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Congregation Beth El – Keser Israel Events – 11/18/22

Children’s Programs

Children’s Havura, K-2 Kehila, and Junior Congregation, all led by parent volunteers, meet in person each Saturday morning.

On December 2, and every First Friday of the month, BEKI’s Kabbalat Shabbat service is kid-friendly, though not specifically a children’s service.

BEKI’s annual children’s Hanukkah party will be Wednesday, December 14.  For more information, contact Education Director Annie Norman-Schiff at

Book Talk on Jefferson

On Saturday, November 19 Robert Forbes will discuss his new book, an annotated edition of Thomas Jefferson’s “Notes on the State of Virginia.”  In the first edition to be based on both the 1785 first edition and the original manuscript, Prof. Forbes uncovers Jefferson’s extensive revisions, situating the work in the context of transatlantic debates over slavery and shedding new light on Jefferson’s shocking disparagement of African Americans.  Details at

Violin & Guitar Concert

By popular demand, violinist Ilana Zaks will return to present “Dances for Two” with guitarist Barbie Matthews on Sunday, December 4.  Now a student in the Master of Musical Arts program at the Yale School of Music, Zaks has been described as a “fearless, refreshing and commanding” performer.  Recent awards include:  at Yale, the Broadus Erle Prize for Outstanding Violinists in May 2022, and at Fontainebleau Schools, France, the Ravel Competition in July 2022.

Matthews is a classical guitarist currently pursuing her Master’s Degree at Yale, where she studies under virtuoso guitarist and composer Benjamin Verdery.  Details at

Talk on Anti-Zionism

Corinne Blackmer, a professor of English and Judaic Studies at Southern Connecticut State University, will discuss her recently published book “Queering Anti-Zionism,” which focuses on academic freedom, LGBTQ intellectuals, and Israel/Palestine Campus Activism, on Saturday, December 10.  Details at

Enemies into partners

Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger and Noor Awad will speak on Saturday, December 17.  Colleagues from Shorashim/Judur/Roots, they will share stories about their work with this Israeli/Palestinian grassroots initiative for understanding, nonviolence and transformation.

This program is made possible by members of the BEKI community, with support from the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven.  Details at

Hanukkah Events

BEKI will offer a Hanukkah singalong with a light dinner and s’mores on Sunday, December 18.  The Connecticut Z’mirah Chorale, directed by Dr. Kevin Mack, will perform at BEKI on Tuesday, December 20.

In Person and Online

BEKI offers in-person services twice daily, led by Rabbi Eric Woodward and congregants.  Weekday services also are on Zoom.  To request the Zoom link, email

Healing Service

Rabbi Woodward will lead a Kabbalat Shabbat healing service on Friday, December 16, and on the third Friday of each month.

Located at 85 Harrison Street (corner of Whalley Avenue – Route 63 – in Westville)

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