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BJ Talks

Wednesday, March 15 | 7:00-9:00PM | Watch now

Hear from five BJ members with divergent viewpoints on Jewish identity and intermarriage, presented in a TED Talks-style format.

Our exceptional speakers are: Carole BalinMeredith BerkmanKay GardinerSaul Nathan-Kazis, and Jack Stern.

Click the thumbnails below to watch now.


Carole Balin has been a member of B’nai Jeshurun, along with her husband Michael Gertzman, since 1988. Along with their three children, they feel grateful and proud to be part of a spiritual community that values meaningful worship, uplifting song, engagement with Israel, and advocacy for the vulnerable in our society-at-large. Back in the day when Jewish denominationalism seemed to matter, one might have said that Carole and Mike had an intermarriage of sorts — Mike was raised as a dyed-in-the-wool Conservative Jew (who early on grew to love the electronic accompaniment on Shabbat) and Carole is an ordained Reform rabbi.
Meredith Berkman is a longtime BJ member who spends Shabbat mornings up in the SPSA balcony with her friends. She considers it a miracle that her four kids often join her. A former New York Post columnist and freelance writer, she has covered everything from hockey to politics to parenting. A graduate of Brown University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, she sits on the boards of Commentary Magazine and Brown University Hillel and serves on Brown’s Women’s Leadership Council.
Kay Gardiner practiced law for 17 years, primarily as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. In recent years she has been an author and publisher of books and an online magazine for knitters, MasonDixonKnitting.com. With her children, Carrie and Joseph Bergmann, Kay has been a member of BJ since 2006. She converted to Judaism in 2010.
Saul Nathan-Kazis is a lifelong member of B’nai Jeshurun. He attended BJ Hebrew school, had his Bar Mitzvah at BJ, led many family services over the years, and comes from a family that is active in the community. Saul is currently engaged to a woman who is not Jewish and is excited to have the opportunity to share his personal experience and perspective on the topic of intermarriage with the congregation.
Jack Stern is a graduate of Yeshiva University and a Columbia University-trained Neurosurgeon. He presently serves as a Vice President on B’nai Jeshurun’s Board of Trustees. You will find Jack and his wife Judy in the same seats every Shabbat morning. Speaking of his perspective on the contemporary meaning of Jewish identity and intermarriage Jack says, “We have four grown children, only one of whom is married. Need I say more?”