Adult Education

There are many ways to learn at BWC – We offer Yiddish classes, adult education courses (listed below), as well as learning opportunities from our social justice committees.

Adult Education Courses

Our adult education courses are geared toward exploring the meaning of Jewish history, ritual, and thought from a secular perspective. Together, we grapple with questions of historical experience, values, and identity that challenge our thinking. Our courses usually run between 3-6 sessions and the cost of high-quality teachers is covered by class tuition, a sliding scale.

A foundation of Jewish and progressive literacy keeps our community strong. Come learn with us! (see the courses listed below)

$80-120 $100-140
All BWC events are sliding scale;
nobody will be turned away for lack of funds.
Email info@circleboston.org with questions.

Faces of Oppression; Faces of Liberation: Untangling the Intersections of Antisemitism, White Supremacy, and Transphobia

Spring 2024
4 Sessions | April 29, May 6, 13, 20
Mondays 7:00-8:30 pm ET | Hybrid at BWC and Zoom

In this four-part course, teachers Andy Izenson and Heron Greenesmith will expose the faces of oppression impacting our communities: particularly antisemitism, transphobia, and white supremacy. Participants will begin with using their existing understanding and analysis of systems of oppression to enter into an analysis of transphobia. The group will deepen its understanding of gender, power, and violence through lenses both somatic and deeply practical. Ranging from kabbalistic understandings of the gendered body to the landscape of anti-trans feminist activism, this class will bring together a variety of frameworks to paint a comprehensive picture of how our oppressions are interrelated and how our liberation must be as well.

All sessions will be recorded and made available to registrants.

Course Sessions:

  • Session #1: Transphobia as an Interconnected System
  • Session #2: Radical Diasporism, Body Do’ikayt, and Imaginal Revolution
  • Session #3: White Feminism, TERFS, and Political Revolution
  • Session #4: Building a Liberated Vision Together

Course Guiding Questions:

  • How do oppressive systems reinforce themselves? How can we disrupt oppression on our way to liberation? How can Jewish wisdom and tradition empower me to be disruptive?
  • How are concepts like safety and comfort weaponized within oppressive systems?
  • What are the narratives being used to connect antisemitism, white supremacy, and transphobia to each other? What are the ways those narratives become part of our culture?
  • As a person with my given identities and body (e.g. Jewish/ cisgender/ white/ disabled/ low-income), what is my personal stake in combating transphobia and white supremacy?How do my identity, experience, and embodiment fit into these narratives?

Course Instructors


Heron Greenesmith

Heron Greenesmith is the Deputy Director of Policy at the Transgender Law Center, and adjunct faculty at the Boston University School of Law. Greenesmith is a cofounder of BiLaw and the Polyamory Legal Advocacy Coalition, and has worked across LGBT movement in policy for 15 years at Political Research Associates, the Movement Advancement Project, and Family Equality Council. Greenesmith was a Best Lawyer Under 40, an editorial board member of the Bulletin of Applied Trans Studies, a fellow at BU's Center for Antiracist Research, a Rockwood fellow, and a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine. Greenesmith has served on the boards of the National LGBTQ Bar and the Massachusetts LGBT Bar Association. Greenesmith's writing focuses on bisexuality and anti-trans feminism, and can be found in mainstream publications and scholarly journals.

Andy Izenson

Andy Izenson is the Senior Legal Director of the Chosen Family Law Center and the staff attorney at the LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic at Harvard Law School. They have taught for many years on queer and trans family law, prison abolition and transformative community building, and communication skills for the revolution, including at Columbia University, Harvard Law School, and Yale Divinity School, and have recently founded the teach-in series “The World That Is Coming: A Do’ikayt Teach-in” to unearth and explore a Jewish mystical anarchism. Andy has long served on the board of the NYC National Lawyers Guild, including serving as president from 2018 to 2021, and on the board of their Renewal synagogue, Kol Hai. Andy’s publications include the Advocate, the Queer Magic Anthology, the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights, Listen To Your Skin: An Anthology of Queer and Self Love, the After Marriage Equality Collection, and the Brill Journal of Religion and the Arts, and they live on a trans commune on Lenape land in the Hudson Valley of New York.
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Circle Book Group

The Circle Book Group meets monthly (except during July & August) at BWC on Sunday mornings to discuss fiction and nonfiction books by Jewish authors and/or with Jewish themes. This is an open group that welcomes all readers interested in expanding their understanding of the wide variety of Jewish experiences throughout history and across the world. Previously discussed books are listed below. Book selections are chosen by participates at least one month in advance of meetings. Ideally there are 8 or more Minuteman Library Network copies available.

To be added to Book Group email list and for more information, contact bookgroup@circleboston.org.


Date: Sunday, May 5, 10:15 am

Location: Hybrid

Book: Jews Don't Countby David Bleddiel

Jews Don’t Count is a book for people on the right side of history. People fighting the good fight against homophobia, disablism, transphobia and, particularly, racism. People, possibly, like you. It is the comedian and writer David Baddiel’s contention that one type of racism has been left out of this fight. In his unique combination of reasoning, polemic, personal experience and jokes, Baddiel argues that those who think of themselves as on the right side of history have often ignored the history of anti-Semitism. He outlines why and how, in a time of intensely heightened awareness of minorities, Jews don’t count as a real minority.



Circle Book Group Calendar

Past Circle Book Group reading selections have included:

Playing With Myself by Randy Rainbow

An Improvised Life: A Memoir by Alan Arkin

The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler's Ghettos by Judy Batalion

East West Street by Philippe Sands

Smahtguy: The Life and Times of Barney Frank by Eric Orner

The Convert by Stefan Hertmans

I Was Better Last Night by Harvey Fierstein

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

Becoming Eve: My journey from ultra-orthodox rabbi to transgender woman by Abby Stein

More than I Love My Life by David Grossman

People Love Dead Jews by Dara Horn

Florence Adler Swims Forever by Rachel Beanland

Can We Talk About Israel? by Daniel Sokatch

Journey to the End of the Millennium by A.B. Yehoshua

Concealed by Esther Amini

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

Ghetto Brother: Warrior to Peacemaker by Julian Volaj & Claudia Ahlering

Second Person Singular by Sayed Kashua

The Last Kings of Shanghai by Jonathan Kaufman

Apeirogon by Colum McCann

1947: Where Now Begins by Elisabeth Asbrink

The Hilltop by Assaf Gavron

Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots  by Deborah Feldman

The Tunnel by A.B. Yehoshua

Insomniac City: New York, Oliver Sacks, and Me by Bill Hayes

Tell Me A Riddle by Tillie Olsen

Rebel Cinderella: From Rags to Riches to Radical, the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes by Adam Hochschild

Dinner at the Center of the Earth by Nathan Englander

Learning From the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil by Susan Neiman


Adolofo Kaminsky: A Forger's Life by Sarah Kaminsky

The Jew Store by Stella Suberman

The Yid by Paul Goldberg

The Art of Leaving by Ayelet Tsabari

The Best Place on Earth: Stories by Ayelet Tsabari

My Promised Land by Ari Shavit

The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish

Kaddish.com by Nathan Englander

Dear Zealots: Letters from a Divided Land by Amos Oz, translated by Jessica Cohen

The Book of Daniel, a novel by E. L. Doctorow

The Death of an American Jewish Community, by Hillel Levine and Lawrence Harmon

The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman

Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean: How a Generation of Swashbuckling Jews Carved Out an Empire in the New World in Their Quest for Treasure, Religious Freedom--and Revenge by Edward Kritzler

Green by Sam Graham-Felesn

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis

Moonglow by Michael Chabon

(((Semitism))) Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump, by Jonathan Weisman

Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund De Wall

Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All of Its Moods by Michael Wex

The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

You Say to Brick: The Life of Louis Kahn by Wendy Lesser

Here I Am, by Jonathan Safran Foer

How About Never—Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons by Bob Mankoff

Buried by the Times: The Holocaust and America's Most Important Newspaper by Laurel Leff

Those Who Save Us, by Jenna Blum

Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number by Jacobo Timerman

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure

Great House by Nicole Krauss

The Golem of Brooklyn by Adam Mansbach

The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem: A Novel by Sarit Yishai-Levi

Kantika by Elizabeth Graver

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Meteorite, and Hereville: How Mirka Got her Sword by Barry Deutsch.

The Aleppo Codex by Matti Friedman

The Spinoza Problem by Irvin D. Yalom

The Nazis Next Door: How America Became A Safe Haven for Hitler's Men by Eric Lichtblau.

Enemies: A Love Story by Isaac Bashevis Singer

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

Tevye's Daughters by Sholem Aleichem

Frank by Barney Frank

An Officer and A Spy by Robert Harris

On the Move by Oliver Sacks

Boogaloo on 2nd Avenue: A Novel of Pastry, Guilt, and Music by Mark Kurlansky

The Family: three journeys into the heart of the twentieth century

The Jew in the lotus : a poet’s rediscovery of Jewish identity in Buddhist India by Rodger Kamenetz

Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth

Scenes From Village Life by Amos Oz

The Bookie’s Son by Andrew Goldstein

Bech, a Book by John Updike

Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me by Harvey Pekar and JT Waldman; epilogue written by Joyce Brabner; lettering by Charles Pritchett

Amerika : The Missing Person : a new translation, based on the restored text by Franz Kafka; translated and with a preface by Mark Hofmann, 2002

Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood

The Difficult Saint by Sharan Newman

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Eric Larson

The Cross and the Pear Tree: A Sephardic Journey by Victor Perera

The Sacrifice of Isaac by Noah Gordon

The Adventures of Mottel: The Cantor’s Son by Sholem Aleichem

My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq by Ariel Sabar

The End of the Jews: A Novel by Adam Mansbach

The Story of Yiddish: How a Mish-Mosh of Languages Saved the Jews by Neal Karlen

Beyond the Pale: A novel by Elana Dykewomon (also known as Nachman/Dykewomon)

The Merchant of Venice: modern version side-by-side with full original text, edited and rendered into modern English by Alan Durband

Escape to Shanghai: a Jewish Community in China by James R. Ross

The Assistant by Bernard Malamud

Scoundrel Time by Lillian Hellman

Heading South, Looking North by Ariel Dorfman

The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers by Harry Bernstein

He, She and It by Marge Piercy

Loyalties: A Son’s Memoir by Carl Bernstein

Seize the Day by Saul Bellow

Foreskin’s Lament by Shalom Auslander

The Harlot by the Side of the Road by Jonathan Kirsch

Rashi’s Daughters, Book I: Joheved by Maggie Anton

The life of Glückel of Hameln, 1646-1724, written by herself / Translated from the original Yiddish

A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz

Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer

Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of The Cairo Geniza by Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole

Peony by Pearl Buck

World's Fair by E.L. Doctorow

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

Florence Gordon by Brian Morton

The Girl from Human Street by Roger Cohen

Farthing (Small Change) by Jo Walton

The Lion Seeker by Kenneth Bonert

At Home in Exile: Why Diaspora is Good for the Jews by Alan Wolfe

Little Failure: A Memoir by Gary Shteyngart

I Married a Communist by Philip Roth

A Bisl

We also offer a series member-to-member learning series we call A Bisl.

What is A Bisl? - In Yiddish, it means “a little bit.” For Boston Workers Circle members, it means a chance to learn and share a little bit about a topic that excites you. 

In this time of isolated virtual reality, we're hearing from members that folks want places to connect. So, in collaboration with the Adult Education Committee, BWC is opening up this virtual member to member learning exchange series, A Bisl.

Past topics for A Bisl include:

Bringing Music to Our Shabes Rituals: Exploring Melodies for Our Yiddish Blessings, led by Adah Hetko and Meira Soloff

Haiku Now, led by Jeanne Martin

Like Leafless Branches Coming Back to Life: A Sukkes Willow Workshop, led by Ayelet Yonah Adelman and Liz Krushnic

Making Meaning at Home during COVID 19, led by Rosa Blumenfeld

Zing Mit Mir, Sing with Me, led by Pauli Katz

Letters That You Will Not Get: Women’s Voice from the Great War, led by Susan Werbe

Parenting Through Covid: Support for Families with Young Children, led by Sandy Sachs

Drawing 101!, led by Megan Smith

Self-Organized Learning: A Community Experience, led by Daniel Nahum

Basic Spanish Conversation, led by Susan Langus

Resisting Anti-Muslim Racism in a Pandemic, a Discussion with Fatema Ahmad, ED of Muslim Justice League

Klezmer Spiel: Learn a Tune!, led by Uri Schreter

Simon Dzigan: a Yiddish Comedian in WWII Soviet Union, led by Miriam Isaacs

Pronouns 101 and Practice, led by Sam Slate

Reparations 101, led by Nakhie Faynshteyn and Lynne Layton

Queer Futures Workshop, led by Jacey Eve

Feeling inspired? Click here to lead your own session.

Questions about A Bisl? Email zohar@circleboston.org.

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