Lectures & workshops

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A long cliffhanger

How did Moses live to 120? What happened to the 10 lost tribes? Where is the afikomen? Who doesn’t like a mystery? That last one, at least, will be answered throughout the month at the Peninsula JCC’s “It’s a Mystery Festival.” On Sunday, March 4, get ready for readings and conversations with Jewish mystery writers, including Lisa Lutz, Cara Black and Rita Lakin and the Kellerman mishpocha — Jonathan, Faye and son Jesse.

Other events on the festival docket include “The Mysteries of Kabbalah Revealed” with Berkeley scholar Daniel Matt on March 13, an adult “mystery trip” on March 14 and “Is There Life After Death?” with author and Rabbi Elie Spitz on March 20.
“Celebration of Jewish Mystery Authors,” 1 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, March 4, Peninsula JCC, 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City. $10-$15. www.pjcc.org/mystery or (650) 212-7522


The future of Israel

At age 88, he is Israel’s oldest official head of state, and once upon a time (60 years ago) he was the country’s youngest director-general of the Defense Ministry. So, yes, you could say Israeli President Shimon Peres has been an important part of Jewish history. The Nobel Peace Prize winner and two-time former prime minister will be in the Bay Area next week, speaking in San Francisco on “Israel and the Jewish People: The Vision for Tomorrow.” The event is free and open to the public.
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, Congregation Emanu-El, 2 Lake St., S.F. Free. RSVP required; email full name and phone number by March 4 to [email protected].


Book talk with author Diane Ackerman. Discusses “One Hundred Names for Love: A Stroke, a Marriage, and the Language of Healing.” At Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 7 p.m. $10-$18. www.paloaltojcc.org.


Book talks with Marty Brounstein. Author discusses “Two Among the Righteous Few: A Story of Courage in the Holocaust.” At Menlo Park City Council Chambers, 701 Laurel St., Menlo Park. Free. (650) 330-2525. Also March 9 at Congregation Beth Jacob, 1550 Alameda de las Pulgas, Redwood City. 7:30 p.m. Free. (650) 260-2504.


“Masculinities, Bodies and Identities: Male Circumcision Among Jews and Muslims.” Opening session of two-day conference presented by U.C. Davis Jewish Studies program. At Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center, U.C. Davis. 4 p.m. Also March 5 from 9:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Shields Library, U.C. Davis. Free. http://jewishstudies.ucdavis.edu.

Dennis Ross. Former Middle East envoy speaks at American Technion Society’s “Perspectives on a Changing Middle East.” At Four Seasons Hotel, 757 Market St., S.F. 7:30. $65. RSVP to [email protected].

Yoga and Otiyot Chayyot. Meditation and yoga based on the Hebrew alphabet. At Congregation Kol Shofar, 215 Blackfield Drive, Tiburon. Also April 29. 10 a.m. Free. www.kolshofar.org.

Beginners’ b’nai mitzvah. Ritual tutor Arik Labowitz leads information session on having an independent bar/bat mitzvah. At Afikomen Judaica, 3042 Claremont Ave. 11 a.m. Free. www.afikomen.com .

Genealogy clinic. S.F. Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society volunteers run roundtable. Bring materials. At Bureau of Jewish Education community library, 1835 Ellis St., S.F. 12 p.m. Free. www.bjesf.org.

“J Street: A New Voice for Israel.” Temple Sinai’s Israeli education committee sponsors panel discussion. At Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland. 2 p.m. Free. www.oaklandsinai.org.

“If It Wasn’t for the Irish and the Jews.” Presentation by NYU music professor Mike Moloney exploring Tin Pan Alley and vaudeville. At JCCSF, 3200 California St., S.F. 4 p.m. $18-$20. www.jccsf.org.

Israeli journalist Ben-Dror Yemini. Ma’ariv newspaper columnist discusses Israeli politics. At Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 7:30 p.m. $10. RSVP to [email protected]. www.paloaltojcc.org.

Philosophers’ Café. Discussion of ethical consumerism hosted by Tri-Valley Cultural Jews. At Café Rumi, 799 Heyer Ave., Castro Valley. 10:45 a.m. $5 suggested. (925) 240-5612.


“Latke vs. Hamantaschen.” Debate presented by Graduate Theological Union Center for Jewish Studies. At the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley. 5 p.m. Free. www.gtu.edu.


Book talk with Eyal Press. The Nation journalist discusses, his book “Beautiful Souls: Saying No, Breaking Ranks, and Heeding the Voice of Conscience in Dark Times.” At JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. 7:30 p.m. $7-$9. www.jcceastbay.org.


“Lunch and Learn.” Talk about John Muir by park ranger Daniel Prial. At Temple Isaiah, 3800 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette. 11:45 a.m. $10-$12. RSVP to (925) 283-8575.

“The Extremes of Esther.” Talk by Bible professor Isaac Gottlieb of Bar-Ilan University. At 450 Serra Mall, Stanford. 12 p.m. Free. www.stanford.edu/dept/jewishstudies.

“Changing Lives Through Design.” Talk by Fred Dust, partner at global design firm Ideo. At JCCSF, 3200 California St., S.F. 7 p.m. $10-$20. www.jccsf.org.


Lecture and bagels. With Rabbi Moshe Levin. At Congregation Ner Tamid, 1250 Quintara St., S.F. Free. 10 a.m. www.nertamidsf.org.


Book talk. S.F. State University history professor Mary Felstiner discusses her book “To Paint Her Life: Charlotte Salomon in the Nazi Era.” Presented by Kol Hadash. At Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave., Albany. 11 a.m. $7.50-$10. www.kolhadash.org.

“Hagar in the Jewish and Islamic Traditions.” Day of learning sponsored by Graduate Theological Union’s Center for Jewish Studies and Center for Islamic Studies. At Easton Hall, 2401 Ridge Road, Berkeley. 2 to 7 p.m. Free. www.gtu.edu.


“Yes, There Were Jews in the California Gold Rush!” Lecture by history professor and preservationist Stephen Kinsey. At Martin Luther King Jr. Library, 150 E. San Fernando St., San Jose. 5 p.m. Free. www.sjsu.edu/depts/jwss.


Caring for aging parents. Jewish Family and Children’s Services of the East Bay sponsors workshop by elder care professionals. At AgeSong Lakeside Park, 468 Perkins St., Oakland. 5:30 p.m. Free. www.jfcs-eastbay.org.

“Building New LGBTQ Pride and Inclusion in Israel.” Panel discussion with members of Alliance of Israeli LGBTQ Organizations. At Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, 290 Dolores St., S.F. 7 p.m. Free. www.awiderbridge.org.


“New American Haggadah.” Book talk by editor Jonathan Safran Foer and translator Nathan Englander. At JCCSF, 3200 California St., S.F. 7 p.m. $10-$25. www.jccsf.org.


“Dissolving Localities.” Talk by Israeli composer and scholar Emmanuel Witzthum, presented by Jewish Music Festival. At Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley. 6 p.m. Free. www.jewishmusicfestival.org.

Book talk with Nathan Englander. Author discusses “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank.” At Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 7:30 p.m. $10-$18. www.paloaltojcc.org.

“Religion for Atheists.” Talk by philosopher and author Alain de Botton. At JCCSF, 3200 California St., S.F. 8 p.m. $10-$25. www.jccsf.org.