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Sunday Salons

Curated by JLL Chairman Bob Schwartz
Judaism is dynamic, varied, and all-encompassing. The Sunday Salon Series is a vehicle to touch on many diverse aspects of our religion. These free programs are created to support our congregants’ interests, current developments in the Jewish world, and the Jewish liturgical cycle. They are open to members and non-members alike. As this series is continually evolving, please consult the Temple weekly email, the Temple Times, flyers, or our office for particulars each month. 
Sundays, 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
All 2020 Sunday Salons will be held on Zoom unless otherwise notified. They are free & open to the public! Please register below or call (520) 327-4501 so that we know that you will be joining us.

October 4, 2020
Dr. Benjamin Jens
The Universal Vision of Vladimir Solovyov: How Judaism and the Kabbalah Inspired Russia’s Greatest 19th Century Philosopher
Vladimir Solovyov (1853-1900) was the greatest Russian philosopher of the 19th century. He was a confidant of Dostoevsky and other prominent intellectuals. But unlike his anti-Semitic friends and colleagues, he envisioned a universalist religion, a vision inspired by his studies and appreciation of Judaism and the Kabbalah.
Dr. Benjamin Jens is Assistant Professor of Russian & Slavic Studies at the University of Arizona. His main area of research is 19th-century Russian literature, especially the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky, along with research interests in Eastern European cinema, science fiction, and cultural ties between the Western Balkans and Russia. He is director of the Arizona in Russia study abroad program in Moscow, Russia.

Please register here by Friday, October 2, 2020 at 3:00 pm

October 18, 2020
Dr. Beth Alpert Nakhai
Women of Jerusalem in Biblical Times
Recent studies of ancient Israelite women (1000-587 BCE) have focused on village life, looking at women’s roles at home, in the fields, and in household religion. Here we approach Israelite women from the vantage point of Jerusalem, the capital city. What did women do in a city that, more than anyplace else, incorporated people from a wide range of social classes and professions? This examines the women of Jerusalem: women among the elite and among the workers, women who were privileged and women who facilitated those privileged lives. The Hebrew Bible places Jerusalemite women in a variety of life settings. The archaeological record, too, reveals much of interest. In tandem, these resources facilitate a robust discussion of women in ancient Israel’s capital city.
Dr. Beth Alpert Nakhai is Associate Professor in the Arizona Center for Judaic Studies and is affiliated with the University of Arizona School of Anthropology and School of Middle East and North African Studies. Her research focuses on the lives of women in antiquity, on Canaanite and Israelite religion and culture, and on Israelite village life.  Her books as author or editor include Archaeology and the Religions of Canaan and Israel the World of Women in the Ancient and Classical Near East.
Please register here by Friday, October 16, 2020 at 3:00 pm
October 25, 2020
Dr. Konden Smith Hansen
The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893: How Judaism Became A World Religion
The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 hosted the World’s Parliament of Religions, the first gathering of its kind. Up to then, the American idea of a “world” religion was Christianity. Thanks to Jewish leaders speaking at this well-publicized platform, Judaism and other less-known traditions were seen in a new and brighter light.
Dr. Konden Smith Hansen is Lecturer of Religious Studies at the University of Arizona, specializing in American religious history. He teaches courses on American and world religions, western mysticism, and religion and popular culture. He is the author of Frontier Religion: Mormons in America, 1857-1907 and co-editor of Reed Smoot: American Politics and American Religion.
Please register here by Friday, October 23, 2020 at 3:00 pm
November 15, 2020
Dr. Hester Elsa Oberman
Religious Responses to Pandemics: What the Black Death, Yellow Fever, the Spanish Flu and AIDS teach us about COVID-19 today.
We have a natural human response to crisis: When the chips are down, we look for scapegoats, cling to religious rituals even if deemed a health risk, or forsake religious authorities who seem helpless in the face of mass death. Infamous are the anti-Semitic riots that rampaged through communities when the Black Death—Bubonic Plague—ravaged Europe. Later, the Spanish Flu was thought to be divine punishment in the U.S., where it actually began. During that time, some Roman Catholic churches defied orders to close churches and instead held large masses that become super-spreaders. The diverse religious responses to the COVID-19 pandemic today are no different than those of the past—and we can learn lessons from them.

Dr. Hester Elsa Oberman has been part of the faculty of Religious Studies and Classics at the University of Arizona since 2012. Brought up and trained in the Netherlands and Germany, her expertise lies in the Psychology of Religion, Spirituality, and Atheism and Critical Medical and Health Humanities, focusing specifically on the role of belief and non-belief in the 21st century. Her courses are cross-listed with the Department of Psychology and the Department of Philosophy. Her recent research focuses on the history of medicine implications on healthcare, health belief, and health outcomes in the U.S.
Please register here by Friday, November 13, 2020 at 3:00 pm
December 6, 2020
Dr. Alex Nava
Racial Injustice, the Torah and Hip-Hop
This discussion explores the fascinating affinities between the oral recitation and chanting of the Scriptures, the tradition of rhapsody in Greek and Roman poetics, and contemporary hip-hop. Most Scriptures, even those outside of Judaism and Christianity, were chanted and even sung in the ancient world. Hip-hop represents a return to the oral poetics of ancient religious cultures—and addresses very current issues of racial and economic injustice.
Dr. Alex Nava is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Arizona. His teaching includes courses on Love and World Religions, The Question of God, Rap, Culture and God, and Religion in Latin America.  He is author of The Mystical and Prophetic Thought of Simone Weil and Gustavo Gutiérrez, Wonder and Exile in the New World, and In Search of Soul: Hip-Hop, Literature and Religion.
Please register here by Friday, December 4, 2020 at 3:00 pm
December 13, 2020
Dr. David Graizbord
Jewish Millennials and Israel: What Makes Young American Jews Zionist or Anti-Zionist
In his new book The New Zionists: Young American Jews, Jewish National Identity, and Israel (2020), David Graizbord shows how American Jewish Millennials who are not orthodox approach Israel and Zionism. For them, these serve as solutions to the thinning of American Jewish identity, as they (re)root themselves through “Israeliness”—a largely secular expression of national kinship and solidarity, as well as of personal and communal purpose. This is something galvanizing that American Judaism scarcely provides.
Dr. David Graizbord is Associate Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Arizona. A historian of early modern and modern Jews, his latest book is The New Zionists: Young American Jews, Jewish National Identity, and Israel. He serves as Program Leader for the University of Arizona Summer Study Abroad Program, Arizona in Israel.
Please register here by Friday, December 11, 2020 at 3:00 pm
December 20, 2020
Dr. Caleb Simmons
Traditional Jewish Communities in India
A brief survey of the historical Jewish communities in India, discussing the establishment of a premodern Jewish community in Cochin, the development of Judaism in India through the colonial period, and more recent claims of Jewish identities by groups asserting descent from the Lost Tribes of Israel. These introductory examples will provide an appreciation for the diverse history of Jewish culture in India.
Dr. Caleb Simmons is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Arizona. His courses cover Hinduism, Indian religions, and the method and theory of religious studies. His research interests relate to contemporary topics including ecological issues and sacred geography in India, South Asian diaspora communities, and material and popular cultures that arise as a result of globalization. His most recent book is Devotional Sovereignty:
Kingship and Religion in India (2020)
Please register here by Friday, December 18 at 3:00 pm
Wed, May 12 2021 1 Sivan 5781