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

Jan 3 ALL / MR Course Introduction Induction and Jewish Identity / Status

Jan 10  RJ / MR     The Jewish Year Calendar overview and new years

Jan 17  RJ / MR     Course Introduction Researching and learning about Judaism

Jan 21  Sunday morning or afternoon trip to The Jewish Museum, Camden

Jan 24  RJ / MR    The Jewish Year Shabbat and its special status

Jan 31  RJ / MR    The Jewish Year / Symbols of Judaism The Jewish Home and Shabbat

Feb FRI  2 Erev    Tu Bishvat – Seder (bring and share supper) and service at Oaks Lane

Jan 7   RJ / MR     Believing and Doing: Judaism, Jews, and God

Jan 14  LB/SSRS Jewish History The First 2000 Years (approx.)

Jan 21  LB/SSRS The Jewish Year Purim (24/3) and the Babylonian Exile

Jan 28  Purim service and celebration at your own synagogue

Jan 28  LB/SSRS  Symbols of Judaism Kashrut and Food

Mar 7 LB/SSRS Symbols of Judaism Tallit, tefillin, etc.
14 LB/SSRS Symbols of Judaism Synagogue
21 LTB / OL The Jewish Year Pesach – making a seder
28 LTB / OL The Jewish Year Pesach, Slavery and Freedom
FRI 30 First night Pesach and Home Seder
SAT Apr 1 Festival morning service; Second night – Communal Seder @own synagogues
4 No class – Pesach break
Thu 5 / Fri 6 7th Day Pesach services at your own synagogue
11 Erev Yom Hashoah - A joint service is being held at S at 8:00pm
SUN 15 tbc Day Trip to National Holocaust Memorial Centre, Newark, Nottinghamshire
18 Erev Yom Ha-Atzmaut – join celebrations at RJCC or your synagogue
25 LTB / OL The Jewish Year Israel, Galut, & Yom Ha’Atzma’ut (19/4)
May 2 LTB / OL The Life Cycle Pre-Birth
9 LTB / OL The Life Cycle Birth and early years
16 LTB / OL The Jewish Year Shavuot and Revelation
Sat 19 ALL @ Tikkun Leil Shavuot – special service and study sessions
Sun 20 Shavuot morning services
23 RJ / MR The Life Cycle Coming of Age
30 No class – half term break
June 6 RJ / MR The Life Cycle Marriage / Divorce
13 RJ / MR The Life Cycle Death and Mourning
20 RJ / MR Prayer & Liturgy Overview
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
11 LB / SSRS Prayer & Liturgy Service for the Reading of the Torah
18 LB / SSRS Prayer & Liturgy Kaddish and other prayers
21 - 22 Tisha B’Av – an evening service will be held on Saturday 21st 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
SAT Sep 1 LTB / OL Selichot service (to prepare for High Holy Days)
5 LTB / OL Jewish Year Rosh Hashanah
SUN 9 – MON 10 Erev and morning of Rosh Hashanah services at your synagogues (NB SWESRS and SSRS also mark 2nd Day)
12 LTB / OL The Jewish Year Yom Kippur
TUE 18 – Wed 19 PFR / OL Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur services at your synagogue
SUN 23 – MON 24 Own Syn. Erev and 1st Day Sukkot services at your synagogue
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


Tu B'Shevat 2018

Shabbat Morning services 

Saturday morning at 10.00am 

New Book Group

Karen Watch & Rachel Savage of Sukkat Shalom Reform Synagogue

have started a new Book Club which will meet from time to time in the Cheder Block of the synagogue

The Book Club will now meet on a Thursday with the next meeting taking place on the 8thMarch at 8pm. 
The 1st book is How to stop time by Matt Haig. 
Book 2 is The far side of the sky by Daniel Kalla. 
The 3rd is Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman. 
Please join Rachel & Karen  for what is hoped to be a fun gathering of bookworms once a month.

Refreshments will be provided.

Contact for further details


On Tuesday 27th March 
The Council for Christians & Jews (CCJ) will be holding their annual demonstration Seder under the leadership of Rabbi Larry Becker.
It will be hosted by St. John-at-Hackney, Lower 
Clapton Rd, London, E5 0P. 
This is the mother church of Hackney. 

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