The other night, I put on another event in the “Texts & Tastings” series featuring rye whiskey. In addition to a focus on the spirit, “Rye & Relationships”, also showcased various gems of wisdom from our Talmudic sages regarding relationships. As I had written prior to the event, I was able to expose participants to my materials that I usually do with college students and young adults, although – as opposed to those events – we had more time and were able to cover much more material.
I arranged the material into four categories: 1) Coupling and Matchmaking, 2) Treating one’s wife/spouse, 3) Sex & Relationships, and 4) Consensuality of Sex.
As opposed to the past two previous years of the “Texts & Tastings” series which alternated between whiskies and other spirits, this year’s series has been entirely whiskies. The next “Texts & Tastings” event will be Scotch….
Last week, I led a Torah on Tap discussion with California State University, Long Beach students for Beach Hillel. As it was not only going to be Valentine’s Day, so a lot of people were hearing about relationships and sex, as well as the day before the theatrical release of Fifty Shades of Grey, so people were curious to hear about sex.
For the first half of the discussion, we utilized sources from the Talmud on consensuality and sex. For the second half of the conversation, the students got to have an open Q&A (similar to last spring) about sex and Judaism.
This was the first of three Torah on Tap learning events of the semester with Beach Hillel this spring.
Finally, we had the annual Sukkah Hop, which, for the third year in a row, was held in Irvine. Beach Hillel partnered again with Chabad at University of California, Irvine (UCI) for a great time with students from UCI, CSULB, and other schools, to visit multiple sukkot, ending up in a dinner at a big sukkah with music and dancing.
Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with dozens of students at University of Redlands in collaboration with their Hillel, followed up with a visit to continue the conversations at a local brewery.
Last night, I spoke on an interfaith panel on the topic of climate change and environmental stewardship, representing the Jewish perspective.
Taking place at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), the panel discussion was put together by the nascent Interfaith Project at CSULB. Questions under consideration for the panel were such as “What attitudes toward climate change do you encounter in your religious context or in the religious tradition you study – skepticism, apathy, concern, activism?” and “What responsibility do humans have, according to your religious tradition, for the care of the environment/[creation]?”
Having been involved with Jewish environmental groups, it was a great opportunity for me to share some of our tradition on this matter.
Some texts that provided a lot of fodder for conversation were the story about Shimon ben Shetah’s hanging of 80 witches in Ashkelon, the criteria for determining who is a witch, and other stories about witchcraft. It was a great evening and opportunity for young adults to engage with these texts from our tradition!
Last week, I visited the new Moishe House of Orange County and spoke about the holiday of Sukkot with young adults. Having spoken at the previous Moishe House of Orange County several times last year and several times the year before, it was my first time at the new location of the Moishe House, which, like the previous location, is also in Costa Mesa.
On Tuesday, I spoke largely about the mitzvah is doing various activities within a sukkah during the holiday, what constitutes a sukkah, why we do it, and more. I also spoke about the four arboreal species that we take, as well.
It was a great time and I look forward to returning to enrich the Jewish lives of young adults in Orange County at the Moishe House!