Lectures & workshops

Freeing their minds

Many faiths are centered around the idea of redemption or salvation for their followers. But how universal is this idea of redemption? What do faiths share and where do they differ? Convening on a panel to discuss these kinds of otherworldly questions are Bay Area spiritual leaders Rabbi Nat Ezray of Congregation Beth Jacob in Redwood City; Imam Tahir Anwar of the Islamic Center of San Jose; the Rev. Kristi Denham of Congregational Church of Belmont; and the Rev. Ryuta Furumoto of the San Mateo Buddhist Temple.

7 p.m. Tuesday, May 22 at the Peninsula JCC, 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City. Free. www.pjcc.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 Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 9 a.m. $18 per family. www.paloaltojcc.org.

“Theological Responses to the Holocaust.” Video lecture by history professor David Ruderman of the University of Pennsylvania. At Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave., Albany. 4 p.m. Free. www.kolhadash.org.   

Book talk by Michael Cooper. Author discusses “Foxes in the Vineyard,” his novel about a son searching for his archaeologist father on the eve of the Israeli War of Independence. At Bookshop Benicia, 856 Southampton Road, Benicia. 4 p.m. Free. www.bookshopbenicia.com.


“Stand with God, Against Man.” Granddaughter of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese diplomat who saved thousands of refugees during World War II, tells her family’s story. At Congregation Beth David, 19700 Prospect Road, Saratoga. 7:30 p.m. Free. www.beth-david.org.

“The Realities of Modern Israel.” Talk by Israeli Consul General Akiva Tor. At Tehiyah Day School, 2603 Tassajara Ave., El Cerrito. 7 p.m. Free, but RSVP required to [email protected]. (510) 233-3013.

Ambassador Dennis Ross. Former chief Middle East adviser to three presidents reflects on strategies for peace. At Stanford University, Cemex Auditorium, 641 Knight Way, Stanford. 7 p.m. Free. www.hillel.stanford.edu.

“Mystery of the Book of Ruth.” Discussion in Russian with Rabbi Ilana Baird. At Addison-Penzak JCC, 14885 Oka Road, Los Gatos. Free. www.siliconvalleyjcc.org.


Talk by author Caroliva Herron. Discussing her life as an African-America Jew. At Stanford University, 565 Mayfield Drive, Stanford. 7 p.m. Free. [email protected].

“Muslims, Jews, and a New Song.” Tricia Hellman Gibbs discusses her journey back to Judaism and findings from the Koran, as well as her novel “A New Song,”  in conversation with author Nafisa Haji. Includes Middle Eastern music by the Yuval Ron Trio. At Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. 7 p.m. $12-$15. www.marinjcc.org.

“Perspectives on Israel.” Talk by J Street’s S.F. Bay Area chair and national board member Molly Freeman. Also May 31 with Orli Bein, New Israel Fund co-director, S.F. region. At Congregation Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley. 7:30 p.m. Free. www.bethel-berkeley.org.


“The Extraordinary Story of Anne Frank’s Family.” Buddy Elias, Anne’s first cousin and close friend, shares family stories. At JCC of San Francisco, 3200 California St., S.F. 7 p.m. $10-$25. www.jccsf.org.

“Reclaiming Jewish Activism: Rediscovering Voices of Our Ancestors.” Presentation and discussion by Jewish activists Julie Gilgoff, Rae Abileah and Elaine Elinson. At Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, 290 Dolores St., S.F. 7 p.m. Free. www.shaarzahav.org.


“Settling the Land of Israel — Contemporary Perspectives.” Talk by Eran Kaplan, professor of Israel and Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University. At Stanford University, Building 360, 450 Serra Mall, Stanford. 12 p.m. Free. www.stanford.edu/dept/jewishstudies.


Book talk with Marty Brounstein. Author discusses “Two Among the Righteous Few: A Story of Courage in the Holocaust.” At Hillsdale United Methodist Church, 303 W. 36th Ave., San Mateo. 8:30 a.m. breakfast, 9:30 a.m. presentation. Free. RSVP for breakfast to (650) 345-8514. Also May 30 at Books Inc., 301 Castro St., Mountain View. 7 p.m. (650) 428-1234.


“Sacred Treasure—The Cairo Genizah.” Author Rabbi Mark Glickman discusses his book about the 1896 discovery of medieval manuscripts in a Cairo attic. At BJE Jewish Community Library, 1835 Ellis St., S.F. 7 p.m. Free. www.bjesf.org/adults_events.htm.