TBElle / Lunch & Learn

Temple Beth Elohim Lifelong Learning Experience

 Get yourself a teacher and find yourself a friend.  -Pirke Avot 1.6    

A unique learning program led by fellow congregants who are excited to share their knowledge and interests in a relaxed, fun learning experience. Classes begin at 10:00 am or 12:45 pm and last for an hour and fifteen minutes. The Lunch & Learn program runs between sessions. There is no charge to attend and all are welcome.

If you have an interesting topic or hobby you would like to share with others over a six-week period, please contact Sandy Goldstein.

For additional information, or to register for TBElle classes, please be in touch with Lynn Burke (781) 235-8419 x211.

The Fall 2018 session will be held on Tuesdays, October 9 through November 13.

MORNING SESSION (10:00-11:15)


The Book of Genesis as Literature: Part 2, Rabbi Bob Orkand                                     

This course will continue to explore the Book of Genesis as a piece of literature, highlighting the many literary devices and techniques employed by the ancient author(s) of the book. In doing so, participants will discover that what on the surface may appear to be rather simple tales are, in fact, the products of great literary sophistication.  Not only do we have gifted authors but an ancient Israelite audience that could appreciate and understand literature of such high quality and brilliance.  And, of course, we will look at the theological issues that have made these stories so important to Jews throughout the centuries.

Please note:  It is not necessary to have participated in part one of this course as each lesson stands on its own.


Hail! Hail! Rock & Roll, Marty Sleeper

It’s the music that many of us grew up with and helped to define our teenage years.  We’ll search for its   roots in the blues; country and western; gospel; and rhythm and blues and then trace its development as it confronted racism; went from regional radio to a national movement; and built a teenage culture.  Along the way, we’ll highlight some of its stars, - disc jockeys Alan Freed and Dick Clark; writers and producers like Jerry Lieber, Mike Stoller, Carol King and Phil Spector and watch clips from lots of performers like Fats Domino, Hank Ballard, Chuck Berry, Connie Francis, the doo wop groups, the Beach Boys, Motown, early Bob Dylan and (of course) Elvis. We’ll conclude with a quick look at its next phases - folk rock and the British invasion starring the Beatles.

LUNCH & LEARN PROGRAM (11:30 am - 12:30 pm)

Please click here to view our guest speakers and discussion topics.

AFTERNOON SESSION (12:45 - 2:00)


Muscial Journey: Part 3, Art Gerstenfeld

This course builds on our previous two courses on "Musical Journey".  The course is new and different from the past courses.  The course has two goals, 1. to have fun, and 2. to learn some more about music.  Our virtual trip will start in Saint Petersburg, Russia with some beautiful music from Tchaikovsky.   From there we will go East for the second class and discuss and listen to the music of Frederick Chopin.  We continue across Europe and for the last class we end up in Italy with music from Vivaldi as we listen to and discuss "The Four Seasons".

We will be using the same book as in "Musical Journey Part 2" but we will be using different chapters to help with our discussions.  The book is authored by Ian Swafford, 2017, who is a preeminent composer and music scholar and is a former professor of music history, theory, and composition at The Boston Conservatory. 


Talmudic Tall Tales... What Were Those Rabbis Thinking?!, Debra Goldstein

The many stories embedded in Talmud (Aggadah) can be bewildering, baudy and bizarre, but they are not the province of rabbis and academics alone. Read as imaginative literature expanding upon or challenging the legal musings (Halacha), the stories are open to all of us, and subject to our own interpretations and gleaned lessons.  Using scholar Ruth Calderon's retellings and comments as a starting point, let's see where our modern encounter with the ancient stories takes us.



For additional information, or to register for TBElle classes, please be in touch with Lynn Burke (781) 235-8419 x211.







Held during the six-week spring and fall TBElle program, in between the morning and afternoon class sessions from 11:30 am–12:30 pm, these talks are led by congregants and friends of TBE who discuss particular topics or interests they are passionate and knowledgeable about.

Bring a brown bag lunch and a drink. The Lunch & Learn program is open to all and reservations are not required.


2018-2019 Lunch and Learn Committee: Susan Freedman, Jerry GoldbergCarol Salter and Isabel Zupan.

October 9

The Musical and Liturgical Changes Jodi Has Seen During Her 35 Years at TBE, Cantor Jodi Sufrin

Our Temple Beth Elohim community has never shied away from expressing strong opinions. How amazing it is that I have never heard the phrase, “Cantor, we don’t sing it that way!”  The openness to change, to trying something new, is a hallmark of our congregation. From organ and quartet to guitar and synthesizer, from Lewandowski to Friedman and Aronson, it’s true that a lot has changed since I began here in 1983!  At our Lunch and Learn, I hope to speak about these vast changes in our musical liturgy over the years.




October 16

Cuba, Yesteray, Today and Tomorrow, Mark Perechocky, Bob Schechter and Jerry Goldberg


Both Bob and Mark grew up in Cuba. They will share their experiences when they were children, how their families came to Cuba, and the results of the communist regime and what it meant to them and their families.  They will also share their thoughts on modern day Cuba as well as speculations about the future for the Cuban people.  A focus of the talk will be the Jews of Cuba, their history, their current status, their relationship with Castro, and a video presentation of their places of worship and the people who lead the Jewish community. Additionally, Jerry will present a video tour of Cuba.

  Mark Perechocky      Bob Schechter         Jerry Goldberg

October 23

What's New In Aging, Beth Tishler

According to experts, we will live longer than previous generations.  What kind of lives do we want to have?  How can we apply the latest aging research to our daily lives? Aging can be an opportunity for growth, discovery and new meaning while acknowledging the realities and challenges. The good news is that there are a lot of things we can do to improve the physical, psychological and social aspects of our lives. Join us as we discuss the opportunities.




October 30

Domestic Violence: From Helping Victims to Treating Offenders, Attorneys Jessica Lasser and Amy Hamill

Amy Hamill and Jessica Lasser are both attorneys at The Second Step, LLC in Newton, MA.  Join them to hear about the complicated and prevalent world of domestic violence.  Amy and Jessica will focus on the shame and silence endured by victims in our own community, the difficulty in navigating the Massachusetts family and district court system, and the protections available to immigrant women, which are perilous under the current administration.  

    Jessica Lasser             Amy Hamill


November 6

We Have Come a Long Way:  A First-Hand Account of the Creation of TBE, Elyse Katz


Sir Isaac Newton taught: "We stand on the shoulders of giants," to remind us that whatever we have accomplished, it is due to the dedication and effort of those who came before us.  We are thrilled to welcome one of TBE's giants, Elyse Katz, a founding member of our congregation, to share her story about the early days of TBE. Please join us to hear Elyse's first-hand account of the ups and downs of creating, building and sustaining a new Jewish community in Wellesley.




November 13

Peace Psychology and Violence Transformation, Stanley Berman


Professionals in Diplomacy, Political Science, Politics and Economics all have theories and models of how one promotes peace. More recently other disciplines are engaged in this dialogue. For example, climate scientists now are raising concerns that conflict over water rights and arable land will lead to more global conflict. It has been the purview of Social Psychology to study inter-group conflict and conflict resolution. Freud, in launching a new discipline of study, was very interested in human aggression, but the clinical mental health disciplines in recent decades have paid less attention to issues of peace promotion. In recent years, clinical psychology and other mental health disciplines are joining the work of social psychologists like Deutsch and Staub and studying how a clinical mental health perspective informs promoting peace. An allied construct is violence transformation. Violence transformation is when two former enemy groups move beyond a truce and a cold peace to begin to partner and collaborate in areas of shared interest. This Lunch and Learn will explore this highly relevant area.

Questions about the Lunch & Learn Program?  Please reach out to one of our Committee Members: 

Susan Freedman, Jerry GoldbergCarol Salter and Isabel Zupan.