Exploring the World of Judaism Speaker Series
Join us on Sunday mornings - while our kids are in class - for an exciting mix of speakers and topics that span the range of the Jewish experience. Attend all or "pick and choose."
No fee, no reservations, and plenty of bagels. Stop by for a nosh and knowledge!
Exploring the World of Judaism is a program of Temple Sinai and Jewish LearningWorks (formerly the Bureau of Jewish Education) and is supported in part by the Newton and Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust. If you would like to receive weekly email reminders and descriptions of each talk, please send your name and email address to ExploringWJ@jewishlearningworks.org and specify TS/EWJ.
All programs will take place on Sunday Mornings with refreshments at 9:15am, followed by sessions at 9:30 - 11:30am in Temple Sinai's Albers Chapel.
February 2, 2014
Cultivating Gratitude: Jewish Perspectives on the Spiritual
Importance of Thankfulness
with Rabbi Andrea Berlin, Congregational Network Director, West. Union
for Reform Judaism
Recent studies have shown that approaching life with gratitude not only greatly increases one's happiness; it has a strong positive effect on one’s health, as well. As a Jewish culture, with our self-deprecating humor and dark history, are we destined to a life of gloom and tedium? Quite the opposite! Our liturgy, philosophy, and stories are ripe with praise, thanksgiving, and appreciation. Join us as we learn and practice the art of gratitude in order to strengthen our bonds to loved ones, glow in the joy of our own confidence, and celebrate human and natural beauty.
Rabbi Andrea Berlin serves the Union for
Reform Judaism as the Network Director, West. She came to the URJ in 2010
from Temple Sinai
of Oakland where she was a rabbi since her
ordination in 1998 from Hebrew
She is currently on the Central Conference of American Rabbi’s ethics committee
and a member of the executive board of the Pacific Association of Reform
Rabbis. She has been President of the East Bay Council of Rabbis, as well
as serving on numerous regional and national boards. An award-winning
sermonizer, Rabbi Berlin is also widely
recognized for her teaching on a variety of topics. She lectures around
the Bay Area on such topics as the history of the Reform movement, Shabbat,
Jewish liturgy, and the Jewish response to special needs.
February 9, 2014
Muslim Women Beyond the Stereotypes
with Ameena Jandali, Speaker, Islamic Networks Group
Have you wondered why many Muslim women cover their bodies so fully? Or why Saudi Arabian women drivers recently made headlines by getting behind the wheels of automobiles? One of the most misunderstood aspects of Islam is the experience of being a Muslim woman. Join Ameena Jandali as she provides an opportunity to learn what the religion really teaches and to ask the questions you have wanted to ask.
Ameena Jandali is a
sought after speaker, educator and writer on topics relating to Muslim
outreach, family and the environment. She is the Content Director for the
Islamic Networks Group (ING), designing training handbooks on outreach for
American Muslims, and developing ING's educational presentations and cultural
competency seminars. She holds an M.A in Near Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and has delivered hundreds of presentations to
schools, colleges, universities and other venues on Islam and related subjects.
Ms. Jandali has conducted cultural competency trainings for a variety of
healthcare providers and police departments throughout the Bay Area and is a
sought after speaker on radio and television programs. She currently team
teaches a class on Islam at San Francisco
February 23, 2014
Life's Vulnerable Moments: How Our Tradition Can Guide us in the
Dying and Mourning Process
with Rabbi Chaya Gusfield, Chaplain, Kaiser Oakland
Jewish tradition offers us numerous spiritual tools to help us during our tender journey as we prepare to die, when we accompany someone who is dying, and when we grieve the death of a loved one, whether sudden or expected. Join Rabbi Gusfield as she shares her passion for the many healing spiritual tools Judaism has to offer such as the viddui (end of life recitation,) shiva, the kaddish, yizkor and more.
Gusfield served as the Assistant Rabbi for Beth Chaim Congregation in Danville for seven years, and currently serves as a
chaplain at Kaiser Oakland working with seriously ill patients and their
families. She also has a private practice as a Spiritual Director, and
facilitates Spiritual Direction groups to help people deepen their relationship
with their spirituality. She is currently leading a Spiritual Directions
group for people mourning a loss. Rabbi Gusfield has a long association with
Kehilla Community Synagogue and is the Interim Rabbi for Temple Beth Ora in Edmonton, Canada.
She works extensively with grief and mourning in the Jewish tradition as a path
to healing and is passionate about engaging in Jewish practices to celebrate
the joys of life and to assist us in our day-to-day heartbreak.
March 2, 2014
U-U-Ufuratzta: Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch
with Ken Blady, Lecturer and Author
Join Ken Blady as we take a peek into the fascinating world of Chabad-Lubavitch in an effort to understand a different way of living Jewishly. Where did Chasidism begin? What are the revered Rebbe's roles? What is the Army of God? Why do Chasidism proselytize, and how are their campaigns seen? You will understand the significance of the Yiddish word, Ufuratza, spreading forth, in this context, and so much more.
Ken Blady is currently a
lecturer in Jewish history at the American Jewish University Whizin Center as
well as several Bay Area institutions. He is the author of several books
including Jewish Communities in Exotic Places and has been featured on
The History channel documentary, “Operation Magic Carpet”.
March 23, 2014
Using the "G-Word": Talking About God With Your
Kids (and Yourself!)
with Vicky Kelman, Jewish Family Education Consultant
Have you ever said, or heard someone say, “O my God” or “For God’s sakes” or “What kind of God would let this happen?” Have you ever felt your knees knock when someone asked if you believe in God? Has it been a really long time since you entered into a conversation about God and faith? Whether or not you answered yes or no to these questions, this session is for you. Bring your doubts, questions and affirmations, and join us as we bravely tackle one of those topics that most people will do almost anything to avoid, and take a developmental lens to the whole concept of faith development.
Vicky Kelman, currently an
independent consultant focusing on Jewish Family Education, worked for 15 years
as the director of the Jewish Family Education Project at the Bureau of Jewish
Education, building capacity for engaging families in Jewish life through
intensive professional development for educators. She pioneered new initiatives
in family education, directed the first Ramah family camp, was a founding
member of the Consortium for the Jewish Family and has published in the field
of family education. She won the prestigious Covenant Award in 2003.
April 6, 2014
Maimonides: The Rabbi, the Philosopher, the Man
with Nitzhia Shaked, Professor of Jewish Studies
Maimonides has influenced the development of Rabbinic Judaism more than any other figure in our history. Join Nitzhia Shaked as she explores the life of this unique person and discusses the story of his life as woven in his significant contribution as Rabbi, codifier and outstanding thinker.
Nitzhia Shaked received
her Juris Doctor from Hebrew University
in Jerusalem and her Masters in Law from Harvard Law School and has been a member of both the California
and Israeli Bar Associations. She has held teaching positions in Jewish Studies
at San Francisco State
and at Pardes in Jerusalem.
April 27, 2013
Judaism Come From? Why Do We Ask That Question? Thoughts on a Critical
Understanding of the Jewish Past
with Deena Aranoff, Ph.D, Asst Professor of Medieval Jewish
Studies, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley
Many of us wonder about the beginnings of Judaism. How did the Torah, the tradition, and the community come into being? Is the Torah divine? How did the Talmud become the defining Jewish text? Join Dr. Aranoff as we discuss these central questions about the Jewish past, present and future.
Deena Aranoff is the
Assistant professor of medieval Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological
Union in Berkeley. Her interests include
rabbinic literature, medieval patterns of Jewish thought and the broader
question of continuity and change in Jewish history. Dr. Aranoff is also a
community educator and teaches Bible, Rabbinics and Jewish Mysticism in a
variety of adult education programs throughout the Bay Area.