Adult Education Update
April 16, 2017

This information is provided by
the Adult Education Committee to
highlight the exciting
adult learning opportunities at CBI and beyond.
Mark your calendar and RSVP as indicated.
Click on the links below for this week's updates:

The Place of Women in the Hebrew Bible
Dr. Robert Platzner
Sunday, May 7, 10:30 am - 12:00 noon, in the Chapel

"Second-wave feminism" of the 1960s and '70s produced a tidal wave of books and articles devoted to establishing the patriarchal character of the Hebrew Bible, and the prevailing image of Biblical women that emerged from this period was dehumanized and largely silent. The decades that followed saw the emergence of a critical counter-narrative, in which a more nuanced portrait of the women of Biblical Israel appeared. The matriarchs and their descendants were now acknowledged to have a modest share of integrity and spirit, albeit within the framework of a largely repressive, male-dominant culture. This talk will take its point of departure from this later, revisionist tradition of Biblical literary criticism. It will examine a variety of texts - legal, historical, fictional - that demonstrate how complex the sociology of the Hebrew Bible must have been to have created the multilayered gender roles we encounter in Jewish Scripture.

Special Programs
Help California Create "The World We Want"
Tuesday, April 18, 7:00 - 8:00 pm, in the Sosnick Library

Since 2013, B'nai Israel has been an important member of Reform CA, a movement of Reform congregations across our state organizing for a more just and compassionate California. Reform CA recently developed "The World We Want" state legislative agenda, reflecting Jewish values on issues of immigration, Islamophobia, reproductive health, and climate change. This spring, Reform congregations across California will meet with our state legislators and discuss these important proposals directly with them. We need your input to decide which of these specific issues are most important for B'nai Israel to act on.

Join us on Tuesday, April 18, for a brief meeting to learn more about the Reform CA legislative agenda, discuss B'nai Israel's top priorities, and plan meetings with our elected state officials as we participate in this exciting new campaign for social justice.

RSVP to Jason Weiner at For more information, check out the Reform CA website at:
Palestinian Perspectives: Peace Process, BDS, & Future Palestinian Leadership
Featuring Ghaith al-Omari, Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Co-sponsored by AIPAC, the Israel Committee of Congregation B'nai Israel, and Mosaic Law Congregation
Tuesday, May 16, check-in at 6:30 pm, program at 7:00 pm, at Mosaic Law Congregation, 2300 Sierra Boulevard, Sacramento

Ghaith al-Omari, senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is the former executive director of the American Task Force on Palestine. Prior to that, he served in various positions within the Palestinian Authority, including as Director of the International Relations Department in the Office of the Palestinian President and as advisor to Mahmoud Abbas during his tenure as Prime Minister. Further, Mr. al-Omari served as advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team throughout the 1999-2001 permanent status talks. In that capacity, he participated in various rounds of negotiations, most notably the 2000 Camp David Summit and the Taba Talks.

Mr. al-Omari is a lawyer by training and a graduate of Georgetown and Oxford Universities. Prior to his involvement in the Middle East peace process, he taught international law in Jordan and was active in human rights advocacy. He has written numerous papers on Palestinian leadership and the peace process; his most recent analysis includes If Palestinians Are Serious About Peace, 'Martyr' Violence Should Not Pay (April 6, 2017), Governance as a Path to Palestinian Political Rejuvenation (January 26, 2017), and Tempering Expectations for the Paris Conference (January 13, 2017).

Advance registration for this event is required at No onsite registration. This event is off the record and closed to the press. For questions, please contact the AIPAC office at 415-989-4140 or

Recurring Programs
Religious Ethics in the 21st Century
Rabbi Mona Alfi
Tuesday, April 25, noon - 1:00 pm, in the Library
Rabbi Alfi tackles some of the toughest issues of Jewish ethics as applied to modern life. Each session of Religious Ethics will focus on an essay from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel's Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity. Rabbi Heschel (1907-1972), PhD, was one of the most important theologians of the 20 th century. He was internationally known as a scholar, author, activist, and theologian. Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity is a collection of his essays that helps the reader understand the deep roots that social justice has in the Jewish faith and tradition. Heschel helps us understand how Judaism demands that we live by our values.

Handouts will be available at each session; purchase of the book is not required. Drop-ins and newcomers are welcome! Bring a brown bag lunch. There is no fee.
Rabbi Alfi's Book Club
Thursday, May 18, 10:30 am - 12:00 noon, in the Library

Rabbi Alfi's Book Club will meet next on Thursday, May 18, from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the Library. The book to be discussed is The Plot Against America by Philip Roth. The group generally meets three to four times per year (future dates TBD), and newcomers are always welcome!

Please e-mail Sandora Di Fiore at for more information or if you would like to be added to the e-mail distribution list.

From Women of B'nai Israel 
Rosh Chodesh Iyar: "Living for Tomorrow: Untold Stories by the Pioneering Women of Israel"
Rabbi Alfi and the Women of B'nai Israel
Tuesday, April 25, 6:15 - 8:30 pm, in the Social Hall
Living for Tomorrow: Untold Stories by the Pioneering Women of Israel is a provocative documentary of women in the pioneering kibbutz movement. Created, produced, and directed by filmmaker Lilach Dekel, a sabra whose grandmother was one of the halutizot (kibbutz pioneering women), the film peels away the idealism and collective mythology to uncover untold personal stories. The internal conflicts Ms. Dekel unearths not only reinvigorate the story of the founding of a nation, but also, once again, allow us to look at one of the great issues of our time: the relationship between idealism and reality.
Rosh Chodesh begins at 6:15 pm with a dairy potluck in the Social Hall. The service and movie will begin at 6:45 pm. All women over the age of 13 are welcome. No RSVP necessary. For more information, contact Deni Marshall at

From the Brotherhood  
Achim: A Discussion Group for Men
Being at the Will of the Body: The Challenge of Serious Illness
Dr. Glenn Hammel and the Brotherhood

Sunday, April 30, 7:00 - 8:30 pm, in the Chapel

Glenn Hammel
Part of the human journey is the probability that either you or a loved one will experience a serious, debilitating illness or disorder. No matter what the diagnosis is, no matter whether the illness is physical or mental, it can profoundly alter the course of your life. It can change your relationships with others and, when they are ill, it can change their relationships with you. We might feel fear, anger, or grief. We can fall into denial. But, depending on how we respond to the medical crisis, we can also learn to transcend these circumstances, turn victims into heroes, and protect one's identity from being replaced with a clinical label. This Achim gathering will explore such issues, whether they happen to you or to those you care for.

Come to B'nai Israel's Achim: A Discussion Group for Men. Achim is the Hebrew word for "brothers," and this group is a monthly forum of education, facilitated discussion, contemplation, and camaraderie, led by Glenn Hammel, Ph.D. and Rebbitzen.

In the Community 
Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento
Victoria Fisch: Finding Unknown Relatives
Victoria Fisch will explain methods of finding family members you may not have known about. She'll discuss using overseas and U.S. records to expand your research, allowing you to discover "lost" relatives and ancestors.

Victoria, a native New Yorker, has been active in genealogy for more than 25 years. She is president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento and northern California editor of Western States Jewish History. She curated the exhibit "Pioneer Jews of the Gold Rush" at the Folsom History Museum in 2014 and is editor of a forthcoming book on the history of the Santa Cruz Jewish community.

All are welcome to attend the April 16 meeting at the Einstein Center, 1935 Wright Street, Sacramento. For more information about the JGSS, contact Mort Rumberg at

Getting Connected 

The URJ (Union for Reform Judaism) is the parent organization of our movement.  Click below for links to educational materials provided by the URJ:

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Contact Info
Adult Education Committee,
Congregation B'nai Israel