Previous Events Pg. 6

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 Material Culture Event – EPHEMERA The Treasure of Jewish Material Culture
    Speaker: Prof. Shalom Sabar, live from Jerusalem
    Honoring Rochelle Ambersound

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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)

    Should we preserve, research, and exhibit in our museums only the works of art and visual materials of the “glorious past”? As a scholar of Jewish art and material culture, I was always surprised to see that a simple Hanukkah lamp produced 300-400 years ago is admired by museum visitors and scholars alike while Judaic items of today are often thrown to the garbage after they are used. The museums’ curators with whom I discussed this issue dismissed it as something not worth the efforts and money. As a result, some 25 years ago I started to collect and study Jewish ephemera of today. Thus, for example, I asked all my friends and family to save for me Rosh ha-Shanah cards – and soon discovered that the iconography of the cards and the messages on them change on a year by year basis. Shortly thereafter appeared the first essay ever on the history of the Jewish new year cards from their first appearance to today. Many other categories followed – Simchat Torah flags, Tzedakah boxes, kosher wine labels, amulets, wedding invitations (as well as other events in the life cycle), yahrzeit candles, ex libris, dreidels, sukkah decorations, Haggadot, pamphlets, postcards, etc., etc. There are many strategies on how to get the items – including looking through Jerusalem Genizot, items that are thrown away by children of deceased relatives, products in the supermarkets issued for special occasions, etc. Each category presents the richness of the field and how much it can teach us about Jewish society. By now, my students enthusiastically continue to develop this field, and there is hardly any Judaic museum or major Jewish library, whether in Israel or abroad, that doesn’t understand the importance of ephemera for the present and the future.

    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: Oh No, Not Again! Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, Part 1 (Clive Lawton)
    Topic: Oh No, Not Again! Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, Part 2 (Clive Lawton)
    Speaker: Clive Lawton

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    Every year they come around, and every year we (most of us) go to synagogue – and every year it’s the same old same old stuff. Haven’t we heard it all before? Is there anything new left to say? In this mini-series, Clive makes a bold offer. He guarantees to provide you with at least three things you’ve never thought of before relating to the ‘Days of Awe’, the ideas behind them, the liturgy for the days, the idea of the cycle of the days and a host of other aspects. Can he do it? Join us and find out!

    Honored by the Queen in 2016 for services to ‘Education and the Jewish community’, voted no 18 in the UK’s Jewish ‘Power 100’ list and awarded the Max Fisher International Prize for Jewish Education by the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem, and CSP’s 11th Annual One Month Scholar in January 2012, Clive Lawton is CEO of the Commonwealth Jewish Council and scholar-in-residence at JW3, London’s flagship JCC (of which he wasa founding trustee) and an internationally active management and education consultant.. He was co-founder of Limmud, the internationally renowned Jewish adult education movement and worked for it in senior roles from 1999 till 2016. He has been a High school principal, Director of Education for the City of Liverpool, a governor of the Metropolitan Police, Chair of a Hospital Trust, a patron of the Jewish AIDS Trust, on the Editorial Board of Jewish Renaissance, President of the Shap Working Party on Education in World Religions and was for over a decade Chair of Tzedek, (a 3rd World development charity). He is currently a magistrate on the Bristol Bench, an independent Tribunal Chair for the National Health Service in the UK and lectures on the faculties of the European Centre for Leadership Training and the London School of Jewish Studies. Clive grew up in West London and after a BA in English and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from York University, he became an Associate of the Drama Board in Education. He has an MA in Theatre and Film Studies, an MEd in Religious Studies (specialising in Hinduism and Islam), and an MSc in Educational Management. He has published over a dozen books and broadcasts widely in the fields of religion, moral education and religious education.

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  • Topic: Why Tevye Remains the Greatest Modern Jewish Hero (Justin Cammy)
    Speaker: Justin Cammy

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    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

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  • Topic: CSP Author Event – Things My Dog Has Taught Me, About Being a Better Human
    Speaker: Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, live from the U.K.
    In memory of Archibald Rowsby Woofenstein

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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)

    In his latest book, Things My Dog has Taught Me, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg takes a wry and insightful look at how we could all learn so much by adopting a dog’s attitude to life, from joy and companionship to listening and forgiveness, rejection and cruelty, healing and trust. It sure sounds like lessons we need to hear during the month of Elul as we enter the New Year!

    Jonathan Wittenberg was born in Glasgow in 1957, to a family of German Jewish origin with rabbinic ancestors on both sides. The family moved to London in 1963, where he attended University College School, specializing in classical and modern languages. He further developed his love of literature when reading English at King’s College Cambridge (1976-9). After two years teaching and social work in Israel and England, he took a PGCE at Goldsmith’s College, London. Already deeply involved in Jewish life, he trained for the rabbinate at Leo Baeck College London, receiving ordination in 1987, and continued his studies to gain a further rabbinic qualification from his teacher Dr. Aryeh Strikovsky in Israel. Since then he has worked as rabbi of the New North London Synagogue and has taken a leading role in the development of the Masorti Movement for traditional non-fundamentalist Judaism in England. In 2008 he was appointed Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism in the UK. From 1993 to 2002 he was closely involved in the North London Hospice, for five and a half years as coordinator of its voluntary multi-faith chaplaincy. He is currently a member of the chaplaincy team at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. He is a President of the Council of Christians and Jews and a member of the Council of Imams and Rabbis. He is a co-founder of Eco-Synagogue and deeply engaged in environmental issues. He is closely involved in supporting refugees. Further interests include pastoral work, hospice care, and literature, especially poetry. He teaches and speaks widely, including on Radio 4’s Prayer for the Day. His publications include: ‘The Three Pillars of Judaism: A Search for Faith And Values’ (SCM Press, 1996); ‘The Laws of Life: A Guide to Traditional Jewish Practice at Times of Bereavement’ (Masorti Publications 1997) and ‘The Eternal Journey; Meditations on the Jewish Year’ (Joseph’s Bookstore 2001); The Silence of Dark Water: An Inner Journey (2008); Walking with the Light (2013); My Dear Ones: One family and The Final Solution (2016) and most recently Things my dog has taught me – about being a better human. He has also produced a popular children’s book ‘Shmendrick and the Croc’, beautifully illustrated by Barbara Jackson (Masorti Publications 2010). Jonathan is married to Nicky Solomon; they have three children and a dog. He loves plants, animals, people, and woodland and mountain walks.

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  • Topic: CSP Jewish Surname Event Jewish Surnames and Name Changing Around the World Diversity and Unity
    Speaker: Sarah Bunin Benor
    Honoring Prof. Sharon Keller

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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)

    What makes a family name Jewish? Did immigrants change their names at Ellis Island? This session answers these and many more questions about Jewish family names. Participants will learn the origins and meanings of patronymic (father-based) surnames like Abramovitch, Isaacs, and Yaghobian; geographic names like Ashkenazi, Dardashti, and Shapiro; and profession names like Hakim, Melamed, and Fingerhut. They will learn about Jews changing their family names in the 20th century, especially in the United States. They will come away with an understanding of the cultural diversity and unity of the Jewish Diaspora.

    Sarah Bunin Benor is Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, where she teaches mostly masters students in the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management and undergraduates at the University of Southern California. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in Linguistics in 2004. She is the author of Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism and Hebrew Infusion: Language and Community at American Jewish Summer Camps, as well as many articles about Jewish languages, Yiddish, and American Jews. Dr. Benor has received several fellowships and prizes, including the Dorot Fellowship in Israel, the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, and the Sami Rohr Choice Award for Jewish Literature. She is founding co-editor of the Journal of Jewish Languages and co-editor of Languages in Jewish Communities, Past and Present and We the Resilient: Wisdom for America from Women Born Before Suffrage. She founded and directs the HUC-JIR Jewish Language Project, which produces the Jewish Language Website and the Jewish English Lexicon. Her current projects analyze Hebrew use at Jewish supplementary schools and the names Jews give their children and their pets. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Mark, and their daughters, Aliza, Dalia, and Ariella.

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  • Topic: CSP Contemporary Israel Event – Between Promise and Peril Mapping Opportunities and Vulnerabilities for Israel in the Mideast
    Speaker: David Makovsky, live from Washington, D.C.
    Honoring Prof. Paul Liptz

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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)

    It remains unclear if Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s bid to annex portions of the West Bank will go unfulfilled, yet it is a moment to remind people of the maps of opportunities and vulnerabilities for the new Israeli government. This session will be a master class looking at the maps that define Israel’s hopes as well as its fears in the Mideast. From the Iran nuclear issue to Teheran’s proxies in Syria and Lebanon to Israel’s north on one side emblematic of threats to the cooperation that Israel enjoys with a variety of Arab Sunni states like Jordan, Egypt and Gulf states elsewhere in the region. The session will be an up to the minute look at Israel’s current reality in the Middle East. Join us for a front-seat, whirlwind tour of the Mideast!

    David Makovsky is the Ziegler distinguished fellow at The Washington Institute and director of the Project on Arab-Israel Relations. He is also an adjunct professor in Middle East studies at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). In 2013-2014, he worked in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of State, serving as a senior advisor to the Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations.

    Author of numerous Washington Institute monographs and essays on issues related to the Middle East Peace Process and the Arab-Israeli conflict, he is also coauthor, with Dennis Ross, of the 2019 book Be Strong and of Good Courage: How Israel’s Most Important Leaders Shaped Its Destiny (PublicAffairs) and the 2009 Washington Post bestseller Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East (Viking/Penguin). His 2017 interactive mapping project, “Settlements and Solutions,” is designed to help users discover for themselves whether a two-state solution is still viable. His 2011 maps on alternative territorial solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were reprinted by the New York Times in the paper’s first interactive treatment of an op-ed. His widely acclaimed September 2012 New Yorker essay, “The Silent Strike,” focused on the U.S.-Israel dynamics leading up to the 2007 Israeli attack on Syrian nuclear facilities.

    Mr. Makovsky is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. His commentary on the peace process and the Arab-Israeli conflict has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, Chicago Tribune, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and National Interest. He appears frequently in the media to comment on Arab-Israeli affairs, including PBS NewsHour. He has testified before the full U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the full U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, and on multiple occasions before the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Middle East Subcommittee.

    In last several years, he has made over 120 visits to American college campuses to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He has done a TEDx talk on this issue for the college audience.

    Before joining The Washington Institute, Mr. Makovsky was an award-winning journalist who covered the peace process from 1989 to 2000. He is the former executive editor of the Jerusalem Post, was diplomatic correspondent for Israel’s leading daily, Haaretz, and is a former contributing editor to U.S. News and World Report. He served for eleven years as that magazine’s special Jerusalem correspondent. He was awarded the National Press Club’s 1994 Edwin M. Hood Award for Diplomatic Correspondence for a cover story on PLO finances that he cowrote for the magazine. In July 1994, as a result of personal intervention by then Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Mr. Makovsky became the first journalist writing for an Israeli publication to visit Damascus. In total, he has made five trips to Syria, the most recent in December 1999 when he accompanied then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. In March 1995, with assistance from U.S. officials, Mr. Makovsky was given unprecedented permission to file reports from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for an Israeli publication.

    A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Mr. Makovsky received a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a master’s degree in Middle East studies from Harvard University.

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  • Topic: CSP Archaeology Event New Discoveries in the Ancient Synagogue at Huqoq in Israel
    Speaker: Jodi Magness

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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)

    A dazzling array of mosaics depicting biblical and historical scenes has been unearthed at a Late Roman-era synagogue in the Galilee’s ancient Huqoq village since 2012. With intricate attention to detail, each frame — until now kept under wraps — is worth thousands of words. The scenes vary from well-known religious stories such as Jonah and the Whale, Noah’s Ark, and Pharaoh’s soldiers being swept away by the Red Sea and swallowed up by dozens of fish, to the pagan zodiac at the floor’s center, as well as a portrayal of what may be the first purely historical non-biblical scene in a synagogue — complete with armored elephants. Join us on September 6th for a first-hand account of recent discoveries by Professor Magness, which shed new light on the life and culture of an ancient Jewish village under early fifth-century Christian rule.

    Jodi Magness holds a senior endowed chair in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism (since 2002). She is an archaeologist and the First Vice-President of the Archaeological Institute of America. She has published 10 books, including The Archaeology of the Holy Land, and dozens of articles. From 1992-2002, Professor Magness was Associate/Assistant Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology in the Departments of Classics and Art History at Tufts University, Medford, MA. Professor Magness received her B.A. in Archaeology and History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1977), and her Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania (1989). From 1990–92, Professor Magness was Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in Syro-Palestinian Archaeology at the Center for Old World Archaeology and Art at Brown University. Professor Magness specializes in the archaeology of ancient Palestine (modern Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories) in the Roman, Byzantine, and early Islamic periods. Her research interests include Jerusalem, Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient synagogues, Masada, the Roman army in the East, and ancient pottery.

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  • Topic: CSP 5-Part Master Class – Revisiting the Jewish Bookshelf Part 1: Chumash and Commentaries (Strausberg)
    Topic: CSP 5-Part Master Class – Revisiting the Jewish Bookshelf Part 2: Midrash
    Topic: CSP 5-Part Master Class – Revisiting the Jewish Bookshelf, Part 3 – Mishnah
    Topic: CSP 5-Part Master Class – Revisiting the Jewish Bookshelf, Part 4 – Mishnah
    Topic: CSP 5-Part Master Class – Revisiting the Jewish Bookshelf, Part 5 – Mishnah
    Topic: CSP 5-Part Master Class – Series II – Revisiting the Jewish Bookshelf, Series II, part 6: Mussar
    Topic: CSP 5-Part Master Class – Series II – Revisiting the Jewish Bookshelf, Series II, part 7: Mussar
    Speaker: Rabbi Avi Strausberg, live from Washington, DC
    Honoring Lee Weissman

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    The Jewish people have long been called the “People of the Book” – a fitting name given our deep love for the Jewish textual tradition. For hundreds of years, we’ve pored over the same sacred texts in an attempt to unlock their wisdom, understand their relevance, and take part in a dialogue and debate that spans generations. Yet, it can be difficult to enter into this conversation without having a good sense of what these foundational books are, how they work, and how to best bring them into our own libraries and lives. In this course, we’ll take a close look at the essential core texts that make up the Jewish Bookshelf beginning with the Torah. The course will be divided into units so that certain units will contain sessions that build upon themselves. People will be encouraged to attend all the sessions in a unit, though the sessions will also stand alone, and we will recap what happened in previous sessions so that people can jump in if they miss a session. In unit one (Sessions 1-2), we’ll dive deep into the texts of the Torah through the story of Noah. In unit two (Sessions 3-5), we’ll turn to Jewish legal literature tracking the development of one central question: what is the role of language in prayer and can we pray in languages other than Hebrew?

    Tuesday September 1, 2020 – Text and Classical Commentaries
    In unit one (Sessions 1-2), we’ll dive deep into the texts of the Torah through the story of Noah. In Session 1, we’ll spend time with the story of Noah and layer on medieval commentators to understand the difference between the text of the Torah and the role of classic commentaries like Rashi, Rashbam, and Sforno.

    Tuesday September 8, 2020 – Midrash
    In session 2, we’ll explore midrashic literature on the story of Noah, adding another layer to our understanding of the story and thinking about the role of midrashim. In this unit, we’ll not only closely study the Torah, commentators, and midrashim, we’ll deeply explore the story of Noah, a story about destruction, loss, and how to rebuild again.

    Tuesday September 15, 2020 – Mishnah
    In unit two (Sessions 3-5), we’ll turn to Jewish legal literature tracking the development of one central question: what is the role of language in prayer and can we pray in languages other than Hebrew? In sessions 3, we’ll study the Mishnah of Massekhet Sota that discusses the role of language in prayer.

    Tuesday September 22, 2020 – Gemara
    In session 4, we’ll see the Gemara’s treatment of the Mishnah we discussed in our last session, as the Gemara debates, dissects, and expands on the Mishnah.
    Tuesday September 29, 2020 – Halakha: Shulchan Aruch, Modern Responsa

    In session 5, we’ll continue to see the historical development of the question we have been exploring in the Mishnah and Gemara through later legal codes including modern day 21st century legal responsa. In this unit, we’ll not only get to know these classic Jewish legal texts, we’ll ask key questions about the nature of prayer, language, and the medium through which we communicate with God.

    Rabbi Avi Strausberg is the Director of National Learning Initiatives at Hadar, and is based in Washington, DC. She received her rabbinic ordination from Hebrew College in Boston and is a Wexner Graduate Fellow. She also holds a Masters in Jewish Education. Energized by engaging creatively with Jewish text, she has written several theatre pieces inspired by the Torah and maintains a Daf Yomi haiku blog in which she writes daily Talmudic haikus.

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  • Topic: CSP Author Event – Walking with the Light – From Frankfurt to Finchley
    Speaker: Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, live from the U.K.
    Honoring Rosella Bernstein

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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)

    In 2010, with his dog Mitzpah by his side, Rabbi Wittenberg walked from his grandfather’s Frankfurt synagogue to his own, in Finchley, carrying the Ner Tamid – its Eternal Light – to co-shine forever in the newly built synagogue in North London. A film crew covered most of the trip and even Mitzpah wrote a blog, describing his experiences on the epic journey. Colleagues and friends accompanied them for some of the route and their discussions also contributed insights into the spiritual, social and political concerns that occupied the Rabbi’s thoughts as he continued to meet many people along the way. Readers of Jonathan Wittenberg’s other books already know the humane, insightful and often profound observations and thoughts that preoccupy him. Few religious writers can combine the humor and incidence of walking across northern Europe with cogent arguments for moral justice, a process perhaps to accept Europe’s horrific past and show why a belief that tolerance and true understanding of the past is the only way to improve the future. Join us on September 2, 2020 at 2:30 PM PDT to learn about Rabbi Wittenberg’s journey and his book Walking with the Light. Rabbi Wittenberg returns on September 9th to talk about his follow up book, Things My Dog Has Taught Me – what he learned from his dog Mitzpah about being a better human, kinder, compassionate and wiser.

    Jonathan Wittenberg was born in Glasgow in 1957, to a family of German Jewish origin with rabbinic ancestors on both sides. The family moved to London in 1963, where he attended University College School, specializing in classical and modern languages. He further developed his love of literature when reading English at King’s College Cambridge (1976-9). After two years teaching and social work in Israel and England, he took a PGCE at Goldsmith’s College, London. Already deeply involved in Jewish life, he trained for the rabbinate at Leo Baeck College London, receiving ordination in 1987, and continued his studies to gain a further rabbinic qualification from his teacher Dr. Aryeh Strikovsky in Israel. Since then he has worked as rabbi of the New North London Synagogue and has taken a leading role in the development of the Masorti Movement for traditional non-fundamentalist Judaism in England. In 2008 he was appointed Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism in the UK. From 1993 to 2002 he was closely involved in the North London Hospice, for five and a half years as coordinator of its voluntary multi-faith chaplaincy. He is currently a member of the chaplaincy team at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. He is a President of the Council of Christians and Jews and a member of the Council of Imams and Rabbis. He is a co-founder of Eco-Synagogue and deeply engaged in environmental issues. He is closely involved in supporting refugees. Further interests include pastoral work, hospice care, and literature, especially poetry. He teaches and speaks widely, including on Radio 4’s Prayer for the Day. His publications include: ‘The Three Pillars of Judaism: A Search for Faith And Values’ (SCM Press, 1996); ‘The Laws of Life: A Guide to Traditional Jewish Practice at Times of Bereavement’ (Masorti Publications 1997) and ‘The Eternal Journey; Meditations on the Jewish Year’ (Joseph’s Bookstore 2001); The Silence of Dark Water: An Inner Journey (2008); Walking with the Light (2013); My Dear Ones: One family and The Final Solution (2016) and most recently Things my dog has taught me – about being a better human. He has also produced a popular children’s book ‘Shmendrick and the Croc’, beautifully illustrated by Barbara Jackson (Masorti Publications 2010). Jonathan is married to Nicky Solomon; they have three children and a dog. He loves plants, animals, people, and woodland and mountain walks.

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  • Topic: Live From Zoomer Canyon III
    Speaker: Erez Safar and Joe Buchanan

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    For close to 15 years, CSP (www.occsp.org) has hosted an outdoor, summer, Friday night Shabbat music experience for our Orange County, CA community. As a tribute to Bommer Canyon, the site of many of our recent “Jewish happenings”, we are offering a three part, “Live from Zoomer Canyon” Friday afternoon music series produced by Josh Nelson (a Bommer Canyon performer alum), featuring some of the most creative Jewish musicians in America today. On Friday July 10th, we are hosting Erez Safar and Joe Buchanan (“hip hop meets country”), on Friday August 10th, our musical guests are Duvid Swirsky and Nefesh Mountain (“folk rock meets bluegrass”), and on Friday September 4th, we conclude our series with Jacob Spike Kraus and Chava Mirel (“modern Jumu meets spiritual pop”). Each musician has a story to share along with their music. Pairings have been made to allow for creative musical cross-overs, and local Jewish musicians will surprise you with their incredible talent. Our final concert will feature a local Jewish teen with a bright future in music. So, get your pre-Shabbat treats ready, crank up the sound and join us for a pre-Shabbat experience that will raise your spirits and rock your world!

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