Secular Yeshiva

The “Secular Yeshiva” Course in Advanced Jewish Studies

February 2012 through January 2015*

Who is eligible?

  • Members, staff and friends of The Sholem Community, SoCal Arbeter Ring
    (Workmen’s Circle), as well as others, including graduates of the Jeremiah
    Fellowship, willing to commit to an intensive two-year course of study. Applicants
    will be asked to submit a brief description of past education and/or activities in
    Jewish and general cultural/educational/social movements.
  • Maximum enrollment: 15 individuals.
  • Apply no later than Jan. 21, 2012 to

What is the commitment?

  • Two Sunday evening sessions per month, each 2-1/2 hours (60 class hours total)
  • Significant advance reading/research
  • Readiness to participate in seminar-style discussions, led by participants as
    well as instructors
  • Purchase of books and publications recommended by instructors, all under $20, most $5-10 used online
  • Approximately $10 fee per class (~$250/year)

What will be covered?

Approximately six sessions (15 hrs.) will be devoted to each topic:

  • History and Basic Ideas of Secular Jewishness
  • Critical examination of Tanakh (Hebrew bible); post-biblical literature
  • Jewish calendar and holidays
  • World Jewish history
  • Eastern European Jewish history
  • American Jewish history (incl. Rediscovering Our Radical Roots)
  • Yiddish literature in translation
  • Jewish American literature

Certification as Secular Jewish vegvayzer/Leaders

An additional year of study (February – December 2015) covering:

  • Developing Secular Jewish life-cycle and holiday ceremonies in community
    and home settings
  • Reviewing/Developing curricula for Secular Jewish schools


  • Hershl Hartman, Certified Secular Jewish vegvayzer; faculty,
    International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism; Ed. Dir., The Sholem
    Community; District Committee, SoCal Arbeter Ring (Workmen’s Circle)
  • Other Certified vegvayzer in Southern California
  • Noted scholars in L.A. area Secular Jewish movements/institutions
  • Invited guest lecturers from L.A. area higher learning faculties

View the course flyer | Submit questions to