/11, 3/11, 4/8, 5/6, 6/3*.
Time: 8:40-10:00am
Cost: $10 per day. Your first class is free!

Join Rabbi Laurie Matzkin, our 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. Walk away with food for thought and concrete steps to bring more meaning to your month. We welcome all moms, including first-time participants! First session is free, then $10/session. This program is held in Club J on the school side of the building.

This family centered group meets monthly on the Monday after Rosh Hodesh (the celebration of the new Jewish month) and will integrate text study, self-reflection and journaling, and real life themes relevant to mothers of all ages and stages. 8:40-9:00am informal coffee and chatting, followed by a more focused program 9:00-10:00am.

Moms’ Circle is in held in Club J, on the school side of the JCC building. Coffee and bagels provided.

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

For more information, email [email protected].

*Our last meeting of the school year will be an offsite, evening event on June 3.


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.

If you’ve never studied Talmud before, we recommend you take Lehrhaus Judaica’s “Taste of Talmud” class before this class starts.

If you are new to the study of Talmud, we recommend that you participate in Lehrhaus Judaica’s “A Special Morning with the Talmud and the Zohar” introductory session on Sunday September 16, 10:00am at the Jewish Community Library in San Francisco. This program is free but you must sign up for it in advance. If you have questions, please contact Abra Greenspan at [email protected].

Sun 10/21, 11/11, 12/16, 1/27, 2/24, 3/17, 4/28, 5/19, 6/2* 10:00am-12:00pm Choose your price**

* June 2 meeting is a siyyum (celebration for the end of the course of study) and will be held at the Jewish Community Library in San Francisco.

** When you register for the class at, you’ll see a choice of three prices. You can choose your price–the higher prices cover more of Lehrhaus Judaica’s expenses.
$270 covers for faculty, admin, and overhead costs
$225 covers faculty and admin costs
$180 covers faculty cost only

An overview of the Jewish life-cycle, holidays, and ritual. During the course of the year, 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. Sessions will rotate among local synagogues and the APJCC based on which rabbi is teaching. Please note that the class location rotates. For class locations, please check the syllabus (available this fall) . Instructors: Rabbi Berkenwald of Congregation Sinai, Rabbi Aron of Congregation Shir Hadash, Rabbi from Congregation Beth David, Rabbi Magat of Temple Emanu-El, and Rabbi Seid-Valencia of the APJCC. To join this ongoing class, please register below and contact Maya Jacobson at [email protected] to receive the syllabus and other class materials.

Class meets on  Tuesdays from 7:00pm-9:00pm. Dates for 2018-19 are Oct 16 through April 9. No class on 11/20, 12/25, 1/1, 2/19.

Fee is $180 per person.

Learn to speak and read Hebrew with instructor Yael Karmi. Yael is a native Hebrew speaker and accomplished Hebrew teacher. Choose morning or evening class. For more information, contact [email protected].

Tue 10/9-11/13 7:00-8:15pm $36 $45
Tue 10/16-11/20 12:00-1:30pm $36 $45

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


Experience Judaism through a yoga lens. Enjoy a unique mix of alignment-based yoga, text study and discussion, and spiritual meditation. Stretch your body, mind and soul. This framework for embodied mindfulness is organized around the Jewish calendar but will speak to people of all backgrounds, faiths and fitness levels. Instructor is Rabbi Laurie Matzkin. For more information, email [email protected].

Mon 10/29 12:30-2:30pm $25 $30
Mon 12/3 12:30-2:30pm $25 $30
Thu 1/31 7:30-9:30pm $25 $30
Mon 3/18 12:30-2:30pm $25 $30
Thu 4/11 7:30-9:30pm $25 $30
Mon 5/20 12:30-2:30pm $25 $30

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

Are you seeking to bring Judaism into your children’s life but don’t know where to start? Do you want to increase your family’s connection to the Jewish tradition? This workshop series will give you inspiring ideas and concrete tools to bring Jewish values, messages, and actions into your family’s daily life. Led by our Mindful Jewish Journeys educator Rabbi Laurie Matzkin, you will enjoy a pluralistic, safe space to explore different aspects of “Judaism behind the scenes.” Topics include: how to make Shabbat and holiday rituals come alive, how to talk with your children about God, how to mourn with the support of Jewish wisdom, and how to access daily moments of mindfulness amidst it all. Join us over a glass of wine or a cup of tea, and grow from the inside out! All faith backgrounds and levels of religious practice are welcome.

Please note: This class is held offsite, at varying locations.


For more information, contact [email protected].

Thu 9/16 7:30-9:30pm Journey into Ritual $25
Thu 11/29 7:30-9:30pm Journey into Spirituality $25
Thu 1/17 7:30-9:30pm Journey into Grief $25
Thu 3/7 7:30-9:30pm Journey into Justice $25
Thu 5/16 7:30-9:30pm Journey into a Balanced Life $25

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

Rabbi Joey Felsen of the Jewish Study Network guides you through the fundamental works of Maimonides, Luzzato, and other classic commentators. No Hebrew necessary.

For more information, contact [email protected].

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.

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

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 9/19 or 1/23.

This class meets every Monday from 3:30-4:30pm at Chai House, 814 St. Elizabeth Drive, San Jose. This engaging class with the JCC’s Rabbi Hugh Seid-Valencia, keeps us full of life through the words of the Torah. All abilities, ages, and levels are welcome – you do not need to be a resident of Chai House.

Please note, if Monday is a holiday or the eve of a holiday, this class does not meet.


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

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. Free for JCC members. Please dress comfortably and wear your preferred walking shoes.

Free to members. No need to register, just drop in. Non-members, please stop by the Service Desk in the JCC main lobby to purchase a JCC day pass ($25 for the day gives full access to the JCC’s fitness facilities and pool).

More information: [email protected]


First Wednesday of every month ongoing 11:00am-12:00 noon Free $25 (JCC day pass fee)

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)

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 [email protected].

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. Class does not meet during the summer. Class will resume on September 4, 2018.

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.