Lectures & workshops

Rembrandt van Rijn, “The Sacrifice of Isaac,” oil on canvas, 1635

Isaac unraveled

The binding of Isaac stands out as one of the most powerful stories in the Torah. It is a centuries-old source of debate about God’s intentions and the power and nature of Abraham’s faith. The Peninsula JCC will host a roundtable with rabbis Dennis Eisner of Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo, Nat Ezray of Congregation Beth Jacob in Redwood City, Daniel Feder of Peninsula Temple Sholom in Burlingame and Corey Helfand of Peninsula Sinai Congregation in Foster City to discuss the profound story and its significance. Rabbi Lavey Derby will moderate the conversation.

7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5 at Peninsula JCC, 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City. $7-$10. www.pjcc.org.


Book talk by Michael Cooper. Author discusses “Foxes in the Vineyard,” his novel about a son searching for his archaeologist father on the eve of the Israeli War of Independence. At Time Tested Books, 1114 21st St., Sacramento. 7 p.m. Free. www.timetestedbooks.net.


“Eating McDonald’s in Tel Aviv.” S.F. State professor Eran Kaplan discusses the changing nature of Israeli culture and its political ramifications. At Congregation Kol Emeth, 4175 Manuela Ave., Palo Alto. 10:15 a.m. Free. www.kolemeth.org.


“The Tree of Dark and the Tree of Light.” Workshop led by Rabbi Tsvi Bar-David on good and evil in the Zohar. At Chochmat HaLev, 2215 Prince St., Berkeley. 7 p.m. $18-$25. www.chochmat.org.

William Gibson. Science fiction writer and author of “Distrust That Particular Flavor” in conversation with U.C. Berkeley professor Ken Goldberg. At JCC of San Francisco, 3200 California St., S.F. 7 p.m. $15-$30. www.jccsf.org.


John Rothmann. Author and radio talk-show host discusses the current situation in the Middle East and the upcoming presidential election. At Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 7:30 p.m. $13-$25. www.paloaltojcc.org.


Book presentation and signing. For “Napa Valley’s Jewish Heritage.” At St. Helena Public Library, 1492 Library Lane, St. Helena. 6:30 p.m. RSVP to (707) 251-9092 or info@jhsnv.org.