Guest Talks

David Isaac Haziza and Ron Guttman | A Look at the Akeida - The Binding of Isaac, from Satan's Perspective

On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, we read about the Akeida, or the binding of Isaac. At the Mindfulness Service, BJ member and actor Ron Guttman delivered this d’var Torah. The text was written by David Isaac Haziza, who is completing his PhD in literature at Columbia. The recitation was followed by a hevruta dialogue using the modality of active listening. (Tuesday, October 4, 2016)


General Michael Herzog | Maintaining Israel’s Security

Over the last decade General Michael Herzog has held senior positions in the office of Israel’s minister of defense under four ministers. He served as chief of staff  and as senior military aide to the Israeli minister of defense. In that capacity, he acted as the liaison between the defense minister and the IDF, prime minister’s office, intelligence community, and Israeli defense establishment. Since 1993, General Herzog has played a key role in the Arab-Israeli peace process, participating in most of Israel’s negotiations with the Palestinians, Jordanians and Syrians. (Tuesday, March 22, 2016)



Helen Radin Memorial Lecture: "What Matters"

At the annual Zayin Adar Helen Radin Memorial Lecture, BJ Rabbi Felicia Sol and BJ Senior Rabbinic Fellow Rabbi Sarit Horwitz were joined by Dr. Eliezer Diamond (Rabbi Judah Nadich Associate Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at The Jewish Theological Seminary), Rabbi Joy Levitt (Executive Director at The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan), and moderator Rabbi Mychal Springer (Director of the Center for Pastoral Education at The Jewish Theological Seminary and the Helen Fried Kirshblum Goldstein Chair in Professional and Pastoral Skills) discuss end of life planning and the “What Matters” initiative. Please note that videos were shown at this event that are not included in this audio. Those videos will be made public in the coming weeks. (Tuesday, February 16, 2016)


Susannah Heschel | The Legacy of My Father

Susannah Heschel is the Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College, where her scholarship focuses on Jewish-Christian relations in Germany during the 19th and 20th centuries, the history of biblical scholarship and the history of anti-Semitism. An award winning author, her books include Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus and The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany as well as over seventy articles.  She has also edited numerous books, including Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays of Abraham Joshua Heschel and Insider/Outsider: American Jews and Multiculturalism. (Saturday, February 6, 2016)

Peter Geffen | Speaker on Heschel's Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity

Peter Geffen has been a member of BJ since Marshall’s arrival and is most known to us as one of our hazzanim for the high holidays. He is the Founder of the Abraham Joshua Heschel School and of KIVUNIM, the Institute for World Jewish Studies. He is married to Susie Kessler, Director of the JCC’s Makom Spirituality Center, the father of Rabbi Jonah (and Julia), Rabbi Daniel (and Lu) and Jewish Educator Nessa and Sabba of Bina and Shula. (Saturday, October 24, 2015)

Zach Bernstein | Speaker on Gay Pride Shabbat 2015

Zack Bernstein joined B’nai Jeshurun over 20 years ago and has worked for the United States Department of State since 2007, where he is currently serving as the senior analyst for chemical and biological weapons and terrorism. Zack and his husband Rob live in Washington, DC with their dog, Dany. (Saturday, June 27, 2015)

Rabbi Melissa Weintraub | D'var Torah and Israel Dialogue Initiative Kickoff

Rabbi Melissa Weintraub, founding director of Encounter, an orga­ni­za­tion dedi­cated to strength­ening the capacity of the Jewish people to be agents of change in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, talks about the need for nuanced discussion when talking about Israel. (Saturday, April 18, 2015)

Amin Ahmed | Syrian Refugee and Activist Speaks at BJ with Rabbi Matalon

Amin Ahmed, pseudonym of an escapee of the violence and upheaval in Syria, discusses his remarkable life and escape from one of the worst humanitarian crises of the millennium. (Tuesday, October 28)

Rabbi Sharon Brous | The Amen Effect: Finding Strength, Inspiration and Purpose in Dialogical Living

Rabbi Sharon Brous

Rabbi Sharon Brous, founding rabbi of IKAR and a former Marshall T. Meyer Rabbinic Fellow, at the annual Teaching in Memory of Shira Palmer-Sherman, explores the  menaing of Dialogical Living as well as how her years at BJ inspire her work at IKAR. (Sunday, March 30)


Professor Susannah Heschel | In Memory of Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer: His Relationship with His Teacher, Abraham Joshua Heschel

Professor Heschel, Dartmouth College’s Eli Black professor of Jewish Studies, award-winning author, and the daughter of Abraham Joshua Heschel discusses Marshall’s relationship with her father through personal letters written to her father while Marshall was in Argentina. (Saturday, March 22)



Karin Ryan | In Memory of Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer: The Role of Religion in Human Rights

Karin Ryan

Karin Ryan, Senior Adviser for Human Rights at The Carter Center, discusses the role of religion in human rights as reflected in the upcoming book, “A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power.” (Saturday, March 22)