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Recordings of ALI Programs

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Sukkot Decorations and Jewish Folk Art with Rabbi David Lazar
Monday, October 2

From promoting mitzvot to promoting social and political agendas, from describing this world to describing the world to come, from encouraging us to leave the comfort of our homes to encouraging us to welcome others into our midst, Sukkot decorations tell a colorful story of how Jews have observed and thought about this holiday over the last 230 years.

October 2 | 

Tending to Our Souls for the High Holy Days: God’s Blessing in Genesis 22 with Rabbi Lilly Kaufman

September 18 | Recording

Prophecy and History with Hazzan Marcia Lane

What makes a prophet a prophet? What does the Torah tell us concerning when to trust or believe a prophecy? Hazzan Marcia Lane will explore early examples of prophecy and the beginning of this revolutionary literary tradition.

This series compliments Marcia’s course, Ten Haftarot in 8 Weeks but it is designed as an independent course. See below for a week-by-week class description.

August 7 - Says Who? | Recording | Study sheets
August 14 - Elijah | Recording | Study sheets
August 21 - Isaiah | Recording
August 28 - Jeremiah | Recording
September 11 - Ezekiel | Recording

Eleven Haftarot in 8 weeks with with Hazzan Marcia Lane

Join Hazzan Marcia Lane in exploring the three haftarot of rebuke before Tisha b'Av and the seven haftarot of consolation leading up to Rosh Hashanah. We will examine the history, personalities, language, and metaphors that make these prophetic passages so compelling.

July 6 | Recording
July 13 | Recording
July 20 | Recording
August 3 | Recording
August 10 | Recording

Teaching God to Cry: Understanding the Book of Lamentations through Midrash with Bex Stern Rosenblatt

Bex Stern Rosenblatt will expand our appreciation of Lamentations in anticipation of Tisha b’Av through a close read of selections from Eicha Raba.

Download the study sheets here
July 10 | Session 1 | Recording
July 17 | Session 2 | Recording
July 24 | Session 3 | Recording
July 31 Session 4 | Recording

A Deep Dive Into Streams of Zionist Thought and Theory
with Rabbi Daniel Levine

In this series, we will be exploring the different types of Zionistic thinking that would eventually create the framework for the diverse array of political philosophies within modern-day Israel.

May 22 | Herzl and an Introduction to Zionism | Recording

June 5 | Ahad Ha’am and Cultural Zionism - A State for the Jews or Jewish State?  |  Recording

June 12 | Revisionist Zionism: The Beginning of a 100-Year Political Battle | Recording

June 26 | Religious Zionism: When Politics Becomes Holy | Recording

The Pop Culture of Prayer with Cantor Matt Austerklein

Come experience the sacred nerdiness of the rabbis! Our sages constructed the texts of the siddur almost entirely out of cultural references to scenes from their favorite stories -- from the Torah! Examining our most well-known prayer texts, we will explore how these stories behind the prayers broaden our opportunity to connect to God and the siddur.

April 24  | The Amidah & The Rabbinic Movie Reel | Recording
May 1  | Shema - Scenes of Love, Light, & Liberty | Recording
May 8  | Baruch She’amar - Sung & Spoken Creation | Recording
May 14  | The Morning Blessings - Embodiment and Allusion | Recording

The Book of Ruth: Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After with Hazzan Marcia Lane

April 10 | Once Upon a Time | Recording
One could view the Book of Ruth as classic fairy tale. In the first of two parts, we examine the linguistic conventions and 'markers' of the traditional fairy tale, and see how they map onto the story of Ruth. Also, we will explore the legal and agricultural motifs in the story.

April 17 | And They Lived Happily Ever After | Recording
Part 2 of the exploration of the Book of Ruth examines the manipulation of convention in order to obtain the "right" ending for the story. Also, we'll see how storytelling changes history.

Sex and the Temple with Hazzan Marcia Lane
The erotic poetry of Shir HaShirim, and the allegorical interpretations that made it 'kosher'. A look at the language, structure, and steamy nature of the Song of Songs. Audio examples of some of the popular and more obscure musical compositions inspired by Shir HaShirim.

April 3 | Sex and the Temple | Recording

Understanding the Arab-Israeli Conflict with Professor Scott Spitzer
Scott Spitzer, Associate Professor of Political Science at California State University, Fullerton, invites us to join him for his course on the Politics of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. The class will explore the multiple and oftentimes conflicting narratives of major inflection points in Israel’s relationships with her surrounding neighbors, and with the Palestinians.

March 12  | Introduction to the Course: Early Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism | Recording

March 19  | Palestine under the British Mandate | Recording

March 26  | Competing Narratives: Israeli Independence? “Nakba”? | Recording

April 2  |  | Recording

April 16 |The six-day war; Israel’s borders; Israel’s nuclear capacity Part 1 | Recording

April 23The six-day war; Israel’s borders; Israel’s nuclear capacity Part 2 | Recording

April 30| Yom Kippur War and the Aftermath  | No recording available

May 14| Camp David, the Israel-Egypt Peace Agreement & the Lebanon War  | Recording

May 21| From the First Intifadah to the 1993 Oslo Accord | Recording

June 4| Oslo unfulfilled + The Second Intifada and it’s Repercussions | Recording

June 18| Oslo 2 and What Went Wrong | Recording

June 25| Is Peace still Possible? | Recording

Cancel Culture and the Megillot with Rabbi Daniel Levine
How the Books of Esther, Shir Hashirim and Kohelet were almost excluded from the Jewish scriptural cannon

March 13  | The Attempted Canceling of the Book of Esther

March 20 | Shir Hashirim (Song of Songs) and Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) Barely Missed the Cutting Room Floor | Recording

Preview of Upcoming Class "Understanding the Arab-Israeli Conflict" and Updates on the Israeli Parliament
Scott Spitzer gave an overview of our upcoming ALI In the Evening series "Understanding the Arab-Israeli Conflict." He also touched upon current changes in the Israeli Parliament. 

March 6 | Recording

From Catastrophe to Hope: The Biblical Book of Joel with Rabbi David Lazar

The account of Joel’s words is short but it packs a wallop: it’s vivid and colorful, even scary. While some scholars assume Joel was one of the early prophets—a contemporary of the First Temple in Jerusalem—many claim he was actually one of the last prophets, writing in Jerusalem in the time of Second Temple and yearning for the time when the Dispersed would return to the Land.

Join us for a close reading of this fascinating little book, in an attempt to understand the circumstances surrounding its composition, use of other biblical materials and how it has been understood over the centuries. Course study sheets are downloadable in recorded video descriptions.

Jan 9 | Devastation and Repentance – Joel 1:1-2:17 | Recording
Jan 23 | Repentance and a Change of Plans | Recording
Feb 6   | Joel in the New Testament and Jewish Liturgy | Recording
Feb 13 | From Catastrophe to Hope: Joel and Us | Recording

Mahloket Matters How to Disagree Constructively with Rabbi Marcia Tilchin 

A six-session curriculum created by the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution (PCJCR) titled  Mahloket Matters: – The Beit Midrash Way. The methodology of wrestling with conflicting opinions, found on every page of classic Jewish texts, can be used to increase one's desire and ability to understand and engage more constructively with conflicting political / social opinions and improving civil discourse.

Each unit examines a central question which is first analyzed through a biblical conflict story and then examines contradictory historical precedents that can be used to support or refute opposing responses to the central question of the unit. 

Oct 24  | Introduction Recording
Dec. 19 Unit 1: Meet or Refuse to Meet? From Korah and Moses to Political Adversaries Today Recording
Jan. 30 | Unit 2: Fear War Or Trust Peace? Recording
Feb. 27 | Unit 3: Xenophobia Or National Security? Recording
Mar. 27 | Unit 4: Coexist or Separate? From Isaac and Ishmael to Israelis and Palestinians | Recording
June 19  | Unit 5: "Fake News" or Uncovering the Truth | Recording


Jewish Music & Migration in Europe 1550-1650 with Cantor Matt Austerklein. (2022)
The era of Shakespeare, Galileo, and Newton was also one of great migration and musical growth for Jewish communities across the Mediterranean. This class will uncover the little told history of these diverse Jewish musical cultures which form the foundation of Jewish soundscapes today.

Oct 31st | Germany Recording
Nov 7th | Italy #1: Salamone Rossi, Leon Moderna, & Jews in the Italian Arts Recording
Nov 21st | Italy #2: Music of Shylock's Venice w/guest teacher Avery Gosfield | Recording
Nov 28th | Turkey Recording
Dec 5th | Bohemia and Poland Recording
Dec 12th | Amsterdam Recording

From Talmud to Tachlis: The Framework of the Rabbis
Aug 15 From Narrative to Law and Back Again | Recording | Source Sheet
Aug 22 Intention or Consequentialism | Recording
Aug 29 Ritual Ethical Consumerism | Recording

From Straits to Straights: From Mourning to Action
July 18 Reproductive Justice | Recording | Source Sheet
July 25 Reproductive Justice part II | RecordingSource Sheet
August 1 Slavery and Trafficking | RecordingSource Sheet
September 19 Police Brutality | Recording | Source Sheet
October 3 Civility and Community | Recording | Source Sheet

Conception, Pregnancy and Birth in the Bible with Bex Stern
June 13th Class Recording  Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth in Creation
June 20th Class Recording  
Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth in Genesis
July 11th Class Recording    Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth in Genesis

An Exploration with Bible Scholar Bex Stern Rosenblatt
March 1 Class Recording The Book of Esther
March 8 Class Recording The Book of Esther
April 4 Class Recording    The Book of Songs | Shir HaShirim

April 11 Class Recording  The Book of Songs | Shir HaShirim
May 16 Class Recording  The Book of Ruth
May 23 Class Recording  The Book of Ruth

Mussar and the Omer with Rabbi Marcia Plumb
A 3-week class on the connection between the spiritual practices of Mussar and moving through the Omer in a purposeful way with Mussar expert Rabbi Marcia Plumb of Congregation Mishkan Tefillah.
April 25 class recording
May 2 class recording

May 9 class recording

Shakespeare & Wisdom with Professor Julia Lupton
In this three-part lecture series, UCI Shakespeare scholar Julia Lupton explored Shakespeare as a wisdom writer, with an emphasis on his engagement with works from the Hebrew Bible. Feel free to enjoy the recordings from this recent ALI series.

Monday, March 7 Psalms, Sonnets, and Soliloquies | Class Recording
Monday, March 14: “Justice, Justice Thou Shalt Pursue” Shakespeare and Equity | Class Recording
Monday, March 21: Woman Wisdom: Shakespeare’s Female Truth-Seekers | Class Recording


Wed, October 4 2023 19 Tishrei 5784