Adult Education

At Agudas Israel we believe that Jewish learning is a lifetime project. Judaism offers a wealth of rich, deep, sophisticated ideas which are most useful for adults. Adults make decisions about raising children, choosing careers, medical care for themselves and loved ones, where to live and whom to love. Adults need the guidance of a religious system to help them through this maze of serious choices. Adults also experience fully the deep sorrow of loss and the great joy of true love. Jewish tradition can guide adults through these emotional highs and lows.

Adult learning at Agudas Israel equips our lifelong learners to face the complexity of their lives armed with Jewish knowledge. Whether taking a Basic Judaism course, or an advanced Talmud seminar, our learners come away from the experience with a greater appreciation of Judaism’s profound depths, and a greater understanding of how to lead an inspired life.

Please join us at any one of our course offerings this year. Membership is not required,. 

Lunch ‘n Learn:

Most Wednesdays at noon we gather in the Agudas Israel boardroom and engage in wide ranging discussions.  Over the life of this group, we have studied a plethora of topics!

Some of the offerings have included:

  • Workings of Hebrew Bible
  • Roots of Reform Judaism
  • Jewish Holidays
  • Jewish lens on Secular Holidays
  • “Hot Topics” such as abortion, assimilation, inter-marriage
  • Kabbalah/mysticism
  • Origins of the state of Israel
  • Anti-Semitism
  • And many more topics!

 Everyone is welcome

Introduction to Judaism

This class would be appropriate for anyone who is seeking to learn the fundamentals of Judaism. It is also a prerequisite for those interested in converting to Judaism. We partner with the Union for Reform Judaism in their online courses, more information can be found here.

Adult B’nai Mitzvah class:

A group of adults who will study with Cantor Labow in preparation for their bar/bat mitzvah. The class studies include Jewish prayer, women in the Bible, Jewish holidays, and reads novels of Jewish interest. 

If there is not critical mass for an entire class, but you would still like to go through this process, please contact Cantor Labow to see how the two of you can work out together. 

Private study:

Within limits, our Cantor studies privately with individuals who have expressed an interest in working on a particular topic or in a particular area.

Delivering D’var Torah:

Many congregants have taken on the task of selecting a Torah portion or Jewish value and writing a D’var Torah, an interpretation of the portion. This can be done most any Friday night.

Forward discussion:

On Thursdays an intrepid group of congregants gathers to discuss current events from a Jewish angle.  The basis for this conversation is often the most recent edition of the Forward, America’s most important Anglo-Jewish newspaper.

Youth Education

We welcome everyone to Agudas Israel. As a small congregation, our religious school size ebbs and flows. Thanks to a partnership with Union of Reform Judaism (URJ), we are able to offer a robust online school. This ensures that no matter what our local community is able to provide, our students will be able to have online peer socialization, enriching education, and values-based curriculum. 

We will also have in-person monthly sessions, day/time to be determined by the enrolled families each year, so that we can maintain community among the families in town. 

All in-person sessions are included as part of membership with Agudas Israel. 

By clicking here,  you will see even more FAQs. Note, all students must register with Agudas Israel to participate in this program.

What is Shalom LinkED?

Shalom LinkED is an online Jewish education program for students in 1st-6th grade who are unable to participate in education offerings in-person at their Reform congregation. 

Shalom LinkED uses the Shalom Learning Jewish Values-Based Curriculum, which helps children develop a positive Jewish identity.

Students enroll through their local URJ congregation, that’s Agudas Israel, in order to attend the Shalom LinkED sessions online with other Reform students from across North America.

How will students stay connected to friends and leaders at our congregation?

Nurturing relationships is one of the strengths of our congregation. Your family and student will continue to be important to our community. We plan on getting together with all students monthly and for special occasions. This will be communicated with each of the families that sign up with us. .

Schedule for 2022-2023 school year

When did classes meet?

Each student enrolled in one of the following sessions. Sessions met for one-hour as follows: 

1st/2nd grade classes met for 45 minutes at the following times:

SundaysNoon EST
Thursdays6:30pm EST

3rd/4th and 5th/6th grade classes met for one hour at the following times:

Sundays 10am EST
Sundays Noon EST
Thursdays 6pm EST
Thursdays 8pm EST

Sunday sessions met on the following dates: 

October November December January February March April May 
16, 30 6, 13, 204, 118, 22, 295, 12, 2612, 1923, 307

Thursday sessions met on the following dates: 

October November December January February March April May 
13, 273, 10, 171, 85, 19, 262, 9, 1616, 2320, 274

Are the classes synchronous or asynchronous?

Classes will be synchronous and engaging, with a ShalomLearning trained teacher facilitating.

What if a child misses a class? Are they recorded?

All sessions will be recorded. A family can ask the teacher for a link to watch a recording within 7 days of the missed class. Each family will sign a recording waiver prior to the start of the program.

Teaching & Content

Who will teach?

ShalomLearning will hire, train and supervise teachers for this program. Teachers will be trained to facilitate students’ interaction with each other and the material using various teaching methods and tools designed to engage online learners. A teacher is hired for the full year.

How will teachers manage students with different abilities?

ShalomLearning trains and expects all teachers to approach each student with compassion, warmth and positivity online. For students with special learning needs or disabilities teachers and parents should consult to ensure the best learning experience.

What is the content of the ShalomLearning curriculum?

ShalomLearning’s innovative Jewish values curriculum provides students with meaningful Jewish learning they can apply to real-life situations now and as they grow into adulthood. This document gives an overview of what’s included in grades 1-2.  This document gives an overview of what’s included in grades 3-7. This year of Shalom LinkED will include content for grades 2, 4, and 6. Please note that since it’s an abridged calendar, not all topics in every value will be covered. More about ShalomLearning’s Values Based Curriculum can be found here.


How does registration work?
Each student will register with the congregational education program and pay all local fees. You will receive an email confirming registration with Shalom LinkED, and then a message with permission forms, class information, and zoom links for the class.

What is the cost?
Families pay their congregation the registration fees. There are no additional costs for books or technology access – students will need to have a computer with internet access, a camera, and headphones.

How many sessions does registration include?
Registration is for the entire program, which includes 18 sessions. We are not able to pro-rate for missed sessions.

What is the enrollment deadline? Can students enroll throughout the year?

The deadline to enroll students is September 30, 2023. Students will enroll for the full year. Late enrollment will be accepted as space allows.

For more information: 

Please email our office or give us a call [828-693-9838]. 


Agudas Israel has an extensive library, which includes many popular books on Jewish topics.  
Book topics range from scripture to Talmud, from cookbooks to historical fiction.  All are categorized and organized for easy use and easy checkout. 

Please see our Agudas Library catalog here to peruse our selection!
You’re welcome to check-out books during our usual office hours.