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Opportunities for Edinburgh locals

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We have lots of opportunities for locals to join in with during the Azara summer programme! From morning Talmud to evening lectures, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re dipping a toe into Jewish learning or you want to go all-in.

Community Beit Midrash

Thursday 29th June, Wednesday 5th July, Thursday 13th July, Thursday 20th July
7 – 9 p.m., Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation, bagels provided and no need to book ahead

Experience the buzz of the Beit Midrash (study hall). Come and learn collaboratively with Azara full-time participants. Participants will run small-group (chabura) learning sessions on Torah in all its forms: whether that’s reading Tanach together, learning to leyn, or finding creative ways to connect to the tradition. Join whatever sparks your interest! We’ll also have some Azara faculty on hand to advise if you want to study a Jewish text alone or with a friend, and who can help if you need direction. No skills or experience needed, and all welcome regardless of gender or denomination.

Evening lectures

Tuesdays 27th June, 4th July, 11th July, 18th July.
7 – 9 p.m., bagels provided and no need to book ahead.

Knowing Reality: An Easy Window to Mastering Biblical Law
Tuesday 27th June – Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation – Rabbi Elisha Ancselovits

The realm of Jewish tradition, or even Jewish law – or even merely Biblical law – can seem too vast to know and understand. However, we will turn to two Biblical laws that do not explain themselves – Tyrian-blue tzitzit and circumcision – to see how anyone can understand Biblical laws easily with the help of one’s popular-cultural knowledge and popular sources ranging from Wikipedia to YouTube. Class Prerequisite: We put aside value judgments to understand laws via physical, ecological, mammalian, and human reality.

Rabbi Elisha Ancselovits holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies and has both rabbinic and judicial ordination. He teaches Halakha as Practical Wisdom in the kollel of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and in the kollel of Yeshivat Maale Gilboa, in the rabbinic and judicial ordination tracks of his Bet Midrash Hukkim Hakhamim, and in additional Orthodox and secular Israeli institutions. He is currently a fellow at Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion. In the past, he has been a postdoctoral or visiting researcher and a visiting professor in Halakha, in Mishpat Ivri, in Jewish Thought, in Jewish Education, and in Legal Realism. He is currently completing the first of a three-volume history of Judaism through the lens of Jewish Law, entitled A Peoplehood of Wisdom: The History of Jews, Study, and Law.

Martin Buber’s Sacred Anarchism
Tuesday 4th July – St Mark’s Unitarian Church – Rabbi Dr Judith Rosen-Berry

Modern Jewish anarchist thinkers like Martin Buber and Gustav Landauer engaged with the ‘religious’ ideas of human equality and freedom, they understood the Torah based ideals of ethics and justice as over and above notions of ‘rule’ and ‘law’. We will critically consider, and reflect on the possible implications of Jewish ‘sacred anarchism’ on what it means to be Jewish today.

Rabbi Dr Judith Rosen-Berry received smicha from Rabbi Sheila Shulman in 2008, and went on to become the Rabbi of the Beit Klal Yisrael community, and to also teach Jewish theology at Leo Baeck College, London. Recently she was living on the Isle of Skye, but has now returned to Oxford to teach, write and produce samizdat pamphlets on radical Jewish theology.

Hearing God’s Voice Today
Tuesday 11th July – Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation – Jeremy Tabick

What do we mean when we read in the Torah, over and over: “God spoke”? How does God speak? Does God speak today like the Torah describes? How would we know? We will explore some models of what this might look like in the Bible and in our lives today.

Jeremy Tabick is the Content Manager and faculty at Hadar, where he teaches, curates, and edits Hadar’s content—both online and in print. Jeremy is also pursuing a PhD in Talmud at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He graduated from the University of Manchester with a Masters in Physics, and is an alumnus of Yeshivat Hadar and the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He lives in New York with his wife and three children.

Two Kaddishes and a Ghost Story
Tuesday 18th July – Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation – Rabba Dr Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz

Many people feel passionately committed to saying Mourners’ Kaddish—but how did the practice start? We’ll look at the origin of Kaddish and how it became associated with mourners, using texts and a medieval ghost story to investigate the prayer’s surprising history.

Rabba Dr Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz received her doctorate from University College London. She has just finished two years as a Research Fellow at the Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Manchester and has lectured at universities including Cambridge, Oxford, and Vassar College, New York. She has taught at the London School of Jewish Studies since 2005. In 2021 she received Orthodox rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Maharat, New York. Her first book, Challenge and Conformity: The Religious Lives of Orthodox Jewish Women, was published by the Littman LIbrary of Jewish Civilization in 2021.


Our incredible roster of teachers will be leading classes in Biblical Hebrew, Tanach, Halachah, Talmud, Chasidut (mysticism), Aramaic, Midrash, and Modern Jewish Thought. No skills beyond the alef-bet needed! All our morning and afternoon classes will be held in our central Edinburgh venue and are now available to book here.

Open Week

Join the Azara Summer Programme for the full week of 10-14 July. Immerse in Jewish texts, deepen your relationship with Judaism, and learn how to shape your own tradition. All welcome—no matter your background, experience, or gender. Places limited – book here.

You can also hear Azara faculty Rachel Montagu with the Edinburgh Jewish Cultural Centre.

Sunday 2nd July at 7.30pm, location confirmed on booking
‘The Man Who Was’ with Rachel Montagu
To book a place click here.