Home December 2011 Flavor for Everyone

Flavor for Everyone

Dinner with a Scholar is back, and Aviva Forster is chairing it for the eighth year.  There will be a topic to pique everyone’s interest, from foreign policy to oil addiction, from Sephardic music to Yiddish culture, from South African Jews to the Jews of the American South.
The events include a gourmet meal at homes throughout the community, an interactive session with an interesting speaker and a chance to meet interesting people.  There will be, as Forster says, a flavor for everyone.
Benefitting the 1,000 students who participate in the Bureau of Jewish Education programs, Dinner with a Scholar has thirteen speakers who are experts in their fields.  Everything is donated – the meals, the printing and everything but the postage.  Dinner with a Scholar is scheduled for Saturday, January 28, with Brunch with a Scholar being held on Sunday, February 12.

Ending Oil Addiction
Eyal Aronoff, a co-founder of Quest Software, will explore the nature of our oil dependence.  His presentation will draw a clear blueprint on how we can break the entrenched barriers-for-change by introducing competition into the fuel market with American-made, clean and cheap replacement fuels such as natural gas, methanol, ethanol and electricity.  Aronoff co-founded the Fuel Freedom Project, which promotes a blueprint for solving the oil price crisis by removing barriers to fuel competition via a grassroots effort.

The Jewish Community of South Africa: Yesterday, Today,
and Tomorrow
At the end of the 19th century, Jews from Lithuania and Latvia emigrated from their cold, inhospitable and hostile homelands to the southernmost part of Africa.  Mervyn Danker’s talk will focus on what made it a model community, what challenges faced Jews in their new environment then, and in this numerically smaller, aging but still vibrant community.  Danker, who serves as the regional director of the American Jewish Committee’s Northern California office in San Francisco, was born and raised in South Africa and wrote a book, Bingo: The Black and White Dog (2011).

Israel in the American Imagination: From Plymouth Plantation to Spielberg’s Munich
Since its birth, Israel has relied on its special friendship with the United States, but America’s love affair with Israel stretches back much farther than 1948.  Dr. Emily Katz will address how Israel has become a seemingly irreplaceable touchstone in postwar WWII American life.  She will examine how and why American Jews acted as promoters and consumers of Israel-related books, dance, music, art and fashion in the first postwar decades.  Dr. Katz, an assistant professor of history at University of California, Irvine, has an upcoming book entitled, Bringing Zion Home:  Israel in American Jewish Culture, 1948-1967.

The Problem with the Status
Quo and the Myth of Stability
When asked the question, “How are you?” we typically answer, “Fine.”  Our culture rests on our desire in day-to-day life to maintain the status quo.  Yet, personal growth is often incumbent upon changes within one’s life.  Rabbi Andrew Feig was ordained as rabbi at the Academy for Jewish Religion, California.  He is currently the School Rabbi at Sinai Temple’s Sinai Akiba Academy, a K-8 Solomon Schechter Day School in Los Angeles.

Oy Vey! What Happened
to Yiddish?
Why do we all know how to kvetch and shlep?  Yes, things are happening to the Yiddish language and culture, both good and bad.  What circumstances and characteristics made Yiddish the greatest language and culture of the Diaspora as well as the mother tongue for most Jews alive today?  Miriam Koral is a native Yiddish speaker and founder/director of the California Institute for Yiddish Culture and Language (CIYCL), a non-profit organization in Los Angeles dedicated to preserving and promoting Yiddish through unique and inspirational educational programs for adults.

The Jewish Trinity
Presented here is a guide to the three – or four most important features of Jewish life.  Clive Lawton is heavily involved in interfaith dialogue.  He is often called upon to comment on matters of Jewish affairs by the British media and has been involved in designing educational curricula and materials for religious education in British schools.  Lawton, the Community Scholar Program’s one month scholar-in-residence, was voted #18 in the UK’s Jewish ‘‘Power 100’’ list and awarded the Max Fisher International Prize for Jewish Education by the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem.  He has published more than 20 books.

50 Years of U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East
During the second half of the 20th century, the principles, strategies and goals of U.S. policies in the Middle East can best be described as devoid of consistency.  Dr. Arlene Lazarowitz, who has taught in the History Department at CSU, Long Beach since 1984 and established the school’s Jewish studies program, takes a look at the differing approaches of four pivotal Presidents – Truman, Johnson, Carter and Reagan.  The only consistency in these policies was the hope of bringing peace and stability to the region, as well as their long-lasting effect on US-Middle East relations.  Dr. Lazarowitz is currently completing articles on President Ronald Reagan and the Republican Party’s Attempts to Attract Jewish Voters, and President Gerald Ford’s Negotiations with Israel and Egypt over the Sinai Peninsula.

The Intersection
of Historical
Facts and Myths
The history of the Jews is cloaked in the guise of metaphors, legends and myths.  In this presentation, Dr. Hooshang Meshkinpour will take a rational approach to the evolution of Jewish intellectual events of the past twenty centuries. This historical journey will begin before the rise of Christianity, touching on significant historical Jewish thought events of the past two millennia and will culminate with post-modern Jewish reflections.  Dr. Hooshang Meshkinpour, who has been awarded five times as a “Best Doctor in America,” is an emeritus professor of medicine at the University of California, Irvine.

The Incredible Achievement of Jews
From the number of Nobel Prize winners, to the percent of students on Ivy League campuses, to the notables on various “Greatest 100” lists of historical figures, Jews have a consistently strong showing despite their otherwise small world presence.  Steven Pease’s talk will highlight individual and collective Jewish achievements, explaining them as the consequence of Jewish cultural capital — values, beliefs, and attitudes that drive progress and makes it crystal clear that those values, beliefs, and attitudes are available to all, Jew and gentile alike.  Pease is the author of The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement: The Compendium of a Culture, a People, and Their Stunning Performance.

Sephardic Jews:
Their Life and Music
The musical legacy of the Sephardic Jews offers unique insights into the life and heritage of this ethnic group.  The music of this one small exile community spread from Spain and Portugal into the Ottoman lands – Turkey, Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria – and Morocco, inevitably evolving.  The unique nature of this music will be discussed in the pre-concert lecture, and then illustrated in song with piano accompaniment.  Mezzo-soprano Bonita Nahoum Jaros has an extensive background in the areas of classical and traditional folkloric music and is widely known for her work in her native Ladino (Sephardic) music. Inessa Rozenovich is artistic director of Classical Music Encounters of Orange County, chair of Music Students Service League and a chamber musician and accompanist at a wide range of local festivals and events.

The Jewish Einstein
More than 50 years after his death, Albert Einstein garners 89 million hits on Google, and surveys have found him to be the most recognizable face worldwide.  But fame often obscures, and even diminishes, the complex fabric of intellectual achievements, daily struggles and historical events.  This talk will explore how Einstein can be understood as a Jew, scientist, pacifist, Zionist and educator during a long, tumultuous 20th century.  Professor Diana K. Buchwald is general editor and director of the Einstein Papers Project.

Shalom, Y’all!
Jews in the South
As Jews immigrated to the United States, the southern ports of entry transported many Jews to the South.  This began an amazing and historically rich time for southern Jewry.  Generations later, the southern Jewish community has changed greatly.  While some southern Jewish communities continue to grow and thrive, many of them have dwindled to almost nothing.  What remains is its colorful history, wonderful stories, unmatched pride and an undying perseverance to remain Jewish.  Rachel Stern, the director of education for the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish life will explore the perspective of what serving the Jewish community of the South is like,
EXTRA, EXTRA!!!
Israel and the Media
With political unrest spreading throughout the Arab world, the disturbing influence of radical Islam in Egypt and Turkey, the ever growing near-nuclear arsenal of a venomously hostile Iran and the loosening alliances of Europe and the U.S, Israel is facing more danger than it ever has before.  Talia Shulman Gold will explore some of those dangers in depth and will explain why refuting misrepresentations about Israel in the media and elsewhere is more critical than ever.  Gold is the Western regional director for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), a non-profit, non-partisan organization that monitors the media for inaccuracies about Israel and the Middle East.
For details, contact the Bureau of Jewish Education of Orange County, 1 Federation Way, (949) 435-3450, lindsey@bjeoc.org.

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