Distinguished Speaker Series

Presented by the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture

Ticket Price Per Lecture: $16.50; JCC Member: $13.50

Goldberg Lectures on the Middle East 3-pack: Price $45; JCC Member Price $36

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Call the Box Office at 858-362-1348 for more information or to purchase tickets.

Lawrence Family JCC • 4126 Executive Drive • La Jolla, California 92037
Temple Solel • 3575 Manchester Ave. • Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007


2015-2016 Lectures

The Age of Clinton: America in the 1990s
Lecturer: Gil Troy

December 14, 2015 • 7:00 P.M.
Rehearsal Room - Lawrence Family JCC, JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS

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Book Cover Troy Gil Troy Gil Troy takes us on a captivating safari through America in the 1990s. His book on the Clinton years has a brilliant insight on just about every page about the President, the politics, the culture, and all of us. It's a magnificent read. (Lesley Stahl, correspondent, Sixty Minutes) This year-by-year chronicle of the wild, transformative 1990s centers on the Clinton White House, using Bill and Hillary Clinton as the central characters of a decade that helped invent our lives today. In this unique analysis, historian Gil Troy shows how the 'Nineties' cultural and technological changes shaped the Clintons even as the Clintons shaped them.

Linking the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Newt Gingrich, Bill Gates, Kurt Cobain, and Harry Potter, taking readers from the New York of Rent to Beverly Hills 90120, he identifies the decade as the Age of Clinton for the president who personified its noble aspirations, notable achievements, missed opportunities, and embarrassing excesses. Particularly relevant as Hillary Clinton runs for president, this book will appeal to readers on both sides of the aisle. In showing how Americans lived and changed, Troy shows how American Jews lived and changed. In exploring Bill Clinton's quest for peace in the Middle East, Troy depicts this Democratic president's love for Israel-and fury at Yasir Arafat for undermining the Oslo Peace Process.

Sex, Magic, and Death in the Bible and its World
Lecturer: Dr. Sharon Keller

January 13, 2016 • 7:00 P.M.
Temple Solel, 3575 Manchester Ave, Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007

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Sharon Keller Sex, magic, and death are not the first words that come to mind when thinking about the Bible, yet each of these three sometimes provocative topics are an essential part of some of the Bible’s most familiar lessons and stories. We are accustomed to looking at the Bible either from the depths of Rabbinic thought or through the lens of modernity but rarely do we look at the Bible, its stories, laws, and customs with the light of its ancient contemporary environment. The Bible is an amalgam of texts, an anthology of sorts that reflects the ancient world and sex, magic, and death were as much a part of the ancient world as at least sex and death are a part of ours. Throughout this series, we will delve into the biblical text and the world in which it was created to see how knowledge of the ancient environment can enhance our understanding of this timeless and elemental text.

Dr. Sharon Keller set her sights on a PhD in Bible and Egyptology when she was in the 6th grade and steadfastly worked toward that goal earning her doctorate at NYU in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies in the area of Bible and the Ancient Near East. Sharon is currently on the Classics faculty at Hofstra University where she teaches courses as diverse as "Women in The Hebrew Bible," "Magic, Miracle, and Medicine in the Ancient World," and "Greco-Roman Comedy." She has been an Assistant Professor of Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages at The Jewish Theological Seminary and at Hebrew Union College; she has also held appointments at NYU, and New York City's Hunter College - teaching biblical text courses as well as more general courses in biblical literature and history, as well as the courses in the art and archaeology of the lands of the Bible and the ancient Mediterranean world. She has written and edited numerous scholarly articles and academic books most of which relate to the interplay between biblical Israel and ancient Egypt. Her most popular book, Jews: A Treasury of Art and Literature was awarded the prestigious National Jewish Book Award. A native New Yorker, Sharon is known for the enthusiasm and humor that she brings to all of her talks that make otherwise esoteric subjects easily accessible.

Annual Loraine Stern Lecture

The Grammar of God: A Journey into the Words and Worlds of the Bible
Lecturer: Aviya Kushner

March 7, 2016 • 7:00 P.M.
David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre - Lawrence Family JCC, JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS

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Book Cover Grammar of God Aviya Kushner Aviya Kushner's personal experience of rediscovering in translation the Bible she knew by heart in Hebrew. Kushner grew up in a religious Jewish household in which Hebrew was spoken, and the Hebrew Bible was so integral to the fabric of her family's life that it was discussed and debated over the dinner table and sung while bathing or mowing the lawn. Not until she went to the nonfiction writing program at the University of Iowa and attended Marilynne Robinson's Bible class did Aviya hear the Bible in English—and to her great surprise, she didn't recognize the text at all. Sparked by discussions with Robinson, with whom she has had an ongoing dialogue about the Bible, she embarked on a ten-year search into the process of Biblical translation. She put her Hebrew Bibles away and began collecting as many English editions as she could find: an inspirational edition by a football coach with relevant lines highlighted; translations of translations that made their way from Hebrew to Arabic to Greek to English; and of course the more traditional King James and New Jerusalem versions. Aviya tells the story of her relationship with the Bible—from her childhood through her years at yeshiva, to Iowa and then through her quest throughout the world, tracing the footsteps of long-gone Biblical translators—and points out to us how the differences in translation from the original Hebrew to the English, and the differences between the experiences of reading the Bible in English and in Hebrew, affect our understanding of this most critical of texts

Goldberg Lectures on the Middle East
Lecturer: Dr. Jacob Goldberg

April 4, 2016 • 7:00 P.M.

In the Aftermath of the Iran Nuclear Agreement: the Middle East under the Shadow of a Nuclear-threshold Iran

April 5, 2016 • 7:00 P.M.

Civil Wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen: A Microcosm of all Middle East Conflicts and Crises

April 6, 2016 • 7:00 P.M.

Israel's Challenges and Opportunities in a Chaotic Middle East: the Palestinian Problem, Iran's Threat, and Relations with the US

David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre - Lawrence Family JCC, JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS

Jacob Goldberg

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Professor Jacob Goldberg (Ph.D. from Harvard University in Middle East politics) is a former Senior Adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. He is the author of The Foreign Policy of Saudi Arabia, and has also published numerous articles in newspapers in Israel and the U. S., including the New York Times and the Washington Post.

How Not to Comfort The Ones We Love
Lecturer: Rabbi Sherre Hirsch

April 25, 2016 • 7:00 P.M.
Lawrence Family JCC, 4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037

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So often we are focused on how we comfort but the tradition has a lot to teach us about how... not to comfort. It is time to get comfortable with the discomfort of the suffering of our loved ones as well as our own. It is time to start talking about everything we so carefully avoid. Join us with this fascinating exploration of the self and the loved ones.

Sherre Hirsch Rabbi Sherre Hirsch is an author and spiritual life consultant. After eight years in the pulpit, Rabbi Hirsch left Sinai Temple, Los Angeles’s largest and oldest conservative temple, in 2006. Since then, she has published We Plan, God Laughs: What to Do When Life Hits You Over the Head, and in August 2015 published Thresholds: How to Thrive Through Life’s Transitions to Live Fearlessly and Regret-Free. In addition to writing, Rabbi Hirsch has appeared on a variety of national media outlets from The Today Show to Extra! She counsels private clients, speaks nationwide at engagements for corporate and religious organizations, and teaches classes across a variety of themes. Rabbi Hirsch serves as the Spiritual Life Consultant for Canyon Ranch Properties, where she organizes retreats and leads workshops focused on coping with grief and the healing process. She is married to Dr. Jeffrey Hirsch and they have four children. Rabbi Hirsch’s mission is to empower individuals to be their own spiritual guides.

Previous 2015-2016 Lectures

Coffee and Conversation: Israeli Society Today Through its Educational System 
Lecturer: Dr. Raviv Schwartz

September 30, 2015 • 10:00 A.M. ***Note Special Time***
Rehearsal Room - Lawrence Family JCC, JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS

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Raviv Schwartz Join us for a rare opportunity to hear from visiting Israeli scholar, Dr. Raviv Schwartz, recipient of the prestigious Kreitman Fellowship from Ben Gurion University. Schwartz will address the theme of "Social Inequality in Israel Today as seen through its Educational System". Drawing on his years of experience teaching MA students at the graduate level in the Nonprofit Management and Leadership program at Hebrew University in Jerusalem as well as youth at risk at the high school level, Raviv will focus on the social and educational features of the "Start-up Nation" less commonly discussed.

Megillat Esther 2.0: The Nuclear Deal with Iran: Pro and Con
Lecturer: Sanford Lakoff, PhD

July 30, 2015 • 7:00 P.M.
Rehearsal Room - Lawrence Family JCC, JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS

Sanford Lakoff, PhD
After a lengthy series of negotiations, an agreement has been reached with Iran, complete with unprecedented, stringent restrictions, designed to prevent its current regime from acquiring a nuclear weapon for at least 10-15 years. In exchange, sanctions imposed by the Security Council, the European Union, and the U.S. will be lifted soon, except for those applying to conventional weapons. The deal will provide economic benefits which this terrorist-sponsoring and duplicitous regime could use to support its aggressive policies and practices. In this class we will examine the terms of the deal, its implications -- especially for Israel -- and the controversy it has aroused.
Professor Lakoff is founding chair of the Department and a distinguished scholar in political philosophy and science and public policy. He is the author of Equality in Political Philosophy, Democracy: History, Theory and Practice, and Max Lerner: Pilgrim in the Promised Land (1998, University of Chicago Press) and Strategic Defense in the Nuclear Age and Ten Political Ideas that have Shaped the Modern World (September 2011); co-author of Science and the Nation: Policy and Politics, Energy and American Values, and A Shield in Space?: Technology, Politics, and the Strategic Defense Initiative. He has also edited a half dozen volumes, including Knowledge and Power: Essays on Science and Government. He has contributed over fifty essays to edited volumes, journals, and encyclopedias.

Distinguished Speaker Series Ticket Prices:

Ticket Prices Per Lecture: Price: $16.50; JCC Member Price $13.50

Goldberg Lectures on the Middle East 3-pack: Price $45; JCC Member Price $36