Joshua Roth, co-chair

Dorothy Goldstone
Stefanie Schamess
Shelley Sheiffelin
Naomi Tannen
Corrie Trattner
Rabbi Justin David


For the Spring 2019 CBI Cafe Schedule see below:


Sundays, March 17-April 28, 9:45 am to 10:45 am. The Deep Structure of Jewish Prayer with Rabbi Justin David

Join us for a continuation of our series from the Fall in which we study the Talmudic sources of the prayer service, which serve as the foundation for Jewish spiritual life.  Topics include silent prayer, spiritual renewal in prayer, conflicts between prayer and real life, prayer around meals and blessings of real life events.

Sunday, March 10,  9:45-10:45 am. Anti-Semitism Discussion

Discussion at CBI Cafe of Anti-Semitism: Why is it Everyone’s Concern? A booklet written by Cherie Brown and Amy Leos-Urbel, published by Jews and Allies United to End Anti-Semitism.  Amy Leos-Urbel will facilitate. Booklets will be available for purchase at the discussion, at the Feb. 3 session (see flyer page 19) and in the CBI office ($3, please use cash).

Sunday, March 10, 11:00 am-12:30 pm. “Shalom Italia”

Dr. Norbert Goldfield will introduce and lead discussion about the film “Shalom Italia,” which follows the journey of three Florentine Jewish brothers to find where they hid as children to escape the Nazis. Norbert, born in Florence, Italy, will relate these tragic events to the lives of his mother and her family as they hid in the same Tuscan hills.

Sunday, March 17, 11:00 am-12:00pm . The Movement Voter Project:  Grassroots Organizations and Electoral Politics

Billy Wimsatt started and leads an organization called the Movement Voter Project (, which organizes donors to give strategically to grassroots organizations that work on electoral politics (instead of political campaigns) to help turn out the vote of unlikely voters, and hold elected officials accountable.

Sunday, March 24, 11:00 am-12:00pm. The Wall

Think about borders, separation and common humanity, and join us for this opportunity to have a conversation in response to Professor Ilan Stavan’s book-length poem, The Wall.  IIan will be joined by guests whose family histories are informed by the themes of isolation and dislocation in the poem.

Sunday, March 31, 11:00 am-12:00 pm. A Hundred Acres of America- Jewish American Writers and the Sense of Place

Professor Michael Hoberman’s book A Hundred Acres of America, just out from Rutgers University Press, explores the relationship between several generations of Jewish American authors and the land. His talk will explain the theme and scope of the book, and it will also touch of some of its highlights. A Hundred Acres looks at work by highly acclaimed authors such as Philip Roth, Allegra Goodman and Jonathan Safran Foer, but it also discusses the contributions of lesser-known figures from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day.. Michael Hoberman teaches American literature at Fitchburg State University and lives in Shelburne Falls.

Sunday, April 7 , 11:00 am-12:00 pm. “Two Mysteries and One Controversy:  The Story of the Appearance of the Zohar, and its First Printings”

Mount Holyoke Professor Emeritus of Jewish Studies and Religion, Larry Fine, will discuss a fascinating and exceedingly important story in the history of the printing of Hebrew books in the early modern period, namely, the first printings of the Zohar in northern Italy in the middle of the sixteenth century. The Zohar, the single most important work of Kabbalah, and one of the most consequential works in all of Jewish religious literature, circulated exclusively in a large number of fragmentary manuscripts beginning with its appearance in Spain in the late 13th century.  Two competing and rival publishers, in Cremona and in Mantua, published the Zohar between 1558-60 amidst a fierce rabbinic debate (in Mantua) concerning the very propriety of publishing an esoteric work of Kabbalah, and amidst the papal authorized burning of the Talmud (in Cremona).  The talk will include a slide presentation, and an opportunity to see up close original copies of these two sixteenth century printings of the Zohar.