Adult Education Update
April 30, 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
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, Congregation B'nai Israel, Mosaic Law Congregation, and Temple Or Rishon
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
Tikkun Leil Shavuot - "Your People Shall Be My People": The Voice of the Immigrant from Ruth to Today
Rabbi Mona Alfi and Cantor Julie Steinberg
Tuesday, May 30, 7:00 - 10:00 pm, in the Social Hall

On Erev Shavuot, we study The Book of Ruth. This year we will focus on the story of Ruth and Naomi as the story of immigrants, including the problems, concerns, and blessings facing them. Our text study will be followed by a panel discussion with some local immigrants/refugees. The evening will include refreshments and music! Additional details to follow.

Recurring Programs
Israeli Dancing
Tuesdays, May 2, 9, 16, and 23, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, in the Social Hall

This fun-filled evening begins with instruction for beginners from 7:00 - 7:45 pm. Beginning at 7:45 pm we take requests and learn intermediate to advanced dances. We enjoy circle and line dances, from the classics to some of the newest dances coming out of Israel. This is a welcoming group of mostly adults, but teens and children are invited too. Please wear tennis or soft-soled shoes.

Fee: $5 donation. For more information, please contact Jeanette Salkin, 916-799-7213. (Note: No Israeli dancing on May 30 due to Shavuot.)
Religious Ethics in the 21st Century
Rabbi Mona Alfi
Tuesdays, May 9 and 23, 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 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

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.

Adult B'nai Mitzvah Class
Cantor Julie Steinberg
Tuesdays, October 17, 2017, through May 7, 2019, 6:30 - 8:00 pm, in the Library

Have you thought about becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah? In this 18-month class, taught by Cantor Julie Steinberg, you will study beginning Hebrew, explore the richness of Torah, and learn to chant Torah and Haftarah. You will also study the liturgy of the Siddur (prayerbook) and be able to lead the Shabbat service. This course will deepen your knowledge of and connection to Judaism, and will culminate in a group B'nai Mitzvah service on Saturday, May 11, 2019 (parshat Kedoshim)!

Prerequisite: Introductory Hebrew instruction via the Aleph-Bet class. Tentative dates for this class are Sunday mornings, September 17 and 24, October 1 and 8, 2017 (exact times TBA). If these dates don't work for you, or if you have any questions about your level of Hebrew knowledge, please contact Cantor Julie Steinberg at

This class is limited to B'nai Israel members. Fee: $300 (does not include a separate $20 fee for the Aleph-Bet class). Scholarships are available. To register, please contact the CBI office at

In the Community 
Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento
Teven Laxer: Documenting Your Family Heirlooms
As genealogists, all of us probably have vital records (birth, marriage, and death records), census records, immigration records, and other important family documents. But what about family heirlooms? Collections? Hobbies? Family stories about these items can assist us in understanding our families and adding to our family history.

Teven Laxer will discuss how we can document our heirlooms, our family treasures. This will include making an inventory, stabilizing our treasures, photographing our heirlooms, and cataloguing them. He will also talk about who knows what heirlooms we have, where they are, and how we wish to pass them on.

Teven Laxer has served since 2006 on the Public Records Access Monitoring Committee of the International Association of Genealogical Societies. He is the librarian and a board member of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento. Teven has been researching his family's roots in Romania, Poland, Germany, and Ukraine for almost 40 years. In 2013, he helped organize a coalition of genealogical, labor, media, and good government groups to lobby against proposed restrictions to public records access in California.

All are welcome to attend the May 21 meeting at the Einstein Center, 1935 Wright Street, Sacramento. For more information about the JGSS, contact Mort Rumberg at
An Invitation to Mussar
Come learn about Mussar, the ancient and uniquely Jewish approach to personal ethics and values. Drawn from Torah and Talmud, Mussar is both a social/spiritual perspective and a discipline that can transform your life!

On Sunday afternoon, May 21, the leaders of Sacramento's Mussar community will be holding an afternoon of Mussar for both newcomers and current practitioners. You will have an opportunity to learn what Mussar is, hear from some long-time students of Mussar, and begin your own practice. This event is endorsed by the Sacramento Area Council of Rabbis.

Suggested donation: $18 (Chai). For more information and to RSVP, please contact Congregation Beth Shalom at or 916-485-4478, or email Deni Deutsch Marshall at Please indicate if you have previously studied Mussar.

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:

Special Interest:

To see the current week's bulletin or a two-month schedule at any time go to:

Contact Info
Adult Education Committee,
Congregation B'nai Israel