Two local synagogues are offering an opportunity for Jewish scholarship this summer, and a third is offering weekly Hebrew classes at all levels.
Through the Community Scholar Program, Tustin's Congregation B'nai Israel will help host a six-day visit by a professor of Jewish history and archaeology from Jerusalem's Hebrew University.
Professor Lee Levine, a 30-year resident of Israel, is the author of 11 books about ancient Judaism, synagogues and geography. He will hold six talks over six days, July 1-6. Most will be held at either B'nai Israel or an upper school classroom at Tarbut V' Torah Community Day School in Irvine.
His topics will range from Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" to whether the Passover seder is a pagan invention.
Anaheim's Temple Beth Emet promises an eight-week class that can turn Hebrew illiterates into Hebrew readers able to follow in a prayer book. Four levels of Hebrew are offered at Beth Emet in weekly classes that will meet beginning July 19 at 7:30 p.m. and run through the first week of September.
"The instruction is highly individualized and offers the freedom to move between classes to meet your personal needs," promised Margalit Moskowitz, Beth Emet's education director.
Irvine's Beth Jacob Congregation will host a parenting seminar July 29-Aug. 1 by Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen, a teaching professor from Jerusalem who challenges popular child-raising theories.
A former Harvard and UCLA student, Kelemen began his career as a ski instructor and worked as a news director and anchorman for a California radio station. He then traveled to Jerusalem to pursue the rabbinate, simultaneously conducting a dozen years of intensive postgraduate field research and publishing several books.
Kelemen teaches at Neve Yerushalaim College of Jewish Studies for Women and is the author of "To Kindle a Soul" (Leviathan, 2001) an authoritative parenting handbook.
The Beth Jacob seminar is $36 per person; $48 per couple.
Further details on the programs are available by calling the shuls: Beth Jacob, (949) 786-5230; B'nai Israel, (714) 730-9693; Beth Emet, (714) 772-4720.