Jewish Community Library

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Drop-In Book Club: Bee Season by Myla Goldberg
Jul
1
2:00 PM14:00

Drop-In Book Club: Bee Season by Myla Goldberg

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

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Jim Van Buskirk leads a discussion of Bee Season by Myla Goldberg. 

When Eliza Naumann, a seemingly unremarkable nine-year-old, wins her district spelling bee, she captures the attention of her father, Saul, absorbed in his study of Jewish mysticism, and displaces her brother, Aaron, who embarks upon a lone quest for spiritual fulfillment. Meanwhile, her brilliant but distant lawyer mother is having a crisis of her own.

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Film Class: The Heartbreak Kid
Jul
12
7:00 PM19:00

Film Class: The Heartbreak Kid

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Free program with free garage parking on Pierce between Ellis and Eddy. 

Charles Grodin portrays a young New Yorker who, only a few days into his honeymoon, gives up his marriage to a Jewish woman (Jeannie Berlin) in order to pursue a wealthy non-Jewish college student from the Midwest (Cybil Shepherd). Elaine May directed this controversial film adapted by Neil Simon from a story by Bruce Jay Friedman. 1972, 106 minutes. 

Discussion led by Library Director Howard Freedman. 

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Dalia Sofer in Conversation with Dan Schifrin at the Library
Jun
11
7:00 PM19:00

Dalia Sofer in Conversation with Dan Schifrin at the Library

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Author Dalia Sofer will speak about her novel, The Septembers of Shiraz, on two consecutive evenings in the Bay Area. Sofer's San Francisco appearance will be preceded by the Friends of the Jewish Community Library's Annual Meeting at 6:15 p.m. and a reception. Sofer will be in conversation with Bay Area writer Dan Schifrin at this event. 

Sofer’s novel and this year's One Bay One Book selection, The Septembers of Shiraz, is set in Tehran in 1981, as Jewish gem trader Isaac Amin is imprisoned by the Revolutionary Guard. His wife, Farnaz, struggles to keep from slipping into despair, while his young daughter, Shirin, tries to take matters into her own hands. Far away in Brooklyn, Isaac’s son, Parviz, though not religious, falls for the pious daughter of his Hasidic landlord. Sofer masterfully captures the small tensions and larger brutalities that sharply affect a family that does not conform.

Marking its tenth anniversary, the novel remains particularly relevant during a time when renewed attention is given to the plight of refugees and to the vulnerability of Jews and other minority groups in many lands during troubling times.

Born in Tehran in 1972, Dalia Sofer came with her family to the United States in 1983. She graduated from New York University and received an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her debut novel, The Septembers of Shiraz, received the Sami Rohr Prize Choice Award and the PEN/Robert Bingham Prize, and was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award and Orange Prize.

Co-presented by JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa

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Dalia Sofer in Conversation at Congregation Etz Chayim in Palo Alto
Jun
10
7:15 PM19:15

Dalia Sofer in Conversation at Congregation Etz Chayim in Palo Alto

Author Dalia Sofer will speak about her novel, The Septembers of Shiraz, on two consecutive evenings in the Bay Area. Sofer's Palo Alto appearance will be followed by a reception. 

The Septembers of Shiraz.jpg

Sofer’s novel and this year's One Bay One Book selection, The Septembers of Shiraz, is set in Tehran in 1981, as Jewish gem trader Isaac Amin is imprisoned by the Revolutionary Guard. His wife, Farnaz, struggles to keep from slipping into despair, while his young daughter, Shirin, tries to take matters into her own hands. Far away in Brooklyn, Isaac’s son, Parviz, though not religious, falls for the pious daughter of his Hasidic landlord. Sofer masterfully captures the small tensions and larger brutalities that sharply affect a family that does not conform.

Marking its tenth anniversary, the novel remains particularly relevant during a time when renewed attention is given to the plight of refugees and to the vulnerability of Jews and other minority groups in many lands during troubling times.

Born in Tehran in 1972, Dalia Sofer came with her family to the United States in 1983. She graduated from New York University and received an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her debut novel, The Septembers of Shiraz, received the Sami Rohr Prize Choice Award and the PEN/Robert Bingham Prize, and was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award and Orange Prize.

Co-presented by JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa

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Film Class: The Plot Against Harry
Jun
7
7:00 PM19:00

Film Class: The Plot Against Harry

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Free program with free garage parking on Pierce between Ellis and Eddy. 

Harry Plotnick, the unlikely protagonist of this extraordinary cult film that sat on the shelf for two decades after its completion, is a small-time Jewish gangster re-entering society after a stint in prison. Shifting uncomfortably between the numbers racket and a kosher catering business, he finds himself a misfit in both worlds. 1969, 81 minutes. 

Discussion led by Library Director Howard Freedman. 

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Drop-In Book Club: A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman
Jun
3
2:00 PM14:00

Drop-In Book Club: A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

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Jim Van Buskirk leads a discussion of A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman.

Winner of the 2017 Man Booker International Prize and National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, this caustic short novel explores the life of a stand-up comic, as revealed in the course of one evening’s performance. In the dance between comic and audience, with barbs flying back and forth, a deeper story begins to take shape.


Note: Translator Jessica Cohen will speak at the Library on Thursday, April 19. Click here for more information.

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Genealogy Clinic
Jun
3
12:00 PM12:00

Genealogy Clinic

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Free event with free garage parking off Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

Whether you’re trying to find your great-grandmother’s elusive hometown or your grandfather’s passenger manifest, take advantage of the Library’s extensive reference collection and Internet connection to countless searchable databases — all with guidance from a roundtable of experienced genealogists from the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society. Bring your materials and your questions to the Library, generally the first Sunday of the month.

Roundtable brainstorming session begins promptly at noon. Registration requested. Call 415.567.3327 x 704.

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Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History with Steven Zipperstein
May
31
7:00 PM19:00

Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History with Steven Zipperstein

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

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Kishinev’s 1903 riot seized the imagination of the international public and became the prototype for what would now become known as a pogrom. It would provide a crucial impetus to developments as far flung as Zionism, the NAACP, and the first version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In this lecture, Professor Zipperstein will discuss his much-anticipated new work on the Kishinev pogrom.

“Pogrom is a splendid book that pinpoints the moment at the start of the twentieth century when exile in Europe turned deadly in a way that foretold the end of everything. It tells of horror that occurred street by street, butchery by butchery — told with gripping
clarity and an admirable brevity.”

— PHILIP ROTH

Steven J. Zipperstein, the author or editor of eight books, is Koshland Professor of Jewish Culture and History at Stanford. He is co-editor of the Jewish Lives series published by Yale University Press.

Co-presented by Lehrhaus Judaica, KlezCalifornia, and JFCS Holocaust Center.

Program made possible, in part, by Judy Baston.

 

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From the Shahs to Los Angeles: The Modern Iranian Jewish Experience with Saba Soomekh
May
23
7:00 PM19:00

From the Shahs to Los Angeles: The Modern Iranian Jewish Experience with Saba Soomekh

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

Professor Soomekh will discuss the history of the Jews of Iran in the modern era. What was life like for Jews under Shi’a Islam, how did conditions change under the secular regime of the Pahlavis, and how did the 1979 Islamic Revolution affect Iranian Jews? She will also address life in America for the thousands of Jews who immigrated to the United States in the wake of the Iranian Revolution and the government-sponsored discrimination that followed. Soomekh will explore how the Iranian Jewish community has maintained its hybrid identity and its relationship with non-Iranian Jews, the Ashkenazi community, and Israel.

Dr. Saba Soomekh is the assistant director of interreligious and intercommunity affairs at
the American Jewish Committee. She teaches religious studies, Middle Eastern history,
and women’s studies courses at UCLA. Professor Soomekh is the editor of Sephardi and
Mizrahi Jews in America
and the author of From the Shahs to Los Angeles: Three Generations of Iranian Jewish Women between Religion and Culture. Dr. Soomekh was the exhibition coordinator for Light and Shadows: The Story of Iranian Jews at UCLA’s Fowler Museum.

Co-sponsored by JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa.

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Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman with Robbin Légère Henderson
May
17
7:00 PM19:00

Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman with Robbin Légère Henderson

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

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Russian immigrant Matilda Rabinowitz (1887–1963) was a feminist, labor organizer, and mother. In her memoir, written in her later years, she describes life in the Pale of Settlement and tells the story of her journey to America, her political awakening and work as an organizer for the IWW, and, in her personal life, of a turbulent romance and struggle to support herself and her child. Matilda’s granddaughter Robbin Légère Henderson added commentary and illustrations for Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman, recently published by Cornell University Press.

Robbin Légère Henderson is an artist and writer whose work has been shown internationally, and most recently at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. Henderson received her B.A. in English literature at the University of California at Berkeley, with further study at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Co-sponsored by the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring of Northern California.

Co-presented by KlezCalifornia.

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Jabotinsky’s Children: Polish Jews and the Rise of Right-Wing Zionism with Daniel Kupfert Heller
May
6
1:30 PM13:30

Jabotinsky’s Children: Polish Jews and the Rise of Right-Wing Zionism with Daniel Kupfert Heller

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

Why would a Zionist youth movement in 1930s Poland consider marching in Polish patriotic parades and training with Polish military groups to be Zionist acts? Drawing upon his new book, Daniel Kupfert Heller will discuss the fascinating dynamics that led Betar, one of interwar Poland’s most popular Jewish youth movements, to model their ceremonies on Polish patriotic rituals, call for their members to “act Polish,” and include Polish government officials as both observers and participants in their celebrations. By recovering the voices of ordinary Betar members, Heller offers a fascinating window into the turbulent lives of Polish Jewish youth on the eve of the Holocaust.

Daniel Kupfert Heller is an assistant professor in the department of Jewish studies at McGill University. His areas of research include Jewish life in Eastern Europe and the history of Zionism. He is the recipient of McGill University’s H. Noel Fieldhouse Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Principal’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching. His book, Jabotinsky’s Children: Polish Jews and the Rise of Right-Wing Zionism, was published by Princeton University Press in 2017.

Co-sponsored by the Taube Center for Jewish Studies at Stanford University and Taube Philanthropies

Program made possible, in part, by Lawrence Burgheimer. 

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Genealogy Clinic
May
6
12:00 PM12:00

Genealogy Clinic

Free event with free garage parking off Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

tree for genealogy.jpg

Whether you’re trying to find your great-grandmother’s elusive hometown or your grandfather’s passenger manifest, take advantage of the Library’s extensive reference collection and Internet connection to countless searchable databases — all with guidance from a roundtable of experienced genealogists from the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society. Bring your materials and your questions to the Library, generally the first Sunday of the month.

Roundtable brainstorming session begins promptly at noon. Registration requested. Call 415.567.3327 x 704.

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Drop-In Book Club: The Septembers of Shiraz with Professor Jaleh Pirnazar
Apr
30
8:00 PM20:00

Drop-In Book Club: The Septembers of Shiraz with Professor Jaleh Pirnazar

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Please join us at Congregation Beth Israel in Berkeley for a discussion of this year's One Bay One Book selection, The Septembers of Shiraz, by Dalia Sofer, led by Professor Jaleh Pirnazar. 

Books are available for borrowing and can be signed out at Congregation Beth Israel in Berkeley or the Jewish Community Library in San Francisco. 

Dr. Jaleh Pirnazar has been teaching in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, since 1980. Her research interests include Iranian history, literature, ethnic and religious minorities in Iran. She teaches Modern Persian Language and Literature as well as Iranian Cinema. Her publications include “A Voice of Exile” in The Literary Review: Iranian Diaspora Literature Since 1980 (1996); “Iranian Jews, National Identity and Journalism 1915-1979” in The History of Contemporary Iranian Jews (2000); and “The Image of the Iranian Jew in the Writings of Three Modern Iranian Writers" in Iran Nameh (1995).

Co-presented by JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa.

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When Jesus Spoke Yiddish: Translating the Gospels for Jews with Naomi Seidman
Apr
29
1:30 PM13:30

When Jesus Spoke Yiddish: Translating the Gospels for Jews with Naomi Seidman

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

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Among the many translations of the New Testament, those directed at Jews present a particular set of challenges and opportunities. This lecture traces the four-hundred-year history of the Yiddish translation of the New Testament. While early translators, typically Jewish converts to Christianity, kept close to Luther’s German, in the twentieth century Yiddish translations moved toward a more idiomatic, Jewish, and “juicy” Yiddish. Dr. Seidman will explore how and why translators changed their approach, and what this move says about broader trends in modern Jewish culture, Yiddish literary style, and Jewish–Christian relations.


Naomi Seidman is Koret Professor of Jewish Culture at the Graduate Theological Union
in Berkeley. Her books include A Marriage Made in Heaven: The Sexual Politics of Hebrew
and Yiddish; Faithful Renderings: Jewish–Christian Difference and the Politics of Translation; 
and The Marriage Plot, Or, How Jews Fell in Love with Love, and with Literature.


Co-presented by Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring of Northern California, the Center for the Art of Translation, KlezCalifornia, and Lehrhaus Judaica.

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Apr
29
11:00 AM11:00

Yom Ha'atzma'ut Celebration for Young Children and their Families—in Hebrew!

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

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Looking for a joyful family celebration of Israeli Independence Day? This free gathering at the Jewish Community Library will feature stories, songs, crafts projects, and kosher food -- with participation by storytellers Koren Zuckerman and  Maayan Glaser-Koren of Treehouse Learning. The event will be entirely in Hebrew.

RSVP to Noa at 415.567.3327 x703. or nalbaum@jewishlearningworks.org

Program made possible, in part, by a generous grant from the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund. Co-sponsored by the Israeli House of the Consulate General of Israel.

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David Bergelson's Judgment: Imagining the Russian Revolution in Yiddish, with Sasha Senderovich
Apr
22
1:30 PM13:30

David Bergelson's Judgment: Imagining the Russian Revolution in Yiddish, with Sasha Senderovich

Free event with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets. 

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David Bergelson's Yiddish-language novel Judgment, first published in 1929, has been rendered into English for the first time. Translator Sasha Senderovich will discuss the context for this powerful novel, written in Berlin in the late 1920s and set in a Jewish shtetl in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution. The writer Gary Shteyngart called it “A brilliant, nightmarish look at a world without boundaries set alight by madmen.” Bergelson, a master of intricate Yiddish prose and the author of The End of Everything and Descent, was murdered on Stalin’s orders in 1952.

Sasha Senderovich is an assistant professor of Slavic and Jewish Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. Together with Harriet Murav, he translated David Bergelson's Judgment: A Novel (Northwestern University Press, 2017). He is currently working on his first monograph, How the Soviet Jew Was Made. 

Co-presented by KlezCalifornia and Workmen's Circle / Arbeter Ring of Northern California. 

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A Translator Walks into a Bar with Jessica Cohen
Apr
19
7:00 PM19:00

A Translator Walks into a Bar with Jessica Cohen

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

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Translator Jessica Cohen will discuss the joys and challenges of rendering the work of some of the finest Israeli writers into English. Translators are bridge-builders between different languages and cultures, and the bridge between Hebrew and English can be particularly difficult. Cohen will consider different ways of contextualizing Israeli cultural references for English-language readers, and the particular difficulties posed by jokes and humor. She will focus especially on David Grossman’s award-winning A Horse Walks into a Bar, which employs humor (often of the dark variety) more to unsettle than to entertain.

Jessica Cohen is a freelance translator born in England, raised in Israel, and living in
Denver. She translates contemporary Israeli prose, poetry, and other creative work.
She won the Man Booker International Prize for her translation of David Grossman’s
A Horse Walks into a Bar (2017). Her translations include works by major Israeli writers
including Etgar Keret, Dorit Rabinyan, Ronit Matalon, Moshe Sakal, and Tom Segev,
as well as director Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir).

Co-sponsored by the Center for the Art of Translation.
Co-presented by the Consulate General of Israel.

Program made possible, in part, by Jane and Michael Rice.

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Moses Veiled and Unveiled with Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg
Apr
16
7:00 PM19:00

Moses Veiled and Unveiled with Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

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The narrative of revelation at Mount Sinai is immediately followed by the catastrophic episode of the Golden Calf. Dr. Zornberg will explore Moses’ role in this episode and answer the question: Why does his face radiate light at the end of the narrative?

Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg lives in Jerusalem, where she has been lecturing on Torah since 1980. Born in London, she grew up in Glasgow, studying Torah with her father, who was a rabbi and head of the Rabbinical Court. Dr. Zornberg holds a PhD in English Literature from Cambridge University and has taught English literature at Hebrew University. Zornberg reads biblical narratives through the prism of midrash, literature, philosophy, and particularly psychoanalysis. She is the author of five critically acclaimed books; her most recent, Moses: A Human Life, was published by Yale University Press.

A reception and book signing will follow the talk. This event is in memory of Marsha Rivkind Raleigh z''l.

Co-sponsored by the Jewish Community High School of the Bay
Co-presented by Lehrhaus Judaica and Congregation Emanu-El.

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Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court: from Brandeis to Kagan with David Dalin
Apr
15
1:30 PM13:30

Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court: from Brandeis to Kagan with David Dalin

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

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Dr. David Dalin's newest book is the first history of the eight Jewish men and women who have served or who currently serve as justices of the Supreme Court. In his presentation, Dalin will discuss the Jewish background, identities, and legacies of the Jewish Justices and the changing role of Jews within the American legal profession. He will also address the antisemitism some of the justices encountered in their ascent to America’s highest court.

“A must read for anyone interested in Jewish, American, or legal history.”

—Alan Dershowitz

Dr. David Dalin is an ordained rabbi and scholar of American Jewish history and Jewish-Christian relations. He is the author, co-author, or editor of twelve books, including Religion and State in the American Jewish Experience and The Presidents of
the United States and the Jews
. His book Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court: From Brandeis to Kagan, published by Brandeis University Press, was recently selected as a finalist for the 2017 National Jewish Book Award.

Co-sponsored by the Jewish Bar Association of San Francisco.

Co-presented by Lehrhaus Judaica.

Program made possible, in part, by Marilyn Dobbs Higuera in memory of Stephen Dobbs.

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From Generation To Generation: le-dor va-dor; three generations of Jewish women artists
Apr
12
7:00 PM19:00

From Generation To Generation: le-dor va-dor; three generations of Jewish women artists

Opening reception: Thursday, April 12

Ongoing exhibition: April 12–July 15, 2018

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Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

A family legacy of thriving artistic life was established by matriarch Tobeleah Wechsler z"l, descendant of an illustrious rabbinic family, who co-founded the Cheltenham Art Center in Pennsylvania. Her daughter, Barbara Stanger, and granddaughter, Susan Stanger, who were exposed to artists and art at an early age, inherited her love for art and craft. All three Jewish women artists exemplify a lifelong dedication to growing and developing their own individual styles and skills. Their work comes together for the first time in this exhibit. 

Le-dor va-dor includes contemporary Jewish ceremonial objects, paintings, drawings, and sculpture by Barbara and Susan Stanger and Tobeleah Wechsler.

Barbara Stanger is an artist, jeweler, and art teacher whose work has been included in numerous museum exhibitions and has been circulated nationally by the Smithsonian Institution and the American Federation of the Arts. Her ceremonial pieces are also found in noted private collections, including that of Leah and Yitzchak Rabin.

Susan Stanger began her career as a designer and illustrator in Hawaii. Since coming to the Bay Area in 1998, she has maintained a practice of sketching wherever she goes in San Francisco and on her travels. As a freelance graphic artist she designed books and publications for Congregations Beth Sholom and Keneset HaLev in San Francisco.

Tobeleah Wechsler came from a traditional Jewish family; the only Jews in their small Pennsylvania town, they traced their heritage to the Kovno rabbis, one of the most renowned dynasties of Lithuanian Jewry. Dedicated to her family and her art, she co-founded the Cheltenham Art Center in 1940 with the goal of building a supportive local arts community.

Opening reception made possible, in part, by David Zebker. 

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An Evening with Lesléa Newman at Congregation Sha'ar Zahav
Apr
12
6:30 PM18:30

An Evening with Lesléa Newman at Congregation Sha'ar Zahav

Please note: this event will be held at Congregation Sha'ar Zahav at 290 Dolores Street in San Francisco. 

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Keshet, a national organization that works for full LGBTQ equality and inclusion in Jewish life, and Congregation Sha’ar Zahav proudly welcome lesbian Jewish poet and writer Lesléa Newman as she reads from her newest collection, Lovely, and other works.

Lesléa Newman has  published seventy books for readers of all ages, including the poetry collections I Carry My Mother, which received the Golden Crown Literary Society Poetry award, and October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard (a novel in verse), which received an American Library Association Stonewall Honor. In 2010, she received the Hachamat Lev Award from Keshet for “her enduring commitment to justice and full inclusion for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the Jewish community and beyond.”

To RSVP for this event, click here. For more information, please contact Jacob Klein at jacob@keshetonline.org

Congregation Sha’ar Zahav is a wheelchair accessible space with all-gender restrooms. Keshet and Sha’ar Zahav would like their events to be accessible to those with chemical sensitivities and allergies, and therefore support a fragrance-free environment.

 

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JCHS Senior Thesis Presentations
Apr
11
7:00 PM19:00

JCHS Senior Thesis Presentations

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Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

A select group of students at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay will be presenting the fruits of their senior thesis research papers. Students will be presenting original research on topics related to Israel, sexuality, mysticism, literature, Rabbinics, and Bible. Please join us in learning from the next generation and supporting original high school scholarship!

Co-sponsored by the Jewish Community High School of the Bay.

 

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Choosing Life: Agnon's Shoah with Yonatan Cohen
Apr
9
7:00 PM19:00

Choosing Life: Agnon's Shoah with Yonatan Cohen

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

S.Y. (“Shai”) Agnon, né Shmuel Yosef Halevi Czaczkes, was one of the greatest writers of modern Hebrew literature. In 1966, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for chronicling the life and spirit of the Jewish people.

In The Sign, S.Y. Agnon offers a unique statement about the role of literature in the aftermath of the Shoah’s horrors.  In this study session, Rabbi Cohen will lead a close reading of sections of this powerful short story, with material from the newest translation of Agnon’s monumental work, A City in its Fullness.

Rabbi Yonatan Cohen serves as the rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in Berkeley. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from McGill University in Montreal and received rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Cohen is a senior fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem as well as a lecturer for the Wexner Foundation’s Summer Institute and Heritage Program.

We will be using translations by Alan Mintz z”l, a great scholar of Agnon’s work.

Co-presented by Congregation Beth Israel and the Consulate General of Israel

Program made possible, in part, by Anne Germanacos. 

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Apr
8
2:00 PM14:00

Drop-In Book Club: Diary of the Fall by Michel Laub

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Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

Jim Van Buskirk leads a discussion of Diary of the Fall by Michel Laub.

This Brazilian novel about memory and identity covers three generations: a grandfather who survived Auschwitz and spent the rest of his life trying to forget it; a father in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease who is fighting to remember everything; and the forty-year-old narrator who remains haunted by his role decades earlier in a brutal prank on a fellow student.

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Genealogy Clinic
Apr
8
12:00 PM12:00

Genealogy Clinic

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Free event with free garage parking off Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

Whether you’re trying to find your great-grandmother’s elusive hometown or your grandfather’s passenger manifest, take advantage of the Library’s extensive reference collection and Internet connection to countless searchable databases — all with guidance from a roundtable of experienced genealogists from the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society. Bring your materials and your questions to the Library, generally the first Sunday of the month.

Roundtable brainstorming session begins promptly at noon. Registration requested. Call 415.567.3327 x 704.

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Beyond Casablanca: The Story of North African Jews Under Vichy Rule with Alma Heckman
Mar
25
1:30 PM13:30

Beyond Casablanca: The Story of North African Jews Under Vichy Rule with Alma Heckman

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

Until quite recently, the experiences of Jews in North Africa during World War II remained footnotes in a Eurocentric story, commemorated in the popular imagination only as side stories in the 1942 film Casablanca. In her talk, Alma Heckman goes beyond the romance of that film and explores the wide variety of Jewish experiences in North Africa during World War II, both for refugees from Europe and for victims of Vichy collaborationist antisemitic policy.

Alma Rachel Heckman is Neufeld-Levin Chair of Holocaust Studies and assistant professor of history and Jewish studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She specializes in modern Jewish history of North Africa and the Middle East with an interest in citizenship, the politics of belonging, transnationalism, and empire. She is currently at work on a book manuscript tentatively entitled Radical Nationalists: Moroccan Jewish Communists, 1925-1975.

Co-presented by JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa and the American Jewish Committee in San Francisco

 

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An Evening of Mizrahi Music
Mar
22
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening of Mizrahi Music

Oud player John Erlich, accompanied by violinist Be'eri Moalem and percussionist Bouchaib Abdelhadi, will lead us on a journey through the world of Mizraḥi Jewish music, performing pizmonim (songs of praise) and piyyutim (liturgical songs) from Iraq, Israel, Morocco, and Egypt.

John Erlich (oud and vocals) is former musical director of the Middle Eastern Jewish ensembles Za'atar (1997-2008) and Safra (2012-2016).  He was a jazz guitarist/composer before turning his attention to Middle Eastern music in the mid-1990s, inspired by a year spent living in northern Israel.  John has also performed with Estreya D'Oro and Bayat Ensemble and recorded with Cantor Richard Kaplan.  He studied oud with Naser Musa, Haig Manoukian, and Necati Çelik, and now teaches oud privately.

Violist, violinist, and composer Be'eri Moalem (violin) plays in classical, Middle Eastern, and Klezmer styles. He studied performance at the San Francisco Conservatory and composition at San Jose State University. Moalem’s specialty is blending different genres and forms of music. Originally from Israel, he now resides in Palo Alto.

Bouchaib Abdelhadi (percussion and background vocals), originally from Casablanca, Morocco, performed as the leader of Orchestre Abdelhadi until moving to the United States in the 1990s. Abdelhadi now plays in multiple Middle Eastern and North African musical traditions including al-Ÿqa (Andalusian), Gnawa (Sufi trance), and Chaabi ("popular"). He has collaborated with Alonzo King, Omar Sosa, and Stephen Kent (with Trance Mission). Abdelhadi is a member of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order.

Co-presented by JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa.

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The Diamond Setter with Author Moshe Sakal
Mar
19
7:00 PM19:00

The Diamond Setter with Author Moshe Sakal

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

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Inspired by true events, Moshe Sakal’s best-selling Israeli novel traces a complex web of love triangles and family secrets across generations and borders.

The uneventful life of a jeweler from Tel Aviv changes abruptly after Fareed, a young man from Damascus, crosses illegally into Israel and makes his way to the ancient port city of Jaffa in search of his roots. In his pocket is a piece of the famous blue diamond known as “Sabakh.” Intending to return the diamond to its rightful owner, Fareed is swept up in Tel Aviv’s vibrant gay scene, and a turbulent protest movement.

The Diamond Setter (Other Press, 2018) is translated by Jessica Cohen, who will be speaking at the Library on Thursday, April 19.  

Moshe Sakal is the author of five Hebrew novels, including Yolanda, which was shortlisted for the Sapir Prize (Israel’s most lucrative literary award) in 2011, and Sister, which was longlisted in 2016. Sakal was awarded the title of Honorary Fellow in Writing by the University of Iowa, the Eshkol prize, and a Fulbright grant. His work has been published in several major Israeli outlets, as well as Le Monde, The Forward, and Words without Borders.

Co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Israel.

Co-presented by Keshet and JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa.

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"Yes, there's a word for that in Yiddish!" with Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath
Mar
18
1:30 PM13:30

"Yes, there's a word for that in Yiddish!" with Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath

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Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

Published in 2016, the Comprehensive English–Yiddish Dictionary, contains more than four times as many words as the most recent English–Yiddish dictionary, which was published nearly  fifty years ago. Where did all these words come from? How do you say cell phone, binge-watch, glove compartment, and many other words used in contemporary life? Schaechter-Viswanath will discuss her childhood growing up with mame-loshn and how she became involved in seeking out existing Yiddish words, as well as coining new ones.

Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath has devoted her life to keeping Yiddish vibrant and relevant. She is co-editor-in-chief of the Comprehensive English-Yiddish Dictionary (Indiana University Press and League for Yiddish) and is language editor of Afn Shvel, the magazine of the League for Yiddish. Schaechter-Viswanath has published a bilingual volume of her poetry, Sudden Rain/Plutsemdiker Regn, and sings in an all-Yiddish choir. Her three children (and  toddler grandson) all proudly speak Yiddish.

Co-presented by Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring of Northern California, the Center for the Art of Translation, and KlezCalifornia.

Program made possible, in part, by Richard Krieg in honor of David Medlin.

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Film Class: The King of Comedy
Mar
15
7:00 PM19:00

Film Class: The King of Comedy

Free program with free garage parking on Pierce between Ellis and Eddy. 

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The final film in this series is not a conventional comedy. Although audiences at the time of its release did not know what to do with Martin Scorcese's dark satire on the culture of celebrity in America, it is now considered among the director's finest achievements. Jerry Lewis delivers a serious performance as talk show host Jerry Langford, who finds himself stalked by aspiring stand-up comedian Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro) and his equally unhinged accomplice, Masha (Sandra Bernhardt). Great discomfort ensues. 1982, 109 minutes.

Discussion led by Library Director Howard Freedman. 

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HANUKKOMICS: Cartoons about Jewish Culture and Holidays with Hilary Price
Mar
14
7:00 PM19:00

HANUKKOMICS: Cartoons about Jewish Culture and Holidays with Hilary Price

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets. 

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In this funny and light-hearted presentation, cartoonist Hilary Price will explain the process through which her ideas become cartoons, share secular and Jewish-themed strips, and draw cartoon snippets on the spot. All of Price’s cartooning secrets will be revealed, including the story of how she became a cartoonist, and how her Jewish identity contributed to her artistic development.

Hilary Price has been writing and drawing Rhymes with Orange, her daily newspaper comic strip, since 1995. At the age of twenty-five, she was the youngest woman ever to have a syndicated strip; the strip now appears in 375 papers internationally. Hilary has taught cartooning workshops at the Cartoon Art Museum and the Charles M. Schulz Museum. She now splits her time between Northampton, Massachusetts and Brattleboro, Vermont. When not cartooning, Price plays ice hockey and spoils her overly large cat.

Co-sponsored by the Cartoon Art Museum.

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Waking Lions with Author Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
Mar
11
1:30 PM13:30

Waking Lions with Author Ayelet Gundar-Goshen

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

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Eitan Green is a good Israeli doctor. He saves lives. Then, speeding along a deserted moonlit road in his SUV after an exhausting hospital shift, he hits someone. Seeing that the man, an African migrant, is beyond help, he flees the scene. It is a decision that changes everything for him.

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's first novel, One Night, Markovitch, won the Israeli Sapir Prize and the Italian Adei-Wizo Literary Prize. Her second novel, Waking Lions, won the 2017 Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize and French Wizo Prize and was a finalist for the 2017 National Jewish Book Award. The New York Times Book Review picked Waking Lions as Editors' Choice, and the Wall Street Journal included it on its Best Summer Reads list. Gundar-Goshen is a contributor to BBC’s The Cultural Frontline, as well as the Financial Times, Time Magazine, and the Telegraph.

Co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Israel.

Program made possible, in part, by Tricia Hellman Gibbs. 

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