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Introduction to Judaism: Greater Philadelphia/South Jersey

Introduction to Judaism: Greater Philadelphia/South Jersey

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Registration is open for our  Winter and Spring 2018 classes.  Contact Coordinator, Elana Shaw or at 212-452-6745 if you have questions or would like to be added to our prospective student list. Join our Facebook group to stay updated!

Registration Closed
Congregation Rodeph Shalom

615 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA, US
​Registration Open
Tuesdays, January 23, 2018 – April 10, 2018
6:00 - 8:00 PM
Instructors: Congregation Rodeph Shalom Clergy & Staff

Registration Closed
Old York Road
Sponsored by Old York Road Temple-Beth Am and Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel
Hosted by Old York Road Temple-Beth Am
Thursdays, March 1-June 14, 2018
7:30- 9:30 PM
Instructors: Rabbi Robert Leib, Rabbi Shoshana Tornberg, Rabbi Lance Sussman and others

Registration Closed
South Jersey
Sponsored and hosted by Congregation M’kor Shalom, Temple Emanuel and Adath Emanu-El
​Registration Open
Wednesdays, March 7-June 20, 2018
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Instructors: Rabbi Jennifer Frenkel, Rabbi Jerome David, Rabbi Benjamin David


The Greater Philadelphia/South Jersey Introduction to Judaism Classes are open to anyone interested in exploring Judaism. The course offers a basic foundation in Judaism over 16 weekly sessions. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about Jewish history, traditions, holidays, prayer and life cycle ceremonies. You will gain familiarity with the symbols, liturgy, music, traditions and Hebrew blessings that accompany Jewish celebrations in the home and synagogue. Dynamic Reform rabbis, cantors, and educators teach this in-depth course in a warm, supportive environment.

Introduction to Judaism is designed for individuals and couples wishing to explore Judaism, as well as for those individuals considering becoming Jewish.  The class is LGBTQ friendly, and individuals from various faith backgrounds are welcome.  Partners in interfaith relationships are encouraged to enroll together.  Individuals are welcome to bring a Jewish friend or family member to support their learning at no additional charge.

If you are taking the class with a significant other, when registering online please follow these instructions:

  1. Please make sure the name of the student who wants to receive the completion certificate is the first person's name you type on the registration page.
  2.  After you have completed the information for the primary student, please make sure you click "Add Guest" on the page following your tuition selection and then enter your partner's information, as well.
Course Requirements: 

Course requirements may vary by location and/or sponsoring clergy. In order to maximize your learning experience, we encourage you to attend all sessions, read the assigned weekly readings, and participate regularly in Shabbat services. For participants interested in conversion and requesting a certificate of completion for their sponsoring clergy person, please speak to your instructor for specific attendance requirements.

To supplement the classroom experience we recommend that each student work with a sponsoring rabbi or cantor from a local Reform synagogue. If you are seeking conversion, this is a requirement. If you need help finding a sponsoring clergy member, please contact Elana Shaw or 212-452-6745. She will be happy to recommend someone nearby.

About the Coordinator

Elana Shaw is the coordinator for the greater Philadelphia area as well as South New Jersey. 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. After residing in northwest Philadelphia for more than 10 years, Elana and her husband (who is himself a Jew by Choice) along with their two daughters and their dog, recently moved to South Jersey.

General Information

$275, $180 for URJ congregation member

16 weeks
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."