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Mission Statement

As a “home for wondering Jews,” Eitz Chayim offers and curates Jewish learning opportunities for all ages to supplement the work of our school. Our goal is to have every adult enmeshed in some way on an ongoing basis in the rich cultural and religious fabric of Judaism. To  that end, we offer topic-focussed thematic programming which includes classes, lectures, films, and hands-on experiences (which will become real rather than virtual when the pandemic subsides), as well as ongoing Torah study and book discussions. We also partner with other organizations such as Me’ah. We hope you will join us!

Regular recurring events

Weekly Torah Study which meets every Tuesday at 9 am


Ageing-to-Sageing group


Book discussions – Eitz Chayim hosts an informal book discussion group which meets roughly every six weeks to discuss a book chosen by participants. For more information, see the calendar of upcoming events, or contact Bonnie Friedman at


Sunday, August 8th, 7:30 pm: 

The Coffee Trader by David Liss. Join here.  Meeting ID: 823 60149058 Passcode: books.

Current and upcoming learning opportunities 

Announcing Open Circle

Lifelong Learning presents our new class for next year, taking place September 2021 through June 2022. Registration information is now available!

American Jews and Racial Justice: Where we are now and how we got here.

Thursdays, 7:15-8:45 pm

10 Sessions

Location:  Zoom

Cost: $180; some financial aid available


If you encounter any difficulties with registration, please contact Cindy Bernstein at or 617-559-8709. For more info. on financial aid or anything else, please contact Bonnie Friedman,

Part One: Finding our place: Jews in the Struggle for Racial Equity

with Tema Smith - 6 Sessions: 9/30, 10/28, 11/18, 12/9, 1/13, 2/10 

With a renewed awakening about the pervasiveness of systemic racism in our society, questions about where the Jewish community fits in are appearing more and more.  How does the social construction of race impact the Jewish community?  Are white-presenting Jews considered white?  How does the Jewish community show up for Jews of Color?  And where does antisemitism fit into this spectrum of oppression?  In this course, we will dive into some of these hot-button topics and emerge with a deeper understanding of each of our places in the fight for justice.  

Part Two: American Jews and Race: A Historical Perspective

with Dr. Marc Dollinger - 4 Sessions: 3/17, 4/7, 5/5, 6/2 

Learn about the most important historical moments for American Jews and questions of race.  Explore how white-presenting Jews have, and have not, been considered privileged in U.S. history.  Dive deep into the civil rights movement of the 1950s and early 1960s, learning new insights into both southern Jews and northern Jewish participation in racial justice causes. Learn about the apparent break-up of the Black/Jewish alliance in the mid-1960s with a close reading of the Black Power movement and its inspiration for American Jewish public identity. Finally, examine actual historical documents going back 360 years revealing the interconnection between Jews, race, and racism, that show us how “becoming American” often meant participation in racist systems.

This class is offered through Hebrew College’s Open Circle program.  There will not be much homework for this series.  Class is limited to 20 students. 

Me'ah Class for summer - HAPPENING NOW
Tradition on The Screen II:  Challenges and Joys of Traditional Jewish Life in Film Instructor: Dr. Jacob Meskin
Designed as a free-standing companion course to Tradition On The Screen I (each may be taken separately), this course screens films that explore the profound personal experiences, and struggles, of those living traditional Jewish lives today. Using the films and readings this course tries to articulate -- from the “inside” -- the thoughts and feelings of traditional Jews as they face both wrenching dilemmas and truly joyous moments. Some of the topics in the films include spirituality and faith, the experiences of women, the challenges faced by the LGBTQ community, dealing with other religions, and the struggle to believe in God after the Holocaust. Students will screen the films on their own before class; important clips will be shown in class.  Carefully chosen academic readings and short stories will be provided each week, both for background on that week’s film, and to enhance the viewing experience.

Past events

October 7 - December 16, 2020: “Unpacking Antisemitism,” a weekly course offered in collaboration with Hebrew College taught by Dr. Jacob Meskin of Hebrew College.


Film screenings with lecture and discussion:


  • “Gentleman’s Agreement” (October 2020)
  • “School Ties” (November 2020)
  • “The Rabbi Goes West” (February 2021)
  • “Space Torah” (March 2021)
  • “Paper Clips” (April 2021)
  • "Angels on Diamond Street" (May 2021)
  • "Doing Jewish: A Story from Ghana" (July 2021, for Worldwide Refugee Awareness Month)

December, 2020: Lecture and discussion on the history of anti-Semitism with Dr. Rachel Fish.

January, 2021: “J-Term: Hungry for Learning: An exploration of Jewish food and food culture

May, 2021: Literary evening with Esther Adler and Ann Braude to introduce Esther's new book, Poems of Sorrow, Solace, and Spirituality.

June, 2021:  Beyond Polemics: Attempting To Understand Jewish Debates About Israel - a discussion with Dr. Jacob Meskin. 

June, 2021: Discussion with A Fish Tale director Emmanuelle Mayer for World Refugee Awareness Month.


Kulanu - World Jewry

Jewish Boston - Local events

Ofek - Connecting Israeli language and culture

Global Jews

Feedback and involvement 

Many lifelong learning opportunities at Eitz Chayim are planned and curated by the all-volunteer Eitz Chayim Lifelong Learning team. We welcome your feedback on events and suggestions for future activities. We also welcome new members to the team.  On either item, contact Lifelong Learning Team Coordinator Armond Cohen at

Wed, November 30 2022 6 Kislev 5783