Russian Jewish literature. Svetlana Natkovich, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford’s Taube Center for Jewish Studies, discusses the criminal characters in Russian Jewish literature in the 19th century. At Stanford University, 450 Serra Mall, Stanford. 12 p.m. Free. www.stanford.edu/dept/jewishstudies.
“The Israel Question.” Ari Shavit, correspondent for the Israel daily Haaretz and author of “My Promised Land,” discusses Israel’s history and its current internal and external threats. At JCCSF, 3200 California St., S.F. 7 p.m. $25-$35. www.jccsf.org. Also Dec. 3 at Cubberley Community Center, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. Sponsored by Commonwealth Club. 7 p.m. $7-$20. www.commonwealthclub.org/node/67616.
“The News About the News.” Michael Krasny, author and host of KQED Radio’s “Forum,” discusses how the media conveys information. In conversation with journalist Phil Bronstein. At Outdoor Art Club, 1 W. Blithedale Ave., Mill Valley. 8 p.m. $35-$45. www.commonwealthclub.org/krasny.
Reform Judaism in Ukraine. Rabbi Alex Dukhovny, head of the Reform (Progressive) movement in Ukraine, speaks about the movement’s growth. At Congregation Beth Israel Judea, 625 Brotherhood Way, S.F. 12 p.m. $10 catered lunch. RSVP to Celedoncat70@yahoo.com. Also Dec. 6 at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills. 6:15 p.m. Shabbat service; 7:30 p.m. $25 dinner; $10 for children. www.betham.org. Also Dec. 7 at Congregation Shir Hadash, 20 Cherry Blossom Lane, Los Gatos. Shabbat service 10:30 a.m. Potluck lunch 12:30 p.m. Free. Please bring dish that feeds five to eight people. www.shirhadash.org.
“Homeland.” Alex Gansa, creator of the Showtime series about terrorism based on an Israeli TV series, speaks about the complexities of fighting terrorism in a post–9/11 world. At JCCSF, 3200 California St., S.F. 7 p.m. $25-$35. www.jccsf.org. (See story, 26)
Anat Hoffman. Leader of Women of the Wall and the Israel Religious Action Center speaks about global human rights. At Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland. 2:30 p.m. Free. www.oaklandsinai.org.
Year of Civil Discourse. Annual event elevates dialogue about Israel in the Jewish community. Includes discussion and an advance reading of Aaron Davidman’s play “Wrestling Jerusalem.” At Congregation Beth Israel Judea, 625 Brotherhood Way, S.F. 2 to 5 p.m. Free. www.jcrc.org/ycd.htm.
Rabbi Arik Ascherman. The co-founder of Rabbis for Human Rights and former spiritual leader of Temple Beth Hillel in Richmond speaks about the links among historical Jewish teaching , human rights and modern Israel. At Congregation Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley. 7:30 p.m. Free. www.bethelberkeley.org.