What is Eser?

What does “Eser” mean? 

Eser is Hebrew for ten. Eser participants meet for 10 sessions of facilitated discussion and Jewish learning. The number ten has special significance in Judaism: the Ten Commandments form the bedrock of Jewish standards of right and wrong; ten individuals make a quorum for communal ceremony; and ten sefirot, or attributes, are ten elements of the divine existing in nature.  

What should I expect? 

Weekly discussion sessions are held at the home of a group member and facilitated by a Jewish educator. Conversations focus on a different topic each week, and all are designed by and for young adults in their 20s and 30s. Usually, the group meets at the same location for each session. Groups also come together for a potluck Shabbat meal and optional social gatherings. 

Who are the facilitators? 

Eser facilitators are educators and rabbis training and experienced in leading young adult groups in discussion and text-based Jewish learning. See our team here. 

Who can take Eser? Can I take Eser if I’m not Jewish? 

Eser is open to all young adults in their 20s and 30s who are interested in Jewish learning and facilitated discussion. Participants are Jewish, not Jewish, partners in interfaith relationships, considering or going through Jewish conversion, secular and religious from various movements.

Do I need to know Hebrew? Do I need to have knowledge about Judaism? 

Eser is open to participants of all backgrounds regardless of previous Jewish learning or knowledge of Hebrew. Discussion and sources sheets are in English, though original Hebrew is also provided for traditional texts. 

How do I choose a group?

Groups are available most evenings in convenient locations across Boston. A few groups are designated for participants that share something in common, such as our Keshet group for the LGBTQ community, or groups specifically for those in their 20s. If the group you’re interested in joining doesn’t list a distinction then all are welcome. 

What is the RSJ group?

The RSJ or Russian Speaking Jews group is for young adults with a Russian or Former Soviet Union background. Some participants were born abroad, while others are second or third generation RSJs. The group sessions are conducted in English. 

How can I get more involved? 

There are a few ways to get more involved with Eser. As an Eser committee member you can help create the theme, plan events and recruit participants. Hosts are group members who open their homes to living room learning during the Eser series. Lastly, Peer Leaders assist in keeping the group organized and on task. Email eser@hebrewcollege.edu for more information. 

Is financial assistance available? 

Yes. Cost should not be an obstacle to participate! Email eser@hebrewcollege.edu for scholarship information.


Sara Gardner
Associate Director of Young Adult Programs
(617) 559-8809 

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