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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!

Our Winter -Spring 2023 schedule is shaping up to have many exciting events.  Click on a flyer for a larger image and registration link.



If you're not a member and enjoy viewing these classes, please consider joining as a member or making a thank you donation.

  Past Events

January 2023

Which Israel?:  Join us for a guided discussion examining what each of us means by the word Israel so that we might learn how to better ask and answer the question: Which Israel?



Down With the Crown (Part 4):  A 4-part series examining the Tanakh's conflicting views of the ancient Israeli monarchy.



Down With the Crown (Part 3):  A 4-part series examining the Tanakh's conflicting views of the ancient Israeli monarchy.


Down With the Crown (Part 2):  A 4-part series examining the Tanakh's conflicting views of the ancient Israeli monarchy.



Down With the Crown (Part 1):  A 4-part series examining the Tanakh's conflicting views of the ancient Israeli monarchy.


Jews at the Forefront of Modern Art: Miriam Schapiro: David Stoller tells us about groundbreaking, influential and under-appreciated, artist Miriam Schapiro.


December 2022

A Story of Jewish Immigration to Australia    Author Dr. Margaret Taft  tells the story of Leo & Mina Fink in her book "For the Greater Good". During the Holocaust, the Finks rallied to rescue survivors. Marshaling the might of local and international agencies, they spearheaded the urgent relief and settlement of thousands of displaced Holocaust survivors. They initiated expansive welfare programs while personally helping countless individuals. Mina's devotion to a group of war orphans known as the ‘Buchenwald boys' was testament to her and Leo’s relentless efforts to improve the lives of others.




Biblical Poetry: Beyond the Psalms  Rabbinic Intern Josh Nelson leads us into a deeper look at the Psalms found throughout the Tanakh. Developing a deeper appreciation for the literary artistry and structural elements of biblical poetry can reveal clever rhetorical flourishes that can be easily overlooked. Please join this class of discovery.


November 2022

Was the FIrst Alphabet an early form of Hebrew? Class led by Abraham Leibson. Learn about the interesting findings of language research, and Hebrew’s place in it as a likely mother of alphabets. The beginnings of the first alphabet’s family tree are shrouded in mystery. All modern alphabets are believed to have developed from a single parent script, which originated sometime in the second millennium BCE. Now, a controversial new theory has proposed that the original alphabet was actually an early form of Hebrew.


October 2022

Why Meditation? With Susan Sklaroff-Van Hook. During our interactive session, “Why Meditation,” we will explore different types of meditation and the ways in which this ancient practice can improve our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being and can beneficially affect the world. Perhaps most importantly, we will practice together.


Fermented Veggies With Miriam Gitterman: This single in-person class  covered the steps for making fermented vegetable popular with Israelis. An in-person class for those interested in taking home the end product, also broadcast on Zoom.

September 2022

Martin Buber Explained: KHN Member Abraham Leibson will use texts, slides and diagrams to make graphic the essence of the I-Thou, I-It concept. The presentation is followed by a discussion.


May 2022

Jews in the Forefront of American Modern Art Part 4: Helen Frankenthaler, at 24 years of age, stunned the art world with her painting “Mountain and Sea”, and introduced a new style that was to be called color field painting.


April 2022

Genesis & the "Big Bang" Theory:  KHN Member and Delaware Valley College Physics Professor Michael Tabachnick explains his startling resolution: There is a remarkable similarity between Creation as described in Genesis and the origins of the universe according to the “Big Bang Theory.”  He uses deep space photographs taken by the Hubble telescope and compares them to the biblical verse that seem to describe these very same vistas.


Jews in the Forefront of American Modern Art Part 3: Louise Nevelson, (born Leah Berliawsky) is famous for her monumental wall
pieces and outdoor sculptures (leading generations of women into provinces previously reserved for men.)


Between Biterness and Hope

Although we were not allowed to record a video of this event, Rabbi Pam Wax sent us the following poetry packet we can share. You can view it by clicking HERE

March 2022

Right to Be Safe

We were not allowed to record this program for sharing.


Reproductive Rights: A Status Report

Merrill Mezzacappa, Reproductive Justice Tasks Force Chair for NOW-NJ and Phoebe Pollinger , on the Board of the National Council of Jewish Women in Essex County (NJ), joined us to discuss where reproductive rights are locally and nationally and where the Jewish Community stands on it based on Jewish Law.

A Better Life for their Children

Author Andrew Feiler spoke about the collaboration between Julius Rosenwald and Booker T Washington where they launched an ambitious program in 1912 with black communities that created 4,978 public schools for African-American children in 15 Southern and border states. Due to a technical glitch the program starts 13 seconds into the video.


February 2022

Jews in the Forefront of Modern Art Part 2

A three-part series with David Stoller. This program will look at the outsized influence of Jewish artists in the rise of modernism in America, which occurred across all areas of the arts and design. Part 2, Mark Rothko (born Marcus Rothkowitz), a leader in post-war “Abstract Expressionism.” (Part 3 coming in April 2022)



Jews in the Forefront of Modern Art Part 1

A three-part series with David Stoller. In this program we will look at the outsized influence of Jewish artists in the rise of modernism in America, which occurred across all areas of the arts and design. Part 1 covered Ben Shahn, a leader of the “Social Realism” School that emerged between the wars.


Making Art: A Jewish History

Abraham Leibson, a KHN member, used video to show the Bezalel history & photographs to show examples of the creative output of Israeli artists. Like Israel itself, born out of determination, the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem has recaptured the creative forces seemingly repressed.


January 2022

Mid-East Peace
For so long Mid-East Peace has eluded us. This may be the time for deep scholarship and creative minds that could shape a better outcome, a special concern in the Jewish community. Join Dr. Christopher Mott, research fellow at the Institute for Peace & Diplomacy for a discussion.


Pre-Zionist Migrations from Russia to Palestine

How were these migrations possible? Who were these migrants, how did their arrival stir up new political visions and opportunities for belonging? PhD Eileen Kane, who is working on a book on the migrations, answers these questions and more. There's a slight glitch at the beginning of the recording but the rest of the video is fine.

December 2021

American Jews Encounter the Buddah

We explored some of the ways some Jews search for spirituality, the meditative traditions within Judaism itself, and how Jewish traditions differ from the Buddhist traditions Jews turn to. You may be surprised. We shared an overview, watched some videos and had a discussion led by Abraham Leibson.


November 2021
Cycles Within Cyles
Justin Goldman illuminated the wisdom and beauty of the Jewish calendar and entered into an exploration of how the cycles which make up the Jewish year offer us containers in which to build meaning in our lives as individuals and communities.

Sourdough Bread Making
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.


October 2021
Converso and Crypto Jews of New Mexico
After a September break for the Holidays, Rabbi Min Kantrowitz joined 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 was sponsored by Larry Fieber and JP Cronin. (VIDEO NOT AVAILABLE)

August 2021
Tzedakah - A Jewish Value

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.

Short Story Series
We listened, with subtitles to excerpts from Ruth Reichl's Tender at the Bone and a translation of Marcel Proust's famous madeleine scene in Swan's Way as Emma Popkin facilitated a discussion of family, memory and identity through food and culinary experiences.

July 2021
FilmShul: From the Catskills With Love

We welcomed 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.

Dura Europas

Abraham Leibson presented 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.



June 2021
Torah in the Tarot

Author Stav Appel shared his provocative thesis that the original Tarot cards were a tool for Jewish education during the centuries when it was forbidden to be openly Jewish in France.His findings seem to reveal hidden images that may have been used to hold onto Judaic symbols and a lost heritage.

Rabbi In the Political Trenches
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?


May 2021
Short Story Series

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.

Nazi Looted Art 

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.


April 2021
Humanistic Judaism

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.

Mendelsohn's Synagogues in America

Photographer Craig Palmer presented his book Eric Mendelsohn's Synagogues 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.

March 2021
Jewish & the Art School of Paris (Pre-WWII)

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.

February 2021
The Reluctant Rabbi

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. (VIDEO NOT AVAILABLE)

Cairo Geniza
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.


January 2021

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.


2020 and earlier..
(we weren't using Zoom extensively, so recordings not available)
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 a three-part series focused on parenting skills presented by KHN member and child psychologist 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.


Sun, February 5 2023 14 Sh'vat 5783