Upcoming Events

At Central Synagogue

Jewish Journeys to Spain, Poland, and Russia with Mike Hollander

Date: Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Location: Virtual

Take 1, 2, or 3 virtual tours with Mike Hollander, a well-loved Israeli-Canadian educator and tour guide on many Central trips, including our most recent 10X Chai trip to Israel. Tours will explore Jewish travel in Spain, Poland, and Russia.

Zoom Link information will be sent to registrants 24 hours before each lecture.

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May 7th, 2020:
“The Golden Age of Jewish Life in Sepharad/Spain - Guide for the Perplexed”

For centuries, the Jewish community of Spain was one of the world’s most significant. It’s creative achievements in the arts, sciences, literature, medicine, diplomacy, etc. were unprecedented for a Diaspora community, largely because of the interaction and integration of the Jewish community in Muslim Spain. All this ended during the same year that Columbus set sail to discover America. What is the legacy of this important community? We will visit some of the more important Jewish centers, including Córdoba, the birthplace of Maimonides, Granada, home of the beautiful Alhambra Palace, where Ferdinand and Isabel issued their expulsion order, as well as the beautiful synagogues of Toledo. The presentation will also touch upon the complexity of minority/majority relations, the tension between integration and assimilation, and celebrating the rich legacy of Sephardic Jewry.

May 14th, 2020:
“Poland - the Epicenter of the Ashkenazi World in 1939”

In 1939, this country was the epicenter of Ashkenazi Jewry. So many of our Jewish ideas and so much of culture comes from this here, in which 10% of the pre-WWII population was Jewish. This virtual journey will go to Warsaw, Krakow, and Auschwitz-Birkenau, and will touch upon 3 central themes - 1,000 years of Jewish life in Poland, the period of the Shoah from 1939-45, and the complicated post-WWII to the present period of resuscitation of Jewish life in Poland, as well as the strengthening of ties between Israel and Poland.

May 21st, 2020:
“Russia: St. Petersburg and Moscow - The Pale and Beyond”

Many Ashkenazi Jews say that their parents/grandparents/great grandparents came from ‘Russia,’ however, most likely they didn’t! Jews - by and large - were not allowed to live in what is today the Russian Federation (including St. Petersburg and Moscow) until 1860. From that period until the Russian Revolution in 1917, this area was an anvil of Jewish creativity. In addition, major events here - including the assassination of Czar Alexander II in 1881, the Russian Revolution, the Great Patriotic War (WWII), the Cold War, and Glasnost - had a tremendous impact on the Jewish population in this part of the world. They also had a profound impact on North American Jewry. This journey will visit these cities and examine how these events have and continue to impact Jewish identity in these places, as well as in North America and Israel.


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