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Introduction to Judaism: What You Can Do Until Your Course Begins

Suggestions for Preparing for Your Class

  1. Attend Shabbat services. You can begin to attend Shabbat services at any time. You do not need to belong to a congregation or even to be registered in an Introduction to Judaism course. The best “starter” service is probably on Friday evening. Many congregations have members of the Outreach Committee or ushers who serve as “Shabbat Hosts.” If you would like to sit with someone at Shabbat services and meet with the rabbi and congregants after services, a Shabbat Host may be helpful. When you make contact with a rabbi or a congregation, ask your contact if they have “Shabbat Hosts.” Find a synagogue in your area
  2. Begin reading novels and watching movies with Jewish content.
    • As A Driven Leaf by Milton Steinberg
    • Exodus by Leon Uris 
    • For the Relief of Unbearable Urges by Nathan Englander 
    • Miriam’s Kitchen by Elizabeth Ehrlich 
    • The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
    • Turbulent Souls by Stephen J. Dubner
    • Yentl
    • Fiddler on the Roof
    • Hester Street
    • Kadosh
    • Waltz with Bashir 
       
  3. Begin to unscramble the Hebrew alphabet. Aleph Isn’t Tough is a book written for adult learners. The Hebrew letters are introduced two or three at a time. This volume teaches how to decode words; introduces the beginning of an understanding of Hebrew for Jewish ritual study and participation in Jewish life. Order Aleph Isn’t Tough through URJ Books and Music.
     
  4. Learn more about conversion and interfaith families. On this website, you'll find great discussions about conversion issues. There are many first person perspectives reflecting upon the process of becoming a Jew. Note the glossary of words and terms for Jewish living, about which you will be taught in your Introduction to Judaism course. 
     
  5. Check in on the Intro to Judaism web page. On these pages, you will find all the registration and other information for URJ Introduction to Judaism courses. The schedule of courses is regularly updated as new locations are arranged. You may find a new course opening near you sooner than you had expected.

The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) is a dynamic network of congregations, lay leaders, clergy and professionals across North America, representing nearly 900 member congregations.INTRODUCTION TO JUDAISM courses are a program of the URJ. Located in Los Angeles, Rabbi Sabine Meyer is the Intro Director for the URJ West District (California, Arizona, Seattle region).