Following the service on most Shabbat mornings, Beit Emanuel hosts an interesting and informed speaker on a thought-provoking topic, usually – but not always – related to Jews or Judaism.
Sessions over the past few months have proved so popular that guests need to come early to be assured of a seat. Some speakers are our own members talking about their passions, and some are outsiders with specialist expertise. Sessions last an hour, starting at 11.15am, and usually include a discussion session. A light brunch is served. Non-members are welcome. Here is our programme over the next few weeks:
8th February – Come and meet the woman of Bereshit
Rebbetzin Sharon Shaked
Our rebbetzin, Sharon Shaked, who studied ancient classical history at the University of Tel Aviv, will speak on the women in Bereshit. Can you call your daughter Lilith? What does the name Hava really mean, and what about Sara or Rachel? What did the biblical names mean and how did this reflect the women’s roles in the narrative? This talk is a taster to Sharon’s approach to the forthcoming Theology Hub, which she will be running
15th February – No JTALK due to a Batmitzvah celebration.
22nd February – ‘Kosher Kinderlach’
Dr Dora Wynchank
Dr Dora Wynchank is a psychiatrist who has a particular interest in mental health in Jewish communities. Dora has given two previous JTalks on Jews and mental health, which proved so interesting that we have asked her to speak again. This time, she explores the psychological outcomes of an Orthodox Jewish upbringing on adult sexuality.
1st March – ‘How to green your home and save thousands’
You probably know Don Boroughs as the brilliant tenor in our choir. When he’s not singing, his passion is energy efficiency. Don recently won an Eskom Energy Efficiency Award in the category of Energy Savings in Households. He has reduced the electricity consumption of his home by 75 percent, saving R20 000 a year and is radically improving his family’s carbon footprint. Don is a journalist, photographer and blogger (www.greenerhouse.co.za) who writes about green living. He will speak about energy-saving technologies and techniques that we can apply in our own homes.
8th March – ‘Nadine Gordimer: Jewish, or not Jewish enough?’
Dr Karen Lazar
Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer has been claimed as a “Jewish writer” by some, and criticised as a “not Jewish enough” writer by others, during her long literary and philosophical career. In an open-ended and broad discussion, Karen Lazar will explore some examples of Gordimer’s complex depiction of Jewish characters and Judaism. Dr Karen Lazar works in the Division of Languages at the Wits School of Education. Her MA and Phd are analyses of Gordimer’s short stories,novels and socio-cultural criticism from 1956 to 1994.
15th March – The Weekly Mail and the battle to tell the news
Dr Irwin Manoim
The joint founder and editor of the Weekly Mail newspaper, now the Mail & Guardian, talks about how a small group of journalists and activists (almost all of them Jewish) founded a newspaper during apartheid’s darkest period which took on police, politicians, hit squads and bank managers and somehow survived. Among other issues still pertinent today: does the public have a right to know; would the public prefer not to know; does a crusading newspaper have the right to break the law?