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Adult Learners

To serve life-long learners in our region and beyond, we offer thematic lectures, workshops, multi-session classes, and distance learning opportunities. Join us for a lively educational experience.  


Check back here periodically for any upcoming classes.


Hebrew Calligraphy and the Gilded Word

Learn the art of Hebrew calligraphy in time to create your own unique holiday gifts!
Calligraphy 1: Practice writing Hebrew letters in formal calligraphy and then try your hand at embellishing a word or letter using ink and water-based color linked to in the tradition of medieval Hebrew illuminated manuscripts and more contemporary illuminated haggadot (texts recited during the holiday of Passover) and ketubot (Jewish marriage contacts).
Calligraphy 2: Review basic Hebrew calligraphy techniques and further explore the art of gilding and decorating Hebrew letters.

Instructor: Dr. Susan Leshnoff, Associate Professor of Fine Arts and former Chair of the Department of Art, Music and Design at Seton Hall University. She has degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (BA in Art History), University of the Arts (MA in Painting/Art Education), and Columbia University (Ed.D. in Art Education). Before arriving at Seton Hall University, she coordinated the art education programs at Montclair State University (New Jersey) as Assistant Professor and lectured on the history of Jewish art at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey for 5 years. Prior to moving to Philadelphia, she frequently offered workshops in Jewish art in New Jersey. A painter in water-based media, her artwork has recently been exhibited in New York City, Philadelphia and galleries in New Jersey, currently has a solo exhibition of her paintings at the Lederer Gallery at SUNY Geneseo (New York), and will be in a group show at the Pleiades Gallery (New York City) in December.

Baseball and Becoming American

Drawing on primary and secondary sources featured in Chasing Dreams: Baseball & Becoming American, this series of lectures will examine the ways in which American baseball has served as a reflection of and a catalyst for the development of American culture since the 19th century. It will focus on the ways baseball was an agent of integration for new arrivals to America, as well as an arena for addressing civil rights. The role of baseball in transmitting values and traditions across generations through familial relationships will also be explored.

Instructor: Rabbi Rebecca T. Alpert, Professor of Religion at Temple University. She is also the author of Out of Left Field: Jews and Baseball and advisor to Chasing Dreams.

Special guest instructor: Jeffery S. Gurock is the Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University and an advisor to Chasing Dreams.

"Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof": American Jews and Social Justice

Jews have been disproportionately represented in movements for social justice in this country. Why have so many Jews been drawn to the labor, consumer, anti-poverty, civil rights, civil liberties, and women's movements, among others, and what valuable contributions have they made? This class will familiarize students with the work of American Jews who have "made a difference." We will discuss the writings of Jewish activists such as Clara Lemlich Shavelson, Stephen Wise, and Abraham Joshua Heschel, exploring the ways in which traditional Jewish values, the Jewish historical experience, and trends in American society shaped their activism. These historical figures serve as inspiring role models for individuals and groups engaged in tikkun olam (repairing the world) efforts today.

Instructor: Reena Sigman Friedman, Ph.D.

Guided tours

 The Museum is pleased to offer a general introductory tour and a variety of thematic tours. These tours are available by advanced reservation only. For pricing and booking information, visit the Group Services pages, or contact them at 215.923.3811 x141 or


Geared to and highly recommended for first-time visitors to the Museum, this tour offers an overview of 350+ years of the American Jewish experience, from 1654 to the present. Covering all three floors of the Core Exhibition, the tour explores key artifacts and stories in the context of the ongoing challenges and opportunities presented by unprecedented freedom. This is a great way for visitors to become oriented to the Museum’s many galleries, objects, films, and interactive components.


American Jewish Writers
Jews in America have often used the written word - whether in music, literature, or theater - to express their experiences and struggles. In illustrating the lives of the authors’ own communities, many of these works have become representative of American life broadly. This tour explores the development of American Jewish culture through the writings of Emma Lazarus, Leon Uris, Allen Ginsberg, Betty Friedan, Phillip Roth, and Chaim Potok.

American Jews and American Law
From the tenets of Jewish liturgy that helped shape America’s Constitution, to the contributions of American Jews who fought to uphold this nation’s principles of freedom and justice, this tour offers profound insights into the American Jewish experience. Such diverse individuals as naval officer Commodore Uriah Levy, labor activist Rose Schneiderman, and Supreme Court justices Louis Brandeis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are featured.

America’s History of Imperfect Freedom
Although coming from different places and for different reasons, the Jews immigrating to America over the centuries have all shared a common dream: to live in freedom. But the freedom they found here has been imperfect, tainted by anti-Semitism, racism, and discrimination. This tour explores how prejudice and social injustice, and responses to it, have shaped both the American Jewish community and its relationship to American society at large.

Art, Creativity, and Design
Jews in America have been creating works of art since colonial times, developing new ideas and styles in painting, photography, architecture, and material-culture design. This tour explores the factors that shaped these artists, and the ways in which their works express the diversity of American Jewish experiences. Individuals highlighted include silversmith Myer Myers, sculptor Sir Moses Jacob Ezekiel, and the creators of Superman, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

Jews and the American Frontier
Whether braving the unsettled West or spearheading the flight to the suburbs, Jews have long pushed the boundaries of traditional American life, helping to shape the United States. This tour focuses on the role of Jewish immigrants in the settling of the American “frontier,” exploring what it means to be a pioneer, literally and figuratively. The adventures of Levi Strauss, Anna Solomon, Otto Mears, and Rachel Calof are among those featured.

Women in American Jewish History
From housewives, mothers, and keepers of Jewish tradition to social activists, community organizers, and champions of civil rights, this tour examines the changing roles of women from the 1650s to the present day, exploring the contributions they made to both Jewish and American life. Abigail Franks, Rebecca Gratz, Henrietta Szold, Emma Goldman, and Betty Friedan are among the notable women whose stories are highlighted.


Groups who have experienced the Introductory Tour may wish to return for an in-depth look at a single floor, concentrated on a particular period of time. Guided tours focusing on any special exhibition currently on view may also be available. For the full listing of available tours, go here, or inquire when you reach out to Group Services.


Spotlight talks about specific artifacts or stories in our Core Exhibition are periodically available on holidays and other special occasions. Check at the Admissions Desk as to whether any talks are happening on the day of your visit. 


Inspired by the diverse content of the Museum’s core exhibition, our traveling lectures highlight different aspects of the American Jewish experience. Each visually rich and engaging presentation shows the many ways in which Jews have shaped and been shaped by American society. Our lecturers will bring the excitement of NMAJH directly to your community, inspiring the audience to further explore the Museum’s collection in-person or online. Site location must be within 60 miles of downtown Philadelphia.  

Create your own lecture series by choosing from among the following themes: 

  • General Museum Overview
  • American Jewish Writers
  • American Jews and American Law
  • America’s History of Imperfect Freedom
  • Art, Creativity, and Design in American Jewish History
  • Jews and the American Frontier
  • Women in American Jewish History

Each one-hour lecture includes a PowerPoint presentation followed by a discussion. 
The lecturer brings a laptop computer, but your site must provide:

  • a projector and connector cable;
  • a screen or blank surface upon which to project; and
  • a technician or computer-savvy person who can troubleshoot any small technical problems that may arise.
For content-related questions, contact the Education Department at 215.923.3811 x153 or

To book an offsite lecture, contact Group Services at 215.923.3811 x141 or

$180 per lecture; $600 for a series of four or more lectures.


Coming soon!


The Museum does not plan to bring on new docents during the 2015-2016 year. If you would like to join a mailing list to receive an announcement of the next docent-training class, please send your name and email to Thank you for your interest!

 Docent Program NMAJH Docent Portal (log in required)  


For information on internship opportunities in the Education Department click here.