Lifelong Learning

Our 2018-19 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 June, with the rabbi and co-led by members, see HERE for more info.

  • Bagels + Tanach Study Group, Hosted by HBT members
    October 13, December 8, 2019
    February 16,March 29, April 7, and May 10, 2020

  • Allen J. Worters Memorial Lecture, November 22, 2019

  • Taste of Musar, November 14, 2019 (5 sessions)

  • IOWA Project, December 12, 2019 (4 sessions)

  • Jewish Short Stories, January 9, 2020 (6 sessions)


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

Torah Study

Led by Rabbi Penzner, 15 Saturday mornings, 8:45 - 9:45 am
October 6 & 20, November 3, December 8 & 22, 2018
January 5, February 2 & 16, March 2, 16 & 30, April 13, May 4 & 18, and June 8, 2019
In our Torah study group we bring our personal experence to the study of the weekly parasha (Torah portion) and learn from commentators past and present. At each meeting, we focus on a specific section of the portion as our jumping-off point in the ongoing interpretive tradition of Torah study. No Hebrew knowledge or prior experience is necessary. However we ask that participants prepare in advance by reading through the weekly the portion. Contact the rabbi if you would like to receive regular notifications of Torah study meetings and topics,

Allen J. Worters Memorial Lecture

Friday Evening, November 2, 2018,
6:15-7:15 pm - Community Dinner
7:30-9:00 pm - Speaker
FEATURING: Marya Axner served as director of the New England Jewish Labor Committee (JLC) for 12 years before running in June 2019The JLC enables the Jewish community and the trade union movement to work together on important issues of shared interest and concern, in pursuit of our common commitment to economic and social justice. Currently, Ms. Axner is a consultant to the JLC, leading workshops on anti-Semitism for labor unions and social justice organizations.

Before working at the Jewish Labor Committee, Ms. Axner worked in the Education Department of the Jewish Women’s Archive.  She has been an art teacher, an artist, a multicultural consultant, and a writer for a non-profit organization. Marya lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with her husband Mark Niedergang.
Dinner: $19 per adult
Lecture: suggested donation $36
We do not accept money on Shabbat. RSVP, and pay in advance at the HBT office.

Book Read

“A Letter to My Palestinian Neighbor” Tuesday, December 4, 2018, 7-8:30pm
Facilitated by Roxanne Kelber. Lifelong learning sponsors... a book read! “Letter to My Palestinian Neighbor” by Yossi Klein Halevi. Klein Halevi is also the author of “Like Dreamers”, which you may have read. The new book is a short but intriguing read as he addresses the Palestinians in understanding the Israeli/Jewish experience of settling Israel. His goal is to achieve a mutual recognition of the investment and trauma of both peoples in the land. His hope is that this will begin a conversation in finding ways to move forward towards peace. There are complex concepts that Klein Halevi encapsulates in succinct and simple ways. It is a captivating and informative book. This December read will bookend our short story reading in January and February.


4 Tuesdays: January 8 & 22, February 5 & 26, 2019, 7– 8:30pm
Discussion led by HBT congregant and scholar Michael Kaufman
Back by popular demand! Michael will facilitate discussions of selected short stories. Copies of these stories will be available in the temple office in December. Come experience these lively and thought provoking conversations!

Michael Kaufman has a doctorate in English and American literature, and has taught a broad variety of literary courses both within universities and outside academia to business and professional groups. For the past twelve years he has taught classes in Brandeis’ adult learning institute (BOLLI).

Homeopathy for the Jewish Soul

Homeopathy for the Jewish Soul, Sunday, January 13, 2019
Time and location TBA
A presentation, talk and questions with Jerry Kantor, a highly experienced practitioner of homeopathy as an integrative approach to illness and well being. This will be held in a private home with potluck brunch.