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.
"Did you hear? I can't believe
it...." Ethics of Gossip and Appropriate Speech in Traditional Jewish Law
by Rabbi Judah Dardik
hear?" "What ended up happening to her anyway?" "I think he
should know, but is it my place to say something?" Gossip is ever-present
in societal life. What does Jewish tradition say about it? Looking at classical sources, join Rabbi
Dardik in an exploration of when it is not acceptable to speak badly about others
and when it is required.
Rabbi Judah Dardik, a highly regarded teacher in matters of Jewish law and thought, is the spiritual leader of Beth Jacob Congregation in Oakland. He writes a regular column in the J., and has lectured across the Bay Area on a wide range of subjects. He is passionate about Jewish education, and welcomes the opportunity to learn with people of all backgrounds.
"The Goats Know the Way" and Other Stories of Judaic Wit and Wisdom - An Entertaining Morning of Jewish Stories, for Adults, from Around the World
with Erica Lann-Clark
Explore the world of Jewish storytelling, with mystical roots in midrash, in the Hebrew Alphabet, and in folklore. Learn about the deep connections between folkloric stories, rabbinic lessons and the unique Jewish view of “Truth”. Join Erica for an enjoyable morning of stories from Chelm, from Yemen, from the Sephardic tradition, and from works of the great Yiddish storytellers: Peretz, Singer, Aleichem.
Born on the eve of the Holocaust, nationally known Jewish storyteller and solo performer Erica Lann-Clark escaped with her Viennese Jewish parents and landed in Brooklyn. She grew up hearing their vivid stories of a vanished world. These kitchen table tales inspired Erica's passion for the healing power of story. Her newest storytelling show, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, a mind-opening, taboo-busting storytelling collaboration with nationally known Latina storyteller Olga Loya, was a major hit at the Cabrillo College Spring Theater Festival and will be at the San Francisco Fringe Festival in September.
Views of God From Religions Around the World - Concepts of the Sacred from Buddhism, Hinduism, Daoism, Islam and Christianity
with Judith Berling, PhD.
Virtually all religions have a central concept of “God” or the Sacred, but the ways in which believers think about God/the Sacred, write about it, or imagine it varies considerably from religion to religion, and sometimes even within one religion. Join Dr. Judith Berling as she explores diverse views of God from several non-Jewish traditions, using sacred texts or writings/depictions of major thinkers or artists.
Judith Berling, Ph.D. serves as Dean and Academic Vice President of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. As a professor of Chinese and Comparative Religions she focuses on the fields of East Asian religions, Asian Christianities and interreligious learning and theology. She was the past president of the American Academy of Religion and of the American Society for the Study of Religion.
Towers of Gold - Isaias Hellman and the Early History of California's Jewish Communities
with Frances DinkelspielDecember 15
Join us as we explore the early years of California’s Jewish community through the life of Isaias Hellman, a Jewish immigrant who became one of the most powerful men in the West and who played roles in both Northern and Southern California. The Gold Rush, German Jewish immigration, Eastern European Jewish immigration, and the great San Francisco earthquake—these were just some of the factors in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that influenced the lives of California Jews. Join Frances Dinkelspiel as she shares riveting stories and early photos of influential people and monumental events that helped shape our Golden State.
Frances Dinkelspiel is the award winning author of Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California. She has over 20 years of experience in the newspaper business, publishing nationally and teaching Journalism at UC Berkeley. In 1998 she began a decade long journey to discover the fascinating details of the powerful life of Isaias Hellman, her great-great grandfather. Her quest took her to Hellman’s birthplace in Bavaria and through 50,000 pages of archival documents.
25 Years of Women of the Wall: The Struggle for Pluralism in the State of Israel
with Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin
What is the relationship between religion and government? How did it happen that Orthodoxy defines Judaism in Israel? Who decides on the practices at holy sites? Are things changing? Join us for a discussion, focusing on the Women of the Wall, on the history, challenges, and progress made for recognition of pluralism in Israel today.
Rabbi Mates-Muchin recently returned from a six month sabbatical in Jerusalem, where she joined the Women of the Wall in their monthly Rosh Chodesh service. Her experience has inspired her to become more involved in the struggle for women’s rights and pluralism in the State of Israel.
Talking to Your Kids about Anti-Semitism with Ilona Shechter
To deal with anti-Semitism, we need to understand it’s history and how it has been perpetuated. We’ll learn about the issues and challenges that face our children today. How does Anti-Semitism resonate differently with adults and with kids, and how does it relate to anti-Zionism and events in the Middle East? As we look at recent examples of anti-Semitism in our community, including incidents at local schools and cyber-bullying of Jewish students, we will discuss strategies to equip our children to respond to this difficult issue.
Ilona Shechter has worked at Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School for the past 21 years. She is a recipient of the Grinspoon Steinhardt award for Excellence in Jewish Education and is a Teacher Fellow of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
How Israel Became a State: The British Mandate and the Decades Leading to Statehood with Eran Kaplan, Ph.D.
In 1917 the British conquered Palestine from the Ottomans and declared their support for the creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine. In November 1947, when the UN voted in favor of creating a Jewish State alongside an Arab State in Palestine, the British abstained. What happened in the intervening years? Join Dr. Kaplan as he addresses these questions and explores the context and historical processes that led to the creation of the Jewish State.
Eran Kaplan is the Rhoda and Richard Goldman Chair in Israel Studies at San Francisco State University. Born and raised in Tel Aviv, he received his BA from Tel Aviv University and his Ph.D. in modern Jewish history from Brandeis University. Dr. Kaplan taught at several other universities before coming to San Francisco and is the author of two books.