Image description

Kahal Am

The Humanistic Jewish Community of San Diego

Mitzvah Classes

Image description

Our program for Bar and Bar Mitzvah is tailored to the values, interests, and needs of the student and family.  The goal is for the mitzvah student to explore his or her ideas in order to build a strong personal identity and lifelong appreciation for Judaism.  This is accomplished in a number of ways. He/She receives 1-2 years of instruction from Madrikha Beverly in a survey of Jewish history, the Diaspora, the structure of the Torah, holiday events, life cycle rituals, and short biographies of modern Jewish heroes. The curriculum is based on a human-centered point of view, but includes comparison with different branches of Judaism.  In addition, students are asked to complete thirteen activities including community service that acquaint them with the experience of Jewish personhood.

Students and families are fully involved in the planning and implementation of the mitzvah ceremony, which includes speeches, music, and ceremonial activities. Unique to our program is that students choose the topics of their speech, either from the content of the Torah or Haftorah section that applies to their birth date or from a range of subjects that cover the span of Jewish history and culture.  They also research a historical or contemporary Jewish hero for a second speech in their mitzvah ceremony. Hebrew or other Jewish languages is also incorporated into the ceremony to the degree that the student is interested or proficient.  The congregation owns a Torah scroll which is available for use during the ceremony.

Classes are held twice a month and ceremony preparation requires more frequent meetings.  Fees are reasonable. For more information, contact Madrikha Beverly at or 858-549-3088.



Torah Commentary – Exodus: Judgments/Laws + Hero Speech on Albert Einstein

Jewish Food Customs and Jewish Dietary Laws + Hero Speech on Grandfather

Jewish Ethics and What Makes a Good Person + Hero Speech on Stan Lee

Combined Torah Commentary and Hero Speech – Bold, Joyful, and Loving: Miriam and Bette Midler

Torah Commentary – Deuteronomy: Blessings and Curses + Hero Speeches – Judah Maccabbee and Jordan Farman

Image description

Adult Education

Image description

Adult education classes are led by Gary Zarnow. Topics are presented in a series of taped individual lectures by domestic and international scholars on a range of Jewish cultural, philosophical, and historical subjects. There is ample opportunity for discussion and the sharing of ideas in these classes. Previous series included the Philosophy and History of Humanistic Judaism, Secular Spirituality, and Jews and the Muslim World.  There is no charge nor advance registration for the classes. Classes are held September – June. Check the calendar page for future class dates.

Gary Zarnow
President of Kahal Am