Speaker Series

The Rabbi Finds Her Way: Discuss the Novel with Authors Robert Schoen and Catherine deCuir

Sunday, November 17 at 2 PM

Join local authors Robert Schoen and Catherine deCuir for a discussion about The Rabbi Finds Her Way—their new novel featuring a female rabbi/cantor as she moves through the behind the scenes activities and politics of a modern day synagogue. Schoen and deCuir will read passages from their novel, talk about the process of writing fiction as a team, and

answer your questions. The Rabbi Finds Her Way will be available for purchase.

Open to the Community – $5 suggested donation. Discussion Series November 2019

Past Speakers

Pioneers to the Present: Jews of Richmond and Contra Costa County

Sunday May 20 at 2 PM

Temple Beth Hillel’s new Speaker Series features Melinda McCrary, the Executive Director of the Richmond Museum of History. McCrary will discuss the latest exhibition the Museum is developing, “Pioneers to the Present: Jews of Richmond and Contra Costa County,” scheduled to open in November 2018. The exhibit will cover local Jewish history from the Gold Rush pioneers to the present concentrating on how the Jewish community helped shape the life and growth of the area. Enjoy a nosh and learn how Temple Beth Hillel also contributed to the area’s development.
Open to the Community – $5 suggested donation.

A Staged Reading of “An Enemy of the People”

Sunday May 21 at 10:15 AM

Actors Ensemble of Berkeley and Temple Beth Hillel present a staged reading of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, adapted by Arthur Miller, for a Bagel Brunch on Sunday May 21st at Temple Beth Hillel. An Enemy of the People is Ibsen’s great parable about the costs of the truth, featuring a town in denial of the environmental disaster at the center of their livelihood, the baths, and the idealist Doctor Stockmann who is determined to expose them for the health threat they pose, despite the costs to himself, his family, and his town.

Anyone interested in being part of this reading or being part of Actors Ensemble of Berkeley’s summer season in John Hinkel Park check the website aeofberkeley.org for information and email auditions@aeofberkeley.org to make an appointment. No experience is required. All are invited to audition.

pdfDownload the flyer (PDF)

Sar-El: Experiencing Israel in a Different Way

Bagel Brunch with David A. Brown, temple member Sunday, March 26, 10:15 AM

In 2015, Temple Member, David A Brown, fulfilled a long-held desire to contribute to the well-being of the state of Israel with his hands. He connected with volunteers from throughout the world on a Sar-El* mission. Stationed on IDF bases within Israel, David lived in a barracks, dined in the mess hall with the soldiers and performed non-combative duties: packing medical supplies and food, repairing machinery, building and maintaining the bases. Join David for a discussion of his experiences and the satisfaction and fulfillment he found volunteering with Sar-El.

*Sar-El is a non-profit organization open to non-Israeli citizens who wish to participate in national service without enlisting in the Israeli Defense Force, the IDF.

$5 suggested donation

pdfDownload the flyer (PDF)

“Today’s Anne Frank Is a Syrian Girl”

Bagel Brunch with Dr. Carla Cassler, DAOM, LAc Sunday, February 12 at 10:15 AM

Join Dr. Carla Cassler, Associate Director of the non-profit Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB), for a discussion about their experiences coordinating the first acupuncture program to provide trauma treatment to middle eastern refugees in Greece.

While many refugees attempted to flee to EU countries to escape war zones and failed states 60,000 Middle Eastern and African refugees were stranded in Greece when the Greek border was was closed in early 2016. Tens of thousands of refugees already dealing with profound trauma from war, displacement and loss are now housed in 30 camps throughout Greece and the Greek islands with inadequate accommodations under sever weather conditions.

Dr. Cassler and five teams of AWB volunteers have provided trauma healing services to thousands in these refugee camps. Her discussion will open a personal window onto one
of the greatest humanitarian disasters of our time. Dr Cassler is the wife of our Rabbi.

A bagel brunch will be served before the presentation.

pdfDownload the flyer (PDF)

Hunger in our community and the CalFresh (Food Stamp) program

Sunday, April 10, 10:15 AM – Noon

Have you ever had to tell your family that there is not enough food for a meal? Do you worry when your paycheck barely covers food for a month? Do you know what it is it like
for a child to go to bed hungry? Families right here in Contra Costa County face these important questions everyday!

Join Karen Sanchez, Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano CalFresh Outreach Coordinator, for a discussion about food insecurity in Contra Costa County and a training session: How
to enroll individuals in the CalFresh program.

The event is open to the community. Suggested donation: $5

Open to the community. $5 suggested donation.

pdfDownload the flyer

Giovanni Is Here: A staged, dramatic reading of an original play written and directed by TBH members, Mercedes and Michael Cohen

Sunday, October 25 10:15 AM – Noon

Giovanni is Here is the Winner of the 2014 Ross Alternative Works award

Set during the Holocaust in wartime Rome. Giovanni Is Here recounts the story of Bella, a young, pregnant Jewish woman hidden from the enemy by a Catholic family until the liberation. Set in very close quarters, the hazards of war and the Nazi occupation of Italy play out as the Romano family strives for a sense of normalcy, while Belle, a dressmaker, risks her life selling handmade dresses on the Black Market. The title, Giovanni Is Here, is the coded term used to alert Jews of an imminent German raid.

Open to the community. $5 suggested donation

pdfDownload the Flyer (PDF)

The Reform Jewish Movement and Patrilineal Descent: Are Our Children Jewish?

A Discussion Led by Dawn Kepler

November 8, 2015 10:15 a.m. – Noon

According  to  traditional  Jewish  law,  a  person  is a  Jew  if  he  or  she  is  born  to a  Jewish mother  (matrilineal)  or  converted  to  Judaism.  However,  in  1983,  the  Jewish  Reform Movement broke with Orthodox and Conservative Jewish tradition and Jewish law—and officially declared that a child born of one Jewish parent—mother or father—is Jewish.

This  new  patrilineal*  descent  resolution  also  went  on  to  state  that  the  child  of  an interfaith marriage is not automatically Jewish:  the child must be raised exclusively as a  Jew,  receive  a  Jewish  education,  celebrate  appropriate  life  cycle  events,  receive  a Hebrew  name  and  become a  bar  or  bat  mitzvah.  The  open  question  is:  do  we  really expect  all  children  from  interfaith  marriages  to  follow  every  one  of  these  rules?  For answers to this  important question and more, join Dawn  Kepler for an exploration  of the patrilineal Jewish family today.

*Patrilineal: based on the relationship to the father or descent through the male line; a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother.

pdfDownload the Flyer (PDF)

Dawn  Kepler,  Director  of  Building  Jewish Bridges:  Outreach  to  Interfaith  Couples  and  Families, has  worked  extensively  providing support, ideas, and alternatives to interfaith and intercultural  couples  coming  from  diverse traditions and backgrounds. Through workshops,  social  events  and  couples  counseling,  Building  Jewish Bridges  helps interfaith couples identify  their  familial,  spiritual, and  communal  goals  in  a  warm,  supportive  environment. Dawn  has chaired  the  Union  of  Reform Judaism’s  Interfaith  Committee  of  the Pacific  West,  and  has  served  on  the  Jewish  Community  Federation Endowment  Fund  of  San  Francisco,  Marin,  Sonoma  Counties,  the Peninsula  Interfaith  Advisory  Committee, and  The  Planning  Advisory Committee of interfaithfamily.com.

Marc Chagall’s Relationship to Judaism Through Art with Rene’e Powell,TBH Member, Artist & Teacher
Sunday, April 12, 10:15-Noon

Renee Powell, TBH member, artist, and teacher, will  present a very interesting review and discussion on Marc Chagall and his art.
Considered one of the greatest internationally recognized  modern artist’s of the 20th Century, Chagall has often been described as a poetic painter, yet, he is known for his talents
in many artistic mediums:stage sets, ceramics and stained glass..most notably, the 12 stained glass windows at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.

Renee Powell  will take us on a journey of discovery…of Chagall’s life, his personal history as a Jewish artist, and his relationship to Judaism through his art.

Come early for the bagel brunch, 10:15 a.m.
followed by Renee’s talk, 10:30 a.m

$5 suggested donation.

Bring your friends and anyone you know who is interested in Chagall or in art.

pdfDownload the flyer (pdf)