Previous Online Events

Orange County Community Scholar ProgramWe have now switched to using ZOOM to facilitate our online events, and have also used it to replace our previous use of podcasts.
 
Here is a list of our Online Events we have recently created and uploaded to YouTube™. To view a desired event video, simply click one of the orange links below. To learn more about each event click on the more… links under each listing. Then sit back, and enjoy!
 
 
 


 

Previous Zoom™ events uploaded to Youtube™

Listing displays the 1st event recorded and proceeds to the most recent posted.

 

  1. Topic: Star Wars: Myth, Chareidim, God and the Force
    Speaker: Rabbi Dr. Raphael Zarum
    Handout:
    PDF
    Follow Up Info:
    The Day of Breath by Rabbi Dr Raphael Zarum
    Take a deep breath for Rosh Hashanah by Rabbi Dr Raphael Zarum
    Star Wars Episode Infinity: The Force of Grief by Esther Kustanowitz
    May The Faiths Be With You: An Interfaith Star Wars Panel with Esther Kustanowitz

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    The Star Wars film series is a global phenomenon that has captured the imagination of millions, young and old, the world over (including me). But what have a space smuggler, a walking carpet, a little green guru, a princess with stylized hair and a wide-eyed hero got to do with Judaism? George Lucas, the creator of the series, is certainly not Jewish, but like many filmmakers he draws inspiration from the classics of faith and fiction. We will uncover the deeper resonances between Star Wars and the Torah… If you can, watch Star Wars films 4,5,6 and 7 – they are the key

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  2. Topic: Live from Zoomer Canyon II
    Speaker: Duvid Swirsky & Nefesh Mountain

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    Duvid Swirsky – Duvid Swirsky is a LA-based musician, songwriter and producer originally from Israel. He co-founded both the legendary Israeli band MOSHAV and the critically acclaimed folk/pop trio the Distant Cousins. Duvid grew up in a musical village in the hills between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, performing at an early age with Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. “When we were growing up”, explains Duvid, “the only electrical appliance in the house was a record player. So, while other kids might be growing up watching television and playing video games, we were listening to the records our parents brought with them – Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Neil Young.” Duvid eventually moved to Los Angeles to sign a record deal with SONY and leapt head-first into the vibrant Los Angeles music scene – creating music with Grammy award winning musicians and producers. He’s now preparing the release of the debut Distant Cousins album, Next of Kin.

    Nefesh Mountain: Nefesh Mountain is the place where American Bluegrass and Old-time music meet with Jewish Heritage and tradition. Band leaders, genre-pioneers, and husband and wife Doni Zasloff and Eric Lindberg are the heart of this eclectic offering, and share their love for American music, their own cultural heritage, and each other with audiences throughout the world. The result of this unexpected and beautiful mix is staggering; and while complete with the kind of adept string virtuosity and through composed arrangements one would hope for from a newgrass band with influences from Bluegrass, Old-Time, Celtic, and Jazz, they also play and sing songs of the heart creating music with a sense of diversity, oneness, and purpose for our world today. Their newest and most adventurous recording to date called “Beneath The Open Sky” was a tour de force for the band, featuring friends and bluegrass luminaries Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Tony Trischka And David Grier, along with their own band members Alan Grubner and Tim Kiah. The album’s 11 songs collectively weave together a groundbreaking and beautiful patchwork of new American music, being called “refreshingly eclectic” by Rolling Stone, and “One of the finest, wholly bluegrass records one will hear in not only 2018 but as a touchstone moving forward” by No Depression magazine.

    Leeav Sofer: Leeav Sofer is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer/arranger, music director and teaching artist with a performance degree in clarinet and voice from the Bob Cole Conservatory of California State University of Long Beach. He has performed at venues such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Ford Amphitheatre, as well as singing backups at the Staples Center with the Rolling Stones for their 2013 tour. He currently is on faculty at the Colburn School in Los Angeles where he teaches classes, directs choirs, and community engagement programs. Under the auspice of Colburn, Leeav helped initiate music programs to culturally elevate the surrounding communities. Some of these programs include a choral ensemble made up of students from underserved high schools and a choir with homeless men and women drawn from the community within Los Angeles’ Skid Row. These programs have recently garnered Leeav recognition on the front page of the Los Angeles Times as well as on NPR’s All Things Considered. In addition to co-founding Los Angeles’ only current Jewish Youth Orchestra, he also leads the band Mostly Kosher, dedicated to preserving and progressing cultural folk music of the Judaic heritage for future generations. Mostly Kosher has met critical acclaim recognized by World Music Network, Los Angeles’ Jewish Journal, Jlife Magazine, fRoots Magazine, and Songlines Magazine. Leeav performs clarinet, piano, auxiliary and body percussion, and vocals for his band and around the Greater Los Angeles area.

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  3. Topic: Moshe Dayan: Israel’s Controversial Hero (Politics and Politicians Part 1)
    Speaker: Paul Liptz

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    Sunday April 12, 2020, 12:00 PM PDT
    Moshe Dayan was sometimes seen as the ultimate sabra, tough, arrogant, committed to his country and its land and the greatest of generals. However, he was, in reality, a complex person who was often in conflict with his peers and family and he was blamed for the failure in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. However, in 1977 he joined Menachem Begin’s cabinet as Foreign minister and played an important role in the peace talks with Egypt. He is remembered by his comment that he claimed he only knew how to “plow to build the homeland and hold a sword to defend the earth”.

    Paul Liptz, a social historian and CSP’s recent 19th Annual One Month Scholar in Residence, was on the Tel Aviv University faculty for 40 years, teaching graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of Middle East and African History and the International School, where he dealt with a wide range of topics. His main interests are History of the Yishuv [Pre-State], the Modern State of Israel and Arab Women and Nationalism in the Middle East.

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  4. Topic: Paul Liptz – Ariel (Arik) Sharon: The Ultimate Bulldozer (Politics & Politicians Part 2)
    Speaker: Paul Liptz

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    Sunday April 19, 2020, 12:00 PM PDT
    Sharon’s life was all about military conflict, taking risks and being a hero. He was sidelined by senior officers for refusing to accept orders and was told “you’re not a decent human being” and yet he was loved by many Israelis who sang “Arik: King of Israel”. He was considered to be the ultimate right-wing politician until in an amazing change of face, he decided to withdraw from the Gaza Strip based on his comment that “we cannot have a Jewish and democratic state and continue to rule over the whole of Eretz Israel.

    Paul Liptz, a social historian and CSP’s recent 19th Annual One Month Scholar in Residence, was on the Tel Aviv University faculty for 40 years, teaching graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of Middle East and African History and the International School, where he dealt with a wide range of topics. His main interests are History of the Yishuv [Pre-State], the Modern State of Israel and Arab Women and Nationalism in the Middle East.

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  5. Topic: Paul Liptz – Shimon Peres: No Room for Small Dreams (Politics & Politicians Part 3)
    Speaker: Paul Liptz

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    Sunday April 26, 2020, 12:00 PM PDT
    Loved and hated, Shimon Peres did not succeed as a politician but was highly respected as a statesman. He was not the kind of politician who the population could appreciate because he was perceived as being cold, without a military background and perhaps too intellectual. The session will delve into the controversies surrounding him and analyze his biographer’s comment that in terms of Israel, “no other person has done so much, in so many fields and by such original methods, to strengthen her security, and to bring her peace and to improve her world stature”.

    Paul Liptz, a social historian and CSP’s recent 19th Annual One Month Scholar in Residence, was on the Tel Aviv University faculty for 40 years, teaching graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of Middle East and African History and the International School, where he dealt with a wide range of topics. His main interests are History of the Yishuv [Pre-State], the Modern State of Israel and Arab Women and Nationalism in the Middle East.

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  6. Topic: Elijah The Prophet: The Man Who Never Died
    Speaker: Daniel Matt

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    In the biblical book of Kings, Elijah the prophet is transported to heaven in a fiery chariot. According to rabbinic tradition, he was transformed into an immortal angel. Ever since his ascent, he has appeared on earth again and again—not only at ever Seder and every circumcision, but whenever people are in need or when they seek spiritual guidance or enlightenment. In this session, Daniel Matt (who is writing a biography of Elijah) will trace his transformation from a biblical zealot to his second career as a compassionate Jewish superhero.

    Daniel C. Matt is a teacher of Jewish spirituality and one of the world’s leading authorities on Kabbalah and the Zohar. He has been featured in Time and Newsweek and has appeared on National Public Radio and the History Channel. He has published over a dozen books, including The Essential Kabbalah (translated into eight languages), Zohar: Annotated and Explained, and God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony between Science and Spirituality (revised edition, 2016). Several years ago, Daniel completed an 18-year project of translating and annotating the Zohar. In 2016, Stanford University Press published his ninth volume of The Zohar: Pritzker Edition, concluding the Zohar’s main commentary on the Torah. For this work, Daniel has been honored with a National Jewish Book Award and a Koret Jewish Book Award. The Koret award hailed his translation as “a monumental contribution to the history of Jewish thought.”

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  7. Topic: Iraqi Jews (Creating a Nation, Part 1)
    Speaker: Paul Liptz

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    The Iraqi Jewish community was one of the most impressive in the Middle East with a high status under British rule. However, with the rise of Arab nationalism and the 1941 Farhud pogrom, their vulnerable situation became evident and the only alternative was to make Aliyah which they did in large numbers in 1951 and 1952 in Operation Ezra and Nehemiah. Life in the newly established State of Israel was extremely challenging but this well-educated population quickly integrated and experienced upward mobility in numerous realms of the society.

    Paul Liptz, a social historian and CSP’s recent 19th Annual One Month Scholar in Residence, was on the Tel Aviv University faculty for 40 years, teaching graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of Middle East and African History and the International School, where he dealt with a wide range of topics. His main interests are History of the Yishuv [Pre-State], the Modern State of Israel and Arab Women and Nationalism in the Middle East.

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  8. Topic: Moroccan Jews (Creating a Nation Part 2)
    Speaker: Paul Liptz

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    Sunday May 10, 2020, 12:00 PM PDT, co-sponsored by Temple Beth Shalom of Needham, MA (honoring Mike Lefkowitz)
    Moroccan Jews through the ages faced many crises under oppressive regimes interspersed with better periods when rulers regarded them as being of value. They were dispersed throughout the country and thus their story depends on where they lived and the impact of the Alliance Israelite Universelle. Their arrival in Israel in the 1950s and 1960s happened at a time of mass immigration and the country struggled to cope in addition to which there were ethnic prejudices. Today, Moroccan Jews living in Israel enjoy visits to their homeland.

    Paul Liptz, a social historian and CSP’s recent 19th Annual One Month Scholar in Residence, was on the Tel Aviv University faculty for 40 years, teaching graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of Middle East and African History and the International School, where he dealt with a wide range of topics. His main interests are History of the Yishuv [Pre-State], the Modern State of Israel and Arab Women and Nationalism in the Middle East.

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  9. Topic: Love is Sacrifice
    Speaker: Rabbi Avi Strausberg

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    Part 2 of 5 Part Series: Love, Sex and Relationships in Jewish Tradition
    The love between Rabbi Akiva and his wife is considered one of the greatest love stories in the Talmud. What makes their love such a great love story? And, at what cost does their love come? We’ll explore this story and reflect on the role of sacrifice in relationships and the delicate dance in balancing the needs of the individual with the needs of the couple.

    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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  10. Topic: The Delicate Art of Tokhehah
    Speaker: Avi Strausberg

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    Part 3 of 5 Part Series: Love, Sex and Relationships in Jewish Tradition
    In this session, we’ll dive into a few stories in which the rabbis wrestle with the concept of tokhehah, or rebuke. How do we best offer and receive critical feedback to and from our loved ones? How might this translate to giving and receiving feedback in the work environment? And, are there moments in which it’s better to stay quiet?

    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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  11. Topic: Say What You Mean: Communication Gone Awry
    Speaker: Rav Avi Strausberg

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    Part 1 of 5: Love, Sex and Relationships in Jewish Tradition
    Relationships are ripe with miscommunication with many opportunities for things to go wrong. How often do you watch a movie and find yourself yelling at the characters “Just stop and listen to each other!” to no avail? In this session, we’ll mine three different stories from the Talmud in which the rabbis struggle (and fail) to communicate in hopes of learning from their mistakes.

    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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  12. Topic: Desire Gone Wild
    Speaker: Rav Avi Strausberg

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    Part 4 of 5: Love, Sex and Relationships in Jewish Tradition

    The rabbis wrestled with the concepts of yetzer ha’ra and yetzer ha’tov, or an inclination toward evil and an inclination toward good. Often, in the rabbis’ conversations surrounding sex and desire, the yetzer ha’ra pops up. In this session, we’ll explore several texts that look at the yezter ha’ra and the yetzer ha’tov, reflecting on the rabbis’ attitude toward sexual desire. When is desire a good thing, when is it a bad thing, and what do we do with that desire?

    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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  13. Topic: American Jews (Creating a Nation, Part 3)
    Speaker: Paul Liptz

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    Jacob Blaustein, the President of the American Jewish Committee, stated in 1950 “We repudiate vigorously the suggestion that American Jews are in exile. The future of American Jewry, of our children and of our children’s children, is entirely linked with the future of America. We have no alternative; and we want no alternative”. After the Six Day War, living in Israel became an option for a small number of Americans who live in the cities, on kibbutzim and in the West Bank/Judea and Samaria. However, American Jews, as a whole, are often closely attached to Israel and for some, the concept of a “second home” exists. The session will consider the complexity of this relationship.

    Paul Liptz, a social historian and CSP’s recent 19th Annual One Month Scholar in Residence, was on the Tel Aviv University faculty for 40 years, teaching graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of Middle East and African History and the International School, where he dealt with a wide range of topics. His main interests are History of the Yishuv [Pre-State], the Modern State of Israel and Arab Women and Nationalism in the Middle East. He taught graduate students at the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem as well as at the Conservative movement seminary for 25 years, dealing with modern Jewish history, Israeli society and the contemporary Middle East. In the Israeli army reserves, he lectured officers and non-commissioned officers on non-military realms. He is still active in Israel and is involved in various academic and educational fields. In the last few decades, he has travelled the world extensively, lecturing and conducting workshops in some twenty countries. He has also been a visiting scholar with many American groups in Central and Eastern Europe. Paul was born in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and came as a volunteer to Israel one day before the Six Day War on June 4, 1967. He decided to stay in Israel, married Brenda and they have 4 children and 11 grandchildren.

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  14. Topic: Good Sex and Bad Sex
    Speaker: Avi Strausberg

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    Part 5 of 5: Love, Sex and Relationships in Jewish Tradition

    When it comes to sex, the rabbis have a number of opinions about what makes sex positive and sacred and what kind of sex we should avoid. In this session, we’ll explore rabbinic texts that talk about good sex and bad sex, often peeking into the sex life of the rabbis’ themselves for the answers.

    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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  15. Topic:Haredim Cannot Be Isolated Anymore
    Speaker: Menachem Bombach

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    Rabbi Menachem Bombach, a community leader and educational entrepreneur in the Haredi community in Israel, studied at the Vizhnitz Ahavat Yisrael yeshiva and the Mir yeshiva and holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Moreshet Yaakov College and a master’s degree in public policy from the Hebrew University. He is the founder and head of the “Netzach” Haredi educational network, which combines religious and secular studies and aims to educate students to become observant haredim who are also prepared for practical living. Recently, Bombach created a stir when he took a dramatic step—at least as seen through his community’s norms—by teaching his students about Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day for its fallen IDF soldiers. The video of the class has gone viral and has been seen by hundreds of thousands of Israelis.

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  16. Topic: Israelis and the Jewish-Christian Dialogue: Old Problems, New Challenges
    Speaker: Hana Bendcowsky

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    It is now over 70 years since the first initiatives were taken towards a Jewish-Christian dialogue in the Western world but a corresponding dialogue in the local Israeli context of indigenous Arab Christians and Israeli Jews is only just developing. In what way does the Israeli Jewish-Christian dialogue differ from that going on in the West? What are its major characteristics, and to what extent does the Israeli-Palestinian conflict influence the encounter? What is the role of Jewish-Christian dialogue in Israel and what are its implications for Jewish-Muslim relations, as well as for Jewish-Christian relations outside of the Holy Land?

    Hana Bendcowsky is the program director of the Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations (JCJCR). She holds an M.A. degree in Comparative Religions from Hebrew University and has 20 years of practical experience in interfaith activities in Israel and abroad. She teaches in varied institutions, colleges, academic programs and Christian seminaries, including the IDF, governmental offices and institutions. She also works as a tour educator in Jerusalem. Her expertise is the Christian Communities in Israel and Jewish-Christian Relations in the Israeli context.

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  17. Topic: The Spiritual Humanism of Abraham Joshua Heschel, Part 1
    Speaker: Peter Geffen

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    Peter Geffen will continue his summer series by contextualizing Heschel’s profound impact upon American Judaism in particular and American religion in general in this 2-part session. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was a mystic, a 20th-century religious intellectual, and a powerful agent of social change. His poetic theological writings are still read and widely studied today across the Christian as well as the Jewish world. His faith was as much about “radical amazement” as it was about certainty. As instructive for us now is the way Heschel embodied the passionate social engagement of the prophets, drawing on wisdom at once provocative and nourishing. Peter will take us through Heschel’s fascinating life in a biographical review and then enter the world of Heschel’s thought through presentation of a developmental model based upon Heschel’s teachings. The sessions will require the viewing of a unique 1/2 hour television interview which will be made available to you on Youtube.

    About Peter Geffen
    Professionally a Jewish educator, Peter founded The Abraham Joshua Heschel School in New York City in 1983, considered unique in its integrated approach to curriculum and its social justice programming. Today, the Heschel School is the largest pluralistic Jewish school in North America with over 1000 students on its campus on the west side of Manhattan. In the 1990’s he began working with Jewish day schools across the continent that sought to model all or portions of their programs on the Heschel educational model. Today there are schools in Columbus, Ohio; Austin, Texas; Toronto, Canada and Lafayette, CA that reflect his educational vision. His career in Jewish education began with his design of the unique and unprecedented Park Avenue Synagogue High School program in 1967 where he served as Principal until 1985. In the field of informal education, he held a range of leadership positions (including decades of senior staff roles with Camps Ramah in Canada, Glen Spey and Israel). He has personally taught 1000’s of high school and college aged students over the past 50+ years!

    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. KIVUNIM is the only Jewish educational program teaching Arabic and traveling into the Arab and Islamic worlds.

    In the summers of 1965 and 1966 Peter Geffen served as a civil rights worker for Dr. Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Orangeburg, SC. He played several historic roles at MLK’s funeral including accompanying Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel throughout the funeral procession.

    In 2012 he was selected to receive the Covenant Award, the highest recognition in the field of Jewish education. Peter holds a BA from Queens College (where he studied and developed a close personal relationship with the noted Jewish historian Professor Cecil Roth during the final years of Roth’s life), an MA in Religious Education from New York University and a Certificate in Psychotherapy and Counseling from the Alfred Adler Institute in New York City. He is an ABD (all but dissertation) at NYU with a thesis linking the seminal work of Erik Erikson in Identity formation to his Jewish educational philosophy and approach.

    He is married to Susie Kessler, founding Director of the Makom Mindfulness Center at the JCC in Manhattan. They have three children: sons Rabbi Jonah Geffen married to Julia Mannes and Rabbi Daniel Geffen, married to LuAnne and daughter Nessa Geffen, Assistant Director of the JCC Camp Settoga and married to Micah Bookman. They have 4 grandchildren, Bina, Shula, Eva and Gabriel.

    Peter was born, raised in and has lived in New York City throughout his lifetime. 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.

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  18. Topic: A Young Jew in the Civil Rights Movement: A Personal Story From 1965-66
    Speaker: Peter Geffen

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    Peter Geffen will take us back to 1964 when 3 boys were murdered in Philadelphia, Mississippi one of whom was his classmate at Queens College, Andrew Goodman. He will explore the influence upon his life as a Jew and his work as a Jewish educator of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. You can get a taste of the story by watching this short video article from the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. Peter’s June 9th talk will lead into Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s powerful impact upon the social conscience of America.

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  19. Topic: The Spiritual Humanism of Abraham Joshua Heschel, Part 2
    Speaker: Peter Geffen

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    Peter Geffen will continue his summer series by contextualizing Heschel’s profound impact upon American Judaism in particular and American religion in general in this 2-part session. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was a mystic, a 20th-century religious intellectual, and a powerful agent of social change. His poetic theological writings are still read and widely studied today across the Christian as well as the Jewish world. His faith was as much about “radical amazement” as it was about certainty. As instructive for us now is the way Heschel embodied the passionate social engagement of the prophets, drawing on wisdom at once provocative and nourishing. Peter will take us through Heschel’s fascinating life in a biographical review and then enter the world of Heschel’s thought through presentation of a developmental model based upon Heschel’s teachings. The sessions will require the viewing of a unique 1/2 hour television interview which will be made available to you on Youtube

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  20. Topic: THE LAST LAUGH: Exploring Taboos in Comedy
    Speaker: Ferne Pearlstein

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    The Holocaust would seem to be an absolutely off-limits topic for comedy. But is it? History shows that even victims of Nazi concentration camps used humor as a means of survival and resistance. Still, any use of comedy in connection with this horror risks diminishing the suffering of millions. So where is the line? If the Holocaust is taboo, what are the implications for other controversial subjects — 9/11, AIDS, racism — in a society that prizes freedom of speech? Award winning filmmaker and cinematographer Ferne Pearlstein joins us to address these issues in the context of her 2016 documentary The Last Laugh (a film that offers fresh insights with an intimate portrayal of Auschwitz survivor Renee Firestone alongside interviews with influential comedians and thinkers ranging from Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Jeff Ross (Comedy Central Roast Battle), Larry Charles (director of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Borat), and Gilbert Gottfried, to authors Etgar Keret and Shalom Auslander, plus Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League). In our discussion, we will encourage audience participation to examine the uncomfortable questions that are more relevant than ever at a time when anti-semitism, racism, and hate speech are on the rise and even feel “normalized.”

    Ferne Pearlstein is a prize-winning filmmaker and cinematographer whose work has been screened and broadcast around the world. A distinguished member of the documentary branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a 2018 inductee into the Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame, Ferne has postgraduate degrees in documentary from Stanford University and the International Center of Photography, and as a cinematographer, she has shot films around the world, from Haiti, Uganda, Guyana to Burma where she snuck her 16mm camera into the rebel bases of the Karen Liberation Army. In 2004, she won the Sundance Cinematography Prize and is one of only a few women in Kodak’s “On Film” campaign. Ferne has had 4 films premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival including her most recent feature, THE LAST LAUGH, which was released in over 25 cities, broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens, after screening at over 100 film festivals worldwide. As a result, she has become a recognized speaker on humor and the Holocaust, and has now been called upon to discuss humor as it relates to Covid-19. Most recently, Ferne was selected as one of eight documentary filmmakers from around the globe by the UN and Google to do a series of PSAs that were set to premiere at Tribeca and Cannes Lyon 2020.

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  21. Topic: The Significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls for Judaism and Christianity
    Speaker: Adolfo Roitman

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    Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, these ancient Jewish manuscripts have attracted the attention from scholars and general public. The discovery of the scrolls was a dramatic turning point in the study of ancient Jewish history, because for the first time, we are in possession of a large and diverse literary corpus (biblical, para-biblical and non-biblical manuscripts), of generally good quality, from the end of the Hellenistic-Roman times. This original literary treasure trove not only sheds light on the nature of Jewish society in the Land of Israel in the Second Temple period –including its literature, ritual, and thought—but on the beginnings of Rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity as well. The lecture will be an introduction to the fascinating world of the Dead Sea Scrolls, summarizing the story of their discovery and explaining their significance for scholarly world. In preparation for this program, we recommend watching the following: The Great Isaiah Scroll, The War Scroll, and The Community Scroll. If you are joining us on our CSP Israel trip in October 2021, you just might have a chance to meet with Dr. Roitman in person at the Shrine of the Book!

    Dr. Adolfo Roitman is the curator of the Shrine of the Book, which houses the remarkable Dead Sea Scrolls collection at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, one of the world’s leading archaeological museums.Dr. Roitman lectures widely on early Jewish literature, the history and significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls and biblical interpretation. He has also served as a visiting scholar at universities across the United States, Canada, Central and South America, Europe and the Far East. Dr. Roitman is the author of numerous books about the Dead Sea Scrolls including The Sectarians from Qumran: Daily Life of the Essenes and A Day at Qumran: The Dead Sea Sect and Its Scrolls

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  22. Topic: MY ISRAEL STORY
    Speaker: Mishy Harman

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    In his talk, “My Israel Story,” Mishy Harman explores the power of storytelling as a tool for creating engagement with, and interest in, Israel. He introduces audiences to the show, discusses its origins, the reasons behind its creation, and its overarching mission. By playing clips from many different stories and episodes, Harman takes the audience on a heartfelt, and often hilarious, journey throughout the Israel he has come to discover while working on this project for the last nine years. Harman poses questions such as “What is Israel’s Story?” “Does such a thing even exist?” And, if so, “How does one go about telling it”? He has spoken on more than two hundred stages in recent years, and regaled audiences with tales of a surprisingly nuanced country.

    Mishy Harman is the host and co-founder of Israel Story, Israel’s leading podcast and national storytelling radio show. He’s a curly-haired Jerusalemite, who stumbled upon radio by chance. Following his military service in the IDF, he did his undergrad at Harvard, where he received a B.A. in history and wrote a senior thesis about the Falash Mura in Ethiopia. He was then awarded the Harvard-Cambridge Scholarship to do an MPhil at Cambridge University (UK), where he ‘read’ archeology and researched the origins of the pig prohibition and the ethnogenesis of Judaism. After seven long years abroad, he returned home and completed his PhD – a biography of the first Protestant missionary in Ethiopia – at the Hebrew University. Mishy is an active social entrepreneur. Right after college he founded a Boston-based social networking startup, that had projects in many countries around the world. He has taught at Harvard and lectured around the world. He is the man behind Israel Story, which now has hundreds of thousands of listeners in 192 countries around the world. He currently lives in Somerville, MA, with his wife Federica and their two dogs, Nomi and Golda

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  23. Topic: Another Momentous Year: Annual Supreme Court Review
    Speaker: Dean Erwin Chemerinsky

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    Abortion Rights, DACA, Free Exercise of Religion, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Rights, Presidential Power – no U.S. Supreme Court term in recent memory has had more blockbuster cases on the docket than this one. Join us as Dean Chemerinsky takes us through an amazing year of cases decided by the Roberts Court and tells us what to expect in the coming term.

    Erwin Chemerinsky became the 13th Dean of Berkeley Law on July 1, 2017, when he joined the faculty as the Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law. Prior to assuming this position, from 2008-2017, he was the founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, at University of California, Irvine School of Law, with a joint appointment in Political Science. Before that he was the Alston and Bird Professor of Law and Political Science at Duke University from 2004-2008, and from 1983-2004 was a professor at the University of Southern California Law School, including as the Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics, and Political Science. He also has taught at DePaul College of Law and UCLA Law School. He is the author of eleven books, including leading casebooks and treatises about constitutional law, criminal procedure, and federal jurisdiction. His most recent books are, We the People: A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the Twenty-First Century (Picador Macmillan) published in November 2018, and two books published by Yale University Press in 2017, Closing the Courthouse Doors: How Your Constitutional Rights Became Unenforceable and Free Speech on Campus (with Howard Gillman). He also is the author of more than 200 law review articles. He writes a regular column for the Sacramento Bee, monthly columns for the ABA Journal and the Daily Journal, and frequent op-eds in newspapers across the country. He frequently argues appellate cases, including in the United States Supreme Court. In 2016, he was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2017, National Jurist magazine again named Dean Chemerinsky as the most influential person in legal education in the United States.

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  24. Topic: ELLIS ISLAND: The Dream of America
    Speaker: Peter Boyer

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    Join us for a special CSP Independence Day weekend discussion with composer Peter Boyer focused on his Grammy-nominated contemporary classical work “Ellis Island: The Dream of America,” to be broadcast nationally on Friday, July 3 at 9:00 pm PDT on PBS SoCal (check local listings). Commissioned by The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts to celebrate the inaugural season of its Belding Theater, “Ellis Island: The Dream of America” celebrates the historic American immigrant experience and the American dream. Innovative in its format, the work brings elements of the theater and multimedia into the concert hall, employing actors and projected historical images from the Ellis Island archives. The spoken texts for the work come from the Ellis Island Oral History Project, an historic collection of interviews with actual immigrants about their experiences emigrating to America. After extensive research in this archive, Boyer chose the stories of seven immigrants who came to America through Ellis Island from disparate nations between 1910-1940. He fashioned short monologues from the actual words of these immigrants and wove them into an orchestral tapestry which frames and comments on their stories—by turns poignant, humorous, moving, and inspiring. The work concludes with a reading of the Emma Lazarus poem The New Colossus (“Give me your tired, your poor…”), providing an emotionally powerful ending to this celebration of our nation of immigrants. Since its 2002 premiere, Ellis Island has gone on to enjoy tremendous success, becoming one of the most performed American orchestral works of the last 15 years. The work has received over 200 live performances by more than 100 different orchestras, an exceptionally rare milestone for a contemporary orchestral work. More than 300,000 people have experienced the work live, and its performances regularly have been met with standing ovations.

    GRAMMY-nominated PETER BOYER is one of the most frequently performed American orchestral composers of his generation. His works have received over 500 public performances by nearly 200 orchestras, and thousands of broadcasts by classical radio stations around the United States and abroad. He has conducted recordings of his music with three of the world’s finest orchestras: the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

    Boyer’s recording of Ellis Island on the Naxos American Classics label was nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. In 2017, Ellis Island was filmed live in concert with the Pacific Symphony, conductor Carl St.Clair, and a cast of stage and screen actors for PBS’ GREAT PERFORMANCES, America’s preeminent performing arts television series.

    Boyer has received commissions from several of the most prestigious American institutions and ensembles, including the Kennedy Center for the National Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra for the Boston Pops, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for the Cincinnati Pops, the Pacific Symphony, and “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. Other orchestras which have performed his music include the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Houston Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, and Phoenix Symphony.

    His music has been performed in such venues as New York’s Carnegie Hall (seven different works, two premieres) and The Juilliard School at Lincoln Center, Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center and the U.S. Capitol, Los Angeles’s Hollywood Bowl and Royce Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, the Tanglewood Music Center, Cleveland’s Severance Hall, Dallas’s Meyerson Symphony Center, Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall, Cincinnati’s Music Hall, and Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Concert Hall; and has been recorded in London’s Abbey Road Studios (two albums) and AIR Studios.

    Boyer was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1970, and began composing at the age of 15. His first major composition was a large-scale Requiem Mass in memory of his grandmother, composed while only a teenager. He was named to the first All-USA College Academic Team, comprised of “the 20 best and brightest college students in the nation,” by USA TODAY in 1990. Boyer holds degrees from Rhode Island College (B.A.), which awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2004, and The Hartt School at the University of Hartford (M.M., D.M.A.), which named him Alumnus of the Year in 2002. He also studied privately with John Corigliano and completed the Film and Television Scoring program at the USC Thornton School of Music, where his teachers included the late Elmer Bernstein. Boyer holds the Helen M. Smith Chair in Music at Claremont Graduate University. He resides in Altadena, in the San Gabriel Foothills just north of Los Angeles.

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  25. Topic: Creating a Nation II, Part 1: French Jews
    Speaker: Paul Liptz

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    In the 1870s Algerian Jews immigrated to France, followed by Moroccans and Tunisians in the 1950s, thereby changing the nature of the wider community which, until then, had been Ashkenazi. The Vichy period and numerous anti-Jewish events over the years made Aliyah increasingly attractive for traditional Jews people who had earlier regarded Israel as an appealing holiday destination, while others moved to Britain and other western countries. For many, anti-Semitism was not the reason for them settling in Israel but rather the desire to be in an appealing Mediterranean country with Shabbat observance, kosher food and a vibrant culture

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  26. Topic: New Insights on the Archaeology of Jerusalem Based on Recent Excavations
    Speaker: Joe Uziel

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    For over 150 years, archaeologists have been working in Jerusalem’s ancient core, trying to piece together the puzzle of its past. With an array of historical sources mentioning and describing Jerusalem, and the archaeological data uncovered by past scholars and explorers, it would seem that the chronicles of Jerusalem have been set in stone. Yet, the opposite is true – there are still so many questions, gaps in understanding and debates regarding the history and its people. In our program, recent discoveries from excavations in ancient Jerusalem – the City of David and the area of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount – will be presented, focusing on what these remains contribute to the questions still left open and how we now see Jerusalem’s millennia-long history.

    Dr. Joe Uziel is an archaeologist at the Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem District, where he has excavated in the City of David, Davidson Center and Western Wall Tunnels. Joe completed his PhD at Bar Ilan University on the Middle Bronze Age in the southern Coastal Plain, and now focuses his research on the history and archaeology of Jerusalem, from its earliest urban establishment some 4000 years ago, and until late antiquity. Joe has advanced methods applied in the field, using new technologies in order to learn about Jerusalem’s ancient population through the application of new tools. Recent discoveries made by Joe and his teams in the field include buildings dating from the First Temple Period, the main street of Second Temple Jerusalem and a Roman theater-like structure, the first such building to be discovered in Jerusalem. Recently, Joe has taken the position of the head of the Dead Sea Scrolls Unit at the IAA.

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  27. Topic: Live From Zoomer Canyon I
    Speaker: Featuring Diwon and Joe Buchanan, with Jason Feddy

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    CSP 3-Part Summer Friday Music Series co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation and Merage Jewish Community Center, fully funded by a grant from the Albert and Rhoda Weissman Arts Endowment Fund, a joint program of Jewish Community Foundation Orange County and Jewish Federation.

    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 Diwon and Joe Buchanan (“synthpop meets country”), on Friday August 7th, our musical guests are Duvid Swirsky and Nefesh Mountain (“folk rock meets bluegrass”), and on Friday September 4th, we conclude our series with Josh Nelson and Chava Mirel (“modern Jumu meets spiritual J-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!

    Erez Safar – a.k.a. Diwon (pronounced dee-wan) – is an LA-based creative machine and gallerist producing video, music and art that pops in a world where popular styles have been left in a state of static. Safar is the founder and CEO of Bancs Media & Studio Bancs, an award winning production company & creative art space with expertise in branding, music production, websites, interactive design and commercials and the co-founder of Gallery 38 a creative art space and art gallery in Los Angeles which he curates with Badir McCleary of ArtAboveReality. Safar is also the founder of Shemspeed, an independent recording label and promotional agency devoted to producing and developing dynamic multicultural artists and interactive media and is the producer of the extremely successful annual Sephardic Music Festival in New York City and Los Angeles. Safar has been featured in countless publications and TV programs including the New York Times, BBC and CBS. His businesses have been profiled in Bloomberg Business Week, Time Magazine, and on NBC. As a producer, Safar has been dubbed a “buzzmaking beatsmith” by The DJ Booth, URB noted that “Diwon is something else…in a profound kind of way”. Safar is “producer as auteur as every track takes you through the emotional space of the artist, like Kanye or Godard.”

    Joe Buchanan: A Texas native, Joe makes Jewish Americana music. Grounded in the idea that there is always room at the table. Raised with one foot in Houston and one in the Texas Hill Country, Joe grew up swinging off ropes on the Frio River and spending time like any kid – trying to figure out what was what. The biggest question was about Gd and despite a deep belief in a creator, he couldn’t find much that he agreed with in what he was hearing. The struggle led to more struggles and he finally decided that he and Gd would sort it out later. Then one day, about 13 years into his marriage, Joe found out that his wife was Jewish. Now, with the discovery of his wife’s heritage, their family started down a path that would change everything. From the first class and a million questions to the mikvah and beyond, Judaism answered every spiritual question and brought an incredible amount of healing. Joe has toured the United States, leading an original Shabbat service, playing concerts, and giving a workshop called “Choosing to be Chosen” which is all around his conversion to Judaism and the reasons why so many are coming home. Combining elements of country, roots-rock, and folk, Joe’s music reaches deep to tell personal stories of struggle and triumph. His debut album, Unbroken, is filled with music that speaks to the incredible beauty of finding a home after a lifetime of searching.

    Jason Feddy was born and raised in Leeds, UK. He has worked as a singer/songwriter and guitarist ever since his school days, pausing only for 5 years as a morning jock on KX93.5, Laguna Beach, Ca’s local radio station. He is a central figure in the music scene of Laguna Beach, curating and producing the city’s “Sunset Serenades,” “World Music,” “Music in The Park” series’ of concerts and “The Stage at Forest Avenue Promenade”. His career has seen him open for Neil Young, Tears For Fears, The Cranberries, John Martyn, Christie Moore and Joe Cocker + many more, at venues such as The London Palladium, The Albert Hall and Glastonbury Festival. Jason is Cantor/Soloist (song leader) at Temple Isaiah of Newport Beach & Jewish Collaborative of OC.

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  28. Topic: GEMS of the Zohar Part 1
    Speaker: Prof. Daniel Matt

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    The Zohar is the masterpiece of Kabbalah, a vast mystical commentary on the Torah, composed in 13th-century Spain. In this 3-part series, we will explore some of the Zohar’s striking ideas, including Ein Sof (God as Infinity), the ten sefirot (aspects of God’s personality), Ayin (mystical nothingness, or no-thingness), Shekhinah (the feminine aspect of God), the mystical meaning of Torah, and God’s need for us. In each session, we will explore passages from the Zohar, translated by Daniel Matt (in The Zohar: Pritzker Edition), supplemented by other material.

    Daniel C. Matt is a teacher of Jewish spirituality and one of the world’s leading authorities on Kabbalah and the Zohar. He has been featured in Time and Newsweek and has appeared on National Public Radio and the History Channel. He has published over a dozen books, including The Essential Kabbalah (translated into eight languages), Zohar: Annotated and Explained, and God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony between Science and Spirituality (revised edition, 2016). Several years ago, Daniel completed an 18-year project of translating and annotating the Zohar. In 2016, Stanford University Press published his ninth volume of The Zohar: Pritzker Edition, concluding the Zohar’s main commentary on the Torah. For this work, Daniel has been honored with a National Jewish Book Award and a Koret Jewish Book Award. The Koret award hailed his translation as “a monumental contribution to the history of Jewish thought.” Daniel received his Ph.D. from Brandeis University and for twenty years served as professor at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He has also taught at Stanford University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Daniel lives in Berkeley with his wife Hana. Currently he is writing a biography of Elijah the Prophet for the Yale Jewish Lives series. He also teaches Zohar online. For information about this ongoing Zohar course, see the website of Stanford University Press: https://www.sup.org/zohar/course

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  29. Topic: GEMS of the Zohar Part 2 of 3
    Speaker: Prof. Daniel Matt

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    The Zohar is the masterpiece of Kabbalah, a vast mystical commentary on the Torah, composed in 13th-century Spain. In this 3-part series, we will explore some of the Zohar’s striking ideas, including Ein Sof (God as Infinity), the ten sefirot (aspects of God’s personality), Ayin (mystical nothingness, or no-thingness), Shekhinah (the feminine aspect of God), the mystical meaning of Torah, and God’s need for us. In each session, we will explore passages from the Zohar, translated by Daniel Matt (in The Zohar: Pritzker Edition), supplemented by other material. Handout materials for this series can be downloaded using this LINK. A recording of the first session on our CSP YouTube Channel can be downloaded and enjoyed at this link.

    Daniel C. Matt is a teacher of Jewish spirituality and one of the world’s leading authorities on Kabbalah and the Zohar. He has been featured in Time and Newsweek and has appeared on National Public Radio and the History Channel. He has published over a dozen books, including The Essential Kabbalah (translated into eight languages), Zohar: Annotated and Explained, and God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony between Science and Spirituality (revised edition, 2016). Several years ago, Daniel completed an 18-year project of translating and annotating the Zohar. In 2016, Stanford University Press published his ninth volume of The Zohar: Pritzker Edition, concluding the Zohar’s main commentary on the Torah. For this work, Daniel has been honored with a National Jewish Book Award and a Koret Jewish Book Award. The Koret award hailed his translation as “a monumental contribution to the history of Jewish thought.” Daniel received his Ph.D. from Brandeis University and for twenty years served as professor at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He has also taught at Stanford University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Daniel lives in Berkeley with his wife Hana. Currently he is writing a biography of Elijah the Prophet for the Yale Jewish Lives series. He also teaches Zohar online. For information about this ongoing Zohar course, see the website of Stanford University Press: https://www.sup.org/zohar/course

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  30. Topic: Creating a Nation II, Part 2: Latin American Jews
    Speaker: Paul Liptz

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    In the 1870s Algerian Jews immigrated to France, followed by Moroccans and Tunisians in the 1950s, thereby changing the nature of the wider community which, until then, had been Ashkenazi. The Vichy period and numerous anti-Jewish events over the years made Aliyah increasingly attractive for traditional Jews people who had earlier regarded Israel as an appealing holiday destination, while others moved to Britain and other western countries. For many, anti-Semitism was not the reason for them settling in Israel but rather the desire to be in an appealing Mediterranean country with Shabbat observance, kosher food and a vibrant culture. Lecture handouts are available at this LINK. To view this lecture, please visit this link on our CSP YouTube Channel.

    Paul Liptz, a social historian and CSP’s recent 19th Annual One Month Scholar in Residence, was on the Tel Aviv University faculty for 40 years, teaching graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of Middle East and African History and the International School, where he dealt with a wide range of topics. His main interests are History of the Yishuv [Pre-State], the Modern State of Israel and Arab Women and Nationalism in the Middle East. He taught graduate students at the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem as well as at the Conservative movement seminary for 25 years, dealing with modern Jewish history, Israeli society and the contemporary Middle East. In the Israeli army reserves, he lectured officers and non-commissioned officers on non-military realms. He is still active in Israel and is involved in various academic and educational fields. In the last few decades, he has travelled the world extensively, lecturing and conducting workshops in some twenty countries. He has also been a visiting scholar with many American groups in Central and Eastern Europe. Paul was born in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and came as a volunteer to Israel one day before the Six Day War on June 4, 1967. He decided to stay in Israel, married Brenda and they have 4 children and 11 grandchildren.

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  31. Topic: Gems of the Zohar Part 3
    Speaker: Prof. Daniel Matt

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    3-Part On-Line Series
    with Prof. Daniel Matt, live from Berkeley, California
    co-sponsored by Congregation B’nai Israel of Tustin, CA

    The Zohar is the masterpiece of Kabbalah, a vast mystical commentary on the Torah, composed in 13th-century Spain. In this 3-part series, we will explore some of the Zohar’s striking ideas, including Ein Sof (God as Infinity), the ten sefirot (aspects of God’s personality), Ayin (mystical nothingness, or no-thingness), Shekhinah (the feminine aspect of God), the mystical meaning of Torah, and God’s need for us. In each session, we will explore passages from the Zohar, translated by Daniel Matt (in The Zohar: Pritzker Edition), supplemented by other material. Handout materials for this series can be downloaded using this LINK. A recording of the first session on our CSP YouTube Channel can be downloaded and enjoyed at this link and a recording of the second session can be enjoyed at this link2.

    Daniel C. Matt is a teacher of Jewish spirituality and one of the world’s leading authorities on Kabbalah and the Zohar. He has been featured in Time and Newsweek and has appeared on National Public Radio and the History Channel. He has published over a dozen books, including The Essential Kabbalah (translated into eight languages), Zohar: Annotated and Explained, and God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony between Science and Spirituality (revised edition, 2016). Several years ago, Daniel completed an 18-year project of translating and annotating the Zohar. In 2016, Stanford University Press published his ninth volume of The Zohar: Pritzker Edition, concluding the Zohar’s main commentary on the Torah. For this work, Daniel has been honored with a National Jewish Book Award and a Koret Jewish Book Award. The Koret award hailed his translation as “a monumental contribution to the history of Jewish thought.” Daniel received his Ph.D. from Brandeis University and for twenty years served as professor at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He has also taught at Stanford University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Daniel lives in Berkeley with his wife Hana. Currently he is writing a biography of Elijah the Prophet for the Yale Jewish Lives series. He also teaches Zohar online. For information about this ongoing Zohar course, see the website of Stanford University Press: https://www.sup.org/zohar/course

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  32. Topic: Creating a Nation II, Part 3 (Jews From India)
    Speaker: Paul Liptz

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    While many Jewish communities are complex, it seems that Indian Jewry gets the prize. Made up of several different groups, the session will concentrate on the 3 that immigrated to Israel, the Baghdadis, Bnei Israel and Bnei Menashe. India was tolerant towards the tiny Jewish communities, but tensions existed between the factions themselves and the question of “Who is a Jew” extended to struggles in Israel until 1964 for the Bnei Israel and much later for the Bnei Menashe if they converted.

    Paul Liptz, a social historian and CSP’s recent 19th Annual One Month Scholar in Residence, was on the Tel Aviv University faculty for 40 years, teaching graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of Middle East and African History and the International School, where he dealt with a wide range of topics. His main interests are History of the Yishuv [Pre-State], the Modern State of Israel and Arab Women and Nationalism in the Middle East. He taught graduate students at the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem as well as at the Conservative movement seminary for 25 years, dealing with modern Jewish history, Israeli society and the contemporary Middle East. In the Israeli army reserves, he lectured officers and non-commissioned officers on non-military realms. He is still active in Israel and is involved in various academic and educational fields. In the last few decades, he has travelled the world extensively, lecturing and conducting workshops in some twenty countries. He has also been a visiting scholar with many American groups in Central and Eastern Europe. Paul was born in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and came as a volunteer to Israel one day before the Six Day War on June 4, 1967. He decided to stay in Israel, married Brenda and they have 4 children and 11 grandchildren.

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  33. Topic: DEALING WITH CRISIS: Learning from Jewish History
    Speaker: Clive Lawton

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    Jews have suffered more than our fair share of crises, but then we’ve been around longer than most. But how have we responded to disaster and challenges? Have we hunkered down and tried to just keep things going till it’s over? Should we radically review what we do and start doing things differently or, once it’s all over, get back to the same old ways again? Are there things that are essential to Jews that we can’t do without? And if there are, what are they?

    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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  34. Topic: The Challenge of Translating the Bible
    Speaker: Robert Alter

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    Robert Alter published The Art of Biblical Narrative in 1981—a seismic moment in the history of interpreting the Hebrew Bible. Literary analysis of scripture in the academy took off like never before. Alter’s work showed that biblical authors were not mere primitive scribblers; they were “among the pioneers of prose fiction in the Western tradition” in matters of narrative, character, organization, and so much more. Using the tools of literary criticism, Alter has helped countless readers find countless treasures in these ancient texts. For nearly a quarter of a century, Alter worked on his own translation of the Hebrew Bible, which was published last year in three volumes of over 3,000 pages. In this special guest lecture, Alter discusses the challenges of translating scripture today.

    Robert Alter is Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkeley, where he has taught since 1967. He has written widely on the European novel from the eighteenth century to the present, on contemporary American fiction, and on modern Hebrew literature. He is especially well-known for having written extensively on literary aspects of the Bible. His twenty-two published books include two prize-winning volumes on biblical narrative and poetry and award-winning translations of Genesis and of the Five Books of Moses. In 2019 he published The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary.

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