Life-Applied Judaism in LA and Beyond

Our Sunday Symposium, which meets during classroom hours, is dedicated to adult learning. We invite speakers from all over Los Angeles to explain their organizations, and share projects and Jewish insights. Sometimes sessions are lead by SIJCC staff or community members and focus on relevant holidays. 

The JLC sets out to create a learning environment where parents lead by example. At least one parent per house is expected to attend a minimum of two sessions throughout the year. The sessions are open to the larger community for free. Sessions are held at the SIJCC from 9:00-11:00am in the offices at the SIJCC.

JLC Symposium Speakers


Winter & Spring 2017

January 8

Vedem Underground Tour and Understanding Terezin

Bev Meyer

Bev Meyer is an educator, teacher-trainer, theater director, and workshop facilitator who has had wide experience working with anti-racist and human rights programs with participants from diverse backgrounds. She is the Founder and Director of the Terezin Festival, an international festival of tolerance and learning through the arts. She is also the West Coast Educational Coordinator of the Speak Truth to Power curriculum for the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, and former Program Associate at the European office of Facing History and Ourselves.

January 22

Advocating for Women, Children, and Families

Cipra Nemeth

Cipra Nemeth is the Vice President of Legislative and Community Engagement for the National Council of Jewish Women/Los Angeles, where she formerly served as Board Member and Past President. In 2012 she received the Hannah G. Solomon Award, given to a woman who exemplifies NCJW Founder Hannah Solomon’s vision of helping women, children, and families who cannot help themselves.

February 5

Tu B’Shevat Hike

RSVP by emailing


February 26

The Jewish Pass: The Sepulveda Pass, Its Institutions, and the History of Mainstream American Judaism circa 1950-2000

Erik Greenberg

Erik Greenberg is the Director of Education at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles. He received his PhD in History from UCLA. His research and teaching has explored subjects ranging from the history of the American West to the intellectual and cultural history of the American Jewish experience. He is a contributor to Mapping Jewish Los Angeles, a digital history project of UCLA’s Center for Jewish StudiesHe has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the American Jewish Archives’ Lowenstein-Wiener Research Fellowship and LAUSD Title VII’s Person of the Year recognition award. 

March 5

Sexuality and Teens with Moving Traditions

Beth Tigay

Through field-tested programs Rosh Hodesh and Shevet Achim, the non-profit Moving Traditions creates experiences that inspire Jewish teens to openly explore fundamental questions of identity and society. Beth Tigay, California Director, manages Moving Traditions groups and development in the Los Angeles area and across California. Previously, Tigay served as Head of Middle School in a top-ranking, innovative charter school, and as the Humanities Department Chair and Middle School Dean at Milken Community High School. Tigay’s adolescent social-emotional development work and curriculum have been used in several Los Angeles schools. Tigay has a degree in English from UCLA.





April 2

Creating Global Justice with AJWS

Emma Nesper Holm

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is the first and only Jewish organization dedicated solely to ending poverty and promoting human rights in the developing world. Through philanthropy and advocacy, they address some of the gravest global problems of our time – genocide, AIDS, violence against women, girls, and LGBTQ people, and the horrific consequences of natural and human-made disasters. Emma Nesper Holm is Director of AJWS Southern California. Before she joined AJWS, Emma developed policy and public health communications to expand access to maternal health medicines in developing countries with Venture Strategies Innovations (VSI). She holds an MA in African Studies from UCLA and a BA in anthropology and journalism and mass communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


April 23

Notorious RBG

Cate Thurston

Cate Thurston is an Assistant Curator at the Skirball Cultural Center. She will discuss the process of adapting the New York Times bestseller Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg into an exhibition. Attendees will help Thurston test and refine the exhibitions goals, themes, and big ideas. She holds a BA in American History from Franklin Pierce University and an MA in American History from California State University Northridge. Her academic work explores the intersection of community and revitalization projects in Downtown Los Angeles. Thurston is an Arts for LA’s Advocacy Leadership Fellow and is passionate about connecting institutional resources to underserved museum communities.


May 7

Interfaith Literacy

The Islamic Center of Southern California

Parents from the Islamic Center join us for an interfaith discussion, centered around literacy and questions. Please bring books for our book drive!

May 21

JLC Parent Check-In and 

Confronting Cyber-Hate with ADL

Alicia Bleier

Since publishing its first report on digital hate in 1985, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has been an international leader in tracking, exposing, and responding to hate on the Internet. ADL closely monitors hate sites and the activities and beliefs promoted by extremists and terrorists. The League has prepared an extensive toolkit for addressing cyberhate and educational resources for parents. ADL convenes a Working Group on Cyberhate in an effort to develop a coordinated approach to the growing problem of online hate speech, including anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim bigotry, racism, homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia and other forms of online hate. Alicia Bleier was formerly on the Executive Board of the Los Angeles ADL office and also headed the speaker’s bureau.  

June 4

JLC Family Potluck



Fall 2016

Sept 11

Talking to Your Child About Why They Go to Jew School

Rabbi Keara Stein

Director of Interfaith Family, Los Angeles. Keara Stein grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, and earned a BA in Religious Studies with a minor in music from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. She met her husband Jason in Portland, Oregon, and they married in 2012. In Portland Keara worked for the Jewish Federation and at local synagogues teaching religious school and co-founding Jews Next Dor, a young adult community. Keara attended Hebrew Union College where she held internships in Amarillo, Texas, UCLA Medical Center, St. John’s Hospital and Temple Beth Hillel. After ordination in May 2014 Keara worked as the Interim Assistant Rabbi at Temple Judea in Tarzana before joining InterfaithFamily. Keara lives in Pasadena, California, with her husband, her step-son Jonathon, one-year-old twins Elliot and Nora, and their dog Cosmo.


Sept 25

Breathwork: Reconnecting, reflecting, and grounding with a Jewish framework

Michael Kass

Michael Kass is a breathwork facilitator, coach, and award-winning storyteller. His work grows out of the belief that every individual has a spark of genius–an indelible gift that only they can give–and that the role of the facilitator is to help draw that genius out into the open and provide support for its full expression. Michael is the founder of Eastside Breathers (because even hipsters need to breathe) and has facilitated breathwork healing workshops, storytelling, and hybrids of the two in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, New York, Bucknell University, Creative Visions Foundation, and in partnership with Z-Adventures, a company dedicated to helping folks reconnect with the power and beauty of nature. His training includes Healer Training 1-4 with David Elliott, coaching certification through International Coach Federation, work with mythologist Michael Meade, and years of travel and study incorporating work with plant medicine, Rites of Passage, and other super spiritual stuff. Michael is a former JLC teacher and a graduate of Rice University and Northwestern University. He is an ACC coach certified by the International Coach Federation, is a mentor with the Creative Visions Foundation, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Breath Center. More info at

Oct 9

What’s Jewish about Breast Cancer?

Jenna Fields, MA, MSW

Jenna Fields, MA, MSW, Los Angeles Regional Director, is a graduate of the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management at Hebrew Union College and the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California. Jenna oversees Sharsheret’s office in the Greater Los Angeles community, and all local programmatic efforts including outreach, education, partnership development and fundraising.

*October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month*

Oct 23

Doing Jewish, Being Jewish and the Exquisite Awkwardness of Ritual Bloodletting

Christopher Noxon

Join East Side Jews co-founder Christopher Noxon in this discussion of inter-faith families, reinventing ritual and his long journey toward conversion and the ceremonial pricking of the prick. Noxon is the author of the novel “Plus One” and the nonfiction “Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes and the Reinvention of the American Grown-Up”; his work has appeared in the New Yorker, Salon, Details and the Atlantic. He’ll share stories and illustrations from an upcoming graphic memoir titled “Prick.”


Nov 6

Bend The Arc: Voter’s Guide

A Bend the Arc member will walk us through the numerous California ballot propositions. Bend the Arc is building the power and passion of the progressive Jewish movement in America by bringing together Jews from across the country to advocate and organize for a more just and equal society. They are the only national Jewish organization that is focused solely on promoting these values here in the U.S.


Nov 20

Jews in the Trump Era


Julia Moss

Julia Moss is the Director of Community Engagement at the Jewish Journal. Prior to the Journal, Julia was a nonprofit consultant at NPO Solutions; manager of partnerships and innovation and later the assistant director of NuRoots at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles; and engagement associate at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Previously, she worked in journalism for outlets such as Kaiser Health News, CBS News and NPR. She has a masters of science in social entrepreneurship from USC’s Marshall School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in political communications from George Washington University. A native Los Angeleno, she will manage development and fundraising and oversee TRIBE’s live community events and sponsorships.


Dec 4

Putting on Your Winter Hat(s): Identity During the Holiday Season

Ayana Morse

Ayana is the Executive Director of the SIJCC. As an educator and community leader she is galvanizing individuals and families through authentic communal experiences, and introducing meaningful access points to Jewish culture for all ages. She has over a decade of experience in non-profit management and Jewish education. Her work has been featured in Lilith Magazine, Sh’ma, the Jewish Journal and she has been a presenter at several conferences including the National Council for Jewish Women and JCPSCA. Prior to coming to the SIJCC Ayana was the operations director for IKAR, a spiritual community that sits at the intersection of Judaism and social justice. She studied theater education at Emerson College, was a participant in LA Boost, a mentor program for small business owners, and has a BA in elementary education from Prescott College. She and her husband, Josh, live in Echo Park with their two kids, Lazer and Diggy.



Spring 2016

April 3

To Build and to be Built: The Tower of Babel and What Really Matters

Rabbi Scott Westle

Scott Westle is the Rabbi-in-Residence at Heschel, a K-8 Community Jewish Day School located in Northridge. He was ordained by the Zielger School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in 2014. Scott also earned a BA in International Security and Conflict Resolution from San Diego State University in 2004. Scott has long been involved with Jewish education in southern California, working at Camp Ramah in California, as a congregational youth director at Shomrei Torah (West Hills) and as a rabbinic intern at Sinai Temple, Hillel at UCLA and Temple Aliyah (Woodland Hills). In addition to his academic and work life, Scott is an avid fan of live music, stand up comedy, the San Diego Chargers, and deep conversations about shallow subjects.


April 17

The Four Children of Passover:  Framing the Approaching Holiday Through Our Own Experiences

Sarah Shulman

Sarah Shulman is Director of Camp Ramah in Northern California, a specialty camp opening this summer along the shores of Monterey Bay with programs in ocean exploration, performing arts, and adventure sports.  Sarah will be ordained as a rabbi next month at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles.  She has a BA in Biology and Creative Writing from Stanford University and a long track record of working as a dynamic educator and educational leader in schools, synagogues, camps, and the great outdoors.  Sarah lives with her husband Nate, daughter Lielle, and cat Squeakers in Northridge.

May 1

Learning identities - Trying out Informal Education

Dalit Shlapobersky

Dalit has been the Executive Director for Habonim Dror Camp Gilboa for the past six years, assuming the role after a few years of involvement with the organization as a volunteer. A graduate of Hashomer Hatzair youth movement, she served at one of the first Urban Kibutzim in Israel, combining military and social service with underprivileged communities. After graduating from Tel-Aviv University, Dalit moved with her young family to Los Angeles, and worked for a few years as a translator, before catching the Habonim bug. Dalit is passionate about youth empowerment, progressive politics and activism, and continuously works on integrating all three into all aspects of her life.

May 15

The Muslim and Jewish Imperative to Help the Homeless

Islamic Center of Southern California.While children learn about the homeless and engage in activities, adults will be invited to join an interfaith discussion.

May 22

Human Trafficking: Slavery in Our Midst
What you can do to help combat human trafficking in California

Cipra Nemeth

Cipra Nemeth is the Vice President of Legislative and Community Engagement for the National Council of Jewish Women/Los Angeles, where she formerly served as Board Member and Past President. In 2012 she received the Hannah G. Solomon Award, given to a woman who exemplifies NCJW Founder Hannah Solomon’s vision of helping women, children, and families who cannot help themselves.

June 5

Essential Family Day and Potluck

At least one parent joins their child for a community gathering to celebrate the end of the JLC year.


Winter 2016

Jan 10

Social service project - Picking a service project on a non-JLC Sunday

Deanna Neil, JLC Director

Jan 24

Tu B’shevat Hike

Meet the community in Griffith Park!

Feb 7

Community social service project follow-up

JLC Parents - we will vote on a community engagment project to do in the Spring on a non-JLC Sunday.

Feb 21

Containing Multitudes: Jewish Identity in Multi-Faith Families

Rabbi Keara Stein

Keara Stein is the Rabbi and Director of InterfaithFamily/Los Angeles, helping people in interfaith relationships and families navigate their religious lives.  Originally from Scottsdale, Arizona, Keara studied religious studies and music at Willamette University in Oregon before moving to Portland where she co-founded “Jews Next Dor” a community for young adults. After moving to LA and receiving her ordination from HUC, Keara served as the Interim Assistant Rabbi at Temple before joining IFF in 2015. She lives in Pasadena with her husband Jason, her stepson Jonathan, one year old twins Elliot and Nora, and their dog Cosmo.


Mar 6

Creativity Play: A Key to the Soul, Connection With the Divine

Rabbi Jonathan Bubis

Rabbi Jonathan Bubis is the assistant rabbi of Shomrei Torah Synagogue in West Hills, California. A graduate of the Zeigler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University, he is a Jewish educator and performing artist with a passion for music, theater, and Jewish text. Additionally, Rabbi Bubis has a penchant for Jewish prayer and leading communities in participatory, spiritually uplifting prayer services. Rabbi Bubis has also worked as a Storahtelling Maven, a revived form of the ancient translator/interpreter of Jewish biblical text, making ancient stories and traditions accessible for new generations in the synagogue and in the classroom, advancing Judaic literacy and raising social consciousness.


Mar 13

Parent’s Torah: Spiritual Lessons Children Teach Us

Rabbi Ilana Grinblat

Rabbi Ilana Berenbaum Grinblat teaches Midrash (biblical interpretation) at the American Jewish University’s Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles. She is a prolific writer on parenting and spirituality. She is the author of Castles and Catch: Spiritual Lessons Children Teach Us and Blessings and Baby Steps: the Spiritual Path of Parenthood. Her columns have been featured in Sh’ma, and CCAR Journal, as well on the websites of the Forward, The Jewish Journal, and the Washington Jewish Week. Her blog can be found at or visit her website at She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Tal, and their children, Jeremy and Hannah.


Fall 2015

Sept 20

Welcome and Guidelines

Deanna Neil, JLC Director

& Ayana Morse, SIJCC Executive Director

Oct 4

Trends in Jewish genetics and the telling of Jewish history

Michael Scott Alexander

Michael Scott Alexander is an associate professor in the religious studies department of UC Riverside. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, and from Yale University in 1999 with a PhD, after which he served as Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He was the former Murray Friedman Associate Professor of Modern Jewish History at Temple University in Philadelphia, and former Director of the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History. He is also a JLC parent!

Oct 18

The Wandering Jew: Portrayals of Jews in 1930s American Cinema

Harry Eskin, filmmaker, archivist and educator

Nov 8

Mindful Parenting

Rachel Lewin, Head of School and Mindfulness Facilitator, Temple Israel of Hollywood Day School

Nov 22

The Neuroscience and Healing Aspects of Jewish Ritual

Rabbi Arielle Hanien

Rabbi Arielle Hanien is Rabbi & Director of Education at Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park & Eagle Rock, a community contributing to the renaissance of Jewish life on Los Angeles’ Eastside.

Dec 6  


Rabbi John Carrier

Currently the spiritual leader of Burbank Temple Emanu El (BTEE), Rabbi Carrier was ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and holds a master’s degree in rabbinic studies from American Jewish University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Towson University.

Spring 2015

March 22

JLC Social


Members of the JLC committee host a social/co-work space for parents to kick off the spring term.

April 12

Why are we at JLC? How do we deal with kids not wanting to go? How much do we let our kids make decisions for us when it comes to religion?

Deanna Neil

The Director of the Jewish Learning Center at the SIJCC leads a discussion around our own trauma and joys with Jewish learning, and how to navigate resistance.  

April 26

Sacred Music through Secular Ears: Musings of a Humanistic Cantor

Cantor Jonathan Friedmann, PHD

Jonathan is a leading voice in Humanistic Judaism and scholar of Jewish music. He leads congregational services and directing and teaching in Jewish educational programs throughout the Los Angeles, and writes about musicology and the sociology of religion. Jonathan received Cantorial Ordination and Masters in Jewish Sacred Music from the AJR, where is a Professor of Jewish Music History. He holds a B.A. and M.A. degrees in Religious Studies from Cal State, Long Beach, and Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible from the joint doctoral program of North-West University and Greenwich School of theology. 

May 3

Moving Traditions: Gender in Jewish learning and practice for teens

Beth Tigay

Beth Tigay, Moving Traditions’ California Director, has extensive experience in adolescent education in both secular and Jewish contexts. Prior to her role at Moving Traditions, Beth was Head of Middle School for the Larchmont Charter School after serving as a teacher and Middle School Dean for Milken Community High School. 

May 17

The Mishkan: Understanding and Reimagining Judaism’s Sacred Spaces

Rose Prevezer

Hailing from London, Rose Prevezer, is a rabbinic student at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. She works at Ikar, and is also an active member of their community organizing team.  She holds undergraduate and masters degrees in anthropology from the University of Oxford and, prior to moving to Los Angeles, worked for many years as a writer and publicist in the art world.

June 7

Final JLC Potluck


Essential family day! At least one parent joins the kids for a communal potluck. No dedicated symposium speaker, but special guests may include CultureLab artists. 


Winter 2015

January 11

Lilith Folklore and Hebrew Goddess mythology

Aaron Henne

Artistic Director of theatre dybbuk, whose work focuses on Jewish folklore and history and whose projects include “Cave...A Dance for Lilith”, a co-production with L.A. Contemporary Dance Company (LACDC), and collaborations with Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue and LimmudLA.

January 25

Re-writing Jewish liturgy

Cantor Rebekah Mirsky

2010 ordinee of the AJR, Ms. Mirsky created the music program at Beit T’shuvah, where she served as cantor for 8 years. A gifted interpreter of Jewish Liturgy, a composer and fellow of the Helfman Institute for New Jewish Music, she enlivens the ancient beauty of Jewish liturgy, helping students connect with traditional prayers and to compose their own.

February 22

Teshuva:  The Return To The Best Part of Oneself - A Work in Progress - not a Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Special Event

Stephen Macht

A prominent actor turned chaplain with an M.A. in Jewish Studies from AJR. Trained at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Graduated Dartmouth College. Ph.D. Dramatic Literature, Indiana University, Mr. Macht has performed in Raid on Entebbe, Graveyard Shift, The Immigrants, Cagney and Lacey, Boston Public, Jack and Jill, Boomtown, General Hospital, and can be seen with his son, Gabriel Macht, in Suits on USA. He is also a noted philanthropist.

March 8

Haggadot and new Shabbat online engagement project

Eileen Levinson

Founder of B.A. Washington University; M.F.A. Graphic Design,California Institute of the Arts. Ms. Levinson is currently an art director at Deca TV and teaches at Otis College of Art & Design. She is a member of the Jewish Artist Initiative of Southern California. Her practice explores interventionist and participatory mediums that spark dialogue amongst communities. 

Fall 2014

Sept 7

Welcome and Guidelines

Deanna Neil, JLC Director

Sept 21

High Holidays Reflection

A beginners’ introduction to the Days of Awe, featuring a lecture and a chance for personal work. No knowledge of Judaism or belief-set required or necessary.

Rabbi Robin Podolsky

Oct 5

Na’aseh V’nishma (We Will Do and We Will Hear): Action and Learning to Promote the Rights of Women, Girls and LGBT People

Gregory Metzger

Oct 19


A discussion surrounding the holiday of welcoming guests and decorating temporary booths.

Miriyam Glazer, Rabbi, PHD, Former Chair of Literature, Communication, and Media at AJU

Nov 2

Creating Systemic Change

Learn about Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, and how we can create systemic change in the Jewish community.

Serenda Oberstein, Regional Director of Bend the Arc Southern California

Nov 16

Jewish Los Angeles

Kamin is the former Executive Director of Beit Tzedek, one of the largest non-profit law firms in the US, serving low-income seniors, families, and disabled residents of Los Angeles County. He is also a Rebooter and on the board for the Breed Street Shul.  

Mitch Kamin, Attorney

Dec 7


A discussion about the holiday of lights.

Ayana Morse, SIJCC Co-Director