Temple Israel Library Programs
This Week’s Torah Portion
Due to popular demand, TILT is now focusing on the Torah portion of the coming Shabbat / Saturday morning.
Please join us as we read through the portion, discuss related Midrashim, look at any picture books that connect in any way,
and ask questions and have some serious fun.
No prerequisites or preliminary reading required. (Although reading the week’s parsha couldn’t hurt!)
Schedule (in reverse chronological order):
- Wednesday, June 26, at 1:30 pm: Pinchas (Num. 25z:10-30:1) describes Pinchas’ zeal and the successful request of the the daughters of Z’loph’chad to change God’s laws.
- Wednesday, June 19, at 1:30 pm: Balak (Num. 22-2:25:9) is the source of “Mah Tovu” and a rare Biblical story with a talking animal.
- Wednesday, June 12, at 1:30 pm: In Chukat (Num. 19:1-22:1) Miriam and Aaron die, the strange ritual of the Red Heifer is described, and Moses strikes a rock.
- Thursday, June 6 (note different day!) : Korach (Num. ch. 16-18) prompts us to ask about legitimate and illigitimate challenges to authority.
- Wednesday, May 29: No TILT! (vacation)
- Wednesday, May 22, at 1:30 pm: B’haalot’cha (Num. ch. 8-12) and Sh’lach L’cha (Num. ch. 13-15) give us the chance to discuss different kinds of complaints and how to deal with them.
- Wednesday, May 15: No TILT! (Happy Shavuot)
- Wednesday, May 8, at 1:30 pm: B’midbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20) and Naso (Num. 4:21 – 7), in addition to lots of numbers, contain the Priestly Blessing done when we bless children on Friday night, the sotah woman, and the laws of the Nazirite.
- Wednesday, May 1, at 1:30 pm: We will talk about theodicy as B’har/B’chukotai (Leviticus ch. 25-27) concludes the Holiness code with Sabbatical years and Jubilees and then warns of the dire consequences of not obeying the commandments.
- Wednesday, April 24, at 1:30 pm: The Holiness Code continues as Emor (Leviticus 21-24), discusses priestly behavior, Jewish holidays, rituals, blasphemy, and violence, and we get another chance to discuss what “an eye for an eye” really means.
Wednesday, April 17, at 1:30 pm: A double portion of incredible meaty material in the middle of Leviticus (chapters 16-20)—Acharei Mot, where we read about the Yom Kippur scapegoat and then begin the Holiness Code (ch. 17-26), and K’doshim, which includes the specific examples of ethical behavior and social justice we read on Yom Kippur as we learn how to be holy.
- Wednesday, April 10: Tazria and M’tzora (Lev. chapters 12-15) raise surprisingly relevant questions, even though they primarily deal with something that is not quite leprosy and the sacrifices and rituals required to move from Tuma to Tahorah (badly translated as ritual impurity and purity).
- Thursday, April 4 (note different day!): Shemini (Leviticus chapters 9 to 11)- We will ask how Aaron’s sons died and why Aaron’s reaction was silence and learn some of the laws of Kashrut as we study the weekly Torah portion.
- Wednesday, March 27: No TILT! (Happy Passover)
- Wednesday, March 20: Begin the book of Leviticus by covering both Vayikra and Tzav (Lev. 1:1 to 8:36) to see how ancient sacrifices can connect to our modern lives (or not).
- Wednesday, March 13: Finish the Book of Exodus with Vayechel and Pekudei – the Miskan (Tabernacle in the wilderness) and Bigday Kehuna (priestly clothing).
- In honor of Purim, on Wednesday, February 27, we will study Megillat Esther (the Book of Esther).
One Book / One Congregation
This year (5773 ≡ 2012-2013), I am using Temple Israel’s One Book / One Congregation choice, I Am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl as the basis of TILT (Temple Israel Library Talks). The tentative schedule is as follows:
Part I: Identity
- October 10: Religion—the major three or four Jewish movements as well as Humanistic Judaism, Havurot, spirituality
- used an assortment of Haggadot from various movements
- October 17: Social activism—helping others, saving the world, Jewish organizations, politics, Tikkun Olam
- Vera B. Williams’ A Chair for My Mother — helping friends and family
- Martha Alexander’s We’re in Big Trouble, Blackboard Bear — helping friends, repairing relationships, righting wrongs
- William Steig’s Doctor De Soto — helping enemies
- Louise Pfanner’s Louise Builds a House — creating and sharing
- Daniel Pinkwater’s The Big Orange Splot — creating and sharing, mentoring
- Mark Podwal’s Golem: A Giant Made of Mud — politics, helping others, saving the world
- October 24: Artistic expression—movies, television, music, art, humor, Hiddur Mitzvah
- To Every Thing There is a Season by Leo and Diane Dillon
- My Editor by M.B. Goffstein
- The Mousewife by Rumer Godden with pictures by William Pène Du Bois
- Joseph Who Loved the Sabbath retold by Marilyn Hirsh, illustrated by Devis Grebu
- A Gift for Mama by Esther Hautzig, illlustrated by Donna Diamond
- The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater
- The Ugly Menorah by Marissa Moss
- Hanna’s Sabbath Dress by Itzhak Schweiger-Dmitel, illustrated by Ora Eitan
- Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
- A Cloak for the Moon retold by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Katya Krenina
- The Sign Painter by Allen Say
- Strictly Ballroom
- Tootsie with Dustin Hoffman
- Waiting for Guffman by the Lead Guitarist of “Spinal Tap”
- Gershwin plays Gershwin [CD]
- October 31: Writings—literature, journalism, comic books, stories, Torah Lishmah
Part II: Heritage
- November 7 Becoming (Rabbi Rachel Cowan, …)
- November 14 Connecting (Sara Silverman, …)
- November 28 Sharing (Richard Dreyfus, …)
Part III: Covenant, Chosenness, and Faith
- December 5
- December 12
- December 19
Part IV: Humanity and Ethnicity
- January 2
- January 9
- January 16
Part V: Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) and Justice
- January 23
- January 30
- February 6
Summer Sessions: Stop by for some casual summer discussions about life, the universe, and everything. Dates are
- Wednesday, July 18, at 10:30 am
- Tuesday, July 24, at 10:00 am
- Thursday, August 2, at 1:00 pm
- Tuesday, August 7, at 10:00 am
- Wednesday, August 15, at 1:30 pm
- Monday, August 20, at 10:00 am
- Wednesday, August 29, at 1:30 pm
- Wednesday, September 5, 12, 26 at 1:30
Library Programs: Join Temple Israel’s Librarian, Rose Myers, on Wednesdays from 1:30—2:30 PM in the Library, as we use Jewish stories and themes to examine issues, large and small. Explore our library and, through it, our lives and the world around us, meet old friends, make new ones, and have fun playing with text. No prerequisites or preliminary study required. Planned sessions are based on my own interests and love of children’s picture books, folklore, and midrash and on participants’ requests.
- September 21: Crowded House stories, especially Could Anything Be Worse? by Marilyn Hirsh—how actions lead to a new view of reality / how Shabbat doesn’t happen unless we make it happen.
October 5 – cancelled (Jury Duty)
- October 12 (erev Sukkot): Isaac Bashevis Singer’s A Tale of Three Wishes, a rare story about Hoshanah Rabbah.
- October 19 (erev Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah): Isaac Bashevis Singer’s “A Tale of Three Wishes” and three picture book versions of The Three Wishes.
- November 2: Lilith, Adam and Eve—Choosing between Opposites. Who is Lilith?
- November 9: Midrashim on the Akeda, the Binding of Isaac.
- November 16: Circle Stories—Abraham’s Search for God, The Stonecutter, The Mouse’s Wedding, …
- November 30: The women in Abraham’s life / an original midrash about Hagar
- Chanukah mini-series on supernatural beings
- December 7: The witches of Ashkelon—The Rabbi and the Twenty-nine Witches by Marilyn Hirsh, “Walking between the Raindrops” in The Great March, saying of Shimon ben Shetach in Pirke Avot and commentary on it, story about Shimon ben Shetach in the Babylonian Talmud.
- December 14: Golem stories, including The Return of the Golem: A Chanukah Story
- Folk Religion mini-series
- January 4, 2012: Dybbuks—Francine Prose’s Dybbuk illustrated by Mark Podwal
- January 11: Angels—Angels in the siddur and folklore
January 18—NO CLASS
- January 25: Demons
- Natural Metaphors miniseries
- February 1: Giving and Forgiving Trees—The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and The Gift that Grew by Yaffa Ganz and a brief overview of Tu B’Shvat.
- February 8 (Tu B’Shvat)—NO CLASS
- February 15: Birds—The Kingdom of the Singing Birds, The Wisdom Bird, & Daniel Pinkwater’s Ducks
- February 29: Chickens—Michelle Edwards’ Chicken Man, Shalom Auslander’s Beware of God
- Jewish Humor miniseries in honor of Purim.
- March 7 (erev Purim): The World of Topsy-Turvy—Reversals and secrets abound in the Megillah of Esther. See if all the switches of people in power make a difference if the structure and rules of society don’t change.
- March 14: Hershel Ostropler & other tricksters—Hershel Ostropoler, a popular trickster in Jewish folklore, is based on a real person. Learn some of his adventures and see how he compares with tricksters from other cultures.
- March 28: The Wise Men of Chelm & Gotham—Chelm is not only a real town with a difficult history, but also a beloved, mythical Jewish place of fools who see themselves as exceedingly wise. (If wisdom were only logical thinking then they might almost be right.) Share some favorite stories and learn about England’s wise men of Gotham, whose stories are surprisingly familiar.
- Passover Stories
- April 4: Art in Haggadot—In preparation for the Passover Seder, we will examine the art found in Haggadot. In addition to a facsimile of the Sarajevo Haggadah–the basis of Geraldine Brooks’ People of the Book: A Novel–our library has copies of the Washington Haggadah, A Survivors’ Haggadah, the new (1982) and old (1923) Union Haggadot, the Szyk Haggadah, and Haggadot with artwork by Ben Shahn and Mark Podwal. Join us in marveling at centuries of creativity and bring your own favorites to share.
- April 11 (Pesach): Elijah stories for Passover—For the middle of Passover, we will look at Elijah stories with a Passover theme along with the many ways that Elijah has been depicted in the Bible, folklore, Jewish rituals such as Havdalah and his importance at the Seder.
- April 18: Picture Books about the Holocaust—The Temple Israel has a remarkably extensive collection of Holocaust Literature. I want to focus on the picture books in this collection, some for children and some obviously not. We will touch on the problem of how to talk about the Holocaust with children and if/when we should.
- Shavuot Sessions
- May 2: Pirke Avot—A look at “The Sayings of the Fathers,” traditionally read between Pesach and Shavuot
- May 9 (erev Lag B’Omer): Heavenly Visions—A look at national and individual Biblical divine revelations.
- May 16—NO CLASS
- May 23—NO CLASS
- May 30: Ruth—Discuss the connections of the Book of Ruth to Shavuot and our own lives
- Other Sessions
- June 6: Women
- June 13: Other others
- Summer Sessions
- June 27: The Alef-Bet. Lawrence Kushner’s The Book of Letters.