At B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation we believe that Jewish learning is a lifetime project.
Please join us at any one of our course offerings this year. Membership is not required, and many of the classes have a nominal charge, suggested donation, or are free!
Contact us to sign up or with any questions!
Join our study group at 10 am Saturdays for a continuation of our 20-year tradition of sacred text study. We closely examine the weekly Parashat with the first Shabbat of the month devoted to the Prophets and the Writings. On Saturdays where there is a Shabbat Service at B’nai Sholom, we meet at 9:30 am.
All are welcome to participate and learn, reading sections aloud (if you desire) and discussing the context of the history of the Bible, including the sociology, archaeology, and politics of the land. No prior registration or experience is necessary! Sessions generally last 90 minutes with the Prophets and Writings often taking 2 hours.
These sessions are open to all on a drop-in, occasional, or regular basis. BYOB – Bring your own Bible (Having a variety of translations/interpretations increase the scope of our discussions.) Contact the office to receive the ZOOM link.
Rabbi Weisbrot will be leading a discussion of Pirkei Avot, or Ethics of our Fathers, one of the best known and most cited of Jewish texts. The sessions will be on Thursday nights with the format and dates to be determined
On February 7, B’nai Sholom will be virtually hosting Martin Fletcher to provide his insights on the post October 7 world and the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, a conflict where several of his family members were taken hostage. Fletcher has covered world events for 40 years, mostly for NBC News including 26 based in Israel, as its correspondent and or bureau chief. Dubbed the “gold standard of television war correspondents” by fellow journalist and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, he has won almost every award in TV journalism including five Emmies, three of which were for his reporting from Israel – one for the first Palestinian uprising, one for the second uprising, and the third for coverage of Israel’s war with Lebanon in 2006. Fletcher has also written four novels and three works of non-fiction in his illustrious career including Teachers (2023) about people he has encountered in his reporting who have shown resilience despite the hardships of war, revolution, and natural disasters.
Watch for the Zoom link in the weekly e-mail and please join us for what should be an extraordinary evening. Open to members of the B’nai Sholom community and friends.
A series of talks by scholars from the congregation and beyond, presented following Friday night worship services.
Details on all the above found below and to follow.
“Cut Off: Shylock, Anti-Semitism, Value and Irony in the Merchant of Venice”
Perhaps the most frequently asked question about Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is whether it is an antisemitic play or a play about antisemitism. Maybe it’s both. In this comedy with the soul of a tragedy, all truths are questions and all insights ironic. As many commentators have pointed out, antisemitism is also a series of contradictions, but the only truth they seem to yield is the truth of antisemitism itself, the oldest and most durable hatred. The resurgence of this hatred has been in evidence since the beginning of the twenty-first century, but it is clearly escalating. Is it possible that a play first produced over 400 years ago can shed some light on this hatred, on the fears we are facing now, even if the only moral clarity it offers is a better understanding of who we are and what we value?
Mary is a professor at SUNY Orange Community College, where she taught the college’s Shakespeare course for 23 years, as well as other literature, writing, and philosophy courses. Over the years, she has given a number of presentations and led discussions on a number of Shakespeare plays, including The Merchant of Venice.
On April 3, B’nai Sholom will be virtually hosting author Tova Mirvis as she discusses her memoir, The Book of Separation. In the book she traces her journey away from her Modern Orthodox upbringing, as she leaves both a marriage and the religious community of which she was a part. She also describes the struggle to find her footing in an unfamiliar secular world while still keeping one foot in the Orthodox world for the sake of her children, and stepping with the other into a new and emerging way of expressing her Judaism and living her life. Mirvis’s memoir was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and was excerpted in the New York Times Modern Love Column. Lillith Magazine called it “beautiful and poignant.”
Tova Mirvis is also the author of three novels, Visible City, The Outside World and The Ladies Auxiliary which was a national bestseller. Her essays have appeared in many publications including The Washington Post, The Boston Globe Magazine, and Psychology Today, and her fiction has been broadcast on NPR. Please join us for this special event which is open to members of the B’nai Sholom community and friends. Additional information will be provided soon!
Multiple copies of the Book of Separation are currently in the local library system and will be in the temple library hopefully within the next two weeks.
When Thomas Jefferson died in 1826, he left behind a mountain of personal debt, which forced his heirs to sell his beloved Monticello home and all of its possessions. The Levys of Monticello (2022) is a documentary film that tells the little-known story of the Levy family, which owned and carefully preserved Monticello for nearly a century – far longer than Jefferson or his descendants. The remarkable story of the Levy family also intersects with the rise of antisemitism that runs throughout the course of American history.
There will be a $5 admission fee and non-members are requested to pre-register here.
For the past three years the B’nai Sholom’s film group has been meeting bi-monthly to discuss movies that have been available through the Chaiflicks streaming service. The next movie is a Winter Journey, dealing with themes of guilt and Jewish identity, as a son confronts his father about his experiences in the Kulturbund, or Jewish Cultural Association, a remarkable ensemble of Jewish musicians, actors, and dancers that was maintained as an insidious propaganda tool by the Nazis. The film is also available for free streaming at Tubi and all are welcome to join the discussion.
Contact Barney Horowitz at email@example.com for the Zoom link.