Adult Education Update
January 7, 2018

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

Wine in the Ancient World
Jehon Grist (Lehrhaus Judaica)
Saturday, February 3, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, in the Social Hall

Whether you're an enologist or just like a good glass, this session will introduce you to your counterparts from 3000 years ago. We'll explore how wines were made in ancient Egypt, Israel, and elsewhere. We'll also learn about the best wines (and some of the worst) and where they originated. There will be a colorful visit to an ancient wine party or two. Finally, we'll look at what the ancients had to say about enjoying wine, both enough and too much! This special session will conclude with a wine tasting featuring some the region's finest vintages.

Fee: no charge for the talk; $10 for the wine tasting if paid in advance, $15 for payment at the door. RSVP for the wine tasting by January 31 at

Recurring Programs 
Religious Ethics in the 21st Century
Rabbi Mona Alfi
Tuesday, January 9, 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 20th 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.  (Note: no Religious Ethics on January 23.)

From the Brotherhood 
Achim: A Discussion Group for Men
Dr. Glenn Hammel and the Brotherhood
Sunday, January 14, 7:00 - 8:30 pm, in the Chapel
"Hinei ma tov uma'naim, shevet achim gam yachad - Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together." This is a song that affirms the basic joy found in fellowship and connection.

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
Diane Weber: A Visit to Hamburg 
Sunday, January 21, 10:00 am, at the Einstein Residence Center, 1935 Wright Street, Sacramento

Diane Weber is the daughter of Holocaust survivors. She was born in the United States, as were three of her brothers. Her older sister was born in Shanghai, China, and her oldest brother was born in Hamburg prior to WWII.

Her parents, Kurt Neuman and Hilda Heyman, were both born in Hamburg, in 1918 and 1920, into working-class families. The families lived in the same neighborhood, and her father's sister was her mother's best friend. They grew up at a time when the laws regarding Jews were changing, and they decided the best course for them was to leave the country. Her mother found passage to Shanghai, China, one of the few countries accepting Jews at the time. Her parents, along with her oldest brother, left their whole family, thinking they would return in a few short months. They never saw the rest of their family again.

Diane is a volunteer for the Central Valley Holocaust Educators Network (CVHEN), visiting schools here in the US to tell her parents' story. At our January meeting, she will be talking about her parents' life in Hamburg, after visiting the very city that her family is from.

All are welcome to attend the January 21 meeting at the Einstein Center, 1935 Wright Street, Sacramento. For more information on the JGSS, email
Melton Scholars Class
Jewish Mysticism: Tracing the History of Kabbalah
Rabbi Garth Silberstein
Thursdays, February 1, 8, 22; March 8, 22; April 12, 26; May 10, 24, 31, 7:00 - 8:30 pm, at Kenesset Israel Torah Center, 1165 Morse Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95864

The rich history of Jewish mysticism is presented, along with understandings of many of the texts that have been so central to that tradition, speaking to the deepest mysteries of human existence and to many of life's eternal universal questions.

Fee: $295 (includes textbook). To register: For information about scholarships, or other program details, contact Sara Kahn Shapiro at or 916-488-6397.

Coming Attractions - Save the Date
Details to Follow
Can a Jew Be a Heretic?
Professor David Biale (UC Davis)
Thursday, February 22, 7:00 - 8:30 pm, in the Chapel

It is often thought that Judaism, which tolerates and even encourages minority opinions, is a religion that doesn't know of heretics. And yet, from Korach in the Bible to Elisha ben Abuya in the Talmud to Baruch Spinoza and Shabbetai Zvi in the 17 th century, we find repeated cases of heresy. In this presentation we will examine whether there is such a thing as Jewish heresy and its applicability to Judaism today.

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