CAA Speaker Series Features Guests from Both Coasts

CAA Speaker Series Features Guests from Both Coasts

LEFT: Rabbi Cheryl Peretz will discuss how American Judaism can strengthen Israel Jan. 27. RIGHT: Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer will discuss the meaning of Israel to American Judaism Feb. 24. mages courtesy of Congregation Agudas Achim.

Big thinkers from both coasts head to Austin early next year for Congregation Agudas Achim’s 2019 Speaker Series, featuring Yehuda Kurtzer of New York City’s Shalom Hartman Institute of North America and Rabbi Cheryl Peretz of American Jewish University in Los Angeles, California.

Those in the greater Austin community are invited to attend the series, which this year focuses on Renewing Jewish Identity: How Judaism is Reinventing Its Relationships with America and Israel. Kurtzer, the nonprofit Hartman Institute’s president, will discuss the meaning of Israel to American Judaism Sunday, Feb. 24. Peretz, associate dean of AJU’s Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, will begin the brunch series Sunday, Jan. 27, with her thoughts on how American Judaism can strengthen Israel.

“We are delighted to have two leading thinkers in Austin to help us consider these big questions, which are some of the most pressing issues in Judaism,” said CAA Rabbi Neil Blumofe. “Who are we as a people? How can Judaism in America and Israel support and strengthen each other? Join us and be part of these important conversations."

The 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. program Jan. 27 begins with brunch, followed by Peretz’s presentation, as well as comments from Blumofe and audience questions.

Peretz, whose vast experience includes expertise in marketing, organizational structures and leadership, is a graduate of the double degree program between Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where she earned degrees in mathematics and Jewish philosophy. She has also served as a pulpit rabbi in Los Angeles area synagogues.

Kurtzer earned his doctorate in Jewish Studies from Harvard University and a master’s in religion from Brown University. His 2012 book, “Shuva: The Future of the Jewish Past,” has been described as “an essential message to the 21st century Jewish community that our future is based not just on recalling our past but on determining how it has shaped us and deciding how we want to mold it to help us build a strong faith and a value-based future.”

Brunch is $15 and can be paid online at theaustinsynagogue.org/speaker or at the door, but an RSVP for the Peretz program by Jan. 23 to Cameron Nudleman is requested at cameron.nudleman@caa-austin.org or 512-735-8418.

Series sponsors receive reserved seating and complimentary brunch. Sponsorships at $180 (for one or two persons) help defray speaker travel costs. To become a sponsor or make a general donation to the speaker series, contact Cameron Nudleman. ■

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