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].

Mysticism and Kabbalah: Secret Knowledge in Judaism

Despite the public chatter about Kabbalah, for many, this important aspect of the Jewish tradition remains a “closed book.” This course presents the rich history of Jewish mysticism, along with understandings of many of the texts that have been so central to that tradition, speaking to the deepest mysteries of human existence and to many of life’s eternal universal questions.

Day: Mondays, 2/4-4/15 (no class 2/18)
Time: 10:30am – 12:00 noon
Instructor: Rabbi Philip Ohriner
Cost: $250 + cost of reader
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!

Learn to speak and read Hebrew with instructor Yael Karmi. Yael is a native Hebrew speaker and accomplished Hebrew teacher.

Mon 1/28-3/18 7:00-8:15pm $36* $45*

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

* In addition to the class fee, all participants will need to purchase Living Language Hebrew: Essential Edition (click here to purchase).

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.

Dates: One Monday each month during the school year.  Upcoming dates are 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.


Creating Equanimity: A Mindfulness and Yoga Retreat

Friday, May 10 at 6:00pm through Sunday, May 12 at 11:00am

Experience the power of nature, Shabbat, periods of silence, and develop mental and physical tools for cultivating and celebrating equanimity surrounded by a supportive community — all in beautiful Marin County.

The retreat starts on Friday, May 10 at 6:00pm and ends on Sunday, May 12 at 11:00am. With Rabbi Lavey Derby, Rabbi Hugh Seid-Valencia, Julie Emden, Rabbi Laurie Matzkin and Tracey Green.

Co-offered by Peninsula Jewish Community Center, the Addison-Penzak JCC and Embodied Jewish Learning.  Organized by the Addison-Penzak JCC and the Peninsula JCC, and held at Marconi Conference Center in Marin, CA.

Register at

For more information, please contact [email protected].

For ages 18 and up.

Because we are limited in our capacity to handle the complexity of ticket sales, your purchase is final. If, after purchasing, you are unable to come to the retreat, please let us know. If we have a waiting list, we will be happy to refund your ticket minus a $75 cancellation fee. If we do not have a waiting list, you will be responsible to sell your ticket to someone else. 

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.

The March workshop will have a Purim theme, and the April workshop will have a Passover theme.

For more information, email [email protected].

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 daily 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 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 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

You’re invited to a series of Kabbalat Shabbat (Welcoming the Sabbath) dinners at locations around the community. These exciting and interactive Shabbat dinners are designed to be family friendly. Meet other families, introduce your kids to more friends, and celebrate Shabbat in a fun and meaningful way. For families with children in approximately the 6 months-8 year age range (older siblings welcome).

March 8 at 5:00pm
Shabbat dinner for Russian speaking families
Addison-Penzak JCC, Levy Family Campus, 14855 Oka Road, Los Gatos
RSVP to [email protected]

March 15 at 6:00pm
Temple Emanu-El, 1010 University Ave., San Jose
RSVP to [email protected]

April 5 at 5:00pm
Congregation Sinai, 1532 Willowbrae Ave., San Jose
RSVP to [email protected]


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. Usually we meet in Activity Room A, but on the following dates we will meet in the Federation Conference Room (located across the hall from Activity Room A) instead: 1/8, 1/22, 2/5, 4/16, 4/30 and 5/14.

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

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.

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: [email protected]


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)

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.

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

Upcoming events include:

Dinner Discussion: Ethics of Esther
Monday, March 18, 6:30-8:30pm
Come to dinner in a private home and have a guided discussion about the ethical implications of the story of Esther. This event is held in collaboration with YA-Live. The discussion will be facilitated by Shifra Elman. Fee is $10. All registration fees will be donated to Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley.  RSVP to Maya Jacobson, [email protected]. Address of the event will be provided when you RSVP.

Second Seder for Young Adults
April 20, times and locations vary
Want to attend a Passover seder specifically for young adults? Want to host a seder specifically for young adults? The JCC wants to make that happen! If you are interested in hosting, email [email protected] and specify the theme, how many people you can host, and what time. Interested in attending a seder! Let us know! We will be posting an online sign-up form once all hosting options are set up.

Monthly Shabbat Hike
Every fourth Saturday of the month. Location varies.



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.