Omaha is blessed with a Jewish community whose members have deep affection for each other and for their spiritual leaders, regardless of congregational affiliation. As the community embraces its desire to be together and learn together, this exciting 2020–2021 Beit Midrash (house of study) gives all of Jewish Omaha the opportunity to engage in spirited and challenging cross-denominational study with local rabbis and cantors.

    This year’s series begins with a two-part discussion on The Jewish Vote: Torah, Civic Duty & the 2020 Election kicked off Oct. 21 with Rabbi Steven Abraham and Rabbi Deana Berezin. Following this, the first of four panel discussions will take place on Nov. 4 with the timely topic, Election Debrief: Where do We Go from Here? The two topics addressed on subsequent Wednesday evenings through Dec. 9 are In God’s Image: Jewish Views on Race, Diversity & Justice (Nov. 11, 18, 25), and The Future is Now: Re-Imagining Judaism for a Post-Pandemic World – Part I (Dec. 2, 9).

    Discussion leaders and panelists for the Beit Midrash series will be combinations of the following religious leaders: Rabbi Steven Abraham and Hazzan Michael Krausman from Beth El Synagogue, Rabbi Ari Dembitzer and Rabbi Yoni Dreyer from Beth Israel Synagogue, Rabbi Brian Stoller, Rabbi Deana Berezin, and Cantor Joanna Alexander from Temple Israel, and Rabbi Mendel Katzman and Rabbi Duni Blotner from Chabad-Lubavitch of Nebraska.

    Jennie Gates Beckman, JFO Director of Community Engagement & Education, will return to moderate the series of panel discussions. “I’m excited we’ve expanded the facilitators/panelists to include even more of our community’s clergy. The senior rabbis provided a fantastic inaugural year, but as we saw with the addition of select clergy for the two panels on Shavuot this past spring, greater diversity leads to an even more nuanced conversation. I can’t wait to see how some of this year’s topics are approached!”

    All classes will be held virtually, via Zoom until further notice. Sessions are held on Wednesdays from 7-8 p.m. Whether you participate in one session or become a regular attendee – you are always welcome. The Zoom link will be available through the Jewish Federation of Omaha website, www.jewishomaha.org. That page will also receive periodic updates regarding the facilitators of each individual session.

    We encourage you to mark your calendars and participate in as many of these sessions as possible. While Zoom learning has its challenges, it also has the advantage of convenient participation. Contact Mark Kirchhoff for more details - 402.334.6463 or mkirchhoff@jewishomaha.org.