Exploring the World of JudaismA partnership between Jewish LearningWorks and Congregation Shir Hadash
We’re excited to invite you to the third year of Exploring the World of Judaism, adult learning specially designed by and for religious school parents.
The sessions meet on Sunday mornings while your kids are in Religious School, and they feature a wide range of topics all taught at an adult level by leading experts in the field. Each session is self contained, requires no advance reservations and is free to congregants. Babysitting will be provided for all programs. One of the great things about this series is that whether you’re a rabbi or someone who has never attended a day of religious school, you are certain to find these speakers engaging and interesting.
Exploring the World of Judaism, offered in partnership with Jewish LearningWorks, is an easy and convenient way for your to broaden your Jewish horizons, enrich your Jewish experience and show your kids that Jewish education is important. This semester our discussion topics include genetic testing, the Jews of Iran, the spiritual imagination of children, Iran and its Jews, environment and social justice, teen sexuality and the Israeli settlements.
We hope to see you there!
Sessions meet on Sunday mornings from 9:40am to 11:40am in the Oneg Room. Reservations are not taken; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The program is free to Shir Hadash congregants; a small donation suggested for non-congregants. Refreshments will be served. Babysitting available by reservation. Exploring the World of Judaism is a program of Congregation Shir Hadash and Jewish LearningWorks 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 CSH/EWJ.
Fall 2013 Programs and Speakers
September 29, 2013
Dr. Robert Wallerstein
In this overview of Jewish genetic disease, Dr. Wallerstein will discuss the history of the genes, how disease is inherited, when people usually get screened, who offers the screening and the accuracy of the results. He will also cover when testing is generally covered and explain the difference between clinical and non-clinical testing. Review your options to begin to decide what may or may not be right for you and your family.
Dr. Wallerstein is the Director of the South Bay Regional Genetics Center at Santa Clara Valley Medial Center and an associate professor of Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine. His clinical work is in genetics of birth defects, prenatal diagnosis, syndrome identification and adult genetics including cancer genetics. He is board certified in Clinical Genetics, Cytogenetics, Genetic counseling and Pediatrics.
October 13, 2013
Abbas Milani, Ph.D.
Join Dr. Abbas Milani as he delves into the contours of the tempestuous relationship between Jews and Iran; full of relative amity in the past and riddled with rancor today. Focusing on the events of the last century, and what they tell us about the prospects of the future, take a look at the paradoxical relationship between Jews and Iran through the prism of history.
Dr. Abbas Milani is the Hamid & Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford University and a Professor (by courtesy) in the Division of International, Comparative, and Area Studies. Prior to moving to the United States in 1986, he taught at Tehran University’s Faculty of Law and Political Science, where he was also a member of the Board of Directors of the university’s Center for International Relations. After moving to the United States, he served as Chair of the Political Science Department at the Notre Dame de Namur University for fourteen years and then as a visiting Research Fellow in University of California, Berkeley’s Middle East Center. An expert in Iran relations as well as Iranian cultural, political, and security issues, Dr. Milani is the widely published author of more than twenty books and two hundred articles and book reviews.
October 27, 2013
Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
All children have a spiritual life, a natural curiosity and an innate sense of awe of the universe. Despite our children’s desire to talk about God and some ability to deal with theological ideas, religious education is often ineffective in nurturing the spiritual life of children. There are over 5,000 messages a day inviting our children to spend money. Learn how to give our children a different message, the language to talk about the sacred and the tools to encourage a connection to the spirit.
Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso is an award winning professor, rabbi, author and was the first woman ordained from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Rabbi Sandy earned her Doctorate of Ministry and numerous honorary degrees. She is the recipient of the highest civilian honor awarded by the governor of the State of Indiana and the 2013 Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association Lifetime Rabbinic Service Award. Rabbi Sasso has written and lectured on women and spirituality, and the discovery of the religious imagination in children. She is the author of several nationally acclaimed children’s books, including God’s Paintbrush, Adam and Eve’s First Sunset and In God’s Name and is the 2004 recipient of the Helen Keating Ott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Literature.
November 3, 2013
Our (Jewish) environmental roots are connected to the Torah. Our social justice roots are connected to the Torah. Turns out, both are very closely connected to each other. In the Torah, many of our most important agricultural laws are also social justice mandates. Together we will explore the Torah texts describing the Shmita year, the year of release, and discuss how laws intended only for the land of Israel can inform our environmental and social justice values and actions today.
Deborah Newbrun is the Bay Area director of Hazon. With a BA in American Studies and Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz, and a teaching credential from UC Berkeley, Deborah started her career as a National Park Service Ranger and naturalist for several Bay Area Environmental Education organizations. She brought her naturalist and Jewish life together when she spent 25 years directing Camp Tawonga. She has served on the faculty of many Jewish educational, teacher and leadership training programs and is the co-author of Spirit In Nature: Teaching Judaism and Ecology on the Trail.
November 24, 2013
Rabbi Laura Novak-Winer
If you have teens, pre-teens or younger children, you know that Teen sexuality can be quite complex and difficult to discuss. Join Rabbi Winer to lay the groundwork for future conversations with your kids. Explore the importance of Jewish values and examine how they can serve as a road map for talking to your child about how to deal with the issues they will face.
Rabbi Laura Novak Winer, RJE, is an expert in educating and engaging teens and young adults within institutions of Jewish learning. Prior to founding her own Jewish Education consulting firm, she worked for twelve years at the Union for Reform Judaism, helping to guide their youth programs. Her “Sacred choices” series of publications has won praise for sensitively discussing adolescent relationships in pragmatic and moral terms. Rabbi Winer has led education efforts at Jewish schools, synagogues, and camps throughout the United States and serves on the board of the National Association of Temple Educators.
December 8, 2013
Dr. Eran Kaplan
When we speak of the settlements, we are faced with a myriad of questions. Who are the settlers and where do they come from? What kind of communities are we referring to? Do they differ from other communities and from each other? How does the international community regard them, and how does the Israeli legal system view them? What is the pivotal role that the settlements have played in the peace process and what might be the future of the settlements under a possible peace plan? Join Dr. Eran Kaplan as he shares the answers to these crucial questions.
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.