Previous Events Pg. 5

Orange County Jewish Community Scholar Program
Due to the Pandemic, Orange County Jewish Community Scholar Program has switched to using ZOOM to facilitate Online Events & Podcasts. Below is a list of our recent Online Events we have created and uploaded to YouTube™. To view a desired event video, simply click one of the links below.
 
  Special Note: Listings below without a link to a video on youtube could not be uploaded due to copyright and permission issues.
 
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  • Topic: CSP Israel Music Event “Live from Salon Ben Dosa”
    Speaker: Amitai Aricha, Alma Band & Yanush Hurwitz with special guest artist, Asaf Rabi. This concert is underwritten by a generous grant from Phyllis Gilmore and contributions from over 60 participants in our recent Israel 202 Virtual Adventure.
    Dedicated in memory of: Bernard Gilmore z”l

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    Modern-day Israel is home to multiple immigrant communities. The more established are from Eastern Europe, and date back to the late 19th century—people who fled pogroms, discrimination, and centuries of oppression. A massive influx of Jews from throughout North Africa and the Middle East joined them after 1948. These newer immigrants were settled—along with recent survivors of the Holocaust—both in makeshift tent cities (which, over time, morphed into towns like Sderot, Kiryat Shmona, Yerucham and others), as well as in established centers along Israel’s Mediterranean coast and around Tel Aviv. Over the next 70 years, successive waves of immigrants arrived from places like Yemen, Ethiopia, the former Soviet Union, and, recently, France—often on the heels of conflict and political uncertainty. Their stories are similar to their predecessors, and they have settled in many of the same places. These immigrant communities are distinct. Their histories, foods, music, politics, and assumptions vary, and that variety can be radical. Yet they often live side by side, and Israel is young enough, and its immigrants are fresh enough, that their various musical traditions can still be found in their pure, undiluted forms. But what happens when we bring a variety of these musical traditions together? Join us as we celebrate the memory of long-time CSP patron and American composer, conductor and musician, Bernard Gilmore, and enjoy the world of Israel folk fusion with a live performance from Tel Aviv produced by Asaf Rabi and featuring some amazing Israeli folk musicians, including Amitai Aricha, Alma Band and Yanush Hurtwitz.

    Featured Musicians

    Amitai Aricha is a singer, teacher, and researcher of Diwan song and prayer from Yemenite heritage. Over many years of listening to prayer and singing traditions in synagogues and traditional gatherings, he has collected and studied authentic melodies from the Jewish-Yemenite tradition, explored various versions, and performed worldwide his own interpretations.

    Alma Band are three talented songwriters and singers, a trio who lead creative cooperativeness for already 15 years, Gapping bridges and brings to the stage a unique voice of Jewish-Israel-Human prayer-songs, In the deepest meaning. For many people Alma’s songs have been inspiration and support in meaningful points in their lives. The band have released three successful Albums and enjoy a following of thousands

    Yanush Hurwitz is a multi-disciplinary versatile musician. He owns a BA in music from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. His repertoire includes classical music, world, and traditional music, while his main focus is on Balkan and Eastern-European music. Yanush is a former and band member of Di Gasn Trio – which preserves and renews the vibrant culture of Klezmer and Balkan traditional music. Yanush is also a band member of Gute Gute band – a riveting mash-up of Israeli, Balkan, Mediterranean and electro-dance music influences. Yanush performs and records regularly with many different ensembles and also as a soloist.
    Producer

    Asaf Rabi – Composer, Producer and Bass player. Swimming and Swinging in many genres on the Bass guitar and double bass, Asaf has been following the tradition and school of groove in Jazz music, Rock, Indian Classical and Balkan music. Asaf has gained virtuosity of the bass, studying music and playing festivals worldwide. As a producer and band member, Asaf is known for his work with world music groups Alila, Digasn trio and Yarden Erez. As a sidman, Asaf has been playing with artists such as Amir Benayoun, David Broza, Shuli Rand, the Jerusalem east & West Orchestra and many more. Asaf arranges for ensembles and teaches rhythm and improvisation in Givat Washington academic College of education.

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  • Topic: CSP Time Travel Event: Barcelona’s Jewish History; Hidden in Plain Sight
    Speaker: Dominique Tomasov, live from Barcelona, Spain
    Dedicated in honor of: Stuart and Ingrid Rosenthal

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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), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY) & Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA)

    Despite the fact that Jews of Spain trace their history back to the time of the Romans, there is no record of Jewish presence in Barcelona prior to the 9th century. Starting in the 9th century, towns and villages in the surrounding rural areas became home to many Jewish communities. When, in the early 13th century, the Crown of Aragon expanded its domains and Barcelona’s port took an international dimension, the city was transformed into the largest center in the Kingdom of Aragon and became one of the most important centers of Jewish learning in Europe. Until the end of the 1300s, Jews flourished as doctors, philosophers, merchants, money-lenders craftsmen, and comprised about 12% of the city’s total population. The community suffered greatly in the wave of pogroms of 1391, which caused deaths, conversions and dispersion. At the dawn of the 15th century, after more than 500 years of presence, Jewish life in Barcelona ceased to exist until its re-birth six centuries later. Though very scarce structures from that period remain in Barcelona (or anywhere in Spain), a vast archival documentation gives information about daily life, the neighborhoods and the cemetery. Join us as we time-travel back over 700 years for a tour of the “el Call” neighborhood, a treasure trove of concealed Jewish history in the Middle Ages that was home to over 4,000 Jews (including Ben Barzilai in the 11th century, Rabbi Aharon ben Yosef ha-Levi, Rabbi Yaaqov ben Asher (Baal ha-Turim) and Rashbah (Rabbi Shlomo Ben Avraham ibn Aderet, El Rab d’España) in the 13th century) and the location of the historic disputation between Nachmanides (the Ramban – Rabbi Moses Ben Nachman) and Pablo Cristiani, a Jewish convert who had been trying to force other Jews to convert to Christianity.

    Dominique Tomasov Blinder, an architect with experience in Buenos Aires, New York and in Barcelona where she has lived since 1991, is a scholar involved in Jewish research, advocacy, teaching, lecturing and consulting. A founding member of the first egalitarian synagogue in Spain, Dominique is very active in the development of the Barcelona Jewish community and is responsible for the Chevra Kadisha and the cemetery of her congregation. She brings together a unique wealth of professional experience plus the involvement in local Jewish life. Since 1999, Dominique has focused exclusively on the study, protection and dissemination of Jewish heritage. She has promoted the recognition of the ancient Jewish cemetery in Barcelona as a historical site and has co-directed the research project that allows for a better definition of its extension and limits

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  • Topic: Superman: A Jewish Hero When We Need One
    Speaker: Larry Tye

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    It was in 1938 that Jor-El and Lara placed their infant son Kal-El into a rocket ship headed towards Earth. At first believed to be the sole survivor of the doomed planet Krypton, Kal-El landed in Smallville, a tiny farming community in the American Midwest. Adopted by the kindly Kents and named Clark, the boy slowly came to realize he had strange and miraculous powers: He could see through walls, he had amazing strength, and bullets bounced off his body. He was also a boy who could fly. Faster than a speeding bullet, as his legend soon stated. Clark Kent grew up to be Superman and was the first comic book hero to become a part of the public consciousness. Nearly 83 years later, he remains the single most popular and recognizable character in comic book history. The Man of Steel, as he’s also known, is a legend, a part of folklore. At our special CSP event on Sunday November 15th, Larry Tye will explore a previously unknown aspect of the Superman myth: The Man of Steel is a Jew.

    Larry Tye is a New York Times bestselling author who’s 2012 book, Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero, tells the nearly-real life story of the most enduring American hero of the last century. His most recent book, Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy, is a biography of Senator Joe McCarthy. Tye’s last book, Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon, explores RFK’s extraordinary transformation from cold warrior to fiery leftist. Tye’s first book, The Father of Spin, is a biography of public relations pioneer Edward L. Bernays. Home Lands looks at the Jewish renewal underway from Boston to Buenos Aires. Rising from the Rails explores how the black men who worked on George Pullman’s railroad sleeping cars helped kick-start the Civil Rights movement and gave birth to today’s African-American middle class. Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend is the biography of two American icons – Satchel Paige and Jim Crow. In addition to his writing, Tye runs the Boston-based Health Coverage Fellowship, which helps the media do a better job reporting on critical issues like public health, mental health, and high-tech medicine. Launched in 2001 and supported by a series of foundations, the fellowship trains a dozen medical journalists a year from newspapers, radio stations, and TV outlets nationwide. From 1986 to 2001, Tye was an award-winning reporter at The Boston Globe, where his primary beat was medicine. He also served as the Globe’s environmental reporter, roving national writer, investigative reporter, and sports-writer. Before that, he was the environmental reporter at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, and covered government and business at The Anniston Star in Alabama. Tye, who graduated from Brown University, was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1993-94. He taught journalism at Boston University, Northeastern, and Tufts. Tye is currently writing, for Houghton Mifflin, a book entitled The Jazzmen: How Duke Ellington, Satchmo Armstrong, and Count Basie Transformed America.

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  • Topic: Jews on the Dark Side
    – Demons, Werewolves and Revenants
    – The Dybbuk
    – The Golem
    Speaker: Prof. Marc Michael Epstein, live from Dark Side of Poughkeepsie, NY

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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 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)

    You wanted to know more! But are you sure you won’t regret it? In the wake of his extremely popular CSP 20th Anniversary series Inside the Jewish Mind, Professor Marc Michael Epstein delves deeper into the Jewish imagination—this time on the darker side. In this new series, exclusive to CSP, we dare to take a look at the Jewish things that go “bump” in the night. Jewish culture, both the high biblical and rabbinic traditions, and the folk traditions that borrowed from the cultures around the Jews have enough frightening and supernatural aspects to scare the hair off anyone’s head. Epstein, Professor of Religion and Visual Culture on the Mattie M. Paschall (1899) & Norman Davis Chair and Director of Jewish Studies at Vassar College, will dig deep into the archives of fearful Jewish mythic memories to resurrect creatures of legend, who have “starred” in every Jewish culture in every place and time Jews called home, from ancient scrolls to contemporary cinema.

    Thursday October 29, 2020
    Demons, Werewolves and Revenants

    Do Jews believe in Hell? As we’ve concluded in the past—it depends which Jews, when. Do Jews believe in demons? Werewolves? Zombies? The answer here—again, depending on where and when you are talking—is a resounding yes. Tales of rabbis transformed into werewolves, demons taking the form of unfaithful husbands, and zombies and revenants combing back to haunt the living are commonplace in our tradition. But the uniquely Jewish twist on such creatures—what, for instance they do on Shabbos and holidays, I kid you not—is what makes for the most fascinating part of the story. Looking at literature and art as early as the second century and made literally yesterday, we will piece together the fascinating tale of the Jewish “versions” of these beings, asking mah nishtanah—what is different—about them vis-a-vis the versions in the cultures that surrounded Jews. The answers are often surprising!

    Thursday November 5, 2020
    The Dybbuk
    What happens to the dead? Are there ghosts in our tradition? We’ve talked about multiple views of heaven and hell, but is it possible that the souls of the dead linger on earth to take care of unfinished business or even to extract revenge upon the living who may have wronged them? A dybbuk is one such creature—the soul of a dead person that “clings” to a living person in order to use that person for its own nefarious purposes. And where there are dybbuks, there are exorcisms—yes, you heard right—Jewish exorcisms. We will engage in a bit of occult “contact tracing”—following these restless wandering souls from antiquity to the great expressionistic dramas and films of the early 20th century and beyond.

    Thursday November 12, 2020
    The Golem
    You may remember Mickey Mouse in Fantasia—The Sorcerer’s Apprentice magicking the brooms to bring water, but unable to stop them. Yet did you know that that tale, and others like it world-wide belong to the type of the legend of the created anthropoid, or Golem (“The Amorphous One”). We of course investigate the famous legend of the Golem of Prague, a giant mud-man allegedly constructed by a famous wonder-rabbi to defend the Prague Jewish Quarter, considering whether there is any truth at all in the story. But we also fill in the backstory, Golems before the Prague Golem—in bible, Talmud and rabbinic literature, and early medieval mystical legends. The Golem has a rich afterlife as well. Like the Dybbuk, it lives on in expressionistic art and film, but also serving as a metaphor in the popular revival of Jewish culture in Eastern Europe—mostly on the part of non-Jews.

    Winner of the 2015 Jewish Book Award in Visual Arts for Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink: Jewish Illuminated Manuscripts, Marc Michael Epstein is the product of a mixed marriage between the scions of Slonimer and Lubavitcher Hassidim and Romanian socialists, and grew up, rather confused, but happy, in Brooklyn, New York. He is currently Professor of Religion at Vassar College, where he has been teaching since 1992, and was the first Director of Jewish Studies. At Vassar, he teaches courses on medieval Christianity, religion, arts and politics, and Jewish texts and sources. He is a graduate of Oberlin College, received the PhD at Yale University, and did much of his graduate research at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has written numerous articles and three books on various topics in visual and material culture produced by, for, and about Jews. His prior book, The Medieval Haggadah: Art, Narrative, and Religious Imagination (Yale, 2011) was selected by the London Times Literary Supplement as one of the best books of 2011. During the ‘80s, Epstein was Director of the Hebrew Books and Manuscripts division of Sotheby’s Judaica department, and continues to serve as consultant to various libraries, auction houses, museums and private collectors throughout the world. Among them are the Herbert C. and Eileen Bernard Museum at Temple Emanu-El in New York City, for which he curated the inaugural exhibition, and currently serves as consultant for the Fowler Museum at UCLA, where he is in the process of helping plan a major exhibition on aspects of Kabbalah and its relationship to visual culture.

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  • Topic: The Archaeology of Jewish Resistance – View
    Speaker: Richard Freund

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    One of the most tragic parts of the Holocaust is that many are taught that the Jews went to their deaths “like sheep to the slaughter.” During the last decade, Prof. Richard Freund has worked with his team of Geoscientists at 20 sites in Lithuania, Greece, Poland, and Latvia and has detected a pattern that suggested that, rather than being passive victims, many of the Jews at these sites exhibited an extraordinary and often unique forms of courage and a level of resistance that needed to be brought to the public sphere. Jewish Holocaust resistance included daily acts of spiritual, literary, cultural, political, as well as planning and execution of audacious acts of armed and unarmed escapes and uprisings. This motivated Prof. Freund to gather a large team in four countries where he is working to trace the untold history of Jewish resistance through the lens of his geo-archaeology projects. This will be the most extensive project on the missing history of Jewish resistance by Jews in the Vilna Ghetto, the Warsaw Ghetto, the Riga Ghetto and at 90 concentration camp rebellions and in the large uprisings at Treblinka, Sobibor and Auschwitz. Prof. Freund’s project will result in a full length film that will be documented in summer of 2021 at multiple sites at the Warsaw Ghetto, the escape tunnels of Ponar and Fort IX and other sites including the Bielski brothers “defiance” in the construction of refuge sites for Jews in Belarus. You are invited to help change the narrative of the Holocaust from one of a “vale of tears” to an appreciation of the untold story of Jewish resistance.

    Dr. Richard A. Freund, who holds an MA, PhD, and rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary, is the inaugural holder of the Bertram and Gladys Aaron Endowed Professorship in Jewish Studies at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. For 20 years prior to this appointment, Dr. Freund was the Maurice Greenberg Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford. Dr. Freund has directed six archaeological projects in Israel and three projects in Europe on behalf of the University of Hartford including Bethsaida, Qumran, the Cave of Letters, Nazareth, Yavne, Har Karkom (Mount Sinai) as well as archaeological projects in Burgos and Cadiz, Spain and a research project at the extermination camp at Sobibor, Poland. In his 20 years at University of Hartford, he led a total of 30 different expeditions to Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, the UK, Argentina, Greece, Peru, Mexico, Spain, Israel, Poland, and Lithuania. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Time magazine, Reader’s Digest, Newsweek, Archaeology, seen on the BBC, MSNBC, CNN, NPR and Fox News and in hundreds of media outlets worldwide. His work has been chronicled in more than a dozen television documentaries from National Geographic, CNN, Discovery, the History Channel and PBS. Dr. Freund is perhaps best known for leading an international group of archaeologists, scientists, and historians as they searched for the lost city of Atlantis, an expedition captured by the National Geographic Channel’s documentary “Atlantis Rising.” Freund’s team discovered six stone anchors in southern Spain that could date back to the Bronze Age. His most recent work in Lithuania was chronicled in a recent NOVA science series episode: “Holocaust Escape Tunnel” on the new discoveries made in the Ponar Burial Pits and the Great Synagogue of Vilna, Lithuania. Most recently, Dr. Freund and a group of researchers and students located the exact burial site of Matilda Olkin, who, along with her family and several neighbors, was executed by Nazi collaborators. A poet, Olkin is often referred to as the “Anne Frank of Lithuania.” Dr. Freund is the author of six books on archaeology, two books on Jewish ethics, over 100 scholarly articles and has appeared in 15 TV documentaries. Dr. Freund’s most recent book Digging through History was published by Rowman & Littlefield, 2012.

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  • Topic: CSP Israeli Cuisine Program: Israel’s Fusion Food Culture
    Speaker: Adeena Sussman in conversation with Gil Hovav
    Dedicated in honor of: Miriam Horowitz

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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), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY) & Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA)

    Join us on Sunday November 8th, 2020 as we welcome Adeena Sussman, best-selling author of Israeli cookbook Sababa, in conversation with Gil Hovav, one of Israel’s leading food figures, about the differences and surprising similarities between Israeli and Californian cuisines. Our guests will offer tips and ideas of how to infuse more Israeli sunshine into your kitchen just before Thanksgiving.

    Adeena Sussman is the author of Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors From My Israeli Kitchen, which was named a Best Fall 2019 Cookbook by The New York Times, Bon Appetit, and Food & Wine. Her three latest collaborations, Cravings and Cravings: Hungry for More with Chrissy Teigen and The Sprinkles Baking Book with Candace Nelson, were New York Times best sellers. Along with co-authoring eleven cookbooks, she has written about Jewish and Israeli cooking and food culture for Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, Epicurious, Gourmet and many others. She lives in the shadow of Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market with her husband, Jay Shofet.

    Gil Hovav, Israel’s leading culinary journalist & TV personality, has played a major role in the remaking of Israeli cuisine and the transformation of Israel from a country of basic traditional foods into a gourmet nation. Gil has produced some of Israel’s most popular TV cooking shows and written a number of bestselling cookbooks and novels. Gil’s recent book Candies from Heaven is a collection of short stories linked to his family’s colorful history, sharing with humor and passion the Jerusalem of his childhood. Gil comes from one of the most respected lineages in the Jewish world: the great-grandson of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the reviver of the Hebrew language; grandson of Itamar Ben-Avi, who launched modern Hebrew journalism; and the son of Moshe & Drora Hovav, founding members of Israel’s modern day public radio.

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  • Topic: The History of Primary Jewish Symbols from Antiquity to the Emblems of Modern Israel
    Speaker: Prof. Shalom Sabar, live from Jerusalem
    Dedicated in honor of: Myra Weiss

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    SP 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), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY) & Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA)

    The most recognizable symbol of the Jewish people in our time is undoubtedly the six-pointed star (hexagram), generally known as Magen David. In the past, however, this symbol was used by many peoples, including Christians and Muslims, and there was nothing specific Jewish about it. Yet, this emblem was placed on the flag of the Zionist movement and later the State of Israel. On the other hand, the Menorah is the much older, meaningful, and spiritual symbol of the Jews – imbued with deep meanings over the ages. One such form, the Menorah with olives branches was eventually selected as the official emblem of the State of Israel, following a most amazing and tense design competition shortly after the State was declared.

    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 Author Event – EVENING: A Novel
    Speaker: Featuring Nessa Rapoport in conversation with Tobi Kahn. Live from Manhattan
    Dedicated in honor of: Muriel Asch

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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), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY) & Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA)

    Two sisters in their thirties, one grieving for the other. Day by day as her family sits shiva, Eve discovers stories and secrets that change the way she sees her sister and her own future. Evening unfolds the paradoxes of love, ambition, siblings, and the way the past continues to inflect the present, sometimes against our will.

    Nessa Rapoport is a novelist, poet, and editor who speaks frequently on issues of writing, culture, and imagination. Her new novel, Evening, published by Counterpoint Press on September 1, 2020, is the story of two sisters and their secrets, set in a shiva house as one mourns for the other. She is the author of Preparing for Sabbath, which was short-listed for the Books in Canada First Novel Award, as well as a volume of prose poems, A Woman’s Book of Grieving. Her memoir of family and place, House on the River: A Summer Journey, was awarded a grant by the Canada Council for the Arts and nominated for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, among other national media. Her column, “Inner Life,” appeared for several years in New York’s The Jewish Week. She was born in Toronto, Canada, where Evening is set, and lives in New York City with her husband, artist Tobi Kahn.

    Tobi Kahn is a painter and sculptor whose work has been shown in over 70 solo museum exhibitions and is in numerous permanent collections, including the Guggenheim Museum; The Phillips Collection; the Minneapolis Institute of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Yale University Art Gallery; and the Albright-Knox Gallery. His paintings, sculpture, and installations have been commissioned by hospitals and sacred/interfaith spaces and are in corporate and private collections around the world. He has taught painting at the School of Visual Arts for over 30 years. He received his BA in photography and printmaking from Hunter College and MFA in painting and sculpture from Pratt Institute. He lives in New York City with his wife, writer Nessa Rapoport.

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  • Topic: Judaism & Process Thought Part 1: Almighty? No Way! Embracing the God You Already Love
    Topic: Judaism & Process Thought Part 2: Almighty? No Way! Embracing the God You Already Love
    Speaker: Brad Artson

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    With fresh eyes, we will revisit Biblical and Rabbinic understandings of God as loving, dynamic, and relational. What if God can’t break the rules? What if God wants us to choose freely?

    Rabbi Dr Bradley Shavit Artson holds the Abner and Roslyn Goldstine Dean’s Chair of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and is Vice President of American Jewish University in Los Angeles. Rabbi Artson has long been a passionate advocate for social justice, human dignity, diversity and inclusion. He wrote a book on Jewish teachings on war, peace and nuclear annihilation in the late 80s, became a leading voice advocating for GLBT marriage and ordination in the 90s, and has published and spoken widely on environmental ethics, special needs inclusion, racial and economic justice, cultural and religious dialogue and cooperation, and working for a just and secure peace for Israel and the Middle East. A member of the Philosophy Department, his scholarly fields are Jewish philosophy and theology, particularly a process approach integrating contemporary scientific insights from cosmology, quantum physics, evolutionary theory and neuroscience to a dynamic view of God, Torah, Mitzvot and ethics. He supervises the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program and mentors Camp Ramah in California in Ojai and Ramah of Northern California in the Bay Area. He is also dean of the Zacharias Frankel College in Potsdam, Germany, ordaining Conservative rabbis for Europe. A frequent contributor for the Huffington Post and for the Times of Israel, and a public figure Facebook page with over 53,000 likes, he is the author of 12 books and over 250 articles, most recently Renewing the Process of Creation: A Jewish Integration of Science and Spirit. Born and raised in San Francisco, Artson holds the A.B. Degree from Harvard College, cum laude, in 1981. For 10 years, Artson served as the rabbi of Congregation Eilat in Mission Viejo, CA

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  • Topic: The Art and Architecture of the Synagogue part 1: Great Synagogues of the World
    Topic: The Art and Architecture of the Synagogue part 2: Great Synagogues of the World
    Topic: BONUS – Arise and Build: American Synagogues Part 2
    Topic: The Art and Architecture of the Synagogue part 3: Great Synagogues of the World
    Speaker: Samuel Gruber

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    ews are the “People of Book”, but they are also “People of the Building.” Given the opportunity, Jews have built beautiful synagogues for their communities for hundreds of years. Inspired by the detailed architectural accounts in the Bible and also by their contemporary surroundings, Jews in many places have fulfilled the concept of Hiddur Mitzvah (glorify the commandment) through architecture and architectural decoration. Great synagogues have been built in Europe of since Middle Ages, but especially since the lavish inauguration of the Portuguese synagogue in Amsterdam in the late seventeenth century the stream of impressive Jewish buildings has continued with little interruption on every inhabited continent throughout the world. This lecture illustrates this architectural and artistic heritage with historic and contemporary images and introduces many lesser known “great synagogues,” and many recently restored buildings.

    Samuel D. Gruber is an internationally recognized expert on Jewish art, architecture and the historic preservation of Jewish sites and monuments and has been a leader in the documentation, protection, and preservation of historic Jewish sites worldwide for thirty years. He presently directs Gruber Heritage Global, a cultural resource consulting firm and is president of the not-for-profit International Survey of Jewish Monuments. He lives in Syracuse, New York, where since 1994, he has taught art history and Jewish Studies at Syracuse University, and is also Visiting Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at Cornell University. Dr. Gruber is an expert in synagogue architecture about which he writes and lectures frequently. He is author of American Synagogues: A Century of Architecture and Jewish Community (2003) and Synagogues (1999) and scores of published reports and articles. Since 2008, he has written the blog Samuel Gruber’s Jewish Art and Monuments. During the pandemic, Sam has been busy curating two on-line exhibitions: Romaniote Memories for Queens College under the auspices of the Government of Greece, and Synagogues of the South for the College of Charleston, for which he previously curated Life of the Synagogue. Dr. Gruber was founding director of the Jewish Heritage Program of World Monuments Fund, has consulted on cultural heritage projects for numerous organizations and institutions around the world. He served as Research Director of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad from 1998 through 2008 for which he organized and published over a dozen countrywide surveys of historic sites and monuments of Jewish and other ethnic and religious minorities in Europe. Dr. Gruber received his BA in Medieval Studies from Princeton University, his Ph.D. in Art and Architectural History from Columbia University, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Rome, where he won the prestigious Rome Prize in Art History.

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  • Topic: CSP Cultural Event – Why Tevye Remains the Greatest Modern Jewish Hero
    Speaker: Prof. Justin Cammy, live from Northampton, MA
    Honoring Gail and Malcolm Geffon

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    CSP Partners: Congregaton 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 Emet (Anaheim, CA), Temple Beth Ohr (La Mirada, CA), Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA), Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY) & Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA)

    Liberal or Conservative? Culturally literate or behind the times? Funny or tragic. Beyond the Broadway musical and Hollywood film, who really was Sholem Aleichem’s classic hero and how does his message remain relevant more than 125 years after he first appeared in print? A tour of the birth of modern Yiddish literature from one of its most dynamic interpreters.

    A literary and cultural historian with research and teaching interests in Yiddish literature, Eastern European Jewish history, and Zionism and contemporary Israel, Justin Cammy is director of the Program in Jewish Studies at Smith College in Massachusetts and summer director of the Naomi Prawer Kadar International Yiddish summer Program at Tel Aviv University. He holds a doctorate in Near Eastern languages and civilizations from Harvard University and a bachelor’s in Middle Eastern studies from McGill University. In addition to appointments in Jewish studies and comparative literature, he also is a member of the programs in Middle Eastern studies, and Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian studies. His publications range from essays on canonical Yiddish writers to scholarly translations of Yiddish literature to critical introductions to new editions of works by Yiddish writers and memoirists. His book on Young Vilna, the last Yiddish literary group in interwar Poland, is forthcoming. He is currently working on an English edition of Abraham Sutzkever’s Vilna Ghetto, one of the earliest Yiddish Holocaust memoirs to describe the destruction of a Jewish city. In addition to his courses on Jewish literature, history and politics, Cammy has guided Smith students and alumnae abroad to study the religious and political history of Jerusalem, environmental challenges in Israel, the history and memory of Yiddishland, and Prague through the Ages. In recent years Cammy has served as research fellow at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem (2014); Webb Family Visiting Scholar at the Goldreich Institute for Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture at Tel Aviv University (2013–14); and Mellon Senior Scholar on the Holocaust and visiting professor of English at UCLA (2009). He is a regular guest faculty member at Yiddish summer programs at Tel Aviv University and the Yiddish Book Center. In 2006, Cammy was awarded Smith College’s Sherrerd Prize for Distinguished Teaching.

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