Lectures & workshops

Superhero or alien?

It’s right before Purim and Nate needs to pick out a costume. All his friends will dress up as superheroes, but Nate really wants to be an alien. What should he do? He asks his two dads for guidance. In “Superhero,” one of the first LGBT-inclusive Jewish children’s books, Nate’s fathers find lessons for their son in the story of Purim itself. At two book-launch parties, author Elisabeth Kushner (pictured) will give a reading and answer questions.

2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2 at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, 290 Dolores St., S.F. Free. Also 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3 at Afikomen Judaica, 3042 Claremont Ave., Berkeley. Free. www.keshetonline.org


“Farmers in the Bay.” Conversation on the impact of Jews on the agricultural history of the Bay Area with Lisa Gottreich, co-owner of the Bohemian Creamery, Vivien Straus of Straus Family Creamery and Scott Gerber, a Jewish cowboy and ranch hand. Moderated by j. editor Sue Fishkoff. At the Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., S.F. 1-2:30 p.m. Free with admission. Advance registration suggested at. www.thecjm.org.

“Stories from the Shteibl.” Rabbi Steve Greenberg, author of “Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition” speaks about the Orthodox LGBT community. At Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, 290 Dolores St., S.F. 7:30 p.m. Free. www.shaarzahav.org.


“Iran, Israel and the U.S.: What our Leaders Say.” Post-Kiddush talk by Sarah Persitz. AIPAC’s S.F. area director. At Congregation Kol Shofar, 215 Blackfield Drive, Tiburon. 1:30 p.m. Free. www.kolshofar.org.

“Shabbat Yitro, Rethinking Juvenile Justice: Get Tough or Get Smart?” Torah study and Shabbat services followed by panel discussion on the juvenile justice system. At Congregation Sherith Israel, 2266 California St., S.F.  9:15 a.m. Torah study, panel at 12:30 p.m. Free, lunch reservations required. www.sherithisrael.org


“Blessings of a Skinned Knee.” Using Jewish teachings to raise self-reliant children. With Rabbi Yoshi Fenton. Part of “Exploring the World of Judaism” series, co-sponsored by Jewish LearningWorks.  At Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland. 9:30 a.m. Free. www.oaklandsinai.org.

Philosophers’ Café. Discussion of ethical issues hosted by Tri-Valley Cultural Jews. At Café Rumi, 4799 Heyer Ave., Castro Valley. 10:45 a.m. $5 suggested donation. http://www.trivalleyculturaljews.wordpress.com.

“A Celebration of Women and Jewish Learning.” Jewish Study Network presents keynote speaker and teacher Jackie Bitton and others. At Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 9:45 a.m. $36-$40. http://jsn.info. 

“The Philosophy of Saadia Gaon.” Video lecture on and discussion of the work of the prominent 9th-century Jewish biblical scholar.  At Albany Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave., Albany.  4 p.m. Free. www.kolhadash.org.


“Doing Jewish Journalism Today: a Publisher’s Perspective.” Talk by Samuel Norich, publisher of the Jewish Daily Forward. At Stanford University, Building 200. Noon. Free. http://jewishstudies.stanford.edu.


“Understanding Arab and Muslim Culture.” Mordechai Kedar, director of Israel’s Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam. At Congregation Beth Israel, 1630 Bancroft Way, Berkeley. 7:30 p.m. Free. Also speaking at other Bay Area locations through Feb. 7. www.rimongroup.org.

“Reflections on Mindful Birthing.” With midwife Yeshi Neumann, Rabbi Margie Jacobs and doula Jen Miriam. At JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. 6:30 p.m. $5-$7. www.jcceastbay.org.

Israel Advocacy Training. Talk by Dr. Mike Harris and Matthew White. Second in a five-part StandWithUs lecture series on Israel. Also Feb. 12 “Israel’s Contributions to Humanity” with Gideon Lustig, deputy consul general of Israel to the Pacific Northwest. At Missouri Street Theatre, 1125 Missouri St., Fairfield. 7 p.m. $10-$30. www.jewishsolano.com/israelcourse.

“Living with Integrity: Navigating Everyday Ethical Dilemmas.” Course on applied Jewish ethics. First of six weekly classes. At Jewish Learning Institute of S.F., 720 Lombard St., S.F. 7 p.m. $100. www.myjli.com.


“Religious pluralism in Israel.” Talk by scholar Nitzhia Shaked. At Congregation Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada St., Pleasanton. 7:30 p.m. $10. www.bethemek.org.


“Separating the Challah.” Class on challah making for Jewish women raising families.1 p.m. in North Berkeley, RSVP for details to imeinudoulas@gmail.com . Donations accepted.


“Harry and Zion.” Talk by Riva Gambert, director of the Partnership for Israel at the Jewish Federation of the East Bay, on President Harry Truman and the creation of the state of Israel. At Afikomen Judaica, 3042 Claremont Ave., Berkeley. 10:30 a.m. $5 with brunch. www.afikomen.com.

“On Weapons and Wickedness.” Talk by Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe, dean of the Institute of American and Talmudic  Law. At South Peninsula Hebrew Day School, 1030 Astoria Drive, Sunnyvale. 7 p.m. Free. RSVP at www.chabadsunnyvale.com/LectureRSVP.

“Diaspora and Homeland.” Talk on Jews in the diaspora during the Greco-Roman era. At Congregation Beth David, 19700 Prospect Road, Saratoga. 10:30 a.m. Small donation requested. www.beth-david.org.  


Panel discussion on anxiety. With Daniel Smith, author of “Monkey Mind,” and psychologists Raja Hornstein and Daniel Kalb. At Osher Marin JCC, 200 North San Pedro Rd., San Rafael. 7 p.m. $12-$15. www.marinjcc.org. Also Feb. 13 Daniel Smith speaks at Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. 7:30 p.m. $20-$25. www.paloaltojcc.org. Also Feb. 14 at the Jewish Community Library, 1835 Ellis St., S.F. Free. www.jewishlearningworks.org/library/adult-events.

“Open Sources.” Monthly night of Jewish learning. With kabbalist Gavriel Strauss. At Jewish LearningWorks, 639 14th Ave., S.F. 7 p.m. Free. www.jewishlearningworks.org

“Judaism and Positive Psychology.” First in a four-part class taught by psychotherapist and teacher of Jewish mysticism Estelle Frankel. At Lehraus Judaica, 2736 Bancroft Way, Berkeley. 7 p.m. $25 each. www.lehrhaus.org.


“Speech on Campus: the Good the Bad and the Ugly.” A conversation with Mark Yudof, president of the University of California, and Jim Brosnahan, senior partner Morrison and Foerester, LLP. At the California Historical Society, 678 Mission St., S.F. 5:30 p.m. $20-$30. RSVP at www.ajcsanfrancisco.org/yudof.