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Jewish Studies

The Program of Jewish Studies is generously sponsored by Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary.
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Our Jewish Studies classes inspire learners from all knowledge levels and backgrounds looking to add meaning and purpose to their everyday lives. We offer classes with master teachers to help you gain a better understanding of ancient texts or today’s headlines, with classes in Torah and Talmud, Jewish Film and History, Archaeology and current events. Join our community of learners to connect with our tradition and learn how it relates to us today.

  • The Currents in Current Events (Evening Class)

    The Currents in Current Events (Evening Class)

    Your weekly news magazine. We will examine the connections between events both near and far. We will seek history and context in order to be informed, knowing that knowledge is power and fights the despair of helplessness and hopelessness. We might even laugh as we remember Marx (Karl not Groucho) writing that History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce. Read More

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  • The Currents in Current Events (Morning Class)

    The Currents in Current Events (Morning Class)

    Your weekly news magazine. We will examine the connections between events both near and far. We will seek history and context in order to be informed, knowing that knowledge is power and fights the despair of helplessness and hopelessness. We might even laugh as we remember Marx (Karl not Groucho) writing that History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce. Read More

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  • Great Classic Jewish Trials - All Sessions

    Great Classic Jewish Trials - All Sessions

    Major religious trials share a lot in common. They are public exhibitions beyond the facts in the cases and are meant to caution the people as much, or more, than punish the alleged miscreant. Often the "crime" itself is of little importance and is, in fact, simply a challenge to authority. This class will be taught as a series of six or three. Inquisition, Salem Witch Trials, Dreyfus, Scopes, Rosenbergs & Pollard Read More

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  • Prophecy in Ancient Israel

    Prophecy in Ancient Israel

    The prophets played an important role in Jewish history. Who were the prophets and what was their message? Why did the people dislike them? Who was qualified to be a prophet? In this class we will examine the history and essential messages of the three major prophets and the twelve minor prophets and place them in the context of Jewish history. Join us for a lively discussion of these great Jewish figures and their contributions to our faith. Read More

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  • An Evening Celebrating the Art of the French Riveria: Van Gogh, Matisse, Chagall, Renoir and Picasso, with John Paul Thornton

    An Evening Celebrating the Art of the French Riveria: Van Gogh, Matisse, Chagall, Renoir and Picasso, with John Paul Thornton

    The brilliant light of the the Côte d’Azur inspired artists to create their most colorful and soulful work as seen in this glorious visual presentation of the Modern Art and personalities which define this intoxicating region on the Mediterranean Sea. Read More

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  • Among Cossacks and Commisars: A History of Ukrainian Jewry

    Among Cossacks and Commisars: A History of Ukrainian Jewry

    Among the topics covered in this class: Ka'nani and Khazar Jews in the Crimea and in Kievan Rus; Black Plague massacres and the mass migration of Western European Jews to Ukraine; Arendar: economic and social Life of the Ukrainian shtetl Jew; Ukrainian Jewry and the Cossack pogroms; chafing under Czars: Jews in the Pale of Settlement; Tatar Krimchak and Karaite Jews of Crimea; under Bolsheviks, Anarchists, and White Guardists (1917-1921); the Babi Yar Massacre; Natan Sharanski and the Refusenik movement Read More

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  • The Jewish Boxers' Hall of Fame

    The Jewish Boxers' Hall of Fame

    Between 1900 and 1940 alone there were some 27 Jewish world champions and title claimants, some still considered the greatest of their class: Benny Leonard, Barney Ross, "Slapsie" Maxie Rosenbloom, Abe Attell, Jackie Fields. This Power Point/video presentation is a romp through the fascinating history of the great Jewish pugilists, from the English bare-knuckle heavyweight champion Daniel "The Light of Israel" Mendoza in the 1790s, to recent title-holders, Rabbi Yuri Foreman and Dmitri "Star of David" Salita. Read More

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  • Jewish Communities in Exotic Places: From Afghanistan to Yemen

    Jewish Communities in Exotic Places: From Afghanistan to Yemen

    This PowerPoint/DVD presentation deals with seventeen Mizrachi (Eastern, Oriental) Jewish communities around the world. These are Jewish communities, situated in remote places in Africa and Asia - i.e. Iran, Ethiopia, China, the caves of Libya etc. -- whose customs and rituals were in many ways at great variance with those of Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jewry. These Jews practiced unique minhaggim (rites and rituals) that Ashkenazim and Sephardim had long forgotten; for example, the Yemenite Jewish tradition of eating certain types of locust that are considered kosher in the Torah. Read More

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  • Richard Wagner: The Man, the Music, the Vicious Anti-Semite

    Richard Wagner: The Man, the Music, the Vicious Anti-Semite

    We deal with the following themes: The composer's early life: Family, friends, enemies, debts, politics; his controversial essay, Das Judentum in der Musik; from adulation to animus: His relationship with Jewish composer Giacomo Meyerbeer; Wagner's Jewish friends, proteges and significant others: Levi, Tausig, Rubinstein, Porges; Wagner's racial anti-Semitism; Nietzsche on Wagner's Jew hatred; "He was a Prophet of Nazism": Gottfreid Wagner's "demonumentalizing" of his great-grandfather; the controversy of banning Wagner in Israel Read More

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  • Art of Northern Italy

    Art of Northern Italy

    Northern Italy contains some of the world's richest art. Join John Paul Thornton on a virtual tour of Milan, Lake Cuomo and Venice as well as wondrous Verona, Ravenna, Padua and more. Discover ornate cathedrals, glittering mosaics, historic ghettos and little scene museums. Visual presentations bring Italy to life... Read More

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  • Movie Matinees at the Sperber: Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy

    Movie Matinees at the Sperber: Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy

    Our popular new documentary film and discussion series continues. Join us for a screening of Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy. Share your thoughts about the film and enjoy some popcorn! This movie explores the phenomenon that, over the fifty-year period of its development, the songs of the Broadway musical were created almost exclusively by Jewish Americans. Taken in total they comprise the vast majority of what is now commonly referred to as "The American Songbook." Read More

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  • Movie Matinees at the Sperber: Blind Hero

    Movie Matinees at the Sperber: Blind Hero

    Our popular new documentary film and discussion series continues. Join us for a screening of Blind Hero. Share your thoughts about the film and enjoy some popcorn! This docudrama records the story of an unsung Schindler - a factory owner who hid Jewish employees from the Gestapo, and went to great lengths to save the life of one with whom he had fallen in love. Read More

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  • Movie Matinees at the Sperber:  It is no Dream: Theodore Herzl

    Movie Matinees at the Sperber: It is no Dream: Theodore Herzl

    Our popular new documentary film and discussion series continues. Join us for a screening of It is no Dream: Theodore Herzl. Share your thoughts about the film and enjoy some popcorn! Examines how Herzl, a well-known journalist and playwright, and an assimilated Budapest-born Jew, saw anti-Semitism spreading across Europe, and took upon himself the task of attempting to create a Jewish homeland in Palestine against all odds. Read More

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