Sign up or log in to bookmark your favorites and sync them to your phone or calendar.

Contemporary Jewish Life and Identity [clear filter]
Saturday, March 17

12:45pm CDT

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.

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 CDT
Board Room, Gates of Prayer

2:00pm CDT

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.

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 CDT
Room 12, Gates of Prayer

3:15pm CDT

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.

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 CDT
Room 3, Gates of Prayer

4:30pm CDT

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."

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 CDT
Room 1, Gates of Prayer
Sunday, March 18

9:00am CDT

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.

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 CDT
Youth Activities Lounge, JCC

9:00am CDT

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.

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 CDT
Grant Board Room, JCC

10:15am CDT

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.

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 CDT
Older Adult Lounge, JCC

10:15am CDT

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.

avatar for Meredith Polsky

Meredith Polsky

National Director of Institutes and Training, Matan
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 a master’s degree in special education from Bank Street College, a master’s degree in... Read More →

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

11:30am CDT

#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.

avatar for Rabbi Silver

Rabbi Silver

Rabbi Deborah Silver has been a Limmudnik for two decades now.  She was ordained by the Ziegler School in Los Angeles in 2010 and currently serves as rabbi of Shir Chadash in Metairie. Rabbi Silver aspires to convey Judaism’s power to address and inspire the big questions of our... Read More →

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

1:30pm CDT

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.

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 CDT
Room 208, JCC

1:30pm CDT

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.

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 CDT
Room 202a, JCC

2:45pm CDT

"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.

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 CDT
Grant Board Room, JCC

2:45pm CDT

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”?

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 CDT
Room 208, JCC

2:45pm CDT

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!!

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 CDT
Older Adult Lounge, JCC