If you haven’t already heard about UJL (The University of Jewish Learning),
then let me fill you in. For years, one of our main regular events at the Aish Center has been our Monday night programs. Various classes and one-on-one learning opportunities have drawn new faces and old faithfuls to our doors for a long time now. People come, talk, learn and have something to eat – it’s rather nice, and we really enjoy it. But a short while ago, we decided that we were ready to make some really big changes. What if we truly had something for everyone? What if people could come and have the freedom to engage in compelling and high quality learning and dialogue on a really wonderful range of topics offered nowhere else in the city? And a lounge for people to learn on their own, chill out with other people, or form their own learning circles? What if classes were broken up by really great musical performances, or mini-lectures from really interesting and exciting people? And what if Aish Downtown had it’s own UJL as well? We had so much fun just envisioning the possibilities. And now, as the launch party on April 29th comes closer, we thought we’d announce some of the awesome people who’ll be teaching the first series of classes at UJL.
Originally from Australia, Tal Segel left the sun and surf to study Torah and education, first in Israel and more recently New York. He studied at the historic Mir Yeshiva of Jerusalem and Novardok Yeshiva of Brooklyn, focusing in particular on the study of character refinement techniques and Chassidic thought. He has a BA in Information Technology from the University of Technology Sydney and a Masters in Education from Yeshiva University. When not teaching at Aish, Rabbi Segel is making Torah educational software at Gaon Education for a new generation of techie Jews. Rabbi Tal’s 6-part series at UJL is the Positivity Workshop.
Kurt Stein in a Senior Vice President at Merrill Lynch. He was a finance major at the University of Florida and was fortunate enough to spend six years learning at Aish in Jerusalem. He is a popular speaker and has lectured across North America for schools, colleges and Jewish organizations. Kurt’s 6- part series at UJL is entitled Jewish Daily Living.
Marganit Ramon, who we’ve previously profiled, was raised in a Yiddish speaking home in Israel. She calls New York home these days and is proud to be teaching both Hebrew and Yiddish at UJL! She’ll be teaching Yiddish during the first slot of classes (7 – 7.45pm) and Hebrew during the second slot (8.45 – 9pm).
Melissa Stein is a happy wife and mother. She holds a BA in marketing and spent three years learning at Aish’s college for women in Israel. She is a popular hostess and counselor to the many college students that she and her husband work with. Her series is called How To Be a Great Jewish Woman, and is comprised of 6 sessions which will span a broad variety of woman-focused topics, such as feminism within the Jewish culture, modestly and the special mitzvot belonging to women.
Adam Jacobs is the Managing Director of the Aish Center and one of the center’s most popular teachers, as well as the driving force of Jew U. He also blogs for the Huffington Post, and his weekly podcasts are downloaded but hundreds of people every week. He’s also the author of ”128 Reflections: Judaism’s Essential Wisdom on Personal Growth”. He’ll be teaching Introduction to Kabbalah as part of a 6-session series at UJL.
These guys are just some of what’s going to be on offer every Monday night, from April 29th and on wards. The launch alone will be great, and to celebrate, we’ll be serving beer, sushi, and burgers! So that’s a delicious bonus. We’re all booking in some really compelling people to speak between the slots, and we’ll be writing an awesome feature on them very soon. Until then, here’s the UJL Facebook event page, and here’s the UJL page on our site. If you’ve got any questions, comments or suggestions, then let us know! And we cannot wait to see you at UJL :-)