Weekly Shabbat Study

Shabbat Study with Rabbi Rachel Timoner

Saturdays, 12:00 – 12:25 PM
After services, pick up some treats at kiddush and head into Rabbi Timoner’s study for 20 minutes of learning on a big Jewish question. We will begin after kiddush, usually around noon. Duration is 20 minutes, we will always finish by 12:25 PM.

Talmud Study with Rabbi Joe Schwartz

Saturdays, 8:15 AM
Talmud Study is back! No RSVP required, but feel free to be in touch with Rabbi Schwartz at rabbijoeschwartz@gmail.com with any questions.

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!

Ongoing

Parashat Hashavuah

Wednesdays, 7:00-8:00 PM, Board Room
Taught by Rabbi Timoner, Rabbi Green, Rabbi Epstein, and Cantor Breitzer in rotation, 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.

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

Oct 29, 2019-April 28, 2020, Tuesdays at 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM, CBE Study (1st Floor of Temple House)
Check our calendar for specific dates
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: $325 for CBE members / $425 for non-members
Click here to register and for more information

Lunch and Learn

Alternate Thursdays from 12:30 to 1:30 PM
Check our calendar for specific dates
In each session, we will examine concepts in Jewish political thought. We will explore big themes in political thought such as monarchy, democracy, dissent, welfare, and so on, through the lens of biblical, rabbinic, medieval, and modern Jewish texts. As in years past, will continue the tradition of holding this class every other Thursday. Bring lunch for yourself and Rabbi Green will supply the learning.

Book Group

Join us for a discussion of a book or books determined by this lay-lead group. All are welcome!

For further information, please email Linda Quigley.

February 25, 2020- Disoriental by Négar Djavadi

Shortlisted for the 2018 National Book Awards One of The Globe & Mail’s Best Books of 2018 Winner: Le Prix du Roman News, Style Prize, Lire Best Debut Novel 2016, la Porte Dorée Prize Kimiâ Sadr fled Iran at the age of ten in the company of her mother and sisters to join her father in France. Now twenty-five and facing the future she has built for herself as well as the prospect of a new generation, Kimiâ is inundated by her own memories and the stories of her ancestors, which come to her in unstoppable, uncontainable waves. In the waiting room of a Parisian fertility clinic, generations of flamboyant Sadrs return to her, including her formidable great-grandfather Montazemolmolk, with his harem of fifty-two wives, and her parents, Darius and Sara, stalwart opponents of each regime that befalls them.
In this high-spirited, kaleidoscopic story, key moments of Iranian history, politics, and culture punctuate stories of family drama and triumph. Yet it is Kimiâ herself––punk-rock aficionado, storyteller extraordinaire, a Scheherazade of our time, and above all a modern woman divided between family traditions and her own “disorientalization”––who forms the heart of this bestselling and beloved novel. “In her remarkable novel, ‘Disoriental,’ Negar Djavadi. . . beautifully captures the ‘disorientation’ of exile and the attempt to reconstruct a self through family stories.”―Dalia Sofer, The New York Times

March 24, 2020- All for Nothing by Walter Kempowski

A wealthy family tries–and fails–to seal themselves off from the chaos of post-World War II life surrounding them in this stunning novel by one of Germany’s most important post-war writers. In East Prussia, January 1945, the German forces are in retreat and the Red Army is approaching. The von Globig family’s manor house, the Georgenhof, is falling into disrepair. Auntie runs the estate as best she can since Eberhard von Globig, a special officer in the German army, went to war, leaving behind his beautiful but vague wife, Katharina, and her bookish twelve-year-old son, Peter. As the road fills with Germans fleeing the occupied territories, the Georgenhof begins to receive strange visitors–a Nazi violinist, a dissident painter, a Baltic baron, even a Jewish refugee. Yet in the main, life continues as banal, wondrous, and complicit as ever for the family, until their caution, their hedged bets, and their denial are answered by the wholly expected events they haven’t allowed themselves to imagine. All for Nothing, published in 2006, was the last novel by Walter Kempowski, one of postwar Germany’s most acclaimed and popular writers. Walter Kempowski (1929-2007) was born in Hamburg. During World War II, he was made to serve in a penalty unit of the Hitler Youth due to his association with the rebellious Swingjugend movement of jazz lovers, and he did not finish high school. After the war he settled in West Germany. On a 1948 visit to Rostock, his hometown, in East Germany, Walter, his brother Robert and their mother were arrested for espionage; a Soviet military tribunal sentenced him to twenty-five years in prison, of which he served eight at the notorious “Yellow Misery” prison in Bautzen. In 1957 he graduated high school. His first success as an author was the autobiographical novel Tadellöser & Wolff (1971), part of his acclaimed German Chronicle series of novels. In the 1980s he began work on an immense project, Echo Soundings, gathering firsthand accounts, diaries, letters, and memoirs of World War II, which he collated and curated into ten volumes published over twenty years, and which is considered a modern classic.

April 21, 2020- Famous Father Girl by Jamie Bernstein

Jamie Bernstein will be joining us!
The oldest daughter of revered composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein offers a rare look at her father on the centennial of his birth in a deeply intimate and broadly evocative memoir. The composer of On the Town and West Side Story, chief conductor of the New York Philharmonic, television star, humanitarian, friend of the powerful and influential, and the life of every party, Leonard Bernstein was an enormous celebrity during one of the headiest periods of American cultural life, as well as the most protean musician in twentieth century America. But to his eldest daughter, Jamie, he was above all the man in the scratchy brown bathrobe who smelled of cigarettes; the jokester and compulsive teacher who enthused about Beethoven and the Beatles; the insomniac whose 4 a.m. composing breaks involved spooning baby food out of the jar. He taught his daughter to love the world in all its beauty and complexity. In public and private, Lenny was larger than life. In Famous Father Girl, Bernstein mines the emotional depths of her childhood and invites us into her family’s private world. A fantastic set of characters populates the Bernsteins’ lives, including: the Kennedys, Mike Nichols, John Lennon, Richard Avedon, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins, and Betty (Lauren) Bacall. An intoxicating tale, Famous Father Girl is an intimate meditation on a complex and sometimes troubled man, the family he raised, and the music he composed that became the soundtrack to their entwined lives. Deeply moving and often hilarious, Bernstein’s beautifully written memoir is a great American story about one of the greatest Americans of the modern age.

May 19, 2020- Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel by Matti Friedman

Journalist and award-winning writer Matti Friedman’s tale of Israel’s first spies has all the tropes of an espionage novel, including duplicity, betrayal, disguise, clandestine meetings, the bluff, and the double bluff—but it’s all true. The four agents at the center of this story were part of a ragtag unit known as the Arab Section, conceived during World War II by British spies and Jewish militia leaders in Palestine. Intended to gather intelligence and carry out sabotage operations, the unit consisted of Jews who were native to the Arab world and could thus easily assume Arab identities. In 1948, with Israel’s existence hanging in the balance, these men went undercover in Beirut, where they spent the next two years operating out of a newsstand, collecting intelligence and sending messages back to Israel via a radio whose antenna was disguised as a clothesline. Of the dozen spies in the Arab Section at the war’s outbreak, five were caught and executed. But in the end, the Arab Section would emerge as the nucleus of the Mossad, Israel’s vaunted intelligence agency. Spies of No Country is about the slippery identities of these young spies, but it’s also about the complicated identity of Israel, a country that presents itself as Western but in fact has more citizens with Middle Eastern roots and traditions, like the spies of this narrative. Meticulously researched and masterfully told, Spies of No Country is an eye-opening look at the paradoxes of the Middle East. “Wondrous . . . compelling . . . In unadorned yet piercing prose, Friedman captures what it was like to be part of the Arab Section . . . Friedman succeeds in portraying the ‘stories beneath the stories’ that acted as a bedrock to the rise of the Mossad and serve still as a window into Israel’s troubled soul.”—New York Times Book Review “Spies of No Country is an important book . . . Americans are not accustomed to hearing about Israel’s complexity, or its diversity. We are rarely asked to consider Israel as a country that is, as Friedman says, ‘more than one thing.’ Any serious defender or critic of Israeli politics should consider this a serious problem. Meaningful opinions require nuanced understanding, and Spies of No Country offers that.” —NPR Books “In Spies of No Country, Matti Friedman, a Canadian-Israeli journalist, resurrects early operations of the intelligence service of the Palmach, the nascent military that ultimately grew into the mighty Israel Defense Forces. The book is a slim but intriguing string of anecdotes in which members of the unit risk their lives under cover in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq as Jewish settlers and refugees fought to preserve their foothold in Palestine.” —The Wall Street Journal

June 23, 2020- TBD

Books We've Read

The Imposter: A True Story by Javier Cercas

Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck

Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro

History by Elsa Morante

Gateway to the Moon by Mary Morris

The Reunion by Fred Uhlman

Sepharad by Antonio Munoz Molina

An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic by Daniel Mendelsohn

Waking Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen

Improvement by Joan Silber

The Mathematician’s Shiva by Stuart Rojstaczer

A Horse Walks Into a Bar by David Grossman

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid


​Mah Jongg

Tuesdays, 10:30 AM and Wednesdays, 7:00 PM
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.

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