Teaching and Speaking
I love talking. Been doing it since I was a kid.
And I love being a conduit of transmission. When I teach, when I speak, my greatest joy is in finding new ways, new language, to convey the richness of our past and the possibilities of our future.
I enjoy teaching adults, college students and teens (and sometimes younger kids). I teach Jews and non-Jews, in classrooms, on retreats and in casual settings. I use text, discussion, creative play, humor and always, always music. I'm happy to address a wide range of Jewish topics. And I have some special areas of expertise that might excite you or your students or your constituents:
- Jewish evolution and flexibility
- Queerness, gender and Judaism
- Yiddish poetry
- Chassidic texts and mysticism
- Biblical Hebrew grammar and poetry
- Yiddish linguistics
- Jewish mythology
- Torah texts and midrash-making
It's always my goal to make complicated things graspable, and for students and audience members to walk out enlivened and eager to learn more.
Since November, 2015, I have the fun of interviewing fascinating writers, artists and thinkers through the New School at Commonweal Sonoma Series - live and via podcast.
I'd love to visit your synagogue, chavurah, gathering or classroom!
Words of Gratitude from college students:
“Irwin was awesome! He made me so interested in learning more about Judaism.
I had no idea how deep and cool this religion is.”
“I learned so much more from him in one day than reading the whole chapter.”
“Please get more guest speakers like Irwin. He makes the religion come alive much better for me than lectures and tests and the book.”
“I’ve never sung in a class before!! That was GREAT!
And everybody sang! Irwin is amazing!”