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12 Jewish Questions: A (Re)Introduction to Adult-Level Judaism

Do I need to believe in God to be Jewish? What happens after we die? How do Where is God in times of tragedy? How do I rest when I have no time? As adults, we all have questions about being Jewish, and many of us are still searching for answers.

Despite years of religious school as children, many of us are unsure how to find meaning in our faith and culture as adults, and issues that may not have been relevant to us decades ago suddenly are filled with new meaning when viewed from an adult perspective.

12 Jewish Questions: A (Re)Introduction to Adult-Level Judaism is a learning community for adults – Jewish and non-Jewish – who have questions about Jewish identity, beliefs, culture, and customs. It's an environment to discover (and rediscover) the relevance of Judaism in our lives.

This 12-week course will be offered on Zoom from 8:00 - 9:00 pm on Monday evenings through June 8.

It is free for WHC members: $36 for non-members

Please click here if you would like to register.


12 Jewish Questions is made possible by the generous support of Washington Hebrew Congregation and the Bernstein Family Foundation.

In the words of past participants:

"I'm not Jewish, so I didn't have many expectations coming into 12JQ. My fiance and I initially planned to only attend a handful of classes since life gets so busy. But I found the classes to be genuinely engaging, interesting and educational. We ended up coming to every class and 12JQ became something to look forward to each week. I'm grateful that we decided to attend because I feel like I'll have a much better understanding of Judaism when we attend holidays or get the kids into Hebrew school."

"I think the biggest thing this class did for my partner and I is share the sense that "we are not alone" as we look to discover our Judaism together. Many experiences from the classmates really opened our eyes too, and Rabbi Miller was the perfect person to keep us engaged and contributing. I can't imagine this class/program without him! More specifically, there were many highlights and moments that will stand out to me for a long time, particularly our discussion about death, our approach to racy topics like sex, and the careful way we looked at items in which many people could easily disagree. I just really loved the small sense of community we had built together with each week."


Class Schedule

Below are a some of the questions we will discuss during the Spring 2020 semster.

  • Why are Jews called "People of the Book"?
  • Can a person really change?
  • How is Judaism linked to the State of Israel?
  • How do I pray?
  • How do I rest when I have no time?
  • Do you need to believe in God to be Jewish?
  • What's Jewish about sex?
  • Where is God in times of tragedy?
  • What kind of Jews are there?
  • Why is anti-Semitism on the rise?
  • What happens after I die?
  • What does the Jewish future look like?


Frequently Asked Questions

I slogged through 10 years of religious school. Will I get anything from this class?

Yes! This class is taught to match your experience and maturity as an adult. It’s kind of like how the books you read now are not the same books you read in middle school - you’re more mature now, and you have different interests. Similarly, this class will discuss Judaism in the context of your adult life, addressing issues that weren’t relevant as a child but are now. We asked adults how we can shape this class so it’s relevant to you, and we want to tackle the aspects of Judaism that are most confusing. Washington Hebrew’s overall goal in “(re)introducing” Judaism is to explore the motivations behind our religious identities and uncover the depth that Judaism has to offer.

Do I need to be a member of Washington Hebrew Congregation to take advantage of the "12 Jewish Questions" class?

No. Washington Hebrew is proud to offer this learning opportunity to anyone in the D.C. area who is interested in deepening their understanding of Judaism.

I am not Jewish, but I am interested in learning more about the Jewish religion, history, practices, and culture. Will I be in way over my head?

Absolutely not! This course is designed for anyone who wants to learn more about Judaism as an adult.

What if I am Jewish but don’t know anything about Judaism? Will I have trouble following along?

This course is designed to provide an excellent and accessible overview of the basics for those new to Jewish learning (or for those who are still recovering from religious school!).

I am not Jewish. Will 12 Jewish Questions try to get me to convert?

No. Judaism is not an evangelical tradition, and proselytizing is simply not a part of our spiritual DNA. While there will be students in 12JQ who are considering conversion to Judaism, we cherish the beauty of all religious faiths and practices and welcome those of any spiritual tradition to join the class.