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Second Semester 2020-2021 Program Guide

February - May, 2021

Highlights:

  • Hazak@Home Monday lectures/classes and discussion
  • Torah Study with our Clergy at 1pm on Hazak Mondays
  • Great Decisions (Foreign Policy) Discussion Group at 1pm on Hazak Mondays (Feb 8 + 22, Mar 8 + 22, Apr 5 + 19, May 3)
  • Computer Safety Classes (Feb 1 + 15 at 10am)
  • Small discussion groups – TBA

Hazak programming is currently ONLINE ONLY.

Hazak @ Home events are broadcast via Zoom. Event invitations and login information are sent to all registered Hazak members via email prior to the event. 

February 1, 2021

10:00am SPECIAL CLASS *Registration is closed*
"
Navigating Safely in Cyberspace – Class 2: Safe Internet Surfing (Registration Required)"

Ted Carmely, Retired Systems Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

The class is designed to raise awareness of the dangers lurking on the internet and what measures we can take to avoid malicious attempts to invade our privacy and steal personal information and financial assets while safely surfing the net.

February 8, 2021

10:00am "The Human Element Project - Transforming Life Into Art"

Lori Shocket, MD, Founder, The Human Element Project

The work of the Human Element Project is based on the premise that there is healing through art, and when given an opportunity to tell one's story through art and words, our participants exceed expectations every time! The presentation will take you through a visual journey highlighting the expressive artwork work that has been done by Holocaust survivors, homeless communities, Syrian refugees, survivors of the Guatemalan genocide, special needs students and prison inmates to name a few. Their stories and their work is powerful and inspiring and helps us to better understand these often marginalized communities. Please visit the website for a quick preview of our work: http://www.thehumanelementproject.com.

11:15am "Jewish Influence on Hollywood Film Music"

Noreen Green, Founder and Conductor of the LA Jewish Symphony

Using video highlights from movies, Dr. Noreen Green will discuss the history of film music, concentrating on the contribution of Jewish émigré composers such as Erick Korngold (The Adventures of Robin Hood) and Max Steiner (Gone with the Wind). She will also share clips from concerts she’s conducted with insightful commentary.

1:00pm Afternoon Sessions:

Torah Study with VBS Clergy: Rabbi Noah Farkas -OR- 

Great Decisions 2021 Discussion Group (Registration Requested)

Lively small group discussions of the world’s major challenges. Enrollment is limited. Discussions will be based on topics selected from a Sourcebook produced by the Foreign Affairs Association. Click here for details and registration > or contact Jerry Davis at (818) 326-5961 or gddavis32@gmail.com.

February 15, 2021

10:00am SPECIAL CLASS *Registration is closed*
"
Navigating Safely in Cyberspace – Class 3: Valuable Tools and Resources" (Registration Required)

Ted Carmely, Retired Systems Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

The class is designed to raise awareness of the dangers lurking on the internet and what measures we can take to avoid malicious attempts to invade our privacy and steal personal information and financial assets while safely surfing the net.

February 22, 2021

10:00am "Opera 2 – Great Bass Voices in Opera"

Steve Kohn, Community Educator for Los Angeles Opera 

Sometimes they are villains. Sometimes they are counselors. Sometimes they are fathers. And sometimes they even get a chance to be heroes.

11:15am "The Secrets of the Megillah"

Rabbi Ed Feinstein, Valley Beth Shalom

Would you believe there's a book of the Bible that has no reference to God, faith or tradition? But it's filled with drunken parties, palace intrigue, plots, spies, and conspiracies? It's time you learned the whole Megillah...even the parts they left out in Hebrew School! Join Rabbi Feinstein for an irreverent and rollicking romp through the Bible's strangest book.

1:00pm Afternoon Sessions:

Torah Study with VBS Clergy: Rabbi Ed Feinstein -OR- 

Great Decisions 2021 Discussion Group (Registration Requested)

Lively small group discussions of the world’s major challenges. Enrollment is limited. Discussions will be based on topics selected from a Sourcebook produced by the Foreign Affairs Association. Click here for details and registration > or contact Jerry Davis at (818) 326-5961 or gddavis32@gmail.com.

March 8, 2021

10:00am "Intermarriage, Homosexual Unions, and Variations of Jewish Identity Today"

Rabbi Joshua Hoffman, Valley Beth Shalom

Who Is Jewish? An update on the current questions of intermarriage, accepting the varieties of identity, and an exploration of Jewish communities of tomorrow.

11:15am "Why did our Jewish ancestors leave a great place like the Pale?"

Hal Bookbinder, Past President of Jewish Genealogy Society, LA

Jews had lived in Western Russia (the Pale) for centuries. At the turn of the last, two million left. This talk discusses how the Pale came to be, life in it and why the mass migration occurred. It breaks its 120-year history into periods of creation, confinement, repression, enlightenment, pogroms and chaos. There is more to the story than the horrific violence at the turn of the 20th century.

1:00pm Afternoon Sessions:

Torah Study with VBS Clergy: Rabbi Joshua Hoffman -OR- 

Great Decisions 2021 Discussion Group (Registration Requested)

Lively small group discussions of the world’s major challenges. Enrollment is limited. Discussions will be based on topics selected from a Sourcebook produced by the Foreign Affairs Association. Click here for details and registration > or contact Jerry Davis at (818) 326-5961 or gddavis32@gmail.com.

March 22, 2021

10:00am "Opera 3 – Operatic Music That Will Lift Our Spirits"

Steve Kohn, Community Educator for Los Angeles Opera 

Great operatic music that will leave you humming and just feeling good.

11:15am "Biblical Figures in the Islamic Tradition"

Louise Sloan Goben, Minister, First Christian Church of North Hollywood

There are more than 25 figures in the Koran that are important to the Jewish and Christian households as well. Louise will share many of these stories from Adam and Abraham, to Jesus and John the Baptist. What is unique in the re-telling of these stories is theology that is distinctive to Muslim teaching.

12:30pm Afternoon Sessions:

Torah Study with VBS Clergy: Rabbi Joshua Hoffman -OR- 

Great Decisions 2021 Discussion Group (Registration Requested)

Lively small group discussions of the world’s major challenges. Enrollment is limited. Discussions will be based on topics selected from a Sourcebook produced by the Foreign Affairs Association. Click here for details and registration > or contact Jerry Davis at (818) 326-5961 or gddavis32@gmail.com.

April 5, 2021

10:00am "The Past and Future Fault Lines of Jewish Life"

Rabbi Noah Farkas, Valley Beth Shalom

Jewish life has never been free of strife.  From our earliest times until now, Jews have always had disagreements.  In our ever accelerating world, the fault lines are again shifting.  From issues of continuity and denomination to Israel and identity, we'll trace the shifting dynamics of the Jewish community. 

11:15am "We’re Still Here"

Jonathan Dobrer, Instructor, American Jewish University

How after so much time and the push/pull of assimilation and persecution do we remain, often thrive and have a future? We survived the destruction of the Temple (twice), the Diaspora, persecution and evolution. We survived periods of horror and of acceptance and we adapted and didn’t disappear.  But what is the future of Judaism?

12:30pm Afternoon Sessions:

Torah Study with VBS Clergy: Rabbi Ed Feinstein -OR- 

Great Decisions 2021 Discussion Group (Registration Requested)

Lively small group discussions of the world’s major challenges. Enrollment is limited. Discussions will be based on topics selected from a Sourcebook produced by the Foreign Affairs Association. Click here for details and registration > or contact Jerry Davis at (818) 326-5961 or gddavis32@gmail.com.

April 19, 2021

10:00am "Opera 4 – Potions, Poison and Port"

Steve Kohn, Community Educator for Los Angeles Opera 

Operas that have all kinds of liquids but they all end up important in this operatic world.

11:15am "Mission Update from Planet Mars"

Bill Green, Retired Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Three different unmanned missions to Mars launched in 2020 will all be arriving at Mars in February 2021. This talk will describe early results from all 3 missions-- NASA’s JPL Perseverance rover mission (a large rover packed with science instruments with an experimental Mars helicopter experiment as a bonus), Tianwen-1 (a Chinese mission that includes an orbiter, a lander, and a rover), and Hope (from the United Arab Emirates, an orbiter with instruments designed to study the Martian atmosphere for 2 years).

12:30pm Afternoon Sessions:

Torah Study with VBS Clergy: Rabbi Joshua Hoffman -OR- 

Great Decisions 2021 Discussion Group (Registration Requested)

Lively small group discussions of the world’s major challenges. Enrollment is limited. Discussions will be based on topics selected from a Sourcebook produced by the Foreign Affairs Association. Click here for details and registration > or contact Jerry Davis at (818) 326-5961 or gddavis32@gmail.com.

May 3, 2021

10:00am "Jews and the Creation of LA in Three Centuries"

Bruce A. Phillips, PhD, Professor of Sociology and Jewish Communal Studies, Hebrew Union College

Professor Phillips will discuss the Los Angeles Jewish community through the past 300 years and how it has evolved from small beginnings to the community of today.

11:15am "A Renaissance in Jewish Music"

Cantor Phil Baron, Valley Beth Shalom

The explosion of new musical prayer idioms that began with Debbie Friedman and others has continued unabated. Join Cantor Baron as he brings us up-to-date on the latest fascinating developments in Jewish music.

12:30pm Afternoon Sessions:

Torah Study with VBS Clergy: Rabbi Noah Farkas -OR- 

Great Decisions 2021 Discussion Group (Registration Requested)

Lively small group discussions of the world’s major challenges. Enrollment is limited. Discussions will be based on topics selected from a Sourcebook produced by the Foreign Affairs Association. Click here for details and registration > or contact Jerry Davis at (818) 326-5961 or gddavis32@gmail.com.

May 24, 2021 – End of Year Program

10:00am Welcome, Announcements, Recognition

10:15am "The Next Chapter: Retirement in the 21st Century"

Janice Kamenir-Reznik, Attorney (ret'd); co-founder, Jewish World Watch and Jews United for Democracy & Justice

Zev Yaroslavsky, LA County Supervisor (ret'd); Founder, The Yaroslavsky Institute, UCLA

Honey Kessler Amado, Attorney (ret'd), who has been a frequent speaker, writer, and panelist on issues relating to law, and to issues of concern in the Jewish community, including the BDS movement on college campuses, the comparison of Jewish and California family law, and the human rights abuses in Darfur, Sudan

Note: Retired Attorney Honey Kessler Amado is joining the program, to replace previously announced David Lehrer, Former West Coast Director Anti-Defamation League; Co-Founder, Community Advocates, Inc., who was unable to participate.

Gone is the time when people worked until they were 65, retired with the gold watch, and set off for the golf course or the old age home. With extended lifespans and medical advances, people are not only living longer, but feel energetic and driven well into their 7th and 8th decades! According to the Center for Retirement Studies, today's trend reveals an active and re-defined"retirement".  The new "retirement" is one in which work and leisure time can co-exist and even lead to altogether new and unique forms of highly personalized "hybrid" post-career working "retirement" lifestyles.  All three of our guests have enjoyed decades long, successful careers and transitioned to take on new, significant challenges in what used to be considered their "retirement years".

11:30am "Celebrating the End of a Remarkable and Unforgettable Year of Hazak"

Rabbi Noah Farkas, Valley Beth Shalom

12:30pm Afternoon Sessions:

Torah Study with VBS Clergy: Rabbi Noah Farkas -OR- 

Great Decisions 2021 Discussion Group (Registration Requested)

Lively small group discussions of the world’s major challenges. Enrollment is limited. Discussions will be based on topics selected from a Sourcebook produced by the Foreign Affairs Association. Click here for details and registration > or contact Jerry Davis at (818) 326-5961 or gddavis32@gmail.com.


Great Decisions 2021

PRE-REGISTRATION REQUESTED

Great Decisions is America's largest discussion program on world affairs. The program model from the Foreign Policy Association involves reading the Great Decisions Briefing Book,  watching a DVD, and meeting in our VBS Discussion Group to discuss the most critical global issues facing America today.  

We ask that you pre-register for this program so that we can order the briefing books for each participant at $38 per person.

Click here to register online >

If you prefer not to utilize the online registration form option, please contact Gerry Davis at gddavis32@gmail.com or (818) 326-5961.

The topics for Great Decisions 2021 are:

  • Global Supply Chains and National Security
  • Persian Gulf Security Issues
  • Brexit and the European Union
  • Struggles Over the Melting Arctic
  • China’s Role in Africa
  • The Korean Peninsula
  • Roles of International Organizations in a Global Pandemic
  • The End of Globalization?

TOPIC DESCRIPTIONS

Global Supply Chains and National Security  by Jonathan Chanis
The shutdown of global supply chains due to the Covid-19 pandemic brought to the fore an issue with the high level of global economic interdependence: what happens when one country is the main source for an item, say face masks, and then can no longer supply the item? Countries suddenly unable to meet the demand for certain supplies are faced with growing calls for economic nationalism. What are some of the lasting effects that the pandemic could have on global supply chains and trade? How would this affect national security?

Persian Gulf Security Issues  by Lawrence G. Potter
The Persian Gulf remains tense as the rivalry between the regional powers of Saudi Arabia and Iran continues. Tensions escalated in early 2020 as the United States began to intervene in the Gulf, launching an airstrike that killed two Iranian military commanders. What are the historical influences that have led to these tensions? What role, if any, should the United States play? Is using military force a viable foreign policy option for 2021 and beyond?

Brexit and the European Union by Harris LaTeef
With the “Brexit transition period” coming to an end this year, the United Kingdom will formally leave the European Union at the start of 2021. With negotiations between the two entities continuing to stall, what does the future of Europe and the UK look like? Will the UK survive a possible Scottish vote to leave? Who will step up and take command of Europe now that Angela Merkel is out of the spotlight?

Struggles Over the Melting Arctic by Stephanie Pezard
U.S. President Donald Trump left many scratching their heads when it was rumored that he was looking to purchase the large island nation of Greenland from Denmark. While any potential deal seems highly unlikely, the event shows the changing opinion within the U.S. government toward engagement with the Arctic region. Because of climate change, large sheets of arctic ice are melting, exposing vast stores of natural gas and oil. With Russia and China already miles ahead with their Arctic strategies, can the U.S. catch up?

China’s Role in Africa by Cobus van Staden
The Covid-19 crisis has put a massive strain on what was growing a positive economic and political relationship between China and the continent of Africa. As Chinese President Xi Jinping’s centerpiece “Belt and Road initiative” continues to expand Chinese power, the response to the spread of Covid-19, as well as the African government’s growing debt to China, has seen pushback. What are some of the growing economic and political issues between China and Africa?

The Korean Peninsula by Scott Snyder
The Korean Peninsula is facing a defining era. Attempts by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump to repair the rift between North and South have lost any momentum as Pyongyang continues to test long-range missiles for its nuclear weapons program. As the rift between the U.S. and China grows further, South Korea may end up in the middle of the two superpowers. What does the future hold for the U.S. relationship with the ROK?

Roles of International Organizations in a Global Pandemic by Mara Pillinger
The Covid-19 pandemic has thrust the World Health Organization (WHO) into the limelight, for better and for worse. While some of the Trump administration’s criticism of the organization is unfair, the response to the early stages of the pandemic left many experts wanting more from the WHO. What is the WHO’s role in responding to international pandemics? What can be done to improve the WHO’s response to future global health crises?

The End of Globalization? By Anne O. Krueger
As the United States enters another election season, the merits and drawbacks of globalization are again being debated by the presidential candidates. With the passing of the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s America First doctrine, protectionist policies have become more prevalent, challenging globalization. What is globalization and how will it be affected by protectionist trade policies? How will the United States and the world be affected by such policies? Is globalization really at an end, or in need of a refresh?

Click here to view the Great Decisions 2021 flyer >


QUESTIONS?

Email vbshazak@vbs.org

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Sat, November 27 2021 23 Kislev 5782