Coming Soon:

"God of Our Mothers" with R. Miriam-Simma Walfish

Join us for our fourth annual Elul Cycle with Project Zug!


Overview | What Will We Learn? | Schedule of Learning | FAQ  | Course Sign Up



About the Elul Cycle
Each year, Jews around the world spend Elul, the Hebrew month leading up to the High Holy Days, preparing themselves for the yamim noraim, the "Days of Awe". At Project Zug we prepare for this season through havruta (paired) learning, building connections with each other and with our tradition, and delving into texts that help us engage more deeply with ourselves and with God.

In the Elul Cycle, unlike other Project Zug cycles, every havruta pair studies the same course during the four weeks leading up to Rosh Hashanah. We begin with a live virtual lecture by Rabbi Miriam-Simma Walfish, continue with weekly havruta sessions throughout Elul, and conclude with a final live virtual lecture. This Elul, we are blessed to learn about the maternal aspects of God through the biblical matriarchs we encounter during the High Holy Days, particularly on Rosh Hashanah. 


What will we learn?


God of Our Mothers: What Our Matriarchs Teach Us About Connecting to God

The image of God as “King” reverberates throughout the High Holiday liturgy. This image evokes a hierarchical relationship with God, suggesting that we relate to God as subjects. Rosh Hashanah’s Torah and Haftarah readings, however, center our foremothers. In this course, we will explore what these matriarchs teach us about connecting to God. Each mother offers a different perspective on how we might understand God and our relationship with God. Perhaps most powerfully, their stories open up the metaphor for relating to God as “Mother.” 

While this course does indeed center matriarchs and the maternal experience, the wisdom it offers is for everyone, regardless of gender identity.

Faculty: Rabbi Miriam-Simma Walfish


Sample Source Sheet coming soon!

Trailer Coming Soon!


Schedule of Learning

Registration Opens: Monday, July 22, 2024

Registration Closes: Sunday, August 25, 2024 at 5:00PM EDT

Receive Havruta and Course Information: Sunday, September 1, 2024

Live Virtual Kickoff Lecture: Tuesday, September 3, 2024 at 7:30PM EDT 

Weekly Learning with Havruta: September 1-30, 2024

Live Virtual Concluding Lecture: Sunday, September 29, 2024 at 7:30PM EDT




What is a havruta?

A havruta is a learning partner! You and your havruta will study each of the Project Zug handouts together at a time that works best for the two of you. Take time to read the texts out loud to each other, stop to ask questions along the way, and find ways to personalize the learning together.


How does havruta matching work?

In the registration form, you will let us know whether or not you would like for us to match you with a havruta. You can tell us a little about yourself, and any preferences you have for the person you learn with (ie. learning background, timezone, age). We will read through everything you provide and do our very best to find you a great fit.


What if I already have a havruta?

If you already know who you would like to learn with, just let us know in the registration form and we will make sure to match you to learn together. Both people must register in order to be paired.


How does the structure of the course work?

This course is structured into 4 pdf handouts, which each will take roughly 45 minutes to one hour to learn. You do not need to do any preparation - you and your havruta will go through the source materials together and respond to the questions (and ask your own questions!). 

There are four short videos that you will supplement your study of the source sheets. The videos in this Elul course are designed to be watched after  havruta study session. You may watch them independently or with your havruta.


What is my interaction with Rabbi Miriam-Simma Walfish?

The Elul Cycle includes two live virtual lectures with Rabbi Miriam-Simma Walfish (a kickoff and a concluding lecture) through Zoom. There is no interaction with the educator in between during the weekly havruta learning - this part is entirely self-guided and self-paced! If you have questions for the instructor, please forward them to and we'll do our best to get a response for you!


When will my havruta and I learn?

We suggest learning once per week, but the timing is entirely up to you! You and your havruta will connect via email or phone and decide on a time that works best for both of you. Project Zug is flexible and allows you to learn on your own timeframe.


How will my havruta and I learn together?

You and your havruta should choose a platform that works best for you. Many people choose to use a preferred video chat platform (such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, or FaceTime), whereas others will learn via phone or in person.


Do I need to know Hebrew?

Absolutely not! All of our source sheets have English translations.


How can I connect with other people throughout the Elul Cycle?

Project Zug has an online forum to share what you are learning and engage with others. Just send a message through the forum, and everyone taking the course will receive it and be able to respond.


Is there a cost?

Yes, we charge on a sliding scale between $36-180, per person for each course. Please choose an amount that feels right to you. If cost is a barrier, please reach out ( and we will find a way to make it work! 


What is included in the Elul Cycle?

This special Elul Cycle includes 2 live virtual lectures (on Zoom), 4 handouts to learn with your havruta, and 4 short videos of the course educator to help frame the content and guide you through your learning. 


I want to do this as a part of the group, how can I do that?

We work with many partner organizations to bring havruta learning through Project Zug to their communities. Learn more here and reach out to R. Keilah Lebell at - we would love to set up a personalized consultation to discuss how to bring this experience to your community.


What if I want to learn a different course? 

Registration for our fall cycle opens at the end of October. Fill out this form to get an email when registration is live, or check back then to see our general course options. 


I have another question that wasn’t answered here.

No problem! Email us at and someone will get back to you shortly. 


Registration for the Elul cycle will open July 22, 2024.

Which cycle would you like to register to?