Lifelong Learning

May 8, 2015 – Nolan Gasser-“Musical Taste and the ‘Sound’ of Jewish Identity”

What is it about Jewish music that makes it sound Jewish? Why do we like it or, at least, identify with it? In this talk, Dr. Nolan Gasser will discuss the origins of our collective and individual musical taste, from a scientific, cultural and musicological standpoint. In particular, he will focus on Jewish music-from cantillation to klezmer-breaking it down musically and culturally with the aim of helping us to understand our historical and emotional connection to the music of our people. Dr. Nolan Gasser, a critically acclaimed composer, pianist and musicologist, is also an author, lecturer and professor. He is the architect of Pandora Radio’s Music Genome Project and has been the company’s chief musicologist since its founding in 1999. Dr. Gasser’s original compositions have been performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center and the Rose Bowl. Recent compositions include Sonoma Overture, which premiered at the opening of the Green Music Center, and his opera, The Secret Garden, which premiered at Zellerbach Hall and is currently touring throughout the USA. Dr. Gasser is also the author of the forthcoming book, Why You Like It: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste. Of special interest to Shomrei Torah members, Dr. Gasser performed at recent celebrations honoring our new Torah and Rabbi Gittleman’s Chai Weekend. He and his family are active members of CST.

June 12, 2015 – CST rabbis – “AIDS Quilt” and SAC speakers.


All classes are held on WEDNESDAYS unless otherwise noted.

Jewish Holiday Series Taught by Rabbi Gittleman and Rabbi Kramer Explore the deeper meaning behind the Jewish Holidays. We will study the basis of each holiday and how it is celebrated through ritual and food. • Hanukkah: Dec. 3, (7:00-8:30 pm) • Tu B’Shvat: Jan. 9, Tisch (6:15 pm), Friday • Purim: Feb. 18, (7:00-8:30 pm) • Pesach: Mar. 13, Tisch (6:15 pm), Friday • Shavuot : May 6, (7:00-8:30 pm)


Responsa Literature May 13, 20, 27: 7:00-8:30 pm Taught by Rabbi Gittleman and Rabbi Kramer Imagine the year is 1100 C.E. and you are living in a small Jewish community in a remote part of what is now Yemen. The closest center of Jewish learning is a thousand miles away in what is now Cairo, Egypt. How do you answer questions about Jewish tradition, law and observance in the days before email and “Googling”? You would write a letter and send it by camel to the nearest rabbinic authority and await the response. To update the Jewish legal canon, Jewish authorities developed Responsa literature on almost every aspect of Jewish life from questions of kashrut to martyrdom! In this three-session class we will look at the Responsa phenomena from a historical perspective and study a few modern Responsa. While no previous knowledge is necessary, some knowledge of Jewish practices would be helpful.

One Bay One Book–Discussion of The Betrayers and an additional class in advance. Date/Time: TBD Discussion led by Rabbi Gittleman and Dr. Melissa Kort ONE BAY ONE BOOK is Jewish LearningWorks’ 3rd annual yearlong conversation connecting Bay Area readers through shared discussions and events centering around a single book for all Bay Area congregants. The book for 2014/2015 is The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis.

Calling all Shomrei Torah women:

Come and join our Rosh Chodesh women’s group. It is a custom for women to gather for celebration and sisterhood every month at the time of the new moon.  The meetings may be at a private home, or at an outdoor setting (under the actual moon!–weather permitting). Each month will focus on a specific Jewish spiritual theme (from Kabbalah, mussar (Jewish ethical teachings), or a Biblical source).  We will meditate, chant, sing, dance, study, and discuss in order to deepen our connection to the sacred, to ourselves, to each other and to the community. We hope you will join us!  Please contact: Alissa Hirshfeld-Flores (certified Jewish Spiritual Director) at or Rabbinic Pastor Judith Goleman at

Torah Study

…and Breakfast for the Hungry Hearted is held every Shabbat morning at 8:45AM in our Kolbo. All are welcome, of any age, including beginners to Torah study. Sessions are led by Rabbi George, Rabbi Kramer, and by lay leaders. The best opportunity for ongoing in-depth discussion of Torah and related writings.