In the traditional blessing made over learning words of Torah, the verb used does not actually mean “to learn,” but is sometimes more lovingly and correctly translated as “to engage.” Whenever I’m asked to describe myself, religiously, I opt for “Torah-engaged,” because that is as true as English can be. I try to share the delight of a Torah-engaged life with others who are in the same glorious struggle, as well as those who are curious, through my teaching and through speaking engagements.
In addition to the sample of classes referenced below, many of my secular classes (viewable on the “edu” page of this website) have religious versions, suitable for those who are open to a Modern Orthodox or pluralistic lens.
Learn with me!
When I’m guiding a class on Torah, you’re as likely to walk away with worksheets as with source sheets. I believe in moving. I believe in making things. I believe that Torah is something we have to dig our fingers into and get a little dirty with. With that in mind, note that not all of my classes are suitable for all environments: many can be given online, many can’t be given in a traditional beit midrash or beit knesset.
Kids & Family Torah – I offer a variety of intergenerational shiurim suitable for families with kids of all ages, including companion classes for field trips like pre-Rosh Hashanah apple picking, Torahgami shiurim that make serious use of source sheets and our fine motor skills, my “Mishakei Avot” (Games of the Fathers) series, Torimprov, and more.
General Adult Shiurim – Sharing Torah with peers is one of my greatest joys, and that is reflected in the range of engaging experiences I offer. High Holy Days? Try on “The Big Sorry Bootcamp” or “Nearer to Death,” intensives that get to mitzvot bein adam lechavero (interpersonal commandments) and the days of repentance. Sukkot? My background in urbanism, real estate development, economics, and environmentalism leads us into “A House for One Night,” a lively shiur about housing stability and tribal homelessness. For Passover, I offer the “Three Days of Darkness Seder,” for all those left in Mitzrayim. Purim? “Megillah Interruptus.” The Nine Days? “Roasting Tzaddikim.” (It’s both not as bad and far worse than it sounds.) All the little in-between times? One standout crowd pleaser is my “Melakhot as Mussar,” and folks always find “Untouchable Earth” to be pertinent to the times we live in. I even have a tzniut class. (It’s called “NOT ANOTHER TZNIUT LECTURE.” And it isn’t. But it is.)
Ladies Only Classes – I believe in the power of women’s spaces and the potential of women’s learning. For adult women, I offer an exclusive range of classes from hands-on clay & Torah adventures, intellectually rigorous multi-week seminars that explore religious and secular texts to try to answer questions about womanhood, and shorter sassy source-based shiurim where it’s safe to say there are no boys allowed.
If I’ve piqued your interest or you’re ready to get learnin’, fill out the contact form on the “connect” page of this website, and we’ll work through the details!
Hear me speak!
After years of writing speeches for and coaching other speakers in the Jewish world and beyond, I’ve finally mustered the courage to step to the microphone and share my own inspiring, educational, maybe sometimes funny, occasionally a little bit saucy stories with student groups, congregations, and other organizations.
Some of my beloved speeches are:
“Saved by the Peppers” – I’ve lived a strange life. Some people who knew me as a secular person can’t believe that I’m religious, now. Other people can’t believe that I was ever secular, in the first place. But what everyone agrees on is that there’s no way peppers have had anything to do with it. Everyone, except me. This story is a great way to get your congregation psyched up for the Shemittah year, while also contemplating perception, free will, consent, ownership, value, authority, and faith. Note: this talk features very frank discussion of suicidality.
“Tex-Mex Kabbalah” – Learning about Jewish mysticism has never been so tasty! (The spiciness of this speech can be adjusted for different audiences.) In this lecture, I give an introduction to basic concepts in the kabbalistic tradition using metaphors that almost make theosophy seem like child’s play. Listeners might even leave with a sense that they are closer to understanding the purpose of creation.
“The Plane is Going Down” – Those of us who count Yom Kippur as our favorite holiday are often made to feel like we owe the rest of the world an explanation. This speech is that. As a warning: you, yourself, might be convinced to view the holiday in a new, evocative light.
Reach out through the contact form on the “connect” page of this website if you’d like to discuss having me give a talk.