Access to Judaism

Judaism in 2018  

an A-Z Access Course


Specially designed for members and friends of the East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue, Sukkat Shalom and South-West Essex and Settlement Reform Synagogues

By Rabbis Lisa Barrett, Larry Becker and Richard Jacobi.


Welcome! Thank you for your interest in this course, which is specifically designed for those converting to Judaism and, where appropriate, their partners. The course is also suitable for anyone who wishes to learn beginners’ Hebrew and gain a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding of Judaism. The course is free to all members of our synagogues; guests are invited to give a donation to Tzedakah if they have the means.


As course tutors, we aim to provide you with a programme and format that provides:

·       All the essential education in Judaism needed by someone choosing to become Jewish.

·       Stimulus and learning for those already Jewish who want to enrich their Judaism (by attending the whole course, or individual sessions).

·       A complement to experiencing Jewish life at home and in synagogue community, and some special opportunities to experience aspects of living Jewishly.

·       A launch-pad for further learning, both formal and informal.


Teaching will be mainly by us, supplemented by others as required. For those converting to Judaism, your sponsoring rabbi will act as your personal tutor throughout the course.


Course Structure

The course will consist of:

1.     Background reading / research before each class, usually prompted by questions, plus additional reading or viewing to broaden your understanding of, and ‘feel’ for Judaism.

2.     Classes, usually on Wednesday evenings after the Hebrew class, starting around 8:30pm and finishing at 10:00pm.

3.     As you become more experienced, possibly leading a class, with your preparation supported by one of the tutors;

4.     For those converting to Judaism in the Liberal movement, and others who might wish to consolidate their learning, essays on two selected subjects. More details will be given to those people needing or wanting them.

5.     Opportunities to spend time with and learn from other members of the communities. Apart from attending services and other congregational activities, and ‘getting stuck in’, we will aim to give each person converting to Judaism a contact person to mentor them; other participants might also want someone to help them in their learning.



Those who are converting to Judaism will need to achieve a basic proficiency in the Hebrew of the prayer book (siddur). The Hebrew class is meeting on Wednesday evenings at 7:30pm (before the Access to Judaism class).



The classes will rotate roughly every half-term between East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue’s Marlborough Road site (MR – E18 1AR), SWESRS (Oaks Lane - OL, IG2 7PL) and Sukkat Shalom Reform Synagogue (SSRS – Victory Road, E11 1UL).


Rabbis Richard Jacobi (RJ), Lisa Barrett (LTB), and Larry Becker (LB)

We will notify you of any changes to the arrangements listed.

Date Teacher / Venue Theme Topic

April 18                               Erev Yom Ha-Atzmaut – join celebrations at RJCC or your synagogue
April 25          LTB / OL      The Jewish Year Israel, Galut, & Yom Ha’Atzma’ut (19/4)
May 2            LTB / OL       The Life Cycle Pre-Birth
May 9            LTB / OL       The Life Cycle Birth and early years
May 16          LTB / OL       The Jewish Year Shavuot and Revelation
May Sat 19                         ALL @ Tikkun Leil Shavuot – special service and study sessions
May Sun 20                        Shavuot morning services
May 23          RJ / MR        The Life Cycle Coming of Age
May 30                               No class – half term break
June 6           RJ / MR        The Life Cycle Marriage / Divorce
June 13         RJ / MR        The Life Cycle Death and Mourning
June 20         RJ / MR        Prayer & Liturgy Overview
June 27         RJ / MR        Prayer & Liturgy Shema and its blessings
Date tbc – Trip to the Jewish East End to be organised

July 4          LB / SSRS       Prayer & Liturgy Amidah
July11         LB / SSRS       Prayer & Liturgy Service for the Reading of the Torah
July18         LB / SSRS       Prayer & Liturgy Kaddish and other prayers
July 21 - 22                        Tisha B’Av – an evening service will be held on Saturday 21st July
July 25                                LB / SSRS The Jewish Year High Holy Day liturgy and prayers

SUMMER BREAK, including a trip to the Jewish Museum, Camden Town – date TBA

Aug 29                   LB / SSRS       Prayer & Liturgy Teshuvah / Repentance
Aug SAT Sep 1      LTB / OL          Selichot service (to prepare for High Holy Days)
Aug 5                     LTB / OL          Jewish Year Rosh Hashanah
SeptSUN 9 – MON 10 Erev and morning of Rosh Hashanah services at your synagogues (NB SWESRS and SSRS also mark 2nd Day)

Sept 12                  LTB / OL          The Jewish Year Yom Kippur

Sept TUE 18 – Wed 19 PFR / OL Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur services at your synagogue

Sept SUN 23 – MON 24 Own Syn. Erev and 1st Day Sukkot services at your synagogue

Sept 26                 LTB / OL            Sukkot & Simchat Torah

SUN 30 – Oct 1 Own Syn. Erev and Morning of Simchat Torah services at your synagogue

3 LTB / OL Jewish Teachings Ethics, good and evil, social justice
10 LTB / OL Developing Judaism Torah
17 LTB / OL Developing Judaism NaKh – the Prophets and Writings
24 No class – half term
31 RJ / MR Jewish History The Second 2000 Years

Nov 7 RJ / MR Developing Judaism Rabbinic Judaism
14 RJ / MR Developing Judaism Key Figures 700 – 1700 part one
21 RJ / MR Developing Judaism Key Figures 700 – 1700 part two
28 LB / SSRS The Jewish Year Chanukkah and the Hellenic Period

SUN Dec 2 First candle-lighting of Chanukkah (last night is 9th December)
Dec 5 LB / SSRS Developing Judaism Jewish responses to Enlightenment
12 LB / SSRS Developing Judaism Progressive Judaism today
19 LB / SSRS Closing session Jews Around The World



Claudia Potter  was Bat Mitzvah in the synagogue on Saturday 9th June 2018.

She was supported by her mother Katia Di Dominica who is from Italy.

Claudia took much of the service and read from the Torah beautifully.

We were also treated to a translation of the Torah in Italian.


Shabbat Morning services 

Saturday morning at 10.00am

1 Victory Road, Hermon Hill, Wanstead, London E11 1UL
Tel: 020 8530 3345 | Email:
Registered Charity Number 283615.
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