Lunch & Learn

CBST offers monthly Lunch & Learn programs that provide an opportunity to learn from some of our very own community members, special guest speakers, and more! See below for this month's upcoming program, as well as recordings from previous programs. These programs are offered free of charge to provide ease of access for all. Consider a contribution to support Educational Initiatives at CBST and your Jewish learning opportunities.

Lunch & Learn: The Parents Circle - Families Forum - Register Now!
Wednesday, October 27, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

CBST and the Middle East & Me team welcome The Parents Circle - Families Forum for a deeply meaningful "dialogue meeting" led by two PCFF members, an Israeli and a Palestinian, who will tell their personal stories of bereavement and explain their choice to engage in dialogue instead of revenge. Featuring Bassam Aramin, former Palestinian Co-director of the PCFF, and Rami Elhanan, former Israeli Co-director of the PCFF.

Bassam Aramin (right in photo above) lives in Jericho in the West Bank. At the age of 17, he was incarcerated and spent 7 years in an Israeli jail. He went on to study history and holds an MA in Holocaust studies from the University of Bradford, England. He became a member of the Parents Circle in 2007 after losing his 10-year-old daughter Abir, who was killed by an Israeli border policeman in front of her school. Bassam devotes his time and energies to his conviction for a peaceful, non-violent end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and to Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation. Bassam is the former Palestinian Co-director of the Parents Circle – Families Forum.

Rami Elhanan (left in photo above) is a 7th generation Jerusalemite. He identifies himself as a Jew, an Israeli, and before everything else a human being. On the first day of the school year in 1997, Rami’s daughter, Smadar, was killed by two Palestinian suicide bombers who murdered 5 people that day. Soon after, Rami joined the Parents Circle, and speaks before Israeli, Palestinian and International audiences. Rami is the former Israeli Co-director of the Parents Circle – Families Forum.

Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 867 0422 6628
Call-in: +1 646 876 9923 (New York)

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Lunch & Learn with the Jerusalem Open House [recording pending]
Thursday, September 23, 1 p.m. (ET)

Haven’t been able to visit Jerusalem recently? At this lunch & learn with Rabbi Kleinbaum and our friends from the Jerusalem Open House, you’ll learn about the long connection between CBST and the JOH, and get to know the current generation of Israeli LGBTQ+ leadership. 

Lunch & Learn: Making Sense of Israel’s New Coalition Government - Watch Here
Wednesday, July 28, 12pm to 1pm (ET)

For the first time in 12 years, Israel has a new coalition government. What does it mean for the LGBTQ+ community and beyond? Join us for a briefing and conversation with Elisheva Goldberg, the New Israel Fund’s Director of Media and Policy. With so many dramatic changes taking place in Israel, Elisheva will also speak about the events of May and June and where they lead us in the struggle for equality and justice in Israel. This program is presented by the New Israel Fund and the CBST, the Middle East, & Me Team.

Elisheva Goldberg is the New Israel Fund’s Director of Media and Policy. She formerly served as a parliamentary advisor to then co-leader of the opposition and former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. She has also worked at the progressive think tank Molad: The Center for The Renewal of Israeli Democracy, and as an assistant editor at Peter Beinart’s Daily Beast blog, Open Zion. She has written for The Daily Beast, The Forward and The Atlantic, and is currently a contributing writer at Jewish Currents.

NIF is a 501(c)(3) public charity, and as such does not conduct activities to support or oppose any political party, campaign, or candidate for public office.

Lunch & Learn: Reckoning with the Past - Watch Here
Wednesday, June 30, 12pm to 1pm (Eastern Time)

Three years after World War II ended, a film called "Strange Victory" was seeking to force a reckoning with antisemitism and racism still permeating the society and with the ideas and attitudes that made these unprecedented crimes possible. But an honest reckoning was not possible, neither in Europe, nor in the United States. How do we face antisemitism in Europe and racism in the US? Featuring Dr. Magda Teter, Professor of History and the Shvidler Chair of Judaic Studies at Fordham University, this talk will look at efforts and failures to reckon with the past in Europe (including Poland) and the US (especially the south). 

Magda Teter, Professor of History and the Shvidler Chair of Judaic Studies at Fordham University, is the author of Jews and Heretics in Catholic Poland (2005), Sinners on Trial (2011), Blood Libel: On the Trail of An Antisemitic Myth (2020), which won the 2020 National Jewish Book Award, and dozens of articles in English, Hebrew, Italian, and Polish. She has received many fellowships, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial fellowship. She has served the Vice-President for Publications of the Association for Jewish Studies. This year, Teter is the NEH Scholar at the Center for Jewish History.

Photo ©Chuck Fishman

The Language of Oppression: A Teaching on Language, Women, and the Environment - Watch Here
Saturday, June 5, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm (ET)
In Karen J. Warren's "Feminist Environmental Philosophy," she writes, “The exploitation of nature and animals is justified by feminizing them; the exploitation of women is justified by naturalizing them.” As part of their involvement in Moving Traditions' Kol Koleinu Teen Feminist Fellowship, CBST teens Shoshana Hirschmann and Sasha Azizi Rosenfeld will be hosting a presentation about these ideas and their relation to Judaism. Join them in holding discussion about the intersections of language, the gender binary, and the environment, as well as a text study on the creation story. The session will be held on June 5th from 12-1 pm. ASL interpretation and auto-generated closed captioning will be provided.

Lunch & Learn: Using Stories to Build Connections – and Community - Watch Here
Wednesday, May 26, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm (ET)
Maggid Jim Brulé teaches storytellers, clergy, chaplains, and others to tell stories that invite personal and community transformation. Using a blend of traditional stories and easy storytelling exercises, participants will have the opportunity to encounter why stories mean so much to us in ways we don’t always consciously appreciate. 

Jim Brulé is a Maggid - a transformational storyteller. His stories and students span the globe; his online storytelling school has been operating for years. Stories filled with challenge and mysticism fill his repertoire as he inspires his audience to change. Jim believes that the right kinds of stories told with an open heart can be the basis for healing the rifts within us and between us. For more info, visit Jim's website and YouTube Channel.

Lunch & Learn: Every Last Breath - Watch Here
Wednesday, April 28, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm (ET)
Sick or well, we are all facing illness now in a daily way that few of us could have anticipated. CBST Member Joanne Jacobson’s Every Last Breath puts into dialogue with one another her mother’s ongoing respiratory disease and her own rare blood disorder—charting over ten years the unexpected transformations that illness brought to both their lives. After Joanne reads from Every Last Breath, Rabbi Rapport will moderate a discussion with her and a q&a.

Joanne Jacobson grew up in the Midwest and has lived in New York City—and belonged to CBST—for nearly thirty years. Both her academic writing and her literary nonfiction have explored the emotional texture of change, and language as a source of human resiliency. She has taught American literature, American studies and nonfiction writing at the University of Iowa, the University of Angers (France), Middlebury College and Yeshiva University, where she also served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Yeshiva College. Visit Joanne's website at


Lunch & Learn: Religious Freedom & Pluralism in Israel - Watch here
Wednesday, Dec 23, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm (ET)

The CBST, the Middle East, & Me team and the New Israel Fund (​) invite you to join Join Rabbi Ayelet Cohen and Brit Yakobi for a discussion about Israel's struggle for religious freedom and pluralism, and learn how activists and organizations across the religious spectrum are fighting for social change.

Rabbi Ayelet Cohen served at CBST as Cooperberg-Rittmaster Rabbinical Intern from 2000-2002, and as Associate/Assistant Rabbi from 2002-2010, and is today the Senior Director of NIF’s NY / Tri-State Region. Brit Yakobi is the New Israel Fund's Director of Religious Freedom. Rabbi Ayelet S. Cohen is the Senior Director of NIF’s NY / Tri-State Region. Prior to joining NIF, she was Director of The Center for Jewish Living and The David H. Sonabend Center for Israel at JCC Manhattan. Rabbi Cohen served for a decade at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the world’s LGBTQ synagogue serving Jews of all sexual orientations and sexual identities. Ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, she is the author of Changing Lives, Making History: Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the First Forty Years, and co-editor of Siddur B’chol L’vavcha. She serves on the board of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights.

Brit Yakobi is the Director of Religious Freedom and Gender at Shatil, the New Israel Fund’s action-arm in Israel. In her role, Brit leads the Forum Against the Exclusion of Women, a directors’ forum of 13 civil society groups fighting the exclusion of women from public spaces in Israel; works with the haredi public; develops civil society organizational strategies and projects; and builds capacities of social change organizations. Brit holds a BA in Talmud from Tel Aviv University, and teaches in several educational frameworks. Prior to joining Shatil in 2018, Brit was the director of the Masorti movement’s Jewish Pluralism Watch, an NIF grantee. Brit is a social entrepreneur in the field of Jewish culture. She founded and directs Free Space, which brings culture and art to abandoned synagogues in Tel Aviv. Brit also curates exhibitions and events that connect the Israeli public to radical Jewish culture.