ACE Offers a Crash Course in Jewish Literacy


Literacy is highly valued in Judaism, and the wisdom of Jewish thought as expressed in holy texts has been  highly esteemed throughout history. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a Chumash and a Tanach? Mishnah and Midrash? Talmud and Torah?  We are the People of the Book and yet we don’t always know what our books are. For many Jews today, knowledge of the sacred texts is lacking, and the prospect of attaining even a basic literacy can be daunting.

The Jewish bible, for example, goes by many names, including “The Hebrew Scriptures,” “The Hebrew Bible,” and “The Old Testament” (a term employed by some Christians, but not accepted by Jews). It is most properly called the TANAKH, which is a Hebrew acronym for the three sections it contains: Torah (Pentateuch), Nevi’im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings). The Tanakh contains 39 books.

Confused already? The monthly Rabbis’ Roundtable is here to help. On Sunday, January 22, from 2:00 – 5:00 pm in the JCC Library, ACE presents “What’s in the Books?  Jewish Literacy 101,” with Rabbi Marc Soloway and Morah Yehudis Fishman. Cost is $18 in advance/$20 at the door. CLICK HERE to register. ( This 3-hour introductory class will open up the central books of our tradition including the siddur, the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud and the Zohar, with insights from our teachers.

A special Sunday edition of our new monthly Rabbis’ Roundtable, this texts workshop takes place in the BJCC library, an asset few JCCs can boast. For anyone who want to learn more about the texts, particularly those in the Reb Zalman collection, Yehudis Fishman is available by appointment to help guide you through the collection. To schedule a free one-on-one session to discuss your interests, email

“We are so proud of Boulder’s wonderful JCC and the stunning library on the second floor is such an important piece of it,” Rabbi Soloway says. “Some of you may know that the JCC also proudly hosts a significant part of Reb Zalman’s collection in a beautiful room off the library dedicated to his memory.”

We are often referred to as “the people of the book” and yet so many of books central to Jewish life and thought are inaccessible, foreign, frightening even. This three-hour class offered by Boulder’s rabbis is a unique opportunity to spend some time unraveling the mysteries of some of the these sacred texts to understand more about their historical and spiritual significance for our people. We hope you will join us!

The Rabbis’ Roundtable continues at the Boulder JCC:

Wednesday, February 15, 2-3:30, with Rabbi Sarah Brachah Gershuny

(No date in March during the Boulder Jewish Film Festival)

Wednesday, April 19, 2-3:30, with Rabbi Tirzah Firestone

Wednesday, May 17, 2-3:30, with Rabbi Hannah Laner

About Kathryn Bernheimer

Kathryn has spent her professional life writing about, teaching, and presenting the arts. Founding Director of the Boulder Jewish Film Festival, Kathryn was Director of Menorah and ACE at the Boulder JCC from 2003 through August, 2019. The former film and theater critic for the Boulder Daily Camera, Kathryn is the author of "The Fifty Greatest Jewish Movies" and "The Fifty Funniest Films of All Time."

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