Jewish Discovery Center, 757 Hopkins Road, Williamsville NY 14221 716 639-7600 - Jewish
The Rebbe
Chai Hebrew School
Family Shul


  Follow us on Twitter!


The Institute for Jewish Studies

q About The Institute

The Institute for Jewish Studies has over the past decade, earned a reputation of providing excellence in Jewish adult education.

We are about to begin another exciting year of learning and discovery. In this brochure you will find two programs of study: Course A is a comprehensive program that will lead you through the basic core of Jewish knowledge—Jewish Tradition, Jewish History and Jewish Thought. Course B is an in-depth program that will explore Jewish issues, themes, ideals and topics of interest. This course is unique with new courses and topics every year.

We hope you will take the opportunity to join this most dynamic and popular program of Jewish adult learning.


Rabbi Heschel Greenberg
Rabbi Yehoshua Greenberg



Q.  Who has attended the 'institute'?
A.  Jews from all walks of life. Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Reform, and unaffiliated Jews. The Institute is a community program open to all Jews of all backgrounds and levels of observance.

Q.  Do I need any knowledge of Hebrew?
A.  These courses are for all levels. Whether a beginner or someone who has a significant Judaic background these classes will inform and educate you.

Q.  I can't make the class Sunday mornings. Do you offer these classes any other time?
A.  Yes. Course B is offered Monday nights at 8:00 pm. If there will be interest in repeating course A at another time we will provide for it. In addition, tapes or CD's of every class are made available to every registrant.

Q.  I can't afford the fee for the classes. Do you offer any discount?
A.  No one will be turned away due to lack of funds. Whatever you can afford will be graciously accepted. We also would greatly appreciate anyone who would like to sponsor or dedicate a class or series of classes.

Q.  I have children at home. Do you offer a concurrent children's program?
A.  We have a children's educational program. If there are enough interested parents we will provide additional child care.


JEWISH VALUES: What are they?
6 Sundays, 10:00 AM
Dates: November 9, 16, 30 December 7, 14, 21

Living in a Western Society that was shaped and molded by an amalgam of Greek, Roman and Judaic thought, it is difficult to know which values that we have embraced are Jewish, and which are inimical to our heritage. This course will discuss the Jewish slant on universal issues, as well as values that are patently Jewish.

  • Tzedakah, Kindness and Compassion
  • Peace, Justice and Truth
  • Modesty, Humility and Sincerity
  • Torah Study and Scholarship
  • The Value of Life: Quality and Quantity
  • Coping with Adversity

    COURSE B --
    BIBLICAL STUDIES: Joseph & His Brothers - Sibling Rivalry or Conflicting Ideals?
    6 Sundays, 11:00 AM
    Dates: November 9, 16, 30 December 7, 14, 21

    These classes will be repeated on Monday evenings at 8:00 PM

    The story of the rivalry between Joseph and his brothers is regarded as one of the Bible's most intriguing and poignant stories. It highlights the tensions between siblings as it plays out in a family, with implications to the internecine divisions within the Jewish community and people as a whole. This course will chronicle and explore the underlying causes of the rivalry between Joseph and his brothers and how it was resolved. We will apply the dynamics of this rivalry and resolution to other communal and national conflicts as well.

  • The Conflict: Jacob Plays Favorites; Rivalry and Hatred; Joseph's Dreams
  • Escalation: The Sale of Joseph, and Joseph as a Slave and Prisoner
  • Joseph's Rise to Power: Interpreter of Pharaoh's Dreams and Appointment as Viceroy of Egypt
  • Confrontation and Catharsis: Joseph Meets and Torments his Brothers
  • Rapprochement: Confrontation between Joseph and Judah, and Joseph and Brothers Reunited
  • Complete Healing: Joseph and Jacob Reunited


    COURSE A --
    Contemporary Issues: The Jewish Perspective
    8 Sundays, 10:00 AM
    Dates: January 11, 18, 25 February 1, 8, 15, 22 March 1

    Jewish law is known for its dynamism; its ability to relate ancient teachings to contemporary situations. It is refreshing to know that ethical dilemmas, for which society often resolves with arbitrary decisions, have some solid, time-tested answers that derive from a Higher source and thousands of years of experience.

  • Genetic Engineering
  • Jewish Courts and their Contribution to Jewish Life in the Modern Age
  • Abortion and Euthanasia
  • Homosexuality
  • Business Ethics
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Terrorism
  • Technology and Ethics


    COURSE B --
    KABBALAH: THE SOUL IN ACTION: Prayer, Meditation and Music
    8 Sundays, 11:00 AM
    Dates: January 11, 18, 25 February 1, 8, 15, 22 March 1

    These classes will be repeated on Monday evenings at 8:00 PM

    Most know of the existence of the soul. Few, however, have experienced or can identify their soul's power and passion. Prayer, mediation and music—Kabbalah and Chassidut teach us—are the mediums through which the soul communicates to us and through us. There is no part of the human experience that so captures the soul's yearnings and aspiration as prayer, meditation and music.

  • Prayer: the Cosmic Ladder
  • Prayer: Plumbing the Depths of our Soul
  • Prayer: The Love Triangle
  • Meditation: Labor or relaxation?
  • The History of Jewish Music
  • Music: "Pen of the Soul"
  • Chassidic Melodies and their Soul
  • Concert of Chassidic Melodies (Artist to be announced)


    COURSE A --
    6 Sundays, 10:00 AM
    Dates: May 17, 24, 31 June 7, 14, 21

    Existential questions, while most crucial, are often glossed over because they force us to confront the stark realities of life. But as difficult as it is to deal with issues of identity, it is even more difficult to ignore them. This course will discuss some of the heavy issues of Jewish identity, as well as the issues that concern the institutions that have defined, articulated and preserved the Jewish community's character.

  • What and Who is a Jew?
  • Conversion to Judaism and the Different Streams of Judaism
  • The Role of Religious Functionaries in the synagogue: Rabbi, Cantor, Gabbai, Shamosh, Kohain, Levi, Ba'al Koreh, Ba'al Toke'ah
  • The Role of Religious Functionaries in the Community: Dayan, Mohel, Shochet, Mashgiach, Sofer
  • Communal Institutions I: Holy Temple, Synagogues, Bet Din, Mikveh, Jewish Schools, Special Education
  • Communal Institutions II: Charities (Federations), Free Loan Fund, Hospitality, Hospitals and Nursing Homes, Group Homes

    COURSE B --
    TALMUDIC ETHICS: 21st Century Dilemmas Resolved
    6 Sundays, 11:00 AM
    Dates: May 17, 24, 31 June 7, 14, 21

    These classes will be repeated on Monday evenings at 8:00 PM

    There are ethical dilemmas that have confronted society from time immemorial, and that continue to engage the minds of scholar and layman alike. The twenty-first century however, has made these issues more urgent and has added a host of new dilemmas. This course will examine Talmudic literature for its timeless approach to all aspects of life, with emphasis on medical ethics.

  • The right to privacy: Wiretapping; Doctor-Patient, Attorney-Client, Rabbi-Congregant, Privilege; HIPAA laws
  • False Advertising
  • Organ Donations
  • Bankruptcy
  • Experimental Procedures
  • Negligence

adult education | jdc programs | kids corner | humanitarian services
social & cultural events | calendar | jdc news | resourcs
about us | ask the rabbi | media

Copyright © 2013 by All rights reserved