Why Be Different? An Introduction to Judaism

Who are the Jews? It is a common understanding that Judaism is a religion with rich connections to the traditions of Christianity and Islam, but it is also a civilization that reaches back to the beginnings of history and has been expressed in wide varieties and in diverse cultural settings. This introductory course will provide the basic narrative of the Jewish people, our literature and languages, our beliefs and the ways we connect to each other, to the wider world, and to God. It is designed for both Jews who want a fresh encounter with their tradition and for non-Jews who wish to learn our story. It is suitable for those seeking conversion. Those students who wish to explore that path need to be in touch with Rabbi Siemers to learn of the additional requirements.

The course will begin in June 2021 and be conducted in twice-monthly online classes through the spring of 2022, covering all the Jewish holidays and life-cycle events. In addition to the course, there will be an opportunity to attend and to participate in worship services and communal events.. Each class will be devoted to a topic and will be self-contained. The textbook for the course will be Living Judaism, by Rabbi Wayne Dosick, which is available on Amazon.

Rabbi Siemers is the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel in Bangor Maine. He has taught introductory courses in Judaism at the University of Maine, as well as courses in Medieval and Modern Jewish History. His latest academic and communal focus has been on the history of antisemitism. For further information and to register, please contact the synagogue office (207 945 3433 / office@cbisrael.org).


  • June 16th @ 8pm
  • June 30th @ 8pm
    Jewish Literature I
    The Bible in Jewish Life
  • July 15th @ 8pm
    Jewish Literature II
    Mishnah and Talmud
  • July 28th @ 8pm
    The Jewish Calendar
  • August 11th @ 8pm
  • August 25th @ 8pm
    The High Holidays

Register Here!