Contact: Marissa Horowitz


Sign Up for E-News


Congregation Beth El Announces Chavruta Partnered Study Program

Open to the Community

Congregation Beth El in South Orange has announced that its Beth El Beit Midrash (“House of Study”) program in partnership with Project Zug, a leading Jewish study organization, will launch its 2018 program of partnered study, or chavruta, on January 28. 


The word zug is Hebrew for “pair” or “couple,” and since ancient times, Jews have met in dedicated pairs for discussion and study. The Beth El Beit Midrash incorporates modern topics, appealing to all knowledge levels, and technology for a fun and stimulating learning experience. Project Zug is led by a team of Israeli and American Jews, and the project is run by Mechon Hadar, an internationally recognized Jewish educational institution based in New York City. 


Individuals may sign up as a pair, or ask to be paired with a partner who wants to study the same course. The only requirements are a computer with a good Internet connection to view the video lessons and download the discussion guides. Pairs are encouraged to study in person, or study can easily be accomplished over the phone, or online by Skype or FaceTime. The program is appropriate for teenagers and adults of all ages, and is particularly appropriate for intergenerational learning.


Each pair will pick one of the 28 Project Zug courses, which include a wide range of exciting courses on art, Bible, philosophy, Rabbinic literature, social justice, Jewish culture and history, and more. No knowledge of Hebrew is necessary. A complete list of the available courses can be viewed at:


“The Beth El Beit Midrash is intellectually stimulating; it is also a social experience,” said Beth El’s spiritual leader Rabbi Jesse Olitzky. “Some learn over a beer, a cup of coffee, or a meal. Most importantly, it is a sacred experience.”


Beth El will kick off the Beit Midrash with a breakfast on January 28 at 9:30am. Rabbi Elie Kaunfer, co-founder of Mechon Hadar and a renowned scholar/teacher, will join the session to teach a lesson and model the process. After that, each pair will schedule its own study time for an 11-session course. The program also includes a mid-semester meet-up on March 18, and siyyum (“completion”) celebration on April 29 to help guide participants through the series. Participants do not have to be available on these dates in order to join the programAll three group sessions will be held at the synagogue, located at 222 Irvington Avenue, South Orange.


Beth El has opened the Beit Midrash program to the community at a cost of $36 per participant for those not members of the synagogue. Participants can register at: Questions may be directed to