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Yom Limmud 2022 – Saturday, February 5

Join us for a day full of learning for all ages. See below to learn about this year’s learning sessions for adults!

Day-of Schedule / Yom Limmud at a Glance Session Descriptions/Bios
Register Now     Block A
    Block B
    Block C
    Bonus Session

Day-of Schedule / Yom Limmud at a Glance

Register

Join us for part of the day or the whole day! We will join together at 9:30am for a welcome and a time to connect before moving into our learning sessions.

Zoom links for each session will be sent to all registrants prior to Yom Limmud. Please be in touch with Betsy Krut at education@leobaecktemple.org or 310.476.2861 ext. 200 if you have any additional questions.

We look forward to a wonderful day of learning together!

Session Descriptions/Bios

BLOCK A       10:00 – 10:50

A1 – Take Yom Limmud on the Road: A Guided Contemplative Walk
Presenter:
Rabbi Benjamin Ross

Grab your sneakers, head phones, and hop on zoom on your cell phone as you enjoy a walk with your LBT friends! Choose a favorite spot to walk in your neighborhood as Rabbi Ross guides you via zoom through a soulful and rejuvenating Shabbat experience.

Rabbi Benjamin Ross was raised in Newton, MA, refined in Brooklyn, NY, and received a B.A in Comparative Religion from the University of Rochester. From 1996-2011 Benjamin worked as a community organizer in Harlem and Brooklyn and directed national leadership initiatives in the Jewish community for Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice. While at HUCJIR he interned at East End Temple in NYC, Kol Ami in White Plains, and Beth Ha-Sholom in Williamsport, PA, and was mentored by rabbis and congregants alike. In addition, Benjamin founded www.ProjectZug.org, connecting hundreds of Israeli, Americans, and Jews around the globe in one-to-one online learning, and conceived and directed HUC-JIR’s Smashing Idols Fellowship, to engage college students to strengthen progressive Jewish life on campus. Benjamin is married to Liz Bennett and they have two boys, Reuven and Zeke.


A2 – The Past and Future of Nazi Hunting
Presenter: Dr. Jared McBride

After the Second World War, the Allies tried top Nazi leaders for crimes against humanity at Nuremberg. However, many Nazis escaped justice by fleeing abroad, while some hid in Europe in plain sight. Over the following decades, self-proclaimed “Nazi hunters” and governments took over where Nuremberg left off, attempting to hold Nazis and their accomplices accountable for their crimes. To this day, there are still ongoing efforts to try war criminals for the crimes of the Holocaust. This talk will explore some of the ethical, legal, and political questions surrounding the global hunt for Nazis in both a national and international context, in addition to asking if and what the future of Nazi hunting and justice entails.

Jared McBride (Ph.D., UCLA, 2014) is a historian who specializes in the regions of Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe in the 20th century and whose research interests include nationalist movements, mass violence, the Holocaust, interethnic conflict, and war crimes prosecution. He has published widely in leading journals in his field. McBride held post-doc positions at the USC Shoah Foundation, Columbia University, Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. McBride is currently completing a book manuscript on local perpetrators and interethnic violence in Nazi-occupied western Ukraine. At present, he is an Assistant Adjunct Professor in the History Department at UCLA.”


A3 – Not Your Grandparents Judaism: Ten Trends Reshaping American Religion and the Jewish Experience
Presenter: Dr. Steven Windmueller

Whether one analyzes the pandemic experience, the impact of technology, or the new generational behaviors in connection with American society and religion, we are undergoing a transformative moment in time. By way of background, the new Los Angeles Jewish Population Study sheds light on some of these emerging patterns. These changes will likely lead to the realignment of the role that religion will play within this nation. More directly, this session will explore what all of this may mean for our Jewish community and Leo Baeck Temple.

Steven Windmueller is an emeritus professor of Jewish communal studies at HUC-JIR, Los Angeles. Prior to his academic appointment, Dr. Windmueller served the Jewish community in a number of executive roles. Trained as a political scientist, he has authored five books and numerous articles. In December 2021, he edited a volume for USC’s Casden Institute on the impact of the Trump Presidency on American Jews and Israel. Steven has devoted much of his research to studying communal trends, Jewish political behavior, and American anti-Semitism. Currently, he consults for a number of foundations, public policy organizations, and national Jewish agencies. He serves on Leo Baeck Temple board.


A4 – Rediscovering Los Angeles Through the Power of Historic Preservation
Presenter:
Ken Bernstein

Los Angeles has been breaking new ground in its approach to historic preservation. Ken Bernstein, author of the L.A Times bestselling book, Preserving Los Angeles, will share an engaging overview of how preservation is transforming L.A.’s communities, highlighting where to discover remarkable architecture and diverse cultural history all around us, often in unlikely places.

For the past 15 years, Ken Bernstein has led Los Angeles City Planning’s Office of Historic Resources, directing the second largest municipal historic preservation program in the nation and completing SurveyLA, the first-ever citywide survey to identify historic resources in every L.A. community. He has also spearheaded Los Angeles policy planning initiatives in community planning, mobility, and affordable housing.


BLOCK B        11:00 – 11:50

B1 – Finding Hope in a Cynical World
Presenters:
Rabbis Ken Chasen, Lisa Berney, Benjamin Ross & Soon-To-Be Rabbi Scott Goldberg

It’s not the easiest time in American Jewish history to maintain a sense of hope, but our tradition has many lessons about finding hope in unlikely places as we look toward what’s possible for all of us.

Rabbi Ken Chasen became the Senior Rabbi of Leo Baeck Temple in 2003. Prior to joining Leo Baeck Temple, he served as the Associate Rabbi of Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, New York, where his tenure was marked by significant innovation in the areas of religious worship and lifelong Jewish education. Upon commencing rabbinical school in 1993, Rabbi Chasen was awarded the highly selective Wexner Graduate Fellowship. Rabbi Chasen holds a Master’s degree in Hebrew Letters from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), where he received rabbinic ordination in 1998. He was the recipient of numerous honors and awards throughout his studies, culminating with the Simon Lazarus Memorial Prize for attaining the highest overall academic standing in his ordination class.

Rabbi Lisa Berney is the Associate Rabbi and Director of Lifelong Learning at Leo Baeck Temple. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Rabbi Berney received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Jewish and Near Eastern Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. Afterward, she attended the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Los Angeles, where she earned her rabbinic ordination, a Master of Arts in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education, a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters, and a graduate certificate in Jewish Nonprofit Management. Rabbi Berney remains passionate about community building, social justice, family education, and engaging Jewish learners of all ages.

Rabbi Benjamin Ross was raised in Newton, MA, refined in Brooklyn, NY, and received a B.A in Comparative Religion from the University of Rochester. From 1996-2011 Benjamin worked as a community organizer in Harlem and Brooklyn and directed national leadership initiatives in the Jewish community for Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice. While at HUCJIR he interned at East End Temple in NYC, Kol Ami in White Plains, and Beth Ha-Sholom in Williamsport, PA, and was mentored by rabbis and congregants alike. In addition, Benjamin founded www.ProjectZug.org, connecting hundreds of Israeli, Americans, and Jews around the globe in one-to-one online learning, and conceived and directed HUC-JIR’s Smashing Idols Fellowship, to engage college students to strengthen progressive Jewish life on campus. Benjamin is married to Liz Bennett and they have two boys, Reuven and Zeke.

Scott Goldberg is a multi-instrumentalist, outdoors enthusiast, and final-year rabbinical student at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, from where he also received a Certificate in Jewish Organizational Leadership from the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management. Currently, Scott serves as a rabbinic intern at Leo Baeck Temple, focusing on deepening relationships through small group learning, pastoral care, and mindfulness. Raised as a fifth-generation Nebraskan, Scott graduated magna cum laude from Middlebury College with a BA in Economics and minors in Italian and Music. In his spare time, Scott enjoys playing recreational team sports, hiking, creating Jewish music, and spending time with his fiancée, Liz.


B2 – The Future of Money – Your Money, My Money, The Country’s Money, The World’s Money – Plus: CryptoCurrency – What it is and Why You Need to Prepare
Presenters:
Joseph and Billy Grundfest

One of the world’s leading economists is interviewed by our own Billy Grundfest (and his own brother) about what happens now – Post-Covid, Post Trump, Post Biden, Post Crypto, Post A.I. – to all of our money, our jobs, our kids’ career outlooks – and what we should do to prepare for the unpredictable future.

The Hon. Professor Joseph A. Grundfest, J.D. ’78, former Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and senior economist and counsel for the President Council of Economic Advisors, is a nationally prominent expert on capital markets, corporate governance, and securities litigation. His scholarship was published in the Harvard, Yale, and Stanford law reviews, and he was recognized as one of the most influential attorneys in the United States. He founded the award-winning Stanford Securities Class Action Clearinghouse, which provides detailed, online information about the prosecution, defense, and settlement of federal class-action securities fraud litigation. He launched Stanford Law School’s executive education programs and continues to co-direct Directors’ College, the nation’s leading venue for the continuing professional education of directors of publicly traded corporations. He is also a senior faculty member with the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance and co-founder and director of Financial Engines and director of Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co. He began his career at the Brookings Institution and the RAND Corporation.

Billy Grundfest is a Golden Globe award winning writer-producer with three Emmy nominations and a Peabody award (nobody knows what one is) for a writing-producing career that has spanned the widest range of genres, including network classics like “Mad About You” and the final projects of Richard Pryor’s life. He’s also the founder of the country’s most successful and influential comedy club, The Comedy Cellar (three locations and one in Las Vegas, call for reservations, they sell out) and former host of WNBC radio’s Wild Bill Grundfest show. He is also a long time member of LBT (his name’s on the side of the main building, though in very small letters), who owes the vast majority of his success to our own (and his own) Janet Grundfest (leading the Yom Limmud knitting group somewhere around here), their two teen boys, dogs, cockatiels, rabbit, bearded dragon and chickens. As you can see, it’s not nearly as impressive a bio as his brother’s, but why would you bring that up – this program is free, so no complaining. 


B3 – Women in Careers Brought to You by LBT Women

Four dynamic women will share their professional journey, how they define success and if the mythical work-life balance can be achieved. This session is perfect for those exploring life after school or those who need to make a change moving forward.

Laura Gottlieb has been a Speech-Language Pathologist for over 25 years. As a member of the Special Education team, Laura is involved in the assessment and treatment of children with communication disorders. This would include students with Language delays, Articulation disorders (ever hear of the kid that says “wabbit” for “rabbit?”), Stuttering disorders, as well as Neuro Divergent learners, those that may be on the Autism Spectrum. She works in school districts with preschool up to High school-aged students, faculty, and families. 

Elise Perer is a partner in a thriving urology practice and has been in medicine for over 20 years. Elise graduated college from University of California, San Diego, and went to Tulane University for medical school. She did her residency at the University of California, Irvine, and a fellowship in female urology and pelvic floor reconstruction at Cedars Sinai. After her fellowship, she joined a colleague and has been in private practice since, focusing on general urology and incontinence and pelvic prolapse.

Lisa Katz has been a lighting designer for over 25 years. Although her formal training is in design for live entertainment – theatre, opera, dance, concerts – she branched out to architectural and theme park lighting design after making her way to southern California. Lisa feels fortunate to work at Walt Disney Imagineering where she had the opportunity to pair technology and creativity to light some of your favorite adventures at Disney Theme Parks worldwide.

Shana Epstein (moderator) has been in public service for over 25 years. During her career, she has led a large and diverse workforce that provides the backbone services all cities require to thrive. Currently, Shana is the Public Works Director of the City of Beverly Hills, and her prior position was the first General Manager of Ventura Water. 


B4 – History of Jews in the Modern Middle East
Presenter: Dr. Alon Tam

While the Jewish community in the U.S. consists almost entirely of “Ashkenazi” Jews, originally from Central and Eastern Europe, this talk will explore the rich history of “Mizrachi” Jews from the Middle East and North Africa, whose long history stretches back to Biblical times. These communities were hardly a monolith, each with unique social, cultural, and political histories. Focusing on the period from the advent of modernity around the 1800s until their demise in the middle of the 20th century, we’ll look closely at a few different communities and examine their particular situations and their relations with the Muslim-majority societies in which they lived.

Dr. Alon Tam is a social and cultural historian of the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times and of that region’s Jewish communities. His research interests broadly include urban history, social relations and identities, historical anthropology, culture, and politics. Inspired by his Egyptian-Jewish heritage, his recent research examines the Jewish community in Egypt, its ties to the pre-state Jewish community in Palestine, and the history of the community’s migration to and integration in the State of Israel since 1948. In the 2021-22 academic year, Dr. Tam is a postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. He has previously taught at Columbia University and at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.


BLOCK C        12:30-1:20pm

C1 – Finding Your Portugal
Presenters: Cantor Linda and David Kates

Stepping out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary.  A discussion on how to tap into your dreams and possibilities.

Cantor Linda Kates is a native of Los Angeles and has lived in the San Fernando Valley most of her life. Growing up, Cantor Kates sang in school and temple choirs and eventually found herself on staff at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute in Simi Valley in 1983. From there she was sent to Stephen Wise Temple where she stayed for 25 years, studying with the renowned teacher of Hazzanut, Cantor Nathan Lam. In 1995, Cantor Kates was certified by the Cantors Assembly of Conservative Judaism as a Master of Cantorial Studies and given the title of Hazzan. She continued to spread both her talents and her love of the cantorate by co-chairing the Western Region of the Cantors Assembly for the last ten years, organizing workshops and conferences, as well as serving on their Executive Council from 2003-2006.

David Kates is the Director of Music and Music Education at Stephen Wise Temple and Schools. He has composed music for Video games as well as film and TV.  Being the proud husband of Cantor Linda Kates he is as close to perfect as he’ll ever attain. 


C2 – Do you own your stuff, or does your stuff OWN you? A guide to downsizing
Presenter: Jami Shapiro, Founder of Silver Lining Transitions

In her talk, “Do You Own Your Stuff or Does Your Stuff OWN You?” Jami will discuss organizing trends and downsizing tips and share resources seniors and their adult children can use as they make tough choices about what to do with a lifetime of belongings.  You’ll leave the talk ready to tackle your own home and make downsizing an easier, less overwhelming experience.

Jami is a Certified Senior Move Manager and has spoken nationally about downsizing and organizing.  She founded Silver Linings Transitions in 2014 to help seniors with everything from decluttering and organizing to packing and moving. Silver Linings Transitions is affiliated with the National Association of Senior and Specialty Move Managers (NASMM), recognized for its innovative programs and expertise related to Senior Move Management, transition, and relocation issues affecting older adults. Moving YOU toward a brighter tomorrow!!


C3 – The Netanyahu Era: How the Israeli Right Changed the Rules of the Democratic Game
Presenter: Dr. Gayil Talshir

After 12 years of uninterrupted rule and a total of 15 years in power, Benjamin Netanyahu was removed as Prime Minister after Israel’s fourth round of elections in 2021, which brought a new coalition government to power. But what has the “Netanyahu era” in Israeli politics wrought, and what has been the impact on Israeli democracy? Though the man himself is fodder for many a talk, we will focus primarily on the ideological transformation and structural changes brought about by Netanyahu’s rightwing government, particularly from 2015-2019: recreating the Jewish collective identity, refashioning the relation to the Supreme Court and civil rights, developing a new paradigm in Middle-Eastern diplomacy, and attempting to control the public media by establishing ‘an Israeli-Fox news’.

Dr. Gayil Talshir is a senior lecturer in political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Professor Talshir’s research focuses on the crisis of legitimation of advanced democracies, party system change, political ideologies, and Israeli politics. She is the author of several books, including Taking Ideology Seriously (Routledge, 2006), and is currently working on a book on the Netanyahu era in Israeli politics. Dr. Talshir received her Ph.D. from the University of Oxford. In Winter/Spring 2022, she is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies.


C4 – Step into Stylepowerment: How the Art of Getting Dressed Can Fuel Your Brightest Life
Presenter: Laurie Brucker Amerikaner

Unlock your personal Stylepowerment! The act of getting dressed to feel good has powerful benefits we can tap into every single morning. Discover how embracing and owning your style is not only energizing; it supports overall confidence, creates connection with others, and even inspires social change! No longer is fashion and style something to be seen as materialistic but instead to be utilized as a creative tool for your own self-expression, self-care, and self-empowerment. Learn how to see your style with endless creativity, your body with more love and acceptance, and your life with new possibilities.

Named “L.A.’s top personal shopper and stylist ” by Angeleno Magazine, “L.A.’s best personal stylist” by CBS, “L.A.’s go-to stylist” by the Los Angeles Times, Laurie Brucker Amerikaner of LaurieBstyle LLC, is all about Stylepowerment™.  A certified image consultant, personal stylist, motivational speaker, spokeswoman, and author of the book You are the Style, Laurie brings twenty years of fashion and style expertise, to private homes, public stages, and on-camera as a style expert and host.  Teaching realistic, creative and attainable style strategies, Laurie’s unique specialty merges style with embodiment, self-acceptance, confidence, and connection.  


BONUS SESSION: GAME SHOW 1:30-2:15pm

JEWpardy!
Presenters:
Billy Grundfest, Ken Chasen

Back in spite of popular demand… it’s Jewpardy!…the live game show where Jews get to answer a question with another question!… And now, because Mayim Bialik is too expensive and Billy has nothing better to do, here’s the host of Jewpardy, LBTs own Billy Grundfest! (Color commentary provided by Rabbi Ken Chasen and grunt work provided by Scott Greenberg).

Rabbi Ken Chasen became the Senior Rabbi of Leo Baeck Temple in 2003. Prior to joining Leo Baeck Temple, he served as the Associate Rabbi of Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, New York, where his tenure was marked by significant innovation in the areas of religious worship and lifelong Jewish education. Upon commencing rabbinical school in 1993, Rabbi Chasen was awarded the highly selective Wexner Graduate Fellowship. Rabbi Chasen holds a Master’s degree in Hebrew Letters from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), where he received rabbinic ordination in 1998. He was the recipient of numerous honors and awards throughout his studies, culminating with the Simon Lazarus Memorial Prize for attaining the highest overall academic standing in his ordination class.

Billy Grundfest is a Golden Globe award winning writer-producer with three Emmy nominations and a Peabody award (nobody knows what one is) for a writing-producing career that has spanned the widest range of genres, including network classics like “Mad About You” and the final projects of Richard Pryor’s life. He’s also the founder of the country’s most successful and influential comedy club, The Comedy Cellar (three locations and one in Las vegas, call for reservations, they sell out) and former host of WNBC radio’s Wild Bill Grundfest show. He is also a long time member of LBT (his name’s on the side of the main building, though in very small letters), who owes the vast majority of his success to our own (and his own) Janet Grundfest (leading the Yom Limmud knitting group somewhere around here), their two teen boys (presumptions abound), dogs, cockatiels, rabbit, bearded dragon, and chickens. As you can see, it’s not nearly as impressive a bio as his brother’s, but why would you bring that up – this program is free, so no complaining.