Sep
30
Thu
American Jews and Racial Justice: Where We Are Now and How We Got Here
Sep 30 @ 7:15 pm – 8:45 pm

Sponsored by Hebrew College and hosted by the Cambridge Collaborative: Congregation Eitz Chayim, Tremont Street Shul and Kahal B’raira.

Thursdays, 7:15-8:45 pm, 10 Sessions
Location: Zoom
Cost: $180; some financial aid available
Register: https://tinyurl.com/ja4h8pk2

Part One: Finding our place: Jews in the Struggle for Racial Equity
with Tema Smith – 6 Sessions: 9/30, 10/28, 11/18, 12/9, 1/13, 2/10

With a renewed awakening about the pervasiveness of systemic racism in our society, questions about where the Jewish community fits in are appearing more and more. How does the social construction of race impact the Jewish community? Are white-presenting Jews considered white? How does the Jewish community show up for Jews of Color? And where does antisemitism fit into this spectrum of oppression? In this course, we will dive into some of these hot-button topics and emerge with a deeper understanding of each of our places in the fight for justice.

Part Two: American Jews and Race: A Historical Perspective
with Dr. Marc Dollinger – 4 Sessions: 3/17, 4/7, 5/5, 6/2

Learn about the most important historical moments for American Jews and questions of race. Explore how white-presenting Jews have, and have not, been considered privileged in U.S. history. Dive deep into the civil rights movement of the 1950s and early 1960s, learning new insights into both southern Jews and northern Jewish participation in racial justice causes. Learn about the apparent break-up of the Black/Jewish alliance in the mid-1960s with a close reading of the Black Power movement and its inspiration for American Jewish public identity. Finally, examine actual historical documents going back 360 years revealing the interconnection between Jews, race, and racism, that show us how “becoming American” often meant participation in racist systems.

If you encounter any difficulties with registration, please contact Cindy Bernstein at cbernstein@hebrewcollege.edu or 617-559-8709.

There will not be much homework for this series.

Oct
3
Sun
Community Gathering
Oct 3 @ 9:30 am – 12:15 pm

Join us in-person or online for this community gathering. For our program, we will hear from Vanessa Zoltan

Atheist-Jewish Chaplain, podcaster, and author Vanessa Zoltan joins us to speak about her childhood, the experiences that led her to divinity school, and her epiphany that the secular world is filled with sacred connections. For Zoltan, sacred connections cross the boundaries of religion, culture, and time, and are transmitted in the most quotidian way: ink on paper. Learn more about how literature—and perhaps any art form—can foster a life of profound purpose and meaning.


9:30 – Schmooze/BYO coffee/Mifgash, outside if weather permits
10:00 – Announcements
10:10 – Candle Lighting and Service led by Leo Rothstein
-short break-
11:00 – Program by Vanessa Zoltan
12:00 – Optional: Stay For an Extra 15 Min of Q&A
12:15 – End

The announcements and service, and program will be livestreamed to our Facebook page from about 10:00am-noon. Anyone can watch the livestream, even if you don’t have a Facebook account. We’ll be experimenting with different livestream setups for the first few gatherings, so your patience and feedback is appreciated! Questions? Interested in hosting a Zoom schmooze for remote viewers? Please email Lidia at L.Pruente@kahalbraira.org.

Sunday School
Oct 3 @ 9:30 am – 12:15 pm

Our Sunday school curriculum emphasizes critical thinking, ethics, history, and culture. We welcome students and families from all backgrounds, including LGBTQ+, interfaith, and intercultural families. Visitors are welcome! For more info, please email Sophia Brion-Meisels, our school director, at eddirector@kahalbraira.org.

9:30-9:45 – Mifgash (outside in the backyard, weather permitting)
9:45-noon – Class time

Oct
12
Tue
Executive Committee Meeting
Oct 12 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

The Executive Committee is Kahal B’raira’s leadership and coordinating body. It includes the president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary, members-at-large, Sunday school chair and representative to the Society for Humanistic Judaism. Meetings are open to all KB members. For the Zoom link, please email Lidia at l.pruente@kahalbraira.org.

Oct
13
Wed
The Diverse Cultures of Contemporary Israel: Exploring A Multiplicity of Identities Through Story And Film
Oct 13 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Sponsored by Hebrew College and hosted by the Cambridge Collaborative: Congregation Eitz Chayim, Tremont Street Shul and Kahal B’raira.

Wednesdays, 7:00-9:00pm
Dates: October 13, 20, 27; November 3, 10, 17; December 1, 8, 15, 22 (Make-up: January 5th)
Location: Zoom
Cost: $325, generous financial aid is available
Register here. Open to all learners.

For a variety of reasons most American Jews have learned more about the history of modern Israel, but less about the full complexity of cultures that make up contemporary Israeli society.  This course will help participants grasp how that history actually gets lived out in the day-to-day life of a sprawling, vibrant, deeply multicultural, and multi-religious society.

Drawing on both popular and more elite media, such as film, short stories, television programs, and popular song videos (all in translation), and also taking advantage of helpful scholarly literature, this course will explore many facets of the contemporary cultural experience in Israel.

A great number of very different identities thrive in contemporary Israeli society. This ten-week course will focus on these identities, their histories and politics, and the relationships between them.

Some of the identities and topics we will be exploring include:

  • Religious and secular Jews
  • Different Kinds of Jewish culture (Ashkenazi, Mizrachi, Russian, Ethiopian, etc.)
  • Israeli Arab Identities (Muslim, Christian, Druze, etc.)
  • Palestinian intellectual and cultural perspectives on Palestinian identity
  • How Changing Conceptions of Gender Affect Identity, and
  • the multiplicity of LGBTQ identities in Israel

We will also be looking at popular culture and, in particular, at the growth of satire and humor as responses to and critiques of Israeli society.

Students will be asked to watch a few films at home, prior to class.  This may require access to free and paid streaming services.

For information about financial aid, please contact Marilyn Stern at meah@hebrewcollege.edu. If you would like assistance with registration, email Anna Katsevman at akatsevman@hebrewcollege.edu

Oct
17
Sun
Community Gathering
Oct 17 @ 9:30 am – 12:15 pm

Join us in-person or online for this community gathering. For our program, we will hear from Martin Puchner.

As a boy in Germany in the 1970s, Martin Puchner learned about a secret language called Rotwelsch–which combines Yiddish, Hebrew, and many European languages–from his father and uncle. Recent research into this mystery, as a Harvard University Professor, revealed to him a poisonous 1930s tract on Jewish names as well as his grandfather’s identity as a Nazi who despised this “language of thieves.” Interweaving family memoir with an adventurous foray into a concealed language, Puchner discovers in this language a witty and resourceful spirit of tolerance that remains essential today.


9:30 – Schmooze/BYO coffee/Mifgash, outside if weather permits
10:00 – Announcements
10:10 – Candle Lighting and Service
-short break-
11:00 – Program by Martin Puchner
12:00 – Optional: Stay For an Extra 15 Min of Q&A
12:15 – End

The announcements and service, and program will be livestreamed to our Facebook page from about 10:00am-noon. Anyone can watch the livestream, even if you don’t have a Facebook account. We’ll be experimenting with different livestream setups for the first few gatherings, so your patience and feedback is appreciated! Questions? Interested in hosting a Zoom schmooze for remote viewers? Please email Lidia at L.Pruente@kahalbraira.org.

Sunday School
Oct 17 @ 9:30 am – 12:15 pm

Our Sunday school curriculum emphasizes critical thinking, ethics, history, and culture. We welcome students and families from all backgrounds, including LGBTQ+, interfaith, and intercultural families. Visitors are welcome! For more info, please email Sophia Brion-Meisels, our school director, at eddirector@kahalbraira.org.

9:30-9:45 – Mifgash (outside in the backyard, weather permitting)
9:45-noon – Class time

Oct
20
Wed
The Diverse Cultures of Contemporary Israel: Exploring A Multiplicity of Identities Through Story And Film
Oct 20 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Sponsored by Hebrew College and hosted by the Cambridge Collaborative: Congregation Eitz Chayim, Tremont Street Shul and Kahal B’raira.

Wednesdays, 7:00-9:00pm
Dates: October 13, 20, 27; November 3, 10, 17; December 1, 8, 15, 22 (Make-up: January 5th)
Location: Zoom
Cost: $325, generous financial aid is available
Register here. Open to all learners.

For a variety of reasons most American Jews have learned more about the history of modern Israel, but less about the full complexity of cultures that make up contemporary Israeli society.  This course will help participants grasp how that history actually gets lived out in the day-to-day life of a sprawling, vibrant, deeply multicultural, and multi-religious society.

Drawing on both popular and more elite media, such as film, short stories, television programs, and popular song videos (all in translation), and also taking advantage of helpful scholarly literature, this course will explore many facets of the contemporary cultural experience in Israel.

A great number of very different identities thrive in contemporary Israeli society. This ten-week course will focus on these identities, their histories and politics, and the relationships between them.

Some of the identities and topics we will be exploring include:

  • Religious and secular Jews
  • Different Kinds of Jewish culture (Ashkenazi, Mizrachi, Russian, Ethiopian, etc.)
  • Israeli Arab Identities (Muslim, Christian, Druze, etc.)
  • Palestinian intellectual and cultural perspectives on Palestinian identity
  • How Changing Conceptions of Gender Affect Identity, and
  • the multiplicity of LGBTQ identities in Israel

We will also be looking at popular culture and, in particular, at the growth of satire and humor as responses to and critiques of Israeli society.

Students will be asked to watch a few films at home, prior to class.  This may require access to free and paid streaming services.

For information about financial aid, please contact Marilyn Stern at meah@hebrewcollege.edu. If you would like assistance with registration, email Anna Katsevman at akatsevman@hebrewcollege.edu

Oct
21
Thu
Anti-Racism Book Group (members only)
Oct 21 @ 9:00 am – 10:30 am

KB members are invited to join our book group where we will learn together through reading, self-reflection, and discussion. We will read both non-fiction and fiction (current and historical fiction) and will also share online resources with each other that will support our learning and current experiences. This is a peer-supported group and not led by an expert on the subject. We are on a learning journey and hope you will join us.

In order to accommodate as many people as possible, the group will meet twice per month. You’re welcome to attend one or both of these meetings.

For the Zoom link, please email Melinda Rothstein, or Lidia at info@kahalbraira.org

Tentative Schedule

September 
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part One (Introduction & 1619-1659 & Poem); page xiii – p 35
  • The Book of Unknown Americans (fiction)
October 
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part Two (1659-1699 & Poem); pages 40-69
  • Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria (non-fiction)
November
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part Three (1699-1739 & Poem); pages 73-108
  • The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee (memoir, non-fiction)
December
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part Four (1739-1779 & Poem); pages 111-145
  • The Vanishing Half (fiction)
January
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part Five (1779-1819 & Poem); pages 149-184
  • Minor Feelings (memoir)
February
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part Six (1819-1859 & Poem); pages 187-221
  • The Night Watchman (fiction)
March
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part Seven (1859-1864 & Poem); pages 225-263
  • The Cooking Gene (memoir, non-fiction)
April
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part Eight (1899-1939 & Poem); pages 267-304
  • Interior Chinatown (fiction)
May
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part Nine (1939-1979 & Poem); pages 307-347
  • TBA
June
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part Ten (1979-2019 & Poem & Conclusion); pages 351-392
  • TBA
Oct
25
Mon
Anti-Racism Book Group (members only)
Oct 25 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

KB members are invited to join our book group where we will learn together through reading, self-reflection, and discussion. We will read both non-fiction and fiction (current and historical fiction) and will also share online resources with each other that will support our learning and current experiences. This is a peer-supported group and not led by an expert on the subject. We are on a learning journey and hope you will join us.

In order to accommodate as many people as possible, the group will meet twice per month. You’re welcome to attend one or both of these meetings.

For the Zoom link, please email Melinda Rothstein, or Lidia at info@kahalbraira.org

Tentative Schedule

September 
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part One (Introduction & 1619-1659 & Poem); page xiii – p 35
  • The Book of Unknown Americans (fiction)
October 
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part Two (1659-1699 & Poem); pages 40-69
  • Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria (non-fiction)
November
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part Three (1699-1739 & Poem); pages 73-108
  • The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee (memoir, non-fiction)
December
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part Four (1739-1779 & Poem); pages 111-145
  • The Vanishing Half (fiction)
January
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part Five (1779-1819 & Poem); pages 149-184
  • Minor Feelings (memoir)
February
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part Six (1819-1859 & Poem); pages 187-221
  • The Night Watchman (fiction)
March
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part Seven (1859-1864 & Poem); pages 225-263
  • The Cooking Gene (memoir, non-fiction)
April
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part Eight (1899-1939 & Poem); pages 267-304
  • Interior Chinatown (fiction)
May
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part Nine (1939-1979 & Poem); pages 307-347
  • TBA
June
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part Ten (1979-2019 & Poem & Conclusion); pages 351-392
  • TBA