Exploring Judaism


Exploring Judaism is Or Shalom’s umbrella of adult classes for those on the path to discovering Judaism and for those wishing to deepen basic understandings of Jewish holidays, Shabbat, modes of prayer, ritual and more.

Read through our course offerings below. Registration for the 2022 year of learning is open.


Living A Jewish Year

Living a Jewish Year is our entry-level exploration. This class delves into each of the Jewish holidays in real time, offering historical perspective, multiple entryways into celebration, and guided ritual and spiritual experience. Some time is also spent on what it means to observe Sabbath, including a communal Friday evening meal. No prerequisites are required.

Registration requires an interview (for new students) with Rabbi Hannah Dresner, to determine suitability: rabbihannah@orshalom.ca.

Course Details
Dates: Mondays, Aug. 30, 2021; Sept. 27, 2021; Oct. 25, 2021; Nov. 29, 2021; Jan. 17, 2022; Feb. 28, 2022; March 28, 2022; April 11, 2022; May 9, 2022; plus one Friday evening TBA
Time: 7 to 9 p.m.
Location: In person, at Or Shalom Synagogue
Taught by Or Shalom’s rabbi, Rabbi Hannah Dresner

Financial Investment
Entering non-members: $540
     limited need-based scholarships available; contact Rabbi Hannah Dresner
Returning students: Free of charge
Or Shalom members of at least one year: Free of charge, space permitting

2022 Hebrew Offerings

Biblical Hebrew 101

Join Arabic-Hebrew translator and seasoned Biblical Hebrew expert Rahel Halabe in a rigorous beginners study of the language as it is found in the Tanakh. Using her Biblical Hebrew The Practical Way method and materials, all you’ll need to bring to the table is the ability to read Hebrew with vowels comfortably—no requirement to understand what you’re reading! By the end of this course, you’ll be able to apply what you’ve learned to Jewish prayer at and outside of shul, become more familiar with the vocabulary of Torah, and have an opportunity to continue learning with Rahel as you master the sacred language of the Jewish people.

Required materials:

You will need to purchase the Hebrew The Practical Way set in order to participate in this class. First-time buyers will enjoy a 25% discount from Magnes Press. This publisher is located in Jerusalem, so delivery is not instantaneous. While you await your printed copies, Rahel will provide PDFs to the class.

If you own an iPad, you have the option to buy the electronic version. This version is not user-friendly on laptops or iPhones.

You’ll also need the following reference book. Check used book shops, conventional bookstores, and Amazon.ca to procure your copy:

A Concise Hebrew And Aramaic Lexicon Of The Old Testament: Holladay, William L.: 9780802834133

Begins February 20, 10 Sundays, 10 am to 12 pm on Zoom




Haftarah with Harriet – Now Free for Members!

Want to learn how to chant sacred Hebrew text but you still need those super-helpful vowel markers? Harriet Frost is here to show you the ropes and the tropes ten Thursday evenings starting the first week of February. By the end of this class, you’ll be equipped to share the gift of Haftarah at Shabbat morning services (no pressure) and be one giant step closer towards Torah leyning, too!

Begins February 3, 10 Thursdays, 7 to 8:30 pm on Zoom




Hebrew Beginners Plus


Were you in Harriet’s Hebrew Level 1 course last fall and you’d like to keep the learning going? Or did you tackle the aleph-bet a while ago and you’d like to refresh, plus learn some liturgy while you’re at it? Then come join Harriet Frost in brushing up on the basics and gently exploring Or Shalom’s siddur ten Wednesdays this February, March, and April.

Starts February 2, 10 Wednesdays, 7 to 8:30 pm on Zoom




Keva and Kavanah – Topics in Jewish Liturgy and Ritual

Keva and Kavanah – Topics in Jewish Liturgy and Ritual explores modes of Jewish prayer with an emphasis on liturgy. Includes introduction to the quality of prayer at different times of day, week and year, guidance in the rituals of Shabbat, as well as a deeper dive into the Shabbat morning service and its expressions.

This course is meant for those with some exposure to Jewish practice. Please have a look at our entry-level course, Living a Jewish Year, if this doesn’t describe you. If you are unsure which course would be a good fit for you, please contact Rabbi Hannah Dresner.

Course Details
Dates: Mondays, Oct. 4, 2021; Nov. 8, 2021; Dec. 6, 2021; Jan. 10, 2022; Feb. 7, 2022
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Location: In person, Or Shalom Synagogue
Taught by Rabbi Hannah Dresner

Financial Investment
Non-members: $198
Or Shalom members: $36

Online registration is closed. Please contact the office to inquire about registration.



3 Responses to Exploring Judaism

  1. Tammy says:

    Is your “Exploring Judaism” class open to non-Jews?

    • admin says:

      Yes, Exploring Judaism is open to non-Jews interested in learning more about Judaism, sometimes they are people considering conversion, or people who love someone Jewish and want to learn more about Jewish customs and culture.

  2. Pingback: Coming Up This Winter at Or Shalom | Or Shalom Synagogue – אור שלום

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