Sunday, October 6, 10:30 AM - Two Among the Righteous Few: A Story of Courage

Nestled in the hills of Jerusalem at Yad Vashem is a special section dedicated to non-Jews who carried out acts of courage during the Holocaust. Remembered there are Frans and Mien Wijnakker, a couple who saved the lives of at least two dozen Jews in southern Holland. Author Marty Brounstein will explore the risks that they took to those in dire need. Admission is free. Sponsor and Venue: Cong. B’nai Shalom’s Israel Engagement Committee, 74 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek.

Friday, October 11, 9:30 AM - A Trio of Authors

A morning of delightful readings from three local authors. Elaine Starkman’s works include Hearing Beyond Sound, Here I Am: Contemporary Jewish Writing from Around the World. Learning to Sit in the Silence: A Journal of Caretaking Poems. Shoshana Eliahu is the author of The Sand Soldiers, and Sylvia Berek Rosenthal’s poetry has appeared in Poetica and other publications. Admission, including light refreshments, is free. Sponsor and Venue: Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living. 4000 Camino Tassajara, Danville.

Sunday, October 13, 3:00 PM - Bringing Buber into Our Lives

Martin Buber was one of the great Jewish thinkers of the past century. In this innovative session, Jake Birnberg, a long-time student of Buber, will explore Buber’s life and his development of the “I-Thou” relationship. Using his writings, musings and stories, we will meditate and open a window into our own natural ability to be truly present for our family, friends and nature. Admission: $10. Sponsor and Venue: Cong. B’nai Tikvah, 25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek.

Wednesday, Oct. 16, 7:30 PM - What Happened at the White House: The Helen Thomas/David Nesenoff Story

Rabbi Dr. David Nesenoff gained national attention in June 2010 when his video about the late White House correspondent Helen Thomas went viral on the web. He will talk about Thomas’ controversial remarks about Israel, and provide us with sound advice on how to fight anti-Semitism. Rabbi Nesenoff was the keynote speaker at Yale University’s Global Symposium on Anti-Semitism. “Incredible message... entertaining and captivating!” –Rabbi Dr. Noteh Glogauer, Australia. Admission: $12. Sponsor: Chabad of Contra Costa. Venue: Contra Costa JCC, 2071 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek.

Thursday, October 24, 7:30 PM - Blue States, Red States, Jewish State: A Journalist’s Perspective on the American-Israeli Alliance

Israeli journalist Gil Hoffman is the chief political correspondent and analyst for The Jerusalem Post, and has interviewed every major figure across the Israeli political spectrum. A regular analyst on CNN, Al-Jazeera, and other major news outlets, Hoffman provides a behind the scenes look at both the intrigue and humor in the Israeli political arena. Admission: $12; Seniors and students: $10. Underwritten by Jo-Ann and Dr. Arnold Jacobson. Presenters: Contra Costa Jewish Day School, JCRC/East Bay, and the Jewish Federation of the East Bay. Venue: Contra Costa Jewish Day School, 955 Risa Road, Lafayette. NOTE: The presentation previously scheduled for October 23 has been cancelled. Email myrna@jfed.org for information about a new date and time..

Tuesday, October 29, 7:30 PM - The Myth of Biblical Homophobia

Biblical text is often cited to condemn LGBT people and those who love them. But the loudest voices in the conversation are often the least knowledgeable. What does Biblical text say about same-sex relations? Join Rabbi Mike Rothbaum from Beth Chaim Congregation for an in-depth discussion as we challenge the myth of Biblical homophobia. We’ll talk about the meaning the texts can have for us today, including a discussion of why people who are not “religious” should care about the Bible’s narratives and ethical guidelines. Admission is free. Sponsor and Venue: Beth Chaim Cong., 1800 Holbrook Drive, Danville.

Sunday, November 3, 2:00 PM - Sniffer Investigates: The Case of the Crown Jewels

What’s the Queen to do? The crown jewels are missing! Follow the famous canine detective Sniffer as he deciphers the clues in this exciting program for children and parents alike. Popular children’s author Loz Delaney — a teacher at the Contra Costa Jewish Day School — will introduce us to his favorite sleuth, a retired royal court guard dog, who is known for his courage and sense of honor. Mr. Delaney will also provide a sneak peak into his much anticipated third novel, welcoming ideas to help shape Sniffer’s next adventure. Admission is free. Sponsor and Venue: Contra Costa Jewish Day School, 955 Risa Road, Lafayette.

Sunday, November 3, 3:00 PM - Free Spirit: Growing Up On the Road and Off the Grid

In his new book Free Spirit, Walnut Creek attorney Joshua Safran recounts hitchhiking across the American West with his wiccan revolutionary mother and standing up to his violent, alcoholic, guerilla-fighter stepfather. His story reveals how he overcame adversity and reconnected to his Jewish heritage. Come see why Safran has been described as one of the next generation’s most inspired spiritual leaders and why Publishers Weekly called Safran’s stories “introspective, hilarious, and heartbreaking.” Admission, including a copy of Free Spirit: $15. Sponsor and Venue: Cong. B’nai Tikvah, 25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek.

Tuesday, November 5, 7:30 PM - The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan

In this true-life mystery about a “boy avenger,” best-selling author Jonathan Kirsch brings us into the life of 17 year-old Jewish refugee Herschel Grynszpan, who walked into the German embassy in Paris on November 7, 1938, and assassinated a Nazi diplomat. Two days later, the Third Reich inaugurated a night of terror known as “Kristallnacht.” Kirsch explores whether Grynszpan was a “crazed gunman,” an agent of the Gestapo, or a courageous young man who took “the first shot” at the Nazis. Admission: $7; Students free. Sponsors: Cong. B’nai Tikvah, Jewish Federation and The Jewish Community Foundation of the East Bay’s Tillie and Rene Molho Holocaust Remembrance Fund. Venue: Cong. B’nai Tikvah, 25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek.

Wednesday, November 6, 6:30 PM Dinner; 7:30 PM Lecture - FDR, Lindbergh and Hollywood: The Epic Battle over Isolationism

In the years leading up to America’s entry into WWII, President Roosevelt and Charles Lindbergh sharply disagreed about the country’s isolationist policy. Using film clips from the movies of the 30’s and early 40’s, Riva Gambert traces the shifting alliances that divided Americans prior to Pearl Harbor, and the pressure put on Hollywood to steer clear of any negative portrayal of the Third Reich. Admission including a buffet dinner: $22; Lecture only: $5. RSVPs required for dinner: 510.318.6453. Sponsor: Contra Costa JCC. Venue: Roundhill Country Club, Alamo.

Sunday, November 10, 11:00 AM - Introduction to Jewish Mindfulness

Known for his dedication to developing spiritual awareness, Rabbi Rex D. Perlmeter is the founder of the Jewish Wellness Center of New Jersey, a holistic program designed to help synagogues and individuals strive for wholeness in body, heart, mind and soul. He is the co-author of Making Prayer Real. Admission is free. Sponsor and Venue: Temple Isaiah, 945 Risa Road, Lafayette. Note: Rabbi Perlmeter will also speak at Friday, November 8 services at 8:00 PM and on Saturday, Novevember 9 at 5:00 PM.

Thursday, November 14, 10:00 AM - The Golem and the Jinni

Helene Wecker weaves together strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern legends along with historical fiction to create the magical fable, The Golem and the Jinni. This marvelous story has two supernatural creatures meet in turn-of-the-20th century New York City. Chava is a female golem, created from clay by an aged dabbler in the dark Kabbalistic arts, while Ahmad is a male jinni born of fire, trapped in a copper flask and finally released to an unfamiliar world. Unlikely friends, their mystical connection leads to new insights of the world in which they now live. Admission: $5 includes light refreshments. Sponsors: Cong. B’nai Shalom and Diablo Valley Hadassah. Venue: Cong. B’nai Shalom, 74 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek.

Saturday, November 16, 7:30 PM - The Comedy of Jeff Applebaum

Join us for an evening of non-stop laughter with comedian Jeff Applebaum (pictured on cover). Applebaum will examine his particular life experiences, which include having a Chinese wife who orders from take-out menus in fluent Mandarin, and raising a teenage son who calls himself “Jewnese,” because he says it sounds better than “Chine-ish.” Admission: $15. Sponsors: Contra Costa JCC and The Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living. Venue: Contra Costa JCC, 2071 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek.

Sunday, November 17, 10:00 AM - Trusting

Gordon Freeman Ph.D., Rabbi Emeritus at Cong. B’nai Shalom, will explore the importance of trust in the creation of people-to-people as well as community relationships. His new book, Trusting, includes interviews with important personages, e.g., God, Adam and Eve, and Moses, as well as text study and exercises. Admission is free. Sponsor: Cong. B’nai Shalom and its Men’s Club, 74 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek

Sunday, November 17, 7:00 PM - Screening of Monsieur Batignole

This powerfully moving French drama follows Edmond Batignole, an apolitical grocer, who finds courage (and his heart) when faced with the adversities of WWII. Admission: $10; Students: $3. Sponsors: Cong. Beth Emek and the Jewish Federation’s East Bay International Jewish Film Festival. Venue: Vine Cinema, 1722 First Street, Livermore.

Thursday, November 21, 10:00 AM - From the Old West to Hollywood: The True Story of Josephine Marcus Earp

Lady at the O.K. Corral is an engrossing tale of heroism, romance and ambition. In this tour de force biography, author Ann Kirschner reveals the life of the aspiring actress and dancer who won the heart of Wyatt Earp, the hero of the O.K. Corral. We journey with Wyatt’s long-time common-law wife from New York to Tombstone, Arizona; to the boomtowns of the Alaskan Gold rush, and finally to Hollywood. Admission: $10; Seniors: $7. Venue and Sponsor: Contra Costa JCC, 2071 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek.

Thursday, November 21, 10:00 AM - Chanukah: Real Dedication

Dr. Nily Shiryon, Israeli psychologist, educator, producer and writer, will explore the real story of dedication associated with Chanukah. This much-loved holiday set the precedent for all struggles for freedom of conscience, freedom of thought and freedom of religious belief. What does this historical holiday have to tell us and the rest of the world as well? Admission is free. Sponsor and Venue: The Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living, 4000 Camino Tassajara, Danville.

Sunday, December 8, 11:00 AM - Why the “Women of the Wall” Matter

Anat Hoffman is Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center, the legal and advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel and chairwoman of Women of the Wall. Previously, she held a seat on the Jerusalem City Council, where for fourteen years she stood in opposition to the policies of the city’s right-wing and ultra-Orthodox administration. Admission is free. Sponsor and Venue: Temple Isaiah, 945 Risa Road, Lafayette. Note: Anat Hoffman will also speak at services on Friday, December 6 at 7:00 PM.

Thursday, December 12, 7:30 PM - From Lone Soldier to Filmmaker

Filmmaker and former “lone soldier” Ilan Benjamin left Lafayette for Israel where he joined the Israel Defense Forces. Upon completion of his army service, he began studying film at USC. Ilan will read from MASA, his powerful collection of short stories chronicling his life in the IDF, and screen two of his short films. General Admission: $7; Students: Free. Sponsors: Cong. B’nai Shalom, Diablo Valley Hadassash, and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. Venue: Cong. B’nai Shalom, 74 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek.

Sunday, December 15, 3:00 PM - The Time is Now with Musician Eliana Kissner

The Time is Now features Eliana Kissner, the lead singer of Safra — a Jewish Middle Eastern band — who also has a musical theater, opera, and cantorial background. Her songs represent “contemporary East meets West” music. Come listen and join in singing wordless melodies of the mystics, songs from the Middle East, and original melodies. Admission: $15. Sponsor and Venue: Cong. B’nai Tikvah, 25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek.

Sunday, January 12, 3:00 PM - Send in the Puppets

Join master puppeteer Daniel Barash for a hands-on, interactive “Shadow Puppet” experience for young children and parents alike. Master the centuries-old craft of shadow puppetry and take your newly acquired skills home with you! To learn more about Daniel Barash: www.shadowpuppetworkshop.com. RSVP to michelle@jfed.org. Admission is free. Sponsors: Gan B’nai Shalom, Contra Costa Jewish Day School, Gan Ilan, Jewish Federation of the East Bay, PJ Library®, Venue: Contra Costa Jewish Day School, 955 Risa Rd., Lafayette.

Wednesday, January 15, 10:30 AM - One Bay One Book: Discussion of Dara Horn’s A Guide for the Perplexed

Memories run deep through Horn’s spellbinding new novel, A Guide for the Perplexed, that combines a taut, page-turning thriller with complex themes of history, family, technology, and religion. Intertwined with the contemporary plot are the true stories of two historic figures: Solomon Schechter — a Cambridge professor seeking a medieval trove of manuscripts in 1896 — and Moses Maimonides, the rabbi and physician who wrote the seminal Guide for the Perplexed in the 12th century. Admission is free. Sponsor and Venue: Temple Isaiah, 945 Risa Road, Lafayette.

Friday, January 24, 8:00 PM - Allan Sherman: The Life, The Hits, The Lost Lyrics

Join author Mark Cohen for this lively “Library Shabbat” presentation of his book Overweight Sensation: The Life and Comedy of Allan Sherman. This biography chronicles the famous song parodist who achieved worldwide fame in 1963 with “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh,” and whose unapologetic Jewish comedy heralded an explosion in American ethnic pride. A sampling of Sherman’s lost and well-known recordings will be played. Admission is free. Sponsor and Venue: Temple Isaiah, 945 Risa Road, Lafayette.

Sunday, March 23, 5:00 PM - The Afro-Semitic Experience: Concert and Lecture

The Afro-Semitic Experience, co-founded by African-American jazz pianist Warren Byrd and Jewish-American jazz bassist David Chevan, weaves stories and music together as it celebrates and explains the Jewish and African-American sacred traditions. This band is emerging on the festival scene and redefining the jazz concert. Its sound is beyond category — a mix of spiritual, world-beat, funk, jazz, cantorial, gospel, salsa, swing … soul-driven music. Their concerts are celebrations where they play great music, tell stories, and offer a positive and meaningful message: Unity in the Community. Admission is free. Underwritten by The Stanley and Rebecca Harris Memorial Lecture. Sponsor and Venue: Temple Isaiah, 945 Risa Road, Lafayette.

Beth Chaim Congregation

1800 Holbrook Drive, Danville (925.736.7146)

From Oakland: Take Highway 24, connecting to Highway 680 South. Exit at Sycamore Valley Road/EAST. Turn left onto Holbrook Drive. Once up the hill, turn right into the parking lot.

From Pleasanton: Take Highway 680 North. Follow directions above.

Congregation B’nai Shalom

74 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek (925.934.9446)

From Oakland: Take Highway 24 to the last exit - Mt. Diablo Blvd., staying on Mt. Diablo until it becomes Walker. Continue until Walker bears right onto Walnut Blvd. Make an immediate left turn onto Eckley Lane.

From Pleasanton: Take Highway 680 north to S. Main Street exit in Walnut Creek. Continue to Mt. Diablo Blvd. Turn right and follow directions above.

Congregation B’nai Tikvah

25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek (925.933.5097)

From Oakland: Take Highway 24 to the last exit - Mt. Diablo Blvd., staying in the left-most lane upon exiting. Turn left onto Camino Diablo. Take your first right onto Springbrook Road. Drive for approximately 1 mile. Turn left onto Hillcroft and drive up the road, turning left into the synagogue parking lot.

From Pleasanton: Take Highway 680 north to S. Main Street exit in Walnut Creek. Continue to Mt. Diablo Blvd. Turn left and continue on Mt. Diablo until you are just driving under the highway overpass. Turn right onto Camino Diablo and follow directions above.

Contra Costa JCC

2071 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek

From Oakland: Take Highway 24 east to the Pleasant Hill road/south off-ramp exit. Turn right onto Pleasant Hill and left onto Olympic. Turn right onto Tice Valley and continue for 8/10 mile. The CCJCC is on the right-hand side of the street, immediately after the Walnut Creek gymnasium.

From Pleasanton: Take Highway 680 North to Olympic Blvd. Turn left onto Olympic and left onto Tice Valley. Follow directions above.

Contra Costa Jewish Day School

955 Risa Road, Lafayette (925.284.8288)

Follow directions below to Temple Isaiah. The school is located at the far end on the top level of the campus.

Reutlinger Community For Jewish Living

4000 Camino Tassajara, Danville (925.648.2800)

From Oakland: Take Highway 24 east continuing onto Highway 680 South. Exit at Sycamore Valley, taking the East off-ramp. Continue on Sycamore Valley for about 4 ½ miles. Reutlinger is on the right-hand side of the street, with the entrance to the facility on Parkhaven.

From Pleasanton: Take Highway 680 North, exiting at Sycamore Valley. Turn right onto Sycamore Valley, heading east. Follow directions above.

Temple Isaiah

945 Risa Road., Lafayette (925.283.2875)

From Oakland: Take Highway 24 east to the first exit in Lafayette: Acalanes/Mt. Diablo. Exit, staying to the right and following signs to Mt. Diablo. Turn left onto Risa Road (located immediately before the new Veterans Memorial Hall) and then drive up the hill to the sanctuary.

From Pleasanton: Take Highway 680 North to Highway 24 west, exiting at Central Lafayette. Make three right turns, continuing onto Mt. Diablo Blvd. Turn right onto Risa Road and then drive up the hill to the sanctuary.

Vine Cinema

1722 First Street, Livermore (925.447.2545)

From Oakland: Take Highway 580 East towards Stockton and follow directions below.

From Walnut Creek: Take Highway 680 South and connect to Highway 580 East towards Stockton. Exit at North Livermore, going towards downtown. Take the Central Livermore off-ramp and merge onto North Livermore Avenue. Turn right onto First Street. There is parking in back in the rear lot.

For more information or a brochure: 510.318.6453 or riva@jfed.org.