Dafna Krouk-Gordon, a graduate of Concord’s Congregation Kerem Shalom’s Me’ah class, has written the following:
“I was not quite sure what to expect when my husband and I embarked upon Me’ah two years ago. I knew that I was interested in studying a subject that had been a formative part of my early education, but I had not engaged in any Torah study nor discussion about Judaism and its meaning since then.
Over the two year period I had a chance to think about Judaism, to revisit some of the “facts” and myths I had learned as a child and to put them both in perspective as they applied to my current life. The added bonus was that over the years our class became a fairly close knit group that benefitted from the diversity of our perspectives. We came to enjoy one another’s company as well as one another’s points of view.”
Below are snapshots of but a few recent Me’ah grads; their diverse backgrounds hint at the range of points of view adult learners bring to the classroom.
Nancy Kleinrock, also a graduate of Congregation Kerem Shalom’s Me’ah class, works as a paralegal. She “didn’t know the Torah from the Mishnah” before taking Me’ah. Her passion is sculling.
John Guthrie was a student in the Me’ah class at Temple Israel in Sharon. When he retired from a business career at New England Life, he sought to learn about the “Old Testament,” a book he, as a Catholic, wanted to read. He found that all four Me’ah modules constituted “one of the most fascinating journeys he’s ever taken.” John loves kayaking and mountain biking, and is learning Italian and how to play the Banjo.
Wayne Purnell and Jordan Beaumont (left to right) graduated from the Me’ah class at Newton’s Temple Emanuel. Wayne is a management consultant, and Jordan, a financial planner. Wayne, who “embraced Judaism” a few years ago, found that “Me’ah filled in gaps in history, from Abraham through the Diaspora, the whole evolution of Judaism as a community.” Also in this photo are Nancy Nagler and Susan Beaumont.
Addressing this year’s Me’ah graduates was Rabbi Barry Starr of Sharon’s Temple Israel. He noted that Me’ah involves “not simply the opening of the book, but opening [one’s] mind to the contents of that book.” He quoted a midrash: “The world is full of thorns and thistles; the person who studies Torah is the lilly.”