CORE Groups Resource Bank
CORE Groups Resource Bank
CORE Groups Discussion Series
Because the focus of CORE Groups is on building sacred relationships, the most important “texts” that will ground these discussions will be the Torah each member has to offer based on his or her own life experiences. However, in order to facilitate deep and meaningful conversation, and to help connect your lived experiences to Jewish tradition, we offer a number of discussion series.
We ask that each member commit to completing the series chosen by the group. At the end of a series, a group may choose to conclude, or may choose to start another series based on members’ interests. If group members would prefer to ground their discussions in content other than that which is offered in these series (or to create a customized program using materials from two or more series), they are of course welcome to do so.
Omer CORE Group
This Spring, we are offering a new opportunity for reflection as we dive into the Omer—the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot. As in the month of Elul, Jewish tradition encourages us to use these 7 weeks as a time of contemplation and personal accounting.
Week 1: Counting the Omer - Chesed
Week 2: Counting the Omer - Gevurah
Week 3: Counting the Omer - Tiferet
Week 4: Counting the Omer - Netzach
Week 5: Counting the Omer - Hod
Week 6: Counting the Omer - Yesod
Week 7: Counting the Omer - Malchut
My Jewish Year
This series draw’s on Abby Pogrebin’s book, My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew, and allows participants to explore their own experience of living in Jewish time. Each session is tied to a particular holiday, allowing members to engage in a real-time exploration of these moments in the Jewish year.
Joy is Central on Yom Kippur
Rabbi Buchdahl, September 20, 2018
Our Jewish Year: Introduction & Hanukkah
“Happy New Year . . . Again?” (Tu B’Shvat)
A Palace in Time: Shabbat
Power and Disruption: Purim
Tell it to the Children: Passover
Why We Remember: Yom HaShoah
Walking Toward What Could Be: The Omer, Shavuot, and Conclusion
Social Justice Year One – Foundations
This original series, created by Rabbi Nicole Auerbach, offers participants an opportunity to explore the Jewish roots of social justice work, and to ask key questions that will help guide and enrich their efforts to repair the world. In addition to asking “What is Jewish about social justice,” the series allows members to explore such questions as: “How do I balance my obligation to the Jewish community with my obligations to others?” “Should I prioritize my local community, or other communities in greater need?” and “How much should I give?” The series is grounded in traditional and contemporary Jewish texts, but offers ample opportunity for members to explore their own beliefs.
Justice, justice shall you pursue: What is Jewish about social justice work?
In the image of God: How do we respect the dignity of those we serve?
The needy among us: To whom are we obligated, in a time of rapid globalization?
For the sake of peace: Considering our obligations to Jews and others
Giving life to the needy: Engaging in acts of service
According to our ability: How much should we give?
Swords into ploughshares: Envisioning a more just future?
Expanding our moral territory: How have you changed?
Social Justice Year Two – Contemporary Issues (Linda Gordon Memorial Discussion Series)
This series allows members to build on the foundational discussions of the first year curriculum by diving deep into contemporary justice issues, such as immigration, environmental protection, and racial justice. Each discussion blends secular texts with Jewish tradition, allowing members to consider what Judaism has to say about some of the most pressing issues of our day. This series was commissioned in loving memory of Central member and CORE Group leader Linda Gordon by the members of her group, so that her dedication to both social justice and the CORE Group experience would continue to inspire and bring meaning to our community.
Strangers in Your Midst
Checking Our Privilege
Jews and Whiteness
To Rule or to Guard
Each Will Voice His View
Teshuvah and Mass Incarceration
For the Sake of Heaven
Social Justice - Moral Resistance and Spiritual Authority
Based on the book Moral Resistance and Spiritual Authority: Our Jewish Obligation to Social Justice (edited by Rabbi Seth M. Limmer, DHL and Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner), this discussion series dives deeply into the texts and values underlying the Jewish call to social justice. A range of authors tackle such issues as immigration, gender equity, mass incarceration, and many more. Participants will need to acquire a copy of the book on which this series is based, which can be purchased from the publisher, www.ccarpress.org.
Gender Pay Equity
These discussions will use the weekly and High Holy Days sermons of our Central Synagogue clergy as touchstone texts, allowing members to delve more deeply into how our sacred texts inform their everyday lives. Group members may listen to the sermon in person or online. Accompanying each sermon is a discussion guide, including guiding questions and supplemental texts to help flesh out the discussion.
Crowns of Torah: Re-Forming Judaism
Rabbi Buchdahl, Rosh HaShanah 2015
Rabbi Kolin, Yom Kippur 2015
Lifting Our Eyes: Parashat Vayeira
Rabbi Kolin, October 30, 2015
Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Bazeh: Parashat Chayei Sarah
Rabbi Buchdahl, November 6, 2015
A Renewed Hope: Parashat Vayishlach
Rabbi Salth, November 27, 2015
It would be enough: Parashat Vayigash
Rabbi Lorge, December 18, 2015
Being a Goel: Parashat Va-eira
Rabbi Lorge, January 8, 2016
Hidden Gifts: Parashat Terumah
Rabbi Auerbach, February 12, 2016
Finding God in the Shadows: Parashat Vayak’heil
Rabbi Buchdahl, March 4, 2016
IKEA and the Mishkan: Parashat P’kudei
Rabbi Kolin, March 11, 2016
Chosen to Be The Other
Rabbi Buchdahl, October 2, 2016
America – Illuminated and on Fire: Parashat Lech L’cha
Rabbi Rosenthal, November 11, 2016
Wrestling with God: Parashat Vayishlach
Cantor Julia Cadrain, December 16, 2016
Walking With You: Parashat Va-eira
Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, January 27, 2017
Made of One Piece: Parashat T’rumah
Rabbi Ari Lorge, March 3, 2017
Rabbi Auerbach, May 26, 2017
Nothing More Whole Than a Broken Heart
Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, Rosh Hashanah 2017
Rabbi Rosenthal, September 22, 2017
Rabbi Salth, December 8, 2017
Rabbi Buchdahl, December 15, 2017
Rabbi Buchdahl, January 19, 2018
Cantor Mutlu, March 9, 2018
Joy is Central on Yom Kippur
Rabbi Buchdahl, September 20, 2018
God Forgives: Can We?
Rabbi Buchdahl, October 11, 2019
Birthing the New Year 5781: Break. Breathe. Push
Rabbi Buchdahl, Rosh HaShanah 5781/2020
We Are Family: Rethinking Race in the Jewish Community
Rabbi Buchdahl, Yom Kippur 5781/2020
Through Prophets’ Eyes
Rabbi Lorge, Yom Kippur 5781/2020
Ben Franklin Meets Pirkei Avot
In the ancient Jewish text Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers), a group of rabbinic scholars in Israel at the beginning of the Common Era fashioned a roadmap to living a moral life. A millennia and a half later, Ben Franklin created his own plan for a moral life. He identified 13 virtues as the framework for self-improvement and started his mutual-improvement club as a support group to keep him and his peers on track. The initiative we’re calling Ben Franklin Meets Pirkei Avot pairs Franklin’s virtues with corresponding selections from Pirkei Avot. The toolkit and resources – created in partnership by 92Y, the URJ, and Central Synagogue – provide a side-by-side comparison of two great traditions. Use the readings, questions, and outline to facilitate a unique and powerful dialogue about Jewish and American values.
Ask Big Questions
Created in partnership with the groundbreaking community-building organization Ask Big Questions, each session in this series focuses on a universal “big question” designed to facilitate reflection, story sharing and intentional community building. Examples of such “big questions” include: “For whom are we responsible?” “What do we choose to ignore?” and “What will your legacy be?”
ABQ Year 1
For whom are we responsible?
How do you recharge?
What are you thankful for?
What does the world need from you?
What you have learned so far?
What will your legacy be?
When are you satisfied?
Where do you feel at home?
ABQ Year 2
How do we connect?
How do we disagree?
How do we love?
How does technology change us?
What advantages do you have?
What do we choose to ignore?
When do you say no?
Enduring Disagreements CORE Groups
This curriculum is grounded in the Jewish concept of makhloet l’shem shamayim – arguments for the sake of heaven – and was framed by our Enduring Disagreements Speaker Series. Drawing on both Jewish and secular texts, we hope to gain an understanding of why diversity of opinion is so important, and how we can learn to listen to and respect those with whom we disagree.