Current Study & Learn Options  

Torah Study
Every Saturday at 9:30am *In Person & Virtual*
May 21: B’har
May 28: B’chukotai
June 4: B’midbar
June 11: Naso
June 18: B’haalot’cha
June 25: Sh’lach L’cha

Talmud Study
Every Wednesday at noon *Virtual*
Join Rabbi Michael Pincus to explore a bit of Talmud together. Discover questions you never thought to ask and the beauty of rabbinic thinking.
No experience or homework required!

Lay-led Minyan
Wednesdays at 6:00pm *In Person*
June 1 & 15
Join us for a lay-led informal evening service with Deborah Savage. It is a chance for us to connect with the holy, to feel connected to something bigger than us, to feel the support of the community. Often people turn to this daily service to honor and remember loved ones who have died, to pray for the health and well being of someone they love, or just as much needed space in their day.

Short Story Coffee Break
First and third Thursdays at 11am; an Extra Cup if there is a 3rd Thursday in the month *Virtual*
Join Learning Center Director Karen Beyard and a lively group of readers who discuss short stories by Jewish authors. When there is a fifth Thursday, we enjoy an “extra cup” of reading, conversation, and connection. Currently, all programs are virtual unless otherwise noted. Go to for Zoom codes. 

Adult Education Learning Series
Join us for our free virtual programs this month!
Registration is requested for all programs, which will take place on Zoom (unless otherwise indicated). Watch Chai Lights and Adult Education emails for registration information and links. Once you have registered, you will receive an email with the program’s Zoom link. If you are not receiving adult education emails and wish to be included, please contact Rabbi Rosenbaum at
All CBI adult education programs are free of charge. You are encouraged to make a donation to Congregation Beth Israel’s Adult Education Fund to make continued offerings possible.

Meet the Author… Susan Shapiro, “The Forgiveness Tour”
Thursday, May 19 at 7:30pm
Presented in partnership with Congregation Torat El, Oakhurst, NJ

“To err is human; to forgive divine.” But what if the person who hurt you most refuses to apologize or express any regret? That’s the question haunting Manhattan journalist Susan Shapiro when her trusted advisor of fifteen years repeatedly lies to her.  Stunned by the betrayal, she can barely eat or sleep.  She’s always seen herself as big-hearted and benevolent, someone who will forgive anyone anything – as long as they’re remorseful.  Yet the addiction specialist who helped her quit smoking, drinking and drugs after decades of self-destruction won’t explain – or stop -his ongoing deceit, leaving her blindsided.  Her crisis management strategy is becoming her crisis.

To protect her sanity and sobriety, Shapiro ends their relationship and vows they’ll never speak again. Yet ghosting him doesn’t end her distress. She has screaming arguments with him in her mind, relives their fallout in panicked nightmares and even lights a candle, chanting a secret Yiddish curse to exact revenge. In her entrancing, heartfelt new memoir The Forgiveness Tour: How to Find the Perfect Apology, Shapiro wrestles with how to exonerate someone who can’t cough up a measly “my bad” or mumble “mea culpa.” Seeking wisdom, she explores the billion-dollar Forgiveness Industry touting the personal benefits of absolution, where the only choice on every channel is:  radical forgiveness.  She fears it’s all bulls****.

Desperate for enlightenment, she surveys her old rabbis, as well as religious leaders from every denomination.  Unable to reconcile all the confusing abstractions, she embarks on a cross country journey where she interviews people who suffered unforgivable wrongs that were never atoned: victims of genocides, sexual assault, infidelity, cruelty and racism.  A Holocaust survivor in D.C.  admits he’s thrived from spite.  A Michigan man meets with the drunk driver who killed his wife and children.  A daughter in Seattle grapples with her mother – who stayed married to the father who raped her.  Knowing their estrangement isn’t her fault, a Florida mom spends eight years apologizing to her son anyway -with surprising results. Does love mean forever having to say you’re sorry?
Click HERE to register

“The American Jewish Present & What It Indicates About the Future: A Sociologist’s View”
Samuel Heilman, Emeritus, CUNY Graduate Center, Queens College
Sunday, May 22 at 1:00pm
Professor Heilman will offer a perspective on American Jewry, its numbers, its politics, its family dynamics, its religiosity, and its attachments (or lack thereof) to Israel and speculate about where each of these is likely to go in the years ahead.
Click HERE to register

Samuel Heilman holds the Harold Proshansky Chair in Jewish Studies at the Graduate Center and is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Queens College of the City University of New York. In 2007-2008, he was a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Jerusalem. In fall 2008, he was selected as a Fulbright Senior Specialist and sent to the People’s Republic of China where he lectured at Nanjing, Henan, and Shanghai Universities. He has also been Scheinbrun Visiting Professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, visiting professor of social anthropology at Tel Aviv University, and a Fulbright visiting professor at the Universities of New South Wales and Melbourne in Australia. He is a frequent contributor to newspapers and magazines, most recently in Moment Magazine on the subject of Messiansim. Receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, he wrote his thesis under the direction of Erving Goffman, about whom he was recently interviewed.

FilmShul Presents “Funny Girls”
Thursday, May 26 at 8:30pm
Beginning with Jewish mother caricatures in the silent era through their evolution to becoming an indispensable segment of the Hollywood storytelling machine, Jewish women have never failed to capture the big screen with their attitudes, intelligence, appearance, style and, most of all, proudly Jewish wit.  From such attention-getting character actresses as Judy Holliday, Selma Diamond, Madeline Kahn, Sandra Bernhard, Sylvia Miles and Doris Roberts to superstars like Fanny Brice, Gertrude Berg, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, we’re giving it up for the ladies and all the laughs they’ve provided over the decades. And we won’t forget about Shelley Winters!
Click HERE to register

Namaste & Shalom: A Virtual Tour of Jewish India with Rahel Musleah
Thursday, June 2 at 8:30pm
Through the vivid prism of her family’s story, Rahel Musleah introduces audiences to the distinctive heritage of the Jews of India and Iraq. The seventh generation of a Calcutta family, she traces her roots to 17th-century Baghdad. Her multi-faceted visual, song and story presentations offer a rare and intimate view of a rich culture little-known to most. Explore each of India’s Jewish communities as we visit sites and synagogues in Bombay, Calcutta and Cochin.

Rahel Musleah was born in Calcutta, the seventh-generation of a Calcutta Jewish family that traces its roots to 17th-century Baghdad. Today, Rahel is a New York-based award-winning journalist, author, singer, speaker and educator. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, Hadassah magazine, and numerous other publications. Her publications include Apples and Pomegranates: A Family Seder for Rosh Hashanah; and a CD of Shabbat and holiday melodies, Hodu: Jewish Rhythms from Baghdad to India.
Click HERE to register

“Jesus & Judaism: Why the Connection Matters”
Amy-Jill Levine, Rabbi Stanley M. Kessler Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Hartford International University of Religion and Peace
Wednesday, June 22 at 8:00pm
Jesus of Nazareth followed the Torah of Moses, was inspired by the Prophets of Israel, and offered a teaching that some Jewish men and women found compelling. Yet too often both Christians and Jews incorrectly regard Jesus as rejecting Judaism. Understanding Jesus in his Jewish context brings new meaning to his parables, his politics, and his piety, and it offers as well a new path for Jewish-Christian relations.

Amy-Jill Levine (“AJ”), a new member of the HIU community, is also University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies Emerita, MaryJane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies Emerita, and Professor of New Testament Studies Emerita at Vanderbilt. Author of many publications, her most recent book is The Bible With and Without Jesus: How Jews and Christians Read the Same Stories Differently (with Marc Brettler). The first Jew to teach New Testament at Rome’s Pontifical Biblical Institute, AJ describes herself as an unorthodox member of an Orthodox synagogue and a Yankee Jewish feminist who seeks to correct anti-Jewish, sexist, and other harmful interpretations of the Bible.
Click HERE to register

FilmShul Presents “Spielberg!”
Thursday, June 23 at 8:30pm
Like the “Fellini-esque” Fellini and the “Hitchcockian” Hitchcock before him, Steven Spielberg is an artist whose work is so ubiquitous and instantly identifiable that his name has inspired its very own adjective—“Spielbergian.” One of the most commercially successful directors of all time, Spielberg is the creator of such beloved modern classics as JawsClose Encounters of the Third KindE.T. and the Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park series. We examine the life and career of the grand storyteller, with a particular focus on his upbringing as an Orthodox Jew and his later Jewish re-awakening, which yielded such vital works as Schindler’s List and Munich. His interests have also inspired the creation of the Shoah Foundation and Righteous Persons Foundation, which make Jewish history and tradition more accessible to all.
Click HERE to register

Ways to Help Ukraine
“Responding to the Crisis in Ukraine” – Click HERE for the Union for Reform Judaism’s blog listing steps you can take to support the Ukrainian people, including the Progressive Jewish community.

The Jewish Federation network has promised to raise $20 million to meet immediate and short-term needs, including: Temporary housing for those fleeing violence, Evacuations and assistance for displaced populations, Food, medication and supplies, Purchasing satellite phones to maintain vital communications, Continuing care for homebound seniors, Security for Jewish institutions. 100% of your donation will go to Ukraine relief. Click HERE to donate through the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford.
Donate to AZM’s Ukraine Emergency Relief Fund. AZM will transmit contributions to emergency relief agencies working in Ukraine, neighboring countries and in Israel.
The American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is the leading global Jewish humanitarian organization. Click HERE to see how JDC is responding to the evolving crisis on the ground. Click HERE to donate to JDC’s Emergency Campaign to save Jewish lives in Ukraine.
The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society’s (HIAS) slogan is “Welcome the Stranger. Protect the Refugee”. Click HERE to learn how HIAS is responding to the crisis in Ukraine. Click HERE to donate to support HIAS’ Ukraine Crisis Response.

From the Ellen Jeanne Goldfarb Community Learning Center

Are you talking and praying about Ukraine? Do you wish you had a better feel for the history and culture? Check out “Standing with Ukraine”, an exhibit of books for all ages.
For reliable sources of information about the situation in Ukraine, click HERE.
“Who are Ukraine’s Jews and how is Russia’s invasion affecting them?” by Gabe Friedman, (
“The Origins of the Ukraine Crisis” by David Klion, Jewish Currents
“Ties with Russia Compromise Israel’s Stance on Ukraine” by Bernard Avishai in The New Yorker

Briefings and Webinars

Webinar recording of “The Jewish Community of Ukraine and the Current Crisis” with JTS Professor David Fishman and JTS rabbinical student Alisa Tzipi Zilbershtein is available online here.
American Zionist Movement’s (AZM) Special Briefing: Israeli Ambassador and Ukraine Zionist Federation – Click HERE for recording.

The Jewish Community in Ukraine

“16 Jews from Ukraine Who Changed the World” by Abby Seitz (
“Virtual Tour of Jewish Ukraine”, Baltimore Zionist District
Learn about the Jewish community of Ukraine from the World Jewish Congress (WJC).
Learn about the heritage, history, and sites of the Jewish community of Ukraine from JGuideEurope, the Cultural Guide to Jewish Europe.
The Jewish Virtual Library presents a “Ukraine Virtual Jewish History Tour” by Rachel Rosen and Mitchell Bard.