This year we strive to offer something for everyone; a movie on Christmas day, short stories with tea and cookies in the middle of winter, discussions around the study of Tanach,  a talk given by B.U. professor and congregation member Deeana Klepper, as well as ongoing study with our rabbi.

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;


The Tribes of Israel

Once again, Rabbi Penzner is offering a monthly course from the Hartman Institute

10 Sundays, September 11, October 30, November 20, December 18, January 22, March 5, April 2, April 23, May 7, and June 4

7:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Returning from her recent visit to Israel, Rabbi Penzner is eager to discuss Israel from the perspective of the people who live in the modern Jewish state. Using A Shared Homeland for a Divided People, the second iEngage Video Lecture Series from the Shalom Hartman Institute, the group learns from Hartman lecturers and engages in discussion about the realities of the “tribes” -- religious, ideological, national, and geographic --who live there now.

The Tribes of Israel begins a conversation to rethink the ways American Jews relate to the collective and the individual tribes that comprise the State of Israel.

This class is funded by a generous grant from CJP. The only cost to members will be $20 for the sourcebook. Non-members are asked to pay $54 for the course in addition to the sourcebook.

NEW! HBT Jewish Life Discussion Group

10 Thursdays, September 15, October 6, November 11, December 15, January 19, February 16, March 16, April 27, May 18, and June 15

8:00 pm – 9:30 pm


The HBT Men’s group is opening its doors and minds to all genders and ages, to build on the HBT Men’s group two-year tradition of deep and thoughtful conversation about living as Jews in the modern world. Food to share is welcome but not required. Bring your ideas, your worries, your memories, your poetry and prose, and help us Jewishly understand each other and the world around us during these challenging and exciting times. Drop-ins welcome!

Questions or comments, please call or email (but don’t text!) Adam Frost,, 617-325-9526.


Torah Study

led by Rabbi Penzner

14 Saturdays, September 17, October 1, October 15, October 29, November 19,  December 3, December 17, January 7, March 4, March 25, April 2, April 8, May 13, and June 3.

8:45 am - 9:45 am

Now in our sixth 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 commentary 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.


Bagels and Tanach

Hosted by HBT members

5 Sundays, October 16, December 11, January 29, March 26, and May 7

11:00 am – 1:00 pm


Many of us are familiar with the Five Books of Moses that comprise the Torah but less familiar with the books of Prophets and Writings that together with the Torah make up the Tanach (Hebrew Bible). Over the last few years this group has read Kings 1 and 2, Proverbs, Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah. Our sessions are held at members' homes and are accompanied with brunch. Newcomers and drop-ins are always welcome.


Allen J. Worters Memorial Lecture

featuring Robin Washington, Globe Columnist

Friday, November 18

Catered Community Dinner 6:15 pm – 7:30 pm

Lecture 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm


As a Jew of color and a journalist, Robin Washington often speaks about racial diversity, white privilege and Jews of color.

In 2007 HBT created a permanent endowment to support this annual fall lecture in honor of Allen Worters (of blessed memory). We welcome your donation! Our goal for the endowment is to raise $7,200 (400 x chai), so that the fund will continue in perpetuity, and provide an honorarium from the accrued interest. The endowment is now housed at Boston Community Capital, a certified community development finance institution. Please make checks payable to HBT designating the Annual Allen J. Worters Memorial Lecture Fund.

Dinner: $19 per adult

Lecture: suggested donation $36

We do not accept money on Shabbat. Please RSVP and pay in advance.


NEW! American Jewish Short Stories

Discussion with Michael Kaufman

4 Tuesdays, January 10, January 24, February 7, and February 28

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

When asked what it means to be a Jew 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 discussions, 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 complexities 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 look at works by Philip Roth, Allegra Goodman, Rebecca Goldstein and Nathan Englander to generate discussion.

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)



Sacred Texts and Lived Realities: Scriptural Religions in Pluralistic Societies

Havdalah service followed by talk by Professor Deeana Klepper

Saturday, February 4

 7:00 pm – 9:00pm


What is the relationship between sacred texts and the lived experience of the communities that hold those texts dear? To what extent can reading the Tanakh, the Christian Bible, or the Qur’an help us understand Jewish, Christian, or Muslim communities? What happens when members of different religious groups organized around different texts share space in pluralistic societies? Using the pluralistic context of medieval Spain as a starting point, we will explore the role of sacred text in shaping (or not) relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Then we will consider whether there are lessons that may apply to the way we think about religious difference in our own pluralistic societies today.


Deeana Klepper earned her Ph.D. from Northwestern University in Medieval European History and is Associate Professor of Religion and History at Boston University, where she teaches classes on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in historical contexts. Her research focuses on Christian-Jewish encounters in medieval Europe; she is currently engaged in studying a fourteenth-century Christian priests’ manual from Germany in terms of its concerns about Christian-Jewish relations and anti-Jewish violence at the time of the Black Plague. Deeana is also a teacher of medieval Jewish culture in Hebrew College’s Me’ah program. She and her family live in West Roxbury and are longtime members of Temple HBT.



Mussar Va’ad

with Rabbi Penzner

7 Wednesdays, October 26, November 16, December 21, January 18, March 8, April 5

and May 3

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Mussar is a rigorous Jewish practice of reflecting on and examining our behavior. A Mussar Va’ad is a group of seekers who accompany one another in our individual self-examination. Each month we focus on a particular middah (soul trait), such as generosity, trust, truth and equanimity.

At each monthly meeting of the Va’ad, Rabbi Penzner guides us in reviewing the particular middah (soul trait) that the group has been working on and introduces a new middah for the coming month. Participation in the Va’ad requires a commitment to pay attention to that month’s middah on a daily basis, to offer a personal reflection to the group one time during the year, and to meet with a study partner (hevruta) in between the Va’ad meetings.

This is a closed group, continuing from prior years. If you are interested in participating in a Mussar group in the future, please let the rabbi know you would like to be part of a new group.