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Introduction to Judaism: Greater Philadelphia/South Jersey

Introduction to Judaism: Greater Philadelphia/South Jersey

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Introduction to Judaism is an engaging course for those who are looking for a deeper understanding of Jewish life through a Reform lens. It is designed for interfaith couples, adults raising Jewish children, spiritual seekers, individuals considering conversion, and Jews who want a meaningful adult Jewish learning experience.

Our courses explore Jewish holidays and life cycle ceremonies, beliefs and values, prayer and Jewish texts, the Holocaust, modern Israel, the American Jewish experience, and the tapestry of the Jewish people today. There are opportunities to enjoy Shabbat together, and in some cases to learn Hebrew and take field trips to local sites of Jewish interest.

Our Introduction to Judaism faculty are accessible, engaging, and caring teachers and are open to the questions and concerns you might have along the way.  

Courses begin throughout the year at locations throughout the Greater Philadelphia/South Jersey area.

Introduction to Judaism is cosponsored by the Union for Reform Judaism and local Reform congregations.

Tuition: $275 per individual or couple. Discounted tuition for members of a URJ congregation: $180. Couples are strongly encouraged to attend together; register a partner at no additional cost.

For more information, please contact Elana Shaw at or 212-452-6745. You can also join our Facebook group! 

2019 Classes

Details on our South Jersey class are coming soon!

Register Now
Congregation Rodeph Shalom
615 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA
Wednesdays, beginning January 23, 2019 from 6-8 pm (last class April 17, 2019)
Instructors: Clergy and Staff of Congregation Rodeph Shalom

Register Now
Beth Chaim Reform Congregation
389 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA
Tuesdays, beginning January 22, 2019 from 6:30-8 PM (last class May 14, 2019)
Instructors: Rabbi Michelle Pearlman, Rabbi David Levin, Rabbi Greg Litkofsky

Course Expectations  

Course requirements vary by location and/or sponsoring clergy. In order to maximize your learning experience, we encourage you to attend all sessions, complete the assigned weekly readings, and participate in Shabbat services and other Jewish events outside of class. Students will receive a short list of required reading before class begins and should expect to spend $25-50 on books.

To supplement the classroom experience we recommend that each student work with a rabbi or cantor from a local Reform synagogue, especially if you are considering or seeking conversion. If you need help connecting to a clergy member Elana Shaw will be happy to recommend someone.

About the Coordinator

Elana Shaw is the URJ Introduction to Judaism coordinator for the Greater Philadelphia/South Jersey area. Elana grew up in the Reform movement, and her first professional positions were at URJ Eisner Camp in the Berkshires. A graduate of Boston University, where she majored in religion with a concentration in Jewish Studies, Elana also holds a Joint M.A. Degree in Jewish Communal Service and Jewish Studies from the Hornstein Program at Brandeis University. 

Elana is grateful for the opportunity to guide individuals, couples and families in their Jewish journeys. She most recently worked as a congregational program director for ten years, and also coordinated an adult Jewish learning program for six years. Elana and her husband (who is a proud Jew-by-Choice along with their two daughters and two dogs, reside in South Jersey.

General Information

$275 per individual or couple, $180 for URJ congregation members

15-18 sessions
Elana Shaw



"Thank you so much for offering this course. I am going to recommend this class to my friends in interfaith relationships."

"Those of us joining the Jewish family are on a journey and becoming part of the collective memory. In many ways those of us who are not yet Jewish but are on a journey, share the journey of those ancient people as they became part of a unified group. We are moving in a direction that will bring us into the family of the Jewish people."