Learn with Dini

Open your mind and expand your soul with classes and workshops. Join the conversation between ancient texts, modern challenges, courageous insights and timeless wisdom

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The Intermarriage Beit Midrash

The Pew 2020 study of American Jews confirms that the overall rate of marriage between Jews and people of other faiths or cultural backgrounds is holding steady at 60%, with those outside of the Orthodox community marrying people of other identities at a rate of 72%. Strikingly, the study also found that about two thirds of multifaith/multiheritage couples are raising their children Jewish. These statistics are motivating many who have resisted
this phenomenon to take another look at these families and their presence in Jewish life - now and in the future.

The Intermarriage Beit Midrash invites people to engage with classical Jewish texts that provide a values-based framework and vocabulary with which to explore today’s unprecedented fluidity of Jewish identity and hybridity of Jewish families; a language to talk about both the challenges and opportunities that these realities represent.


  • What is the role of people in our communities who aren’t Jewish in the realms of ritual, prayer, and community leadership?
  • What does Jewishness mean when it’s lived in an open, pluralistic, post-ethnic society, and how can we articulate a compelling new paradigm for Jewishness without losing its manifold textures and multidimensionality?
  • When a growing segment of the community claim that their Jewish identity is less about God/theology and halakhah (Jewish Law) and more about culture and heritage, how do we make those associations thick enough to be sustainable and transmittable to future generations?
  • What makes a marriage Jewish other than the identities of the spouses?
  • And many other issues that participants may bring to the conversation.

High Holy Days at Shaare Zion Beth-El in Montreal

Together with vocalist Lisa Kasdan, Dini will be returning to Shaare Zion Beth El Congregation in Montreal for the High Holy Days this year where they will once again bring passion, depth and spirit to the season of return and renewal. Everyone is welcome to join! If you're game for more than livestreaming which will be available, Montreal is an amazing city and the fall is a perfect time to explore it and the gorgeous Laurentian mountains! Many have already made plans to be with Dini and Lisa in person. Be in touch with Dini if you want info on where to stay and how to join or go to www.szbe.org or more info and tickets!

Unetane Tokef with Kavod v'Nichum

The Unetanah Tokef, "We shall ascribe holiness to this day," prayer is arguably the most well-known prayer centering on human mortality. It is the liturgical climax of the High Holy Days. More than any other prayer, its haunting melody and vivid text cuts to the fragility and unpredictability of life, exposing the white elephant in the sanctuary, the question that taunts and torments our quivering hearts: who will live and who will die?
During the month of Elul, with learning and reflection, we prepare for the Days of Awe and the personal transformation they inspire. This year, join Rabbi Adina Lewittes for an immersive 3-part exploration of the Mahzor’s gripping centerpiece informed by rabbinic commentary, medieval poetry, psychoanalytic insight, and contemporary wisdom.

Justice Beit Midrash

American society is straining from years of social strife, political hostility, racist and partisan violence, and a pervasive sense of fear and alienation. Building a moral foundation for renewed and enduring civic engagement -between Jews, and for Jews in solidarity with other Americans - is an immediate priority. As the world approaches a new normal with the taming of Covid-19, the revival of Jewish communities and of our country requires thoughtful, informed, yet bold initiatives to navigate this uncharted territory.

In the traditional style of a Beit Midrash (House of Study), we’ll combine wrestling with sources together with guided teachings focused on a range of societal issues. Each unit will be capped by a visit with a leading activist or advocacy organization to build the bridge between learning and doing, and to catalyze the transformational impact of our study.

Civic responsibility
• Democracy
• Leadership
• Race
• Immigration
• Income inequality
• Healthcare equity
• Law enforcement
• Criminal justice
• Housing
• Hunger
• Climate

Rabbi on the Rocks

What do you get when you combine a passion for small-batch distilleries, a flair for craft cocktails, and devotion to deep Jewish wisdom? A rabbi/mixologist who can host you for fascinating storytelling and daring drinks, uncovering the spirits in spirituality.


How is our timeless halakhic (Jewish legal) system responding to questions of Jewish law emerging from our fast-paced, open-sourced, multivocal, technology-saturated and rapidly-changing world? Is there a new paradigm emerging wherein the binaries of permitted/forbidden are expanding to include the importance of intention and community in the framework of religious observance?

Analyze contemporary teshuvot (rabbinic responsa) from across the Jewish landscape, study the systems of change that have maintained the relevance of Jewish observance for millennia, explore the dynamism within the boundaries of Jewish law, and learn to articulate, in the language of tradition, the commitments to spiritual practice that frame your Jewish life.


  • Gender and Sexuality: Must a transgender woman who is converting to Judaism undergo a ritual circumcision?

  • Laboratory-produced meat: Is it kosher? Would all meat produced this way, including pork, be kosher? Is its status fleishig/meat or pareve/neutral such that it can be consumed with dairy?

  • Natural Organic Reduction (Human Composting): Are alternative burial practices permitted by Jewish law?

  • Cultural Conversion: May someone convert to become a secular Jew?

  • Jewish identity: If an interfaith lesbian couple chooses together to have a child through artificial insemination and the non-Jewish partner carries the pregnancy, is the Jewish identity of the other parent transmitted to the child or does it require conversion?

  • Technology: In the age of virtual services and lifecycle rituals, what constitutes “presence” in the forming of a minyan/prayer quorum or a Beit Din/Rabbinical Court?

  • Prayer: Does the requirement to pray three times a day still apply in our modern world? Is there an approach to regular prayer that aligns better with our busy lives?

  • Kosher meat: Is today’s practice of Shehita/ritual slaughter kosher? What claims do modern technology and science make upon the need for Shehita to be humane and compassionate?

  • Religious hierarchies: In a post-Temple culture that strives for equality and justice, do the designations “Kohen/Levi/Yisrael” continue to hold meaning?

  • Intermarriage: Does the tradition contain precedents of alternatives to the traditional Jewish wedding that could be used to sanctify a multifaith/multiheritage marriage?

  • Shabbat: What constitutes “work” in our modern lifestyles to be avoided on Shabbat and what role does technology play in that conversation?


Finding Our Own Way Home

In our time of uncertainty and strife when radically polarized voices are clamoring for our attention and our loyalty, how do we forge a life path that feels authentic, responsible and connected? When do family, community and faith serve as our compass and when do the dictates of our own heart guide our steps? What is the spiritual nexus between the collective and the individual, the universal and the particular in the search for self?

Join Rabbi Adina Lewittes for a deep and thoughtful discussion of a classic Hasidic text which unfolds a provocative map for these Elul days of journeying home for the holidays. 

The Torah of Death

Death. End of life. Mortality. What do these words evoke? For some, they ring with the familiar sounds of life’s inevitable rhythms. For others, they arouse feelings of fear and vulnerability. In the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, they have provoked anxiety, anger and doubt. They have also instilled gratitude.

To assert the holiness and hopefulness of life – not only at its inception and heights of vitality, but even at its inevitable, often incomprehensible, conclusion – remains a singular challenge for communities, families and individuals. What insights does Judaism offer into this complex dimension of the human experience? How have Jewish teachings, rituals and stories helped generations navigate between this world and what lies beyond?


  • The Birth of Death: Why Dying is Part of Living
  • How to Die: Death Narratives from Yesterday and Today
  • The Torah of Tenderness: Traditional and Alternative Burial Practices
  • The Torah of Tomorrow: Theories of the Afterlife
  • Troubled Torah: Death from War and Illness
  • The Death of God: Belief in the Face of Loss

Everyday Ethics

Ethical questions of war and peace, climate change, immigration and healthcare can be overwhelming. And yet, consciously or not, we answer critical ethical questions every day as we order our coffee, pay our workers, dine with our friends and even shop online. Most of us pay little heed to the daily, mundane micro-decisions we make yet they each reflect seriously upon our ethical sensibilities and our relationship to values and beliefs larger than ourselves.

Each session of this online series, Everyday Ethics, will focus on a different question raised by The Ethicist column of the New York Times Magazine and expand the deliberation with Jewish sources - ancient and modern - that awaken, motivate and guide us to consider how that particular issue might be resolved from a Jewish perspective. Deepen your understanding of Jewish ethics as they apply in our complex world and our often complicated relationships, and make more informed and thoughtful personal choices as a result


  • Using a salesperson’s time to try on shoes and then buying them online

  • Allowing a patient to choose their doctor based on racial biases

  • Separating the art from the artist: listening to music or watching films made by artists accused of sexual misconduct

  • Filling out your elderly parent’s voter ballot on their behalf

  • Giving to the homeless: do we give them what we think they need or what they request?

  •  Lying for the sake of protecting someone else

  • Logging on to someone else’s wifi network

  • Claiming the right to affirmative action

  • Resigning after paid parental leave

  • Our rights to self-endangerment

  • Legalizing marijuana

  • Bequeathing your children unequal portions of your estate

  • Withholding sex