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Lectures & Dialogues

Expand your world view: Listen, question and learn with local and international speakers.

The OFJCC proudly boasts lectures on a vast array of exciting topics such as music, dance, literature and much more!

  • 2/9/2016 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Art of the Surrealists: Dali, Miro and Magritte

Two-part Lecture with Dr. Brigid Barton

Art of the Surrealists: Dali, Miro and Magritte
This two-part lecture will explore the emergence of Surrealism and its relation to Dada in 1920s’ Paris, the philosophy and techniques of various Surrealist artists, and the immense variety of works by individual Surrealists.
  • 2/17/2016 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

How We Are Defeating the False Human Rights Campaigns that Demonize Israel

with Dr. Gerald Steinberg

How We Are Defeating the False Human Rights Campaigns that Demonize Israel

Please join us for a light dinner and enlightening conversation with Dr. Gerald Steinberg.

Internationally-recognized Professor Gerald Steinberg is the founder of NGO Monitor. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the strategies Professor Steinberg and NGO Monitor’s team have used in Israel's on-going war against those whose purpose is to delegitimize and destroy the Jewish State.

Food will be served, followed by the speech and Q&A.

  • 2/20/2016 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

The Feast of Jewish Learning

Holy Discord: The Art of Jewish Dispute

The Feast of Jewish Learning
Enjoy a FREE evening of learning, community and connection.

Feed your mind and spirit at The Feast of Jewish Learning, the community-wide smorgasbord of all things Jewish.

  • 2/21/2016 10:30 AM

Jews and Power: A Lecture Series with Dr. Micah Goodman, a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute

Power and Powerlessness: Moral Perspectives (In English)

Jews and Power: A Lecture Series with Dr. Micah Goodman, a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center is honored to welcome Dr. Micah Goodman, a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and a leading voice in Israel and North America on Zionism, Judaism, the Bible and a wide variety of issues facing Israel and contemporary world Jewry.


  • 2/21/2016 5:00 PM

Jews and Power: A Lecture Series with Dr. Micah Goodman, a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute

The Relationship between Good Leadership and Good Ideas in the Twenty-First Century (In English)

Jews and Power: A Lecture Series with Dr. Micah Goodman, a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute

Special Event for Young Adults (25-35)

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center is honored to welcome Dr. Micah Goodman, a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and a leading voice in Israel and North America on Zionism, Judaism, the Bible and a wide variety of issues facing Israel and contemporary world Jewry.


  • 2/21/2016 8:30 PM

Jews and Power: A Lecture Series with Dr. Micah Goodman, A research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute

The Arab-Israel Conflict and Its Impact on Jewish Identity (In Hebrew)

Jews and Power: A Lecture Series with Dr. Micah Goodman, A research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center is honored to welcome Dr. Micah Goodman, A research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and a leading voice in Israel and North America on Zionism, Judaism, the Bible and a wide variety of issues facing Israel and contemporary world Jewry.


  • 2/23/2016 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM

Buddy Ebsen & Ray Bolger

Part of Six-Lecture Series: Song & Dance Men of the Silver Screen with Bonnie Weiss

Buddy Ebsen & Ray Bolger
This six-lecture series with Bonnie Weiss highlights the lives and talents of musical masters of the stage and screen.

Both Buddy Ebsen and Ray Bolger brought zany, comedic flair to the world of dance.

Best known for his TV roles in The Beverly Hillbillies and Barnaby Jones, Buddy Ebsen started out as a stage and screen song and dance man during the 30s and 40s. We'll view scenes from several of these films.

Ray Bolger is best known for his role as the Scarecrow in the classic film The Wizard of Oz as well as his starring role in the stage and screen versions of Where's Charley? We'll see numbers performed in both of these productions as well as delightful scenes from several of his other films.
  • 2/23/2016 7:00 PM

A Cancer in the Family: An evening with Cancer Geneticist Dr. Theodora Ross

A Cancer in the Family: An evening with Cancer Geneticist Dr. Theodora Ross
There are 13 million people with cancer in the United States, and it’s estimated that about 1.3 million of these cases are hereditary. Yet despite advanced training in cancer genetics and years of practicing medicine, Dr. Theo Ross was never certain whether the history of cancers in her family was simple bad luck or a sign that they were carriers of a cancer-causing genetic mutation. Join us to learn more.
  • 2/23/2016 7:30 PM

Jews and Power: A Lecture Series with Dr. Micah Goodman, A research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute

Zionism's Limitations on National Power (In English)

Jews and Power: A Lecture Series with Dr. Micah Goodman, A research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center is honored to welcome Dr. Micah Goodman, A research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and a leading voice in Israel and North America on Zionism, Judaism, the Bible and a wide variety of issues facing Israel and contemporary world Jewry.


  • 2/24/2016 7:30 PM

Jews and Power with Scholar-in-Residence Dr. Micah Goodman, Research Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute

The Relationship between Good Leadership and Good Ideas in the Twenty-First Century (In English)

Jews and Power with Scholar-in-Residence Dr. Micah Goodman, Research Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center is honored to welcome Dr. Micah Goodman, A research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and a leading voice in Israel and North America on Zionism, Judaism, the Bible and a wide variety of issues facing Israel and contemporary world Jewry.


  • 2/24/2016 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Media Moms & Digital Dads, Screens & Children—Separating the Facts from Fear

Media Moms & Digital Dads, Screens & Children—Separating the Facts from Fear
Media Moms & Digital Dads: Screens and Children Separating the Facts from Fear provides an overview of the digital media landscape in which our kids live, learn and play. We’ll discuss media usage, social science research, opportunities and challenges presented by digital media, and how parents can navigate this rapidly evolving landscape with their kids. Dr. Yalda T. Uhls will offer expert advice on how parents can guide their kids to make responsible, respectful and safe media choices.
  • 3/1/2016 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Jews Were Gold Rush 49ers Too!

Jews Were Gold Rush 49ers Too!
During the California Gold Rush, Jews were among those willing to risk the journey, but were usually merchandise suppliers rather than gold seekers. Come and learn from Stephen Kinsey, Chairperson of the Commission for the Preservation of Pioneer Jewish Cemeteries and Landmarks in the West, about the Jewish presence, their businesses and communal involvements from this bygone era.
  • 3/8/2016 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Vietnam's "Hard Chargers from the Sky"

Vietnam's "Hard Chargers from the Sky"
Author Peter Henry’s historical novel Hard Chargers from the Sky deals with the difficult subject of those who returned home from the Vietnam War, conflicted in leaving their brothers behind, unable to wash off the blood and escape the horror. Many succumbed to post-trauma and, years later, to complications from Agent Orange. Hard Chargers from the Sky honestly imparts the action and dialog from an unpopular war.
  • 3/13/2016 3:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Litquake Palo Alto 2016

A Free Festival of Books, Ideas & Community

Litquake Palo Alto 2016

San Francisco’s legendary literary festival returns to the Oshman Family JCC on Sunday, March 13. Expect all the rollicking literary fun of great authors, ideas and conversation.



  • 3/22/2016 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

The Psychology of Jewish Humor

With Dr. Nily Shiryon

The Psychology of Jewish Humor

What is Jewish humor? What is not Jewish humor? What is the difference between Jewish humor and Jew humor? After this lecture, you will never again hear a joke the way you used to.

  • 3/23/2016 7:00 PM

An evening with author and journalist Frank Bruni

An evening with author and journalist Frank Bruni
A fascinating evening with New York Times columnist and bestselling author Frank Bruni, one of the most extraordinary writers of his generation.
  • 3/29/2016 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Everything I Need to Know About Psychotherapy Can be Found in the Jewish Heritage

With Dr. Nily Shiryon

Everything I Need to Know About Psychotherapy Can be Found in the Jewish Heritage

The Jewish heritage is replete with excellent material, concepts and messages that are conducive to good mental health. From the way one is to treat a human being, to issues of guilt, depression, anger, intimacy, etc., all is contained within the Jewish heritage. You don't even have to be Jewish to enjoy and benefit from it.

  • 3/30/2016 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Joe Lurie: Perceptions and Misperceptions in a Globalized Polarized World

Joe Lurie: Perceptions and Misperceptions in a Globalized Polarized World
The Commonwealth Club is offering an encore performance of Joe Lurie's recent sold-out program in San Francisco. Inspired by a West African proverb that says, “The stranger sees only what he knows,” Joe Lurie, Executive Director Emeritus, International House, UC Berkeley, shares a feast of cross-cultural stories and misadventures, exploring the deeper cultural messages that escape people who hear largely what they’re used to hearing and see mostly what they’re used to seeing.
  • 4/3/2016 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Generations: Avant-Garde Jewish Poetry

A Performance for National Poetry Month

Generations: Avant-Garde Jewish Poetry
Beat Generation poetry legend David Meltzer teams up with Palo Alto poet and educator Jake Marmer for a night of poetry that reflects and deflects on the Jewish experience. Please join us for the reading, and stick around for questions and discussion.
  • 4/5/2016 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Made in the USA: The American Sound in Song

A lecture/recital featuring mezzo soprano Deborah Rosengaus and Elena Levina on piano

Made in the USA: The American Sound in Song

Take a whirlwind tour through the Americana musical legacy, performed live. This recital will cover music from the folk traditions that were the building blocks of jazz and rock, to the classical composers that sought to put America on par with the European masters. Hear the story and enjoy selections by Foster, Gershwin, Copland and Bernstein, to name a few.

  • 4/12/2016 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Did the Exodus Really Happen?

Avodim Hiyenu—We Were Slaves?

Did the Exodus Really Happen?
We have retold the story of Passover for over 2000 years. What if it didn't happen? Is there proof using modern archaeological sciences? Join former Israeli Tour Guide Gordon Gladstone for an examination of what modern scholarship has to say about Passover, Jewish history and the origins of the Jewish people.
  • 4/19/2016 7:30 PM

Overloaded and Under Prepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids

An evening with Denise Pope, PhD, author and education expert

Overloaded and Under Prepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids
Overloaded and Under Prepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids. Join Challenge Success's Dr. Denise Pope in an engaging conversation about successful kids and stronger schools. 
  • 4/26/2016 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM

Dan Daily and Gene Nelson

Part of Six-Lecture Series: Song & Dance Men of the Silver Screen with Bonnie Weiss

Dan Daily and Gene Nelson
This six-lecture series with Bonnie Weiss highlights the lives and talents of musical masters of the stage and screen.

Dan Dailey achieved movie stardom in the 1940s and 50s for a series of 20th Century Fox movie musicals, (Mother Wore Tights, You're My Everything) with movie pin-up queen Betty Grable. He appeared as Ethel Merman's husband in the star-studded 1954 movie There's No Business Like Show Business. He also specialized in playing sports figures in films, most notably as baseball legend Dizzy Dean in Pride of St. Louis. Underestimated for his considerable talent as an actor, Dailey was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in When My Baby Smiles at Me.

Gene Nelson was the teenage ice skating partner of ice-queen Sonja Henie before making movies in his mid-twenties. He danced and sang in several films with Gordon MacRae and Doris Day (Tea for Two, On Moonlight Bay and By the Light of the Silvery Moon). He was also an accomplished athlete and gymnastics performer, which he got to showcase in the film She's Working Her Way Through College. His most memorable role was that of Will Parker, the hick who regales the glories of "Kansas City" in the movie version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!
  • 5/3/2016 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Musical Family Dynasties: The Bach Family

Part of Four-Lecture Series with Deborah Rosengaus, Mezzo Soprano

Musical Family Dynasties: The Bach Family
Is musical genius a genetic trait? Explore the biological family trees of some of music’s greatest composers, from husband and wife power couples like the Schumans to generations of composers who strove to fulfill the family legacy like the Bach brood.
  • 5/10/2016 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Musical Family Dynasties: The Schus

Part of Four-Lecture Series with Deborah Rosengaus, Mezzo Soprano

Musical Family Dynasties: The Schus
Is musical genius a genetic trait? Explore the biological family trees of some of music’s greatest composers, from husband and wife power couples like the Schumans to generations of composers who strove to fulfill the family legacy like the Bach brood.
  • 5/24/2016 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM

Donald O'Connor

Part of Six-Lecture Series: Song & Dance Men of the Silver Screen with Bonnie Weiss

Donald O'Connor
This six-lecture series with Bonnie Weiss highlights the lives and talents of musical masters of the stage and screen.

Donald O'Connor is best known for his brilliant comic tour de force performance of "Make 'Em Laugh" in the beloved movie musical Singin' in the Rain. But many believe that he also had the best singing voice of any of the song and dance men of the silver screen. And he had a great teacher: Bing Crosby. He made his film debut at the age of 13 playing Bing's kid brother in the movie Sing You Sinners. During his adolescence, he starred in a series of popular teen musicals with terrific dancer/singer/comic Peggy Ryan.
  • 5/31/2016 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Musical Family Dynasties: The Mozarts

Part of Four-Lecture Series with Deborah Rosengaus, Mezzo Soprano

Musical Family Dynasties: The Mozarts
Is musical genius a genetic trait? Explore the biological family trees of some of music’s greatest composers, from husband and wife power couples like the Schumans to generations of composers who strove to fulfill the family legacy like the Bach brood.
  • 6/7/2016 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Musical Family Dynasties: The Strauss Family

Part of Four-Lecture Series with Deborah Rosengaus, Mezzo Soprano

Musical Family Dynasties: The Strauss Family
Is musical genius a genetic trait? Explore the biological family trees of some of music’s greatest composers, from husband and wife power couples like the Schumans to generations of composers who strove to fulfill the family legacy like the Bach brood.
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