Category Archives: book group

Update on Adult Education at CBI

Adult Learning at CBI is multifaceted, encompassing films, books, poetry readings, lectures, Torah study and more. We welcome suggestions. Here’s an updated glimpse of what’s happening at CBI this fall in the Adult Education realm:

Upcoming: Monday, September 16th, 7pm: the CBI Book Club meets to discuss The Breadgivers, a 1925 novel by Anzia Yezierska, rediscovered in 1980. The book is about the experience of Jewish immigrants in the lower east side of Manhattan and the conflict between the immigrant parents and their children. Please bring your suggestions for books to read for the coming year. Contact Chaim Bronstein with any questions.

ChaiMitzvahlogo

New at CBI: Chai Mitzvah! We’ll be premiering an exciting new adult education program at CBI this year called Chai Mitzvah. The program features three elements: exploring a new (or new-to-you) Jewish ritual each month, doing some social action each month, and attending one Chai Mitzvah class at CBI each month. The Chai Mitzvah curriculum features lessons on subjects ranging from “Creating a New American Jewish Minhag/Custom” to “Tzedakah/Philanthropy” to “The Individual and the Community: What Are Our Responsibilities to Each Other?”

This year’s Chai Mitzvah class dates are: 10/5, 11/2, 12/7 (2013); 1/4, 2/1, 3/1, 4/5, 5/3, 6/7 (2014). These are all Saturdays. We’ll meet after Shabbat morning services, 12:30-2pm, probably over lunch.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact Rabbi Rachel at 413-663-5830 or rebrachel@cbiweb.org. Tuition for the year is $18, which includes all curricular materials. If that’s not comfortable for you, please let the rabbi know privately. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Stay tuned for more information about Chai Mitzvah and about what our book group will read in 5774!

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Book Discussion Group – Upcoming Titles

All meetings are at 7pm on Monday nights.

Feb. 11, 2013: For the Sake of Heaven and Earth: The New Encounter Between Judaism and Christianity, by Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg (nonfiction)

March 18: The Complete Stories, Bernard Malamud (selected stories from the book; fiction)

April 29: A Pigeon and a Boy, Meir Shalev (fiction)

June 10: Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity, Rebecca Goldstein (nonfiction)

July 22: People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks (fiction)

September 16: Bread Givers, Anzia Yezierska (fiction, originally published in 1925)

All are welcome!

“This Is Real…” discussion – Shabbat 9/1

One of my favorite books to re-read during the lead-up to the Days of Awe is This is Real And You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation by Rabbi Alan Lew, may his memory be a blessing.

Some weeks ago, before Tisha b’Av, we discussed the first three chapters at CBI as our after-services Shabbat morning Torah study. This coming Shabbat — Shabbat Ki Tetze, Saturday September 1 — we’ll discuss the next three chapters:

     Four – The Horn Blew and I Began to Wake Up: Elul

Five – This is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: Selichot

Six – The Horn Blows, the Gates Swing Open, and We Feel the    Winds of Heaven: Rosh Hashanah

 

These chapters take us through the journey of Elul (the month we’re in now), Selichot (the service which prepares us for the Days of Awe to begin — this year we’ll have a Selichot play at CBI followed by a very short-and-sweet havdalah and Selichot observance), and the rollercoaster ride of Rosh Hashanah.

For the final chapters of the book, which cover the Ten Days of Repentance and Yom Kippur, I’ll encourage members of the discussion group to meet on their own in “hevruta” — groups of two or three — to discuss these chapters sometime during those Ten Days. Here’s a list of those final chapters:

Seven – What the Soul Does While the Gates Are Still Open: The Ten Days of Teshuvah

Eight – The Soul Hears Its Name Being Called: Kol Nidre

Nine – Death and Yom Kippur Atone

Ten – The Gates Clang Shut: Neilah

Epilogue – The Stars Are Shining On My Head: Sukkot

If you have a copy of the book, please consider reading chapters 4-6 and then coming to our Torah study this week (whether or not you also come to services — though hey, why not do both? ;-) If you don’t have a copy of the book, or don’t have time to read it this week, never fear: I will put together a handout which contains some choice quotes from these chapters so that we all have something we can discuss.

Hope to see y’all this Shabbat for services and/or Torah study! This book really does put the Days of Awe into a beautiful and meaningful new perspective — I look forward to discussing it with y’all on Saturday morning.

Blessings to all,

Reb Rachel

Reading R’ Alan Lew before the Days of Awe

One of my favorite books to re-read during the lead-up to the Days of Awe is This is Real And You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation by Rabbi Alan Lew, may his memory be a blessing. I know the High Holidays seem very far away, but they’re not — not to me, anyway! This book begins with reflections on how Tisha b’Av prepares us for the Days of Awe, so I’d like for our first meeting to be before Tisha b’Av (which this year falls on July 28.)

If others are interested in reading this book and meeting a few times to discuss it, I would love to do that!

Here is the proposed schedule:

FIRST MEETING

Saturday July 21 — we’ll discuss the first three chapters of the book over a brown-bag lunch at 11:30 as our communal Torah study that day (feel free to come at 9:30 for Shabbat morning services beforehand!) Those chapters are:

One – The Soul Stretches Out to Contain Itself: A Map of The Journey

Two – Everywhere He Went, He Was: Heading for Home: Teshuvah

Three – I Turned, The Walls Came Down, and There I Was: Tisha b’Av

SECOND MEETING

Either on Saturday 9/1 or Saturday 9/15, with a brown-bag lunch, after services (I’ll do whichever date is best for the majority of participants.)

Four – The Horn Blew and I Began to Wake Up: Elul

Five – This is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: Selichot

Six – The Horn Blows, the Gates Swing Open, and We Feel the Winds of Heaven: Rosh Hashanah

For the final chapters of the book, which cover the Ten Days of Repentance and Yom Kippur, I’ll encourage members of the discussion group to meet on their own in “hevruta” — groups of two or three — to discuss these chapters sometime during those Ten Days.

Seven – What the Soul Does While the Gates Are Still Open: The Ten Days of Teshuvah

Eight – The Soul Hears Its Name Being Called: Kol Nidre

Nine – Death and Yom Kippur Atone

Ten – The Gates Clang Shut: Neilah

Epilogue – The Stars Are Shining On My Head: Sukkot

If you are interested in taking part, please let me know (rebrachel at cbiweb dot org) and order yourself a book! (Here it is on Amazon.)

CBI book group; Talmud classes

Dear CBI community,

The CBI book group will meet next at 7pm on Monday, November 21 to discuss “To The End of the Land” by David Grossman. All are welcome; there is no fee for participation, and it doesn’t matter if you have (or haven’t) come to previous meetings of the book group.

David Grossman is a prominent Israeli novelist. For more on David Grossman, here’s his Wikipedia entry , and  here’s a (glowing) review of the book for those who want to learn more. Copies of the book will soon be available at the local public library; it’s also available on Amazon for $10. For more information (or to volunteer to moderate the discussion this time around), call Chaim Bronstein at 917-609-6732.

Chaim is also about to begin offering a free class in Talmud at CBI, geared toward adults. All are welcome and there is no fee for participation. The class will meet on Sundays at 1pm, starting on Sunday, October 30; at that first class, the group will read short selections from Talmud in order to decide what subject(s) they want to learn about. If you’ve ever wondered about Talmud or wanted to try learning a little, this is a great opportunity to learn a little bit of this central Jewish text!

Take care and we hope to see you soon.