Dec
22
Wed
The Diverse Cultures of Contemporary Israel: Exploring A Multiplicity of Identities Through Story And Film
Dec 22 @ 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

Jan
8
Sat
Virtual Winter Weekend *note the time change*
Jan 8 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Please join KB for a virtual Winter Weekend! Like last year, there will be several breakout rooms with games, conversation, and general schmoozing. Possible activities include hanging out in the main room, Boggle, Scattergories, Codenames, Jackbox, Fictionary, and a dance party! If you’re interested in hosting one of these activities, or some other activity, please let Cathy know (cathycab@gmail.com).

Stay tuned for details and Zoom links!

Jan
11
Tue
Executive Committee Meeting
Jan 11 @ 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.

Jan
13
Thu
American Jews and Racial Justice: Where We Are Now and How We Got Here
Jan 13 @ 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.

Jan
16
Sun
Community Gathering on Zoom
Jan 16 @ 9:30 am – 12:15 pm

Join us on Zoom for this community gathering. For our program, we will hear from Dr. Atyia Martin.

Closer to Ourselves, Closer to Nature
During our time together, Dr. Atyia Martin will explore the connection between racial equity, getting closer to ourselves, and getting closer to each other. She will also share how this is related to our ability to have a meaningful relationship with nature and take action to fight climate change.

Dr. Martin has over twenty years of experience applying the principles of racial equity and social justice during her career in resilience, emergency management, public health, and intelligence. She is CEO of the consulting firm, All Aces, Inc.; is the author of We Are the Question + the Answer: Break the Collective Habit of Racism + Build Resilience for Racial Equity in Ourselves and Our Organizations; and is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Northeastern University’s Global Resilience Institute. Her past roles include serving as the City of Boston’s Chief Resilience Officer.

9:30 – Schmooze
10:00 – Announcements
10:10 – Candle Lighting and Service
-short break-
11:00 – Program by Dr. Atyia Martin
12:00 – Optional: Stay For an Extra 15 Min of Q&A
12:15 – End

For the Zoom link, please email Lidia at L.Pruente@kahalbraira.org.

Sunday School
Jan 16 @ 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

Jan
27
Thu
Anti-Racism Book Group (members only)
Jan 27 @ 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 sections 1-3 (memoir, non-fiction)
December
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part Four (1739-1779 & Poem); pages 111-145
  • The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee sections 4-7 (memoir, non-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
  • The Vanishing Half (fiction)
June
  • Four Hundred Souls – Part Ten (1979-2019 & Poem & Conclusion); pages 351-392
  • Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow (non-fiction)
Jan
28
Fri
Repro Shabbat Service
Jan 28 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Organized by the National Council of Jewish Women, Repro Shabbat is an opportunity for congregations, organizations, and communities to celebrate the critical importance of reproductive health access, reproductive rights, and reproductive justice, and to learn more about Judaism’s approach to these issues.

Celebrate Shabbat Humanistically! Our Shabbat services use non-theistic blessings and readings to celebrate Jewish culture, community, and what people can do to help spread joy and justice in the world.

For the Zoom link, please register here: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAsd-2vrDouHNBHyF7ZCilbMb6S7TWXUoFF

Jan
30
Sun
Community Gathering with Rabbi David Berkman
Jan 30 @ 9:30 am – 12:15 pm

Join Kahal B’raira for a Community Gathering, featuring a service, time to schmooze, and an educational or cultural program.

Our favorite Artist-turned-Rabbi, David Berkman, returns to KB to lead us through an exploration of Marc Chagall’s Five Meditations on Love and Loss. Painted in the late 50s and early 60s, these works tell the story of biblical love, as Chagall was lamenting the loss of his beloved wife, Bella. Based on the Song of Songs, these large paintings hang in the Marc Chagall National Museum in Nice, France.

For those who wish to read, in advance, the very earthy and sensual Song of Songs–the only story in the bible that does not mention God–here’s a link to the version to which Rabbi Berkman will refer: https://www.sefaria.org/Song_of_Songs

9:30 – Schmooze/Mifgash, outside
10:00 – Announcements
10:10 – Candle Lighting and Service
-short break-
11:00 – Program by Rabbi Berkman
12:00 – Optional: Stay For an Extra 15 Min of Q&A
12:15 – End

Community Gatherings will be hybrid, with in-person and streaming options. For more information, please email Lidia at info@kahalbraira.org.

Sunday School – Foster Care Box Day
Jan 30 @ 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