CAA Speaker Series Features Rabbi Cheryl Peretz

CAA Speaker Series Features Rabbi Cheryl Peretz

Rabbi Cheryl Peretz will discuss how American Judaism can strengthen Israel Jan. 27. Photo courtesy of Congregation Agudas Achim.

Congregation Agudas Achim’s 2019 Speaker Series kicks off Sunday, Jan. 27, with Rabbi Cheryl Peretz of American Jewish University in Los Angeles, who will discuss this year’s CAA Speaker Series theme, “Renewing Jewish Identity: How Judaism is Reinventing Its Relationships with America and Israel.”

A native Texan, Peretz grew up going to Congregation Agudas Achim in San Antonio.

“Jews epitomize the success of the American melting pot, enjoying every opportunity of education, professional growth and social acceptance. Having established homes here, most American Jews are not planning a move to Israel,” she said, despite the very special personal relationship many American Jews feel when they visit the Jewish homeland.

“Modern Zionism also confronts questions of religious tolerance in Israel, political positions and inclusion,” she said. “I hope to explore a modern take on Zionism, the role of Israel, and our part in bringing to fruition the connection of the Israel of our prayers with the Israel of reality today.”

The 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. program will begin with brunch, followed by Peretz’s presentation on “How American Judaism Can Strengthen Israel,” comments from Congregation Aguas Achim’s Rabbi Neil Blumofe and audience questions.

Peretz is associate dean of AJU’s Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, a post she has held almost 18 years. During that time, she spent almost a decade also serving as a pulpit rabbi at three Los Angeles, California, area congregations.

Peretz left Texas for New York after high school, where she enrolled in the double degree program between Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary. Her degrees are in mathematics and Jewish philosophy.

“At the time, I had no interest in being a rabbi,” she said.

After completing an MBA in marketing, Peretz moved to Dallas where she worked in marketing strategy and management within the telecommunications industry while becoming increasingly involved in the Jewish community—which led her to rabbinical school.

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

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

The second program in the series is set for Sunday, Feb. 24, featuring Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer of New York City’s Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. ■

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