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Friday, March 16
 

5:00pm

Registration
Friday March 16, 2018 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Memorial Area, Gates of Prayer

6:00pm

6:15pm

6:15pm

Orthodox Kabbalat Shabbat Service
Friday March 16, 2018 6:15pm - 7:30pm
Lake Library, Gates of Prayer Lake Library, Gates of Prayer

6:15pm

6:15pm

Transition into Shabbat Through Prayer, Song, and Dance
Rabbi T’mimah Ickovits will lead this creative service by infusing ancient wisdom with a contemporary, egalitarian, and socially progressive awareness.  Her ‘davvenen’ is influenced by Kabbalah, Mizrahi customs, Reconstructionism, Orthodoxy, Reform Judaism, Conservative Judaism, and Hassidism blending tradition with modern liturgy and music. Meditation, movement, and singing will be part of the prayers.

Friday March 16, 2018 6:15pm - 7:30pm
Room 1, Gates of Prayer

7:30pm

Shabbat Dinner
Friday March 16, 2018 7:30pm - 8:30pm
Manheim Auditorium, Gates of Prayer

8:45pm

Shabbat Tisch
End the Shabbat meal with a tisch, the Yiddish word for table; we will sit around the Shabbat tables, telling jokes, sharing stories, and even singing.

Speakers
avatar for Toby David

Toby David

Toby David is a storyteller, master of ceremonies, and educator in New Orleans. He teaches Jewish Studies at the Jewish Community Day School of New Orleans and is an instructor in the Jewish Studies department at Tulane University. Toby is also an unaccredited rabbi, wedding officiant... Read More →
avatar for Laine Kaplan-Levinson

Laine Kaplan-Levinson

Laine Kaplan-Levenson is the host and producer of WWNO's history podcast TriPod: New Orleans at 300, and was formally the station's Coastal Producer. Laine also runs a live storytelling series called Bring Your Own,  and has had work featured on NPR, Marketplace, Latino USA, Ba... Read More →
avatar for Rafi Zarum

Rafi Zarum

Rafi Zarum is dean of the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS), the UK’s premier Jewish center for training, teaching, and scholarship. He lectures in Jewish education and new readings of classical texts, as well as training teachers, rabbis, and educators. He has rabbinic ordination... Read More →


Friday March 16, 2018 8:45pm - 9:45pm
Sanctuary, Gates of Prayer
 
Saturday, March 17
 

9:00am

9:00am

Orthodox Shabbat Morning Service
Saturday March 17, 2018 9:00am - 11:30am
Lake Library, Gates of Prayer Lake Library, Gates of Prayer

9:00am

Traditional Jewish Renewal Davvening
Rabbi T’mimah Ickovits will lead creative services by infusing ancient wisdom with a contemporary, egalitarian, and socially progressive awareness.  Her ‘davvenen’ is influenced by Kabbalah, Mizrahi customs, Reconstructionism, Orthodoxy, Reform Judaism, Conservative Judaism, and Hassidism blending tradition with modern liturgy and music. Meditation, movement, and singing are part of our prayers. The timing of New Orleans LimmudFest is potent; this week it's not Shabbat alone: it is also   Rosh Hodesh Nissan (the new moon of Aries), and we start a new book of Torah, Vayikra (Invocations). It is a Jewish "triple play."

Saturday March 17, 2018 9:00am - 11:30am
Room 1, Gates of Prayer

9:00am

Babysitting for Ages 0-3
Saturday March 17, 2018 9:00am - 11:45am
Room 8, Gates of Prayer

10:00am

Reform Shabbat Morning Service
Saturday March 17, 2018 10:00am - 11:30am
Bart Room, Gates of Prayer

10:30am

A Cup of Fun: Adding Joy to Your Holiday Traditions (Shabbat Version)
This is a hands-on session for adults and families, which will include cooking, recipes, stories, and other fun ways to pass on Jewish traditions. Ages 4 and up.

Speakers
avatar for Betty Lazarus

Betty Lazarus

Betty Lazarus is a fourth-generation Jewish New Orleanian, who loves to cook for and with many generation.  In addition she has served as a librarian, tech coordinator, adjunct professor at Tulane University, and an ADL educator.  She is a member of Gates of Prayer Synagogue.  She... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 10:30am - 11:30am
Room 9, Gates of Prayer

10:30am

Mini-Minyan
A Shabbat service experience specially designed for young people ages 6 and up.

Speakers
avatar for Jennie Lavine

Jennie Lavine

Jennie Lavine is a musician and educator rooted in Jewish tradition and based in New Orleans  She performs klezmer,Yiddish music, blues, and jazz in ensembles throughout the United States and teaches group music classes and private music lessons. In addition to her work as a musician... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 10:30am - 11:30am
Room 3, Gates of Prayer

11:45am

Shabbat Lunch for Everyone
Saturday March 17, 2018 11:45am - 12:45pm
Manheim Auditorium, Gates of Prayer

12:45pm

The State of Their Hate: Anti-Semitism in 2018 and What We Are Doing to Combat It
From JCC bomb threats to torch-wielding white supremacists in Charlottesville, we are living in a time where we are seeing a resurgence of anti-Semitism and hate.  This session will provide an update on anti-Semitism over the past year and efforts to combat this virulent hate.

Speakers
avatar for Aaron Ahlquist

Aaron Ahlquist

Aaron Ahlquist is the new Regional Director for the ADL South-Central Region covering Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas.  The ADL is a 105-year-old civil rights and human relations agency that fights anti-Semitism and discrimination against all.  Prior to starting at the ADL... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 12:45pm - 1:45pm
Board Room, Gates of Prayer

12:45pm

How to Have a Super Seder this Pesach
Seder night is for young and old. This session will provide thought-provoking, creative and fun ways to spark the interest and imagination of everyone gathered around the Seder table. Ancient Egyptian archaeological finds, ancient texts, new readings, pillows and a liberal smattering of Lego will all be used to enable you to enhance your Pesach. Leaving Egypt will never be the same again…

Speakers
avatar for Rafi Zarum

Rafi Zarum

Rafi Zarum is dean of the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS), the UK’s premier Jewish center for training, teaching, and scholarship. He lectures in Jewish education and new readings of classical texts, as well as training teachers, rabbis, and educators. He has rabbinic ordination... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 12:45pm - 1:45pm
Sanctuary, Gates of Prayer

12:45pm

Keeping Kosher in a Creole and Cajun World
Mildred Covert was a close friend and collaborator of Poppy Tooker’s. Mildred and her co-author Sylvia Gerson wrote several popular cookbooks in the 1980s and 1990s helping home cooks prepare important New Orleans culinary traditions, such as Monday’s red beans and rice, while keeping kosher. Poppy will discuss their work and also the contributions of long-time kosher caterer, Bertha Pichon.

Speakers
avatar for Poppy Tooker

Poppy Tooker

Food personality, culinary teacher, and author, Poppy Tooker is the host of the weekly, NPR-affiliated radio show, Louisiana Eats! Poppy also provides weekly restaurant commentary on the PBS show, Steppin’ Out, seen on WYES TV. She is the author of four cookbooks, including Tujague’s... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 12:45pm - 1:45pm
Room 1, Gates of Prayer

12:45pm

This Year in Jerusalem: Trump's Announcement, Middle East Policies, and Their Impact on U.S.-Israel Relations and the International Community
President Trump has introduced new Middle East policies, including the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. The policies have triggered an ongoing debate in Israel and within the Jewish community in the United States about their short- and long-term impact on U.S.-Israel relations and the role of Israel and the region more generally. The session will discuss recent legal and political developments in the United States, the drivers behind policy changes, and the consequences for the Middle East region.

Speakers
avatar for Efraim Chalamish

Efraim Chalamish

Efraim Chalamish is an international economic law scholar and practitioner. He has been involved in international legal practice in New York, Paris, and Israel, along with research and analysis of cutting- edge areas in public and private international economic law. He founded the... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 12:45pm - 1:45pm
Room 12, Gates of Prayer

12:45pm

Rapture, Antichrist, 666, Armageddon: Explaining Southern Evangelical Theology
How and why did these odd theological notions congeal (beginning around 1830) among Christian missionaries and catastrophic-millennialists? What are the 16 recurring rationalizations that Evangelical theorists may roll out to explain why the world still survives the direst predictions? Why in these systems are Jews especially--and the State of Israel--central and fundamental, yet caught in the middle: blamed by God, Satan, the Antichrist, and many nations of the world? How is the Jewish Bible misconstrued by missionaries to yield these scenarios? Michael Cook, the only scholar of the New Testament teaching at a rabbinical seminary, will help you answer these questions.

Speakers
avatar for Michael Cook

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is Bronstein Professor of Judeo-Christian Studies (Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati), the only American rabbi with a full-professorial chair in New Testament. In 2003, he was asked by the U.S. Bishops to assess Mel Gibson's advance controversial script, "The Passion... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 12:45pm - 1:45pm
Lake Library, Gates of Prayer Lake Library, Gates of Prayer

12:45pm

“The Home”: The Institution that Put NOLA on the Jewish Map
In 1855, the New Orleans Jewish community created the first Jewish Children’s Home in the United States. The community's investment in helping at-risk Jewish children has been repaid many times over. Many of the Home's former wards later became leaders of the New Orleans Jewish community, and many of  their descendants are the current leaders of the local community and of many others across the South. Come learn about how the wards of the Home and their descendants have paid it forward: contributing to the Jewish community that helped them. And learn how the Home has evolved over the last 163 years into the Jewish Children’s Regional Service, which helps Jewish families with minor children face some of the same, age-old challenges, such as early parental death, contested divorce, family abandonment, unemployment, illness and disability, and individual problems of development.    

Speakers
avatar for Ned Goldberg

Ned Goldberg

Since 1988, Ned Goldberg has served as the executive director of the Jewish Children’s Regional Service, headquartered in Greater New Orleans.  Prior  to becoming JCRS executive director , Ned  was employed in  various professional capacities at three different Jewish Family... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 12:45pm - 1:45pm
Room 2, Gates of Prayer

12:45pm

Sh’ma Yisrael: The Jewish Declaration of the Unity of All Teaching, Dialogue, and Experience
“Sh’ma Yisrael…” is the best-known verse in Torah and Siddur.  It is often the first verse taught to children or adults learning the basics of prayer. Torah tells us to declare Sh’ma twice daily – when you lay down and when you rise up.  In the Siddur, Sh’ma is couched between two verses proclaiming love, creating a “love sandwich.” Tradition holds that we say Sh’ma before death as a final affirmation of faith. Classical Kabbalah teaches Sh’ma is the single verse that serves to pierce the veil separating Heaven and Earth. Venture into the deep wisdom of Sh’ma Yisrael through a multi-lensed perspective; tradition, language, and sacred play. After completing this workshop your relationship with Sh’ma will be renewed.  You will have new sensations, emotions, and insights to deepen future encounters with Judaism’s quintessential sacred verse, the Sh’ma Yisrael.

Speakers
avatar for T’mimah Audrey Ickovits

T’mimah Audrey Ickovits

Rabbi T’mimah Audrey Ickovits, BSE CMT, is the founding rabbi and spiritual leader of Holistic Jew in Santa Monica, CA.  She cultivates gatherings that integrate prayer, learning, movement, and music, with ethically sourced delectable kosher meals.  She is a resonant teacher and... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 12:45pm - 1:45pm
Room 3, Gates of Prayer

12:45pm

The Spirituality of Changing Your Mind: A Jewish Approach to Solid Fluidity
We are a people who have changed our minds relentlessly for millennia. This session explores how changing one's mind can be a spiritual practice, one that involves evolution, growth, enrichment, and strength. Come explore the powerful ramifications of a staunch and rigorous stance of mind-changing, rooted in a Jewish tradition of constant discourse. Join us for a powerful session to discuss how this applies in your own personal and communal life.

Speakers
avatar for Alexis Berk

Alexis Berk

Alexis Berk is enjoying her tenth year as senior rabbi of Touro Synagogue in Uptown New Orleans. She enjoys life here with her beautiful congregation, husband, two teenage sons, and a dog.


Saturday March 17, 2018 12:45pm - 1:45pm
Bart Room, Gates of Prayer

12:45pm

The Incredible Og and Why You Can't Trust a Giant
There are a surprising number of giants mentioned in the Tanakh (bible). In this session we will focus on Og, king of Bashan. He is mentioned a few times and his presence has generated many fun/wild midrashim (for example, he helps Abraham but is killed by Moses). We will explore parallels with other stories of giants such as the Golem.

Speakers
avatar for Josh Lichtman

Josh Lichtman

At past LimmudFests, Josh Lichtman has led a pickling workshop and a session on the modern Jewish ecological movement. He is an alum of the Pardes year program and haa a background in law and urban planning. Currently Josh is an active member of Shir Chadash and on the boards of the... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 12:45pm - 1:45pm
Adult Lounge, Gates of Prayer

12:45pm

Shabbat Sing-a-Long with Miss Tory
Beloved Gates of Prayer Cantorial Soloist and Music Teacher, Victoria May, will share interactive music for Shabbat with our young LIMMUDFEST participants.  Parents who wish to come may participate too! Ages 4-6.

Speakers
avatar for Victoria

Victoria "Tory" May

Victoria May has been the Cantorial Soloist/Music Director at Congregation Gates of Prayer since 1987. She has worked professionally in the musical field since 1983.  This work has included teaching music to preschoolers at various area schools, as well as acting as Cantorial Soloist... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 12:45pm - 1:45pm
Room 9, Gates of Prayer

12:45pm

12:45pm

Babysitting for Ages 0-3
Saturday March 17, 2018 12:45pm - 5:30pm
Room 8, Gates of Prayer

2:00pm

The Mikvah and You (Yes, You!)

There’s a new community mikvah coming to town, which will be used by Reform, Conservative, Modern Orthodox, and Chabad congregations. And if you think of a mikvah as a dreary cistern designed solely for monthly visits by strictly observant women, think again. From traditional to nontraditional uses, this modern mikvah will be for everyone, even you. Come learn about the ancient roots, the possibilities for contemporary use, and the spiritual power of the mikvah experience.



Speakers
avatar for Gabe Greenberg

Gabe Greenberg

Gabe Greenberg has been the rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel, an open Orthodox synagogue in New Orleans, since 2014. Originally from New England, Gabe received his rabbinic ordination at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in New York. He is an alum of the Adamah Fellowship in Connecticut, directed... Read More →
avatar for Lynne Wasserman

Lynne Wasserman

Lynne Wasserman is a community leader, retired divorce lawyer, and wife/mother/bubbe. She has experienced just about every Jewish life cycle event there is, and has prayed at every synagogue in town at least once. But by far the most spiritual experience in her life was when she went... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Room 12, Gates of Prayer

2:00pm

Helping Children with Disabilities Deal with Grief and Other Challenges
Death is a difficult topic for any child, but can be more challenging for people with unique learning and processing needs. Participants will explore issues of grief specific to children/teens with autism and other disabilities, and will gain strategies to help navigate questions about death, dying and loss of a loved one all within the context of Jewish rituals and traditions. This session will also highlight effective ways of helping children with learning or developmental disabilities navigate other life transitions and challenges.

Meredith Polsky’s participation in LimmudFest 2018 was made possible with generous support from The Covenant Foundation.

Speakers
avatar for Meredith Polsky

Meredith Polsky

Meredith Polsky founded Matan in 2000 and serves as Matan's National Director of Institutes and Training. Meredith is a nationally sought-after speaker on Jewish Special Education. She holds Master’s degrees in Special Education and Clinical Social Work and a graduate certificate... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Room 2, Gates of Prayer

2:00pm

Reclaiming and Reaffirming Zionism as a Progressive Cause
How is it that a movement once understood as an aspiration toward morality and beauty is now wholesale condemned as the opposite? Early Zionists sought to transform the condition and the character of the Jewish people through a movement of national self-liberation. It was a movement that sought to achieve freedom, justice, and equality for a historically marginalized people, and through moral and humanitarian means. Zionism succeeded in many major ways, while it has failed to realize its vision in some ways as well. In this interactive session, we will explore the language, values, and aspirations of Zionism from its earlier days. With this understanding of Zionist philosophy, we will uncover a more moral and inclusive framework in which to relate to Israel, advocate for it, and even critique it. The ultimate goal of this program is to better comprehend and articulate the progressive nature of Zionism in a way that is both instructive and inspiring.

Speakers
avatar for Zachary Schaffer

Zachary Schaffer

Zachary Schaffer serves as the Community Strategy Associate at the Israel Action Network, a project of the Jewish Federations of North America. In this role, he counsels Jewish professionals and activists on relationship-building, advocacy, and storytelling. He empowers people to... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Room 1, Gates of Prayer

2:00pm

The Power of One in a World Made by Duke: Why Confronting Hate is More Important than Ever
If the fallout from the presidential election of 2016 proved anything at all, it is that what happens in Louisiana doesn’t stay in Louisiana. The eruption of hate politics that convulsed the Bayou State during David Duke’s electoral insurgency in the early 1990s has gone national.  White nationalist, alt-right, and unapologetically anti-Semitic organizations have exploded in number. Hate crimes are rising.  Holocaust denial has found new favor among disenfranchised white teenagers. A new chill is definitely in the air. What’s one to do?
Anne Levy’s example merits close attention.  She may have done more than any other solitary individual to frame the Louisiana opposition against Duke and all that he stood for.  This neo-Nazi and former Grand Wizard was no mere political threat. He was a moral menace, the politics he embodied warranting zero tolerance. 

Speakers
avatar for Anne Levy

Anne Levy

Anne and her immediate family survived two years in the Warsaw Ghetto and then lived among non-Jewish Poles for the remainder of the war, passing as Christians. The tiny, olive-skinned Anne had to remain hidden, lest the Skoreckis expose themselves as Jews and risk their lives as... Read More →
avatar for Lawrence Powell

Lawrence Powell

The emeritus holder of the James H. Clark Endowed Chair in American Civilization, Lawrence N. Powell taught history at Tulane University from 1978 until his retirement in June 2012. He was a co-founder of both the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism and the Southern Institute... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Bart Room, Gates of Prayer

2:00pm

Caring for the Dead: Why Do I Need a Chevra Kadisha?
Caring for the dead is considered to be one of the most important mitzvahs because it is the only one that can never be repaid. In this session, learn about the Greater New Orleans Chevra Kadisha, whose volunteer members perform this mitzvah for their fellow New Orleanians. This session will describe how the Chevra Kadisha functions at the time of death, how it performs Jewish rituals such as tahara (washing of the body), and the prayers offered. I will show an actual burial shroud and explain the significance of each of its components. The session also provides important information about the steps that people must take after the death of a loved one, such as making funeral arrangements, purchasing a coffin, and the like. 

Speakers
avatar for Sandy Lassen

Sandy Lassen

Sandy Lassen is the current president of the Greater New Orleans Chevra Kadisha, having been an active member for more than twenty years. She also manages and operates five Orthodox and/or Conservative cemeteries in the Greater New Orleans area. A former schoolteacher in New Orleans... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Adult Lounge, Gates of Prayer

2:00pm

Torah Tanzen: Roadmaps to the Heart
This session is an exploration of the embodiment of the sacred words of Torah, psalms, and Jewish liturgy. Join us as we invoke our connection to the Divine, using simple folk dance movements and our own song to fuel our prayer. No prior experience is necessary. This session is offered as a vehicle for connection to community and an experience of the joyful ease and stillness of Shabbat.

Speakers
avatar for Rae Horton

Rae Horton

Rae Horton is a New Orleans native whose experience dancing with the Divine began in her childhood at Communal Nursery School, the JCC, and Camp Judaea. It was in the majesty of nature at Camp Judaea in the mountains of North Carolina that she first realized the power of group singing... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Sanctuary, Gates of Prayer

2:00pm

What Is This Thing We Call Spirituality?
In our time together as we explore what is spirituality, we will ask many questions. Is it something free of institutional structures and hierarchies--and not so much about dogma and beliefs as about attitudes, values, and practices and about what motivates us at the deepest level? To what extent does it influence how we think and behave?  Does it help us to locate a useful place in our community, culture, and in the world?  Does it contribute to discovering ourselves, each other, our environment, and the universe?  How does it help us to find an enduring sense of purpose and meaning?

Speakers
avatar for Ron Marks

Ron Marks

Ron Marks is Dean Emeritus at the Tulane School of Social Work, having just stepped down after 15 years in that position. His PhD is in social welfare from the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh; he also has an MSW and a master’s degree in public health. Ron has... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Board Room, Gates of Prayer

2:00pm

Ghosts & Shadows: The Women Who Haunt The Talmud

Meet the anonymous women who use their wits, beauty, and bodies to disturb and subvert the rabbis’ narratives. In this text study session led by artist Jacqueline Nicholls, explore these talmudic texts and unearth the hidden feminine presence beneath these stories.

Speakers
avatar for Jacqueline Nicholls

Jacqueline Nicholls

Jacqueline Nicholls is a London-based visual artist and Jewish educator. She uses her art to engage with traditional Jewish ideas in untraditional ways. In her ongoing drawing project, Draw Yomi, Jacqueline is drawing the Talmud, following the daf yomi schedule. She co-ordinates Arts... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Room 3, Gates of Prayer

2:00pm

Is Life “All for Nothing”? Exploring Ecclesiastes
It's all for nothing... Right? We live. We die. There isn't anything else. So says the author of Ecclesiastes... Or does he? Perhaps he wants us to look at life (and death) through a different lens. Perhaps he wants to show us how to find meaning in the often meaningless... How to make sense of the incomprehensible... How to be present when we are so often caught up in the past and/or focused on the future? It's all in this book. Come and explore it with me.


Speakers
avatar for Matthew Reimer

Matthew Reimer

Rabbi Matthew A. Reimer grew up in West Orange, New Jersey, and was ordained in 2007 by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Before becoming the rabbi at New Orleans’ Temple Sinai in 2016, Rabbi Reimer served various congregations throughout New York and New Jersey... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Lake Library, Gates of Prayer Lake Library, Gates of Prayer

2:00pm

Israeli Dancing for Kids, Acoustic Version
Come learn a new Israeli dance or two and have fun with Elliott!. Ages 4-8.

Speakers
avatar for Elliott Raisen

Elliott Raisen

Elliott Raisen is a retired research chemist with a PhD in chemistry. He has been doing Jewish and Israeli dancing since he was a child. His Israeli folk dance group is celebrating its 31st anniversary and meets at the Starlight Ballroom every Monday; for more information, email ... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Room 9, Gates of Prayer

3:15pm

Making Peace Where There Is Strife: A Jewish Look at De-Stressing
Life is anything but peaceful these days! We feel stress in our own lives and we see others around us feeling the same way. This session will explore what stress is and how it can affect us individually and in the other roles we play such as parent, teacher, community leader and more. We will be looking to Jewish texts for guidance and will learn how as a Jewish community we can be there for each other.

Speakers
avatar for Rachel Stern

Rachel Stern

Rachel Stern MAJE/MAJCS grew up in San Antonio. In addition to receiving her BA from the University of Missouri, she attended Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion's Los Angeles campus and was awarded masters degrees in Jewish Education and Jewish Communal Service. Rachel... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 3:15pm - 4:15pm
Room 3, Gates of Prayer

3:15pm

I and Thou: Creating a 21st Century Jewish Sexual Ethic
What does Judaism have to say about how we conduct our most intimate relationships? How is a couple supposed to interact in the bedroom, and what surprising insights does the tradition offer about what they might do there? What might Judaism have to offer folks who aren't exactly ready to settle down? How does and can sexuality affect our relationships with God? Or with ourselves? How does traditional Judaism intersect with sex-positive feminism? What does it mean to move through the world with a 21st-century Jewish sexual ethic? This session will address these questions and more.







Speakers
avatar for Danya Ruttenberg

Danya Ruttenberg

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg is the author of Nurture the Wow: Finding Spirituality in the Frustration, Boredom, Tears, Poop, Desperation, Wonder, and Radical Amazement of Parenting (Flatiron Books), a 2016 finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, and six other books. She has been... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 3:15pm - 4:15pm
Sanctuary, Gates of Prayer

3:15pm

Jewish Food Politics: Whatever Happened to the Hekhsher Tzedek?

In 2007, investigative reporting in the Jewish Daily Forward exposed dangerous working conditions at the Agriprocessors kosher meat plant in Postville, Iowa. In 2011, the Hekhsher Tzedek (later, the Magen Tzedek), a new ethical food certification, was proposed as a response. By 2013, not a single food product carried that mark. This session will explore the Hekhsher Tzedek movement and the various forces--religious, political, and economic--that help us to understand its failure. What was the hope of the Hekhsher Tzedek? On what did it founder? What lingering questions does its failure leave us?

Speakers
avatar for Daniel Mintz

Daniel Mintz

Daniel Mintz is the Director of Food Studies and instructor of English at Loyola University New Orleans. He is a member of Shir Chadash and makes some pretty good hummus.


Saturday March 17, 2018 3:15pm - 4:15pm
Adult Lounge, Gates of Prayer

3:15pm

“The Pen of the Soul”: Jewish Melodies and Niggunim
"The tongue is the pen of the heart, but melody is the pen of the soul,” in the words of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi.  Come to this session ready to open your ears, close your eyes, and let your soul soar. We will engage with old and new melodies inspired by the Chasidic tradition of niggunim.  The selected melodies are drawn from recordings and oral tradition.  I am especially excited to share tunes taught to me by Rabbi Eli Silberstein, which he brought to the United States from his childhood in Eastern Europe, and tunes I learned from old klezmer recordings of niggunim that have touched my soul for decades.

Speakers
avatar for Jennie Lavine

Jennie Lavine

Jennie Lavine is a musician and educator rooted in Jewish tradition and based in New Orleans  She performs klezmer,Yiddish music, blues, and jazz in ensembles throughout the United States and teaches group music classes and private music lessons. In addition to her work as a musician... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 3:15pm - 4:15pm
Board Room, Gates of Prayer

3:15pm

Sanctuary: An Interfaith Response to Supporting Immigrants
Sanctuary is one of the most ancient traditions of people of faith that provides safe spaces against the threat of persecution. In 2007, an initiative known as the New Sanctuary Movement took shape with coalitions of congregations throughout the country pledging to support the work of immigration organizers and those facing deportation. This session will provide historical context for the contemporary sanctuary movement from an interfaith perspective; explore the history of local immigration organizing in the Greater New Orleans area; and will identify ways that congregations and individuals can participate in local efforts of the Greater New Orleans Interfaith Sanctuary coalition. The session will also include background on Jewish involvement in the Sanctuary movement.

Speakers
avatar for Davida Finger

Davida Finger

Davida Finger, Clinic Professor, teaches the Community Justice section of the Loyola University Law Clinic. She and her clinic students represent clients in landlord-tenant, post-disaster housing, housing discrimination, and  other civil rights cases. In addition to litigating cases... Read More →
CO

Congress of Day Laborers

The Congress of Day Laborers is an organization of immigrant workers and families founded by the day laborers who helped rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It is a hub for immigrants across the Southeast region, and a leadership pipeline for hundreds of immigrant workers... Read More →
avatar for Darcy Roake

Darcy Roake

The Reverend Darcy Roake is the Developmental Minister at Community Church Unitarian Universalist (CCUU) in New Orleans. In June 2017 CCUU declared itself a Sanctuary Congregation, and Rev. Darcy has been proud to support CCUU and the Greater New Orleans Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 3:15pm - 4:15pm
Room 2, Gates of Prayer

3:15pm

Kabbalah and Ecology: Creating a World Where All Beings Are Respected and the World Is Cherished
Kabbalah teaches that human beings exist, and that God gave commandments to them, in order to bring blessing to all of Creation. Genesis is the story about how that went wrong, and the rest of the
Torah depicts the Jewish people taking up the mantle to make it right again. The question of how to make Creation right became a foundation of Kabbalah: how we should see the world and how we can use the world. In fact, every interaction with the world around us has that potential, not just through elevating the world around us but also through the image of God that is already there. How we understand issues like fracking, climate disruption, extinction, and more basically, our love for this world and its creatures, are deeply affected by what Kabbalah has to teach, if we choose to listen.



Speakers
avatar for David Seidenberg

David Seidenberg

Rabbi David Seidenberg is the creator of neohasid.org and the author of Kabbalah and Ecology: God's Image in the More-than-Human World. He was ordained by both Jewish Theological Seminary and Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. David teaches about ecoTorah, spirituality and theology, Chasidic nigunim and prayer, Maimonides and Kabbalah, thr... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 3:15pm - 4:15pm
Bart Room, Gates of Prayer

3:15pm

Qu’ran and Torah: Closer than You Think
The Holy Books of Islam and Judaism have many elements in common. There are similarities of which most people are aware, such as belief in one G-d.  But what about how Judaism and Islam view women?  Do they have any mutual beliefs in the afterlife or the Day of Judgment? This session explores the common threads using the Holy Books and sacred writings of both to frame the discussion.  The presenters are members of a small group of Muslims, Jews, and Christians who meet weekly to read the Qu’ran and draw on it to explore the beliefs of their respective religions. Time will be allowed for audience discussion after the presentation.

Speakers
avatar for Lou Furman

Lou Furman

Lou Furman is a mediator and Restorative Practitioner who works with youth, law enforcement, and communities.  He is a member of Chabad Uptown.  He is passionate about small group, intimate interfaith learning communities.  Lou is particularly sensitive to the repression that Jews... Read More →
avatar for Osman Kazan

Osman Kazan

Osman Kazan has been a faculty member in the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane since 2013. Previously, he worked in information technology companies for 12 years. His area of expertise is in business analytics and operations management; he also teaches advanced spreadsheet... Read More →
avatar for Fuat Ozdogan

Fuat Ozdogan

Fuat Ozdogan is a finance professional with more than ten years' work experience in Turkey. He specializes in fixed income trading, treasury management, corporate finance, and financial analysis. He is currently studying for his master’s degree in energy finance at Tulane University... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 3:15pm - 4:15pm
Lake Library, Gates of Prayer Lake Library, Gates of Prayer

3:15pm

Taking Leave: Our Evolving Relationship with the Departed
Is death painful for the soul? Does the soul of the deceased retain any attachment to this world, to its body, to its loved ones? In this session, we will discuss the Jewish view on, and some of the traditions associated with, the moment of passing, the preparation of the body for burial, the funeral, internment, and grave visitation. All of these inform us about the nature of the soul's continuing relationship with its life in this world and those that it loves.

Speakers
avatar for Mendel Ceitlin

Mendel Ceitlin

Rabbi Mendel Ceitlin is the director of education at the Chabad Jewish Center in Metairie, where he lives with his wife, Chaya Mushka,and four children. Mendel was born and raised in Toronto;  studied in yeshivot in Toronto, Israel, and New York; and completed his rabbinical studies... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 3:15pm - 4:15pm
Room 1, Gates of Prayer

3:15pm

Prep for Jewish Summer Camp
Get hyped for the summer by participating in classic Jewish summer camp activities. Ages 4 and up.

Speakers
BH

Ben Horwitz

Ben Horwitz is originally from St. Louis and is proud to now call New Orleans home. He serves on the board of Shir Chadash and is the Director of Analytics at the New Orleans Police Department. Ben and Ellie Streiffer have been married almost 10 years and have 3 children: Ezra (6... Read More →
avatar for Ellie Streiffer

Ellie Streiffer

Ellie Streiffer is a fourth-generation New Orleanian who grew up at Gates of Prayer, NFTY Southern, and Henry S. Jacobs Camp. She serves on the Camp Dream Street Board of Advisors and is an Occupational Therapist at Children’s Hospital. She and Ben Horwitz have been married almost... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 3:15pm - 4:15pm
Room 13, Gates of Prayer

4:30pm

In Search of the Male Shiksa: One Millennial Jew’s Tale of Interfaith and Interracial Dating
What would compel a young Jewish woman to seek out not one, but a string of goys as dating prospects? Writer Sophie Unterman will read from her collection of essays on these young men: a Brooklyn hipster with a thing for the neighborhood Hasids, a guilt-ridden Southern Catholic intrigued by his Jewish Studies class, an Indian medical school student whose father had a major gap in his knowledge of Holocaust history, and a poet raised by Islamic Fundamentalists, who recited whole passages of the Qu'ran in his native Wolof. In these essays, Unterman not only catalogues these men, but explores the impetus behind seeking them out, as she tries to figure out what was underneath her compulsion to find her own male shiksa. Participants will be encouraged to share their own stories of seeking the "Other."

Speakers
avatar for Sophie Unterman

Sophie Unterman

Sophie Unterman’s essays have appeared in The Forward, The Iowa Review, and Guernica. She is the recipient of a 2016 Rockower Award for Best Personal Essay (2nd Place) from the American Jewish Press Association, for her essay, “In Search of the Male Shiksa.” She holds an... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Room 1, Gates of Prayer

4:30pm

Judaism and Vegetarianism - The Real vs the Ideal
Are we allowed to kill animals for food? The Torah and our tradition offer different voices and responses on this question. Let's discuss how Judaism understands the "real" vs. the "ideal" in our omnivorous society, and what practical steps we should be taking to manifest the most righteous, Jewish vision of ethical eating that we can.

Speakers
avatar for Gabe Greenberg

Gabe Greenberg

Gabe Greenberg has been the rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel, an open Orthodox synagogue in New Orleans, since 2014. Originally from New England, Gabe received his rabbinic ordination at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in New York. He is an alum of the Adamah Fellowship in Connecticut, directed... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Room 12, Gates of Prayer

4:30pm

Our Forgotten Brothers and Sisters: Tales from Behind Bars
Over the years, Rabbi Yossie Nemes has offered pastoral care to prisoners across Louisiana.  He will share some of his experiences and lead a discussion on the Torah’s view of incarceration and sentencing reform.

Speakers
avatar for Yossie Nemes

Yossie Nemes

Rabbi Yossie Nemes grew up in Brooklyn and graduated in 1987 from Yeshiva Gedolah college in Johannesburg, South Africa. He had the privilege of studying under the Lubavitcher Rebbe for many years. He and his wife Chanie, a noted educator, have served the NOLA Jewish community for... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Lake Library, Gates of Prayer Lake Library, Gates of Prayer

4:30pm

They Like Us! They Really Like Us? Christian Zionism in the South
After centuries of theological anti-Semitism from the church, there has been a sea change — Christians who profess love for and indebtedness to the Jewish people, and strong support for Israel. What is the story behind this change of heart, and is the skepticism by many in the Jewish community justified? Is it genuine love or a way to sneak in and proselytize? Long before Christians United for Israel became well known, Larry Brook has been covering the phenomenon of Christian Zionists in the South and will provide insights, amusing anecdotes and thoughts on where this relationship is headed.

Speakers
avatar for Larry Brook

Larry Brook

Larry Brook is the founding publisher and editor of Southern Jewish Life, which began as The Southern Shofar in 1990 and now serves the Jewish communities of four states. A Birmingham Jewish Day School and Camp Ramah alumnus, Brook graduated from the University of Virginia with a... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Bart Room, Gates of Prayer

4:30pm

Who (Exactly) Art Thou? Getting to Know God
Throughout Tanakh and rabbinic texts, God is described in a multitude of ways — Creator, Redeemer, Judge, Master, just to name a few.  As Jews explore how their ancestors encountered the Divine in different situations, it raises the question of what kind of divine entity God is in the first place, and what kind of personal relationship with God we are directed by our tradition to build.

Speakers
avatar for Todd Silverman

Todd Silverman

Rabbi Todd Silverman has served as Director of Lifelong Learning at Touro Synagogue since 2015. Originally from Upstate New York, he worked for nonprofits serving adults with developmental disabilities and taught elementary school before entering seminary at Hebrew Union College-Jewish... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Room 3, Gates of Prayer

4:30pm

"The Enigma of the Torah": A Staged Reading
“Tune into Torah” is a three-act play by Helen Stone and Penny Bright about a lively group of Torah study participants who discover deeper meaning about how Scriptures have relevance to contemporary life. The play explores multiple issues such as faith, social justice and the Israeli/Palestinean conflict. The participants attempt to understand all five layers of meaning in Torah, from pschot (straightforward meaning) to esoteric thought. This staged reading will present one or two scenes, not the whole play.

Speakers
avatar for Penny Bright

Penny Bright

Penny Bright is a retired virology researcher, author, and fiddle player. She has been participating in Touro Synagogue Torah study for about twenty years. Her name is an adaption of the Hebrew words: p’ney brit (face of the covenant).
avatar for Helen Stone

Helen Stone

Helen Stone is a retired state social worker currently employed at the Ronald McDonald House. She has been involved in the study of Shotokan Karate for 40 years and acts as part-time instructor at the Louisiana Karate Association. Helen is currently a member of Touro Synagogue Choir... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Sanctuary, Gates of Prayer

4:30pm

Government Power: Mixed Feelings on Kingship in the Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible expresses mixed feelings about the institution of kingship and the enterprise of government. This ambivalence continues among classic commentators.

Speakers
avatar for Bill Dauster

Bill Dauster

Bill Dauster is a lawyer, economist, and speechwriter who served on the United States Senate, White House, and campaign staffs from 1986 to 2017. Dauster was Deputy Chief of Staff for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; Staff Director or Deputy Staff Director of the Budget, Labor and... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Adult Lounge, Gates of Prayer

4:30pm

The Holocaust 70 Plus Years On: What Have We Learned?
What lessons of meaning can we possibly draw for our present and/or our future from the horror of the Holocaust? What positive understandings of humanity and the human journey can we take away from such nightmares of death and destruction? What meanings can we derive by examining in the most minute of details how these enemies of collective humankind were able, apparently relatively easily, to partially achieve their goals of a Judenrein (Jew-free) world in which lesser human beings were to be enslaved for the greater glory of the Third Reich and their allies. Are there any positive lessons whatsoever to be derived from all the knowledge we have thus far amassed in the twin areas of “How was it possible?” and “Why was it possible?” What are we to make of our world today where collective violence against others is the new normal, and collective nation-state impotence shames and embarrasses and humiliates the human species? Join in the discussion.

Speakers
avatar for Steven Leonard Jacobs

Steven Leonard Jacobs

Steven Leonard Jacobs, DHL, DD, is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama where he has held the Aaron Aronov Endowed Chair of Judaic Studies since returning to the university in 2001.  He is the author, editor, and translator of more than fifteen books and more... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Room 2, Gates of Prayer

4:30pm

4:30pm

5:45pm

8:00pm

Welcome and Havdalah
Saturday March 17, 2018 8:00pm - 8:15pm
Mintz Auditorium, JCC

8:30pm

Live Concert
Distant Cousins, the folk/pop trio from Los Angeles,  has been lighting up audiences nationwide with their energized performances and winning over screen audiences with their music featured in films, commercials (Macy’s), and television shows. A reviewer recently wrote, “It’s quite rare to find a band who deliver nothing but positivity and happiness through their music, but Distant Cousins certainly do.”

Speakers
avatar for Distant Cousins

Distant Cousins

Distant Cousins, the folk/pop trio from Los Angeles consisting of Duvid Swirsky ("Moshav"), Dov Rosenblatt ("Blue Fringe," "The Wellspring"), and Ami Kozak (producer), has been lighting up audiences nationwide with their energized performances and winning over screen audiences with... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 8:30pm - 9:45pm
Mintz Auditorium, JCC

8:30pm

Shalom Y’All: A Documentary on Southern Jewish Life
Traveling in a vintage Cadillac, filmmaker Brian Bain, a third-generation Jew from New Orleans, sets out on a 4,200-mile road trip though the American South and chronicles it in his 2003 documentary, Shalom Y’All. Traveling through Delta flatlands, small towns in Mississippi, suburban subdivisions, Texas ranches, and sprawling Sunbelt metropolises, he uncovers the unique and diverse history of Southern Jews. Shalom Y'all is peopled with interesting characters, including a hoop-skirted tour guide at a plantation; a Golden Gloves boxing champion from Savannah who learned how to box by literally fighting his way to get to synagogue; an African American-Jewish police chief; a kosher butcher; and musician provocateurs Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys. ...

Speakers
avatar for Brian Bain

Brian Bain

Born and raised in New Orleans, Brian Bain recently traveled through Louisiana shooting a campaign for the Louisiana Board of Tourism.  Bain’s film credits include the critically acclaimed documentary and regional Emmy-winning short, "Simon," as part of Tribe TV. His credits also... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 8:30pm - 10:00pm
Grant Board Room, JCC

9:45pm

Rebbetzin Disco
And you shall love your God with all your heart & soul, blues, funk, hip-hop, R&B, rock, indie disco, reggae, euro-pop… Standing still, or swaying, is not an option. The Rebbetzin Disco led by DJ Jaq Nicholls will stir up your body and your soul, sending you to seventh heaven!

Speakers
avatar for Jacqueline Nicholls

Jacqueline Nicholls

Jacqueline Nicholls is a London-based visual artist and Jewish educator. She uses her art to engage with traditional Jewish ideas in untraditional ways. In her ongoing drawing project, Draw Yomi, Jacqueline is drawing the Talmud, following the daf yomi schedule. She co-ordinates Arts... Read More →


Saturday March 17, 2018 9:45pm - 10:30pm
Grant Board Room, JCC
 
Sunday, March 18
 

8:30am

Registration
Sunday March 18, 2018 8:30am - 9:30am
Jewish Community Center

9:00am

What Is Jewish Art?
What is Jewish art?  What is the effect of an artist’s Jewishness on his or her art? Is there a difference between Jewish art and non-Jewish art? What effect does the Second Commandment have on Jewish art and Jewish artists?  Please come join us for the conversation.

Speakers
avatar for Dashka Roth

Dashka Roth

Dashka Roth began apprenticing in a small jewelry-making shop in 1970, after graduating from Boston University with a degree in Philosophy. Later she studied at Rhode Island School of Design and then worked as a jewelry designer in Providence and in Los Angeles, where she became certified... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 9:00am - 10:00am
Room 202a, JCC

9:00am

Beyond Animal Rights: Making Sense of the Best Relationships We Can Have with Animals
What if the whole sacrificial system of ancient Israel were designed not just to thank God but also to honor the animals who threw their lot in with ours? What if domestication were a covenant between
species, rather than an act of one species taking over the lives of another? That's how our ancestors once understood their relationship with their animals. While Jewish teachings have always valued animal welfare, the reasons have oscillated, from not wanting us to be cruel, to protecting animal rights, to respecting our covenant with animals. In this session we will trace different ideas about animals through Jewish history, and explore the very different implications each one has today for issues like veganism, genetic engineering, factory farming, and more.

Speakers
avatar for David Seidenberg

David Seidenberg

Rabbi David Seidenberg is the creator of neohasid.org and the author of Kabbalah and Ecology: God's Image in the More-than-Human World. He was ordained by both Jewish Theological Seminary and Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. David teaches about ecoTorah, spirituality and theology, Chasidic nigunim and prayer, Maimonides and Kabbalah, thr... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 9:00am - 10:00am
Youth Activities Lounge, JCC

9:00am

Guns ‘n (Ha)Roses: Experiences of a Jewish FBI Agent
Supervisory Special Agent/Chief Division Counsel Hillary Rossman shares her experiences as a Jewish FBI agent for the past 21 years. She will be joined by a Supervisory Special Agent from the New Orleans FBI Field Office who will describe the current threat picture with respect to hate crimes based on religion and active shooter situations at religious institutions.

Speakers
avatar for HIllary Rossman

HIllary Rossman

Hillary B. Rossman, born and raised in South Florida, earned her BA in History from Cornell University and JD from the University of California at Berkeley. She interned for Miami State Attorney Janet Reno and practiced law as a litigation associate at White & Case, LLC’s Miami... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 9:00am - 10:00am
Grant Board Room, JCC

9:00am

Let's Make Streudel Together
At all times of the day and night you will find Betty Lazarus in the kitchen baking Jewish cookies and desserts, often from recipes that have been handed down to her from her mother.  Kids, parents, and grandparents are all welcome to join Betty in making streudel, as she shares her streudel-making skills. The session will include streudel tasting and lots of take-aways.

Speakers
avatar for Betty Lazarus

Betty Lazarus

Betty Lazarus is a fourth-generation Jewish New Orleanian, who loves to cook for and with many generation.  In addition she has served as a librarian, tech coordinator, adjunct professor at Tulane University, and an ADL educator.  She is a member of Gates of Prayer Synagogue.  She... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 9:00am - 10:00am
Kitchen, JCC

9:00am

Free Association Doodling: Drawing on the Jewish Roots of Dada
In this hands-on session, we will explore the trail-blazing role of Jews as innovators in the visual arts, specifically in the avant-garde movement in Romania; they were responsible for changing the way we look at art and heralding what we know as modern art. Through free-association collaborative drawing “games” we will reach into our subconscious and together generate new ideas and inspiration. Limit: 15 people.

Speakers
avatar for Hannah Chalew

Hannah Chalew

Hannah Chalew is an artist from New Orleans whose work explores the relationship between nature and culture as we slide into the collective uncertainty of life in the Anthropocene. She received her BA from Brandeis University, and her MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Chalew... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 9:00am - 10:00am
Art Room, JCC

9:00am

Torah Scrolls Have a Life of Their Own: The Perilous Journey of the Torah Scroll MST-501
Come follow the journey taken by a Torah scroll, a survivor of the Nazi plunder of Jewish life in Europe during World II, to its final destination at Temple Emanu-El in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Dr. Steven Jacobs will recount negotiations with the Westminster Temple in London (a depository for the scrolls) for the acquisition of Torah Scroll MST-501. Unlike other scrolls from the same depository, Torah Scroll #501 was an “orphan” whose ancestry and antiquity were unknown. Geochemist Paul Aharon will explain the methodology he used to determine the precise age of its parchment and discuss the implications for the ongoing search for and discovery of the oldest complete Torah scroll in existence today.

Speakers
avatar for Paul Aharon

Paul Aharon

Paul Aharon, MS, PhD, is a Professor of Geochemistry at the University of Alabama where he has held the Ray E. Loper Endowed Chair of Geology since 2001. Previously he was a Professor of Geology at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge (1982-2001). Author of more than 300 refereed... Read More →
avatar for Steven Leonard Jacobs

Steven Leonard Jacobs

Steven Leonard Jacobs, DHL, DD, is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama where he has held the Aaron Aronov Endowed Chair of Judaic Studies since returning to the university in 2001.  He is the author, editor, and translator of more than fifteen books and more... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 9:00am - 10:00am
Dance Studio, JCC

9:00am

From Iran to China: How World's Events are Changing Israel and the Middle East
Israel’s security and economy are always affected by world events. These events create opportunities for new strategic alliances, such as with India and the African continent, and also give old crises a new meaning. The session will look at recent developments in Asia, the Middle East, and other parts of the world, and how they change Israel’s strategic position.

Speakers
avatar for Efraim Chalamish

Efraim Chalamish

Efraim Chalamish is an international economic law scholar and practitioner. He has been involved in international legal practice in New York, Paris, and Israel, along with research and analysis of cutting- edge areas in public and private international economic law. He founded the... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 9:00am - 10:00am
Older Adult Lounge, JCC

9:00am

Help Me Design the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience
You may have heard that the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, originally located in Utica, MS, is moving to New Orleans and is scheduled to open in 2019. Join Executive Director Kenneth Hoffman to “workshop” the Museum’s exhibits and programs. What should the Museum cover? How can it attract Jews and non-Jews alike? What are the important themes and messages you want to see portrayed? Your input can be vital to the Museum’s development, so come prepared to discuss, debate, and share!

Speakers
avatar for Kenneth Hoffman

Kenneth Hoffman

Kenneth Hoffman was born in Houston and raised in Baton Rouge. He earned an M.A. in history from Tulane University. Kenneth has worked as a grant writer for the New Orleans Museum of Art and as the curator of education at the Louisiana State Museum. He recently ended an eighteen-and-a-half-year... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 9:00am - 10:00am
Room 208, JCC

9:00am

Rending Cloth and Heart: Tearing and Tears
This interactive workshop focuses on Keriah, the ritual tearing of the garments done before burial. This ritual has been called “the most striking Jewish expression of grief.” Keriah is a pivotal moment of transition as well as part of the sequence of Jewish grief and mourning practices. Through studying Keriah-related Jewish texts and the opportunity to respond to a generative writing prompt, we will explore Keriah on textual, emotional, and psycho-spiritual levels.

Speakers
avatar for Janet Madden

Janet Madden

A writer and ritualist, Rabbi Janet Madden earned her PhD in literature from the National University of Ireland. She has served as both a hospice and congregational rabbi and currently is the rabbi of Providence Saint John’s Health Center (Santa Monica, CA) and visiting rabbi of... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 9:00am - 10:00am
Room 209, JCC

9:00am

Strengths of the Soul: Finding Your Soul Powers
In the Hayom Yom it says, "The true path demands that one recognize his essential nature, with a genuine acknowledgment of one’s shortcomings and virtues." Explore the Kaballah of the 10 Kochos Hanefesh (Soul Powers) in a practical manner, utilizing these Soul Powers to make a difference and reach your potential. Based on Don Clifton's Strengths Finder, find out how knowing your strengths or lack thereof can be helpful in achieving success. Learn how to apply this in a leadership capacity, whether it is in your classroom, business, or home.

Speakers
avatar for Rivkie Chesney

Rivkie Chesney

Rivkie Chesney is the Director of Hebrew Studies for the Early Childhood program at Torah Academy. Mrs. Chesney acquired her teacher’s certificate in Israel at Beit Chana Women’s College in Tzfat. She then spent a year as a mentor at Mayanot Women’s Program, a Jewish studies... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 9:00am - 10:00am
Room 202b, JCC

9:00am

A Taste of Teamwork
In this interactive session, the participants will be practicing teamwork, patience, and creativity. They will walk away with an appreciation for what is possible when team members work together.

Speakers
avatar for Ethan Katz

Ethan Katz

Ethan Katz is a 10th-grader at Metairie Park Country Day School. He holds the honorable position of S'gan (Programming Vice President in BBYO). When Ethan is not attending BBYO programs, he enjoys running cross country; he is presently the district champion. Ethan is also a member... Read More →
avatar for Joanna Moody

Joanna Moody

Joanna Moody is a tenth grader at Metairie Park Country Day School. She was a competitive gymnast for nine years and is now a pole vaulter. She has been a part of BBYO for two years, where she has held a board position as secretary for two terms and currently holds the position of... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 9:00am - 10:00am
Mintz Auditorium, JCC

9:00am

I Am the Story! Inside a Jewish Folktale
Jewish folktales are full of crazy characters and wild events. In this session, we're going to dive in deep to a folktale or two, learning the story and then inhabiting the characters and acting them out. Stretch out your faces and flex your funny! We're not just hearing stories--we are the stories! Ages 6 and up.

Speakers
avatar for Toby David

Toby David

Toby David is a storyteller, master of ceremonies, and educator in New Orleans. He teaches Jewish Studies at the Jewish Community Day School of New Orleans and is an instructor in the Jewish Studies department at Tulane University. Toby is also an unaccredited rabbi, wedding officiant... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 9:00am - 10:00am
Cafe Area, JCC

9:00am

Music with Meryl
Join Meryl for a fun-filled time of singing, dancing, and silliness! Music is a wonderful tool for creating rituals, learning Hebrew vocabulary, and enhancing Shabbat and holidays. Parents will learn new Jewish songs (or perhaps enjoy singing along to old favorites!) that they can bring home to their families. Knowledge of Hebrew and possession of a beautiful singing voice are NOT required! This session is geared toward children 5 years old and under with an adult.

Speakers
avatar for Meryl Zimmerman

Meryl Zimmerman

Meryl Zimmerman was born and raised on Long Island, New York. In 2012, she moved to New Orleans and served for two years as the religious school director at Shir Chadash, where she currently leads Family Shabbat services. She has been teaching the Music Together early childhood music... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 9:00am - 10:00am
Room 129b, JCC

9:00am

Babysitting for Ages 0-3
Sunday March 18, 2018 9:00am - 12:30pm
Room 129a, JCC

10:00am

Tour of the New JCC Facility
Sunday March 18, 2018 10:00am - 10:15am
Front Desk, JCC

10:15am

Are Jews White?
In this session we will explore notions of whiteness, white supremacy, national identification, the formation of whiteness as a category during World War I and World War II, and ways that Jewish people have benefited and been hurt by assimilationist entry into white privilege. This will be a discussion-type workshop with plenty of room for participation.

Speakers
avatar for Rebecca Mark

Rebecca Mark

Rebecca Mark is a professor of American Literature at Tulane University. She has published two books, The Dragon’s Blood: Feminist Intertextuality in Eudora Welty’s Fiction (1994) and Ersatz America: Hidden Traces, Graphic Texts and the Mending of Democracy (2014). Professor... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 10:15am - 11:15am
Older Adult Lounge, JCC

10:15am

We’re All in this Together: Creating a Full Culture of Inclusion
This session is geared towards professionals and leaders of synagogues and Jewish institutions other than schools. You may have already discovered that you cannot afford to exclude the 20% of our population that has some form of disability. In this session, we will talk about ways to ensure that every individual feels welcome in your space, regardless of disability or special need. We will look at the Jewish moral mandate for inclusion and offer tips and strategies for making inclusion a reality at little or no cost to the organization.

Meredith Polsky’s participation in LimmudFest 2018 was made possible with generous support from The Covenant Foundation.

Speakers
avatar for Meredith Polsky

Meredith Polsky

Meredith Polsky founded Matan in 2000 and serves as Matan's National Director of Institutes and Training. Meredith is a nationally sought-after speaker on Jewish Special Education. She holds Master’s degrees in Special Education and Clinical Social Work and a graduate certificate... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 10:15am - 11:15am
Room 202a, JCC

10:15am

Nurture the Wow: Parenting as a Spiritual Practice
The work of parenting--and living in connection with others in general--can be glorious and amazing. And it can be, at least as often, frustrating, crazy-making, and mind-numbingly boring. How can the riches of the Jewish tradition help us to transform the most difficult moments with our children and the other people in our lives? How can it illuminate the beautiful moments in powerful new ways? But not only that--What do parents, who are deep in the trenches of this labor of love, have to teach Judaism about what spirituality is and can be? And, most critically, what might happen if we regard the work of raising children--and being in loving connection with other people as a whole--as a legitimate spiritual practice in its own right? This session will explore these essential questions of heart and soul and their implications for parents of young children and anyone else who might ever try to connect deeply with another human being.

Speakers
avatar for Danya Ruttenberg

Danya Ruttenberg

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg is the author of Nurture the Wow: Finding Spirituality in the Frustration, Boredom, Tears, Poop, Desperation, Wonder, and Radical Amazement of Parenting (Flatiron Books), a 2016 finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, and six other books. She has been... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 10:15am - 11:15am
Mintz Auditorium, JCC

10:15am

Once Upon Our Stories
The stories we grow up hearing about our family members, the challenges they faced, and the ways they found resolution powerfully affect our personal identity. They shape our values and beliefs and become the themes that create the composition of our lives. In this workshop we will explore the manner in which family stories shape identity. We will discuss ways to highlight the strengths that we inherit from our family legacies and, of equal importance, the process by which we can edit the limitations those narratives might impose on us as well.

Speakers
avatar for Sarah Rivkin

Sarah Rivkin

Sarah Rivkin has served as a director of Chabad at Tulane for the past 19 years. While a director at a Chabad on Campus, she has had many roles, including educator, event planner, counselor, hostess, and more. She most values her role as storyteller.


Sunday March 18, 2018 10:15am - 11:15am
Room 209, JCC

10:15am

Visioning Creation through Collage: A Hands-On Workshop
Using basic collage techniques, participants will illustrate one of the seven days of Creation as described in the Torah. Limit: 15 people.

Speakers
avatar for Barry Ivker

Barry Ivker

Barry Ivker, the artist, has been working in collage since 1971. He published a Haggadah with 111 collage illustrations in 2000, 13 of which were exhibited at the New Orleans Museum of Art in 2002 and 24 of which appeared in a show "The Art of the Haggadah" in Washington, DC, in 2004... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 10:15am - 11:15am
Art Room, JCC

10:15am

Swords Into Plowshares: Building Partnerships Between Jewish and Arab Citizens of Israel
In Israel today, 22% of its citizens are Palestinian Arabs, and 78% are Jewish. Yet Jews and Arabs live in almost total separation from one another, and in the context of ongoing conflict between these two communities, the strengthening of partnership and “shared society” is of paramount importance. This session will focus on this shared society and partnership building in Israel. The Hand in Hand organization will be presented as a successful example of this kind of work. Background information on Jewish-Arab relations in Israel will be presented and a number of short videos will be screened. Ample time will be left for questions and discussion.

Speakers
avatar for Martha Freedman

Martha Freedman

A retired attorney specializing in immigration law, Martha Freedman currently serves on the boards of American Friends of Hand in Hand, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and the Holocaust Museum Houston. She also serves on various committees of other non-profit boards... Read More →
avatar for Lee Gordon

Lee Gordon

Lee Gordon is co-founder of Hand in Hand and executive director of American Friends of Hand in Hand. He is a native of Portland, Oregon, and lived for 20 years in Israel, where he received a master’s degree in social work from Hebrew University and graduated from the Mandel Institute’s... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 10:15am - 11:15am
Dance Studio, JCC

10:15am

Co-Write a Song with Distant Cousins
Budding songwriters, this session is your chance to collaborate with nationally known folk/pop trio, Distant Cousins, to write and record a song based on a short passage from the Torah. Together with Dov, Duvid, and Ami, you will write the lyrics; discuss the mood, style, tempo, and feel of the song; and come to realize that everything can be lyrical and “song-worthy.”

Speakers
avatar for Distant Cousins

Distant Cousins

Distant Cousins, the folk/pop trio from Los Angeles consisting of Duvid Swirsky ("Moshav"), Dov Rosenblatt ("Blue Fringe," "The Wellspring"), and Ami Kozak (producer), has been lighting up audiences nationwide with their energized performances and winning over screen audiences with... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 10:15am - 11:15am
Room 208, JCC

10:15am

Leonard Bernstein’s Broadway – A Centennial Celebration
To honor the centennial of the great conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), we will examine the history of his Broadway musicals from On the Town (1944) to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (1976). Though he wrote the music for only four shows, his productions for the Broadway stage have had a lasting cultural impact. This session will provide a critical analysis of his work and feature rare archival material (audio and video) from the presenter’s personal collection. Bernstein surrounded himself with the greatest talents of the Broadway stage and we will learn about their collaborations as well. Together we will experience the thrill of the Golden Age of Broadway of which Leonard Bernstein was a major force, one of many Jewish American composers who dominated Broadway during this legendary time period.

Speakers
avatar for George Dansker

George Dansker

George Dansker is a retired Reference Librarian. He is currently the local critic for Opera News and a frequent contributor of liner notes for classic Broadway DVDs produced by Video Artists International. In 2014, he presented a lecture on the life of Broadway legend Mary Martin... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 10:15am - 11:15am
TBA

10:15am

Krauss: The New Orleans Value Store
From 1903 to 1997, Krauss Department Store offered some of the finest goods and services on Canal Street. It was known for both its continuity and innovation and for its great customer service--and from the day it opened it served African American customers. The Krauss brothers and then the Heymanns took great pride in offering quality merchandise at good prices in all departments to all the residents of New Orleans; Hugo Kahn assumed the reins in the 1970s. Come hear about what made Krauss so special from Hugo and historian Ed Branley.



Speakers
avatar for Edward Branley

Edward Branley

Edward Branley is a writer, teacher, historian, and computer nerd. He graduated from Brother Martin High School and received a degree in Secondary Education from the University of New Orleans. After a few years teaching high school, he began a career in computer consulting. Branley... Read More →
avatar for Hugo Kahn

Hugo Kahn

Hugo Kahn has been an integral part of the New Orleans Jewish community since he moved here in 1967 to work for the Krauss Company, moving up the ladder from comptroller to president. While at Krauss, Hugo was active in many initiatives of the Downtown Development District, the Better... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 10:15am - 11:15am
Library, JCC

10:15am

Connecting to Stillness Through Ritual
The process of entering into a meditative space can be likened to preparing oneself for ritual or preparing one's altar for ceremony. Upon entering into a meditative practice, one is entering into a state of light and connection with that which is holy to you. While resting in a meditative state, one becomes receptive to high spiritual presence. During the process of returning from a meditative state, one retreats slowly, with reverence and recognition of that space you have rested in. Upon completion of the practice, one takes a moment of deep gratitude for the connection with that which is holy.

Speakers
avatar for Gael Thompson

Gael Thompson

As co-owner of Tibetan House, Gael Thompson is dedicated to bringing awareness to the wonderful teachings of the Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism, and the plight of the Tibetan people in their effort to keep their unique and compassionate culture alive. At Tibetan House, she offers classes... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 10:15am - 11:15am
Pasternack Family Gymnasium, JCC

10:15am

You Jew You
We all share one common trait, and that is being Jewish. Yet, we all see it differently. We practice it our own way and define Judaism our own way. There is no wrong or right definition, and we must be aware of that. No matter how you are raised or practice your religion: it's yours and you are Jewish. Let's discuss this together.

Speakers
avatar for Rachel Laufer

Rachel Laufer

Rachel Laufer is a junior at Lusher Charter School, where she is in the Certificate of Artistry Program for Musical Theatre. She is a Lusher cheerleader and has served on many student government positions such as freshmen and sophomore class president. Rachel has been an active member... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 10:15am - 11:15am
Youth Activities Lounge, JCC

10:15am

Ethics in Government: What Jewish Sources Tell Us
What instruction does the Hebrew Bible give about ethics in government? The texts give enduring counsel about bribery and conflict of interest, doing justice, defending the powerless, and care for the needy. Biblical stories provide vivid examples for leaders about what and what not to do.

Speakers
avatar for Bill Dauster

Bill Dauster

Bill Dauster is a lawyer, economist, and speechwriter who served on the United States Senate, White House, and campaign staffs from 1986 to 2017. Dauster was Deputy Chief of Staff for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; Staff Director or Deputy Staff Director of the Budget, Labor and... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 10:15am - 11:15am
Room 202b, JCC

10:15am

A Camp Sing-Along
In this session, we will sing the music of the Jewish camping movement from Debbie Friedman and Jeff Klepper to Alan Goodis and Jacob “Spike” Kraus. Come to sing, dance, reflect, and connect! Ages 6 and up.

Speakers
avatar for Nick May

Nick May

Nick May is a former camp songleader and current touring artist from New Orleans. He released his first studio EP "This Beauty" in the summer of 2016 and  his first full-length album, "Be Heard," in July 2017. Nick graduated from Louisiana State University and serves as Program Coordinator... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 10:15am - 11:15am
Cafe Area, JCC

10:15am

Games Jewish Children Played Long Ago
Imagine playing delightful games that your great-grandma or great-grandpa played when all the young cousins were gathered together for Pesach! We will play many different games that Jewish children played long ago. Some will involve nuts in their shell (walnuts, Brazil nuts, and hazelnuts). Others will be playful songs or games like hide-and-search/hot-and-cold sprinkled with a bisl (a little) Yiddish. The games will be geared to children ages 4-6, but parents are welcome to listen and learn.

Speakers
avatar for Melanie Ehrlich

Melanie Ehrlich

Melanie Ehrlich from Shir Chadash and Tulane Medical School (Professor of Human Genetics) is a devotee of Yiddish, although a novice. At the 2014 LimmudFest, she taught a class on the history and linguistics of Yiddish. Her other performance experience, besides science teaching and... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 10:15am - 11:15am
Room 129b, JCC

11:30am

The Cool Jews of the Smithsonian's American Cool Exhibit
The French invented chic; Americans created cool. To call someone cool bestows upon them the supreme compliment of American culture. In 2014, the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian presented American Cool, an acclaimed popular culture and photograph exhibit featuring one hundred icons and one hundred photographs. The curators defined an icon of cool as an artistic rebel who had a transformative impact on a generation and an artistic field through creative production, a signature style, and a radically new persona. Of the hundred icons – such as James Dean, Miles Davis, Patti Smith, and Jay-Z – eight were Jewish-Americans, including Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Susan Sontag, and Jon Stewart. Curator Joel Dinerstein will discuss the history of the word and concept of cool going back to the 1940s and each of the eight Jewish-Americans who made the list.

Speakers
avatar for Joel Dinerstein

Joel Dinerstein

Joel Dinerstein is the author of four books on race, cool, music, and American culture, including The Origins of Cool in Postwar America (2017), Coach: A Study of NY Cool (Rizzoli 2016), and a cultural history of big-band jazz, Swinging the Machine: Modernity, Technology, and African-American... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 11:30am - 12:30pm
Grant Board Room, JCC

11:30am

#MeToo – A Jewish Response?
In this session we will consider how Judaism is placed to respond to the #MeToo phenomenon. What is #MeToo and what are the issues it raises for us? What Jewish ideas, traditions, thoughts, and teachings can be brought to the table? How does all this work given our denominational allegiances? Working from Jewish texts and other sources we will explore how our Judaism can inform our actions and reactions.

Speakers
avatar for Deborah SIlver

Deborah SIlver

Rabbi Deborah Silver was born in the UK. Her academic Hebrew background, her work in publishing, her training and career as an attorney with Mishcon de Reya, and her role as an associate professor in BBP Law School all came across the Atlantic with her to the Ziegler School, Los Angeles... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 11:30am - 12:30pm
Dance Studio, JCC

11:30am

To Worry or Not to Worry? Jewish Parenting in a Complicated World
Anxiety and Judaism: the two seem to go hand in hand.  Do Jewish parents worry more?  Is this a myth or stereotype?  Should we worry that anxiety levels in children have increased dramatically in the last few years? In today’s complicated world it is difficult for parents to navigate their child’s development.  Is it just a stage?  Is it normal, typical behavior, or a point of concern?  When is intervention necessary and when is it appropriate to let them work it out on their own? This interactive session will focus on ways to know if your child’s struggles are a sign of temporary distress or the beginnings of problems that will affect their overall mental health in the future.  Parents will walk away with an increased understanding of when to intervene and when to allow their child to overcome the hurdles of growing up in today’s stressful world.

Speakers
avatar for Nancy Timm

Nancy Timm

Nancy B. Timm, LCSW, BACS, received her MSW from Tulane University in 1981 and her LCSW in 1983. She became a Board Approved Clinical Supervisor in 1988.  She has almost 35 years of experience as a psychotherapist providing individual, couples, and group therapy  to adults, children... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 11:30am - 12:30pm
Room 209, JCC

11:30am

Not Your Zayde’s Pastrami on Rye: New Jewish Food Entrepreneurs of New Orleans
Wondering how a Jewish guy from New York decided to start a Creole food truck in New Orleans? How about the backstory of how the owner of Rimon grew up in a religious home in the Bronx, worked in fine restaurants in France and America, and then decided to come back to his roots to open a kosher restaurant in New Orleans?  Rachel Ruth, Adult Program Director at the JCC, will lead a panel discussion with two young, Jewish food entrepreneurs in New Orleans to discern what made them fall in love with their craft.

Speakers
DE

Dan Esses

Chef Daniel Esses, owner of Rimon, is a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Cookery School in New York. He has worked in the kitchens of some of the world’s most renowned restaurants and spas, including Canyon Ranch in Tucson; Paris’s three Michelin-starred Le Grand Vefour; and renowned... Read More →
avatar for Gary Ptak

Gary Ptak

Gary Ptak, aka Chef Johnson, returned to New Orleans in 2015 after a long experiment living in New York.  A graduate of Tulane, Gary created, produced, and starred in the award-winning syndicated cooking & comedy show, Up In Johnson’s Kitchen. Following several business ventures... Read More →
avatar for Rachel Ruth

Rachel Ruth

Rachel Ruth has been running the Adult Program Department at the JCC for more than ten years.  She grew up in South Florida and spent her twenties travelling around India and Southeast Asia.  She moved to New Orleans in 2004 to own and operate a Bed & Breakfast in the Lower Garden... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 11:30am - 12:30pm
Older Adult Lounge, JCC

11:30am

Fly Circus Space Circus Arts Workshop
Learn and play with a variety of circus skills, including aerial and ground acrobatics and object manipulation, in this workshop taught by Fly Circus Space owner and founder Liza Rose with members of her staff of teaching artists. No experience necessary and is for ages 8 and up.  Limit of 20 people.

Speakers
avatar for Liza Rose

Liza Rose

Liza Rose has been called "The Grande Dame of New Orleans Circus," but her career began far outside the Crescent City. Highlights include being a featured soloist in Mezzo Lunatico for Teatro ZinZanni, performing with the Aerialistas, collaborating with cellist Zoe Keating, choreographing... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 11:30am - 12:30pm
Pasternack Family Gymnasium, JCC

11:30am

Women and Watercolors
In this session we will be creating inserts for haggadahs that will include Miriam's cup as a way to champion a path to equality at our Seders. We will hold a discussion exploring the important roles women have played in the Jewish stories we tell, as well as the importance of retelling their independent triumphs that helped cultivate our Jewish heritage. Through the medium of watercolors we will flow and create something beautiful to add to our tradition of Seder. This is an inclusive space, where openness to creating and learning together is the only requirement.  Limit: 15 people.

Speakers
SM

Shoshana Madick

Shoshana Madick is a California native who moved to New Orleans to become an Avodah corps member in August 2016. She is a Jewish educator at Touro  and Shir Chadash synagogues on the weekends, and works at an autistic center with preschool students on the weekdays. A self-taught... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 11:30am - 12:30pm
Art Room, JCC

11:30am

Reformulating 'Jesus & the Jews' over the Centuries: Persistent Failures of the 'Cafeteria' Approach'"
How can we explain the ever-rolling stream of contradictions over whether Jesus was a pacifist, militant, prophet, reformer, apocalyptist, healer, magician, exorcist, philosopher, or even outright myth? Why do researchers so easily lapse into seeing Jesus more as they are than as he was? (Is this analogous to peering down a well at a “person below” who is only our self-image reflected?) Shouldn't Jews be able to enlighten Christians concerning “Gospel Dynamics”--those techniques by which Gospel editors molded a Jesus figure addressing their own needs decades well after Jesus's own ministry? Discuss these questions with Michael Cook, the only New Testament scholar who teaches at a rabbinical seminary.

Speakers
avatar for Michael Cook

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is Bronstein Professor of Judeo-Christian Studies (Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati), the only American rabbi with a full-professorial chair in New Testament. In 2003, he was asked by the U.S. Bishops to assess Mel Gibson's advance controversial script, "The Passion... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 11:30am - 12:30pm
Room 202b, JCC

11:30am

Israel Delegitimization & BDS: What You Need to Know
The delegitimization movement uses many tactics to demonize Israel. Here, we explore the history, strategies, and emerging trends of the BDS movement. Some specific topics we may look at include intersectionality on college campuses, disinformation campaigns in churches, socially responsible investing in the corporate arena, and anti-normalization in progressive spaces. This session will help participants to better understand the history, goals, and tactics of the BDS movement in the context of its successes and failures.

Speakers
avatar for Zachary Schaffer

Zachary Schaffer

Zachary Schaffer serves as the Community Strategy Associate at the Israel Action Network, a project of the Jewish Federations of North America. In this role, he counsels Jewish professionals and activists on relationship-building, advocacy, and storytelling. He empowers people to... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 11:30am - 12:30pm
Youth Activities Lounge, JCC

11:30am

"Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue": Judges, Courts, Partiality and Due Justice
We are instructed as Jews in many of our teachings to pursue justice. Working in the courts, the panelists have the opportunity every day to engage in that pursuit. They will discuss the connection between partiality, money, and fairness in the courts as explored in our Jewish teachings. The panelists explore some of the initiatives underway to ensure accountability around civil rights violations, criminal courts, and corruption in Orleans Parish.  The discussion will also center on the Noahide Laws and how these laws relate to and influence the work of the panelists.

Speakers
avatar for Simone Levine

Simone Levine

In August 2015, Simone Levine became the executive director of Court Watch NOLA, a volunteer-based nonprofit organization that monitors New Orleans criminal courts. She came to Court Watch NOLA right after serving as the Deputy Police Monitor in the New Orleans Office of the Independent... Read More →
avatar for David Howard Sinkman

David Howard Sinkman

David Howard Sinkman is the Civil Rights Coordinator and an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana. David received a JD degree and a Certificate in Refugee Studies from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a member of the law school’s asylum... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 11:30am - 12:30pm
Library, JCC

11:30am

Expansive Prayer: Queering Our Concept of Blessings and Prayer
Taking a lesson from the beautiful Sha'ar Zahav prayer book, which features many "new" blessings for modern Jewish life, we will be looking in this session at the role of prayer and blessing in Jewish history. We will talk about what it means to queer a Jewish prayer experience and where there is permission to adapt our ritual experience. And finally, we will spend time reading, sharing, and even writing the blessings we have been missing in our Jewish lives.

Speakers
avatar for Dani Levine

Dani Levine

Dani Levine is the New Orleans Director for Avodah. Avodah strengthens the Jewish community’s fight against the causes and effects of poverty in the United States. It does so by engaging participants in service and community building that inspire them to become lifelong leaders... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 11:30am - 12:30pm
Room 208, JCC

11:30am

Secrets of the Jewish Calendar
Why are the Jewish holidays always late or early? What does the date of Purim have to do with Mardi Gras? Is the Jewish calendar lunar or solar? Get the answers to these and other questions while discovering how a group of Rabbis put Judaism on an intricate astronomical schedule 1,500 years ago--a system that continues to function to this very day.

Speakers
avatar for Yochanan Rivkin

Yochanan Rivkin

Yochanan Rivkin is the director of Tulane Chabad and the Rabbi of Congregation Anshe Sfard of New Orleans.


Sunday March 18, 2018 11:30am - 12:30pm
Room 202a, JCC

11:30am

Thoughtful Tots: Mindfulness for Children
Mindfulness is the act of drawing awareness to thoughts, feelings, and/or bodily sensations happening from moment to moment. Children can be taught to be mindful, which has many benefits: it promotes self-awareness and concentration and reduces staff. JFS staff will lead a hands-on activity with young children on mindfulness, which will include reading "Moody Cow Meditates" (by Kerry Lee Macleen), making mini-mind jars, and teaching breathing techniques to help promote being present, focused, and calm with activities from mindyeti.com. Limit 10 children. Ages 4-8.

Speakers
avatar for Rachel Lazarus Eriksen

Rachel Lazarus Eriksen

Rachel Lazarus Eriksen, LCSW-BACS, is the Director of Clinical Services for Jewish Family Services; in this position she oversees all of the clinical staff and many of the agency programs. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Board Approved Clinical Supervisor (BACS... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 11:30am - 12:30pm
Room 129b, JCC

12:30pm

Lunch
Sunday March 18, 2018 12:30pm - 1:30pm
Mintz Auditorium, JCC

1:00pm

Booksigning with Limmud Authors
Sunday March 18, 2018 1:00pm - 1:30pm
Hallway, JCC

1:15pm

Tour of the New JCC Facility
Sunday March 18, 2018 1:15pm - 1:30pm
Front Desk, JCC

1:30pm

Jerusalem Dreams
Artist Jacqueline Nicholls will describe her Jerusalem Dreams art installation that explores the many versions of a heavenly Jerusalem. It ties together the threads of connection between William Blake/Hubert Parry’s "Jerusalem," the Jewish longing for “Next Year In Jerusalem” and the Balfour Declaration.

Speakers
avatar for Jacqueline Nicholls

Jacqueline Nicholls

Jacqueline Nicholls is a London-based visual artist and Jewish educator. She uses her art to engage with traditional Jewish ideas in untraditional ways. In her ongoing drawing project, Draw Yomi, Jacqueline is drawing the Talmud, following the daf yomi schedule. She co-ordinates Arts... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Library, JCC

1:30pm

Don't Protest Alone: Moving Jewish Institutions to Save the Environment
Climate change affects all of us, but sometimes we do not know how to take action or feel that our individual activism will have little effect. Amplify your voice advocating for the environment by enlisting institutional support. Learn how to help your congregation or Jewish institution climb the ladder of civic engagement starting with volunteering and potentially leading to joining a movement. Hear how synagogues are benefiting from taking public stands on social justice issues like the environment.

Speakers
avatar for Judy Seldin-Cohen

Judy Seldin-Cohen

Judy Seldin-Cohen is a community advocate and author. Her book Recharging Judaism is the essential and timely guide for synagogues launching or evolving their institutional social justice journey. Recharging Judaism is co-authored with her rabbi Judith Schindler and includes a guest... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Room 208, JCC

1:30pm

From “Jew vs. Jew” to “Me and You”: Working Toward Pluralism
To best care for and live within klal Yisrael (the whole Jewish people), we need to understand how to interact with the diverse entirety of the Jewish community with empathy and understanding. This program will tackle pluralism; what it means, why it's important, and how we can work towards it. Through looking at the values that pluralism centers - accessibility, humility, learning, inclusion, productive discomfort - participants will think about the ways in which our communities are pluralistic or not, what the challenges are to achieving pluralism and what steps we can take to move towards a more pluralistic community.

Speakers
avatar for Dana Keren

Dana Keren

Dana Keren is the Senior Administrator for Tulane University School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a proud alumna of Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps. Prior to joining Tulane, Dana co-founded Birthmark Doula Collective, a reproductive justice cooperative... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Room 202a, JCC

1:30pm

Best Practices in Inclusive Congregational School Education
Congregational school programs pose unique challenges in meeting the needs of all students. We see children for a limited number of hours each week, when they have already been through a full day of school or are well into their weekend. In this session, parents, teachers and administrators are invited to explore “tricks of the trade” in reaching and teaching all learners for the benefit of ALL of our students.

Meredith Polsky’s participation in LimmudFest 2018 was made possible with generous support from The Covenant Foundation.
 

Speakers
avatar for Meredith Polsky

Meredith Polsky

Meredith Polsky founded Matan in 2000 and serves as Matan's National Director of Institutes and Training. Meredith is a nationally sought-after speaker on Jewish Special Education. She holds Master’s degrees in Special Education and Clinical Social Work and a graduate certificate... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Room 202b, JCC

1:30pm

Who's Your Abba? A How-To on Tracing your European Ancestors
Ever thought about where your family came from? And how they got to America?  Where can you even start to find the answer to these questions? Follow Lonnie and Peter Zandan as they trace the Zandan ancestry back through Europe and learn some practical tips along the way.

Speakers
avatar for Lonnie Zarum Schaffer

Lonnie Zarum Schaffer

Born and raised in London by a Yemenite father and Welsh mother, Lonnie Zarum Schaffer studied at the London School of Contemporary Dance. She moved to the United States in 1993 and settled in New Orleans where she raised her four children, Ariane, Saul, Talia, and Renata. In 2007... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Room 209, JCC

1:30pm

Weaving Together Our Stories: A Hands-on Workshop
Learn how to make and use a simple loom and meditate over the practice of fabric-making. Connect some of the dots between women in the Torah and modern women's labor, and discuss the resurgence of the art of craft with fellow workshop attendees. Limit:15 people.

Speakers
CB

Claire Beauchamp

Claire Beauchamp is an artist and educator based in New Orleans. Her work ranges between large-scale installations, performative works, and smaller-scale fiber sculptures. She has shown with the Carroll Gallery and the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans, among others. She currently... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Art Room, JCC

1:30pm

The Disarming Power of Narrative: How Storytelling Can Transform our Conversations about Israel
The ultimate goal of storytelling is emotionally experienced understanding – the cultivation of empathy. Effective narratives have the power to dismantle the defensiveness of those who hear them. By depoliticizing dialogue, stories engage the head and the heart, allowing people to transcend and transform our relationships with fear. An effective narrative does not just communicate facts; it uncovers the meaning and values behind the facts. When we hear a great story, we recognize ourselves in one another, and others in ourselves. This allows for more constructive and connective dialogue across difference. In this workshop, we will work towards better understanding and articulating the stories that define our relationships with Israel. After reviewing some storytelling methodologies and spending some time applying them to our experiences, participants will have the opportunity to practice sharing their stories with the group.

Speakers
avatar for Zachary Schaffer

Zachary Schaffer

Zachary Schaffer serves as the Community Strategy Associate at the Israel Action Network, a project of the Jewish Federations of North America. In this role, he counsels Jewish professionals and activists on relationship-building, advocacy, and storytelling. He empowers people to... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Youth Activities Lounge, JCC

1:30pm

The Beatles and Sgt. Pepper (and the Group’s Little Known Jewish Connections)
This multimedia presentation from one of the world's leading Beatles experts focuses on how the Beatles' landmark album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was received in America on its release over 50 years ago. Relive the magic of the Beatles through music, video clips, and photographs from the sixties. Be sure to catch Bruce’s humorous take on the Beatles Jewish connections at the end of his presentation!

Speakers
avatar for Bruce Spizer

Bruce Spizer

Bruce Spizer is a lifelong native of New Orleans and a first-generation Beatles fan. He is a well-known Beatles author/historian and is considered one of the world's leading experts on the Beatles. Bruce has written nine critically acclaimed  books on the Beatles, including his... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Grant Board Room, JCC

1:30pm

Game of Thrones: Biblical Style
A Hebrew Bible Overview could rival HBO (Home Box Office) with a series about the political intrigue, murder plots, and sexual liaisons of the greatest monarch of our people … King David. This session will examine David’s political machinations to reach the top and stay there -- through the lenses of biblical text, midrash (rabbinic commentary), and art! No dragons will be harmed in producing this session.

Speakers
avatar for Judy Chessin

Judy Chessin

Rabbi Judy Chessin is the founding Rabbi of Temple Beth Or, in Dayton and has served there since its inception in 1984. She received rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. In addition to serving the same congregation for over 33 years, Rabbi Chessin speaks... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Dance Studio, JCC

1:30pm

Politics and Prophets, Then and Now
The Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) has no word for politics, yet is suffused with political activity and intrigue. What makes politics in the Hebrew Bible distinctive—different from the politics of the ancient Greeks and Romans—is the role of the prophet, who acts as a moral force challenging the immoral practices of the powerful. In this session, we shall examine the biblical conception of the prophet and his political effect on kings, priests, and the nobility. We shall discuss the similarities and differences between the biblical prophet and the classical orator, both public speakers who use rhetoric to articulate their views. And we shall consider the contemporary relevance of the Hebrew prophet for today, when so many of our citizens distance themselves from politics because of political immorality. Among the prophets we shall discuss are Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, Amos, and Jeremiah.

Speakers
avatar for Gary Remer

Gary Remer

Gary Remer is professor of political science at Tulane University. Among his publications are Ethics and the Orator: The Ciceronian Tradition of Political Morality (University of Chicago Press, 2017) and Humanism and the Rhetoric of Toleration (Penn State Press, 1996). His courses... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Older Adult Lounge, JCC

1:30pm

A Cup of Fun: Adding Joy to Your Holiday Traditions
This is a hands-on session for adults and families, which will include cooking, recipes, stories, and other fun ways to pass on Jewish traditions. Ages 4 and up.

Speakers
avatar for Betty Lazarus

Betty Lazarus

Betty Lazarus is a fourth-generation Jewish New Orleanian, who loves to cook for and with many generation.  In addition she has served as a librarian, tech coordinator, adjunct professor at Tulane University, and an ADL educator.  She is a member of Gates of Prayer Synagogue.  She... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Room 129b, JCC

1:30pm

Game On!
This is a time for Young Limmudniks to run around, play basketball, soccer, football, volleyball, etc. All under the direction of fun counselors. Ages 6 and up.

Sunday March 18, 2018 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Pasternack Family Gymnasium, JCC

1:30pm

Babysitting for Ages 0-3
Sunday March 18, 2018 1:30pm - 5:30pm
Room 129a, JCC

2:30pm

Tour of the New JCC Facility
Sunday March 18, 2018 2:30pm - 2:45pm
Front Desk, JCC

2:45pm

"Transparent" Revealed: What Can This Multi-Award-Winning TV Series Teach Us About Jewish Life, Sexuality and Israel?
​​​​The award-winning Transparent comedy-drama from Amazon Studios revolves around a Los Angeles Jewish family following the discovery that the father is transgender. In the latest season they visit Israel, with hilarious and shocking results. This thoughtful show addresses challenging modern issues such as fluid sexuality, religious faith, meaningful ritual, family loyalty, and even Israel’s security barrier. In this session we will analyze a number of key clips from the show’s four seasons in order to reflect on our own Jewish journeys and how we can make our faith more meaningful.

Speakers
avatar for Rafi Zarum

Rafi Zarum

Rafi Zarum is dean of the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS), the UK’s premier Jewish center for training, teaching, and scholarship. He lectures in Jewish education and new readings of classical texts, as well as training teachers, rabbis, and educators. He has rabbinic ordination... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 2:45pm - 3:45pm
Grant Board Room, JCC

2:45pm

23 and Us: Jews, Genes, and Identity
DNA and ancestry testing now allows us to learn more about Jewish migration, how we are (or are not related), and perhaps can help us expand the definition of  “who is a Jew.” But how does this new knowledge affect our understanding of Jewish identity? Are we defined by our shared DNA?  Are Jews a race?  Are we a religion? Or are we a “people”?   This session will start with a short explanation of how ancestry testing works and what it has taught us so far about Jewish genetic identity.  We will then discuss contemporary issues raised by genetic testing. Should genetic testing be used in Israel to prove Jewish status? Could DNA be used in place of, or in addition to, the halachic matrilineal definition of who is a Jew? Does genetic knowledge broaden or narrow our definition of “who is a Jew”?

Speakers
avatar for Karen Weissbecker Remer

Karen Weissbecker Remer

Karen Weissbecker Remer is the Director of Graduate Studies for the Hayward Genetics Center at Tulane University School of Medicine.  She is also Director of Student Support and Wellness.  She received her Ph.D. in Genetics from the Medical College of Virginia and her Masters of... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 2:45pm - 3:45pm
Room 208, JCC

2:45pm

Praying and Paying: The Marginal Cost of Being Jewish
We all know that being Jewish isn’t always easy. As a small minority in New Orleans, we have to live our lives as “the Other” in a largely Christian society. And being Jewish is also expensive. Hebrew school tuition, Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations, synagogue membership, kosher food--it can all add up. Of course, we can’t attribute all of these expenditures to being Jewish, because other people have membership dues and celebrate life-cycle occasions, but,we can calculate the marginal costs. In this interactive session, we will look at the costs, and benefits, of being Jewish from an economic perspective. We will examine national trends and statistics as well as explore our own individual experiences. I am confident that when we wrap up we will confirm that the benefits outweigh the costs!!

Speakers
avatar for Toni Weiss

Toni Weiss

Toni Weiss is a Senior Professor of Practice in the Economics Department and the Associate Director at Tulane’s Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching. Her focus is on creating an environment, both in and out of the classroom, that maximizes students’ academic, professional... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 2:45pm - 3:45pm
Older Adult Lounge, JCC

2:45pm

Teaching Life Skills As a Strategy for Classroom Management
What life skills are we born with and which ones must we learn along the way? This session will explore the concept of exposing our students to activities and experiences that teach emotions and life skills. These strategies will help us know our students on a deeper level and will set our students and our classes up for success.

Speakers
avatar for Rachel Stern

Rachel Stern

Rachel Stern MAJE/MAJCS grew up in San Antonio. In addition to receiving her BA from the University of Missouri, she attended Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion's Los Angeles campus and was awarded masters degrees in Jewish Education and Jewish Communal Service. Rachel... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 2:45pm - 3:45pm
Room 202b, JCC

2:45pm

You Knead This! Challah: A Doughy Discussion
You might eat it every Friday night.  You might only order it as French toast in restaurants.  Who made your favorite challah?  Your Bobbe?  Your mom or dad?  Your local bakery?  In this session, we are going to talk about baking traditions, a little bit of Jewish history, and how things like climate and time can affect the baking processes of challah.





Speakers
NY

Noam Yaillen

Noam Yaillen grew up in Baltimore and attended Oberlin College. He  has had a variety of jobs in both the Jewish education sector as well as food service.  He has worked and lived all over the country and is excited to share some of his baking knowledge with you.  


Sunday March 18, 2018 2:45pm - 3:45pm
Kitchen, JCC

2:45pm

Creation and Destruction: Experimenting with Clay
Come explore the depths of your inner world as you create and destroy your personal Golem. We will learn together about the story of the Golem, a magical mystical being who was created from clay with Emet (truth) and destroyed with Met (death). We will explore the spiritual aspects of creation and destruction in a hands-on creative space. Limit: 15 people.

Speakers
avatar for Suzy Glazer Lazarus

Suzy Glazer Lazarus

Suzy Glazer Lazarus, LCSW, is a proud New Orleans native and momma of two. She is currently working as a therapist and pottery teacher at the Broadmoor Arts and Wellness Center. She also combines her two professional passions to provide Mindful Pottery groups for people who are interested... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 2:45pm - 3:45pm
Art Room, JCC

2:45pm

Yoga for the Soul
The physical practice of yoga, combined with the breath, brings us closer to our souls; any effort in that direction is not wasted. Join Amanda Rubinstein-Stern, an experienced yoga instructor, as she teaches all levels of vinyasa with some supported poses.  Participants should wear clothes that are comfortable for movement.

Speakers
avatar for Amanda Rubinstein-Stern

Amanda Rubinstein-Stern

When 9-11 happened, Amanda Rubinstein-Stern was a gym rat known for hanging upside down from the pull-up bar. The manager of the gym had the insight that people might find peace through their bodies, so she sent her to teacher training for yoga. Although Amanda has been teaching yoga... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 2:45pm - 3:45pm
Mind Body Studio, JCC

2:45pm

Judaism, Racism, and a Sense of Justice: When the Law Is Used Against the Jews
As Americans, we live in a society where there is a respect for the law, a way to challenge unjust laws, and a belief in the ability of the judicial system to ultimately right wrongs. But what if one lived in a society where the laws were unjust, where the legal system was unfair, and where there was no way to vindicate legal rights? That happened not only in Nazi Germany but also in Louisiana before the Civil War and even afterward. This fast-paced, multimedia presentation will explore the role of Jews who had to battle unjust laws in Nazi Germany, discuss Louisiana’s history of unjust, racist laws, and illuminate the unusual and unexpected connections between these disparate times and events.

Speakers
avatar for Michael Rubin

Michael Rubin

Michael H. Rubin is an attorney, the author of award-winning legal thrillers, and a nationally-known speaker and humorist who has given more than 400 major presentations throughout the United States, Canada, and England. His debut novel, The Cottoncrest Curse, a historical thriller... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 2:45pm - 3:45pm
Dance Studio, JCC

2:45pm

The Auschwitz Classroom: Learning, Teaching and Understanding Empathy and Coexistence in 20th-Century Poland
In 2006, I spent the summer in Oswiecim, the Polish town better known by its infamous German name, to study and learn at the Auschwitz Jewish Center. Spending two months in southwestern Poland solidified both my commitment to study for a doctorate in the modern Jewish history of east central Europe and, ironically, my inability to fully understand that tragedy that had unfolded in this sad yet beautiful place. One decade later, with my PhD and glossy new business cards from Tulane University in hand, I returned to Oswiecim to once again become part of a classroom, but this time as a professor. In this session, I will take my audience on a journey that is at once personal and professional. I will explore how learning, teaching and understanding in the Auschwitz classroom can illuminate the trajectory of Jewish-Gentile coexistence in modern Poland, help us understand how minorities and refugees “fit” into European societies, and, finally, can engender empathy that has the potential to transcend classroom walls.

Speakers
avatar for Sarah Cramsey

Sarah Cramsey

Dr. Sarah A. Cramsey is a Professor of Practice of Jewish Studies at Tulane University. She received her doctorate in history from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as degrees from Oxford University and the College of William & Mary. Dr. Cramsey has received funding... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 2:45pm - 3:45pm
Library, JCC

2:45pm

Resilience in the Face of Chronic Trauma: Lessons from Israel
This session presents the findings of an innovative research study that found a set of 83 "trauma truisms” related to buffering, or protective mechanisms, which contribute to resilience from the trauma associated with living in conditions of the chronic threat from terror and war.   This research was carried out in Israel with a group of the country’s leading trauma experts.  The session reports on the process by which an expert panel generated this set of truisms. Each has practice implications and can be translated into behaviors that enhance the likelihood of resilience in the face of trauma.

Speakers
avatar for Ron Marks

Ron Marks

Ron Marks is Dean Emeritus at the Tulane School of Social Work, having just stepped down after 15 years in that position. His PhD is in social welfare from the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh; he also has an MSW and a master’s degree in public health. Ron has... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 2:45pm - 3:45pm
Youth Activities Lounge, JCC

2:45pm

Klezmer: Jewish Jazz?
Is Klezmer really "Jewish Jazz"? In this session, we will examine and discuss the differences, and surprising similarities, between the Jewish American ("klezmer') and Black American ("jazz") dance band traditions. Where do they intersect, if at all? How were Jews at the forefront of the "birth of Jazz," and why can Jews be found at the highest levels of this great American sound even today?  And how did Jewish culture affect Black American musicians?  We will also listen to classic recordings for colorful examples of those cross-cultural connections, and Ben Schenck will give practical demonstrations. Ben has made a serious study of clarinet-playing masters of each form, even performing both approaches in the course of his Panorama Jazz Band's regular sets. Come with open ears and possibly see your own rich musical legacy in a new light.

Speakers
avatar for Mark Rubin

Mark Rubin

Oklahoma-born, Texas-reared, and now living in New Orleans, multi-instrumentalist Mark Rubin is an unabashed Southern Jew, known equally for his muscular musicianship and larger-than-life persona. Over an accomplished 30+ year career, he has accompanied or produced a virtual who’s-who... Read More →
avatar for Ben Schenck

Ben Schenck

Ben Schenck is the clarinetist and bandleader with the Panorama Jazz Band and Brass Band and has been privileged to serve New Orleans' Jewish community with music for weddings, bnai mitzvot, festivals, and holidays since 1995.  Originally from Annapolis, Maryland, Ben received his... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 2:45pm - 3:45pm
Mintz Auditorium, JCC

2:45pm

Tikkun Olam and Community Development in New Orleans: Case Studies from Natives and Newcomers
As Tikkun Olam teaches us, God intentionally created an imperfect world. In this interactive session, we will explore how Tikkun Olam plays out in post-Katrina New Orleans for us as three young professionals in the workforce, economic, and youth development/education fields, as well as in the lives of all New Orleanians. Through free writes, small group discussions, and reflections, we will consider the role of and appetite for community development in New Orleans, which can at times be resistant to change. For those of us who are not from New Orleans, Tikkun Olam was the reason for moving here. How can this value help us reconcile the often contentious “newcomer vs. native” conversation in New Orleans? Is Jewish community service for the Jewish community or wider community? We will end with a call to action, committing to our own acts of Tikkun Olam.

Speakers
avatar for Amy Barad

Amy Barad

Amy Barad is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at Tulane University’s Cowen Institute, where she oversees work related to Opportunity Youth initiatives. Over the last decade, she has worked in the for- and nonprofit sectors in business development, policy analysis, and systems... Read More →
avatar for Amanda Kruger Hill

Amanda Kruger Hill

Amanda Kruger Hill, the executive director of Tulane University’s Cowen Institute, is an award-winning educational leader with a deep commitment to the success of New Orleans youth. She co-founded the first youth-initiated high school in the United States and the Reach Institute... Read More →
avatar for Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz is the executive director of Broad Community Connections, a nonprofit Main Street program that promotes the revitalization of Broad Street and its surrounding neighborhoods; under his leadership there has been more than $30 million in development for the area. Jeffrey... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 2:45pm - 3:45pm
Room 202a, JCC

2:45pm

Hidden in the Hagaddah: Exploring the Puzzles of Pesach
The Haggadah is arguably the most familiar work of Jewish liturgy—so familiar that in the midst of the Seder, we barely notice what an extraordinarily puzzling text it is.  To take one striking example, can we tell the whole story of liberation from Egyptian slavery without referring to Moses?  When we read “The Lord brought us out of Egypt,” why do we emphasize “not by an angel, not by a seraph, not by a messenger”? Why does the citation for the Lord’s “signs and wonders” come not from Exodus but from the Book of Joel?  Is the hiding of the Afikoman (“the coming one” in Greek) really just a children’s game?  In raising these questions, we will discuss how the Rabbis who composed the Haggadah, after the destruction of the Temple, adapt the biblical account of Exodus with the aim of preserving Jewish identity in a challenging time.

Speakers
avatar for Ronna Burger

Ronna Burger

Ronna Burger is the Catherine & Henry J. Gaisman Chair in Philosophy and Sizeler Professor of Jewish Studies at Tulane. Her scholarly work in the field of Greek philosophy has provided a basis for her current studies on Maimonides and the Hebrew Bible.  Recent publications include... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 2:45pm - 3:45pm
Room 209, JCC

2:45pm

Game On!
This is a time for Young Limmudniks to run around, play basketball, soccer, football, volleyball, etc. All under the direction of fun counselors. Ages 6 and up.

Sunday March 18, 2018 2:45pm - 3:45pm
Pasternack Family Gymnasium, JCC

2:45pm

Israeli Dancing for Kids
Learn some Israeli dances from Elliott, who has been sharing the joy of dancing for people of all ages for many years. Ages 4 and up.

Speakers
avatar for Elliott Raisen

Elliott Raisen

Elliott Raisen is a retired research chemist with a PhD in chemistry. He has been doing Jewish and Israeli dancing since he was a child. His Israeli folk dance group is celebrating its 31st anniversary and meets at the Starlight Ballroom every Monday; for more information, email ... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 2:45pm - 3:45pm
Pasternack Family Gymnasium, JCC

2:45pm

Let's Make a Spring Craft for Ages 6 and Up
Speakers
HL

Heidi LeBlanc

Heidi LeBlanc, RYT-200, is a native New Orleanian. After earning an Elementary Education degree from Loyola University, she taught at the Loyola Children’s Center preschool and then first grade. She has pursued her personal yoga practice for over 15 years and is thrilled to now... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 2:45pm - 3:45pm
Room 129b, JCC

4:00pm

Oy Vay! Ole!: Jewish Traces in Flamenco
Flamenco, a rich, layered music and dance form, draws its haunting melodies, deep song, and intricate dance style from the struggles of the Gitano (Romani) people of Southern Spain. Yet similar to the history of jazz here in New Orleans, Flamenco's richness was born through the unique intercultural exchanges of the peoples of Andalusia who lived alongside the Gypsies and shared in the sorrows of marginalization and persecution at thehands of the Spanish Empire. A Jewish influence in Flamenco is widely accepted, but its precise traces in the music are uncertain because of the expulsion of1492 and the mysteries of the lives and traditions of the Conversos. Thus a discussion of Flamenco's connections to Jewish life is the stuff of both academic debate and artistic legend. Complementing this exploration will be a demonstration of the specific palos (song styles) with Jewish origins, connecting us to an ancient Jewish past that, while silenced by political repression, has lived on through music and dance.

Speakers
avatar for Kevin Coleman

Kevin Coleman

Kevin Coleman is an accomplished flamenco guitarist.
avatar for Joseph Darensbourg

Joseph Darensbourg

Joseph Darensbourg is an accomplished singer and musician based out of his native New Orleans.  A multigenerational New Orleanian, Joseph sings low tenor and performs Classical Arabic, Turkish, Bulgarian, Sephardic, and Flamenco music and, true to his roots, Louisiana Creole.  Joseph... Read More →
avatar for Daniella Santoro

Daniella Santoro

Daniella Santoro is a student, dancer, and devotee of the art of Flamenco dance, song, and cultural history. For the past seven years, she has performed flamenco in various locations in New Orleans with the locally based company, Micaela y Fiesta Flamenca. Her training in flamenco... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Mintz Auditorium, JCC

4:00pm

Under the Big Top: Jews in the Circus, Burlesque, and the Variety Arts
Celebrated performer/producers Liza Rose & Trixie Minx are partnering to share the stories of Jewish circus and burlesque performers from the early 1900s to today. Providing a unique perspective these ladies will cover the history of circus/burlesque both on stage & behind the scenes. The session will include a brief demonstration followed by a Q&A for those interested in learning more.



Speakers
avatar for Trixie Minx

Trixie Minx

At the forefront of the New Orleans Burlesque Revival, Trixie Minx is a leader in the preservation & innovation of the art of tease. As a performer she is best known for incorporating comedy into her classic style of dance. She is also recognized as a premiere burlesque producer with... Read More →
avatar for Liza Rose

Liza Rose

Liza Rose has been called "The Grande Dame of New Orleans Circus," but her career began far outside the Crescent City. Highlights include being a featured soloist in Mezzo Lunatico for Teatro ZinZanni, performing with the Aerialistas, collaborating with cellist Zoe Keating, choreographing... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Grant Board Room, JCC

4:00pm

Passover Paperart
Passover is coming up. In this session, you will create a paper art project using a unique process that combines color and Passover motifs. This session will be geared toward adults, though all ages are welcome. Limit: 15 people.

Speakers
PS

Peter Seltzer

Peter Seltzer is a paramedic educator who leads a vocational training program at a New Orleans high school. He is also the owner of "Pete's Papercrafts," in which he creates unique New Orleans-themed artwork out of cardboard and paper.


Sunday March 18, 2018 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Art Room, JCC

4:00pm

What Could Have Been: A Discussion of Women in Judaism
This interactive session will discuss how women have been viewed throughout Jewish history. We first will compare the lives of matriarchs with those of other female leaders such as Naomi, Ruth, and Esther. We then will review brief biographies of relatively unknown Jewish women heroines, such as Dona Gracia de Nasi, Sarah Aaronsohn, Annie Londonderry, Haika Grossman, and Bessie Margolin. With this as background, we will reassess how Jewish women should have been viewed as leaders in religious and secular areas in Jewish communities around the world. How would have our religion and the state of Israel have been different if women’s contributions had been more widely taught and incorporated into our sense of the Jewish people? How we can ensure more female-centric Jewish education in the future?

Speakers
avatar for Suzanne Stone

Suzanne Stone

Suzanne Stone is a life-long history student with 25 years of experience educating adults, in Jewish programming, as a docent with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, and as a licensed tour guide in New Orleans. She has developed specialized tours on women and... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Library, JCC

4:00pm

A World of EnCHANTment: Comparing Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu Chants
Join our musical and spiritual journey as we dive into prayer in world music. Many modes of Jewish "Nusach HaTefillah" prayer chant are shared with Arabic Maqamat of Islam and Hindustani Ragas of Northern India.  In this session, we will study how these chanted musical modes indicate the times of the year, month, week, and day and how they portray the moods and words of prayer-texts for these religious cultures. We will use trope and davening as our entry point into understanding the basic musical structures that underlie Nusach, Maqamat, and Ragas.  





Speakers
avatar for Neil Schwartz

Neil Schwartz

Hazzan Neil Schwartz is a 1980 graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary, and he earned an M.A. in Religion and Culture in Canada.  He teaches Trope and Nusach online for Hebrew College (Boston), and he serves as the Kol Bo sole clergy for Agudath Achim in Shreveport, Louisiana... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Room 202a, JCC

4:00pm

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory through Today: Jews and the Labor Movement
In this session we will explore Jewish involvement in the organized labor movement. We will delve into its rich history in the United States by learning about the organizing led by Jewish leaders and their allies during the turn of the century through today. Why have Jewish leaders felt compelled to become labor organizers, and how has the relationship of today's Jewish community to labor shifted? Highlighting local labor organizing efforts, Rebecca Waxman will share her two-year campaign to unionize the 500 employees at the Hilton Hotel. What is the labor movement asking of the Jewish community now?

Speakers
avatar for Alysse Fuchs

Alysse Fuchs

Alysse Fuchs moved to New Orleans to participate in Avodah’s Jewish Service Corps as a corps member in 2013-2014, and she has been here ever since. After working as a religious school teacher, waitress, and babysitter, Alysse returned to Avodah in 2016 and is currently the Program... Read More →
avatar for Rebecca Waxman

Rebecca Waxman

Rebecca Waxman, a St. Louis native, moved to New Orleans in 2008 to participate in Avodah’s Jewish Service Corps. She then spent five years as a mental health and housing case manager before joining the staff of Hilton New Orleans Riverside hotel as a barista. In December 2016... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Older Adult Lounge, JCC

4:00pm

Spirituality, Trauma, and Resilience
“Pain is an unseen and powerful hand that breaks the skin of the stone in order to extract the pulp.” When you read this quote by Kahlil Gibran, how do you interpret it? What does it mean to “break the skin of the stone”? What does it mean “to extract the pulp”? What are the right answers to this question? Are there any wrong answers? This workshop is about suffering that may be caused by traumatic events, the ways in which that suffering may be soothed, and the ways in which it may be transformed through spiritual and clinical approaches. How do people of the Jewish tradition explain that suffering exists and find meaning in the face of suffering?


Speakers
avatar for Kathy Regan Figley

Kathy Regan Figley

Dr. Kathy Regan Figley has specialized in human services and trauma/stress management since 1983. She is a field practitioner who has worked with the general public, clinicians, first responders, clergy, emergency managers, and the military in the areas of field traumatology, compassion... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Youth Activities Lounge, JCC

4:00pm

The Four Questions of Passover (Or, Why is This Limmud Session Different From Every Other Session?)
Every aspect of the Passover Seder is multilayered and dripping with inner meaning. For many the four questions are just the cute moment when the children get to show off their Hebrew school training. However, upon deeper examination, the four questions are also a trip through Jewish history and they serve as a guide through the challenges and opportunities of Jewish life. Night (echoing Elie Weisel's book of the same name) represents exile and the difficult times. In this session we will receive tools that aid us to contend with and overcome those challenges by asking and answering the four questions.

Speakers
avatar for Mendel Rivkin

Mendel Rivkin

Mendel Rivkin is a second-generation Chabad Shliach to the NOLA community. He has a passion for teaching Torah, especially the inner aspect of Torah, and engaging fellow Jews in spiritual growth through Mitzvah observance. He and his wife Malkie are program directors for Chabad of... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Dance Studio, JCC

4:00pm

Game On!
This is a time for Young Limmudniks to run around, play basketball, soccer, football, volleyball, etc. All under the direction of fun counselors. Ages 6 and up.

Sunday March 18, 2018 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Pasternack Family Gymnasium, JCC

4:00pm

PJ Library Passover Fun
Would you like to hear beloved Passover stories?  Play Passover Bingo?  Join a Passover treasure hunt?  Come for PJ Library seder crafts and Passover fun. And bring your outgrown PJ LIBRARY books for a PJ LIBRARY BOOK SWAP!  Ages 4 and up.

Speakers
avatar for Bonnie Lustig

Bonnie Lustig

Bonnie Lustig, LCSW, is sometimes called “the PJ Library lady” by children in this community, but her professional experience includes a lifetime of social work and Jewish education. Clinically trained at the University of Chicago and  Columbia, Bonnie serves as Director of Client... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Room 129b, JCC

4:00pm

Yoga for Kids Ages 6 and Up
Speakers
HL

Heidi LeBlanc

Heidi LeBlanc, RYT-200, is a native New Orleanian. After earning an Elementary Education degree from Loyola University, she taught at the Loyola Children’s Center preschool and then first grade. She has pursued her personal yoga practice for over 15 years and is thrilled to now... Read More →


Sunday March 18, 2018 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Mind Body Studio, JCC

5:00pm