2012 Program

Rachel Berghash

Half the House: My Life In and Out of Jerusalem

“A beautiful, deeply stirring memoir about breaking away from Jerusalem, and also about discovering Jerusalem…written with the eye of a poet, the insight of a psychologist, and a heart of wisdom.”  – Jonathan Rosen, author of “The Talmud and the Internet”

Rachel Berghash began her life as an Orthodox Jew in Jerusalem.  When she married an American artist, she left both orthodoxy and Jerusalem.  Her memoir, Half the House, My Life In and Out of Jerusalem, tells the story of these journeys and of her journey back to a reawakened Judaism.  In this intriguing book about self-discovery and spiritual life, Berghash considers such topics as emigration, exile, family, and the fraught relationship between Israeli Jews and Palestinians.

Rachel Berghash leads seminars in religion and philosophy and has published in Tikkun and the Journal of Religion and Health. Visit her website.

• Co-sponsored by the Legacies Book of Life Program of The Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies and the Berghash Family Charitable Fund
• A special reception will follow

Bonnie Schneider

Extreme Weather: A Guide to Surviving Flash Floods, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Heat Waves, Snowstorms, Tsunamis and Other Natural Disasters

“This is a book to read on a calm night when there’s hardly a breeze and the skies are clear. It will remain with you in vivid detail, and someday, when the weather turns tumultuous, this book could save your life.”  – Jeffrey Zaslow, The Last Lecture

Bonnie Schneider is a well-known meteorologist on CNN and HLN.  Extreme Weather is her first book.  This might be handy information to have as we watch news reports from around the world and worry about what may be headed our way.  Ms. Schneider will discuss more than natural disasters.  She will also offer comments on weather and the Bible, a book that tells of floods, whirlwinds, locusts, and an assortment of other natural phenomena. Visit her website.

• Sponsored by Michael and Rhonda Wise
• Bonnie will be introduced by our very own WIVB Meteorologist Don Paul

Global Day of Jewish Learning

Global Day was spearheaded by the Aleph Society.  A first Global Day program was presented in 2010 to coincide with the completion of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz’s Global Day was spearheaded by the Aleph Society.  A first Global Day program was presented in 2010 to coincide with the completion of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz’s translation and commentary on the Talmud. Jews from over 400 communities in 48 countries participated in over 600 events, together on the same day. This season’s theme is “Jewish concepts of blessing and gratitude.”  The keynote speaker will be “our very own” Cantor Mark Horowitz.  Cantor Mark is currently Vice-President of Early Childhood and Family Engagement at JCCA and founding Executive Director of the Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative.

Following the keynote talk will be a choice of workshops led by: Rabbi Heschel Greenberg, Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein, Rabbi Perry Netter, Rabbi Irwin Tanenbaum, Rabbi Laizer Labkovski, Rabbi Moshe Taub, Rabbi Gary Pokras and Rabbi Joshua Strosberg.

Free and open to the Community (tickets are necessary).

Sponsored by the Bureau of Jewish Education and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo in cooperation with local Synagogues and Jewish organizations

Chair: Jill Ginsburg (BJE)

Josh Rolnick

Pulp and Paper

From the Torah to the Midrash to modern times, Judaism has a strong tradition of using stories to illuminate the world.  Josh Rolnick’s collection of eight short stories, Pulp and Paper, continues that tradition.  Set in New York and New Jersey, these stories explore numerous themes that are prominent in Jewish thought, including memory, repentance, and redemption.  But these stories are not theological tracts.  Rather they present characters whom we might recognize in situations with which we can identify. Pulp and Paper captures lightning in a bottle, excavating the smallest steps people take to move beyond grief, heartbreak and failure…a truly compassionate collection.

Josh Rolnick is a former managing editor of Moment.  Pulp and Paper won the 2011 John Simmons Short Fiction Award. Visit his website.

Co-sponsored by area Temple Sisterhoods and Brotherhoods

The Blue Rose

Adapted for the stage and directed by Darleen Pickering Hummert and performed by Theatre for Change

The Blue Rose is a celebration of the bittersweet realities in the life of Jenny, a child with developmental disabilities. Through the creativity, skills and sensitivity of the play’s cast, Jenny blossoms on stage with the love and caring of family and friends…just as Jenny Innerfield, the original Blue Rose, and her mother, Lillian Gerstman have inspired us all for decades.

Gerda is a Holocaust survivor, internationally known author and lecturer, recipient of numerous honorary doctorates, an Oscar, an Emmy, the Medal of Freedom and founder of Citizenship Counts. Currently living in Scottsdale, Arizona, Gerda always calls Buffalo her “home”. Visit the Blue Rose website. Visit Theatre for Change website.

• Sponsored through The Blue Rose Foundation with funding from the Daigler Family Scholarship Fund as administered by the Foundation of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and from the Jewish Community Book Fair

• Guest speaker – Gerda Weissmann Klein (signed copies of The Blue Rose will be available for purchase)

 

Eyal Press

Beautiful Souls: Saying No, Breaking Ranks, and Heeding the Voice of Conscience in Dark Times

“This thought-provoking and moving narrative highlights the different ways people react to moral quandaries and, at its best, makes us question the role our own passivity or acquiescence plays in allowing unconscionable acts to happen on our watch.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

What prompts people to resist evil, even if doing so means risking their lives? In Beautiful Souls, Eyal Press examines this question by presenting the stories of ordinary people, like a Swiss police captain who aided Jewish refugees fleeing from the Holocaust.  We may be accustomed to speculation about the source of evil, but Press wants us to think about what is perhaps a more important issue, the source of good.  Who among us would stand up to the persecution of others, and why?

Author and journalist Eyal Press has been a recipient of the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism and is also the author of Absolute Convictions. Visit his website.

• Sponsored by the Press family
• A reception will be sponsored by The Rubin and Luba Literman Memorial Fund of the Holocaust Resource Center of Buffalo

Anouk Markovits

I am Forbidden: A Novel

“Markovits creates a vibrant, multilayered tale set within the conflicting obligations of faith and family.”  – Booklist

Anouk Markovits was born into the Satmar Hasidic sect in France and left it when she was nineteen to avoid an arranged marriage. She is therefore perfectly positioned to have written I Am Forbidden, a novel that describes life in the insular Satmar sect, whether in Europe during the Holocaust or later in Brooklyn.  Markovits combines her knowledge of Satmar life with skillful characterizations and an intriguing plot to create a novel that is both informative and entertaining, as it examines questions of faith and fundamentalism.

Anouk Markovits holds a bachelor of science from Columbia University, a master of architecture from Harvard, and a PhD in Romance studies from Cornell.  Her first novel, Pur Coton, was written in French, while I Am Forbidden is her English-language debut. Visit her website.

• Sponsored by the Samuel and Sophie Weinstein Memorial Lecture Fund
• Co-sponsored in part by the Greater Buffalo Chapter of Hadassah

Musical Lights

Warm your soul with treasures of Hanukkah chamber music; performed by BPO musicians Robbie Hausmann (cello), Loren Silvertrust (violin), Janz Castello (viola), Alfred Frenning (piano-not pictured), and special guest, Cantor Irwin Gelman.

Open to the Community-FREE tickets are necessary, 4 ticket limit per order as seating is limited

• This FREE concert is sponsored & underwritten by the Shuman Family Foundation

Before the Concert – 6:00pm: Enjoy a special Hanukkah buffet dinner prepared by the Myers Family Tel Aviv Café.  Dinner reservations are necessary by Thursday, November 29.  Call 204-2255 to leave your name, phone number and number in your dinner party or pay in advance by using the order form in this brochure.    Dinner guests have reserved concert seating!

Edith Rogovin Frankel

Old Lives and New: Soviet Immigrants in Israel and America

“One of the strengths of this book is its portrayal of individuals: their personal stories, struggles, dilemmas, and achievements. Each story…has lessons in it to illuminate and to inspire.” – Sir Martin Gilbert, historian

In the late 1970’s, a modern exodus occurred when most of the Jews who left the Soviet Union settled either in Israel or the United States. Edith Rogovin Frankel interviewed participants in this exodus both in the late 70’s and then twenty-five years later.  Her book, Old Lives and New: Soviet Immigrants in Israel and America, provides historical insights into this later exodus and describes how the lives of those involved have progressed since they left their homes.

Edith Rogovin Frankel, a former Buffalonian, is a political scientist who has published widely on the Soviet Union and Soviet Jews.  Frankel has taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Dartmouth College, Stanford University, University College London, and elsewhere. Visit her website.

Sponsored by Congregation Havurah and by the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the March for Soviet Jewry in Washington, DC

Musical Lights

A Children’s Hanukkah Concert

Kol Rina (voice of joy), the JCC’s new community choir presents a holiday concert for families to enjoy together. Choir Director Sebnem Mekinulov is a renowned opera singer, voice teacher and music trainer.$10, children 12 years and younger $5Patron levels $18, $36 – Your gift will be acknowledged and will help fund Kol Rina• Hanukkah cookie reception to follow.

Sholem Aleichem

Laughing in the Darkness (Film)

“A rich…modern history of East European Jewry. Conjures the look and vitality of shtetl life so vividly     you can almost smell the pungent aromas of the cooking.” – Stephen Holden, NYT

The film is a riveting portrait of the great writer whose stories became the basis of the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof.  Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness tells the tale of the rebellious genius who created an entirely new literature.  Exploring the depths of a Jewish world locked in crisis and on the cusp of profound change, he captured that world with brilliant humor. Sholem Aleichem was not just a witness to the creation of a new modern Jewish identity, but one of the very men who forged it. Visit website.

Recent Book Fair speakers in the film include Aaron Lansky and David Roskies.

• US / 2010 / 93 minutes / English & Yiddish w/English subtitles / not rated
• Sholem Aleichem books will be part of a lobby book sale
• Introduction and discussion with Theodore Steinberg, Professor of English at Suny Fredonia

 

Elliot Sneider

My Brother George: The Life and Music of George Gershwin

In this one-man show, pianist Elliot Sneider plays Ira Gershwin, who shared the highs and lows of George Gershwin’s life as his main lyricist, the man always by his side. Told through stories and music, including a performance of the iconic piece “Rhapsody In Blue,” My Brother George tells the story of George Gershwin’s life through the changing landscape of America in the early twentieth century, and portrays the personal growth of Gershwin from his first hit “Swanee” through his tragic death at the age of 38. Other songs include “Lady Be Good”, “They Can’t Take That Away from Me”, and selections from “Porgy and Bess.”

Elliot Sneider was born in Syracuse NY, and grew up with a love of Gershwin’s music and life story. He is currently a doctoral student in music composition at Arizona State University. Visit his website.

Before the Concert – 6:00pm: Enjoy a gourmet buffet dinner prepared by the Myers Family Tel Aviv Café.  Dinner reservations are necessary by Monday, December 10.  Call 204-2255 to leave your name, phone number and number in your dinner party or pay in advance by using the order form  Dinner guests have reserved concert seating!

 

 

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