Lectures & workshops

‘Becoming Ruth’

The biblical Ruth is a stranger in more than one sense. An outsider in her physical surroundings, she is also a stranger to her destiny, with her humble start before she becomes the mother of royalty. Visiting Torah scholar Avivah Zornberg will explore these themes in “I Am a Stranger — Becoming Ruth” at the Addison-Penzak JCC, the first of several Bay Area lectures on a variety of topics. Zornberg has taught Torah for 30 years in Jerusalem and at the London School of Jewish Studies. She travels widely while lecturing in Jewish, academic and psychoanalytic settings. For information on her other local appearances, see Lectures & Workshops.

7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 26 at Addison-Penzak JCC 14855 Oak Road, Los Gatos. $7. www.svjcc.org


Dammit the Wonderdog lived to 19 1⁄2. photo/scott beale

Friend of the Jews?

In an age when Jewish dog owners celebrate their 13-year-old companions with a “bark mitzvah,” there is no doubt that Jews love their canines. But it hasn’t always been the case. In the early 20th century, for example, dogs were largely considered goyishe nakhes (“a gentile pleasure”). Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman, a professor at Vanderbilt University who co-edited “A Jew’s Best Friend? The Image of the Dog Throughout Jewish History,” will speak about the evolving relationship between Jews and dogs.

7 p.m. Tuesday, April 24 at BJE Jewish Community Library, 1835 Ellis St., S.F. Free. www.bjesf.org



Book talk by Jay Michaelson. Author discusses “God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality.” At Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, 290 Dolores St., S.F. 6 p.m. Free. www.shaarzahav.org.


Israel education and advocacy training workshop. To help prepare teens for life as Jewish college students. Sponsored by StandWithUs and Jerusalem Online University. At Beth Jacob Congregation, 3778 Park Blvd., Oakland. Also April 29 at Jewish Community High School of the Bay, 1835 Ellis St., S.F. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. $18 per family. www.standwithus.com/highschool.

B’nai B’rith bagel brunch. With Bill Broder, author of “Taking Care of Cleo,” a novel about two young Jewish women in Prohibition-era Detroit. At Afikomen Judaica, 3042 Claremont Ave., Berkeley. 10:30 a.m. $5, students free. www.afikomen.com.


Etgar Keret with Michael Chabon. The Israeli author of the short-story collection “Suddenly, a Knock at the Door” is interviewed by the Berkeley Pulitzer-winning novelist. At JCC of San Francisco, 3200 California St., S.F. 7 p.m. $10-$25. www.jccsf.org.

“Israel Innovation Showcase.” Demos by Israeli-founded companies, venture capital keynotes and networking. At Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 6 p.m. Free. RSVP to http://idd2012-jhtc.eventbrite.com.

“Pride and Tolerance in Jerusalem.” Elinor Sidi, executive director of Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, discusses her work. At A Wider Bridge, 2559 Diamond St., S.F. 7 p.m. Also April 27 at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills. 7:45 p.m., following Shabbat services. Free. RSVP to [email protected].


Michael Walzer. Stanford political philosopher discusses his book “Exodus and Revolution,” which addresses the Exodus story as a model of social transformation. Aaron Roland Endowed Lecture, co-sponsored by the Oshman Family JCC. At Stanford University, Building 200, 450 Serra Mall. 7:30 p.m. Free. www.paloaltojcc.org.


Book talk by Bengt Jangfeldt. Author discusses his forthcoming “Raoul Wallenberg: A Biography” about the Swedish diplomat who rescued tens of thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary. At Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley. 4 p.m. Free. www.magnes.org.

“Jewish Practices: Death and Dying.” Workshop on the practice of taharah, the washing and preparation of bodies for Jewish burial. Led by Beth Chaim Rabbi Dan Goldblatt and Jay Lewis, executive director of Sinai Memorial Chapel. At Beth Chaim Congregation, 1800 Holbrook Drive, Danville. 7 p.m. Free. RSVP to www.bethchaim.com.


Book talk with Harvey Gotliffe. Author discusses “The Oy Way,” a humorous guide to Yiddish. At Hillel of Silicon Valley, 44 S. 11th St., San Jose. 7 p.m. Free. (408) 286-6669.

Avivah Zornberg. Torah and biblical scholar lectures in Bay Area.  April 27 and 28 at Congregation Beth Emek Beracha, 4102 El Camino Real, Palo Alto; 4 p.m. April 29 at JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. Free. www.jcceastbay.org; 3 p.m. April 30 at Graduate Theological Union, Pacific School of Religion, 1798 Scenic Ave., Berkeley; 7 p.m. April 30 at JCC of San Francisco, 3200 California St., S.F. $10-$20. www.avivahzornberg.com.


Rabbi Michael Lerner. Discusses his book “Embracing Israel/Palestine.” At Book Passage Marin, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. 4 p.m. Free. www.bookpassage.com.

“The Painted Prenup: the Art and History of Ketubah.” Ketubah artist and calligrapher Melissa Dinwiddie discusses the Jewish marriage contract. At Afikomen Judaica, 3042 Claremont Ave., Berkeley. 3 p.m. Free. www.afikomen.com.


East Bay Women’s Torah Study. Torah study from female perspectives taught by a range of local rabbis and educators. At Temple Beth Abraham, 327 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland. 7 p.m. Free. www.tbaoakland.org. (See story, 10)


“Saving Land and Life: A Community Defends Its Home.” American Jewish World Service Africa program officer Jaron Vogelsang and AJWS grantee Ikal Angelei discuss Angelei’s fight against a dam that would turn her community in Kenya into a desert. At GTU campus, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley. 11 a.m. Free. RSVP at www.ajws.org.

“Dinosaur Goes to Israel.” Author and storyteller Diane Rauschwerger reads her new book. Also cupcake decorating to celebrate Hadassah’s 100th anniversary. At Alef Bet Judaica, 14103 Winchester Blvd., Los Gatos. 4 p.m. Free. RSVP at www.jvalley.org/pjlibrary.


Dennis Prager. Talk by radio host and author of “Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph,” At the Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., S.F. 6 p.m. $7-$20. www.commonwealthclub.org.

Book talk with Marty Brounstein. Author discusses “Two Among the Righteous Few,” about two Dutch Catholics who saved Jews during the Holocaust. At San Mateo Public Library, 55 West Third Ave., San Mateo. 6:30 p.m. Free. (650) 522-7818.


The Koren Mesorat Harav Siddur. Talk by Congregation Beth Israel Rabbi Yonatan Cohen about the new prayerbook devoted to the teachings of “the Rav” Solovietchik. At Afikomen Judaica, 3042 Claremont Ave., Berkeley. 6:30 p.m. Free. www.afikomen.com.