Neshama Center

B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom is partnering with the Mandell Jewish Community Center to create The Neshama Center for Lifelong Learning. The Hebrew word “neshama” means “soul” and is related to the word “neshima,” meaning “breath.” At Neshama, we invite people of all backgrounds to take a breather from the fast-paced world in which we live, and join us for inspiring, creative, joyful Jewish learning.

The Neshama Center offers multi-week courses as well as single session programs and workshops. Register now for our Fall semester by emailing office@btsonline or by calling the BTS office at 860-243-3576. Classes meet at BTS (180 Still Road on the West Hartford/Bloomfield line) or at the Mandell JCC (335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford).

As we move into a new year, take the opportunity to…
Challenge your mind ~ Feed your soul ~ Express yourself ~ Connect with others

FALL 2017/5778

Building a Sukkat Shalom/Salaam

Friday, October 6th following Shabbat Sukkot services @ 7:00 pm at BTS
Guest Speaker: Dr. Saud Anwar
Description: “Spread over us the shelter/sukkah of peace!” we sing every Friday night. Join us as we welcome Dr. Saud Anwar, former Mayor of South Windsor and Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at Eastern Connecticut Health Network. Dr. Anwar will speak about his involvement in humanitarian and peace initiatives locally and around the globe, and share with us his vision of peace.

Social Justice Lunch & Learn: Sukkah as Sanctuary

Saturday, October 7th @ 11:30 am (following services, which begin @9:30 am) at BTS
Free; please call ahead to reserve. Donations welcome in advance.
Description: The Torah commands us to leave the comfort of our homes on Sukkot and dwell in flimsy, impermanent structures. What does the sukkah symbolize? How might teachings about this holiday relate to current debates about immigration and refugees? Over a light lunch, we’ll delve into these and other questions.

Mussar: Path of the Mensch

Tuesdays @ 7:30 pm at BTS; this is a full-year course which meets every other week
October 17th Introductory Session (Free)
Fall dates: 10/24, 11/7, 11/21, 12/5, 12/19; Spring dates: 3/6, 3/20, 4/10, 5/1, 5/15, 5/29
Instructor: Rabbi Cantor
Fee (includes book and materials): $120/$100 for BTS or JCC members & Neshama Patrons
Class limit: 15 students
Description: Mussar is a transformative Jewish practice for self-improvement “which focuses on living a more conscientious life and heightening awareness of the world and one’s responsibilities; in short, becoming more of a mensch.” Put another way: Mussar helps us reach for wholeness and holiness. This course is based on the book Everyday Holiness: the Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar, by Alan Morinis, and is run in cooperation with the Mussar Institute. Outside reading and study required between sessions.

Friends of Yiddish

2nd Sunday of each month @ 10:30 am at the Mandell JCC
10/15, 12/10, 1/14, 2/11, 3/11, 4/8, 6/10, 7/8, 8/12
Coordinator: Barbara Katzman
Description: An informal, mostly English, bi-lingual drop-in social group which meets to hear a guest speaker, have a discussion & maybe absorb a Yiddish word or two. Plus, a nosh.

Tangling with Talmud

Wednesdays @ 10:30 am at the Mandell JCC
First class: October 25th
Instructor: Rabbi Cantor
Description: The Talmud is a rich and lively conversation among many generations. Passionate arguments about law and justice are intertwined with wild stories and musings about the meaning of life. Come participate and add your own voice. No experience necessary!

Intro to Personal Storytelling

Wednesday, November 29th @ 7:30 pm at BTS
Instructor: Terry Wolfisch Cole
Fee: $40; $35 for BTS or JCC members & Neshama Patrons
Minimum to run class: 5 students
Description: Ira Glass of This American Life says, “Great stories happen to people who know how to tell them.” Do you want to get better at captivating listeners? Whether you want to tell your story on stage, in a business meeting, or with your grandchildren on your lap, storyteller Terry Wolfisch Cole will teach you skills to engage any audience. Terry is a Moth StorySLAM and GrandSLAM champion. Her story of running away from home was recently featured on the Moth Radio Hour on NPR. She is the founder of Tell Me Another, a storytelling show in the Hartford area.

Partners in Creation:  Torah and Art Workshop

Sunday, October 29th @ 10:30 am-noon at BTS
Instructors: Rabbi Cantor and friends
Materials fee: $5; free for BTS or JCC members & Neshama Patrons
Description: Discover your inner artist and join us for this fun and inspiring workshop as we combine lively Torah study with doing art. Let the creative sparks fly. No artistic experience necessary!

In Commemoration of Kristallnacht: German Nazi Hunters – The Legacy of the Holocaust

Sunday, November 12th @ 11:00 am at BTS
Presenter: Professor Charles Lansing, Associate Professor of History, University of CT
Description: Professor Lansing will explore the origins, history, and broad impact of the special West German Nazi hunter agency, and examine the relationship between the actions of the agency and the complex story of West Germany’s confrontation with its Nazi past and the Holocaust.

Livestreaming Author Event with Steven Gimbel – Einstein: His Space and Times

Wednesday, November 15th @7:00 pm at BTS (Minyan @ 6:30 pm)
No fee. Free book for the first 25 attendees!
Description: Part of a book and live streaming video series sponsored by Jewish Lives, a prizewinning biography series dedicated to illuminating the range and depth of the Jewish experience from antiquity to present. We’ll be exploring four books from the series over the course of the year, starting with a revealing portrait of Albert Einstein, the world’s first scientific “superstar.” (Future dates: 1/9, 3/15, 5/8)

Jewish Values and Social Justice Weekend:  The Issue of Mass Incarceration

In Honor of International Human Rights Sabbath

Friday, December 1st following services @ 7:00 pm at BTS
Guest Speaker from Wesleyan University’s Center for Prison Education

“Going Deep” Social Justice Workshop: Mass Incarceration

Sunday, December 3rd @ 10:30 am-noon at BTS
Materials fee: $5; free for BTS or JCC members & Neshama Patrons
Description: We’ll explore the question of whether teshuvah is possible and how it relates to the issue of mass incarceration. Text study, video and discussion.

Latkes & Lights: A Hanukkah Storytelling Event

Saturday, December 16th @ 6:30 pm at BTS
Fee: $5; free for BTS or JCC members & Neshama Patrons
Description: Celebrate Hanukkah with us! Hear true-life tales about courage and candles, freedom and flickering flames. Plus, delicious holiday treats. Call the office if you want to pitch us a story.

Neshama is growing – we invite you to grow with us!

Introduction to Jewish Mindfulness, Artist Beit Midrash, Drama and Drumming Workshops, Jewish-Muslim Women’s Cooking Group, Spiritual Photography, Poetry and more…


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