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Bagel U

 “Bagel University” (commonly known as “Bagel U”) is a learning experience where members teach members at the Shul, in their homes, or on Zoom on a broad range of topics within Jewish heritage, religion, culture, and the arts.  “Bagel U” classes are a way of helping our members gain a deeper understanding of topics of personal interest that are related to Judaism. Members are encouraged to offer their suggestions of classes they'd like to attend as well as classes they'd like to lead!

For Fall-Winter 2021/22 we have a growing slate of classes on Zoom to meet all interests. Click on a flyer below for a larger image, more information and a registration link. 


  Past Events

In early November, Miriam Gitterman gave a wonderful class on sourdough bread making. We watched as she showed us sourdough loaves at various stages of the process. We learned how to mix, fold, proof, shape, score and bake the dough. Afterward, we enjoyed tasting the hot delicious loaf of sourdough bread. Our thanks to Miriam for her tips and tricks of bread baking. Now it is our turn to make our own loaves.


After a September break for the Holidays, the programming resumed in October with Rabbi Min Kantrowitz joining us on Zoom to give a presentation on New Mexico’s Conversos  and Crypto-Jews . The Crypto-Jews practiced their Judaism in secret in Spain during the Inquisition and brought their traditions to America, settling in New Mexico where they blended their traditions with those of the people of the southwest.      
This program sponsored by Larry Fieber and JP Cronin. We are hoping to have video available soon.


As August came to a close, we learned about Tzedakah. Tzedakah is a Jewish value, but what do our sources teach us about how, when, and why we give?  We explored texts from the Torah, Talmud, and law codes and saw how our sages debated these issues. Presented by Rebecca Kaufman, daughter of Andrew Kaufman, a fourth year rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College.


The end of July saw us welcome FilmShul presenters Irv Slifkin and Laurence Lerman, who came via Zoom to tell and show the story of how the Catskills became known as the Borsht Belt influenced Woody Allen, Jerry Lewis, Milton Berle, and countless other Jewish comedians.

July 2021 saw Abraham Leibson present the story of Dura Europas synagogue using photographs and videos prepared by scholars. It reveals the varied influences on that Jewish community, much like the American experience on today’s Jews. Dura Europas was at the crossroads of battling empires in the Mideast. Founded in 300 BCE, it was overrun by different empires a number of times, and finally destroyed and abandoned in 256 CE. A quirk of defensive military maneuvers resulted in the entombment of the synagogue, making possible this remarkable discovery.



In June 2021, our former rabbinical intern Michael Pollack, now Rabbi Michael Pollack, who chose activism over a pulpit to engage dark forces of corruption in Pennsylvania government, returned to speak. He started an organization called March on Harrisburg, leading marches reminiscent of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. We welcomed Rabbi Michael home! How can the KHN community learn to effectively bring about justice and Tikkun?


 In May 2021, Emma Popkin led a discussion of the short story Bontshe The Silent by I. L. Peretz. The story's audio, which is cut off in the video of the event, can be viewed HERE.

Also in May, KHN member Abraham Leibson led a discussion about Nazi Looted Art. We have seen movies about art recovery (Woman in Gold, The Monument Men, and others) and have heard accounts of thousands of other artworks, some still being withheld by museums and private collectors.  YouTube videos helped us understand what happened inspired a discussion about that history and its meaning.




In April 2021, we learned about Humanistic Judaism from Society of Humanistic Judaism Executive Director Paul Golin.  They have removed reference to God and the supernatural from their liturgy and instead overlaid a Humanistic philosophy of life onto Jewish holiday celebrations and lifecycle events.


 Also in April 2021, photographer Craig Palmer presented his book Eric Mendelsohn's Synaguges in America.  Between 1946 and 1953, German-Jewish architect Mendelsohn conceived and brought to magnificent fruition four synagogues that became the benchmark of modern American synagogue architecture. Palmer told the story of the architect, his designs, and the relationships in the architect’s career with spectacular photographs from his book.



In March 2021, KHN member Andre Salz, who is a painter and art historian, took us on a journey into the past and taught us about Jewish artists in Paris pre-World War II. In the quarter of Montparnasse in Paris, a group of Jewish painters (Soutine, Chagall, Modigliani etc.) were changing the direction of modern art. Here is their story. Salz regales us with fascinating stories of artists, many of whom were clients of Andre’s art dealer father in Paris. This is an excellent companion to the current show at the Barnes Foundation in Philly.


In February 2021 we had a large Zoom turnout for Rabbi Laurie Katz Braun sharing a sneak preview of her new one-woman show "The Reluctant Rabbi" exploring life-changing questions we ask ourselves and to help us read the signposts along the way.

Also in February 2021, KHN member Abraham Leibson led a discussion about the Cairo Geniza. The Genzia, considered the second most important Judaic find after the Dead Sea Scrolls, was discovered at the Ben Ezra synagogue, It provided a unique window into the past, starting in the twelfth century, when Maimonides was the personal physician to the Sultan. Attendees viewed two YouTube videos, one by the book authors and the other from Cambridge University, which organized the  find that was brought to them by Rabbi Solomon Schechter in 1896.




The year 2021 started with an informative session on ShareGiving. David Stoller, in collaboration with his brother and other professionals, has created a novel approach to caregiving called Sharegiving, which he believes can make an enormous difference in the effectiveness and well-being of the caregiver to those with Alzheimer's, dementia, and other diseases. The presentation used an interview format between David and his brother Rob, unpacking the core elements of the program.



There was an exciting lineup of virtual courses and speakers during the summer and fall 2020, including a virtual cooking class by KHN member Judith Daniels and the first two parts of a three-part series focused on parenting skills presented by KHN member Geoff Wyckoff.   

Poetry Cafe:  The first Kehilat HaNahar Poetry Cafe was called a flaming success. Words lit up the Shabbat evening from the creativity of our own KHN members delivering heartfelt and humorous works.

Participating readers included: Lynn Levin, David Stoller, Andre Salz, Jennifer Fritch, Rabbi Diana, Abraham Leibson and Richard Kirschner. Also, someone read Susan Rattner’s haikus for her in her absence. The works of some of the authors can be read here.

Jews Learning About Islam: Our own Andre Salz delivered a talk about his own experiences of interacting with and learning about the history and the people who practice Islam.  The emphasis was on meeting people with a shared history and engaging on a human, not ideological or political level.


Fri, December 3 2021 29 Kislev 5782