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Rabbi Judy Spicehandler (Grade 9-12) 6:30-7:25/MERCAZ nights
Cedar Sessions meet in lobby at 3:55PM
Meet at Cedar Village once a month. Dates to be determined
Meet at MERCAZ

Ethics or Torah and Text
This innovative class brings together MERCAZ students and Cedar Village Seniors to share who they are and what they care about. As a high school student you know your life goes through many changes. What is important to you? What do you want your family and friends to know about you before you take the next step on your journey? Ethical wills are a way to share your love with family and close friends. Think of an ethical will as a heartfelt letter describing what truly matters most in your life. An ethical will passes on life lessons, values, joys, prayers, hopes, and dreams for present and future generations. MERCAZ students and Cedar Village Seniors work together to create ethical wills and deepen their relationships with each other.

This class meets both semesters
Lowell Lustig (Grades 9-12) 6:30-7:25

Ethics or Torah & Text
Do you have aspirations to dazzle a panel of judges or mesmerize a jury? A select group of students will train to participate in the national RAVSAK moot court competition in Jewish Law and compete against other Hebrew High School programs and Jewish day schools nationwide.
You will: Learn how to: Identify the legal issues in a case invoking Jewish Law following the study of Jewish texts (in English) on the issue. Build a legal argument and anticipate questions from the judges. Think on your feet while serving as a member of the Beit Din – a court of Jewish Law. Make new friends from other schools throughout the United States. Four students will represent the Cincinnati Jewish community at the national RAVSAK Moot Court Competition in 2017! Outside team work will be required and availability to travel to National competition if you are chosen to compete. Permission of instructor required to enter this class.

Brian Freedman (Grade 8) 6:30 – 7:25

Conservative Judaism
Your bar and bat mitzvah are behind you and in five years you will be in college. Mercaz is the perfect place to start asking questions about what you have already learned and explore new subjects you were not old enough to study before. Jumpstart your Jewish adulthood and join Brian Freedman as he takes you on a tour of the possibilities. This class will include guest speakers and interesting topics you choose to explore. At the end of the semester, we will write personal statements that will be revisited upon your graduation from Mercaz in 2021.

Mitch Cohen (Grades 9-11)

Theology  or Torah & Text 
Your quest for the lost ark starts at Mercaz! What clues can you find in the Torah about the real Ark of the Covenant?  What do you know about the prophesies of the 3rd Temple and the coming of the messianic age? Did you know there is a real life Indiana Jones, Tudor Parfitt, a professor of Jewish Studies in London who went on a 20 year quest to find the ark? In this class, we will use Torah and other biblical texts to search for deeper meaning as we explore the mysteries surrounding the ark. Unravel the copper scrolls in search of temple treasure. Help cook Israeli food in our own Mercaz Jerusalem cafe where we meet a mysterious Rabbi. How similar is the Raiders of the Lost Ark movie to what is described in the Torah? What does the Torah tell us that Jews are required to do before a 3rd temple and a redeemed world can become a reality? Is there anything we can do right here at Mercaz that will help? Let the adventure begin this semester.

Rob Festenstein (Grades 9-12)

Aside from scud missiles from Lebanon and Gaza, Israel is under attack in many different ways. From the college campus to corporate board room to the musical studios of Hollywood; the campaign to delegitimize and smear Israel is active and well. BDS=Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions. We will hear from those engaged in the situation right now as well other perspectives. Come learn what is happening and how you can stand up for the Jewish state.

Susan Farber (Grades 10-12)

Jewish History
Jewish texts often remind us of the value of family connections and lessons we can learn through our family members. As a teen, this course offers you an opportunity to create a digital record of your family history, culture and values. Susan will facilitate your exploration as you (1) investigate, (2) digitize family photos and documents, favorite recipes or traditions for celebrating Jewish holidays, (3) create and link digital voice recordings (interviews) and (4) locate Internet map and image links to places where your family has lived over time. At the end of this digital record (or inserted at key points) each teen will include a reflective text to communicate values or take-aways gleaned from this experience.

THE FOUR WHO WENT TO PARDES (and other explorations into Talmud)
Rabbi Daniel Bogard and Kylynn Perdue-Bronson (Grades 9-12)

Torah & Ethics
Do you ever feel like you're not being taught the whole truth? That the stories that your teachers, and rabbis, and parents tell you might not be so real after all? Join Rabbi Daniel Bogard as we explore together the Talmudic story of the four rabbis who went on a mystical journey, only to discover that the world is not what they thought it was.
Don't worry if you've never studied Talmud before--no background is needed! We will ask big questions, but we'll also go off on all sorts of random tangents. If you like having your mind blown a little every week, this is the class for you! (all HS grades are welcome)



Chaverim m’Israel
Liat and Stav with Zahava Rendler (Grades 8-12) 7:35-8:30

Israel or Hebrew
Meet the new Chaverim from Israel. This is a mostly Hebrew class designed for Americans who may not speak Hebrew but are willing to jump right in and give it a try. You will be immersed in a different discussion in Hebrew with your friends each week. Last semester we had a night at the movies. Students bought tickets and snacks all in Hebrew and watched some shorts together. We had an evening at the smoothie bar and learned to order smoothies like a local. Have fun in an informative way and use your Hebrew right away!

Rabbi Daniel Bogard (Grade 12) 7:35 – 8:30

Senior Seminar
The main goal of this course is for the students to take charge of their Judaism. This will be done by exploring Judaism in three ways: (1) A role model project, where individuals from the community will visit and speak about how Judaism plays out in their personal and professional lives. A core values project in which our group will be exposed to stories on the This I Believe website in order to write an essay about what each senior believes. (2) Class members will be involved in a hands-on mitzvah/tzedakah project of their own design as a way to bring to life the Jewish values that touch their hearts. First semester will focus heavily on the role model and tzedakah projects, while second semester will be dedicated to learning about campus Jewish life, and preparing for the transition from high school to college. Mercaz Seniors graduate March 5.

Rabbi Haviva Horvitz (Grades 9-11) 7:35- 8:30

Conservative Judaism or Theology
Have you ever questioned where God is?  Or what God is?  Or even how could God let "that" happen? Have you wanted to get closer to God, but aren't sure how?  What does it mean that we are created in God's image?  Join Rabbi Haviva Horvitz for a weekly discussion and exploration of thoughts about God, including your own.

Evan Torner (Grades 8-11) 7:35- 8:30

Jewish History
When we see a popular comic book character, chances are that it had a Jewish creator. Batman, Superman, Thor, Spider-Man –– you name it, a Jewish American probably created it! The hallmark popular print media of the 20th Century, comics helped formulate a whole new visual language of storytelling and thinking, as well as allowed for a modern mythos about the United States equal to Greco-Roman and Biblical myths to take root in popular culture. This course lets students take a look at some of the world's most well-known comics –– Superman, Batman, X-Men, Maus –– and their Jewish creators –– Siegel & Shuster, Kane, Kirby & Lee, Eisner, Spiegelman, and others. No prior experience with the material required; the course is structured around case studies.

Rob Festenstein (Grades 8 -11) 7:35- 8:30

One of humanity’s greatest tragedies, the Holocaust, has been put into film across many decades. The theme transcends many different genres of film, but in most instances, the message remains the same. In this course, we will explore ways in which the lessons of the Holocaust have been put into film to bridge understanding and provide unique insights into one of the saddest chapters for the Jewish people and humanity as a whole.

Will Hall (Grades 9 -11) 7:35- 8:30

Jewish History or Ethics
What’s been going on up on the Temple Mount? Judaism’s holiest site and Islam’s third holiest site has turned into a flashpoint in the Middle East. In this class we will explore the history of these sites for each faith and take a look at the recent conflict, why it has become an explosive issue, and what can be done to solve it. We will also examine the site’s western retaining wall appropriately named the Western Wall and its development as a site vital to Jewish identity of all stripes including the recent attempts by the Women of the Wall to create a more egalitarian space there.

Rabbi Judy Spicehandler (Grades 8 -11) 7:35– 8:30

Learn the Zen Tangle doodling technique as it applies to Jewish spirituality and prayer. We will make small tangles in class as we listen to Jewish liturgical music, meditate on Jewish texts and prayers, and hear Jewish mystical stories. Our goal is to find an alternative way to experience devekut (cleaving to God) and to leave a visual footprint of that process.









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3201 E. Galbraith Road
Cincinnati, OH 45236

Mercaz is a product of the Conservative Synagogues in Cincinnati and the USCJ.
Mercaz Director - Ari Finkelstein, 792 5082 ext. 123
, ari@mercazhs.org