Area Congregations Offer Introductions to Judaism

Several congregations in the region are offering classes on Judaism this year, with some getting under way this month. The courses are designed for anyone with an interest in Judaism, whether a Jewish person who needs a refresher course, interfaith couples, a non-Jew who is simply interested in learning, or someone who is considering converting to Judaism.

In New Orleans, Rabbi Edward Paul Cohn of Temple Sinai will offer an Introduction to Basic Judaism class, starting Aug. 26 at 9 a.m. The course consists of 20 75-minute classes and is free. There will be no tests, homework or stress.

Class members will enjoy a glimpse into the fundamentals of Jewish belief, thought and practice from a distinctly Reform Jewish perspective. Located at 6227 St. Charles Avenue, Temple Sinai is Louisiana’s largest synagogue and first Reform congregation. This class will explore Jewish theology, prayer, holiday observances and life cycle rituals.

To register, contact the Temple Sinai office, (504) 861-3693.

In Metairie, Rabbi Robert Loewy at Gates of Prayer teaches “Basic J: A New Approach to Learn About Judaism.” The class starts Aug. 22 at 7:30 p.m. and will meet over 18 sessions in four blocks through the year.

Loewy’s class is a combination of his college-level Introduction to Judaism class and a practical approach for those considering conversion. There is no fee, but texts will need to be purchased. Register by calling (504) 885-2600 or email

In Birmingham, Rabbi Jonathan Miller’s popular ReJewvenation class will be meeting most sessions at the Levite Jewish Community Center, not at Temple Emanu-El. The series explores Jewish practices and thought and is aimed for people of all faiths, including those who were raised in Judaism.

Meetings will be on Thursdays at 7 p.m., starting Aug. 16. Cost is $10 plus a contribution to a meaningful charity of the participant’s choice. Registration is at (205) 933-8037, ext. 230, or email