Saturday 3:00 PM–4:15 PM

Advances in Genetic Screening and Prevention

Michael Feinman

Saturday 3:00 PM–4:15 PM Newport Beach I, II

The list of genetic diseases most common in Ashkenazi Jews is growing. The traditional panel to test for these diseases is expensive and, in the past, the only alternative to carrying a child with one of these severe conditions was terminating the pregnancy. It is now possible to affordably screen for these diseases and test embryos before implantation to prevent these tragedies. This session discusses the problem and possible solutions.

Can We Talk? The Israeli/Palestinian Dilemma

Sarah Bassin, Ruth Broyde Sharone

Saturday 3:00 PM–4:15 PM Balboa Bay I, II

The Middle East is such a "hot button" topic that a discussion of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is frequently and studiously avoided. We Jews value our ability to examine a text from a variety of viewpoints, yet our community is experiencing a genuine internal struggle as we try to navigate the complexity and emotion around the current conflict. It's time for a fresh approach to this dilemma using proven guidelines for effective dialogue and learning to practice the art of active listening. This workshop will be facilitated by two women who have considerable experience and talents in the field of peacemaking and consensus building.

The Danger of Torah Study

Zvi Hirschfield

Saturday 3:00 PM–4:15 PM Emerald Bay I

Did the Rabbis really see negative side effects in the pursuit of Torah? An exploration of the story of Rabbi Eliezer and the Ugly Man reveals that the Talmudic Rabbis were aware that intellectual excellence did not automatically lead to moral greatness. Sometimes it even generated the opposite. Together, as modern students of Torah, we will explore possible reactions and responses.

Finding God in Nature

Mike Comins

Saturday 3:00 PM–4:15 PM Emerald Bay II

This session is for those who feel most spiritual in the most physical of places: the natural world. Many Jews think of the "spiritual" as ethereal and non-material, and consciously or unconsciously associate nature with paganism. After sharing our own experiences, we'll explore Judaism and the natural world with A.J. Heschel, Martin Buber, biblical scholars, and the Kabbalah. Our contention: for a people born in the Sinai wilderness, finding God in nature is as Jewish as matzah ball soup.

Human Suffering and the Defiant Man of Faith

Shmuley Boteach

Saturday 3:00 PM–4:15 PM Catalina II

From wrestling with and questioning G-d in the face of human suffering, to rejecting perfection in favor of struggle, to rejecting fate in favor of destiny and hallowing time over space, the Jewish religion stands alone with counterintuitive values that can reshape our world. In a modern world riddled with angst, this discussion will have an astonishing impact on how our relation to society should be understood.

I Don't Want to Be Tolerated

Janelle Eagle

Saturday 3:00 PM–4:15 PM Laguna Beach I

Whoever decided that Jewish people deserve "tolerance" was not speaking for me. I don't want to be tolerated... I want to be celebrated. Join me, founder of the 2wice Blessed Project, and my LGBTQ Jewish friends as we share with you what would actually make us feel welcome in the broader Jewish community.

Listening Exercises

Rori Picker Neiss

Saturday 3:00 PM–4:15 PM Emerald Bay III

When engaging in dialogue, we spend a lot of time thinking about what we are going to say, when, in truth, the most difficult thing to do is not to speak, but to listen. In this workshop we will learn, model, and practice various tools for listening.

Political Perspectives on Israel and Game Theory

Elai Shine

Saturday 3:00 PM–4:15 PM Laguna Beach III

In this session, we will analyze popular reaction to political scenarios, events, and governmental maneuvers in Israel utilizing game theoretic techniques and tools to determine the existence of any discrepancies between these popular reactions and those that are reached from purely rationalistic and self-motivated strategies.

Tikkun Ha-Nefesh Chant Circle

Jennifer Goldstein

Saturday 3:00 PM–4:15 PM Newport Beach III

Do you long to stay with a line of prayer, exploring its contours? Do you long to sit in the silence that is your personal date with God? If so (and even if not!), join me for an hour of chanting and meditation. Chanting is the melodic and rhythmic repetition of a sacred phrase. In a Jewish context, it is a Hebrew phrase drawn from our sacred texts. Chanting is a way to open the heart, quiet the mind, embody the words of our tradition, and listen for the voice of the divine within us.