Saturday and Sunday at 8:20
Stretch and Kvetch:
Debby Seid uses her knowledge as an experienced physical therapist and a yoga novice, along with regular life experience, morning crabbiness and a willing to laugh, to lead fun gentle stretching to help you get ready for the great workshops later in the day.
Saturday 9 a.m.
Activism Then and Now:
What is the relationship between the economic justice movements and the persecution of union and political activists during the McCarthy era and the present? An exploration of the themes and results of activism then and now.
Julie Gilgoff is a political organizer for union local 21. She is the author of Granddaughter’s Rite of Passage: Tales from the McCarthy Era and plans to study to be an immigration lawyer.
Yiddish Theater in the 1930’s: A Participatory Workshop with Puppets and Yiddish Comedy:
This workshop on Yiddish Theatre in the 1930s will introduce stage plays of Moishe Nadir (author of “Messiah in America” and “The Other World”) and the work of puppeteers Zuni Maud and Yosl Cutler who formed the group Modicut. After hearing a brief background lecture on the secular Jewish and progressive nature of this theatre, workshop participants will be invited to read aloud one of Modicut’s puppet plays and handle puppets provided by the facilitator.
Joel Schechter is a professor of theatre arts at San Francisco State University, and author of the book Messiahs of 1933, about Yiddish American theatre of the 1930s. He also writes a column on Yiddish culture for the journal Jewish Currents, and is a member of the Workmen’s Circle of Northern California, Branch 1054.
How Two Radical Jewish Women Changed the Law:
Did you know that California women won the right to vote in 1911, almost decade before the Nineteenth Amendment granted women’s suffrage throughout the country? Or that a 19-year-old camp counselor at a Communist workers’ camp helped expand the protections of the First Amendment? Come hear about Selina Solomons and Yetta Stromberg – and be inspired by these bold, tenacious activists.
Elaine Elinson is the coauthor of Wherever There’s a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants Strikers and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California, winner of a Gold Medal in the 2010 California Book Awards. She served for 2 decades as the communications director of the ACLU of California.
On Being Jewish, LGBT & an Ally:
A lively discussion on what it means to be LGBT and Jewish and what it means to be an ally to the Jewish LGBT community. We will explore issues of coming out, relationships, family, and Jewish community.
Stephanie Golden is a co-leader of the Jewish LGBT Network in the Bay Area and currently works in Jewish and multicultural education. Stephanie graduated with a B.A. from UC Santa Barbara in 2009 where she studied sociology and psychology of religion.
Jewish Women Writers:
The 1960’s women’s movement forged wider recognition of women writers, but Jewish women have been writing for centuries. This workshop will focus on 17th to the 20th century Jewish women writers’ memoirs, short stories, diaries, and novels. Audience participation is welcome.
Rochelle Goldman earned her M.A. in Women Studies at SFSU, has been active in the Secular Humanistic Jewish movement for many years and is a member of the Workmen’s Circle of Northern California, Branch 1054 and a number of other Jewish organizations.
How often do we actually get to sit down and talk about meaningful issues with others? The Philosophers’ Café is an opportunity to for participants can express themselves on philosophical issues of interest to Secular Jews.
Jerry Zwick is a founding member of the Pacific Community of Cultural Jews in Orange County Ca. He is a retired teacher of Special Education with the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Sunday 9:00 a.m.
Jews in the Movie Industry:
Learn about the history of film and the Jews who made them! You will also watch short films and movie clips from “A Voyage to the Moon” to “Schindler’s List”.
Matthew Looney, a 15-year-old movie buff and stop-animation movie maker, is a member of Tri-Valley Cultural Jews. He is also an active Boy Scout and studies karate.
Sunday 10:30 a.m.
Jewish Genealogy for Beginners:
Have you thought about researching your family but were told “all the
records were destroyed” and “no one is alive who remembers anything”? Learn how to start tracing your family history and uncover the untold stories of your ancestors. Come with your curiosity and get headed in the right direction!
Janice M. Sellers is a professional genealogist who specializes in
newspaper and Jewish research. She is the editor of The Galitzianer,
the quarterly journal focused on Jewish research in Galicia, and of
ZichronNote, the journal of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish
Lost in Garment District: Jews, Gender, Dress-Up and Drag: Streisand, Hoffman, Drescher, Fierstein – between cross-dressing, drag and a flair for the dramatic, these Jewish artists revisit old Jewish stories with new Jewish twists. With film clips and conversation, come explore the provate parts and public performance of Jewish Gender.
Sasha T. Goldberg is a Jewish scholar, educator, and community organizer living in Oakland, California. She holds a Master’s Degree in Judaism from the Graduate Theological Union, and has taught nationally on the intersections of Judaism and various cultural, social, sexual, and religious identities. Her most recent published work appears in the ground-breaking anthology Keep Your Wives Away From Them, and in the upcoming collection, Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme. Sasha is the Associate Director and Director of Student Programming of Nehirim: GLBT Jewish Culture and Spirituality.
Reconstructionist Rabbi David Dunn Bauer is the founder and coordinator of “The Jewish Queer Sexual Ethics Project” at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at Pacific School of Religion. David serves as the Bay Area Director of Programming for Nehirim, the leading national provider of community programming for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) Jews, partners, and allies.
Sunday 1:30 p.m.
African Refugees in Israel:
African asylum seekers from Eritrea, Sudan, and elsewhere began arriving to Israel in large numbers beginning in 2005. This topic has become of great certain to the Israeli citizens and the world media in recent months. This workshop will touch on what is going on and why this topic is so controversial in Israel. Learn about the asylum seekers’ reasons for coming to Israel, their journey to get there, and what life has been like for them as they’ve survived in limbo.
Maya Paley made her to way to Israel in 2010 as a New Israel Fund/Shatil Social Justice Fellow. Through the Fellowship, she spent 10 months conducting the first in-depth research on the lives of the African asylum seekers in Israel. Her reports, Surviving in Limbo, were published by the humanitarian aid organization ASSAF and have been used in university classes and organizational conferences on this issue. Maya recently moved back to Los Angeles, where she grew up, and founded Right Now: Jewish Americans Advocating for African Asylum Seekers in Israel. She has a master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University and a BA in Political Science from UC Berkeley.
Sunday 3:00 p.m.
Jews in the Comic Book and Superhero Industry:
Levi Coren shares research he did for his Bar Mitzvah on Jews in the comic books. He looks at Jews who are in the comic book industry and why they entered that industry, Jewish superheroes, and possible influences. Levi will be assisted by Kevin Coren who will also lead a discussion related to the topic.
Levi Coren is thirteen years old and entering eighth grade. He wants to be an author when older, and one of his hobbies is acting. He has been in many shows, including Brigadoon, Mulan, Bye Bye Birdie, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Fiddler on the Roof, where he played Motel.
Kevin Coren has been involved with Tri-Valley Cultural Jews for four years and serves on the Board. He is also a 6th grade math teacher.
History of Klezmer Music:
Hear some of the earliest known klezmer recordings, the latest innovations, and everything in between. This is a must for those whose knowledge of klezmer is sketchy and will be sure to fill in some gaps, even for the more advanced devotee of klezmer music. Non-klezmer musicians (and non-musicians) are invited to participate and find out the roots of this great music.
Gerry Tenney is one of the pioneers of the Klezmer revival and leader of California Klezmer. He is the long-time director of the East Bay Kindershule.
Choose a topic from a hat and have a chat. Suggestions for discussions on important issues will be provided. The rest is up to you!
Sunday lunch caucuses
Reflecting on Leadership:
This session is primarily for graduates of the IISHJ leadership programs. It is also for those who are interested in the programs. We will explore questions such as; What inspired you to become a leader? What keeps you going as a leader? What do you want for the future?
Mary Raskin is in the Madrikha program and pursuing a masters degree at the IISHJ. At the time of the conference Mary will have two more classes to complete! Mary leads the Ritual Committee at Kol Shalom in Portland, Oregon.
Toward a Progressive Understanding of Chanuka:
Explore the “other side” of the Chanuka story and work together to brainstorm more progressive ways to observe and celebrate the holiday.
Shoshana Seid-Green helped to conceive of J-West back in 2009, and has attended every conference since then. A California native, Shoshana currently lives in New York City, where she works as a music director and voice teacher.
What DO You Believe?:
This program will delve into the idea that we Humanists and Secular Jews do have beliefs, not in a supernatural being, but other ingrained ideals. We will put language to some of our deeply held beliefs so we are able to identify them and communicate them to others.
Jamie Ireland is a life-long secular Jew who is now raising a family of secularists. By profession a teacher, she also teaches Jewish Culture School. She is studying in the International Institute of Secular Humanistic Judaism to be a madrikha.
The Future of J-West