CBS University Classes

See below for some of our 2016-2017 CBS University Classes or  CLICK HERE to see our 2016-17 CBS U Guide:


Talmud in Translation

This year we will examine the Tractate of Avodah Zarah. As the name implies, the Talmud explores foreign worship, i.e. Idolatry. The main topic of the tractate is laws pertaining to Jews living amongst non-Jews including regulations about the interaction between Jews and "idolaters" (who represented most of the non-Jewish population during the time of the Talmud), both for distancing Jews from the act of idolatry in every shape as well as distancing Jews from the threat of cultural assimilation. 

Instructor: Rabbi Aaron Melman     Time: 6:30 p.m. - 7:45 p.m.
Date: beginning Monday, November 7,  2016
Fee: Free for CBS Members ($50 per semester for non-members)

Hebrew Primer Through the Prayerbook

Don’t know an aleph from a bet ? Need a refresher? Can you help your children practice their Hebrew assignments? Want to study for an adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah OR help your children study for theirs? If you answered yes to ANY of these questions then this is the class for you! This class is low stress and low key. Once we learn our letters we will jump right into the prayers of the evening service.

A minimum of eight students required. 

Instructor: Susan Stoehr
Time: 7:15 - 8:00 p.m.
Date: beginning Monday, November 7, 2016
Fee: Textbook fee only for CBS members ($100 for non-members)

Bible: Back To Genesis And Its/our Own Commentaries

Join in exploring the texts of the Torah with Cantor Stoehr. Each week may offer a new approach to dissecting the words on the pages, but every class will offer valuable insights, gained through the prism of ancient and modern scholars, as well as peer dialogue.

Instructor: Cantor Steve Stoehr
Date: beginning Tuesday, November 1, 2016     Time: 9:30 - 10: 25 a.m.
Fee: Free for CBS Members ($50 per semester for non-members)

Jewish News Of The World In Review

As always, we’ll tackle the problems of the world as they impact the Jewish people, analyze them, and try to solve them. We can’t promise all of the answers; in fact, most people leave each session with new questions to ponder! And we promise you'll always have a great time. Join us for information, new ideas, and insights from sharing with each other. Carl draws on an eclectic variety of sources, including many you’ve never heard about. Students are encouraged to bring in articles and stories. The volume of voices sometimes gets a bit loud, but that’s all part of the colorful charm of the class. The news isn’t always good, but we always try to end each class with an upbeat story.

Instructor: Carl Schrag
Date: beginning Tuesday, November 1, 2016     Time: 10:30 - 11: 25 a.m.
Fee: Free for CBS Members ($50 per semester for non-members)

The Philosophies of Abraham Joshua Heschel and Harold M. Schulweis
Last year at the end of our philosophy survey class, our students decided they would like to delve deeper into two philosophers. Those two philosophers were Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel is perhaps the most prominent American rabbi from the middle of the 20th Century. His concept of “radical amazement” has been used countless times - but what does it really mean and what was his philosophy beyond this two-word phrase? One of his students, Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, brought his theology to another level, creating non-profits to change the world in the footsteps of his mentor. Together we will unpack these giants of modern Jewish thought and better understand the changing world and our place in it.
Instructor: Rabbi David Ebstein & Rabbi Ari Averbach
Date: Tuesday’s, November 1 – December 20, 2016      Time: 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Fee: Free for CBS members ($50 per semester for non-members)

Keeping the Faith: Judaism's Relevance in Our Lives

This year we will continue to explore the most recent teshuvot (responsa) of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards. We will discuss such topics as, Modesty, Post-Mortem Circumcision, Halachic Perspectives on Genetically Modified Organisms and Ritual and Documents of Marriage and Divorce for Same-Sex Couples.


Instructor: Rabbi Aaron Melman
Dates: beginning Wednesday, November 2, 2016     Time: 10:30 - 11: 30 a.m.
Fee: Free for CBS Members ($50 per semester for non-members)

Nosh & D'rash:

Everyday Ethics will be discussed.

Light lunch (bagels, yogurt, fruit, snacks and beverages) will be provided.

Instructor: Cantor Steven Stoehr
Date: Wednesdays, 11/2, 11/16, 12/7, 12/18, 2/15, 3/1, 3/15, 4/5, 5/3, 5/17
Time: 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Fee: Free for CBS members/$5 per session for non-members (payable prior to class registration)

Understanding Prayerbook Hebrew

Do you “pray” for a better understanding of prayers? If you can read your letters and vowels, this class will bring you into the world of the prayer book. We’re going to pick up just before where we left off, with plenty of review. Don’t be afraid to join us. The text is great and we’d love to have you. You’ll even develop a vocabulary of the siddur’s most popular words. This is a class for those who wish to read and gain a better understanding of our Shabbat liturgy.


A minimum of eight students required. 

Instructor: Susan Stoehr
Time: 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Date: beginning Thursday, November 3, 2016
Fee: No fee for CBS members ($100 for non-members)

NEW! Elementary Torah Reading

Have you EVER considered learning to read Torah? If you’ve even remotely, mildly been curious or even had an inkling to read Torah, this class is for you! You will not be forced or required to read Torah in front of the congregation…BUT, if you have a child, grandchild, niece, nephew or friend becoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah in the future, this could be a great goal for you!


A minimum of eight students required. 

Instructor: Susan Stoehr
Time: 10:40 - 11:45 a.m.
Date: beginning Thursday, November 3, 2016
Fee: No fee for CBS members ($100 for non-members)

ALL 3 SESSIONS FULL(as of 10/20/16) -  Judy's Kitchen (Gourmet Kosher Cooking Classes)

• One-Pan Pasta • Apple Tart
• Panko Fish • Cockeyed Cake (with or without frosting)
• Bonus - Five Can Soup

• Overnight No-Knead Bread • Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie
• Hearty Vegetable Soup • Bonus – Mediterranean Spread

• Crazy Chicken • Mexican Chocolate Pudding
• Vegetarian Nasi Goreng • Bonus – Veggie Chopped Liver
Instructor: Judy Wolkin Location: Wolkin residence


ALL 3 SESSIONS FULL(as of 10/20/16) -  Judy's Kitchen (Gourmet Kosher Cooking Classes)

Thursday, 11/17; Wednesday, 2/1; Wednesday, 3/8

Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Fee: $20 per person per session ($50 if you register for all 3)
$36 per person per session for non-members

Maximum No. Students 15/Minimum No. Students 8


New! Foundations for Jewish Family Living: Values for Parents to Share with Their Children

Foundations of Jewish Family Living is a new curriculum for parents that provides a thought-provoking encounter with the core values of Judaism. Developed by the renowned Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning, a project of the Hebrew University, the curriculum brings to life the master stories from our tradition and the profound messages they convey.This rich learning experience for adults will provide an opportunity for you to bring the Jewish conversation home to share with your young child. At a time in your family’s life when your child is experiencing his or her own Jewish education, Foundations of Jewish Family Living provides you with the learning, the language, and the confidence to be a teacher to your own children.

Instructor: Rabbi Ari Averbach

Date: Thursdays, beginning 12/1
Time: 7:30 - 8:45 p.m.
Fee: $90 for CBS members (includes Melton fee and textbook) 

This class is highly subsidized for Congregation Beth Shalom members by CBS University

Spirits and Spirituality

Meet Rabbi Melman at Pinstripes,1150 Willow Road, Northbrook,  for a drink, lively discussion and developing new friendships! Come and connect or re-connect with YOUR Judaism.

Instructor: Rabbi Aaron Melman   Time: 7:30 p.m.
Dates: Thursdays 9/1, 12/22, 3/23
Fee: pay for your own food/drink 


Second Semester Classes:

New! Hard Questions and Complex Answers: Moral Dilemmas and Judaism Today

In this four part course, Rabbi Wolkin and the class will study and struggle with some old (but still relevant) and contemporary questions and situations dealt with in yesterday’s and today’s
society through Jewish texts.
SESSION I: Saving a Life and Its Limits: This class will deal with Biblical verses which are the foundation of the principle of “Pikuach Nefesh” which is about the centrality of saving a life. We will deal with 3 exceptions to this rule, the Talmudic case of 2 men and 1 canteen, the case in British Law of 4 men in a lifeboat and a plane crash in the Andes.
SESSION 2: Taking a Life: Pro and Con: How does Jewish law from the Talmud deal with the issue of capital punishment? If we were once against it, have we changed our opinion in light of massive global violence of all kinds? Is abortion under any and all circumstances the taking of a life? When does life begin?
SESSION 3: End of Life Questions: When does life end? What is the status of the body after death? How do the answers relate to the permissibility of organ donation and cremation? Should we all have Jewish Medical Directives? Does tattooing and body piercing have anything to do with any of this?
SESSION 4: Sexuality: What are Jewish sexual ethics today pertaining to premarital sex, homosexuality, incest, LGBTQ and Transgender along with reassignment surgery as well as same sex marriage? The aforementioned looks like one big question when it is actually many questions of the most complex variety with which Judaism and the world are still struggling mightily!
Join us for four weeks of lively learning and conversation!

Instructor: Rabbi Carl Wolkin 

Date: Monday, 1/9, 1/16, 1/23, 1/30
Time: 6:30 - 7:45 p.m.
Fee: Free for CBS members ($50 for non-members)

New! Zionist Thought: An Overview

Instructor: Cheryl Banks
Date: Thursdays, 3/9, 3/16, 3/23, 3/30
Time: 7:00 - 8:39 p.m.
Fee: $60 for CBS members ($100 for non-members)


For more information about any of these classes or to register please contact Leann Blue at either 847-498-4100, ext. 44 or at [email protected].

CBS News & Events

Friday, June 2, 2017 - 11:00am
Friday, June 2, 2017 - 4:00pm
Friday, June 2, 2017 - 6:00pm
Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 7:30pm
Friday, June 16, 2017 - 11:00am