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“Synagogue Scholars” Series at B’nai Sholom Resumes With Talk on International Struggles Over Climate Change

B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany resumes its popular “Synagogue Scholars” lecture series with a discussion by University at Albany Professor Julie Novkov on international struggles over climate change.

Novkov will deliver her talk, “Our Environmental Covenant and the River of Blood,” during the congregation’s Friday, January 11, Shabbat service. The service and program, open to all who wish to worship and learn, begin at 8 p.m. B’nai Sholom is located at 420 Whitehall Road, Albany.               

The plagues of Egypt, the subject of the week’s Torah portion, serve as a touchstone for this discussion, as both stories share elements of indifference toward increasingly clear and severe “chastisements.”

Novkov is a professor of political science and women’s studies and chair of the Political Science Department at the University at Albany. Her research and teaching address the intersection of law, history, U.S. political development, and identity, such as race and gender. She has authored two books: Racial Union: Law, Intimacy, and the White State in Alabama, 1865-1954 (University of Michigan Press, 2008), a co-winner of the 2009 American Political Science Association’s Ralph Bunche Award; and Constituting Workers, Protecting Women: Gender, Law, and Labor in the Progressive Era and New Deal Years (University of Michigan Press, 2001). She holds doctoral and master’s degrees in political science from the University of Michigan and a law degree from New York University School of Law. Novkov and her husband, Joel Bloom, live with their three children in Loudonville.

Begun in 2004, the “Synagogue Scholars” lecture series spotlights B’nai Sholom congregants who are recognized scholars in their fields. Remaining scheduled lectures are:


• Friday, February 8 – University at Albany English professor Martha Rozett will review The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit, Lucette Lagnado’s award-winning memoir of her Egyptian family, who left their home, first for France, and then New York City, after the 1956 war over the Suez Canal;


• Friday, April 12 – Dr. David Ray, who practices internal medicine at Whitney M. Young Health Center, will speak about what is meant by “good health.”


For more information about the “Synagogue Scholars” series, visit or contact the B’nai Sholom office at or phone 518-482-5283.



Founded in 1971, B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany is a home for contemporary Reform Judaism in the Capital Region. Nearly 160 diverse households from six counties seek religious, educational and social fulfillment at B’nai Sholom.

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