The Center for Small Town Jewish Life offers several courses each year through the Jewish Studies program. These academic offerings seek to connect students to the wider Maine community through rigorous academic inquiry and experiential learning in the field. Follow this link to browse a sampling of recent classes developed and taught by the Center staff.
Beit Midrash is an annual series that brings together college students and community members for several evenings of study throughout the year. In the fall of 2020, the Beit Midrash went virtual and was the perfect opportunity to end the fall holiday season with some intergenerational Jewish learning. We explored a series of classic and contemporary texts that discussed what Jewish tradition has to say about our obligation as social actors. When and how do we have to take part in our community? Do we have an obligation to act beyond the Jewish community? How do these issues relate to student responsibilities towards their community or responsibility around racial justice?
The next Beit Midrash will take place on April 12, 2021. Stay tuned for details soon!
Community Conversations is a series of events bringing together Waterville faith and community institutions with Colby faculty and students to consider major issues of common concern. This series engages scholars from the field of Jewish studies and civic leaders in order to discuss the intersection of Jewish civilization and current political issues in the United States. What role does religion play in civic life? Join us to delve into this question at Community Conversations—a series that brings together Waterville faith and community leaders with Colby faculty and students to consider major issues of common concern.
The Center’s Summer Funtensive provides a camp experience to children who cannot afford or easily travel to traditional Jewish camps. Based at Temple Beth El in Augusta for the past few years, the Funtensive attracts students from Waterville, Augusta, Bath, Lewiston, Portland, the midcoast, and beyond. Jewish teens and college students have worked with local rabbis to provide fun and educational Jewish experiences. Campers leave the program with a sizable modern Hebrew vocabulary and other skills that can only be conveyed in an intensive, immersive Jewish experience.
It can be a little lonely as a Jewish teen in Maine—so the Center for Small Town Jewish Life is excited to offer the Maine Jewish Youth Connection, bringing together YA Jews from across the state for learning, togetherness, and FUN. This year is different from all other years, and we’ve had to…wait for it…pivot, like everyone else. What that means is so far, we are unable to offer in-person programming, but we have not thrown in the towel. Join us on Sunday, March 14, 7-8:30 p.m. on Zoom for an evening of themed searching! We’ll start with some Jewish learning together about bedikat hametz before Passover, then break out into some serious scavenger hunts!