Lectures & workshops

Humor from the dark side

If you lived in Nazi Germany, you could be arrested, or worse just for making a little crack about the Führer. But plenty of people risked it. Rudolph Herzog’s new book, “Dead Funny,” recounts a little-known piece of wartime history: how a portion of the German people refused to drink the Kool-Aid about that whole “thousand-year Reich” thing. Herzog will appear in conversation with Stanford Jewish Studies professor Ari Kelman to talk about the phenomenon. He might even recount a few of the jokes, but rest assured: It’s the blackest of black humor.
7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1 at JCC of San Francisco, 3200 California St., S.F. $10-$25. (415) 292-1200 or www.jccsf.org


“Ireland or Oyreland.” Jews’ Next Dor hosts a post-service discussion of the New York Jews who wrote Broadway’s definitive Irish musicals in the 1940s. At Congregation Beth David, 19700 Prospect Road, Saratoga. 9:30 a.m. Free. http://wp.me/p3HcM-U6.

“Feast of Jewish Learning.” Smorgasbord of classes on topics from history to dance offered in English, Russian and Hebrew. Preceded by young-adult happy hour at 6:15 p.m. At Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 7 p.m. Free. www.bjesf.org.

Reuven Kalifon. Israeli archaeologist-scholar lectures on Jewish history. At Congregation Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton. 11:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. Also Jan. 29 at 10:30 a.m. Also Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. at Lynnewood United Methodist Church, 4444 Black Ave., Pleasanton. Also Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at Congregation B’nai Shalom, 74 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek. All $10 suggested. See website for lecture topics. www.bethemek.org.


“Jewish Partisans of World War II.” Mitch Braff, director of Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation, talks about Jews who fought the Germans. At Congregation Shir Hadash, 20 Cherry Blossom Lane, Los Gatos. 9:30 a.m. Free. www.shirhadash.org.

“Prayer and Dissonance.” Rabbi Gail Diamond of the Conservative Yeshiva of United Synagogue in Israel discusses Jewish prayer and songs for those with undecided beliefs. At Congregation Kol Shofar, 215 Blackfield Drive, Tiburon. 10 a.m. Free. www.kolshofar.org.

“Art and Eat.” Congregation Ner Tamid hosts lunch, lecture and tour of the “Masters of Venice” exhibit. At M.H. de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, S.F. 10 a.m. Price varies. RSVP to [email protected]

“How to Rid California Colleges of Anti-Semitism.” Led by U.C. Santa Cruz professor Tammi Rossman-Benjamin. At Congregation Beth Ami, 4676 Mayette Ave., Santa Rosa. 2 p.m. Free. (707) 360-3000.

Kabbalah book talk. Kennard Lipman discusses “Kingdoms of Experience.” At Afikomen Judaica, 3042 Claremont Ave., Berkeley. 3 p.m. Free. www.afikomen.com.


Italian authors commemorate Holocaust. Italian journalist Enrico Deaglio and Jewish studies scholar Francesco Spagnolo discuss the story of an Italian who tricked the Nazis and saved 5,000 Jews. At Italian Cultural Institute, 814 Montgomery St., S.F. 6:30 p.m. Free. www.iicsanfrancisco.esteri.it.

Mental illness and families. Lecture by U.C. Berkeley professor and psychologist Stephen Hinshaw. In cooperation with P’tach Libeynu support group. At Temple Isaiah, 3800 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette. 7 p.m. Free. RSVP to [email protected]

“Women in Exodus.” Lecture by Rabbi Gail Diamond of the Conservative Yeshiva of United Synagogue in Israel. At Congregation Sinai, 1532 Willowbrae Ave., San Jose. 7:30 p.m. Free. www.sinai-sj.org.


“Israel Through the High-Tech Lens.” Two-day conference about Israeli technology with 35 speakers. At Haas School of Business, 2220 Piedmont Ave., Berkeley. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Also Feb. 2 at U.C. Berkeley School of Law. Prices vary. www.law.berkeley.edu. (see story page 8a)

“Queen Esther.” Eight-week Torah study course for women. At Merkavah Torah Institute, 1630 Bancroft Way, Berkeley. 10 a.m. $160. [email protected]

“Harvesting Life Wisdom: Empowering Seniors.” Workshop led by therapist Alissa Hirshfeld-Flores. At Santa Rosa JFCS, 1360 N. Dutton Ave., Santa Rosa. Also Feb. 8, 15 and 22 at B’nai Israel Center, 740 Western Ave., Petaluma. 10:30 a.m. $60. RSVP to [email protected]

Jewish Coalition for Literacy tutor trainings. At Congregation B’nai Tikvah, 25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek. 2 p.m. Also Feb. 7 at Juma offices, 131 Steuart St., S.F. 5:45 p.m. Free. www.jclread.org.

“Adventures of a Lesbian-Feminist-Rabbi-Mom in Israel.” Talk by Rabbi Gail Diamond of the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Includes wine and nosh. At private residence, S.F. 7 p.m.  Free. For more info RSVP [email protected]


“Behind the Music.” Jewish Music Festival presents Ben Goldberg, Berkeley composer and clarinetist, speaking about the creative process and Benjamin Brinner, author of “Playing Across a Divide: Israeli-Palestinian Musical Encounters,” speaking about the Bustan Quartet. At JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. 7 p.m. Free. www.jewishmusicfestival.org.

Writing workshop. Writer Rebecca Spence leads four-week course on telling stories of interfaith families. At Lehrhaus Judaica, 2736 Bancroft Way, Berkeley. 7 p.m. $40. www.buildingjewishbridges.org.

“The Sacred Table.” Lecture by Rabbi Mary Zamore, editor of the Reform movement’s new anthology about Judaism and food. At Martin Luther King Jr. Library, 150 E. San Fernando St., San Jose. 7:30 p.m. Free, $5 suggested. www.jvalley.org.

“Land of Israel.” Rabbi Yaakov Marcus explores the Jewish connection to Israel. At Jewish Study Network, 3626 El Camino Real, Palo Alto. 7:30 p.m. $10. www.jsn.info.


“Day of Learning.” Educational and arts workshops about tikkun olam for students and educators, presented by Bureau of Jewish Education. At Holy Names High School, 4660 Harbord Drive, Oakland. 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Free. RSVP to [email protected]


Yoga and Otiyot Chayyot. Meditation and yoga based on the Hebrew alphabet. At Congregation Kol Shofar, 215 Blackfield Drive, Tiburon. 10 a.m. Free. www.kolshofar.org.

“World Wide Wrap.” Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs presents a mini-course on tefillin. Includes breakfast. At Congregation Sinai, 1532 Willowbrae Ave., San Jose. 10 a.m. Free. www.sinai-sj.org.

Genealogy clinic. Researchers from the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society demonstrate how to use library resources. At BJE Jewish Community Library, 1835 Ellis St., S.F. 12 p.m. Free. www.bjesf.org.

“A Woman of Heart.” Reading by Santa Cruz writer Marcy Alancraig from her novel about Jewish chicken ranchers in Petaluma during the 1920s. At Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley. 2 p.m. www.magnes.org.


“Holocaust Survivor Cookbook.” Talk by author Joanne Caras. At Congregation Adath Israel, 1851 Noriega St., S.F. 7 p.m. $10. www.adathisraelsf.org.


“Pursuing Justice in Jerusalem.” Anat Hoffman, executive director of Israel Religious Action Center and founding member of Women of the Wall, talks about women’s rights in Israel. At JCCSF, 3200 California St., S.F. 7 p.m. $10-$12. www.jccsf.org.

“Attached.” Authors Rachel Heller and Dr. Amir Levine explore the science of relationships. At Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 7 p.m. $10-$18. www.paloaltojcc.org.


Jewish activists on the Occupy movement. Progressive Jewish Alliance and Jewish Funds for Justice present a discussion, including panelist from Jewish Youth for Community Action.  At JCC East Bay, 5811 Racine St., Oakland. 7:30 p.m. $11 suggested. www.jcceastbay.org.


Zadok Ben-David. Israeli artist discusses themes of nature in his work. At Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., S.F. 1 p.m. Free, $5 suggested.  www.thecjm.org.


Israeli technology. Interactive session about Israeli innovation for teens in grades 6-12. At Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 7 p.m. Free. www.paloaltojcc.org.


“Parenting Your Teen.” Jewish Teen Alliance and Jewish Community High School of the Bay present workshop on communication, parenting and Jewish values. Includes kosher lunch. At Jewish Community High School of the Bay, 1835 Ellis St., S.F. 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. $18. http://parentingyourteen.eventbrite.com.

Bay Area Jewish history conference. First of two all-day conferences examining the history of the local Jewish community, with panels, lectures and a performance. Presented by Lehrhaus Judaica. At the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley. 10:30 a.m. to 4p.m.  $25-$35. www.lehrhaus.org.