Weekly Shabbat Study
Shabbat AM Talmud Study
Saturdays, 8:15 – 9:15 AM (year around)
The Talmud is one of the most important collections of Jewish law and lore in Jewish history. All backgrounds are welcome. No previous Hebrew knowledge required.
Chevre Torah Study with Rabbi David Kline
Saturdays, 11:15 AM – 12:30 PM (year round)
An engaging weekly discussion and exploration of the stories, themes, and lessons from the weekly Torah portion. New students are always welcome!
Shabbat Morning Study with Rabbi Rachel Timoner
Saturdays, 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM (when Yachad is in session)
Join us for a discussion of a book or books determined by this lay-lead group. All are welcome!
For further information, please contact email@example.com.
A chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on a dazzling journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free. Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker’s debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.
Ian Buruma’s account of his grandparents’ enduring love through the terror and separation of two world wars is a family history of unsurpassing beauty and power. During the almost six years England was at war with Nazi Germany, Winifred and Bernard Schlesinger, Ian Buruma’s grandparents, and the film director John Schlesinger’s parents, were, like so many others, thoroughly sundered from each other. Their only recourse was to write letters back and forth. And write they did, often every day. In a way they were just picking up where they left off in 1918, at the end of their first long separation because of the Great War that swept Bernard away to some of Europe’s bloodiest battlefields. The thousands of letters between them were part of an inheritance that ultimately came into the hands of their grandson, Ian Buruma. Now, in a labor of love that is also a powerful act of artistic creation, Ian Buruma has woven his own voice in with theirs to provide the context and counterpoint necessary to bring to life, not just a remarkable marriage, but a class, and an age. Winifred and Bernard inherited the high European cultural ideals and attitudes that came of being born into prosperous German-Jewish émigré families. To young Ian, who would visit from Holland every Christmas, they seemed the very essence of England, their spacious Berkshire estate the model of genteel English country life at its most pleasant and refined. It wasn’t until years later that he discovered how much more there was to the story. At its heart, Their Promised Land is the story of cultural assimilation. The Schlesingers were very British in the way their relatives in Germany were very German, until Hitler destroyed that option. The problems of being Jewish and facing anti-Semitism even in the country they loved were met with a kind of stoic discretion. But they showed solidarity when it mattered most. As the shadows of war lengthened again, the Schlesingers mounted a remarkable effort, which Ian Buruma describes movingly, to rescue twelve Jewish children from the Nazis and see to their upkeep in England. Many are the books that do bad marriages justice; precious few books take readers inside a good marriage. In Their Promised Land, Buruma has done just that; introducing us to a couple whose love was sustaining through the darkest hours of the century.
When Hisham Matar was a nineteen-year-old university student in England, his father went missing under mysterious circumstances. Hisham would never see him again, but he never gave up hope that his father might still be alive. Twenty-two years later, he returned to his native Libya in search of the truth behind his father’s disappearance. The Return is the story of what he found there.
The untold story of Blanche Knopf, the singular woman who helped define American literature. Left off her company’s fifth anniversary tribute but described by Thomas Mann as “the soul of the firm,” Blanche Knopf began her career when she founded Alfred A. Knopf with her husband in 1915. With her finger on the pulse of a rapidly changing culture, Blanche quickly became a driving force behind the firm. A conduit to the literature of Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance, Blanche also legitimized the hard-boiled detective fiction of writers such as Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, and Raymond Chandler; signed and nurtured literary authors like Willa Cather, Elizabeth Bowen, and Muriel Spark; acquired momentous works of journalism by John Hersey and William Shirer; and introduced American readers to Albert Camus, André Gide, and Simone de Beauvoir, giving these French writers the benefit of her consummate editorial taste. As Knopf celebrates its centennial, Laura Claridge looks back at the firm’s beginnings and the dynamic woman who helped to define American letters for the twentieth century. Drawing on a vast cache of papers, Claridge also captures Blanche’s “witty, loyal, and amusing” personality, and her charged yet oddly loving relationship with her husband. An intimate and often surprising biography, The Lady with the Borzoi is the story of an ambitious, seductive, and impossibly hardworking woman who was determined not to be overlooked or easily categorized.
April 25, 2017 – “The Meursault Investigation” by Kamel Daoud and “The Stranger” by Albert Camus
A New York Times Notable Book of 2015 — Michiko Kakutani, The Top Books of 2015, New York Times — TIME Magazine Top Ten Books of 2015 — Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year — Financial Times Best Books of the Year “A tour-de-force reimagining of Camus’s The Stranger, from the point of view of the mute Arab victims.” —The New Yorker He was the brother of “the Arab” killed by the infamous Meursault, the antihero of Camus’s classic novel. Seventy years after that event, Harun, who has lived since childhood in the shadow of his sibling’s memory, refuses to let him remain anonymous: he gives his brother a story and a name—Musa—and describes the events that led to Musa’s casual murder on a dazzlingly sunny beach. In a bar in Oran, night after night, he ruminates on his solitude, on his broken heart, on his anger with men desperate for a god, and on his disarray when faced with a country that has so disappointed him. A stranger among his own people, he wants to be granted, finally, the right to die. The Stranger is of course central to Daoud’s story, in which he both endorses and criticizes one of the most famous novels in the world. A worthy complement to its great predecessor, The Meursault Investigation is not only a profound meditation on Arab identity and the disastrous effects of colonialism in Algeria, but also a stunning work of literature in its own right, told in a unique and affecting voice.
May 24, 2017: “The Book of Aron” by Jim Shepard
Small and sullen, Aron is eight years old when his family moves from a rural Polish village to hectic Warsaw. At first gradually and then ever more quickly, his family’s opportunities for a better life vanish as the occupying German government imposes harsh restrictions. Officially confined to the Jewish quarter, with hunger, vermin, disease and death all around him, Aron makes his way from apprentice to master smuggler until finally, with everyone for whom he cared stripped away from him, his only option is Janusz Korczak, the renowned doctor, children’s rights advocate, and radio host who runs a Jewish orphanage. And Korczak in turn awakens the humanity inside the boy. “A masterpiece…A story of such startling candor about the complexity of heroism that it challenges each of us to greater courage.” —The Washington Post
“All Who Go Do Not Return” by Shulem Deen
“On the Move” by Oliver Sacks
“The Yid” by Paul Goldberg
“The Heart of Loneliness: How Jewish Wisdom Can Help You Cope and Find Comfort” by Rabbi Marc Katz
“Confessions” by Rabee Jaber and “The Mehlis Report” by Rabee Jaber
“The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer” by Anne-Marie O’Connor
“The Door” by Magda Szabo
“The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics” by Daniel James Brown
“Honeydew” by Edith Pearlman
“The Hilltop” by Assaf Gavron
“The Post Office Girl” by Stefan Zweig
“The Train to Crystal City” by Jan Jarboe Russell
“An Officer and a Spy” by Robert Harris
“Dora Bruder” by Patrick Modiano
“All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr
“Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life” by Tom Reiss
“Ali and Nino” by Kurban Said
“The Moor’s Last Sigh” by Salmon Rushdie
“The Assistant” by Bernard Malamud
“Hour of the Star” and “Near to the Wild Heart” by Clarice Lispector
“Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart
“The Aleppo Codex” by Matti Friedman
“There Are Jews in My House” by Lara Vapnyar
“Stranger in My Own Country” by Yascha Mounk
“Jews Without Money” by Michael Gold
“Adjusting Sights” and “The Dawning of the Day: A Jerusalem Tale” by Haim Sabato
“Dissident Gardens” by Jonathan Lethem.
Future Book Group dates:
Basic Judaism: An Intro to Jewish Life, Text, and Ideas
Tuesdays, 7:30 – 9:00 PM (25 sessions)
Begins October 24
Through ancient texts and modern media, participants learn to navigate Jewish tradition, holidays, history, and life-cycle events and learn how to introduce Jewish rituals at home.
Cost: $275 for CBE members / $375 for non-members
Hebrew Reading Boot Camp
Sunday, December 17, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM
Want to learn to read Hebrew? Tired of reading the transliteration of the prayer book? Participate in a full-day Hebrew reading workshop where you will learn the Hebrew aleph-bet through our interactive program.
Cost: $50, includes lunch and supplies
Please note: this program needs a minimum of six participants to run.
Check our calendar for specific dates
Aural Torah is a music education and performance series with a wide variety of sounds, styles, and artists designed to pique ears, touch souls, and create opportunities for further learning. This year we are pleased to partner with the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music for select seasonal events.
Wednesdays, 7:30 – 9:00 PM
Check our calendar for specific dates
Mussar is a traditional, Jewish approach to spiritual insight and practical self-Improvement. It aims to bridge the gap between intellect and emotions and establish new bases for personal actions and interpersonal relations.
Tuesdays, 10:30 AM and Thursdays, 7:15 PM
All skills are welcome. Please join us, Mah Jongg is a fun social game and easy to learn.
Jewish Ethics Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Marc Katz
Meets twice a month on Thursdays at 12:30pm
Check our calendar for specific dates
Throughout time, Judaism has had something to say about nearly every topic under the sun. These include organ donation and autopsies, gambling and guns, medical assisted suicide and immunizations. Using Reform Movement writings on these and others we will explore our movement’s position on them and debate our own views. Bring a lunch bag.