Lifelong Learning

Our 2017-18 Program Book is available HERE with a Complete Schedule of Classes and Learning Opportunities for Adults, Families and Children.


The themes of diversity and equity weave throughout our programming with particular attention to storytelling and diversity in the Shabbat dinners and the book group. We hope to create opportunities for connection at every meeting and event and we welcome you to bring your ideas as well—this is all of our work.

Upcoming and Recurring Events

  • Torah Study biweekly, from October to May, with the rabbi and co-led by members, Saturday mornings 8:45 - 9:45, with coffee and pastries

  • Allen J. Worters Memorial Lecture: Guest Speaker: Sasha Chanoff (Refuge Point) Sunday, November 3, 2017, 7:30 to 9:00 p.m.

  • Education For Action Series, details TBD

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Shabbat and Luncheon, January 13, 2018, 10am - 1pm

  • Pesach Kulanu Yachad: Sunday morning, March 25, 2018, 9:45am to 12:15pm

  • And more! Check the calendar or join our mailing list! See detailed information about all our programming below.

Share your Expertise

Our Temple Hillel B’nai Torah community is blessed with a wealth of contacts and expertise among our own temple members. If you have an idea for a program, are interested in making a presentation or bringing in a guest speaker to present on a topic of interest to our community, please contact Benita at

Some activities are located within the synagogue and some, in members’ homes. Either way, all activities generally offer small group venues, something to perk your interest and offer a way to become better acquainted with members of our congregation.

If you are new and unfamiliar with an activity or locale, don’t hesitate to call the office for additional information, or co-chairs Shelley Stevens; and Roxanne Kelber;

Bagels and Tanach Study Group

Hosted by HBT members
5 Sundays: October 29, December 10, February 4, March 18, and May 6
11:00 am – 1:00 pm
For several years now a group of us have been gathering
 together to read and discuss the books of the Bible aside from the Five Books of Moses that constitute the Torah. The informal sessions have mostly been held at my home over brunch on Sunday mornings from 11 AM to 1 PM. At the close of last year we decided to start with the Book of Esther and then go to Chronicles. If you are interested in joining us you are most welcome.
Our sessions are held at members’ homes and are accompanied with brunch. Newcomers and drop-ins are always welcome.
For more information you can call Merle at: (617) 879 0491 or email her at


These sessions aim to prepare travelers on the HBT Dual-Narrative trip to Israel and Palestine. However, all are welcome.
October 29, 2017, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Discussion of Amos Elon’s The Israelis: Founders and Sons laying the groundwork for the Israeli narrative.
November 19, 2017, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Professor Derek Penslar, professor of Jewish history at Harvard, a specialist in Zionism and a talented teacher, will speak to us about the history of Israel and Zionism with its nuances and complexities.
December 3, 2017, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Stephane Acel-Green, New England regional director of the New Israel Fund, will speak about the current state of grassroots civil society groups, the right wing in Israel, and the work of the New Israel Fund.
January 7, 2018, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Discussion of Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land, a recent Israeli critique of the standard Zioniost narrative.
January 28, 2018, 6:30 to 9:00 pm
Screening and discussion of the Israeli documentary film, The Settlers.

Torah Study

Led by Rabbi Penzner
9 Saturdays: October 21, November 11,  
December 16, January 6, February 10,
March 10, April 14, April 8, May 12
and June 3  
8:45 am - 9:45 am
Now in our seventh year, our Torah study group discusses the weekly parasha, or Torah portion, drawing on our personal experience and learning from generations of commentators. We focus on specific sections of the portion using the com-mentary in the Etz Hayim Humash as our jumping-off point in the ongoing interpretive tradition of Torah study.
We ask that participants read through the portion in advance; however, no Hebrew knowledge or prior experience is necessary.

Allen J. Worters Memorial Lecture

FEATURING: Sasha Chanoff
From Crisis to Calling: Finding Your Moral Center in the Toughest Decisions.
Friday, November 3
Catered Community Dinner 6:15 pm – 7:30 pm
Lecture 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Sasha will talk about the worldwide refugee problem and the organization he founded, Refuge Point. Sasha invites you to watch the video, “An Impossible Choice,”  on the website before the lecture.
Dinner: $19 per adult
Lecture: suggested donation $36
We do not accept money on Shabbat. Please RSVP to Benita Block,, and pay in advance.


“Theodore Bikel in the shoes of Shalom   Aleichem”
Saturday evening, December 16
This hour and a quarter long movie tells of the impact of Shalom Aleichem through the eyes of Theodore Bikel who grew up under the influence of this storyteller of the people.  Come join us for havdallah,  Chanukah candle lighting and this charming movie chanukah. The movie follows havdalah and candle lighting which begin at 5:30pm.


Wednesday evening, April 11
"Denial” is based on the true story of academic scholar
Deborah Lipstadt who faced a lawsuit by David Irving, a
Holocaust denier, when she spoke out against his falsification
of World War II atrocities. The movie follows havdalah and candle lighting which begin at 5:30pm.


Discussion led by HBT congregant and scholar, Michael Kaufman
4 Tuesdays: December 19, January 9 & 23, February 6
When asked what it means to be Jewish in contemporary America, Philip Roth responded that it is a complicated, morally demanding and singular experience. These four discussion sessions will explore some of the complex tensions in the American Jewish experience. Using short stories by contemporary Jewish writers to frame our discus-sions, we will reflect on themes such as: the variety of Jewish identity and the future of Judaism in America; whether there is a special obligation one Jew has to another; the moral com-plexities associated with the emergence of the state of Israel and what it means for Jewish identity; and the experience of the second generation of survivors of the Shoah. We will read Seize the Day by Saul Bellow, Mindel Gittel by Rebecca Goldstein, The Magic Barrel by Bernard Malamud and Gilgul by Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi to generate discussion in the four sessions held during December, January and February. Michael Kaufman has a doctorate in English and American literature, and has taught a broad variety of literary courses both within universities and outside the academy to business and professional groups.For the past ten years he has taught classes in Brandeis’ adult learning institute (BOLLI).