Program Highlights

21st Century Antisemitism: Not Your Father’s Antisemitism
Michael Berenbaum

8:00 PM in Room 224

How are we to understand contemporary antisemitism? Is it in continuity with the past — more of the same with new tools and new targets — or is there something fundamentally new about the longest hatred today?

Jewish Values in Hollywood
Mayim Bialik

8:00 PM in the Shapiro Synagogue

Mayim Bialik was raised in a home with strong Jewish values and is best known for her award-winning role on America’s #1 comedy, The Big Bang Theory. Mayim will discuss how Jewish faith and values have shaped her identity as a public person. What challenges does Hollywood present for someone with strong Jewish values? How can we reconcile our faith and identity with a workplace and world that can sometimes seem to be in direct opposition to our values?

Hallways and Rooms: Navigating Life’s Transitions
Sherre Hirsch

8:00 PM in Room 223

You will probably be in transition many times in your life. You may be in one now, or the next one may be right around the corner. Will you be prepared? Join Rabbi Hirsch as she shares teachings from our tradition to help us transform these thresholds into opportunities, so we can live fearlessly and regret-free.

Expressing Jewish Identity Through Art, Past and Present
Hillel Smith

8:00 PM in the Beit Midrash

For as long as there have been Jews, we have been engaged in producing Jewish art and design. A closer look at that creative output — from ancient synagogue mosaics to contemporary graffiti — reveals much about what we value and how we see ourselves in relation to the world around us. What does Jewish art look like, and how do we mark ourselves as Jews through visual expression?

Ugly Men and Beautiful Rabbis: What is Beauty in Judaism?
Yaffa Epstein

9:15 PM in Room 223

Let's face it — looks matter! But should they matter in Judaism? How do looks play a role in the world and in Jewish life? This class will look at the concept of beauty and ugliness in the Talmud, and attempt to gain an understanding how beauty can and should be a part of our lives.

Fixing a Broken World: Jewish Humanitarianism in Action
Diana Fiedotin

9:15 PM in the Beit Midrash

Tikkun olam — repairing the world — has new urgency when major crises and disasters are shaking the Western Hemisphere. How can we address the needs of our fellow Jews, and our neighbors, at times of danger? Learn about global hotspots where Jews are leading, and are impacted by, efforts to save lives.

What War Zone? Standup Comedy from Israel
Benji Lovitt

9:15 PM in the Shapiro Synagogue

Benji Lovitt’s hilarious stand-up comedy about life in Israel is a must-have user guide for anyone considering a trip to the Holy Land. By deconstructing the details of Israeli culture and the immigrant experience in Israel, Benji’s energy and enthusiasm will make you laugh out loud as he sheds light on embarrassing Hebrew mistakes, Tel Aviv versus Jerusalem, and exactly what makes American and Israeli Jews different from one another.

Sexual Repression and Obsession in the Jewish Tradition
Chaim Seidler-Feller and Doreen Seidler-Feller

9:15 PM in Room 224

Although Jewish tradition is generally open-minded regarding sexual behavior within marriage, certain repressive ideas have gained currency over the centuries and have determined sexual attitudes within segments of the community. We will identify the textual and ideological sources of these views while offering a psychological critique of the resulting practices. A counter-tradition that is central to the Talmudic discussion will be offered in response.

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