The basis of my teaching is my wish to share the joy of discovery.  My goal is to encourage students to look closely at the texts, to ponder the meanings for themselves and to own the text.
I have a Master of Jewish Studies from Hebrew College, with a concentration on women-centered readings of biblical texts, and have been teaching since 2005 in the greater Boston area. I bring a strong knowledge of the Hebrew text and a sure command of literary, feminist, queer, modern, and historical commentary.
I am available to teach classes and workshops in a variety of adult Jewish education settings, including synagogue torah study, shabbatons and retreat workshops.

Comments from students:

“I have to thank you for bringing text study that I can have an interest in, into my less cerebral, more externally driven, and sensual, life.  I greatly appreciate you creating a forum for learning from each other, and giving us all a chance to see biblical characters, such as the great matriarch Rebeccah, in a broader light. The exposing of her non-typical gender status and characteristics was truly exciting.”

“A fundamental if not crucial quality of yours is that you do more than tolerate any dissident point of view or non religious, observant or not vision, you invite the comments and sharing of all positions.  That’s what makes your generous study offering unique and so valuable.  You are not only educated, you show wisdom, kindness and openness. Nowhere in the fifty-one years of my life, across my encounters around the world. have I met someone like you… The atmosphere of your teaching is a blessing.”

“Studying with Penina is so taking that 1- One keeps on thinking about it, until the next time we meet, 2- No matter one’s level of knowledge (in my case, ignorance) they are always welcome and able to participate to the discussions, and 3- When Penina does not offer her teaching, one feels there’s a hole in its life. That’s at least how I felt.”

“Penina is a sensitive and engaging presenter on Jewish text study and is a skilled facilitator for adult education.”

“Penina Weinberg is a highly competent and skilled Teacher of Hebrew Bible Studies.  I have had the privilege of being a study participant as part of several classes that she has led at Congregation Eitz Chayim. Penina is a clear and effective communicator who creates frameworks and contexts for challenging discourse and exchange. I recommend her highly as a knowledgeable and experienced educator.”

The key elements of my teaching are:

  • Background
    • Historical and cultural context for the text
      • What is the time line as depicted in the text?
      • When was the text written?
      • What do we know about life at the time of the writing?
    • Overview of basics of Tanakh – Torah, Prophets and Writings.
    • Arriving at the meaning of the text
      • Discussing the science of interpretation – hermeneutics
        • What ancient and/or modern interpretations have been absorbed into our understanding and need to be brought to consciousness?
        • How can we listen to the ancient voices and pay attention to our own voices at the same time?
        • Unpacking gender. To what extent is gender bias reflected in the redaction of the texts, in the post-biblical interpretations and in our own readings? How are genders expressed in Torah?
      • Demystifying the Hebrew
        • Having a solid foundation in Hebrew enables me to convey the ambiguities of the language and to introduce the nuances of meaning.
        • It is possible to help those with no Hebrew to get a sense of the richness of the language by providing several parallel English translations and by explaining how each translator interprets the text from a different set of values.
        • It is key that students come away empowered with the conviction that they personally have the ability to dig into the text, regardless of background or language ability.