Global Day of Jewish Learning

For the third consecutive year, the Weinstein JCC will proudly host Global Day of Jewish Learning (GDJL), powered by Limmud North America. This international day of study and unity brings together Jews of all beliefs and backgrounds. On Sunday, November 7, after more than a year apart, GDJL invites the community to study together the power and meaning of Jewish community through the Global Day study theme, The Bonds Between Us.

This event is free and open to all. Below is the schedule for the day events. 

Forging Connection in Study - 10:00 - 10:55

Presenter: Elizabeth Shanks Alexander, UVA

The past twenty months – marked by a global pandemic, racial tensions, economic instability, and a strained democracy – have highlighted the fragility of the human condition. Many of us have struggled. We now seek to reestablish our communities, remind ourselves of our higher ideals and realize a sense of shared purpose. This session sets the tone for the day by turning to the age-old practice of communal study to forge community and connection. The texts we will read, reflect on the unique position of humanity in the created order, inviting us to reframe the human condition in an aspirational way.

Dr. Elizabeth Shanks Alexander is a Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia where she teaches and writes about Jewish life, Jewish texts, and Jewish ethics. She is the author or editor of three books and numerous scholarly articles and popular essays. Her book Gender and Timebound Commandments in Judaism was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award.

Let's Talk About How We Talk - 11:00 - 11:40

Presenter: Rabbi Michael Knopf, Temple Beth El

In recent years, discourse in our society seems to have coarsened. How do we talk to each other when talking is hard? How do we engage in meaningful, respectful, and constructive dialogue across lines of serious difference? How do we build and strengthen our communities not only despite our differences but because of them? In this session, we will explore the wisdom Jewish tradition has to offer us as we grapple with these challenging questions.

Are We Living in a Bubble - 12:00 - 12:40

Presenter: Rabbi Dovid Asher, KBI

The Torah itself is a guidebook and instruction manual for reaching out to others.  Learn how each member of the community completes the other.  Understand what the implications are for being disconnected in these modern times in contrast to the Judaism of the past.  Explore why the talents of all Jews need to be employed to confront the challenges that stand in the way of the brighter future we all yearn for. 

Meshuggah Food Faces - 1:00 - 1:40

Presenters: Bill and Claire Wurtzel

Traditional Jewish foods connect us to our culture and strengthen the bonds between the generations. For husband-and-wife authors, Bill and Claire Wurtzel, the foods from their childhoods growing up in the Borscht Belt and Lower Manhattan include bagels, old world pickles, gefilte fish and blintzes. Not only are they tasty, but with Bill’s creativity and humor, these foods of our Jewish upbringing can also evoke happiness, sadness, friendship and beauty. Families of all ages will enjoy an interactive and fun “food art” program.

Ingredients List: bagel, cream cheese or string cheese, raisins or capers, grape or cherry tomato, lettuce or parsley

Kristallnacht Remembrance Ceremony - 2:00 - 3:00

Emek Shalom Cemetery

Emek Sholom Holocaust Memorial Cemetery is the final resting place for persons of the Jewish faith who have physical and/or emotional ties to the Holocaust, and their families. Its primary goal is to memorialize victims of the Holocaust, whose descendants live(d) in the greater Richmond area, through maintaining the historic Holocaust Memorial landmark, and promoting Holocaust education.

The Bonds Between Us - 3:10 - 3:50

Presenter: Rabbi Hal Shevitz, Congregation Or Atid

From the very beginnings of Judaism, Jews were told that all of life is about sacred connections: connection to God, connection to Torah, connection to a Land, connection to each other. In this session, we will explore some texts that give a fuller picture of the sacred connections of the Jewish community. This session will by no means cover the hundreds of texts about connections. Instead, it will look at a couple of texts for each of the different connections, both traditional and modern, as we hope to engage in a meaningful conversation about the importance of the sacred connections a Jew is engaged in.

Joining the Jewish Family - 4:00 - 4:40

Presenter: Rabbi Ahuva Zaches, Congregation Or Ami

Join this interactive session as we explore classical and modern Jewish voices on conversion to Judaism. As we delve into these fascinating texts, we will discuss what motivates so many people to officially join the Jewish family as well as ways to build deeper understanding and connections between Jews by choice and Jews by birth.

Inclusion and the Power of the Individual - 4:50 - 5:30

Presenter: Dr. Sarah Kranz-Ciment, Friendship Circle of Virginia

Our tradition is rich in sources on the importance of including everyone. It offers many examples of times when all Jews were present for such important events as the receiving of the Torah and Moses’ farewell speeches. We are also reminded that we are created in God’s image and that we are not to curse the deaf or place an obstacle in front of another person. These instances provide powerful frameworks for our understanding of inclusivity and its centrality to the bonds between us.


Creativity as Connection - 5:40 - 6:20

Presenter: Cantor Sarah Beck-Berman, Congregation Beth Ahabah

In this session with Cantor Beck-Berman (Congregation Beth Ahabah), we will explore creativity through a Jewish lens, how it has brought us together in the past, and how we can use it to connect right now.