SESSION 1—Choose from A-D (1:15-2:00 PM)
- A – Dr. Stephen Teitelbaum—Prostate Cancer Screening: A Window into the “Theology of Medicine”— We will use the ever-evolving approach to prostate cancer screening as a springboard to discuss scientific truth. The discussion will include the concept of evidence-based medicine, the scientific method, and the basics of epistemology. Ultimately, the question will be how we know what we know, and invite us into thinking about the distinction between so-called scientific “truth” and religious “belief.” Stephen practices urology in Brooklyn, NY.
- B – Nora Lee Mandel—What Is an Israeli Film? In Israel, government funds are usually essential for a director to get a film produced. The previous administration threatened to censor films that “undermined” the country’s image, and campaigns are organized to protest funding of specific films. As to other support, film festivals and theaters have blocked films if the cast includes an Israeli (Jewish/non-Jewish) and/or a Palestinian. I’ll give recent examples of these controversies and we can discuss what makes a film Israeli? Nora Lee Mandel has been a film critic for a dozen years, particularly covering movies of Jewish and women’s interest.
C – Ira Beer- Torah trop—More Than Just a Melody. What does trop do for us? What are some of the basics of its structure? How does it impact the meaning and structure of the words? Though Ira has never had any formal training in this topic, over the course of the last 34 years, he has read from the Torah over 1,500 times and has completed 20 full cycles of the Torah as the Baal Korei at FHJC. Through the course of that effort he has picked up a few things here and there. He also has a collection of tikunim which includes volumes from 9 different publishers. He likes reading the introductions to the tikkunim and looking for discrepancies in the trop between the different volumes.
D – Jessica Braginsky—From Words to Meaning; Using Art to Journey from Keva to Kavanah. Do you yearn for an authentic prayer voice? Meaningful prayer is not easy. We will analyze some reasons why, mine the prayer texts for inspiration and unclog our prayer practice with (Shabbat appropriate) creative art. Jessica is the Director of Education here at FHJC.
SESSION 2—Choose from E-H (2:15-3:00 PM)
- E – Rabbi Chana Thompson Shor—“God is not Human, that God would change [God’s] mind”: Balaam vs. Samuel: A Prophetic Face-off. Balaam is typically viewed as a fool or a villain, while Samuel has been compared favorably to Moses. This class will explore the following questions, looking closely at biblical text: What are the qualifications of these two prophets, and what are their characters? What is the difference between their messages? Can two prophets say the same thing about God, and yet make very different claims? (How would we know who is right?!) Rabbi Chana Thompson Shor was ordained from JTS in 1995, where she went on to complete “about half” of an advanced degree in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Languages.
- F – Marcia Belgorod—An Exploration of Israeli TV—Many of us have watched Shtisel, or at least heard of it, but there is a lot more Israeli television available in the United States. In addition to the programs that are directly available on sources like Netflix, there are also American programs based on Israeli ones; there are also Israeli programs produced for American television: and the major Israeli production company is now also producing American programs. In this session, we’ll see what happens when you talk about TV without looking at a screen. Marcia Kaplan Belgorod is Co-President of FHJC Sisterhood. Born in Brooklyn, raised in Oceanside, she has a BA from Brandeis and an MBA from Columbia. Her interest in television stems from growing up during the early days of the medium and having a daughter who majored in it in college.
- G – Shimon Yaakov Laxer—An Exploration into the Blessings over the Torah-The blessing over Torah and Torah study is one of those beautiful and evocative passages of our liturgy in which several different and deeply important sentiments are expressed, touching upon gratitude, joy, and hopes. Let’s go b’iyun, taking an in-depth look into the meaning, the intention, and the fascinating history behind these words. We will be looking at sources from the Torah, Talmud, and traditional and contemporary commentaries, and all texts will be provided in both the original Hebrew and with English translations. Shimon Yaacov Laxar is serving as our Rabbinic Intern this year.
- H – Adam Monaco—With Great Koach Comes Great Responsibility, Volume 3: Stan Lee—Stan Lee was known as the creator of many legendary comic book characters such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and the X-Men. Whether it is on the illustrated page or the silver screen, Stan Lee’s impact on pop culture will continue for generations to come. Please join us in a discussion of this Jewish writer who has helped bring about an original take of what it means to be a “hero.” Adam is a middle school English teacher, with nearly two decades of teaching in both public schools and yeshivas. Adam runs the FHJC Kadima group, and is the father of two wonderful boys. Adam has been keeping comic book stores in business for almost 30 years, and has always been drawn to the Jewish connection in comic books.
RSVP by Tuesday, December 10 by returning the form to the FHJC Office, or online here