Previous Online Events

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 yellow/green links below. To learn more about each event click on the more… links under each listing. Then sit back, and enjoy!
 
  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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  • CSP Tales from the Talmud Series
    Topic: Strangers in Strange Lands: Tales of Traveling Rabbis
    Speaker: Gila Fine, live from Jerusalem, Israel
    Dedicated in honor of: Andy Elster

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

    How does a journey into the future destroy the most celebrated miracle-worker of his time? Who was the rabbi whose immigration to Babylon ended in cruel humiliation? And why does a student swear to seven years of silence before traveling to Israel? The Talmud is riddled with travel narratives, stories of rabbis who journey through space – and time – in search of Torah. Leaving their former lives behind, these once-revered leaders set out into the unknown, disoriented in unfamiliar territory, disparaged by unfriendly locals. This course looks at a number of such narratives; subjecting each story to close literary analysis, and reading it in light of related intertexts (from the Jewish and Western canon), we will explore the trials and tribulations of the traveling rabbis, and the lessons they must learn before they can arrive at their destination.

    Gila Fine is editor in chief of Maggid Books (Koren Publishers Jerusalem). She is also a teacher of Aggada, exploring the tales of the Talmud through philosophy, literary criticism, psychoanalysis, and pop-culture. Gila is a faculty member of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and the Nachshon Project and has taught thousands of students at conferences, community centers, and synagogues across the Jewish world. Haaretz has called her “a young woman on her way to becoming one of the more outstanding Jewish thinkers of the next generation.”

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  • CSP Israel Event
    Topic: Valley of Tears
    Speaker: Ron Leshem, live from Boston, MA
    Dedicated in honor of: Ora and Alvin Wolf

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

    Join us on Sunday February 21, 2021 at 4:00 p.m.PST (7:00 p.m. EST) for a conversation with screenwriter and author Ron Leshem, creator of the HBO Max series “Valley of Tears,” the new series shaking Israeli society. Inspired by true events, “Valley of Tears” is a 10-part miniseries depicting the Yom Kippur War through the eyes of young combatants. It tells four emotional and highly personal stories of individuals swept away from their loved ones by the ravages of war, four parallel plotlines, intertwined together into one climactic battle. The series received accolades for its innovation in recreating battle scenes and holds the record for highest budget for any TV show produced in Israel to date. “Our main dream was to go back and create this show which is not only about a war that changed the Middle East — it changed the Israeli society,” says Leshem. “For us, this show is kind of a national reckoning for the Israeli society. And it’s a story that has never been told. The U.S. culture is constantly working on its Vietnam War. But we in Israel never had a single series dealing with our biggest trauma.”

    Ron Leshem is a renowned screenwriter, TV producer, and author. He was co-creator of the Israeli TV show Euphoria, which was adapted to HBO, and of which Leshem is co-executive producer, and was also writer and co-creator for the Hulu series No Man’s Land, a drama series which takes place in the midst of the recent civil war in Syria, involving ISIS and the Kurds. Leshem is also the screenwriter of the film Incitement, about the 1995 assassination of Israel’s Prime Minister Yizhak Rabin by Yigal Amir. The film, told from the point of view of the killer, portrays what Amir saw and heard in the two years leading to the tragic day in 1995. Prior to moving to the U.S. Leshem was head of content and programming for Keshet, one of Israel’s main commercial TV network. He was a producer of the successful Israeli TV show “Chatufim”, which later was adapted into the hit TV show “Homeland”. Leshem was also executive producer of NBC’s TV drama “Allegiance”. As an author, Leshem won the Sapir Prize, Israel’s top literary award, for his novel Beaufort, which was on Israel’s bestsellers list for two years. The book was adapted into a film by the same name (coauthored by Leshem), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Beaufort also won the Berlin International Film Festival Silver Bear for Best Director. Leshem’s second book, The Underground Bazaar, is a richly imagined novel, set in modern-day Teheran. At times appalling, at times funny, this is a tale of love, friendship, and repression. The novel moves between euphoria and paranoia, taking the reader to the black market of Teheran, where one can buy everything that is illicit, to the public squares where adulterous women are executed. Ron currently lives in the states and splits his time between Boston and Los Angeles.

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  • CSP Virtual Tour Event
    Topic: Virtual Walking Tour of Vilna Yerushalyaim de Lita
    Speaker: Daniel Gurevich, live from Lithuania
    Dedicated in honor of: Marcia and Marshall Margolis

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

    Join us on Monday February 22, 2021 for a virtual walking tour of Vilnius with local guide Daniel Gurevich (Daniel was our CSP guide when we visited Lithuania in July 2019). Vilnius, Lithuania’s largest city and capital, has been known by many names over its long and remarkable history, including, most famously for Jews, as Vilna. We will explore the story of Jewish life, thought and culture in Vilnius. We’ll discuss its renowned yeshivot (advanced religious schools) that developed a highly intellectual method of Talmudic study that still influences Jewish life and learning. We’ll also see how Vilnius had, by the early twentieth century, developed into a powerhouse of modern Jewish culture, literature and institutions.

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  • CSP Pre-Purim Event
    Topic: A Pre-Purim Persian Tour of the British Museum
    Speaker: Rabbi Dr. Raphael Zarum, live from the UK
    Dedicated in honor of: Barry Klatzker

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

    Would you like to see Achashverosh on his throne, the layout of his palace in Shushan and range of his riches? Weaving ancient Greek sources, archaeological discoveries and rabbinic sources, this tour reveals the Persian politics behind the Purim story and will give you original insights into the intrigue and excesses related in the Megillah of Esther. You will never look at Purim in the same way again. Rabbi Zarum has decades of experience as a museum guide. His research, style and enthusiasm are sure to make this an unforgettable experience.

    Rabbi Dr. Zarum is Dean of the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS). He has a doctorate in Theoretical Physics, a Masters’ in Education, and is a graduate of the Mandel Leadership School in Jerusalem. Raphael is a sought-after lecturer with wildly innovative and meaningful readings of Torah, Midrash, Talmud and the Jewish festivals that reference modern literature, cinema and culture.

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  • Topic: If I sing: Relections on PSALM 101
    Speaker: Rabbi Elie Spitz and David Lang

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    You have suffered a loss. You are grateful to God. You rage, you plead, you express your love. You are a sinner, a mourner, a citizen, alive. There is a psalm for most every experience in the handbook of humanity. And through a monumental 2017 program at Lincoln Center, “The Psalms Experience,” audiences sampled that range as expressed by an astonishing variety of voices. The 12-concert series featured settings of all 150 psalms, each by a different composer, performed by some of the most accomplished choirs in the world. David Lang, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer of “The Little Match Girl Passion” and co-founder of the contemporary classical music organization Bang on a Can, was commissioned to compose a psalm setting for “The Psalms Experience.” He chose Psalm 101 and composed “if i sing”, which was performed in concert featuring psalms on the theme of justice. Join us on Wednesday February 17th at 12:30 PM as we first study Psalm 101 with Rabbi Elie Spitz and then enjoy a conversation with composer David Lang about the Psalm and his musical composition. Rabbi Spitz has spent COVID quarantine teaching the Psalms with half-hour presentations for each Psalm (now up to 101), which is accessible at http://www.cbi18.org.

    In the words of The New Yorker, “With his winning of the Pulitzer Prize for the little match girl passion (one of the most original and moving scores of recent years), Lang, once a post-minimalist enfant terrible, has solidified his standing as an American master.” Lang’s score for Paolo Sorrentino’s film “Youth” received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations, among others. Other recent work includes “man made,” a concerto for Sō Percussion and orchestra, co-commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony; his opera “anatomy theater,” written in collaboration with visual artist Mark Dion, at Los Angeles Opera; “the public domain,” a commission from Lincoln Center for 1000 amateur singers; and his opera “the loser,” based on the novel by Thomas Bernhard, which opened the 2016 Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and for which Lang served as librettist, composer, and stage director. His opera “prisoner of the state,” co-commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Rotterdam’s de Doelen Concert Hall, London’s Barbican Centre, Barcelona’s l’Auditori, Bochum Symphony Orchestra, and Bruges’s Concertgebouw, will premiere June 6-8, 2019 in New York, conducted by Jaap van Zweden. Lang is a Professor of Music Composition at the Yale School of Music and is Artist in Residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He is co-founder and co-artistic director of New York’s legendary music festival Bang on a Can Sent from my iPhone.

    Rabbi Elie Kaplan Spitz approaches the familiar in unfamiliar ways. A spiritual leader and scholar specializing in topics of spirituality and Judaism, he teaches, writes and speaks to a wide range of audiences. He has served as the rabbi of Congregation B’nai Israel in Tustin, California, for almost three decades and is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly Committee on Law and Standards. Rabbi Spitz is author of Healing from Despair: Choosing Wholeness in a Broken World; Does the Soul Survive? A Jewish Journey to Belief in Afterlife, Past Lives & Living with Purpose and Increasing Wholeness: Jewish Wisdom and Guided Meditations to Strengthen and Calm Body, Heart, Mind and Spirit (all Jewish Lights) and many articles dealing with spirituality and Jewish law.

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  • CSP Met Event
    Topic: Treasure Hunt: Ashkenaz Heritage in The Met
    Speaker: Barbara Drake Boehm, live from Manhattan, NY
    Dedicated in honor of: Beth and Michael Adler

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

    Join us as we explore Ashkenaz works in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection, how they were acquired, what they tell us about Jewish artistic heritage, and what is missing from the collection. Throughout her career, Boehm has seen evidence of Jewish heritage erased from the map, although not always this literally. Working on the 2005 Met exhibit, “Prague, The Crown of Bohemia, 1347–1437,” Barbara “was determined that in the exhibit there would be a section talking about Jewish life in Prague during the medieval period.” “What can we do at this late date, with so much destruction — how do you put this important material on everybody’s radar? To me as an art historian this is Jewish heritage, but it is also part of the world’s great artistic heritage, for everyone to see.”

    Barbara Drake Boehm is the Paul and Jill Ruddock Senior Curator for The Met Cloisters, where, in 2019, she organized its first exhibition to focus on Jewish artistic heritage, The Colmar Treasure: A Medieval Jewish Legacy. In 2016, Dr. Boehm served as co-curator of the exhibition Jerusalem 1000–1400: Every People Under Heaven, which garnered the Alfred H. Barr Junior award for the best exhibition catalogue of the year and an Honorable Mention among Art Exhibitions from PROSE (American Publishers Awards for Professional & Scholarly Excellence). Prague: The Crown of Bohemia (2005), which won the George Wittenborn Award for its catalogue, was Barbara Boehm’s first exhibition to incorporate Jewish culture into the narrative of a medieval cultural capital. She was co-organizer of Medieval Jewish Art in Context (2011–12), featuring The Washington Haggadah, Lisbon’s Hebrew Bible and the Rylands Haggadah. Barbara Boehm publishes and lectures widely and regularly leads a program on Art and the Holy Land for St. George’s College, Jerusalem. A graduate of Wellesley College, Dr. Boehm earned her M.A. and Ph.D. at The Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She holds a Certificate in Jewish Art from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

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  • 15th Annual CSP Adult Retreat
    Topic: The Book of Esther in Art and Text
    Speaker: Dr. Erica Brown, live from Silver Spring, MD
    Dedicated in honor of: our CSP Patrons

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    The Book of Esther takes us to the heart of destiny moments: a beautiful but unlikely queen evolves into a Jewish leader. A wise and trusted Jewish courtier expands his platform of influence, and a vulnerable minority facing death becomes a powerful people in a land not their own. Join us as we explore and interpret some beautiful works of art on a perennially fascinating Jewish story. We will examine its key ancient texts to discuss contemporary themes of beauty, heroism, exile, politics and anti-Semitism. To join CSP as a Patron level member, please visit this LINK for more information.

    ABOUT DR. ERICA BROWN

    Dr. Erica Brown is the director of the Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership and an associate professor of curriculum and pedagogy at The George Washington University. Erica was a Jerusalem Fellow, is a faculty member of the Wexner Foundation, an Avi Chai Fellow and the recipient of the 2009 Covenant Award for her work in education. She is the author of twelve books on leadership, the Hebrew Bible and spirituality; her newest book is The Book of Esther: Power, Fate and Fragility in Exile (Koren). She has been published in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Tablet, First Things, and The Jewish Review of Books and wrote a monthly column for the New York Jewish Week. She has blogged for Psychology Today, Newsweek/Washington Post’s “On Faith” and JTA and tweeted on one page of Talmud study a day at DrEricaBrown.

    Erica enjoys conducting interviews and moderating panels to get to know writers, thinkers and opinion makers and has been called the “Terry Gross of the Jewish world.” She has interviewed former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, David Brooks, Jeffrey Goldberg, David Gregory, Moshe Halbertal, Shai Held, Leon Wieseltier, Yehuda Mersky, Ruth Messinger, Sarah Hurwitz, David Makovsky, Dennis Ross, Deborah Lipstadt and others.

    Erica has degrees from Yeshiva University, University of London, Harvard University and Baltimore Hebrew University. She previously served as the scholar-in-residence at both The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston and as the community scholar for the Jewish Center of New York. She currently serves as a community scholar for Congregation Etz Chaim in Livingston, NJ.

    Erica is also the author of Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet, Take Your Soul to Work: 365 Meditations on Every Day Leadership and Happier Endings: A Meditation on Life and Death (Simon and Schuster), which won both the Wilbur and Nautilus awards for spiritual writing. Her previous books include Inspired Jewish Leadership, a National Jewish Book Award finalist, Spiritual Boredom, Confronting Scandal and she co-authored The Case for Jewish Peoplehood (All Jewish Lights). She also wrote Seder Talk: A Conversational Haggada, Leadership in the Wilderness, In the Narrow Places and Return: Daily Inspiration for the Days of Awe (All OU/Koren).

    ABOUT DEBORAH SACKS MINTZ

    A transformative prayer leader and musician, Deborah Sacks Mintz has served innovative institutions around the country as a teacher of Torah and communal Jewish music. As the Community Singing Consultant of Hadar’s Rising Song Institute, Deborah serves as a resource to those seeking to cultivate the grassroots musical and spiritual creativity of the Jewish people. In addition to composing new Jewish music, Deborah can be found regularly performing and recording with a myriad of musicians and ensembles. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, Deborah is pursuing rabbinical ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

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  • CSP Genealogy Event
    Topic: The Wedding Photo: Genealogy Puzzles Discovered and Solved
    Speaker: Dr. Dan Oren, live from New Haven, CT
    Dedicated in honor of: Shiffy and Avi Crane

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

    A visit to an abandoned Polish Jewish cemetery in 1993 launched Dan Oren on a 20-year search to solve the mystery of “Who is Buried in Sarah’s Tomb?” A visit with a cousin unearths a breathtaking photo of a Berlin family wedding from 1926 and leads to discovering their unimaginable post-wedding history. In this talk, Dr. Dan Oren will share these stories and others along with the research strategies he used to unearth and untangle genealogical puzzles.

    Dr. Dan Oren has spent the past 30 years as a psychiatrist and faculty member at Yale University. He has also been a Visiting Professor of Physiology at the University of Rzeszów, Poland. Dr. Oren has authored The Wedding Photo, Joining The Club: A History of Jews and Yale, and How to Beat Jet Lag. He is president of The Friends of Jewish Heritage in Poland jewishheritagepoland.org.

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  • CSP Jewish Language Event
    Topic: Do American Jews Speak a Jewish Language?
    Speaker: Prof. Sarah Bunin Benor, live from Los Angeles, CA
    Dedicated in honor of: Ethel and Marty Taft

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

    Yiddish, Ladino, Judeo-Arabic, and – Jewish English? Is it possible that Jews today continue the centuries-old tradition of speaking distinctly from their non-Jewish neighbors? This talk looks at several features common among Jewish languages of the past and discusses whether American Jews use them. From the tradition of translating biblical and rabbinic texts to the incorporation of Hebrew words, most of these features are common among religiously engaged American Jews. A major exception is the use of Hebrew letters to write the vernacular. Through analysis of language, we can gain a better understanding of contemporary American Jews and how they compare to Jewish communities of the past.

    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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  • CSP Author Event
    Topic: War of Shadows: Codebreakers, Spies, and the Secret Struggle to Drive the Nazis from the Middle East
    Speaker: Gershom Gorenberg, live from Jerusalem, Israel
    Dedicated in honor of: Sherri Krause

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

    Gershom Gorenberg joins us live from Jerusalem to discuss the topic of his latest book, War of Shadows: Codebreakers, Spies, and the Secret Struggle to Drive the Nazis from the Middle East. At the center of Gorenberg’s true-life espionage thriller—which has lessons for today’s intelligence and cybersecurity—are the codebreakers at Bletchley Park, who cracked the Nazis’ “unbreakable” Enigma cipher and foiled Rommel’s bid to conquer the Middle East.

    Gershom Gorenberg is a historian and journalist who has been covering Middle Eastern affairs for over 35 years. His latest book, War of Shadows, began with a conversation in Jerusalem that set off years of searching through archives, attics, streets in Cairo, Rome, London – endless days and nights of seeing facts unravel and new ones take shape in place of them, of following one lead to another to find someone who remembered the mysterious woman at Bletchley Park who discovered Rommel’s source in British headquarters – an obsessive hunt that led to the real story of how the Nazis came within an inch of conquering the Middle East. Gorenberg was previously the author of three critically acclaimed books – The Unmaking of Israel, The Accidental Empire, and The End of Days – and coauthor of Shalom, Friend: The Life and Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin, winner of the National Jewish Book Award. Gorenberg is a columnist for The Washington Post and a senior correspondent for The American Prospect. He has written for The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, the New York Review of Books, The New Republic, and in Hebrew for Ha’aretz. He will return to the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in 2021 to teach the workshop he created on writing history. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife, journalist Myra Noveck. They have three children – Yehonatan, Yasmin and Shir-Raz.

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  • Topic: Ruch Family – Rakishok Virtual Tour
    Speaker:

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    On Sunday February 7, 2021 over 120 Ruch family members from around the world (USA, South Africa, Canada, Israel and Australia), all descended from Leyba Ruch (born 1825) via 3 of his 6 sons (Reuven Fetta, Mikhel and Abraham Koppel), participated in a first of its kind Ruch online reunion and virtual tour of the Ruch family town of Rakishok (Rokiskis), Lithuania led by local Jewish guide Daniel Gurevich. May the Ruch family tree continue to grow and flourish.

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  • CSP Kabbalah Event
    Topic: Ages Upon Ages: Multiple Worlds and Historical Epochs in Medieval Kabbalah
    Speaker: Prof. Hartley Lachter, live from Bethlehem, PA
    Dedicated in honor of: Louise Sherby

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    Is there just one universe, or many? Does time have a single beginning and a single end, or are there many cycles of time? Medieval Jewish kabbalists held surprisingly complex views regarding the cyclical nature of time, the multiplicity of worlds, and how that can help explain the misfortunes of Jewish history. In this talk we will explore how their embrace of the idea of multiple worlds and historical cycles was used to explain Jewish historical experiences and provide hope for a better future.

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

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  • Topic: Ages Upon Ages: Multiple Worlds and Historical Epochs in Medieval Kabbalah
    Speaker: Hartley Lachter

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    Is there just one universe, or many? Does time have a single beginning and a single end, or are there many cycles of time? Medieval Jewish kabbalists held surprisingly complex views regarding the cyclical nature of time, the multiplicity of worlds, and how that can help explain the misfortunes of Jewish history. In this talk we will explore how their embrace of the idea of multiple worlds and historical cycles was used to explain Jewish historical experiences and provide hope for a better future.

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

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  • Topic: Judaism for the World: Reflections on God, Life, and Love (conversation with Rabbi Ed Feinstein)
    Speaker: Arthur Green
    Dedicated in honor of: Neil Izenberg

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

    Judaism, one of the world’s great spiritual traditions, is not addressed to Jews alone. In his most recent book, Rabbi Arthur Green calls out to seekers of all sorts, offering a universal response to the eternal human questions of who we are, why we exist, where we are going, and how to live. Drawing on over half a century as a Jewish seeker and teacher, he shows us a Judaism that cultivates the life of the spirit, that inspires an inward journey leading precisely toward self-transcendence, to an awareness of the universal Self in whose presence we exist. As a neo-hasidic seeker, he is both devotional and boldly questioning in his understanding of God and tradition. Engaging with the mystical sources, he translates the insights of the Hasidic masters into a new religious language accessible to all those eager to build an inner life and a human society that treasures the divine spark in each person and throughout Creation.

    Rabbi Arthur Green, PhD, is recognized as one of the world’s preeminent authorities on Jewish thought and spirituality. He is the Irving Brudnick professor of philosophy and religion at Hebrew College and rector of the Rabbinical School, which he founded in 2004. Professor emeritus at Brandeis University, he also taught at the University of Pennsylvania and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where he served as dean and president. Dr. Green is author of several books including Ehyeh: A Kabbalah for Tomorrow; Seek My Face: A Jewish Mystical Theology; Your Word Is Fire: The Hasidic Masters on Contemplative Prayer; and Tormented Master: The Life and Spiritual Quest of Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav (all Jewish Lights). He is also author of Radical Judaism (Yale University Press) and co-editor of Speaking Torah: Spiritual Teachings from around the Maggid’s Table. He is long associated with the Havurah movement and a neo-Hasidic approach to Judaism.

    Rabbi Ed Feinstein is senior rabbi of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California. He serves on the faculty of the Ziegler Rabbinical School of the American Jewish University, the Wexner Heritage Program, the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and lectures widely across the United States. He is the author of several books, including: Tough Questions Jews Ask – A Young Adult’s Guide to Building a Jewish Life, (Jewish Lights, 2003), was chosen for the American Library Association’s Top Ten Books on Religion for Young Readers and a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. Jews and Judaism in the Twenty-First Century: Human Responsibility, the Presence of God and the Future of the Covenant (Jewish Lights, 2007) was also a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, Capturing the Moon (Behrman House, 2008) retells the best of classic and modern Jewish folktales. Most recently, Chutzpah Imperative! – Empowering Today’s Jews for a Life that Matters (Jewish Lights, 2014), offers a new way to “do Judaism,” Rabbi urges us to recover this message of Jewish self-empowerment, or chutzpah, to reshape the world.

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  • Topic: CSP “Travel” Program: Jewish Calcutta Through Music and Memory: The Personal Story of a Baghdadi Jewish Family
    Speaker: Rahel Musleah, live from Long Island, NY
    Dedicated in honor of: Rabbi Stephen Einstein

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

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  • Topic: The Jewish Philip Roth in Cinema
    Speaker: Eric Goldman
    Dedicated in honor of: Eddie Kotkin

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

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

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

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  • Topic: CSP Artist Event
    FORMATION: Images of the Body
    Speaker:
    Dedicated in honor of: Rosalee Lubell

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

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

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

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  • Topic: CSP Poet/Author Program: Radiance: Living a Life of Meaning
    Speaker: Danny Siegel, live from New Jersey, US
    Underwritten by a grant from Aliza and Jay Masserman

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

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

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

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  • CSP 3-Part Master-Class: Convivencia: The Untold Story of Moroccan Jewish History
    Topic: The Remarkable Young Leadership of Morocco
    Speaker: Peter Geffen, live from Manhattan, NY
    Dedicated in honor of: Mary Kraft and Jeffrey Kaufman

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

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

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

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

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  • Topic: CSP Chanukah Event: Playlist Chanukah: A Journey into the Musical Imagination of Yale Strom
    Speaker: Yale Strom

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

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

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

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  • CSP 3-Part Master-Class: Convivencia: The Untold Story of Moroccan Jewish History
    Topic: Why Did Jews Leave Morocco if Things Were So Good?
    Speaker: Peter Geffen, live from Manhattan, NY
    Dedicated in honor of: Mary Kraft and Jeffrey Kaufman

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Topic: CSP Popular Podcaster Program: Judaism Unbound: A Deep Dive into Digital Judaism
    Speaker: Daniel Libenson, live from Hyde Park, Chicago
    Dedicated in honor of: Josh Friedman

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

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

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

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  • Topic: From Cruse of Oil to Rifle Stock: The Changing Image of the Hanukkah Menorah
    Speaker: Shalom Sabar
    Dedicated in honor of: Bobbi Cherry z”l

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

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

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

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  • Topic: CSP Award-Winning Writer Program: TVGoneJewy: TV’s Jewish Renaissance
    Speaker: Esther D. Kustanowitz, live from Los Angeles, CA
    Dedicated in honor of: Rabbi Adam Greenwald

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

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

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

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  • Topic: Revisiting the Jewish Bookshelf, Series II Part 10: 21st Century Interpretations
    Speaker: Rabbi Avi

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

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

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  • Topic: CSP Past-Life Event: Judaism and Reincarnation
    Speaker: Prof. Hartley Lachter, live from Bethlehem, PA
    Dedicated in honor of: Mimi Goldstein

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

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

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

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  • Topic: CSP Geniza Event: How the Arab Conquests Remade Judaism
    Speaker: Prof. Marina Rustow, live from Manhattan, NY
    Dedicated in honor of: Carol and Myron Kanofsky
    Handout Material: Islamic history timeline

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

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

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

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  • CSP 3-Part Master-Class: Convivencia: The Untold Story of Moroccan Jewish History
    Topic: The Moroccan Exception: The Jew in Morocco PT. #1
    Topic: The Moroccan Exception: The Jew in Morocco Pt. #2
    Speaker: Peter Geffen, live from Manhattan, NY
    Dedicated in honor of: Mary Kraft and Jeffrey Kaufman

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Topic: Revisiting the Jewish Bookshelf, Series II, Part 3 (20th Century Jewish Theologians)
    Speaker: Rabbi Avi Strausberg

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    In session three, we’ll explore revelation through key Jewish theologians like Rav Kook, Rabbi Arthur Green, and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

    In the first part of this course in September, we explored the world of Torah, Ancient Midrash, and Halakha, we now turn to the world of Mussar, Hasidut, Theology and Modern Interpretation. In the course of our study together, we will learn not only what these texts are and how they work but we’ll use them as an entryway into conversations about God, revelation, and the cultivation of personal holiness. In our first session, we’ll get to know some of the major thinkers and works of the Mussar movement, focusing on Jewish ethics and wisdom on how to attain personal holiness. Through key Mussar texts, we’ll explore the fine balance between humility and arrogance, as we attempt to apply these teachings to our own lives. For the remaining sessions, we’ll explore questions of revelation through a number of Jewish sources. We’ll ask: what is revelation, what was revealed at Sinai and what continues to be revealed, and what is our role in manifesting God’s Torah? Whether you’re new to Jewish learning or you come with more background, this course will offer you a deep dive into questions of revelation from a diverse sampling of different major Jewish thinkers.

    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: Revisiting the Jewish Bookshelf, Series II, Part 4, Modern Feminist Theology
    Speaker: Rabbi Avi Strausberg

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    In session four, we’ll specifically focus on Jewish feminist theologians like Dr. Judith Plaskow, Tamar Ross, and Dr. Rachel Adler, as we ask what is feminism and what is uniquely feminist about their theologies of revelation.

    In the first part of this course in September, we explored the world of Torah, Ancient Midrash, and Halakha, we now turn to the world of Mussar, Hasidut, Theology and Modern Interpretation. In the course of our study together, we will learn not only what these texts are and how they work but we’ll use them as an entryway into conversations about God, revelation, and the cultivation of personal holiness. In our first session, we’ll get to know some of the major thinkers and works of the Mussar movement, focusing on Jewish ethics and wisdom on how to attain personal holiness. Through key Mussar texts, we’ll explore the fine balance between humility and arrogance, as we attempt to apply these teachings to our own lives. For the remaining sessions, we’ll explore questions of revelation through a number of Jewish sources. We’ll ask: what is revelation, what was revealed at Sinai and what continues to be revealed, and what is our role in manifesting God’s Torah? Whether you’re new to Jewish learning or you come with more background, this course will offer you a deep dive into questions of revelation from a diverse sampling of different major Jewish thinkers.

    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 Art History Program: Theresa Bernstein and Portrayals of Early Twentieth Century Immigrant Life in New York
    Speaker: Liz Diament, live from Silver Spring, MD
    Dedicated in honor of: Sharon Chase (CSP artist and donor)

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

    The focus of our interactive session will be an exploration of the early work of the artist Theresa Bernstein, possibly the only artist to have made and exhibited art in every decade of the twentieth century. Despite her initial success, Bernstein, born in Krakow in 1890, is an under-appreciated artist in the history of American modernism due to the barriers she faced as a female artist. She, together with the artist George Bellows, photographer Jacob Riis and novelist Upton Sinclair, will give us a window into the challenges faced by new immigrants in New York in the early twentieth century.

    Liz Diament is a senior educator at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC where she has managed and developed the docent education program for almost eighteen years. In addition, she manages the school tour and general public tour program. At the Gallery she is passionate about her work with teachers, helping them integrate art and critical thinking into the curriculum. A proud native of London, England, Liz graduated from Manchester University with an honors degree in Art History and a Masters’ Degree in Museum Education from Bank Street College of Education in New York. As a leader in the field of experiential museum education, Liz creates nationally acclaimed professional development workshops for teachers, both in person and on-line. She enjoys conducting interactive workshops exploring how Jewish texts, history and ideas can be interpreted and understood through the prism of works of art.

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  • Topic: CSP Israel Event: South African Jews and Their Relationship with Israel
    Speaker: Prof. Paul Liptz, live from Israel
    Dedicated in honor of: Bernice Watkin

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

    South African Jews regard themselves as one of the most Zionist communities in the world. As a minority within the South African white minority, they faced the challenges of apartheid and the realities of African independence. From a peak population of 120,000, there are 53,000 Jews now living in South Africa as a closely-knit community in Johannesburg and Cape Town, with about half of them having family members in Israel. Since 1948, over 23,000 have made aliyah and many have played an important role in Israel’s development. Join us on Sunday November 22nd, 2020 as we continue our exploration of sub-groups in Israeli society. For past programs in our “Creating a Nation” series with Prof. Liptz, visit this LINK on our CSP YouTube Channel (we have explored Jewish communities from Iraq, Morocco, India, Latin America, France, Ethiopia, Yemen, Russia and America).

    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. He taught graduate students at the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem. In the last few decades, he has travelled the world extensively, lecturing and conducting workshops in some twenty countries. Paul was born in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and came as a volunteer to Israel one day before the Six Day War on June 4, 1967.

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

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

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

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

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  • Topic: CSP Israel Music Event “Live from Salon Ben Dosa”
    Speaker: Amitai Aricha, Alma Band & Yanush Hurwitz with special guest artist, Asaf Rabi. This concert is underwritten by a generous grant from Phyllis Gilmore and contributions from over 60 participants in our recent Israel 202 Virtual Adventure.
    Dedicated in memory of: Bernard Gilmore z”l

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

    Featured Musicians

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

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

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

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

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

    more...


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thursday October 29, 2020
    Demons, Werewolves and Revenants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • 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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  • Topic: CSP “Maestro” Event – DEFIANT REQUIEM
    Speaker: Murry Sidlin, live from Baltimore, MD

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    Defiant Requiem tells the story of Rafael Schachter, a brilliant young and passionate Czech opera-choral conductor who was sent to the concentration camp of Theresienstadt (Terezin) in 1941. Determined to sustain dignity, humanity, and hope within his fellow prisoners, he taught 150 prisoners Verdi’s Requiem using a smuggled score. They performed on 16 occasions with the last, most infamous performance on June 23, 1944, in front of high-ranking SS officers and the International Red Cross to support the charade that the prisoners were well treated and flourishing. For over ten years, conductor Murry Sidlin has dreamed of bringing the Requiem back to Terezin. Now, through soaring concert footage, powerful survivor recollections, cinematic dramatizations and evocative animation, Defiant Requiem brings the incredible story of this artistic uprising to life. Join us on Friday August 28th at 12:30 PM for a 45-minute screening of the film, to include an introduction and post-film Q&A with Maestro Murry Sidlin, President and Creative Director of The Defiant Requiem Foundation.

    Murry Sidlin, a conductor with a unique gift for engaging audiences, continues a diverse and distinctive musical career. He is the president and creative director of The Defiant Requiem Foundation, an organization that sponsors live concert performances of Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín and Hours of Freedom: The Story of the Terezín Composer; as well as other projects including the documentary film, Defiant Requiem; a new docudrama called Mass Appeal, 1943, which was premiered in June 2017; and The Rafael Schächter Institute for Arts and Humanities at Terezín. In addition, he lectures extensively on the arts and humanities as practiced by the prisoners in the Theresienstadt (Terezín) Concentration Camp.

    Mr. Sidlin began his career as assistant conductor of the Baltimore Symphony under Sergiu Comissiona and then was appointed resident conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra by Antal Doráti. He has served as music director of the New Haven and Long Beach (California) Symphonies, the Tulsa Philharmonic, and the Connecticut Ballet. For eight years he was resident conductor of the Oregon Symphony and, from 2002 to 2010, he served as Dean of the School of Music at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Murry Sidlin was principal guest conductor of the Gävleborgs Symfoniorkester in Sweden and was artistic director of the Cascade Festival of Music in Bend, Oregon for twelve summers. He has conducted more than 300 concerts with the San Diego Symphony, and, on December 31, 2011, conducted his 18th consecutive New Year’s Eve Gala at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC with the National Symphony Orchestra. The summer of 2011 marked Mr. Sidlin’s 33rd year as resident artist/teacher and associate director of conducting studies at the Aspen Music Festival where, with conductor David Zinman, he developed the American Academy of Conducting.

    In April of 2002 Murry Sidlin presented the first performances of Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín in Portland, Oregon. Since the premiere, he has led nearly fifty performances. On three occasions – in May 2006, May 2009, and June 2009 – Mr. Sidlin has led performances in the Czech town of Terezín, the site of the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp. The June 2009 performance served as the conclusion to the multi-national Holocaust Era Assets conference attended by nearly 600 delegates from 47 nations and hosted by the Czech government and the Forum 2000 Foundation. On May 9, 2010, Defiant Requiem was presented to an audience of 5,000 people in Budapest, Hungary and broadcast live on Duna Television throughout Eastern Europe. Defiant Requiem was performed in Jerusalem on May 31, 2012, with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and Kühn Choir of Prague, by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus on October 11, 2012, and at the Konzerthaus Berlin on March 4, 2014. Performances have also been given at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, Symphony Center in Chicago, and Boston Symphony Hall, among many others. On December 3, 2017, a new version of Defiant Requiem – for chorus, soloists, single piano, and violin – was premiered at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

    Murry Sidlin studied with the legendary pedagogues Leon Barzin and Sergiu Celibidache. He was appointed by Presidents Ford and Carter to serve on the White House Commission of Presidential Scholars. He won national acclaim for the television series Music Is…, a ten-part series about music for children that was seen on PBS for five years. In 1997, the National Association of Independent Schools of Music recognized Mr. Sidlin as Educator of the Year. He has been featured on NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, and CBS Sunday Morning. Most recently he was asked to appear on CNN International to speak about Defiant Requiem. In May of 2011 Mr. Sidlin received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from his alma mater the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. The award honors alumni who have typified the Johns Hopkins tradition of excellence and brought credit to the University by their personal accomplishments, professional achievement, and humanitarian service. In September of 2011, the Archbishop of Prague presented him with the medal of St. Agnes of Bohemia for his dedication to illuminating the legacy of Terezín. In January 2013, Mr. Sidlin was nominated to the International Board of Governors of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. Murry Sidlin received the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Medal of Valor on June 11, 2013, for his extraordinary efforts to keep alive the memory of Rafael Schächter.

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  • Topic: Symphony No 1: JUDAICA (Days of Awe)
    Speaker: Steve Rothstein

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    Each of the four movements of this first ever High Holiday symphony contains original musical material based on the traditional Jewish New Year services of 18th, 19th, and 20th century Eastern European synagogues. This work is the first commissioned work by Prof. Robert H. Freilich, Founder and President of the Judaic Sacred Music Foundation, who attended High Holiday services in Boro Park led by the brilliant Cantor Moshe Moshe Koussevitzky. Professor Freilich has been fascinated with the High Holiday liturgy and music since his youth in New York City. As a teen, his father Julius Freilich sang in the choir of world-famous Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt on the lower East Side from 1912-1924 and later graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1925. If this program doesn’t get you ready for the High Holidays, nothing will!

    Steven Rothstein is active as a composer and music instructor in the Los Angeles area. He received his Ph.D. in Music Composition from the University of California, Los Angeles (2006). Mr. Rothstein has written numerous works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, wind ensemble, choral groups, as well as art songs. Interest in Judaic music led Dr. Rothstein to study at the Brandeis-Bardin Collegiate Institute (1996), and then onto a one-year study program at the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) program in Arad, Israel (2000-1). Dedicated to promoting Jewish culture through music, Mr. Rothstein has devoted the majority of his choral music to Hebrew texts. His work includes settings for Psalm 27, Psalm 121, numerous Hanukkah pieces, and art songs based on a variety of Hebrew poetry.

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  • Topic: CSP Annual Pre-High Holiday Program – Symphony No 1: JUDAICA (Days of Awe)
    Speaker: Steven Rothstein, live from Los Angeles, CA
    Dedicated in honor of CSP Patron and Board Member Marion Brockett

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    Join us as we prepare for the High Holidays with composer Steven Rothstein who will discuss his commissioned work – Symphony No.1: JUDAICA (Days of Awe). Each of the four movements of this first ever High Holiday symphony contains original musical material based on the traditional Jewish New Year services of 18th, 19th, and 20th century Eastern European synagogues. This work is the first commissioned work by Prof. Robert H. Freilich, Founder and President of the Judaic Sacred Music Foundation, who attended High Holiday services in Boro Park led by the brilliant Cantor Moshe Moshe Koussevitzky. Professor Freilich has been fascinated with the High Holiday liturgy and music since his youth in New York City. As a teen, his father Julius Freilich sang in the choir of world-famous Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt on the lower East Side from 1912-1924 and later graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1925. If this program doesn’t get you ready for the High Holidays, nothing will!

    About the Symphony: Movement 1: Adante Espressivo, centers on the theme of the “call to worship” in both Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur services, with references to the Chatzi Kaddish, Sha-arey Shamayim, Barchu, Zochreinu and B’Rosh Hashanah Yikatevun. Movement II: Moderato Con Anima centers on the them of “Praise”, with references to Kia Anu Amecha, Mechalkel Chayim, Mi She-anah, Vayomer Adonai, Melech Al Kol Ha-aretz, Adon Olam and Yigdal. Movement III: Adagio Non Troppo contains an A theme taken from the Kol Nidre prayer and a B theme that is taken from the Grand Aleinu. Movement IV: Allegro Con Spirito is an, exciting, and spirited final movement that juxtaposes three different melodic settings of the central prayer Avinu Malkeinu – one hassidic, one traditional, and one reform. The Kaddish and various shofar fanfares are also incorporated.

    Steven Rothstein is active as a composer and music instructor in the Los Angeles area. He received his Ph.D. in Music Composition from the University of California, Los Angeles (2006). Mr. Rothstein has written numerous works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, wind ensemble, choral groups, as well as art songs. His works have been performed by The American Youth Symphony, the UCLA Philharmonic, the UC Irvine Symphony, the Redlands Symphony, and the New York Master Chorale. In 2008 his oratorio Hymn of Light received its international premiere in China. Interest in Judaic music led Dr. Rothstein to study at the Brandeis-Bardin Collegiate Institute (1996), and then onto a one-year study program at the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) program in Arad, Israel (2000-1). Dedicated to promoting Jewish culture through music, Mr. Rothstein has devoted the majority of his choral music to Hebrew texts. His work includes settings for Psalm 27, Psalm 121, numerous Hanukkah pieces, and art songs based on a variety of Hebrew poetry. As a professor, Dr. Rothstein has lectured on a broad range of music topics including music fundamentals, diatonic harmony, chromatic harmony, 20th-century techniques, composition, orchestration, modal and tonal counterpoint, form and analysis, orchestral score study, style composition, ear-training, and film score analysis. He has taught at Los Angeles Valley College, Santa Monica College, Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach, and California State University, Dominguez Hills. Mr. Rothstein has also lectured for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Adult Outreach Program. He currently teaches at UCLA Extension’s prestigious Film Scoring Certificate Program where he recently won the 2013 Distinguished Instructor Award. In preparation for his commission from the Judaic Sacred Music Foundation (Symphony No.1: JUDAICA (Days of Awe), Dr. Rothstein spent considerable time researching the various liturgical melodies and motives used throughout the High Holy Day services and has incorporated them extensively throughout the entire work in order to create a rich tapestry of musical expression based solely on this unique musical liturgy

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  • Topic: Jewish Readings of Modern Movies and TV Part 4 of 4: Stranger Things – The Upside-down and the Sitra Achra
    Speaker: Rafi Zarum

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    Stranger Things – The Upside-down and the Sitra AchraWith copious references to 80s music, cinema and culture, Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ is a horror-genred nostalgia-fest that speaks to adults and teens alike. But its religious undertones are under-appreciated. Shadowy fiends, demonic possession and the Other Side (Sitra Achra) feature in the Talmud, Zohar and kabbalistic works. That’s a code red….

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  • Topic: The Dead Sea Scrolls: New Perspectives on the Bible, Judaism and Christianity Part 2 of 3: The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament
    Speaker: LH Schiffman

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    The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New TestamentIn the early days of Dead Sea Scrolls research all kinds of sensationalist statements were made about the connection of the Scrolls to the earliest Christians. We will explain how the Scrolls allow us to understand the variegated nature of the Judaism that served as the background for the rise of Christianity and the New Testament. We will see that the Scrolls clarify certain aspects of Christianity, despite the fact that they were all composed before the rise of the earliest Christian communities.

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  • Topic: The Dead Sea Scrolls: New Perspectives on the Bible, Judaism and Christianity Part 3 of 3: The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament
    Speaker: LH Schiffman

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    In the early days of Dead Sea Scrolls research all kinds of sensationalist statements were made about the connection of the Scrolls to the earliest Christians. We will explain how the Scrolls allow us to understand the variegated nature of the Judaism that served as the background for the rise of Christianity and the New Testament. We will see that the Scrolls clarify certain aspects of Christianity, despite the fact that they were all composed before the rise of the earliest Christian communities.

    Lawrence H. Schiffman is the Judge Abraham Lieberman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University and Director of the Global Network for Advanced Research in Jewish Studies. He served as the Chair of the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University and Ethel and Irvin A. Edelman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. Between 2011 and 2014, he served as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Professor of Judaic Studies at Yeshiva University.

    He received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. He is a specialist in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Judaism in Late Antiquity, the history of Jewish law, and Talmudic literature.

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  • Topic: Ishay Ribo: Music to One’s Ear and Heart
    Speaker: Shalom Orzach

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  • Topic: Land Art/Earthworks
    Speaker: Tobi Kahn

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    Land Art/Earthworks is an art movement that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, mainly in the United States and Great Britain. As a trend, “Land art” expanded boundaries of art by the materials used and the siting of the works. The materials mainly used were rocks, soil, vegetation and water found on-site. These works were often created in non-populated areas. Though sometimes fairly inaccessible, there was always photo documentation of the projects. This art movement coincided with the concerns around spiritual yearnings concerning planet Earth. Tobi Kahn will discuss 8 luminaries of the movement.

    Tobi Kahn, who will serve as CSP’s first ever one month artist in residence in May 2021 (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), is a painter and sculptor whose work has been shown in over 50 solo museum exhibitions and over 70 group museum and gallery exhibitions since he was selected as one of nine artists to be included in the 1985 Guggenheim Museum exhibition, New Horizons in American Art. Works by Kahn are in major museum, hospital, sacred/interfaith spaces, corporate, and private collections. For close to four decades, Kahn has been steadfast in the pursuit of his distinct vision and persistent in his commitment to the redemptive possibilities of art. In paint, stone, and bronze, he has explored the correspondence between the intimate and monumental. While his early works drew on the tradition of American Romantic landscape painting, his more recent pieces reflect his fascination with contemporary science, inspired by the micro-images of cell formations, the environment and satellite photography. For thirty years, Kahn has been making miniature sacred spaces he calls “shrines.” The first full-scale shrine, Shalev, is in New Harmony, Indiana, commissioned as an outdoor sculpture for Jane Owen and the Robert Lee Blaffer Trust. Among the awards that Kahn has received are the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award from Pratt Institute in 2000; the Cultural Achievement Award for the Visual Arts from the National Foundation of Jewish Culture in 2004; and an Honorary Doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2007 for his work as an artist and educator. Kahn also communicates his vision through his passion for teaching. For over three decades, he has taught fine arts workshops at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He also designed the art curriculum for several high schools in the New York area and co-founded and facilitates the Artists’ Beit Midrash at the Streicker Center of Temple Emanu-El. Kahn lectures extensively at universities and public forums internationally on the importance of visual language and art as healing. Kahn received his BA in Photography and Printmaking from Hunter and an MFA in Painting and Sculpture from Pratt.

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  • Topic: Jewish Readings of Modern Movies and TV Part 3 of 4: Transparent: What Makes Ritual Meaningful?
    Speaker: Rafi Zarum

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    Transparent – What Makes Ritual and Faith Meaningful?The award-winning Transparent comedy-drama from Amazon Studios revolves around a Los Angeles Jewish family following the discovery that the father is transgender. In the final season they visit Israel, with hilarious and shocking results. This thoughtful show addresses challenging modern issues such as fluid sexuality, religious faith, meaningful ritual, family loyalty, and even Israel’s security barrier. In this session we will analyze a number of key clips from the show’s four seasons in order to reflect on our own Jewish journeys and how we can make our faith more meaningful.

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  • Topic: Prince of the Press: How One Collector Built History’s Most Enduring and Remarkable Jewish Library
    Speaker: Josh Teplitsky

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  • Topic: Israeli Art under Quarantine
    Speaker: Shirel Horovitz
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  • Topic: Virtual Bible Tour of the British Museum
    Speaker: Raphael Zarum

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    Watch as we move room to room and see highlights of artefacts relating to the Tanach. See Pharaoh, Achashverosh and Sennacherib appear before your eyes and in the text. Discover how a knowledge of ancient history can enhance and transform Bible study. Rabbi Dr. Zarum is Dean of the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS). He has a doctorate in Theoretical Physics, a Masters’ in Education, and is a graduate of the Mandel Leadership School in Jerusalem. Raphael is a sought-after lecturer with wildly innovative and meaningful readings of Torah, Midrash, Talmud and the Jewish festivals that reference modern literature, cinema and culture.

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  • Topic: The Bible’s Strangest Book
    Speaker: Rabbi Ed Feinstein, live from the Valley, CA

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    CSP Partners: Congregation Beth Shalom (Seattle, WA), Congregation B’nai Tzedek (Fountain Valley, CA), Congregation B’nai Israel (Tustin, CA), Temple Bat Yahm (Newport Beach, CA). Temple Beth Ohr (La Mirada, CA), Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA), Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY) & Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA)

    Tucked at the end of the Biblical prophets is the Bible’s strangest and most startling book, the Book of Jonah. Jonah is a meditation on human responsibility, the nature of justice, and the mission of the Jewish people in the world.  All in four short chapters. And starring a giant fish.
     
    Rabbi Ed Feinstein is senior rabbi of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California. He serves on the faculty of the Ziegler Rabbinical School of the American Jewish University, the Wexner Heritage Program, the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and lectures widely across the United States.  He is the author of several books, including: Tough Questions Jews Ask – A Young Adult’s Guide to Building a Jewish Life, (Jewish Lights, 2003), was chosen for the American Library Association’s Top Ten Books on Religion for Young Readers and a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award.  Jews and Judaism in the Twenty-First Century: Human Responsibility, the Presence of God and the Future of the Covenant (Jewish Lights, 2007) was also a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, Capturing the Moon (Behrman House, 2008) retells the best of classic and modern Jewish folktales. Most recently, Chutzpah Imperative! – Empowering Today’s Jews for a Life that Matters (Jewish Lights, 2014), offers a new way to “do Judaism,” Rabbi urges us to recover this message of Jewish self-empowerment, or chutzpah, to reshape the world. 
     
    Rabbi Feinstein was raised in the back of his parents’ bakery on the frontiers of the West San Fernando Valley. He graduated with honors from the University of California at Santa Cruz, the University of Judaism, Columbia University Teachers College, and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he was ordained a rabbi in 1981. Most recently, he received his Doctorate in Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) at Park Avenue Synagogue in New York for his dissertation: Rabbi Harold Schulweis and the Reinvention of the American Rabbinate.
     
    In 1982, Rabbi Feinstein became the founding director of the Solomon Schechter Academy of Dallas, Texas, building the school’s enrollment from 40 to over 500 in eight years, and winning national recognition as center of educational excellence. In 1990, he assumed the position of executive director of Camp Ramah in California, the largest Jewish camp and conference center in the western United States. He came to Valley Beth Shalom in 1993 at the invitation of the renowned Rabbi Harold Schulweis, and succeeded Rabbi Schulweis as the congregation’s senior rabbi in 2005. 
     
    Rabbi Feinstein is a member of the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, a member of the school board of the Milken Community Schools and an active member of AIPAC. A survivor of two bouts of colon cancer, he speaks frequently to cancer support groups all over Southern California. Rabbi Feinstein lives in the epicenter of the San Fernando Valley with his wife Rabbi Nina Bieber Feinstein. Nina was the second woman ordained by the Conservative Movement. The Feinsteins are blessed with three grown children. 
     
    An engaging lecturer and storyteller, Rabbi Feinstein unites the ancient Jewish love of ideas with the warmth of Jewish humor.

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  • Topic: Using Works of Art to Grapple with the Story of German Jewry’s Encounter with the Modern World
    Speaker: Featuring Liz Diament, live from Silver Spring, MD

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    CSP Partners: Congregation Beth Shalom (Seattle, WA), Congregation B’nai Tzedek (Fountain Valley, CA), Congregation B’nai Israel (Tustin, CA), Temple Bat Yahm (Newport Beach, CA). Temple Beth Ohr (La Mirada, CA), Temple Beth Tikvah (Fullerton, CA), Temple Beth Shalom (Needham, MA), Town & Village Synagogue (NYC, NY) & Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA)

    This lecture will focus on works of art by the artist Moritz Daniel Oppenheim (1800-1882) who explores the German Jewish community’s dilemma in their struggle to maintain a Jewish identity while being challenged by assimilation and nationalism during the nineteenth century. As the first Jewish academically trained artist, and as an observant Jew, Oppenheim was in a unique position to observe and reflect on these challenges firsthand. Through an examination of Oppenheim’s genre scenes, portraits and religious stories we will uncover the complexity of Jewish life under Emancipation. Through careful observation, interpretation and discussion around works of art we will gain a fuller understanding of Jewish life in nineteenth century Germany.

    Liz Diament is a senior educator at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC where she has managed and developed the docent education program for almost eighteen years. In addition, she manages the school tour and general public tour program. At the Gallery she is passionate about her work with teachers, helping them integrate art and critical thinking into the curriculum. A proud native of London, England, Liz graduated from Manchester University with an honors degree in Art History and a Masters’ Degree in Museum Education from Bank Street College of Education in New York. As a leader in the field of experiential museum education, Liz creates nationally acclaimed professional development workshops for teachers, both in person and on-line. She enjoys conducting interactive workshops exploring how Jewish texts, history and ideas can be interpreted and understood through the prism of works of art.

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  • Topic: Jewish Readings of Modern Movies and TV Part 2 of 4: James Bond: Shaken and Stirred
    Speaker: Rafi Zarum
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    Shaken and Stirred – A Jewish Reading of James BondDirector Sam Mendes’s 007 is more personal than all previous Bonds: we have an origin story, identity crises and a plethora of biblical imagery. From the real-life Jew who inspired Fleming’s Bond to the latest movie in the franchise, this presentation uncovers the disturbing Jewish themes of the spy of spies.

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  • Topic: The Dead Sea Scrolls: New Perspectives on the Bible, Judaism and Christianity Part 2 of 3: The Dead Sea Scrolls and the History of Judaism
    Speaker: LH Schiffman

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    The Dead Sea Scrolls and the History of JudaismThe Dead Sea Scrolls have recast our view of Judaism in the Second Temple period. We will emphasize the ways in which the Scrolls teach us not only about a small sectarian group, identified by most scholars as the Essenes, but also about the wider constellation of groups and ideologies that existed before the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. We will explain how this period contributed to the ongoing development of Jewish law and theology.

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  • Topic: Joe McCarthy: Anti-Communist, Anti-gay,and Anti-Semitic?
    Speaker: Larry Tye

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    U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy was one of the most controversial people in 1950s America, championing an anti-communist movement that often gave way to antisemitism. In Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy, bestselling author Larry Tye offers a comprehensive portrait of McCarthy based on the first-ever review of his personal and professional papers, medical and military records, and recently unsealed transcripts of his closed-door Congressional hearings. Join Tye for a discussion of his new book and McCarthy’s complex legacy.

    Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy
    In the long history of American demagogues, never has one man caused so much damage in such a short time as Senator Joseph McCarthy. We still use “McCarthyism” to stand for outrageous charges of guilt by association, a weapon of polarizing slander. From 1950 to 1954, McCarthy destroyed many careers and even entire lives, whipping the nation into a frenzy of paranoia, accusation, loyalty oaths, and terror. When the public finally turned on him, he came crashing down, dying of alcoholism in 1957. Only now, through bestselling author Larry Tye’s exclusive look at the senator’s records, can the full story be told. Demagogue is a masterful portrait of a human being capable of immense evil, yet beguiling charm. McCarthy was a tireless worker and a genuine war hero. His ambitions knew few limits. Neither did his socializing, his drinking, nor his gambling. When he finally made it to the Senate, he flailed around in search of an agenda and angered many with his sharp elbows and lack of integrity. Finally, after three years, he hit upon anti-communism. By recklessly charging treason against everyone from George Marshall to much of the State Department, he became the most influential and controversial man in America. His chaotic, meteoric rise is a gripping and terrifying object lesson for us all.

    Larry Tye is a New York Times bestselling author whose latest book, a biography of Senator Joe McCarthy, was released on July 7, 2020 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. His last book was a biography of Robert F. Kennedy, the former attorney general, U.S. senator, and presidential candidate.

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  • Topic: The Hebrew Bible, its Text and Interpretation in the Dead Sea Scrolls – Part 1
    Speaker: Lawrence Schiffman

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    Some 250 biblical manuscripts were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. These texts are of great significance for the history of the Bible text as we know it. We will explain how the varying text types found among the Qumran Scrolls and other sites in the Judean Desert allow us to trace the process that eventually yielded the consensus around the Masoretic Text. We will then treat texts presenting varying forms of biblical interpretation, explaining their place in the history of Jewish biblical studies.

    Lawrence H. Schiffman is the Judge Abraham Lieberman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University and Director of the Global Network for Advanced Research in Jewish Studies. He served as the Chair of the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University and Ethel and Irvin A. Edelman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. Between 2011 and 2014, he served as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Professor of Judaic Studies at Yeshiva University. He received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. He is a specialist in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Judaism in Late Antiquity, the history of Jewish law, and Talmudic literature.

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  • Topic: Star Wars: Myth, Chareidim, God and the Force
    Speaker: Rabbi Dr. Raphael Zarum
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    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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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