“Birthright Vegas: Wandering the Desert in Search of Jewishness.” Talk on Jewish identity by professor Daniel Itzkovitz of Stonehill College. At the Center for Jewish Studies, 2465 Le Conte Ave., Berkeley. 12 p.m. Free. www.gtu.edu/events.
“If I Convert, What Will Judaism Change?” Panel discussion with Jews-by-choice. At Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland. 7:30 p.m. Free. www.oaklandsinai.org.
“Reflections on Neuroscience and Immortality.” Talk by Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger. Part of Contra Costa Jewish Book Festival. At Temple Isaiah, 945 Risa Road, Lafayette. 7:30 p.m. Free. www.jfed.org/bookfestival.
Book talk with Harvey Gotliffe. Author discusses “The Oy Way,” a humorous guide to Yiddish. At Bird & Beckett Books, 653 Chenery St., S.F. 2 p.m. Free. www.theoyway.com. Also Oct. 28 at BJE Jewish Community Library, 1835 Ellis St., S.F. 1:30 p.m. Free. www.bjesf.org/adults_events.htm.
“How a Playwright Changed History.” Talk on Theodor Herzl by Riva Gambert, director of the Israel Center and Community Programs at the Jewish Federation of the East Bay. At Congregation B’nai Shalom, 74 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek. 4 p.m. Free. www.jfed.org/israel2013.
Book talk with Hyla Shifra Bolsta. Author-illustrator discusses “The Illuminated Kaddish.” With music by Aharon Bolsta & Friends. At Afikomen Judaica, 3042 Claremont Ave., Berkeley. 3 p.m. Free. www.afikomen.com.
“Caring for Your Aging Parents.” Workshop led by staff of Jewish Family and Children’s Services of the East Bay and Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living. At Congregation Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton. 10:30 a.m. Free. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 558-7800 ext. 352.
“Storytime: Cookies and Milk.” Program for kindergartners and preschoolers. Stories in Hebrew and English. Part of Contra Costa Jewish Book Festival. At Contra Costa Jewish Day School, 955 Risa Road, Lafayette. 2:30 p.m. Free. www.jfed.org/bookfestival.
“Applying the Scientific Method to Genealogical Research.” Workshop with San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society. With speaker Stephen Danko. At Oakland Family History Center, 4766 Lincoln Ave., Oakland. 12 p.m. Free. Also Oct. 22.
“Researching When Records Are Gone.” At Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills. 7 p.m. Free. www.jewishgen.org/sfbajgs.
Jewish history classes. Rabbi George Schlesinger teaches seven-week series. “The Emergence of Judaism,” 10 a.m. “Biblical Beginnings to Diaspora,” 11 a.m. Continues weekly through Dec. 9. At Congregation Kol Emeth, 4175 Manuela Ave., Palo Alto. $20 suggested for series. www.kolemeth.org.
Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan. Following the presidential debate, the authors discuss their book “The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance, and Hope.” At Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. 6 p.m. $10-$15. www.marinjcc.org.
Panel discussion. With Ghaith al-Omari, American Task Force on Palestine, and Jonathan Schanzer, Foundation for Defense of Democracies. At Temple Isaiah, 945 Risa Road, Lafayette. 7 p.m. $36. www.jfed.org.
Presidential foreign policy debate. Viewing of debate followed by discussion hosted by J Street. At JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. 6 p.m. Free. www.jcceastbay.org.
David Makovsky. Middle East expert and co-author of “Myths, Illusions, & Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East” will give a talk on Israel in a turbulent Middle East. At Hewlett Teaching Center, 370 Serra Mall, Stanford. Free. www.stanford.edu/dept/jewishstudies/events.
“Behind the Robes.” Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Dorit Beinisch, former president of the Supreme Court of Israel, in conversation with U.C Berkeley School of Law dean Christopher Edley. At Booth Auditorium, 2778 Bancroft Way, Berkeley. Free. RSVP to email@example.com. www.law.berkeley.edu/14248.htm.
“Swimming the Sea of Reeds.” Class led by monologist Josh Kornbluth and Rabbi Menachem Creditor on liberation, paradox and power. At Congregation Netivot Shalom, 316 University Ave., Berkeley. First of four classes. 7:30 p.m. $50 for series. www.netivottest.org.
Leon Wieseltier. Literary editor of the New Republic discusses “A Passion for Waiting: Messianism, History, and the Jews.” At Chevron Auditorium, International House, 2299 Piedmont Ave., Berkeley. 4:10 p.m. Free. www.grad.berkeley.edu/lectures.
“Out on a Ledge: The Story of Jewish Partisans.” Talk by author-historian Fred Rosenbaum on Jews who fought the Nazis. At Congregation Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton. 7:30 p.m. $10, East Bay federation Israel trip registrants free. www.jfed.org/israel2013.
“Controversial Laws in the Bible.” First of six classes taught by Nitzhia Shaked. At Congregation Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Ave., Berkeley. 7:30 p.m. $100 for series suggested. www.netivottest.org.
Multifaith discussion on voting and religious values. Faith leaders discuss the role their values play in voting. At Addison-Penzak JCC, 14855 Oka Road, Los Gatos. 7:30 p.m. $5-$7. www.jvalley.org.
“Nuclear Weapons Proliferation and ‘Rogue’ States.” With Martin Hellman, professor emeritus of electrical engineering at Stanford. At Kehillah Jewish High School, 3900 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 10:30 a.m. $5. firstname.lastname@example.org or (650) 494-6400.
“Harry and Zion.” Riva Gambert, director of the Israel Center and Community Programs at the Jewish Federation of the East Bay, discusses Harry Truman and the creation of the State of Israel. At Congregation B’nai Shalom, 74 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek. 4 p.m. Free. www.jfed.org/israel2013.
“War and Peace: Jewish Perspectives.” All-day workshops and text study. Keynote speaker Rabbi Reuven Firestone, author of “Holy War in Judaism: The Fall and Rise of a Controversial Idea.” At JCC of San Francisco, 3200 California St., S.F. 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. $25-$35. www.jccsf.org.
“Parenting for Authentic Success.” Book talk by educator Madeline Levine. Part of Contra Costa Jewish Book Festival. At Congregation B’nai Shalom, 74 Eckley Lane. 10 a.m. Free. www.jfed.org/bookfestival.
Alan Dershowitz. The Harvard professor (by video) joins Thane Rosenbaum of Fordham University and Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal to discuss American Jews and Israel on the eve of U.S. elections. At JCC of San Francisco, 3200 California St., S.F. 7 p.m. $15-$30. www.jccsf.org.
“Three Rabbis Walk Into a Room.” Local Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist rabbis discuss religious questions. At JCC of San Francisco, 3200 California St., S.F. 7 p.m. $10-$15. www.jccsf.org.
“The Life and Legend of Moshe Dayan.” Book talk by Mordechai Bar-On, Dayan’s chief of staff and a founder of Peace Now. Part of Contra Costa Jewish Book Festival. At Temple Isaiah, 945 Risa Road Lafayette. 7:30 p.m. Free. www.jfed.org/bookfestival.
“Psychedelics Today: On Stage and Under the Microscope.” Playwright Lynne Kaufman and actor Warren David Keith discussion and read excerpts from their new production “Acid Test: The Many Incarnations of Ram Dass.” At JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. 7:30 p.m. $6-$8. www.jcceastbay.org.
“Portraits of Jewish Composers in Music and Art.” Course on classical composers who also painted. Taught by composer and Stanford lecturer Nurit Jugend. Three classes through Oct. 14. At Congregation Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma St., Palo Alto. 7 p.m. $25 per class or $60 for series. www.nuritjugend.com.
Parent info night. For parents of children ages kindergarten and bridge-K. At Tehiyah Day School, 2603 Tassajara Ave., El Cerrito. 7 p.m. Free. www.tehiyah.org.
Scholar-in-residence Nily Shiryon. Israeli educator and psychologist gives four days of talks and sermons on subjects such as women who created Israel, Jewish humor, the Days of Awe and Jerusalem. Through Nov. 4. At Congregation Beth Ami, 4676 Mayette Ave., Santa Rosa. Free. www.bethamisr.org.
“Returning to Jewish Cuba.” Book talk by anthropologist and filmmaker Ruth Behar. At JCC of San Francisco, 3200 California St., S.F. 7 p.m. $10-$15. www.jccsf.org.
“Transgender in the Jewish Community.” Reading and conversation with “Balancing on the Mechitza” editor Noach Dzmura and contributing writers. At JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. 7:30 p.m. $5-$7. www.jcceastbay.org.
“Shanghai — A Miraculous Life.” Talk by Leah Jacob Garrick, a Sephardic Jew who grew up in Shanghai. At BJE Jewish Community Library, 1835 Ellis St., S.F. 7 p.m. Free. www.bjesf.org/adults_events.htm.