Leading While the World in On Fire

Many of us never imagined we would be serving as rabbis in a time of such great devastation when the world is facing a climate crisis so dire that it threatens the future existence of humanity. Come explore what it means to lead in such a time, discuss ways to mobilize our communities for meaningful action, and support our people as they face this reality on a spiritual and emotional level.

Please join us for the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis event “Leading While the World is on Fire” on Thursday, Dec. 10  from 9:45-11:30 a.m. with Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, Founder & CEO of Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action.

How to Register

Register to receive the Zoom link.

About the Speaker

RABBI JENNIE ROSENN is the Founder and CEO of Dayenu, a new organization mobilizing the American Jewish community to confront the climate crisis with spiritual audacity and bold political action. Rabbi Rosenn has spent more than two decades leading Jewish non-profit organizations, advocating for social change, and creating dynamic new initiatives at the heart of the Jewish social justice movement. Before founding Dayenu, Rabbi Rosenn served as vice president for community engagement at HIAS, where she built a robust Jewish movement responding to the global refugee crisis. She has twice been named one of the Forward’s 50 most influential Jews in America.

Sh’ma: Love and Listen

treePlease join Amy Grossblatt Pessah, rabbi, mom, educator, and author, as she shares some of the ways ancient Jewish prayer can offer timely wisdom for the modern parent. In this interactive session, we will focus on the words of the Sh’ma prayer and explore what messages and teachings can be extrapolated to help us become more mindful, present, open-hearted parents, no matter the age of our child.  Discover  how the Shema can bolster us to listen intensely and love deeply especially now, as we navigate what it means to be a parent in 2020.

Rabbi Amy will be sharing passages from her recent book, Parenting on a Prayer. Registrants will receive a discount on the purchase of the book. A discount code and Zoom link will be sent out ahead of the event.

Amy Grossblatt Pessah sitting on a beachAmy Grossblatt Pessah is a rabbi, author, spiritual director and mom. Serving various communities and demographics across the country, Amy has been a Jewish educator for over twenty-five years, with a specialization in Jewish Family Education. She is the author of the recent book, Parenting on a Prayer: Ancient Jewish Secrets for Raising Modern Children. Learn more at her websiteA Soulful Journey.


Virtual Information Session: Hybrid Master of Jewish Education Program at Hebrew College

Ready for change? Looking for meaning and purpose in your work? At Hebrew College, we are passionate about Jewish Education and preparing educators for careers with passion and purpose.

Whether you are new to the profession or are a Jewish educator who wants to move ahead in your career, we invite you to join us for Hebrew College’s new Hybrid Master of Jewish Education Program Virtual Open House & Informational Session on Thursday, November 12 at 7:15-p.m. EST/6:15CT/5:315 MT/4:15CT (US). 

Our pluralistic program offers:
  • Nationally recognized interactive online learning experiences

  • Hybrid model- online learning combined with on-campus seminars

  • Comprehensive curriculum & deep learning with expert faculty

  • Substantive and meaningful support through personalized advising relationship

  • Practical application through supervised field experiences

  • Educational leadership; pedagogic application, social, emotional, and spiritual learning

  • Opportunity to become an iCenter Fellow for the teaching of Israel

  • Jewish learning for a pluralistic world


Please contact Debrah Ron at dron@hebrewcollege.edu

A Musical Meditation and Celebration of Tu B’Shevat

About Jewish CultureFest: Food, Music, and YOU!

Celebrate the culinary and musical traditions of Jewish life from around the world in our three-part online series, with programs for Chanukah, Tu B’shvat, and Passover.

We invite you to join us for one of our remaining two multi-generational and Interactive workshops:

workshop #2:

A Musical Meditation and Celebration of Tu B’Shevat | View the flyer

Join us for a night of contemplation and melody as we dive into the taste of the seasons and our inner and outer worlds in celebration of the birthday of the trees, Tu B’Shevat. We will gather together, each from our own home, to partake in the symbolic fruits of the beautiful Tu B’Shevat seder as we honor the spiritual and ecological teachings of this tradition.


Wednesday, January 27 | 7-8:30 p.m.


jackson-mercerJackson Mercer
Musician, composer, Hebrew College rabbinical student, and co-creator of Hebrew College’s Niggun Seminar.

Shani-RosenbaumShani Rosenbaum
Teacher, Hebrew College rabbinical student and co-creator of Hebrew College’s Niggun Seminar.

A preview from our facilitators!


Free (Although the program is free, we welcome a suggested donation of $18 per household to support future Jewish CultureFest programming). Donate here and note “MetroWest Jewish Culturefest” in the comment box. Thank you so much for your support!

workshop #3:

A Passover Exploration


Sunday, March 14 | 4-5:30 p.m.

Program and presenter information coming soon!

Contact Us

For information or questions, please contact Marilyn Stern via email or at (617) 559-8614. Thank you.



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Jewish Law and Ethics: A Hackathon for the Age of COVID-19

The onset of the COVID-19 epidemic has raised a slew of ethical questions, presenting new challenges for individuals, communities and governing bodies. In response,  T’ruah is hosting a series webinars around “Jewish Law and Ethics: A Hackathon for the Age of COVID-19” on Tuesdays October 6, 13, 20 and 27. Hebrew College is a co-sponsor.

Each webinar will feature a pair of our Hackathon scholars teaching the material they uncovered from our tradition that speaks to a pressing ethical question of our moment, such as:

  •  Do renters need to pay rent during a crisis?
  • How do we navigate concerns about civil liberties when it comes to contract tracing for the sake of public health? 

About the Series

These questions have emerged at a particular crisis moment, but have a much more enduring effect on the way we think about creating a society that protects the health, dignity, and human rights of all people.

T’ruah has brought together eight people with expertise in halacha, Jewish thought, ethics, and history, with strong touch points to the lived experience of the Jewish community and communities with whom our destinies are interconnected, to embark together over the next three months on a process of deep learning and discernment.

Together, contributors to this project will produce papers that will offer guidelines for Jewish individuals and communities to approach distinct ethical questions that have emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic. The published papers, and accompanying educational materials including source sheets, toolkits and video clips, will provide Jewish clergy and educators with guidelines for approaching these challenges grounded in deep Jewish wisdom.

Panel Discussion of the Film “Children of the Inquisition” with Director and Guests

Children of the inquisition
Join us for a special Zoom panel discussion and Q&A about the film “Children of the Inquisition” on November 22, 2020, led by the film’s director, Joe Lovett.

This is an excellent opportunity to dive into an aspect of Judaism’s journey that is often overlooked or kept secret. Teens, parents, and grandparents find the film to be incredibly eye-opening and inspiring!


adam-brownAdam Brown, Administrator, AvotaynuDNA Project and Managing Editor of AvotaynuOnline.com. He is a frequent lecturer on genealogical subjects at conferences all over the world and was National Co-Chair of the IAJGS 2017 conference in Orlando. A strategic planner by profession, he has led numerous boards and commissions pertaining to municipal planning and finance, Jewish education, and scientific research in Israel

joe-lovettJoseph Lovett, Executive Producer and Director of the film, and event moderator. Lovett started Lovett Stories + Strategies (as Lovett Productions, Inc.) in 1989 after 10 years as a producer at ABC News “20/20,” following five years as an editor and producer at CBS News Magazine which was created as a daytime “60 minutes” for an at home audience.

jose-portuondo-denbarJosé “Akiba” Portuondo-Dember, Esq., member of the Cuban American “conversos” community. He is descended from conversos that fled the Spanish Inquisition, settling in Puerto Rico and Cuba. He received his J.D. from Boston College (2012) and his B.A. in Jewish Studies from the University of Chicago (2006). He currently works as a translator and attorney, with practice interests in LGBTQ rights; and First Amendment jurisprudence and indigenous medicines of the Americas.

Rabbi Or Rose, Founding Director of the Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College. Previously, he served as a founding faculty member and associate dean of the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College. He has taught for the Bronfman Youth Fellowships, The Wexner Graduate Fellowship, and in a variety of other academic, religious, and civic contexts throughout North America and in Israel. Recent publications include: Words To Live By: Sacred Sources for Interreligious Engagement (co-editor, Orbis) and Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi: Essential Teachings (co-editor, Orbis). He is the creator of Hebrew College’s scriptural commentary blog Seventy Faces of Torah, curator of the web-based project PsalmSeason, and co-publisher of the Journal of Interreligious Studies.

reyna-semnegarReyna Simnegar, author and member of the Venezuelan “conversos” community. Simnegar was born and raised in Venezuela. Her family history dates back to the Spanish Inquisition when her family fled from Spain and ultimately arrived in Venezuela. Reyna is the author of Persian Food from the Non-Persian Bride, published by Feldheim. This unique cookbook and her popular blog posts about kosher Persian food have received extensive broadcast, print, and digital media coverage nationally and in Israel and Iran. Additionally, Reyna was interviewed in Tablet magazine by beloved Jewish cookbook author Joan Nathan and was offered a cooking show on the Jewish network JLTV in Los Angeles.

keith-stokesKeith Stokes, Vice President of the 1696 Heritage Group and descendant of a founder of the historic Touro Synagogue in Rhode Island. His past professional positions have included Executive Director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation and Executive Director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce. He has also been an Advisor with the National Trust for Historic Preservation along with serving on numerous regional and national historic preservation boards including Chairman of the Touro Synagogue Foundation.

>> Download a PDF of our panelists’ bios

about the film

Children of the Inquisition title art

“Children of the Inquisition” is a re-examination of history and identity in a 2-hour documentary film that unearths 500 years of hidden history. The film looks at what happened to the families forced to convert to Catholicism or flee during the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions through the eyes of their contemporary descendants, many of whom are just discovering their often nuanced Jewish roots. The film’s storytellers uncover the connections between their family’s journeys and this buried history.  The discoveries of these flights to safety over the past 500 years give a new perspective to the world events we face today.

“Children of the Inquisition” is more than just a film. It’s an opportunity to better understand our complex world and identities. Learn more about the film and the “Children of the Inquisition” educational project.


This event is made possible thanks to a generous, anonymous donor, and is co-sponsored by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston and Temple Beth Sholom in Framingham.