Lulav Shaking on campus

Below are classes offered during other semesters. If you are interested in one of them please let us know.


Spring 2017 Semester offerings


Paradigm Shift: Transformational teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. 

A six week course, one hour class per week taught by Nechama Haskelevich.

These lessons can enhance your spiritual and emotional well being.

Date: Wednesdays, 8-9pm

Location: Lubavitch House, 4032 Spruce street

Email Nechama for more information or to sign up: [email protected] 



The Fundamentals of Knowing G‑d

Dates: TBD

Location: Hillel at Penn, 215 39th Street


Description: Maimonides says there's a commandment to know G‑d. Exploring the opening of his classic work Mishna Torah and commentaries, we delve into the conversation of belief vs. knowledge, what can we know or believe, what should we seek to know or believe, and when and how should we attempt it.. A 6 part series of Rambam's opening chapter of Mishnah Torah entitled "the fundamentals of the Torah".

Texts will appear in both Hebrew and English translation. 

Contact us if you would like to participate


Talmud Works - How Jewish Law Functions

Date: Thursdays, 8:00-9:00pm 
Location: Lubavitch House at Penn, 4032 Spruce Street. 
Dinner: Kosher Pizza, so that the body doesn't get in the way of the soul.

The Talmud is the central text of Judaism; it is a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to everything from Jewish law to ethics, customs to history, folklore to biblical interpretation, mysticism and everything in between. Complied between c. 200-500 CE it is compendium of Judaism's Oral Law and wisdom and the basis of Jewish thinking in the past two thousand years. Come study a text and its commentary and sharpen your skills of analyzing Talmudic style.

During Fall 2015 we will explore:


Talmud Works: How does Jewish Law Work?

Weekly class delving into the system of the Talmud and Jewish law. We will read clips of Talmud and Jewish thinkers throughout history discussing issues like: The accuracy of the Oral Tradition, what is the origins of disputes in the Oral Law? the co-existence of contradictory truths, the Halachic process, is the Torah eternally relevant? how do Jewish laws change and more. Both beginners and advanced students will gain from this class. Texts will be supplied in both languages. Light dinner will be served.

Top eleven reasons why you might be interested in joining this class!!

  1. There’s Pizza.
  2. Looking to meet other students in a relaxed atmosphere.
  3. You read Paul Socken’s  Why Study Talmud in the Twenty-First Century?
  4. Some  50 million South Koreans are doing it
  5. You want to go to Law school and heard this can sharpen your analytical skills.
  6. You read Harvard medievalist Harry Austryn Wolfson describe Talmud study as  “the application of the scientific method to the study of texts”.
  7. You want to  engage in dialogue with many of the greatest minds in Jewish history and be grounded in your own culture.
  8. You want to understand the origins of Jewish attitudes and argumentativism.
  9. You want to understand the meaning behind observances like Shabbat.
  10. It’s a Mitzvah to study Torah.
  11. You want to assimilate your mind into the Divine wisdom and become one with it.

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi

Chassidus Chabura

Date: Wednesdays 8-9pm. Dinner and Learning at Chabad.

(All texts are presented in the original Hebrew/Aramaic as well as in English translation.)

Description: Texts culled from the the Chassidic Tradition. We will be learning Maamarim or essays of Chassidus that will cover areas of Prayer, Holidays, with an emphasis on the mystical understandings of prayer and the holidays and applying it for personal spiritual inspiration.

Contact Rabbi Levi <[email protected]> for more information. Open to everyone.



Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi

Nefesh Hachaim and Tanya:

Exploring, comparing and contrasting the Weltanschauung of the “bibles” of Lithuanian and Chassidic thought systems.

Date: Thursdays 7:30-8:30pm

Location: Penn Hillel, Katz/Meyerhoff Family Activities Center (2nd floor)

Language: All texts are presented in the original Hebrew/Aramaic as well as in English translation.

"Most moral works address themselves to personal problems and to the ways that a person can attain specific goals in specific areas . . . Tanya, by contrast, does not, in the main, address specific problems but delves into their root causes, seeking to distill the predicaments of humankind down to their most elementary maxims and to solve them in the most comprehensive way. . ."
-Rabbi Adin Even-Israel (Steinsaltz), Scholar and social critic best known for his monumental translation of and commentary on the Talmud.

Instructor: Berry Piekarski


Shabbat Prayer Prep; a basic work of Jewish mysticism. Get to know your soul. This class will shed new light on you, and the world around you.

Date: Shabbat mornings, 9:15am

Location: Lubavitch House

Requirements: No knowledge of Hebrew or Aramaic is required, just a genuine thirst for Jewish spirituality and growth. This should give you meditation material and will enhance your prayer experiace.

Instructor: Berry Piekarski


Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi

Date: Tuesdays 6-7pm. At Hillel. (All texts are presented in the original Hebrew/Aramaic as well as in English translation.)

Description: Texts culled from the 200-year-old harmoniously Talmudic & Kabbalistic text of human psychology named by its author Sefer Shel Benonim commonly known as Tanya. The Tanya provides Chassidic-based tools to help you understand yourself. A precursor of the modern self-help genre, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, (1745-1812) authored this work as a substitute for his personal mentorship.

We will attempt to experience six to eight virtual sessions of spiritual counseling from this master of Kabbalah and the nature of the soul. We will attempt to understand the source of guilt, conflict, and confusion, and find useful strategies for developing joy, purpose, and direction in everyday life.

“Most moral works address themselves to personal problems and to the ways that a person can attain specific goals in specific areas . . . Tanya, by contrast, does not, in the main, address specific problems but delves into their root causes, seeking to distill the predicaments of humankind down to their most elementary maxims and to solve them in the most comprehensive way. . ."
-Rabbi Adin Even-Israel (Steinsaltz), Scholar and social critic best known for his monumental translation of and commentary on the Talmud.


Teffiln bagel brunch
Getting to know G‑d: The Judaism beyond your Ego.

Dates: Wednesday, 8-10pm at Lubavitch House. Dinner and Learning. (Begins Oct 10th, Day after Simchat Torah)

Description: We have the aspects of Judaism that promise to give us fulfillment, meaning, enhance our pleasure of life and explain everything. But what about Judaism that goes beyond our self and our Ego? These sessions will explore just that and show that Serving G‑d happens when we go beyond our Egos and it is exactly what our deepest self craves.

Program requirements: Ten two hours sessions, Shabbos dinner at Chabad, trip to Crown Heights, final paper for entry into Sinai Scholars Symposium

Apply online at and indicate “Advanced track”.


Fascinating Facts: Exploring the Myths and Mysteries of Judaism

Does Judaism believe in guardian angels? Why do Jews use matchmakers? Who wrote the handwriting on the wall? A fun course in Jewish cultural literacy, full of surprising facts, myths, and mysteries surrounding Jewish tradition and practice.


Dates: Sunday nights 7:00-8:00pm, (begins Nov 23rd, 2012)

Location: Lubavitch House, 4037 Pine Street

Menu: Kosher Pizza, Sushi or other dinner menu.

Perks: Free trip to Israel on Israelinks! (You can choose what season (winter or summer break) or year you want to take advantage of this offering as long as you are still a college student or have just graduated).

Requirements: Attend 10 learning dinner sessions, write the 5 page paper, participate in a Sunday field trip, A Shabbat Dinner and one of the community service opportunities. Learning takes place in Fall semester but other requirements can be postponed to the Spring semester. To be eligible you need to be Jewish and not have completed Jewish day school and accepted to the program. Eligible spots for perks are limited, but if you want to attend occasionally without completing the requirements for the free trip to Israel. please email one of the student contacts listed above.

Register: Must sign up by emailing Leeor [email protected]

More Info? Natalie [email protected], Logan [email protected] or Leeor [email protected]

Topics Overview:

Know Something About the Bible? 
Is “an eye for an eye” meant to be taken literally? Was the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge an apple? Did the Jews actually cross the Red Sea? We leap beyond a Hebrew School comprehension of the Bible, as we explore the deeper significance of its stories and their profound lessons for life.

From Womb to Tomb 
Why celebrate a bar or bat mitzvah? What’s with breaking glass under the wedding canopy? Peppered with astounding insights along the way, we’ll journey from birth through burial, infusing meaning and relevance into the customs and traditions of the Jewish life cycle.

Angels, Blessings, and Evil Eyes 
What is the evil eye? How does it work? Are we accompanied by guardian angels? Do they have wings? Join us as we enter the hidden world of the occult and investigate the fascinating interaction between matter and spirit.

Foods and Feasts 
Ever wondered what it is about Jews and food? What makes food kosher? Why is pork considered the quintessential non-kosher chow? With tasty surprises along the way, we’ll learn a thing or two about Jewish diet in this mouth-watering, eye-opening session.

It’s All Hebrew to Me 
From abracadabra to kippa and Yom Kippur, this lesson dives beyond semantics into the depths of Hebrew etymology. We’ll uncover insights into seemingly arbitrary Hebrew names, and discover words that offer perspective into the heart of key Jewish concepts.

Myths, Misconceptions, and Urban Legends 
Sometimes the truth can be stranger than fiction. Do Jews believe in Satan? Can a Jew convert out of the faith? Peering into a world of untold mystery, we’ll explore common Jewish myths rooted in non-Jewish beliefs, everything from the bizarre to the downright outrageous.


Pre-Marital Marriage Prep

Marriage preparatory courses for engaged couples. Understanding Jewish weddings, Jewish spiritual & psychological prep' for a wholesome fulfilled married life.

Contact:  Rabbi Levi or  Nechama for more information.



Alumni Learning Dinners (NYC);Torah Study, Dinner, discussion and catch up with old and new Penn people.

Dates: First Tuesday of Each Month, 8-9:30pm

Location: Midtown, TDB

Instructors: Rabbis Menachem Schmidt, Ephraim Levin and Levi Haskelevich visiting from Philly.

Must RSVP to get on the building security list to  Rabbi Levi Haskelevich

Click here for upcoming dates and topic details


From here below are not being offered in the Fall 2012 Season


≈ What IsRael? ≈


Applications are now being accepted to the Sinai Scholars Israel education program!

What IsRael will attempt to explore Israrel's Jewish mysical side as well as its concrete and modern reality. From the pages of the Talmud to the Jerusalem Post, we will explore texts as well as listen to speakers who will cover a variety of subjects related to the land and the spirit. From history to politics, from Judaism to culture – explore it's body and it's soul...

What: A limited group of students will be accepted to meet bi-weekly (yes, that's every other week... I know, comfusing..) for a total of 6 times during the 2013 Spring Semester to explore Israel! Half of the meetings will follow a text-based curriculum exploring a wide range of ideas and opinions about the culture, history and spirit of Israel. The other half will entail guest speakers discussing a wide range of relevant topics including; political, economic and technological issues.

Note: Needsless to state, there is no political agenda behind this program, you will hear from a variety of speakers with a variety of views.

Dates: Wednesday, Feb. 6 & 20, March 13 & 20, April 3 & 17. from 8-10pm (A special Shabbat Dinner or lunch with a speaker is planned as well for Feb. 16th)

Location: Lubavitch House, 4037 Pine Street

Contact: Michael [email protected]

Apply: By Jan 31st at midnight. Click here to Apply.



Acheiving Integrity;Torah Studies for the Workplace.

Housing Crisis, Credit Crunch, Maket Crashes...

Learn how to balance profit and principles. Discover the Torah's version of Capitalism. Explore the true meaning of making money.

All sessions will take place in Huntsman Hall, F96 and a   Free Kosher lunch will be served.


1. Wednesday, Feb. 11, 12-1:20pm - Compassionate Capitalism

2. Wednesday, Feb. 18, 12-1:20pm - Careful Communications

3. Wednesday, Feb. 25, 12-1:20pm - Head Hunting

4. Wednesday, March. 4, 12-1:20pm - Jewish Work Ethic

Instructor: Rabbi Levi Haskelevich

Contact:  Dan

  Click here for more details

Sepharadic Torah

Sepharadic Torah Study

Date: TBA

Location: Student's apartment. Dinner is usually served.

Requirements: Must be Sephardic, Latin American or admirer.

Instructor: Rabbi Ephraim Levin


Hebrew Reading

Date: TBD (Apply by clicking the link below and select what times work for you).

Location: Lubavitch House

Spring 2009

We are organizing beginner Hebrew lessons for a small group of people interested in learning (i) how to read Hebrew and (ii) beginning level Hebrew language/conversation. Lessons will be 1 hour long. If you are interested, please complete the application form and we will get back to you. Begins in February.

Tought by:

If you are interested please email us at [email protected]

Teffiln bagel brunch

Teffilin bagel brunch.

Wrap Teffilin and enjoy discussion over Bagels and Lox.


Dates: Selected Sundays at noon.

Fall 2009:

November 1st: 12pm

December 6th: 12pm

Location: Lubavitch House

Requirements: No Tefflin or knowledge of "how to" is necessary.

Contact: Andrew Kener

If you are interested in beginning to lay Tefflin daily and would like financial assitence in purchasing a pair, please contact us.


Fireside Chat

Fireside Chat

Date: Thursdays, 8:00-9:00pm


Fireside Chat; Chips and salsa, a discussion on any given Jewish topic of interest. Ask all the questions you have always wanted to, but never have.

Facilitator: Rabbi Levi Haskelevich



The Tanya is one of the important spiritual works of Judaism. It is the philosophy of mysticism as it pertains to the spiritual development of the individual and realizing his or her purpose on this planet. Authored by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi circa 1797 it has become a Classic text studied by laymen and scholars alike. Dozens of commentaries have been written to expound its meaning and thousands have sited it’s passages. This group class/discussion will enable the novice and seasoned alike to plumb the shining depths of this Chassidic philosophy.

Talmud and Tanya will split the hour into two sections covering both the Body (Talmud) and Soul (Tanya). It enables those who would like to explore both aspects but are limited in time.




Spring 2016 Semester: YOU BE THE JUDGE II

Discussion 1: Inheriting the Fruits of Sin

Can murderers inherit from their victims? This lesson compares the approaches of Jewish and secular law to this audacious claim.

Discussion 2: The Accidental Treasure

Your contractor demolishes a bathroom wall and discovers a rusting lockbox containing cash. Who gets to enjoy this unexpected windfall?

Discussion 3: Burden of Proof

What happens if two people lay claim to the same object but have no witnesses or documents to bolster their claim? Is possession always nine tenths of the law?

Discussion 4: The Neighbor Advantage

Jewish law dictates that when a property is sold, the neighbors must be given the first option of purchase? Must one sell to a neighbor if there is a higher bidder?

Discussion 5: The Taskmaster

Employees are accorded certain rights and protections that are not granted to independent contractors. But just who is considered an employee?

Discussion 6: The Do-Gooder

If your neighbor’s son mows your lawn without asking you first, is he entitled to compensation? How about someone who decides on his own to pay your debts? What do you owe a do-gooder?




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