Yossi Klein HaLevi will address the challenges of maintaining Jewish unity - in and between both Israel and the Diaspora - at a time of ever growing polarization. He will speak about unfolding political developments in Israel and the United States, and their implications for the future of the Jewish people and state
during the
18th Annual
Connie Spear Birnbaum
Memorial Lecture
Chai Anniversary Celebration
In just 6 days, we look forward to welcoming you to the 18th Annual Connie Spear Birnbaum Memorial Lecture,
Sunday afternoon, May 2, at 12:30.
Greater Boston's extended Jewish family will have a reunion to embrace our peoplehood and to learn from a universally respected master of understanding, Yossi Klein HaLevi, how we can keep it all together.

And we will mark the Chai Anniversary by stitching together snippets of speakers and musical performances of 18 years of programs, as if they were one to begin with. 

Connie Spear Birnbaum z"l &
Dr. Herb Birnbaum, lecture founder
Please invite your friends, family, colleagues and neighbors to join you at the Connie Spear Birnbaum Memorial Lecture & Chai Anniversary Celebration..

See you this Sunday at 12:30!
Learn more about Yossi through his books...
Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor
Yossi's most recent book, Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor: A New Conversation about Narratives and Peace, 2018, is a New York Times bestseller.

The book is now available in Arabic as a free download and the newest edition contains letters of response from Palestinian readers.
Attempting to break the agonizing impasse between Israelis and Palestinians, the Israeli commentator and award-winning author of Like Dreamers directly addresses his Palestinian neighbors in this taut and provocative book, empathizing with Palestinian suffering and longing for reconciliation as he explores how the conflict looks through Israeli eyes.

Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor is one Israeli’s powerful attempt to reach beyond the wall that separates Israelis and Palestinians. In a series of letters, Yossi Klein Halevi explains what motivated him to leave his native New York in his twenties and move to Israel to participate in the drama of the renewal of a Jewish homeland, which he is committed to see succeed as a morally responsible, democratic state in the Middle East.

This is the first attempt by an Israeli author to directly address his Palestinian neighbors and describe how the conflict appears through Israeli eyes. Halevi untangles the ideological and emotional knot that has defined the conflict for nearly a century. In lyrical, evocative language, he unravels the complex strands of faith, pride, anger and anguish he feels as a Jew living in Israel, using history and personal experience as his guide.
Halevi’s letters speak not only to his Palestinian neighbors, but to all his neighbors in the Middle East. In writing this book he is inviting his neighbors not only to read, but to respond with letters of their own. This is the first step in a project that will enable Palestinians and Israelis, Arabs and Jews to hear each others stories.
Like Dreamers
Halevi’s 2013 book, Like Dreamers, won the Jewish Book Council's Everett Book of the Year Award.

In restoring Jewish sovereignty to the Holy City during 1967's Six-Day War, the paratroopers of Reserve Brigade 55 fulfilled a dream of two millenia, forever changing the history of Israel and of the Middle East. And, as veteran jounalist Yossi Klein Halevi compellingly reveals in Like Dreamers, they served pivotal roles in shaping Israel's destiny long after their resounding military sucess. As he follows the lives of this Israeli band of brothers, and charts the idealogical divides among them, he weaves an epic chronicle of modern Israel that humanizes the country's political and cultural dilemmas, and offers an unprecedented glimpse into its soul.

At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden
Originally published in 2001, At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew’s Search for God with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land, was reissued in 2019 by HarperCollins.

In At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden, Yossi Klein Halevi describes his unprecedented and extraordinary spiritual journey to discover, as a religious Israeli Jew, a common spiritual language with his Christian and Muslim neighbors in the Holy Land.

"Could religion be a source of unity?" wondered Halevi. To find the answer, he began a two-year exploration of the devotional life of Christianity and Islam
He followed their holiday cycles, befriended Christian monastics and Muslim mystics,and joined them in prayer in monestaries and mosques -- searching for wisdom and holiness in places that are usually off-limits to outsiders of other faiths.
With a new foreword relating to September 11, Halevi chronicles the difficulty of overcoming obstacles -- theological, political, historical, and psychological -- that separate believers of the three monotheistic faiths. And he introduces a dynamic range of fascinating individuals attempting to reconcile the dichotomous heart of this sacred place -- a struggle central to Israel, but which resonates for us all.
Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist:
The Story of a Transformation
His first book, Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist, tells the story of his teenage years as a follower of the militant rightwing rabbi Meir Kahane, and his subsequent disillusionment with Jewish radicalism. The New York Times called it “a book of burning importance.”
Yossi was born in Brooklyn, and moved to Israel in 1982.
He lives in Jerusalem with his wife, Sarah, who helps run a center for Jewish meditation. They have three children.

For more information about Yossi Klein Halevi, https://www.yossikleinhalevi.com/
With gratitude to our donors...
The Connie Spear Birnbaum Memorial Lecture is free and open to the public and is made possible through the generosity of the Birnbaum family and friends, and all those who choose to honor Connie's legacy by donating.

We are abundantly grateful for their gifts.
Pillars ($250+)
Dr. Herbert Birnbaum (lecture founder)
Dr. Nathan & Robin Birnbaum
Combined Jewish Philanthropies
Dr. Bruce & Madelyn Donoff
Drs. Todd Heller & Ruth Klein
Robert & Janice Kerwin
Dr. Brian Miller
Rabbi Daniel & Ruth Pernick
Dr. Jonathan & Rabbi Shayna  Rhodes
Dr. Fabienne Rottenberg
Jill and Larry Sandberg
Dr. Fiza Singh

Patrons ($100-$249)
Alan Teperow (honorary chair) & Dr. Suzanne Hanser
Arnold & Barbara Andler
Michael & Joyce Bohnen
Gretchen Marks Brandt & Stewart Brandt, H. Brandt Jewelers
Barry Caplan & Judith Freedman Caplan
Congregation Shaarei Tefillah
Carole & David Decter
Dr.Jonathan & Renee Delatizky
Drs. David & Claire Fisher
Dr. Robin Steinberg Gendelman & Dr. Phillip Gendelman
Drs. Elliot & Esther Israel
Aaron & Ellen Kischel
Robin & Phillip Levy
Alan Nelson
Elizabeth Harris Pressman
Mike Rosenberg
Rick and Rabbi Ma'ayan Sands
Sephardic Congregation of Newton
Daniel & Rifkie Silverman
Michael & Carol Wasserman

Sponsors ($54-$99)
Dr. Fred & Stephanie Cohen
Joni & Dr. Rodney Falk
Prof. Solomon Friedberg & Dr. Karen Siller
Debra & Dr. Bernard Friedland
Dr. Jesse & Brenda Hefter
Ron & Debby Iken
Ronda & Dr.Joshua Jacobson
Dr. Lawrence S. Milner
Adrienne Ruch
Dr. Craig & Tamar Schneider
Dr. David & Carol Stollar
Paul Tatelman

Friends ($36-$53)
Joanne B. & Daniel Cohn
Barbara Gaffin & Doug Cahn
Lori Gilman
Joan & Prof. Lewis Glinert
Jonathan Golden
Michael & Riselle Hirsh
Dr. Carl & Naomi Lopkin
Rabbi Barbara Penzner
Adam & Judith Rin
Jonathan & Ruth Tepper
Carol A. & Ken Turkewitz
Nathan Zielonka & Ann Bellows
Rabbi Henry & Barbara Zoob
We are sincerely grateful for your donation at any time.

This list of donors (as of close of business, Monday, April 26) will appear during the program on May 2.

Two options for making a donation to the Connie Spear Birnbaum Memorial Lecture:

(1) If you would like to make a donation on-line, please click here

(2) For donations by check, kindly make your check payable to The Synagogue Council of Massachusetts, write "Connie Lecture" on the memo line, and mail your check to:

The Synagogue Council of Massachusetts
1320 Centre Street, Suite 306
Newton, MA 02459
Tribute Committee
Dr. Herbert Birnbaum, lecture founder
Alan Teperow, honorary chair
Rabbi Susan Abramson
Rabbi Marc Baker
Rav-Hazan Aliza Berger
Rabbi Daniel Berman
Ben Birnbaum
Joyce & Michael Bohnen
Gretchen & Stewart Brandt
Rabbi Ariel Burger
Jeremy Burton
Councilor Andrea Campbell
Barry Caplan & Judith Freedman Caplan
Rabbi Noah Cheses
Dr. Fred & Stephanie Cohen
Anita Diamant
Aaron Feuerstein
Rabbi Wes Gardenswartz
Professor Lewis Glinert
Rabbi Leonard Gordon
Steven Greenberg
Shelley Greene & Professor David C. Jacobson
Rabbi William Hamilton & Dr.Debra Block
Rabbi Jonathan Hausman
Dr. Shirah & Stuart Hecht
Brenda & Dr. Jesse Hefter
Ronda & Dr. Joshua Jacobson
Rabbi Howard Jaffe
Bernice Sis Kazis
Aaron & Ellen Kischel
Cantor Jeff Klepper
Rabbi Claudia Kreiman
Rabbi Daniel Liben
Jeff Lurie
Daniel Nesson
Liz Offen & Ethan Mascoop
Rabbi Barbara Penzner
Rabbi Daniel Pernick
Rabbi Josh Pernick
Rabbi Dr. Nehemia Polen
Stephanie Pollack
Elizabeth and Bob Pressman
Rabbi Victor Reinstein
Rabbi Shayna Rhodes
Rabbi Michelle Robinson
Cantor Elias Rosemberg
Jay & Daphnah Sage
Rabbi Benjamin Samuels
Dr. Craig & Tamar Schneider
Barry Shrage
Erica & Gerrald Silverman
Sandy Slavet & Joseph Strazzulla
Horace Small
Dr. Francene & Rav-Hazan Scott Sokol
Rabbi Keith Stern
Dr. David & Carol Stollar
Rabbi Mendy Uminer
Rabbi Moshe Waldoks
Howard Worona
Rabbi Henry Zoob
Sponsoring Synagogues/Organizations
Adams Street Shul, Newton
Ahavath Torah Congregation, Stoughton
B'nai Tikvah, Canton
Beit Sasson: The Sephardic Congregation of Newton
Center Makor, Brookline
Chabad of Chestnut Hill
Combined Jewish Philanthropies
Congregation Beth El Atereth Israel, Newton
Congregation Beth Israel, Metairie, Louisiana
Congregation Beth Israel, Worcester
Congregation Mishkan Tefila, Brookline
Congregation Shaarei Tefillah, Newton
Congregation Shirat Hayam of the North Shore
Facing History & Ourselves
Hebrew College, Newton
JCC of Greater Boston
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC)
Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts (JFCN)
Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS)
Maimonides School, Brookline
Massachusetts Board of Rabbis (MBR)
Nehar Shalom Community Synagogue, Jamaica Plain
Temple Aliyah, Needham
Temple Beth Avodah, Newton
Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley
Temple Beth Shalom, Needham
Temple Beth Zion, Brookline
Temple Emanuel, Newton
Temple Hillel-B'nai Torah, West Roxbury
Temple Isaiah, Lexington
Temple Israel of Natick
Temple Ohabei Shalom, Brookline
Temple Reyim, Newton
The Synagogue Council of Massachusetts
Union for Reform Judaism
Union of Minority Neighborhoods
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism-Northeast District
Young Israel of Brookline
Young Israel of Sharon
Previous Connie Spear Birnbaum Memorial Lecture Speakers
2004: Dr. Norman Lamm, z”l
2005: Richard M. Joel
2006: Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg
2007: Rabbi David Ellenson
2008: Rabbi Harold Kushner
2009: Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
2010: Rabbi Steven Weil
2011: Rabbi Steven Wernick
2012: Natan Sharansky
2013: Malcom Hoenlein
2014: Nancy Kaufman
2015: Ofir Shaer & Rabbi Rick Jacobs
2016: Leon Wieseltier
2017: Rabbi Dr. Meir Soleveichik
2018: Ron Dermer
2019: Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin
2020: 55th Anniversary celebration of the Voting Rights Act
May the 18th anniversary of the Connie Spear Birnbaum Memorial Lecture be one of myriad wonderful announcements, events, and celebrations in 2021!

for the 18th Annual
Connie Spear Birnbaum
Memorial Lecture
& Chai Anniversary Celebration