Author Speaks on Armenian Genocide at CBI

Award-winning UCLA Professor Richard G. Hovannisian will speak on the Armenian Genocide on Sunday, August 18, at Congregation B’nai Israel.  The evening will begin with a kosher Armenian dinner mentored by Zov Karamardian of Zov’s Bistro at 6 p.m., followed by a 7:15 p.m. conversation between the professor and Rabbi Elie Spitz and Q&A.

Richard Hovannisian is a prolific author on Armenian history.  His edited collection, Remembrance and Denial: The Case of the Armenian Genocide, includes essays on the mutual influence and tragic parallels between the Jewish and the Armenian experiences.  Professor Hovannisian holds UCLA’s first Armenian Educational Foundation Endowed Chair in Armenian History at UCLA.  A Guggenheim Fellow, he has received many awards for his scholarship and civic activities, as well as his tireless advancement of the field of Armenian Studies.  In 2010-11, Professor Hovannisian received the UCLA Alumni Association’s “Most Inspiring Teacher” award.

The Armenian Genocide, which lasted from 1915 to 1923, resulted in the death of the majority of Armenians living in Turkey.  Professor Hovannisian grew up near Fresno, in a community of 20,000 to 30,000 Armenians, 90 percent of whom had a survivor in their family.  Today there are hardly any surviving eye-witnesses of the Armenian Genocide.  Come learn and study with this award-winning teacher and internationally-recognized scholar of Armenian studies in this thought-provoking and memorable discussion of two genocides and their aftermaths.

Elie Spitz, rabbi at Congregation B’nai Israel, will interview Professor Hovannisian about the Armenian Genocide.  Topics will include the similarities and differences between the Jewish and Armenian experiences of mass murder and the challenges involved in preserving communal memory when there are no more eye-witnesses.

RSVPs received by August 5 are: dinner/conversation: adults – $15; children 13 and under – $10; conversation Only: $5.  RSVPs received after August 5 are: dinner/conversation: adults $20; children 13 and under – $12; conversation Only: $10.  CBI Enrichment Patrons attend at no charge for dinner/conversation

Congregation B’nai Israel is at 2111 Bryan Avenue, Tustin.  Contact the CBI office to make a reservation at (714) 730- 9693 or

Spa for the Soul Offers Songs

Chabad of West Orange County is celebrating the 10th Annual Spa for the Soul Event at the Huntington Beach Central Library Theater on Sunday August 18, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.  The event will feature a Concert for Women and Girls with singer and entertainer Chanale Fellig Harrel.

Tickets are $20 prepaid or $25 at the door.  For more information, contact Chabad of West Orange County at (714) 846 -2285 or

ARZA Chooses Joshua Weinberg as New President

Joshua Weinberg has been unanimously approved by the Board of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) to serve as the next president of the organization.

Joshua Weinberg is a product of the Reform Jewish movement.  He spent many summers at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute in Wisconsin, is a former Eisendrath International Exchange Student and was a leader of many NFTY in Israel programs.  Weinberg has many years of experience as an educator and as an administrator of programs, both in Israel and in the United States.  He received his BA from the University of Wisconsin and his MA from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and has served as a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces and on the staff of the Israel Consulate in Chicago.  He currently serves as the Director of the Israel Program for the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.  He made aliyah to Israel ten years ago and will receive rabbinic ordination from HUC-JIR when he completes the Israel Rabbinic Program in November 2013.

Weinberg will officially begin his duties with ARZA on September 1.  Together with his wife Mara, their daughter Noa, and a new baby daughter born May 30th (one of Israel’s and the Jewish People’s newest citizens), the Weinberg family will be moving to the New York area from where Josh will begin his Shlichut on ARZA’s behalf.

“The selection of Joshua Weinberg concludes an international search process that began in October 2012.  Josh was one of numerous, highly qualified candidates.  His outstanding commitment to both Zionism and Reform Judaism made his selection a compelling one for all of us, and we believe that Josh will lead us well in the coming years as ARZA embarks upon its future,” said Rabbi Bennett Miller, ARZA Chairman.

ARZA, The Reform Israel Fund, is the Israel voice of the Reform Movement in the United States, and seeks to make Israel fundamental to the sacred lives and Jewish identities of Reform Jews. ARZA champions and supports activities that help build an inclusive and democratic Israeli society.  Find out more at

Atid Group of Hadassah Offers Lecture about Persian Jews

Hadassah’s Atid Group will present “From the Shahs to Los Angeles” led by Professor Saba Soomekh, author and teacher, on Sunday, August 18, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the home of Nevona Shabtai in Newport Beach.  Using the author’s book, From the Shahs to Los Angeles, the group will explore how profoundly three generations of Iranian Jewish women have been affected by political and social changes, assimilation, financial mobility and immigration.  A scrumptious authentic Persian brunch will be served.

The brunch is $25 per person, the book is $18 per person and the combination is $40 per person.  For more information, contact


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