Session I

    • Gerald Huth " Creative Expression through Collage"
    • Mia Cohen - "Yoga & Jewish Spirituality Class"
    • Ignite Event - 5 minute speeches with 20 slides (Click here for information about Ignite Talk Videos) 
    • Reb Irwin Keller - "Bad Jew Alert! An Outsider’s Approach to Torah and Tradition"
    • Ariela Rinay-Jinich "Urban Adamah: Harvesting Ancient Jewish Wisdom for a Just and Sustainable Society"
    • Ira Steingroot "Crown and Mystical Kabbalah"  


Gerald Huth: "Creative Expression through Collage"

My presentation will focus on the many possible ways of exploring your creativity through the collage medium. I will be working on a collage, demonstrating some of the techniques I have developed, and also showing some of the wonderful papers I have acquired during my travels in Asia.

Gerald Huth studied art and architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Avignon, France, and the Art Students League of New York. I have been a full-time artist for over 40 years, working in collage, painting, sculpture, and printmaking.Most of my work deals with " the human condition", with an interpretation and reflection of the time in which we live. I have had more than 40 exhibitions,and my work is in museums and collections throughout Europe and the United States.

Mia Cohen: "Yoga & Jewish Spirituality"

Through the sacred union of Yoga and incorporated weekly Torah themes, we will engage and activate the wisdom within  our bodies, inviting deep personal exploration. Through the postures, meditation, and breathing practices we will cultivate aliveness, awaken the vitality and awareness of the breath, and move with the rhythm of the heart.

Mia Miriam Cohen brings her love of spirit and Jewish tradition together with an awareness that illuminates Judaisms Earth Based roots. She is a Rabbinical Student with ALEPH, the Alliance for Jewish Renewal, an Herbalist, Doula, and a teacher of Yoga and Sacred Movement.  Mia has served on the faculty for Kol Zimra Devotional Chant leadership training, in spiritual leadership with Wilderness Torah, is the Kids program director for Ruach HaAretz, and works in Jewish and Interfaith Communities to support Jewish cultural regeneration and intergenerational healing.

Reb Irwin Keller: "Bad Jew Alert! An Outsider’s Approach to Torah and Tradition"

We live in a time of rapid change. Many of us live lives or hold views that seem to conflict with Jewish tradition as we perceive it and feel like bad Jews in the process. But is that perception correct? Judaism has an abiding knack for absorbing new ideas and questioning its own stances. Together we will explore some tools and strategies for reclaiming our full lives as being Jewishly inspired and Jewishly important.

Reb Irwin Keller has served as Spiritual Leader of Congregation Ner Shalom since 2008. His background includes linguistics, Near Eastern languages and law. He is the author of Chicago's gay rights ordinance, and was Executive Director of the AIDS Legal Referral Panel of the Bay Area. In his non-shul time, Reb Irwin tours with the Kinsey Sicks, known as "America's Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet," which he co-founded 19 years ago. Reb Irwin's drashot and essays can be found on his blog:

Ariela Ronay-Jinich from Urban Adamah: "Harvesting Ancient Jewish Wisdom for a Just and Sustainable Society'"

In this class, we'll explore how Urban Adamah, a one-acre urban farm in Berkeley, is changing the feel and look of Jewish community and practice.  After enjoying a slide-show tour of Jewish life on our farm, we'll spend some time doing text-study on what is arguably the most radical tradition in all of Judaism---Shmita, the biblically-prescribed Sabbatical year.  From debt-forgiveness to land re-distribution to ceasing from many forms of agriculture, we'll see how the ancient tradition of the sabbatical year might provide useful frameworks for facing some of our most significant present-day challenges.  

Ariela grew up in Mexico City with no formal Jewish education as a child, yet is making her way in life as a Jewish environmental and experiential  educator. Her passion for living on the Earth as a Jew has been nurtured through years of personal study and work in the community. After completing her Education from Brown University, she spent a year in Israel learning Torah and other traditional texts. Her favorite learning there was through the Eco-Activist Beit Midrash in Jerusalem, where she got to focus on texts relevant to ecology and earth-based Judaism. After working for the Teva Learning Center as a Jewish environmental educator, she settled in the Bay Area and has taken on diverse educational projects, including Camp Tawonga, Chochmat HaLev’s religious school, and Gan Shalom Preschool in Berkeley, where she found ways to bring nature-based learning into the culture of those organizations.  She is the program founder of “B’Hootz,” Wilderness Torah’s year-round children’s program, and most recently served as Education Director for Edah, an innovative Jewish experiential after-school  program.  Currently at Urban Adamah, she  serves as Senior Farm Educator and Director of Hebrew School on the Farm, where she creates magical Jewish experiences for children, families, and groups of adults on their 1-acre urban farm in Berkeley. Ariela is also a Kevah teaching fellow and is participating in the Torah Trek program.

Ira Steingroot: "Crown and Mystical Kabbalah"

Beginning with a brief discussion of the meaning and definition of mysticism, we will quickly focus on the unique characteristics and history of Jewish mysticism. We will look at a variety of texts including the Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation), Sefer Bahir and texts from the school of Abulafia before looking more intensively at the great 13th century classic of Kabbalah, the Zohar. After an overview of the architecture and literary qualities of this enormous library of esoteric books, we will begin reading passages from the Zohar with an emphasis on understanding the theosophical constructs of the book, how it views the life of God in the universe, and how we are included in that life. Using the ten sefirot of the Tree of Life as a key should open up this abstruse and mythic text to any interested reader. We will end with a reading of one of Rabbi Nachman's tales.

Ira Steingroot is the author of Keeping Passover (HarperSanFrancisco, 1995), "All-Purpose Yiddish Knowledge Cards, "Jewish Mysticism: the Language of the Kabbalah Knowledge Cards, Jewish Ceremonies and Holidays Knowledge Cards, The Ten Sefirot of the Kabbalah Classic Poster, and All-Purpose Yiddish Calendar 2002 and 2003.  He has been writing about music, especially jazz, since 1973 and giving classes on Kabbalah since 1978.