Please note that some of our programs have returned to being in person while some remain online. For a full schedule and details, check our calendar.

Basic Judaism: An Intro to Jewish Life, Text, and Ideas

This is an overview course in broad strokes about Jewish life, culture, belief, non-belief, and thought. Designed in a 24 week module, this course will attempt to give the participants a solid background to the ideas, practices, and expressions of Jewish life from ancient times to the present, and serves as a prerequisite for conversion at CBE and in many other communities. The course is primarily taught by Rabbi Matt Green, with some guest teaching by other CBE clergy.

Enrollment for the 2021-22 year is closed. Please check back in August 2022.

Chevrah Torah Study with Rabbi David Kline

Weekly on Saturdays at 11:15 AM (year round) over Zoom

An engaging weekly discussion and exploration of the stories, themes, and lessons from the weekly Torah portion. New students are always welcome!

Jewish Thought with Rabbi Joe Schwartz

Weekly on Wednesdays at 10:15 AM over Zoom

Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Green

Weekly on Thursdays at 12:30 PM in the CBE Board Room and on Zoom
Check our calendar for specific dates

Meditation Group 

Weekly on Thursdays at 7:30 PM over Zoom

CBE hosts a meditation class every week on Zoom. The group is open to people with all levels of experience and our participants span the range. Beginners will be completely comfortable. Those with experience will also enjoy our wonderful teachers. Click here to learn more!

Mussar

Weekly on Tuesdays at 7:30 PM over Zoom
Check our calendar for specific dates
Zoom links are updated weekly. For up to date information and links, please email Gary Shaffer at mussar@cbebk.org

Mussar seeks to improve our relations with others and ourselves. The class is discussion based and focuses on character traits, or middot, such as patience, generosity, gratitude, anger, and humility. The method is to study these traits and put into practice what we study. The goal is to make us not just more insightful, but to effect a change in behavior by making the heart feel what the mind knows. We draw upon both classic and modern Mussar writings, though no prior knowledge of Mussar or Hebrew is required.

Parsha Study

Weekly on Wednesdays at 7 PM over Zoom
Taught by Rabbi Timoner, join us for an exploration of the weekly Torah portion. We’ll examine the parsha, alongside both classical and contemporary commentaries. No experience, Hebrew, or Torah knowledge necessary. No registration needed.

Book Group

Join us for a discussion of a book or books determined by this lay-led group. All are welcome! If you have any questions, please email cbebookgroup@cbebk.org

The CBE Book Group has been privileged to welcome several acclaimed authors to speak about their works. To view recordings of some of these talks, including conversations with Jamie Bernstein, Matti Friedman, Yousef Bashir, David Maraniss, Helen Fremont, and Julie Metz, click here.

Wednesday February 23, 2022 - Against the Loveless World by Susan Abulhawa

2020 Palestine Book Awards Winner 2021 Aspen Words Literary Prize Finalist “Susan Abulhawa possesses the heart of a warrior; she looks into the darkest crevices of lives, conflicts, horrendous injustices, and dares to shine light that can illuminate hidden worlds for us.” —Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize–winning author
In this “beautiful…urgent” novel (The New York Times), Nahr, a young Palestinian woman, fights for a better life for her family as she travels as a refugee throughout the Middle East. As Nahr sits, locked away in solitary confinement, she spends her days reflecting on the dramatic events that landed her in prison in a country she barely knows. Born in Kuwait in the 70s to Palestinian refugees, she dreamed of falling in love with the perfect man, raising children, and possibly opening her own beauty salon. Instead, the man she thinks she loves jilts her after a brief marriage, her family teeters on the brink of poverty, she’s forced to prostitute herself, and the US invasion of Iraq makes her a refugee, as her parents had been. After trekking through another temporary home in Jordan, she lands in Palestine, where she finally makes a home, falls in love, and her destiny unfolds under Israeli occupation. Nahr’s subversive humor and moral ambiguity will resonate with fans of My Sister, The Serial Killer, and her dark, contemporary struggle places her as the perfect sister to Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties. Written with Susan Abulhawa’s distinctive “richly detailed, beautiful, and resonant” (Publishers Weekly) prose, this powerful novel presents a searing, darkly funny, and wholly unique portrait of a Palestinian woman who refuses to be a victim.

Tuesday March 29, 2022 - The Tunnel by A. B. Yehoshua

A New York Times Editors’ Choice. A Finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. From the award-winning, internationally acclaimed Israeli author, a suspenseful and poignant story of a family coping with the sudden mental decline of their beloved husband and father—an engineer who they discover is involved in an ominous secret military project Until recently, Zvi Luria was a healthy man in his seventies, an engineer living in Tel Aviv with his wife, Dina, visiting with their two children whenever possible. Now he is showing signs of early dementia, and his work on the tunnels of the Trans-Israel Highway is no longer possible. To keep his mind sharp, Zvi decides to take a job as the unpaid assistant to Asael Maimoni, a young engineer involved in a secret military project: a road to be built inside the massive Ramon Crater in the northern Negev Desert. The challenge of the road, however, is compounded by strange circumstances. Living secretly on the proposed route, amid ancient Nabatean ruins, is a Palestinian family under the protection of an enigmatic archaeological preservationist. Zvi rises to the occasion, proposing a tunnel that would not dislodge the family. But when his wife falls sick, circumstances begin to spiral . . . The Tunnel—wry, wistful, and a tour de force of vital social commentary—is Yehoshua at his finest.

Tuesday April 26, 2022 - The Ratline: The Exalted Life and Mysterious Death of a Nazi Fugitive by Philippe Sands

“Hypnotic, shocking, and unputdownable.”-John le Carré. From the author of the internationally acclaimed, award-winning East West Street: A tale of Nazi lives, mass murder, love, cold war espionage, a mysterious death in the Vatican-and “the Ratline,” the Nazi escape route to Peron’s Argentina. Baron Otto von Wächter, Austrian lawyer, husband, father, high Nazi official, senior SS officer, former governor of Galicia during the war, creator and overseer of the Krakow ghetto, indicted after as a war criminal for the mass murder of more than 100,000 Poles, hunted by the Soviets, the Americans, the British, by Simon Wiesenthal, on the run for three years, from 1945 to 1948…Philippe Sands pieces together, in riveting detail, Wächter’s extraordinary, shocking story. Given full access to the Wächter family archives—journals, diaries, tapes, and more—and with the assistance of the Wächters’ son Horst, who believes his father to have been a “good man,” Sands writes of Wächter’s rise through the Nazi high command, his “blissful” marriage and family life as their world was brought to ruin, and his four-year flight to escape justice—to the Tirol, to Rome, and the Vatican; given a new identity, on his way to a new life via “the Ratline” to Perón’s Argentina, the escape route taken by Eichmann, Mengele, and thousands of other Nazis. Wächter’s escape was cut short by his mysterious, shocking death in Rome, in the midst of the burgeoning Cold War (was he being recruited in postwar Italy by the Americans and the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps or by the Soviet NKVD or by both; or was he poisoned by one side or the other, as his son believes—or by both?)…An extraordinary discovery, told up-close through access to a trove of family correspondence between Wächter and his wife—part historical detective story, part love story, part family memoir, part Cold War espionage thriller. “Gripping…fascinating and important, told in vivid detail…fiercely inquiring…suspenseful…extraordinary.”-The New York Times Book Review

Tuesday May 24, 2022 - The Empathy Diaries by Sherry Turkle

Winner of the 2021 National Jewish Book Award for Autobiography and Memoir. “A beautiful book… an instant classic of the genre.”—Dwight Garner, New York Times. A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. A New York Times Critics’ Top Book of 2021. Named a Best Nonfiction Book of 2021 by Kirkus. MIT psychologist and bestselling author of Reclaiming Conversation and Alone Together, Sherry Turkle’s intimate memoir of love and work. For decades, Sherry Turkle has shown how we remake ourselves in the mirror of our machines. Here, she illuminates our present search for authentic connection in a time of uncharted challenges. Turkle has spent a career composing an intimate ethnography of our digital world; now, marked by insight, humility, and compassion, we have her own. In this vivid and poignant narrative, Turkle ties together her coming-of-age and her path breaking research on technology, empathy, and ethics. Growing up in postwar Brooklyn, Turkle searched for clues to her identity in a house filled with mysteries. She mastered the codes that governed her mother’s secretive life. She learned never to ask about her absent scientist father—and never to use his name, her name. Before empathy became a way to find connection, it was her strategy for survival. Turkle’s intellect and curiosity brought her to worlds on the threshold of change. She learned friendship at a Harvard-Radcliffe on the cusp of coeducation during the antiwar movement, she mourned the loss of her mother in Paris as students returned from the 1968 barricades, and she followed her ambition while fighting for her place as a woman and a humanist at MIT. There, Turkle found turbulent love and chronicled the wonders of the new computer culture, even as she warned of its threat to our most essential human connections. The Empathy Diaries captures all this in rich detail—and offers a master class in finding meaning through a life’s work.

Tuesday June 21, 2022 - Culture Warlords: My Journey into the Dark Web of White Supremacy by Talia Lavin

A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice/Staff Pick *** Time Magazine, “100 Must-Read Books of 2020” *** “Lavin is an entertaining Virgil for this neo-Nazi hell…She forges engaging narrative paths through the distant and near history of the alt-right.”-The New York Times Talia Lavin is every skinhead’s worst nightmare: a loud and unapologetic Jewish woman, acerbic, smart, and profoundly anti-racist, with the investigative chops to expose the tactics and ideologies of online hatemongers. Culture Warlords is the story of how Lavin, a frequent target of extremist trolls (including those at Fox News), dove into a byzantine online culture of hate and learned the intricacies of how white supremacy proliferates online. Within these pages, she reveals the extremists hiding in plain sight online: Incels. White nationalists. White supremacists. National Socialists. Proud Boys. Christian extremists. In order to showcase them in their natural habitat, Talia assumes a range of identities, going undercover as a blonde Nazi babe, a forlorn incel, and a violent Aryan femme fatale. Along the way, she discovers a whites-only dating site geared toward racists looking for love, a disturbing extremist YouTube channel run by a fourteen-year-old girl with over 800,000 followers, the everyday heroes of the antifascist movement, and much more. By combining compelling stories chock-full of catfishing and gate-crashing with her own in-depth, gut-wrenching research, she also turns the lens of anti-Semitism, racism, and white power back on itself in an attempt to dismantle and decimate the online hate movement from within. Shocking, humorous, and merciless in equal measure, Culture Warlords explores some of the vilest subcultures on the Web-and shows us how we can fight back.

Tuesday July 26, 2022 - Pigeons on the Grass by Wolfgang Koeppen

Wolfgang Koeppen’s postwar masterpiece in a luminous new translation by the poet Michael Hofmann. Pigeons on the Grass is told over a single day in Munich in 1948. The first new cinemas and insurance offices are opening atop the ruins, Korea and Persia are keeping the world in panic, planes rumble in the sky (but no one looks up), newspaper headlines announce war over oil and atomic bomb tests. Odysseus Cotton, a black man, alights at the station and hires a porter; Frau Behrend disowns her daughter; with their interracial love affair, Carla Behrend and Washington Price scandalize their neighbors―who still expect gifts of chocolate and coffee; a boy hustles to sell a stray dog; Mr. Edwin, a visiting poet, prepares for a reading; Philipp gives himself up to despair; Emilia sells the last of her jewelry; Alexander stars as the Archduke in a new German Super-production; and Susanne seeks out a night to remember. In Michael Hofmann’s words, “in their sum, they are the totality of existence.” Koeppen spares no one and sees all in this penetrating and intense novel that surveys those who remain, and those who have just arrived, in a damaged society. As inventive as Joyce and as compulsively readable as Dickens, Pigeons on the Grass is a great lost classic. “Koeppen’s voice―cold, defiant and relentless in its fury at the deadly amnesia he saw emerge from Germany’s ruins after World War II―neither transforms nor imbues the world around him, but rather indicts it.”― Peter Filkins, The New York Times Wolfgang Koeppen (1906-1996) was born in Greifswald and died in Munich. He worked as a commis chef, a dramaturge, and an editor. In 1951, 1953 and 1954 three novels were published to high acclaim for accurately capturing the atmosphere of the republic under Konrad Adenauer: Pigeons on the Grass, The Hothouse, and Death in Rome.

Tuesday August 23, 2022 - The Slaughterman's Daughter by Yaniv Iczkovits

National Jewish Book Award Finalist in Book Club category “If the Coen brothers ever ventured beyond the United States for their films, they would find ample material in this novel.”―The New York Times Book Review “Occasionally a book comes along so fresh, strange, and original that it seems peerless, utterly unprecedented. This is one of those books.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review) **Winner of the 2021 Wingate Literary Prize** An irresistible, picaresque tale of two Jewish sisters in late-nineteenth-century Russia, The Slaughterman’s Daughter is filled with “boundless imagination and a vibrant style” (David Grossman). With her reputation as a vilde chaya (wild animal), Fanny Keismann isn’t like the other women in her shtetl in the Pale of Settlement—certainly not her obedient and anxiety-ridden sister, Mende, whose “philosopher” of a husband, Zvi-Meir, has run off to Minsk, abandoning her and their two children. As a young girl, Fanny felt an inexorable pull toward her father’s profession of ritual slaughterer and, under his reluctant guidance, became a master with a knife. And though she long ago gave up that unsuitable profession—she’s now the wife of a cheesemaker and a mother of five—Fanny still keeps the knife tied to her right leg. Which might come in handy when, heedless of the dangers facing a Jewish woman traveling alone in czarist Russia, she sets off to track down Zvi-Meir and bring him home, with the help of the mute and mysterious ferryman Zizek Breshov, an ex-soldier with his own sensational past. Yaniv Iczkovits spins a family drama into a far-reaching comedy of errors that will pit the czar’s army against the Russian secret police and threaten the very foundations of the Russian Empire. The Slaughterman’s Daughter is a rollicking and unforgettable work of fiction.

Books We've Read

The King of Warsaw by Szczepan Twardoch

The Polish Boxer, Monastery, and Mourning by Eduardo Halfon

The Orchard by David Hopen

Eva and Eve by Julie Metz

The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste

The Art of Leaving by Ayelet Tsabari

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win WWII by Sonia Purnell

Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh

The Escape Artist by Helen Fremont

Apeirogon by Colum McCann

A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father by David Maraniss

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

Revolutionaries by Joshua Furst

The Words of My Father by Yousef Bashir

Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan by Ruth Gilligan

The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark

A Terrible Country by Keith Gessen

Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel by Matti Friedman

The Parisian by Isabella Hammad

Famous Father Girl by Jamie Bernstein

Family Papers: A Sephardic Journey Through the Twentieth Century by Sarah Abrevaya Stein

I Want You to Know We’re Still Here: A Post-Holocaust Memoir by Esther Safran Foer

​Mah Jongg

Thursdays at 10:30 AM in the CBE Chapel
All skills are welcome. Please join us, Mah Jongg is a fun social game and easy to learn. Please email mahjongg@cbebk.org for more information.