Robert Watson, Ph.D.
Each lecture: $25, Gold & Gold Plus Members: $20, Platinum Members: Free
$18 for programs held at B’nai Torah Congregation. No member discounts.
The Nazi Titanic; The Incredible Untold Story of a Doomed Ship in World War II with screening of the documentary film
Thursday, October 26, 7:30 pm
The Manhattan Project: Oppenheimer, Truman, and the Bomb
Tuesday, November 21, 3:00 pm
The Art, Music & Poetry of the Holocaust
Thursday, March 14, 7:30 pm
Book Talk: America’s First Plague; The Deadly 1793 Epidemic that Crippled a Young Nation and When Washington Burned; The British Invasion of the Capital and a Nation's Rise from the Ashes
Thursday, April 4, 3:00 pm
at B'nai Torah Congregation
6261 SW 18th St, Boca Raton, FL 33433
Robert P. Watson is an award-winning author who has published over 45 books and 200 scholarly articles and essays on topics in political and military history, as well as two multi-edition, multi-volume encyclopedia sets on the presidents and first ladies.
Co-sponsored with B'nai Torah Congregation
Rabbi Charles Klein
Choosing Civility in an Uncivil World: A Jewish Approach for Avoiding and Resolving Conflict
Tuesday, December 5, 3:00 pm
Confronting the Epidemic of Loneliness: Alone and Together
Thursday February 1, 3:00 pm
Finding Faith in Difficult, Painful and Complicated Times: From Rabbi Harold Kushner to Paul Simon
Thursday March 21, 3:00 pm
The Essence of Jewish Humor: A 3 Part Series
Mondays, 10:00 am
February 26, March 4, March 11
$10, Gold & Gold Plus Members: $8, Platinum Members: Free
Joyce Saltman, PhD is Professor Emeritus of Special Education at Southern Connecticut State University. She holds four graduate degrees in the fields of special education and counseling and chose to receive her doctoral degree at Columbia: Humor in Adult Learning.
Eighteen Days in October: The Yom Kippur War and How It Created the Modern Middle East with Uri Kaufman
Tuesday, October 24, 3:00 pm
October 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, a conflict that shaped the modern Middle East. The War was a trauma for Israel and following the oil embargo, a pivotal reordering of the global economic order. The Jewish State came shockingly close to defeat. After the war, Prime Minister Golda Meir resigned in disgrace. But, argues Uri Kaufman, from the perspective of a half century, the War can be seen as a pivotal victory for Israel. In the War’s aftermath, both sides had to accept unwelcome truths: Israel could no longer take military superiority for granted — but the Arabs could no longer hope to wipe Israel off the map. A straight line leads from the battle-fields of 1973 to the Camp David Accords of 1978 and all the treaties since.
A graduate of New York University School of Law, Uri Kaufman is an award-winning real estate developer, specializing in adaptively restoring historic buildings. He has worked on this book for over twenty years, visiting the battlefields, speaking to participants and reviewing literally thousands of pages of material.
Israel Update: The October 7th Hamas Attack on Israel with Adi Levy, Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University
Wednesday, November 29, 7:30 pm
FREE and open to the public, but registration is required.
Join us for an important discussion on the current internal political situation in Israel with Adi Levy, Ph.D.
Adi Levy is an Israel Institute post-doctoral fellow currently based in Florida, where he teaches in the Department of Political Science at Florida Atlantic University. He teaches courses about World Politics and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Israeli Civil Society, and Israeli Politics. He has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Haifa and specializes in topics of moral philosophy, applied ethics in international relations, human rights, and international law. His research focuses on civil struggles, nonviolent resistance, and social and political activism.
Israel 201: Your Next-Level Guide to the Magic, Mystery, and Chaos of Life in the Holy Land with co-author and comedian Benji Lovitt
In times of trouble, it is more important than ever for us to be together. We stand together as a Jewish community in support of Israel and the Jewish people everywhere. We look forward to being with you for this event with Benji Lovitt, which was scheduled before the current crisis. Benji, who is Israeli, will adapt his presentation to be relevant and sensitive to the current events, and yes, we will even laugh. To quote Benji, “people NEED to laugh, otherwise they couldn’t get out of bed in the morning.”
Thursday, November 30, 2:00 pm
at B'nai Torah Congregation
6261 SW 18th St, Boca Raton, FL 33433
How did Jerusalem’s cat problem spur religious debate? Why are Israelis so blunt, even when the truth hurts? From shomer Shabbos car insurance policies and ancient marriage laws to Arab Israeli stand-up comedy, Druze high schools, and LGBTQ activism in the IDF, Israel 201 goes beyond the typical introductory “101” course to show readers the real Israel, behind the headlines. Israel 201 is a behind-the-scenes look at the magic, mystery, and, yes, the chaos of one of the most fascinating and least understood countries on earth.
Since immigrating to Israel in 2006, Texas-native Benji Lovitt has delivered stand-up comedy and cultural presentations for audiences around the world. His perspectives on Israeli society and cultural differences have been featured on Israeli television and radio and in media outlets such as USA Today, BBC Radio, Time Magazine, The Atlantic, and The Times of Israel.
Co-sponsored with B'nai Torah Congregation
Florida Book Wars with Margery Marcus, Ed.D.
Thursday, December 7, 3:00 pm
Dr. Marcus Takes an in-depth look at Florida’s book wars. This lecture looks at the history of book censorship in America with a focus on Florida, ranked second in the country in challenges to books. Parents’ groups in counties as dissimilar as Brevard and Broward now demand that local school boards remove books dealing with LGBTQ issues, social justice and any subject matter deemed “inappropriate.” Florida law bans the teaching of Critical Race Theory and any topics considered WOKE. Influential political groups exert influence in Tallahassee, driving these culture wars.
Margery Marcus, Ed.D., is an award-winning English teacher, retired from Broward County Public Schools after a long and successful career, both as a district-level administrator and as a teacher. Now her focus is on adult audiences. Her career has been guided by a deep love of learning and a passion for literature. Her enthusiasm for sharing great stories told by great writers motivates her to bring literature to life for her audiences.
Southern Jews in the Plays of Alfred Uhry with Rachel Gordan, Ph.D.
Friday, December 8, 1:00 pm
Join Professor Gordan for a discussion (Talk Back) after the Saturday night performance of Last Dance at Ballyhoo on Saturday, December 9, 7:30 pm
As a playwright (Driving Miss Daisy, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, and Broadway’s recent megahit Parade), Alfred Uhry drew on his upbringing in southern Jewish society and his understanding of its divisions: divisions between German and Eastern European Jews, between blacks and white Jews, and between Jews and Episcopalian they often wished they were. As a young man growing up in the 1940’s and 50’s, Uhry was a Jew who might have preferred to be a Christian. It wasn’t until a 1992 visit to Israel that he learned to wear his Jewishness more proudly. How did a Jewish writer with such an uneasy feeling about his own Jewishness manage to write a trio of important plays about Southern Jews?
Rachel Gordan received her PhD from Harvard University, in North American Religions; her BA from Yale in American Studies, and her MAR from Yale Divinity school. After receiving her PhD, she held postdoctoral fellowships at Northwestern University and at the University of Toronto, before teaching at Boston University and Brandeis in 2016-2017. As a scholar of American religion, she researches Judaism and Jewish culture from the early 20th century to the present, with a particular focus on the immediate Post-WWII era, middlebrow culture, and American Jewish literary history.
Three Divas: Cher, Diana Ross, Celine Dion with Rose Feinberg Ed.D
Thursday, December 21, 3:00 pm
Learn about their lives, marriages, struggles before stardom and the price of fame.
Dr. Rose Feinberg is a popular presenter in South Florida. Rose earned her Doctor of Education degree from Boston University. She was a school principal in Massachusetts and an Adjunct Professor at Florida Atlantic University. Her prior careers in education, as well as her theater training, have enabled her to research and create wonderfully informative and entertaining programs.
Genealogy of a Murder: Four Generations, Three Families, One Fateful Night with Lisa Belkin
Thursday, January 11, 3:00 pm
Independence Day weekend, 1960: a young cop is murdered in Stamford, Connecticut. More than sixty years later, journalist Lisa Belkin explores the paths of the three men whose lives collide on that summer night. Her canvas is large, spanning the first half of the 20th century: immigration, religion, prison reform, medical experi¬ments, the nature/nurture debate, even the infamous Leopold and Loeb case, and history of motorcycle racing. It is also intimate: looking into the workings of the mind and heart, as each family — one Irish, one Italian, one Jewish — experience the obstacles thrown in the way of immigrants pursuing the “American Dream”.
Known for tales that are deeply researched and artfully told, Lisa Belkin’s career spans three decades — at The New York Times, mostly at the Magazine; also creating the Life’s Work column and Motherlode blog and as author of four narrative non-fiction books, including her latest, Genealogy of a Murder, and Show Me a Hero (1999), which later became an HBO miniseries.
Marjorie Morningstar and More: Books of the 1950s with Margery Marcus
Thursday, January 18, 3:00 pm
Dr. Margery Marcus examines the literary hits of the Fifties from The Catcher in the Rye whose troubled character captured the hypocrisy of the time to Exodus, a hymn to the founding of Israel. Her lecture includes a discussion of the popularity of A Stone for Danny Fisher, Peyton Place, Marjorie Morningstar and Exodus, all novels which were anthems of the age. Marcus looks at the appeal and staying power (or lack of) of these novels which many readers remember fondly for their power to stir us.
The Creation of 'Kiss Me, Kate'" with Charles Troy
Monday, January 22, 3:00 pm
Cole Porter’s triumphant show came along at a most propitious time — when he’d been given up as passé by Broadway audiences, and when the show’s Shakespearean subject matter was particularly pertinent. It was after WWII, when the women who had been aiding the war effort in the workplace had to be “tamed” back into the kitchen by the then-current culture. James Shapiro’s book, “Shakespeare in a Divided America”, lays out this revelatory idea, and Charles Troy’s multimedia presentation dramatizes and expands upon Shapiro’s brilliant concept.
Charles Troy, popular speaker and presenter, is an acclaimed musical theatre historian and graphic designer. He has created over 50 multi-media presentations and had presented his work to countless local and national audiences. His work has also been published in The Sondheim Review.
Holocaust by Bullets: The Genocide of Jews in Ukraine with Irving Berkowitz, PH.D
Thursday, February 8, 3:00 pm
The systematic slaughter of Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators in other countries, was not initially or exclusively about concentration camps, deportations, gas chambers or crematoria. In this lecture Dr. Berkowitz will examine the beginning stages of this least known chapter of Holocaust history commonly referred to by scholars as the “Holocaust by Bullets,” the epicenter of which was Ukraine. It was the precursor to the more efficient, industrial scale extermination camps and the first stage of “the final solution to the Jewish Question.”
Dr. Irving Berkowitz is the Emeritus Dean of Academic Affairs at Palm Beach State College. He is the son of Holocaust survivors. Dr. Berkowitz is a widely respected scholar and public speaker on the Holocaust and Contemporary Antisemitism.
From Ordinary to Extraordinary: Looking at Art through the Eyes of an Artist with Deborah Bigeleisen
Monday, February 26, 2:00 pm
With the visual aid of a PowerPoint presentation, you will be taken on a virtual tour of modern and contemporary art in museums, galleries, and international art fairs. The presentation also covers the excitement of modern architecture from museums to metro stations to bridges. The emphasis is on looking at art and the world around you “through the mind and vision of an artist”.
Why We Love Baseball: A History in 50 Moments with Joe Posnanski
Tuesday, March 5, 7:30 - 9:00 pm
Why We Love Baseball is a love letter to baseball, a fresh and heartfelt look at the game’s greatest moments and how they continue to grab at our hearts. The connection between Jews and baseball is particularly powerful and enduring.
Joe Posnanski is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of six books, including The Baseball 100, Paterno, and The Secret of Golf, and has been named National Sportswriter of the Year by five different organizations. He writes at JoePosnanski.com and currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his family.
Time's Echo: The Second World War, the Holocaust, and the Music of Remembrance with Jeremy Eichler
Monday, March 11, 3:00 pm
A stirring account of how the flowering of the European Enlightenment, two world wars, and the Holocaust can be remembered through the poignant works of music created in their wake. In Time’s Echo, award-winning critic and cultural historian Jeremy Eichler makes a passionate and revelatory case for the power of music as culture’s memory, an art form uniquely capable of carrying forward meaning from the past. A lyrical narrative full of insight and compassion, this book deepens how we think about the legacies of war, the presence of the past, and the possibilities of art in our lives today.
Jeremy Eichler currently serves as the chief classical music critic of The Boston Globe. Formerly a critic for The New York Times, he has contributed to many other national publications and earned his Ph.D. in modern European history at Columbia University.
Betty Friedan: Magnificent Disrupter with Rachel Shteir
Thursday, March 7, 2:00 pm
at B’nai Torah Congregation
Feminist writer and activist Betty Friedan (1921 – 2006), and path breaking author of The Feminine Mystique, was powerful and polarizing. In this biography, the first in more than twenty years, Rachel Shteir draws on Friedan’s papers and on interviews with family, colleagues, friends, and rivals to create a nuanced portrait. Friedan, born Bettye Naomi Goldstein, chafed at society’s restrictions from a young age. As a jour-nalist she covered racism, sexism, labor, class inequality, and antisemitism. As a wife and mother, she struggled to balance her work and homemaking. Her malaise as a housewife and her research into the feelings of other women resulted in The Feminine Mystique (1963), which made her a celebrity. Using her influence, Friedan cofounded the National Organization for Women and many other women-centered organizations. She fought for the Equal Rights Amendment, universal childcare, and workplace protections for mothers, but she disagreed with the women’s liberation movement over “sexual politics.” Her volatility and public conflicts fractured key relationships. Shteir considers how Friedan’s Judaism was essential to her feminism, and tells why she left so much undone. This is a new Friedan for a new era of women.
Rachel Shteir is the author of three previous books. She has written for many magazines and newspapers including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She teaches at DePaul University in Chicago.
Co-sponsored with B'nai Torah Congregation
Mel Brooks: Disobedient Jew with Jeremy Dauber
Monday, March 18, 3:00 pm
A spirited dive into the life and career of a performer, writer, and director who dominated twentieth-century American comedy. Mel Brooks, born Melvin Kaminsky in Brooklyn in 1926, is one of the great comic voices of the twentieth century. Having won almost every entertainment award there is, Brooks has straddled the line between outsider and insider, obedient and rebellious, throughout his career, making out-of-bounds comedy the American mainstream. Jeremy Dauber argues that throughout Brooks’ extensive body of work, the comedian has seen the most success when he found a balance between his unflagging, subversive, manic energy and the constraints imposed by comedic partners, the Hollywood system, and American cultural mores. Dauber also explores how Brooks’ American Jewish humor went from being solely for niche audiences to an essential part of the American mainstream, paving the way for generations of Jewish (and other) comedians to come.
Jeremy Dauber is a professor of Jewish literature and American studies at Columbia University. His books include Jewish Comedy and The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem, both finalists for the National Jewish Book Award, and, most recently, American Comics: A History. He lives in New York City.