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Sunday 10:00 AM–11:15 AM

Adventures of a Sephardic Super Jew: 5 Ways Sephardism Will Save Judaism

Asher Levy

Sunday 10:00 AM–11:15 AM Newport Beach 1

Global History and Culture, Teen Approved

This is where you find your Sephardic soul. The vibrant and ancient customs of the Sephardim can enrich the life of any Jew, Ashkenazi or Sephardi, in the 21st century. Through live music, discussion, video, and various other mediums, this participatory session will explore the ideology, culture and traditions of the Sephardim and place it within a practical and relatable context. Encompassing everything from Maimonidian thought to a unique reenactment of the Pesach Seder to the gathering of family under a large tallit during the Priestly Benediction of the Shabbat service, Sephardic Judaism is a rich, tolerant and accessible tradition that should be familiar to all Jews.

Bringing Religion Back to the Frontlines of Peace

Michael Melchior

Sunday 10:00 AM–11:15 AM Emerald Bay 2

Global History and Culture

Religion is very much on the frontline of every conflict of the 21st century. Is it possible to also bring religion to the frontline of the pursuit of peace? How can this best be achieved? For years, Michael Melchior has conducted open and secret talks with leading Muslims in Israel, the Palestinian territories and all over the Arab world. Come and find out if you share his conviction that inter-religious peace is the key to any regional political solution.

Chavruta Learning

Karen Radkowsky

Sunday 10:00 AM–11:15 AM Catalina Ballroom 2

Additional schedule

  • Saturday 9:30 AM–10:45 AM Catalina Ballroom 2

Text and Thought

Come experience chavruta -- the traditional Jewish method of one-to-one learning. Chavruta means "friendship" or "partnership" and involves two people exploring texts together. We will examine ancient sources, modern scholarship, song lyrics and more centered on different topics within the theme of "One." Each day we'll cover a new topic; join for one or for all. Everyone is welcome, whether you have studied texts before or not. Knowledge of Hebrew is not required. Bring a study partner, or we’ll find one for you.

FILM: Willingly…or Not: The Female Perspective on Love, Romance and the Aftermath

Pazit Varda Lichtman

Sunday 10:00 AM–11:15 AM Huntington Beach 1 & 2

Arts and Performance, Teen Approved

These two films explore orthodox Jewish women creating cinema about taboo and sensitive issues: searching for your "beshert," the pressure to marry, the trauma of divorce. In "Willingly," director Pazit Varda Lichtman raises questions about love and commitment, about the advantages and disadvantages of "get" as a ceremony, and about Israel's non-separation of religion and state. (22 min) In director Dalit Eliraz's "Cheftzi on the Air," a radio broadcaster who offers romantic advice to her single, female callers decides to take her own advice, and proposes marriage on live radio to her boyfriend Yonatan. To Chefzi's surprise, her theories don't work in practice and her world begins to collapse. (22 minutes)

How To Take Better Pictures in Israel and Beyond

Charles Abrams

Sunday 10:00 AM–11:15 AM Laguna Beach 1

Arts and Performance

Learn principles of better picture taking that also apply to photographing kids and family, plus additional tips on knowing more about digital cameras and digital photography. An A/V presentation will provide examples.

Humor Assertiveness Training

Ze’ev Korn

Sunday 10:00 AM–11:15 AM Balboa Bay 1

Arts and Performance, Identity and Responsibility

The Humor Assertiveness Training Workshop,® experiencing The Way of Humor:© Why does Purim come before Passover? Learning to play and use your imagination is the first step toward leaving your own personal Egypt and experiencing freedom from bondage.

Is Eating Divine?

Susan Fink

Sunday 10:00 AM–11:15 AM Balboa Bay 2

Health and Healing, Text and Thought

Is keeping kosher good enough? Do we have a Torah obligation to take care of our bodies? Does overeating interfere with Shabbat and holiday observances? Through text study, we will explore Biblical food attitudes and what the sources tell us about living a healthy lifestyle.

Jewish Hospitality: The Slow and Storied Sacred Feast

Dov Gartenberg

Sunday 10:00 AM–11:15 AM Laguna Beach 2

Identity and Responsibility, Text and Thought

This session explores an approach to building community, fostering spirituality, and revitalizing synagogue life by concentrating on slow eating table experiences on Shabbat and Festivals and by raising Hachnasat Orchim (Jewish Practice of Hospitality) to a central place in congregations. Utilizing text and story to create highly interactive table experiences that inspire people to open their homes and tables, we will share examples from Shabbat table activities and unique festival table experiences for Hanukah and Erev Yom Kippur.

Jewish Midrash Through Rap

Bible Raps

Sunday 10:00 AM–11:15 AM Newport Beach 2

Arts and Performance, Text and Thought, Teen Approved

Bible Raps has mastered the difficult art of making text study relevant, creative and fun for Jewish youth, inspiring young people and engaging with them to produce hip-hop music with lyrics from textual learning. Come see what it’s all about and take part in the Bible Raps Workshop! All ages are invited.

Pinhas Must Die!

Nathan Sunshine

Sunday 10:00 AM–11:15 AM Emerald Bay 3

Text and Thought

Join us as we examine our forefather’s existential struggles with the Abyss. Pinhas ben Elazar impales Zimri, a prince of the Simeonites. Why did he do this? What really bothered him so much about Zimri’s actions that he had to kill him? But really, what drives human beings to such ends in general? How did our greats, Moses, Elijah, Job, and others, face moments of confusion and doubt? How did they face the Abyss? We will look at vivid examples in Judaism and beyond, and we will decide if Pinhas must die! We are looking for disciples of abstract thought among adults and teenagers to join our discussion.

Poems of Healing Even in the Face of Death

William Cutter

Sunday 10:00 AM–11:15 AM Newport Beach 3

Arts and Performance, Text and Thought

Some of our most interesting poems are written in the face of the deepest personal struggles. This session will include a few poems in English by Sharon Olds and John Updike, but most will be by poets of the modern Hebrew renaissance -- T. Carmi, Abba Kovner, Zelda and Yona Wolloch -- who faced their greatest struggles by drawing on their linguistic genius. The session will be conducted in English, and there will be translations by the presenter of the poets' original Hebrew texts.

Quoting Caravaggio

Samuel Klein

Sunday 10:00 AM–11:15 AM Laguna Beach 3

Identity and Responsibility, Text and Thought

In this interactive workshop, we will explore themes in the “Biblical Stories” series of Israeli artist Adi Nes. Nes' early work has been characterized as subverting the stereotype of the masculine Israeli man by using homoeroticism and sleeping, vulnerable figures; the models' poses often evoke the Baroque period and the work of Renaissance maverick Michaelangelo Merisi Del Caravaggio. Nes has said that the inspiration for his photography is partially autobiographical: “If I ignore that I'm gay, I ignore that I grew up in a Sephardic family, I ignore that I grew up in a development town, I ignore that I'm an artist-what is the main thing in my own identity? I thought that the first layer that would exist is Judaism -- that I can't run away from my Jewish identity. But when I finished the project...I found that humanity, friendship, and being generous and compassionate, these are the last things that I have as a human being.”

Songwriting Circle

Naomi Less

Sunday 10:00 AM–11:15 AM Emerald Bay 1

Arts and Performance

Naomi Less, Jewish Chick Rocker, hosts an egalitarian Songwriting Circle. This session is open to any songwriters, novice or experienced. Participants will share their work with a nurturing circle of 'rachamim' (compassion). Naomi encourages songwriters to hear their work out loud, share it with a caring human soundboard and learn from the reflective mirror the listeners provide. Take a risk in a safe environment. Please bring your song and your own instrument if you use one.