The Intro program is a great resource whether you’re looking for knowledge and community or just peer support.

Ian and Sahel

Intro to Judaism
Hometown
Los Angeles, CA and Chicago, IL
What advice would you give to an incoming Intro student?
Just go to class and put in the effort. It's worth it.
What is something you discovered about yourself in your time in the Intro Program?
Sahel: I discovered that it was much easier than I thought to merge the "traditional" Judaism I was raised with, with the more progressive views I currently hold. That my thoughts and spiritual practices may be more personal but they're not completely unique and there's a group of people in LA who I can very comfortably identify with and grow with.
Ian: That living a Jewish life really appeals to me. Having an open forum to debate and discuss the big questions about life was very innate and comfortable, as opposed to having to blindly follow and believe. I also felt welcomed into a community that was nurturing and accepting, one that I care very deeply about.
What was an unexpected surprise about the Intro Program?
How engaging it would be. We actually looked forward to the classes even though we had to wake up early on a Sunday morning. We looked forward to hearing the talks, engaging in thought-provoking discussions and exploring our own individual beliefs about spirituality, life, tradition and community.
What did you most enjoy about your experience in the Intro to Judaism Program?
Rabbi Adam. He was a great teacher, very passionate, entertaining and thought provoking. We also grew very close to our cohort and there are several couples we have stayed in touch with and get together with regularly. The course also led us to community events where we've expanded our social circle. The Intro program provides you with a basic knowledge to lead you on your path. Also, it helps connect you with the Jewish communities in LA. It's a great resource whether your looking for knowledge and community or just peer support.
What was it that initially led you to find an "Intro to Judaism" course? Why was finding a program of this kind important to you?
Sahel: I grew up Jewish in LA and although I always considered herself a spiritual person, something seemed lacking in the Persian Jewish community I grew up in.
Ian: I grew up in Chicago and was familiar with Judaism but curious to learn more. I was quite inquisitive. Then a trusted friend told me about the program. We signed up for the course together and after our first class we both felt a fire for spirituality that was re-ignited.
Photograph of Ian and Sahel
How do you spend your free time?
Trying out new restaurants, films, theater, getting together with friends, improv, new activities (pop up bars, Escape Rooms, etc)