Open Beit Midrash

The Open Beit Midrash at Kane Street – Every Tuesday Night (starting Oct 16)!
Come to the Beit Midrash at Kane Street to engage with Jewish texts and Torah in an open atmosphere of learning. Study independently, with a friend (hevruta), or join one of several classes being offered each night. Bring a hevruta or meet someone new! Come to learn, or to learn how to learn – guides will be available to help at any level. Stay later for great “living room style” Jewish spiritual music.

Tuesday Nights: October 16, 2012 to May 7, 2013!

Beit Midrash is from 7:00 to 8:30, followed by a weekly musical performance by the Joey Weisenberg Trio from 8:30-10:00 in the Choir Loft! Join us for the study, the music, or both!

Cost: $10 per evening suggested donation (to help buy books and food for the Beit Midrash), or yearly subscription. Food/music included!

Kane Street Synagogue
236 Kane Street, Brooklyn, NY

Open Beit Midrash

A weekly opportunity to study Jewish texts, hear live Jewish music, and enjoy good food.

Tuesday Evenings

October 16, 2012 to May 7, 2013

6:45 -7:15   Light repast

7:15-8:45    Choose from several simultaneous class offerings

8:45-10       Weekly musical performance with Joey Weisenberg Ensemble

The Beit Midrash (House of Study) has traditionally been the cultural center for creative spiritual conversation, a place to bring everyone together in an atmosphere of focused learning, energetic discussion and personal search.

Using the educational techniques of a traditional Yeshiva, but in a progressive, inclusive, Brownstone Brooklyn way, our study will center around tables, with provocative texts and helpful resources arrayed before the students.

The Open Beit Midrash is for learners of all levels. We value diversity. Come whether you have studied Jewish texts for 20 years or are a complete novice. Madrichim, learning guides, will roam the Beit Midrash to welcome students and help them find an appropriate level of study.

Each Beit Midrash evening begins with a light repast and concludes with a performance of Jewish spiritual music by Joey Weisenberg and his band, with more refreshments.

Cost is $10 per evening, or you may purchase a Beit Midrash subscription for the year:  As many courses, dinners and music performances as you like for 26 Tuesday evenings. Per person, Kane Street members: $150; non-members: $240. Scholarships are available; contact Rabbi Weintraub at

Fall Classes: October to December, 2012

Foundations of Jewish Life
Jason Gitlin
Study the fundamentals of Jewish thought and practice as we explore the Shabbat, holidays, prayer, theology, mitzvot, Israel and life cycle events, and engage with texts that form the foundation of Jewish life in the home and syna- gogue. Students enrolling in all sessions of this class should subscribe to the Beit Midrash.
October 16 – December 18 (will continue in spring)

The Weekly Torah Portion Through The Eyes OF The Talmud
Rabbi Sam Weintraub
Giving special attention to ethical wisdom em- bedded in the texts, we will explore the Portion of the Week by reading together the Torah text, and commentaries from the Babylonian Talmud.
October 16 – December 18 

Midrash: Inquiry, Search, and (Making) Meaning
Rabbi Reuven Greenvald
Midrashic literature uses symbolic (often playful) language to explore the most profound questions behind what we do and believe as Jews. We will study midrash as a platform for engaging in our own explorations of Judaism today.
October 16 – November 6

Jewish Environmentalism
Rabbi Valerie Lieber
Studying sections of Deuteronomy that establish a Jewish communal relationship to land, we will consider these texts in light of current environmental challenges and Jewish movements toward a sustainable future.
October 16

Were Samuel Adams And JFK Jewish?
Ira Stoll
One of America’s founding fathers, Samuel Adams studied Hebrew and saw the American revolutionaries as the Jews of their time. Years later, John F. Kennedy had his own complex but significant relationship with Jews and Jewish ideas.
October 23

The Akeidah in Art
Fred Terna
The Binding of Isaac is among our earliest visual themes, some presentations going back nearly two thousand years. The Akeidah is also a live subject today. Explore its past and present in art. October 30
October 30

Hachnasat Orchim and the Shabbat Table
Jason Gitlin
Sharing Shabbat meals is a centerpiece of Jewish community. Explore the the principle of “wel- coming guests” and the significance of various preparations and rituals associated with the Shabbat table.
November 6

When I Pray, I Sing Purple: A Mindful Painting Workhop
Hedda Kafka
Art, like the niggun, is the artist’s prayer, materialized. Come paint while listening with heightened attention to a prayer for healing, a prayer for material well-being, and a prayer for redemption. November 13
November 13

Harlotry In Biblical Stories And Prophecy
Rabbi Valerie Lieber
The Torah does not prohibit harlotry; several harlots become life saving heroines, while the prophets use harlotry as a metaphor for idolatry. We will trace the use of these texts in an evolving Biblical tradition.
November 20

Jewish Law And Women’s Health
Dr. Rebecca Shiffman
Explore how Jewish Law has approached women’s health through the study of topics such as niddah (a woman during menstruation), abortion and sterilization and Assisted Reproductive Technology (IVF).
November 27

Women’s Mitzvot And Egalitarianism
Gella Solomon
Study the areas of Jewish ritual that have traditionally been assigned to women from the perspective of classical texts, modern responsa, and our own ideas and consider ways to innovate, accommodate, or reframe these practices in an egalitarian framework.
December 4-18

The Chanukah Dreidel (Spin)
Bob Marx
Consider how our Rabbis put their own spin on this revolt. Explore how the simple act of candle lighting reflects a much deeper theme of how Jews survive despite being their own worst enemies.
December 4

An Eye For An Eye
Dan Greenwood
Does the Eternal Law change? Maimonides says that it always meant monetary compensation, but is he historically correct? And what is the principle’s current significance?
December 11

Basic Shul Rituals and Skills
Rena Schklowsky
Accept an aliyah to the Torah with confidence and pride, by learning how to chant the Torah blessing, lift and “dress” the Torah, and open and close the Ark. Learn the mechanics of these rituals, and others, and the meanings behind them.December 18
October 16

…and many more great classes to come in January–May!


Joey Weisenberg Ensemble

Every Tuesday night at 8:45, the Beit Midrash will conclude with Joey Weisenberg and his band performing Jewish spirituals and improvisations. You’ll hear traditional-sounding Jewish melodies, chants, and prayers blended with the sounds of con- temporary Brooklyn: jazz, Balkan, soul, flamenco, bluegrass, and more. They’ve recently released a new album “Joey’s Nigunim Vol. II: Transformation of a Nigun.”

For this series, the band will feature:

Joey Weisenberg: mandolin, electric bass, vocals

Sam Weisenberg: drumset Myk Friedman: lap steel

with many special guest musicians and harmony singers!



Jason Gitlin, a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), is Congregational Engagement Associate at Kane Street Synagogue and rabbinic intern at the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. He previously worked at UJA–Federation of New York and in journalism and holds an M.A. in Near Eastern Studies from NYU.

Eric Gold is a fine-dining server turned Jewish educator turned international technology guru turned pre-medical student who is completing his post-bacceaulareate studies at Brooklyn College.

Rabbi Reuven Greenvald was a Jewish day school teacher and leader for over 20 years and is currently thinking about Jewish peoplehood and Israel at the Jewish Agency for Israel. He was ordained as a rabbi by JTS.

Daniel J. H. Greenwood is a Professor of Law at Hofstra University specializing in corporate finance, business organizations and torts.

Hedda Kafka, MPS, LCat is a licensed Creative Arts Therapist with over 30 years of professional experience developing programs for groups and individuals that enhance insight and well-being through the use of art. Hedda practices privately in Brooklyn.

Hai Knafo grew up in Israel and read and loved Yehuda Amichai’s poetry since adolescence. Before moving to Brooklyn, Hai dabbled both in fine art and poetry, but losing his language, he became a visual artist.

Rabbi Valerie Lieber is the Director of Education & Family Programming at Kane Street Synagogue. She received ordination at Hebrew Union College and served as Rabbi of Temple Israel of Jamaica in Queens for six years.

Bob Marx is a high school physics teacher whose Yeshiva background has allowed him to explore the endlessly interesting interactions of science and halacha.

Benjamin Resnick, a JTS rabbinical student, has served as interim spiritual leader at Congregation Beth El in New London and rabbinic intern at the Jerusalem Open house.

Rena Schklowsky is chair of Kane Street’s Ritual Committee. She considers it an honor to support members who seek to increase their synagogue skills.

Dr. Rebecca Shiffman is the director of Maternal-Fetal-Medicine at the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center. She is also a professional ski instructor.

Gella Solomon holds a degree in Hebrew Language and Culture from SUNY Purchase. She has studied at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, the Drisha Institute in New York City, the Northwoods Kollel in Wisconsin, and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

Ira Stoll is the author of Samuel Adams: A Life and of a forthcoming book about President Kennedy. He blogs at

Fred Terna is a painter and lecturer. He is a survivor of Auschwitz, Theresienstadt, and two other camps. The Yad Vashem museum has one of his paintings. He designed the two stained glass windows in Kane Street’s chapel. 

Rabbi Sam Weintraub was ordained as a rabbi at JTS and has been Spiritual Leader of Kane Street Synagogue for 16 years. One of his favorite Biblical verses is “Hoi kol Tzamei L’chu LaMayim” “Ho! Let everyone who is thirsty (meaning searching) come for water (meaning Torah)!” (Isaiah 55:1).

Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub, LCSW, serves as Rabbinic Director of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, where his major responsibilities involve the New York Jewish Healing Center and the National Center for Jewish Heal- ing. He was ordained as a rabbi at JTS.

Joey Weisenberg is the Music Director/Community Educator at Kane Street Synagogue, as well as an active performing musician and teacher throughout the country.



We invite you to join us in building a more knowledgeable and caring community. If you’d like to volunteer in one of the Beit Midrash committees, contact Joey Weisenberg at


If you have any questions about the Beit Midrash, or would like to suggest a course, contact Joey at

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