People of the Book
Our 18-week course offers a basic foundation in Judaism taught by the clergy. The course, sponsored by the Union for Reform Judaism, is required for persons considering conversion to Judaism, but it is very helpful to Jews-by-birth who seek a refresher course in the principles and practices of Judaism, as well as interfaith couples.
Our speakers have included: Dr. Neil Wenger of the UCLA Health Ethics Center, "The End of Life Option Act;" Dr. Margarete Feinstein whose talk was "Revenge after the Shoah;" the honorable Consul General of Azerbaijan, Nasimi Aghayev, who discussed the relationship of Muslims and Jews in Israel and Azerbaijan; Scott Siegler, "Media in the Age of President Trump;" Dr. Judah Pearl who spoke of his son during Daniel Pearl World Music Days; "The Pursuit of Harmony," with Jewish American songwriter Michael Hunter Ochs and award-winning Muslim Palestinian peace-activist Alaa Alshaham; and Sister Eileen Mitchell of the St. Joseph Center, who discussed the two Josephs, one in Torah and one in Christian scripture.
Hevrah Torah on Shabbat mornings is led by Rabbi Stanley Davids. Entering its third year, so many congregants have been interested in pursuing a deeper and richer understanding of the weekly Torah portion that sessions now meet in room 307. Rabbi Feinstein, Cantor Shapiro, Cantor Frailich, and Rabbi Simonds also teach.
Rabbi Feinstein teaches a monthly class to members of the Sisterhood and congregation regarding current events in Israel, America, and in Jewish life. The class will continue into its third year, monthly on Wednesday mornings.
People of the Book
People of the Book features authors and a discussion of their works during Shabbat services. This year we featured Rabbi Denise Eger of Congregation Kol Ami, President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, discussing The Sacred Calling: Four Decades of Women in the Rabbinate.
Hartman Institute Series
Visions for a Shared Society: The "Tribes" of Israel. What are the core values of some of the "tribes" that comprise Israel today? How does a divided people build a shared society? What are some of the challenges and possibilities of creating a Jewish and democratic society? The Hartman Westside Synagogue Collaborative Lecture Series, held in many locations, featured senior scholars of Jerusalem's Hartman Institute Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, Dr. Elana Stein Hain, Dr. Micah Goodman, and Dr. Tal Becker addressing these pivotal questions.