Brunch, beer, botany and more as TorahFlora comes to town

A “tour of Torah and Jewish history through food and drink” will be held at Congregation Beth Israel Judea in San Francisco on Aug. 10.

Starting at 10:30 a.m., the “Biblical Botany Brunch” will be led by ethnobotanist Jon Greenberg, founder of, who is returning to the Bay Area next month for several events.

On a visit last December, the New Jersey resident gave a talk in the South Bay about the biblical aspects of beer and led a Torah-centric tour through the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Golden Gate Park.

The format at BIJ will include tastings of some of the foods and beverages while they are being discussed. Topics include “Lilies you have eaten in Jewish history, from Egypt and Rome to Jewish New York,” “The mushroom story: How science caught up to the Talmud after 1,700 years” and “The Jewish exile who taught America that tomatoes are not poisonous.”

Foods on the menu include bagels, chive cream cheese, matbucha (Mideastern cooked tomato-pepper salad), baba ghanoush, Turkish pepper salad, grapes and honey.

Tickets are $18 in advance ($9 for children under 13) or $22 at the door ($11 for children). Sign up at or call (415) 586-8833 for more information. Beth Israel Judea is at 625 Brotherhood Way, S.F.

In addition, Greenberg is scheduled to give two Shabbat morning lectures on Aug. 9 at Congregation Beth Israel, 1630 Bancroft Way, Berkeley. On Aug. 11, he will give a walking tour of Urban Adamah, 1050 Parker St., Berkeley.

On Aug. 12, a biblical and talmudic botany walking tour of the San Francisco Botanical Garden will begin at 10:30 a.m. The tour is $10 per person but is limited to 25 people and requires advance registration; e-mail [email protected]

Greenberg’s visit will wrap up at 7:15 p.m. Aug. 12 with a talk titled “Noah’s Wine vs. Pharaoh’s Beer: The Barroom Brawl and Culture War that Shaped Jewish History.” Related refreshments will be offered at the event, which is free and open to the public, at Peninsula Sinai Congregation, 499 Boothbay Ave., Foster City.

For more information, visit