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November Events:

  • Topic: Revisiting the Jewish Bookshelf, Series II
    Dates/Times: Nov 24, 2020 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Rabbi Avi

    more...


    In the first part of this course in September, we explored the world of Torah, Ancient Midrash, and Halakha, we now turn to the world of Mussar, Theology and Modern Interpretation. In the course of our study together, we will learn not only what these texts are and how they work but we’ll use them as an entryway into conversations about God, revelation, and the cultivation of personal holiness.

    In our first session, we’ll get to know some of the major thinkers and works of the Mussar movement, focusing on Jewish ethics and wisdom on how to attain personal holiness. Through key Mussar texts, we’ll explore the fine balance between humility and arrogance, as we attempt to apply these teachings to our own lives. For the remaining sessions, we’ll explore questions of revelation through a number of Jewish sources. We’ll ask: what is revelation, what was revealed at Sinai and what continues to be revealed, and what is our role in manifesting God’s Torah? Whether you’re new to Jewish learning or you come with more background, this course will offer you a deep dive into questions of revelation from a diverse sampling of different major Jewish thinkers.

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  • CSP 3-Part Master-Class: Convivencia: The Untold Story of Moroccan Jewish History
    Topic: The Moroccan Exception: The Jew in Morocco
    Date/Time: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PDT Sunday November 29, 2020
    Speaker: Peter Geffen, live from Manhattan, NY
    Dedicated in honor of: Mary Kraft and Jeffrey Kaufman

    This series is free of charge to CSP 5781 Members
    (to become a member, make your annual donation now at this link)
    The cost to the general public is $36 for the series

    more...


    CSP Partners: Congregation Beth Shalom (Seattle, WA), Congregation B’nai Tzedek (Fountain Valley, CA), Congregation B’nai Israel (Tustin, CA), Temple Beth Ohr (La Mirada, CA), Temple Bat Yahm (Newport Beach, CA), Temple Beth El of South Orange County (Aliso Viejo, CA), Temple Beth Emet (Anaheim, CA), Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA), Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY) & Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA)

    The Moroccan Exception: The Jew in Morocco
    Sunday November 29, 2020, 12:00 – 1:00 PM PDT
    “Convivencia” is the word Moroccans use for the special relationship between Muslims and Jews in their country. King Mohammed VI says publicly that “…the Jews are more Moroccan than the Moroccans” for they have been in Morocco for at least 500 years before the Arabs and Islam came to their land.” We will examine a series of Royal proclamations on the Shoah and about anti-Semitism that will certainly surprise you.
    Why Did Jews Leave Morocco if Things Were So Good?
    Sunday December 6, 2020, 12:00 – 1:00 PM PDT
    The session will begin with discussion of the outstanding documentary “Echoes of the Mellah: From Tinghir to Jerusalem” (which you will have access to online and which you should see on as large a screen as possible). We will explore the complex and often troubling experience of the Moroccan immigration to Israel and its affects upon the political and social landscape of the country.

    Association Mimouna: The Remarkable Young Leadership of Morocco
    Sunday December 13, 2020, 12:00 – 1:00 PM PDT
    We will explore the development of “Association Mimouna”, created by Moroccan Muslim college students in 2008, that is dedicated to the study of Moroccan Judaism, Moroccan Jewish history, and the Hebrew language. Following the King’s words about the Moroccan Jew, they concluded that to be an authentic and complete Moroccan you have to know your roots: you have to know your Jewish History! Quite an unexpected conclusion! To whet your appetite, here is an example of the way Morocco treats these interfaith and cross-cultural questions: watch a few minutes of this video. Listen very carefully to make sure you can believe your ears, in a Royal concert in honor of the Pope’s visit to Morocco in March 2019.

    About Peter Geffen
    Peter Geffen is a founder of The Abraham Joshua Heschel School in NYC, former Director of the Israel Experience Program for the CRB Foundation and an Israel education specialist. His career as a social activist started as a civil rights worker for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He has been deeply involved in Arab-Jewish co-existence work since the early 1960’s. In 2005, Peter Founded KIVUNIM, a year-long post high school/pre-college gap-year program based in Israel and studying about and traveling to 12 countries (from Morocco to India) studying the origins and integration of Jewish life and culture throughout the world. The program seeks to build “world-consciousness” as a context for strengthening Jewish identity, formed as it is from the magnificent history of the Jewish people amongst the nations of the world. For his work, Peter was a recipient of the 2012 Covenant Award, the highest recognition given to Jewish educators. Born and raised in New York City, he is a descendant of distinguished and learned Jewish families on both sides: his grandfather Rabbi Tobias Geffen, “Chief Rabbi” of the South 1910-1970, father Rabbi Samuel Geffen, Uncle Rabbi Joel Geffen and numerous rabbinic Geffen cousins and on his mother’s side from Great-Grandfather William Fischman – Founder and President of the Downtown Talmud Torah, President of the Upper West Side’s The Jewish Center for over 40 years and distinguished philanthropist of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Peter is married to Susie Kessler, founding Director of the Makom Jewish Mindfulness Center at the JCC in Manhattan, is father of Rabbi Jonah (married to Julia Mannes), Rabbi Daniel (married to LuAnne Geffen) and Nessa (married to Micah Bookman) – all Jewish educators – and is the very proud grandfather of Bina 11, Shula, 7, Eva, 4, Gabriel 2 and another boy coming in December!

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  • December Events:

  • Topic: Revisiting the Jewish Bookshelf, Series II
    Dates/Times: Dec 1, 2020 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Rabbi Avi

    more...


    In the first part of this course in September, we explored the world of Torah, Ancient Midrash, and Halakha, we now turn to the world of Mussar, Theology and Modern Interpretation. In the course of our study together, we will learn not only what these texts are and how they work but we’ll use them as an entryway into conversations about God, revelation, and the cultivation of personal holiness.

    In our first session, we’ll get to know some of the major thinkers and works of the Mussar movement, focusing on Jewish ethics and wisdom on how to attain personal holiness. Through key Mussar texts, we’ll explore the fine balance between humility and arrogance, as we attempt to apply these teachings to our own lives. For the remaining sessions, we’ll explore questions of revelation through a number of Jewish sources. We’ll ask: what is revelation, what was revealed at Sinai and what continues to be revealed, and what is our role in manifesting God’s Torah? Whether you’re new to Jewish learning or you come with more background, this course will offer you a deep dive into questions of revelation from a diverse sampling of different major Jewish thinkers.

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  • Topic: CSP Past-Life Event: Judaism and Reincarnation
    Date/Time: Wednesday December 2, 2020 12:30-1:30 PM PST (3:30 -4:30 PM Eastern)
    Speaker: Prof. Hartley Lachter, live from Bethlehem, PA
    Dedicated in honor of: Mimi Goldstein

    more...


    CSP Partners: Congregation Beth Shalom (Seattle, WA), Congregation B’nai Tzedek (Fountain Valley, CA), Congregation B’nai Israel (Tustin, CA), Temple Bat Yahm (Newport Beach, CA), Temple Beth El of South Orange County (Aliso Viejo, CA), Temple Beth Emet (Anaheim, CA), Temple Beth Ohr (La Mirada, CA), Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA), Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA), Temple Beth Sholom (Santa Ana, CA), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY) & Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA)

    Reincarnation is not often associated with Judaism, but it has been a cherished belief held by a significant number of Jewish authorities since the Middle Ages. In this talk we will discuss the history of this idea and the surprising variety of ways that human souls were believed to be reborn over the course of multiple lives as they sought to achieve their intended purpose in the world.

    Hartley Lachter, Associate Professor of Religion Studies and CSP’s 14th Annual One Month Scholar in Residence in 2015, holds the Philip and Muriel Berman Chair in Jewish Studies, and serves as the director of the Berman Center for Jewish Studies. His scholarship focuses on medieval Kabbalah, with a particular emphasis on the relationship between Jewish historical experiences and the development of kabbalistic discourses. His work explores how medieval Jewish-Christian debates, as well as disruptive moments of violence and forced conversion, shape Jewish mystical literature and serve as a form of cultural resistance for some pre-modern Jews. His recent book, Kabbalistic Revolution: Reimagining Judaism in Medieval Spain, was published by Rutgers University Press. Hartley Lachter’s teaching interests include course on Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah, survey courses on Judaism and Jewish thought, theory and method in the study of religion, and explorations of contemporary religious extremism and violence. In both his work and his teaching, Dr. Lachter invites his readers and students to consider how religious identities are negotiated through the production of public discourses that shape, and are shaped by, the interactions across identity boundaries. Hartley Lachter lives in Allentown, PA, with his wife, Dr. Jessica Cooperman, who is a Religion Studies professor at Muhlenberg College, where she directs the program in Jewish Studies. Hartley and Jessica have two daughters, Zoe and Mollie.

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  • Topic: CSP Geniza Event: How the Arab Conquests Remade Judaism
    Date/Time: Thursday December 3, 2020 12:30-1:30 PM PST (3:30 -4:30 PM Eastern)
    Speaker: Prof. Marina Rustow, live from Manhattan, NY
    Dedicated in honor of: Carol and Myron Kanofsky

    more...


    CSP Partners: Congregation Beth Shalom (Seattle, WA), Congregation B’nai Tzedek (Fountain Valley, CA), Congregation B’nai Israel (Tustin, CA), Temple Bat Yahm (Newport Beach, CA), Temple Beth El of South Orange County (Aliso Viejo, CA), Temple Beth Emet (Anaheim, CA), Temple Beth Ohr (La Mirada, CA), Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA), Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA), Temple Beth Sholom (Santa Ana, CA), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY) & Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA)

    When Arab armies rode out into the Middle East in the seventh century, world Jewry was divided between two empires. Within a decade, Jews were reunited under a single political aegis, and for the next 500 years, the vast majority of the world’s Jews spoke Arabic and lived under Muslim rule. How did the advent of Islam change Jewish history?

    Marina Rustow is a historian using the Cairo Geniza texts to shed new light on Jewish life and on the broader society of the medieval Middle East. The Cairo Geniza (or Genizah) comprises hundreds of thousands of legal documents, letters, and literary materials—many of them fragmentary—deposited in Cairo’s Ben Ezra Synagogue over more than a millennium. Rustow’s approach to this archive goes beyond decoding documents, in itself a formidable task, to questioning the relationship between subjects and medieval states and asking what that relationship tells us about power and the negotiation of religious boundaries. Marina received a B.A. (1990) from Yale University and two master’s degrees (1998), an M.Phil. (1999), and a Ph.D. (2004) from Columbia University. She taught at Emory University (2003–2010) and Johns Hopkins University (2010–2015) prior to joining the faculty of Princeton University, where she is currently a professor in the Departments of Near Eastern Studies and History and director of the Princeton Geniza Lab. She is the author of Heresy and the Politics of Community: The Jews of the Fatimid Caliphate (2008), and of The Lost Archive: Traces of a Caliphate in a Cairo Synagogue (2020). She was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2015.

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  • CSP 3-Part Master-Class: Convivencia: The Untold Story of Moroccan Jewish History
    Topic: Why Did Jews Leave Morocco if Things Were So Good?
    Date/Time:12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PDT Sunday December 6, 2020
    Speaker: Peter Geffen, live from Manhattan, NY
    Dedicated in honor of: Mary Kraft and Jeffrey Kaufman

    This series is free of charge to CSP 5781 Members
    (to become a member, make your annual donation now at this link)
    The cost to the general public is $36 for the series

    more...


    CSP Partners: Congregation Beth Shalom (Seattle, WA), Congregation B’nai Tzedek (Fountain Valley, CA), Congregation B’nai Israel (Tustin, CA), Temple Beth Ohr (La Mirada, CA), Temple Bat Yahm (Newport Beach, CA), Temple Beth El of South Orange County (Aliso Viejo, CA), Temple Beth Emet (Anaheim, CA), Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA), Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY) & Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA)

    Sunday December 6, 2020, 12:00 – 1:00 PM PDT
    The session will begin with discussion of the outstanding documentary “Echoes of the Mellah: From Tinghir to Jerusalem” (which you will have access to online and which you should see on as large a screen as possible). We will explore the complex and often troubling experience of the Moroccan immigration to Israel and its affects upon the political and social landscape of the country.

    Association Mimouna: The Remarkable Young Leadership of Morocco
    Sunday December 13, 2020, 12:00 – 1:00 PM PDT
    We will explore the development of “Association Mimouna”, created by Moroccan Muslim college students in 2008, that is dedicated to the study of Moroccan Judaism, Moroccan Jewish history, and the Hebrew language. Following the King’s words about the Moroccan Jew, they concluded that to be an authentic and complete Moroccan you have to know your roots: you have to know your Jewish History! Quite an unexpected conclusion! To whet your appetite, here is an example of the way Morocco treats these interfaith and cross-cultural questions: watch a few minutes of this video. Listen very carefully to make sure you can believe your ears, in a Royal concert in honor of the Pope’s visit to Morocco in March 2019.

    About Peter Geffen
    Peter Geffen is a founder of The Abraham Joshua Heschel School in NYC, former Director of the Israel Experience Program for the CRB Foundation and an Israel education specialist. His career as a social activist started as a civil rights worker for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He has been deeply involved in Arab-Jewish co-existence work since the early 1960’s. In 2005, Peter Founded KIVUNIM, a year-long post high school/pre-college gap-year program based in Israel and studying about and traveling to 12 countries (from Morocco to India) studying the origins and integration of Jewish life and culture throughout the world. The program seeks to build “world-consciousness” as a context for strengthening Jewish identity, formed as it is from the magnificent history of the Jewish people amongst the nations of the world. For his work, Peter was a recipient of the 2012 Covenant Award, the highest recognition given to Jewish educators. Born and raised in New York City, he is a descendant of distinguished and learned Jewish families on both sides: his grandfather Rabbi Tobias Geffen, “Chief Rabbi” of the South 1910-1970, father Rabbi Samuel Geffen, Uncle Rabbi Joel Geffen and numerous rabbinic Geffen cousins and on his mother’s side from Great-Grandfather William Fischman – Founder and President of the Downtown Talmud Torah, President of the Upper West Side’s The Jewish Center for over 40 years and distinguished philanthropist of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Peter is married to Susie Kessler, founding Director of the Makom Jewish Mindfulness Center at the JCC in Manhattan, is father of Rabbi Jonah (married to Julia Mannes), Rabbi Daniel (married to LuAnne Geffen) and Nessa (married to Micah Bookman) – all Jewish educators – and is the very proud grandfather of Bina 11, Shula, 7, Eva, 4, Gabriel 2 and another boy coming in December!

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  • Topic: CSP Popular Podcaster Program: Judaism Unbound: A Deep Dive into Digital Judaism
    Date/Time: Tuesday December 8, 2020 12:30 – 1:30 PM PST/ 3:30 – 4:30 PM EST
    Speaker: Daniel Libenson, live from Hyde Park, Chicago
    Dedicated in honor of: Josh Friedman

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    CSP Partners: Congregation Beth Shalom (Seattle, WA), Congregation B’nai Tzedek (Fountain Valley, CA), Congregation B’nai Israel (Tustin, CA), Temple Bat Yahm (Newport Beach, CA), Temple Beth El of South Orange County (Aliso Viejo, CA), Temple Beth Emet (Anaheim, CA), Temple Beth Ohr (La Mirada, CA), Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA), Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA), Temple Beth Sholom (Santa Ana, CA), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY) & Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA)

    Virtual synagogues, online life cycle events, Zoom seders, distance learning . . . digital Jewish experiences are rapidly proliferating in this moment of social distancing. This time last year, the digital Jewish ecosystem was relatively sparse. For most institutions, livestreaming a program was not even an option, and one of the most successful Jewish web sites had recently shut down due to lack of funds. In just eight months, expectations have flipped entirely. We have been living our Jewish lives almost entirely digitally. Digital Judaism didn’t come as a surprise to everyone, and some pioneers of digital Judaism were already convinced that the digital revolution would be like the migration of Jews from Europe to the United States and Israel – that Judaism was on the cusp of another major transformation. Will Judaism be forever changed by the forced migration Covid-19 has imposed upon us? If so, would that be a good thing or a bad thing? For a deep dive into the revolutionary reality and potential of digital Judaism, its successes and challenges, join us on Tuesday December 8th at 12:30 PM PST/3:30 PM Eastern, for a conversation with Dan Libenson, founder and president of the Institute for the Next Jewish Future and co-host of the Judaism Unbound podcast.

    Dan Libenson is the founder and president of the Institute for the Next Jewish Future, of which jewishLIVE is a project. He is also the co-host of the Judaism Unbound podcast. Dan was Executive Director of the University of Chicago Hillel for six years and Director of New Initiatives at Harvard Hillel for three years. He is a 2009 AVI CHAI Fellow and has also received the Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence award, Hillel International’s highest professional honor. In 2010, Dan was named a Jewish Chicagoan of the Year by Chicago Jewish News. Dan attended Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude and was an articles editor of the Harvard Law Review. He has published articles in Ha’aretz, The New York Jewish Week, Zeek, eJewishPhilanthropy, and elsewhere, and he is the translator of The Orchard by Israeli novelist Yochi Brandes and the translation editor of The Secret Book of Kings by the same author. Dan spent five years as a law professor after clerking for Judge Michael Boudin on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He lives in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago with his wife, two children, and dog.

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  • Topic: From Cruse of Oil to Rifle Stock: The Changing Image of the Hanukkah Menorah
    Date/Time: Wed December 9, 2020 10:00 – 11:00 AM
    Speaker: Shalom Sabar
    Dedicated in honor of: Bobbi Cherry z”l

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    CSP Partners: Congregation Beth Shalom (Seattle, WA), Congregation B’nai Tzedek (Fountain Valley, CA), Congregation B’nai Israel (Tustin, CA), Temple Bat Yahm (Newport Beach, CA), Temple Beth El of South Orange County (Aliso Viejo, CA), Temple Beth Emet (Anaheim, CA), Temple Beth Ohr (La Mirada, CA), Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA), Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA), Temple Beth Sholom (Santa Ana, CA), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY) & Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA)

    On Hanukkah Jews the world over light a menorah to commemorate a miracle that occurred at the height of the Maccabean revolution against their Greek oppressors in the 2nd century BCE. The earliest Hanukkah menorahs were lamps of clay or stone, with an opening on top to pour in olive oil, and a small spout in the front for a wick. These lamps were placed at the entrance to the home on a specially constructed stand, in an increasing (or decreasing) number for each day of the holiday. In Talmudic times, another model appeared: a smaller, mobile version of the lamp menorahs. It was a single lamp made of clay, stone, or, increasingly, metal – but it had eight wick spouts instead of just one. Menorahs would further evolve in the Middle Ages. A new model appeared in the Jewish community of 13th century Spain and spread from there to the rest of the Jewish world. These menorahs, made of metal, had an ornate back wall (to affix the menorah to a wall), and a narrow tray on the bottom, with eight dimples for oil. It was in these menorahs that the shamash, an additional candle used to light the other ones, first appeared, and placed on a different plane so as to differentiate it from the others. Over the centuries the Hanukkah lamp developed as an artistic Judaic object, with decorations of messianic Jerusalem and the Temple (usually modeled on the most important structure in a given city or land) and contemporary decorative features including emblems of the ruler or host society, Maccabean images, lions, new pioneers, sacred historical monuments, gun-shells, gun-stocks and IDF soldiers. In this CSP session with Prof. Shalom Sabar, we will examine the meaning of the dramatic changes in the naive-looking ritual object of Hanukkah.

    Shalom Sabar is Professor of Jewish Art and Folklore at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Sabar is the last Jewish baby born and circumcised in the ages old neo-Aramaic speaking Kurdish-Jewish community of Zakho. He earned his PhD in Art History from UCLA (1987), writing on the illustrated marriage contracts of the Jews in Renaissance and Baroque Italy. His research joins together the disciplines of art history and folklore, highlighting issues pertaining to the folk nature of Jewish art and Jewish material culture, visual materials and objects associated with rituals in the life and year cycles, and the evidence these materials provide about the relationships between the Jewish minorities and the societies that hosted them in Christian Europe and the Islamic East. Among his books are: Ketubbah: Jewish Marriage Contracts of the Hebrew Union College Skirball Museum (1990); Mazal Tov: Illuminated Jewish Marriage Contracts from the Israel Museum Collection (1994); Jerusalem – Stone and Spirit: 3000 Years of History and Art (with Dan Bahat; 1997); The Life Cycle [of the Jews in the Lands of Islam; 2006], and The Sarajevo Haggadah: History and Art (2018). Sabar served as editor of Rimonim (a Hebrew periodical of Jewish art), co-editor of Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Folklore, Pe’amim, and a multi-volume series dedicated to the Jewish communities in the lands of Islam (both published by Ben Zvi institute). He serves as a visiting professor and lectures widely in universities, museums, and public institutions in Israel, Europe and the US. In addition, he guides travelling seminars to Jewish sites in Europe, North Africa, India, and Central Asia. One of Prof. Sabar’s hobbies has been collecting a wide range of Jewish ephemera, which serve him and his students as an invaluable resource for study, research and teaching.

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  • Topic: CSP Award-Winning Writer Program: TVGoneJewy: TV’s Jewish Renaissance
    Date/Time: 12:30 – 1:30 PM PST/ 3:30 – 4:30 PM EST Thursday December 10, 2020
    Speaker: Esther D. Kustanowitz, live from Los Angeles, CA
    Dedicated in honor of: Rabbi Adam Greenwald

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    CSP Partners: Congregation Beth Shalom (Seattle, WA), Congregation B’nai Tzedek (Fountain Valley, CA), Congregation B’nai Israel (Tustin, CA), Temple Bat Yahm (Newport Beach, CA), Temple Beth El of South Orange County (Aliso Viejo, CA), Temple Beth Emet (Anaheim, CA), Temple Beth Ohr (La Mirada, CA), Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA), Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA), Temple Beth Sholom (Santa Ana, CA), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY) & Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA)

    Today’s Jewish writers are reclaiming and reshaping Jewish identity on-screen, and audiences are reacting to the increased Jewish representation with enthusiasm and worry, alternating between celebration and condemnation. So, what do we look for in Jewish representation on TV? We’ll look at clips from TV shows (and maybe a movie or two) and talk about how Jewish identity is currently being portrayed on TV and in the world.

    Esther D. Kustanowitz is an award-winning writer, editor, consultant and speaker. She is a contributing writer at the L.A. Jewish Journal and a TV columnist at J. The Jewish News of Northern California, and has contributed to The Forward, JTA, The Jewish Week, Hadassah Magazine, Haaretz, eJewishPhilanthropy.com and ModernLoss.com, among other outlets. She co-hosts The Bagel Report, a podcast about Jews and entertainment, and speaks about #TVGoneJewy, a term she invented to describe the increase of Jewish content on TV. As a freelancer, Esther has worked as a communications or editorial consultant for dozens of Jewish organizations. She was the founding editor at GrokNation.com and is working on a book about life after loss called “Nothing Helps (But This Might Help)”.

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  • Topic: CSP Chanukah Event: Playlist Chanukah: A Journey into the Musical Imagination of Yale Strom
    Date/Time: Friday December 11, 2020 12:30-1:30 PM PST/ 3:30-4:30 PM EST
    Speaker: Yale Strom

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    CSP Partners: Congregation Beth Shalom (Seattle, WA), Congregation B’nai Tzedek (Fountain Valley, CA), Congregation B’nai Israel (Tustin, CA), Temple Bat Yahm (Newport Beach, CA), Temple Beth El of South Orange County (Aliso Viejo, CA), Temple Beth Emet (Anaheim, CA), Temple Beth Ohr (La Mirada, CA), Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA), Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA), Temple Beth Sholom (Santa Ana, CA), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY) & Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA)

    On Friday December 11th, we have the rare opportunity to enter the musical imagination of Yale Strom, one of the of the world’s leading ethnographer-artists of klezmer music and history. A composer, violinist, filmmaker, writer, photographer and playwright, Yale is a pioneer among revivalists in conducting extensive field research in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans among the Jewish and Roma communities. His klezmer research was instrumental in helping form the repertoires of his klezmer band, Hot Pstromi and his Chanukah playlist for our Sunday December 13th concert. Join us as we preview the playlist and explore some of the amazing Klezmer, Gypsy, Chassidic, world beat, Balkan and new Jewish music that he and Hot Pstromi will play (free concert tickets are available at this LINK). Our program will include live performances by Yale on his violin.

    Yale Strom (violin, composer, filmmaker, writer, photographer, playwright) is a pioneer among revivalists in conducting extensive field research in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans among the Jewish and Roma communities. Initially, his work focused primarily on the use and performance of klezmer music among these two groups. Gradually, his focus increased to examining all aspects of their culture, from post-World War II to the present. His klezmer research was instrumental in helping form the repertoires of his klezmer band, Hot Pstromi in New York and San Diego. Strom has authored and edited more than 10 books, and has produced more than 15 CDs ranging from traditional klezmer to New Jewish music. His films have been shown at and received awards from various film festivals over the years, including his most recent film American Socialist: The Life and Times of Eugene Victor Debs, which won the 2017 Audience Choice for Best Film award at the Workers United Film Festival in New York City. Yale’s compositions range from quartets to symphonies, and he is one of the only top composers of Jewish music to carry on the tradition of writing original songs, with Yiddish lyrics, about humanitarian and social issues. Strom was the first klezmer musician to perform at the United Nations General Assembly.

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  • CSP 3-Part Master-Class: Convivencia: The Untold Story of Moroccan Jewish History
    Topic: The Remarkable Young Leadership of Morocco
    Date/Time:12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PDT Sunday Dec. 13, 2020
    Speaker: Peter Geffen, live from Manhattan, NY
    Dedicated in honor of: Mary Kraft and Jeffrey Kaufman

    This series is free of charge to CSP 5781 Members
    (to become a member, make your annual donation now at this link)
    The cost to the general public is $36 for the series

    more...


    CSP Partners: Congregation Beth Shalom (Seattle, WA), Congregation B’nai Tzedek (Fountain Valley, CA), Congregation B’nai Israel (Tustin, CA), Temple Beth Ohr (La Mirada, CA), Temple Bat Yahm (Newport Beach, CA), Temple Beth El of South Orange County (Aliso Viejo, CA), Temple Beth Emet (Anaheim, CA), Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA), Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY) & Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA)

    Sunday December 6, 2020, 12:00 – 1:00 PM PDT
    The session will begin with discussion of the outstanding documentary “Echoes of the Mellah: From Tinghir to Jerusalem” (which you will have access to online and which you should see on as large a screen as possible). We will explore the complex and often troubling experience of the Moroccan immigration to Israel and its affects upon the political and social landscape of the country.

    Association Mimouna: The Remarkable Young Leadership of Morocco
    Sunday December 13, 2020, 12:00 – 1:00 PM PDT
    We will explore the development of “Association Mimouna”, created by Moroccan Muslim college students in 2008, that is dedicated to the study of Moroccan Judaism, Moroccan Jewish history, and the Hebrew language. Following the King’s words about the Moroccan Jew, they concluded that to be an authentic and complete Moroccan you have to know your roots: you have to know your Jewish History! Quite an unexpected conclusion! To whet your appetite, here is an example of the way Morocco treats these interfaith and cross-cultural questions: watch a few minutes of this video. Listen very carefully to make sure you can believe your ears, in a Royal concert in honor of the Pope’s visit to Morocco in March 2019.

    About Peter Geffen
    Peter Geffen is a founder of The Abraham Joshua Heschel School in NYC, former Director of the Israel Experience Program for the CRB Foundation and an Israel education specialist. His career as a social activist started as a civil rights worker for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He has been deeply involved in Arab-Jewish co-existence work since the early 1960’s. In 2005, Peter Founded KIVUNIM, a year-long post high school/pre-college gap-year program based in Israel and studying about and traveling to 12 countries (from Morocco to India) studying the origins and integration of Jewish life and culture throughout the world. The program seeks to build “world-consciousness” as a context for strengthening Jewish identity, formed as it is from the magnificent history of the Jewish people amongst the nations of the world. For his work, Peter was a recipient of the 2012 Covenant Award, the highest recognition given to Jewish educators. Born and raised in New York City, he is a descendant of distinguished and learned Jewish families on both sides: his grandfather Rabbi Tobias Geffen, “Chief Rabbi” of the South 1910-1970, father Rabbi Samuel Geffen, Uncle Rabbi Joel Geffen and numerous rabbinic Geffen cousins and on his mother’s side from Great-Grandfather William Fischman – Founder and President of the Downtown Talmud Torah, President of the Upper West Side’s The Jewish Center for over 40 years and distinguished philanthropist of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Peter is married to Susie Kessler, founding Director of the Makom Jewish Mindfulness Center at the JCC in Manhattan, is father of Rabbi Jonah (married to Julia Mannes), Rabbi Daniel (married to LuAnne Geffen) and Nessa (married to Micah Bookman) – all Jewish educators – and is the very proud grandfather of Bina 11, Shula, 7, Eva, 4, Gabriel 2 and another boy coming in December!

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  • Topic: CSP Poet/Author Program: Radiance: Living a Life of Meaning
    Date/Time: 2:30 – 1:30 PM PST/ 3:30 – 4:30 PM EST Tuesday December 15, 2020
    Speaker: Danny Siegel, live from New Jersey, US
    Underwritten by a grant from Aliza and Jay Masserman

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    CSP Partners: Congregation Beth Shalom (Seattle, WA), Congregation B’nai Tzedek (Fountain Valley, CA), Congregation B’nai Israel (Tustin, CA), Temple Bat Yahm (Newport Beach, CA), Temple Beth El of South Orange County (Aliso Viejo, CA), Temple Beth Emet (Anaheim, CA), Temple Beth Ohr (La Mirada, CA), Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA), Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA), Temple Beth Sholom (Santa Ana, CA), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY) & Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA)

    Danny Siegel’s teachings have shaped modern Jewish education with his urgency about how to do acts of Tzedakah, Tikkun Olam, and deeds of compassion and generosity. His poems (many of which have been incorporated into Jewish liturgies over the years) are saturated with Jewish spirituality—its history, pain, exhilaration, and hope, and his prose essays are filled with ideas for personal mitzvah projects that inspire readers to think creatively about how each of us is poised to make a difference in our communities, neighborhoods, and the world. Join us on December 8th at 12:30 PM PST (3:30 PM EST) when Rabbi Danny Siegel will discuss his writing, his life work and his most recent book Radiance: Creative Mitzvah Living, an anthology of his most important writings, spanning and renewing fifty years of his insights.

    Danny Siegel is best known for bringing the discussion of Tzedakah and doing Tikkun Olam back into Jewish communities. A well-known author, lecturer, and poet, Danny has spoken in more than 500 North American Jewish communities on personalized Tzedakah, Mitzvah heroes, and Jewish values. He is the author of numerous books, served as the Tzedakah Resource Person on the United Synagogue Youth Israel Pilgrimage for 37 years, and is a recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award for Exceptional Jewish Educators.

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  • Topic: CSP “Travel” Program: Jewish Calcutta Through Music and Memory: The Personal Story of a Baghdadi Jewish Family
    Date/Time: 12:30 – 1:30 PM PST/ 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM EST Thursday December 17, 2020
    Speaker: Rahel Musleah, live from Long Island, NY
    Dedicated in honor of: Rabbi Stephen Einstein

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    Through the vivid prism of her family’s story and a heritage of lyrical songs, Rahel Musleah introduces audiences to the rich culture of the Jews of India and Iraq. Her fascinating personal journey mirrors the story of Calcutta’s Jews with humor, poignancy and song. This universal story of community and immigration, loss and continuity, is filtered through her particular lens: Born in Calcutta, she is the seventh-generation of a Calcutta Jewish family that traces its roots to 17th-century Baghdad. Today, Rahel is a New York-based award-winning journalist, author, singer, speaker and educator. She is looking forward to travel opening up so she can resume taking visitors on Jewish heritage tours of India. In the meantime, she is bringing India to you! In this age of diversity, it’s vital to learn that Judaism is far from monolithic. It flourished in different ways in the four corners of the earth.

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  • Topic: The Jewish Philip Roth in Cinema
    Date/Time: Sunday December 20, 2020 12:00 – 1:00 PM
    Speaker: Eric Goldman
    Dedicated in honor of: Eddie Kotkin

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    CSP Partners: Congregation Beth Shalom (Seattle, WA), Congregation B’nai Tzedek (Fountain Valley, CA), Congregation B’nai Israel (Tustin, CA), Temple Bat Yahm (Newport Beach, CA), Temple Beth El of South Orange County (Aliso Viejo, CA), Temple Beth Emet (Anaheim, CA), Temple Beth Ohr (La Mirada, CA), Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA), Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA), Temple Beth Sholom (Santa Ana, CA), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY) & Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA)

    Seven of Philip Roth’s novels were adapted to film and there are more to come. Throughout his work, he inserted his Jewish background, growing up in Newark. This is a lecture, with film clips, focusing largely on the autobiographical nature of Roth, as reflected in his work- a Jewish man growing up in post-depression New Jersey. Films discussed include Goodbye, Columbus, Portnoy’s Complaint, The Human Stain and Indignation.

    Dr. Eric Goldman is an adjunct professor of cinema at Yeshiva University and Fairleigh Dickinson University. He is a known scholar and lecturer on Yiddish, Israeli and Jewish film and a noted film educator. Dr. Goldman received a Ph.D. in Cinema Studies from New York University and was a fellow of the Max Weinreich Center for Eastern European Jewish Studies at Columbia University. He was also adjunct fellow in cinema at The Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, Dr. Goldman holds graduate degrees in Contemporary Jewish Studies and Theater Arts from Brandeis University. He is the author of Visions, Images and Dreams: Yiddish Film Past and Present (Holmes and Meier Publishers, 2011) and The American Jewish Story through Cinema (University of Texas Press, 2013). He is former director of the Jewish Media Service, which was a national clearinghouse on film and television for the North American Jewish community and was curator of film for the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. He has also curated several Jewish film festivals, including the Ring Family Israel Film Series at Y.U. In 2014, TCM (Turner Classic Movies) featured a twenty-film series co-hosted by Dr. Goldman on “The Jewish Experience in Cinema.” His passion for films was first sown during his childhood on Sunday afternoons at the double feature matinee. While attending college at Temple University in Philadelphia with the intentions of becoming a medical doctor, Dr. Goldman found himself in a course entitled History of the Middle East. In addition to studying traditionally through texts, the class also was shown movies. The class was studying the Algerian War and watched a movie on the topic. Dr. Goldman said he learned a lesson. “The power of cinema was opened up. The film gave me a visual understanding of history. I realized that film was not just entertainment but edutainment.” At that point, Dr. Goldman knew he wanted to pull together his two loves–film and Jewish education.

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  • Topic: Formation: Images of the Body
    Date/Time: Tuesday December 22, 2020 12:30-1:30 PM
    Speaker: Tobi Kahn
    Dedicated in honor of: Rosalee Lubell

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    CSP Partners: Congregation Beth Shalom (Seattle, WA), Congregation B’nai Tzedek (Fountain Valley, CA), Congregation B’nai Israel (Tustin, CA), Temple Bat Yahm (Newport Beach, CA), Temple Beth El of South Orange County (Aliso Viejo, CA), Temple Beth Emet (Anaheim, CA), Temple Beth Ohr (La Mirada, CA), Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA), Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA), Temple Beth Sholom (Santa Ana, CA), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY) & Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA)

    Join us on Tuesday December 22, 2020 at 12:30 PM PST for a discussion with Tobi Kahn, known for his multivalent abstractions, about his newest art exhibition entitled “FORMATION: Images of the Body”. In this new series of work, Tobi returns to the human figure for the first time in thirty years, revealing its sacred potential – an ode to the transient moment.

    Tobi Kahn is a painter and sculptor whose work has been shown in over 50 solo museum exhibitions and over 70 group museum and gallery exhibitions since he was selected as one of nine artists to be included in the 1985 Guggenheim Museum exhibition, New Horizons in American Art. Works by Kahn are in major museum, hospital, sacred/interfaith spaces, corporate, and private collections. For close to four decades, Kahn has been steadfast in the pursuit of his distinct vision and persistent in his commitment to the redemptive possibilities of art. In paint, stone, and bronze, he has explored the correspondence between the intimate and monumental. While his early works drew on the tradition of American Romantic landscape painting, his more recent pieces reflect his fascination with contemporary science, inspired by the micro-images of cell formations, the environment and satellite photography. For thirty years, Kahn has been making miniature sacred spaces he calls “shrines.” The first full-scale shrine, Shalev, is in New Harmony, Indiana, commissioned as an outdoor sculpture for Jane Owen and the Robert Lee Blaffer Trust. Among the awards that Kahn has received are the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award from Pratt Institute in 2000; the Cultural Achievement Award for the Visual Arts from the National Foundation of Jewish Culture in 2004; and an Honorary Doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2007 for his work as an artist and educator. Kahn also communicates his vision through his passion for teaching. For over three decades, he has taught fine arts workshops at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He also designed the art curriculum for several high schools in the New York area and co-founded and facilitates the Artists’ Beit Midrash at the Streicker Center of Temple Emanu-El. Kahn lectures extensively at universities and public forums internationally on the importance of visual language and art as healing. Kahn received his BA in Photography and Printmaking from Hunter and an MFA in Painting and Sculpture from Pratt Institute.

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