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Derriere le miroir nr. 66, 67, 68 by Maeght, A. - 1954 - Jewish Historical Museum, Netherlands - Public Domain

Upcoming in February 2024:

(click each item for details)

Thurs Feb 1 at 7pm - Selected Jewish Short Stories


Join us at WES for a thought-provoking night of Jewish short stories, read aloud by WES
congregants, with Q&A. Our stories will deal with the effect of war on the soul.

How do wars affect those who have to fight them? How does a child understand a parent’s
PTSD? What would you tell your children if you both were doomed in the Holocaust?

This event will be in person* at West End Synagogue, followed by light refreshments.

*In-person and livestreamed. (For livestream link, admin [at] (please contact us).)

Thurs Feb 8 at 7:30pm - How Jewish is Democracy with Rabbi Jonah Rank (ZOOM ONLY)

Note: registration may show start time of 7:00pm - please note the program will start at 7:30pm.

(Rosh Yeshiva of Hebrew Seminary: a Rabbinical School for Deaf & Hearing)

Our ancestors probably knew the word “democracy” before they heard the word “Judaism.”
Today many American Jews regard these two philosophies as non-negotiable values. From
ancient rabbinic courts to the Knesset (Parliament) in the modern State of Israel, Jewish
communities have put different democratic experiments to the test. In an age when so many
Americans and Israelis fear for the stability of democracy, what can Jewish history and
Jewish texts impress upon us about the future of a government by the people?

Zoom only (with American Sign Language interpreter).  For the Zoom link, please check your weekly e-newsletter or call or email admin [at] (Joan).

Sun Feb 11 at 4:00pm - WES Book Club "The Flight Portfolio" by Julie Orringer (ZOOM ONLY)

Advance registration required. Please see your member newsletter or admin [at] (subject: Book%20Club) (contact the office) for information.

BOOK: “The Flight Portfolio” by Julie Orringer. (Historical fiction)
Facilitator: Ann Shapiro, Professor Emerita of English

“Bristling with perils, subterfuge, bribery and psychological depth” is how Cynthia Ozick describes this “prodigiously ambitious” novel by acclaimed author Julie Orringer… based on Varian Fry’s heroic mission in 1940 to rescue the creme de la creme of European genius including many Jews, who were desperate to flea the Nazis.”

Best to read the book but you can supplement it with the interesting though somewhat more fictionalized Netflix series, “Transatlantic.”

Thurs Feb 15 at 7:30pm - The Evolving & Expanding God in Our Day (ZOOM ONLY)

How did Jews in the 20th century understand God? Or, to put it another way, how have our understandings of God continued to evolve and expand? Join WES member Susan Schorr for an exploration of multiplied and multi-layered modern Jewish ideas about God. We will hear from philosophers and theologians, rabbis and teachers.

Please check your newsletter or contact admin [at] (Joan) for Zoom link access.

Four Thursdays at 7:30pm - you are welcome to attend all, or any individual sessions.
1.  February 15th
2. February 29th
3. March 14th
4. March 28th


Mon Feb 19 7:30pm - Middah on Monday (ZOOM ONLY)

All WES members are invited to join our study of West End’s Middah (ethical value/character trait) of the month. Monthly, third Monday of each month.

Discussions are text-based using materials from both ours and other spiritual traditions, as well as insights from modern authors, pop culture and more.  Led by Susan Schorr. 

For the link, please check the weekly newsletter or contact admin [at] (Joan).

Mon Feb 26 at 7:00pm - A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof

Professor Alisa Solomon, Director of Columbia University’s School of Journalism, will discuss her book: “Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof.” Since its debut in 1964, “Fiddler on the Roof” has inspired religious conversions and secular satire; its songs have been incorporated into sacred ceremonies and hip-hop hits. Alisa Solomon, author of “Wonder of Wonders” considers where the astonishing power of the beloved musical came from and why it has lasted so long.

This event will be in person at WES, with light refreshments to follow.

This will also be livestreamed. For the link, please see your e-newsletter or contact admin [at] (Joan).

(to be rescheduled) - Book Discussion: Mr. Mani by A.B. Yehoshua, led by Carole Kessner

Mr. Mani book cover


Carole Kessner will discuss Mr. Mani by noted author A.B. Yehoshua.

A.B. Yehoshua died in June 2022 at the age of 85. Yehoshua was arguably one of the three greatest fiction writers of modern Israel. His books have been translated into 28 languages. A Sephardi, whose family had lived in Jerusalem for five generations, Yehoshua was a founding leader of the Sholom Achshav (Peace Now) movement along with his two Ashkenazi close friends, Amoz Oz and David Grossman. His work is at once full of Yehoshua’s celebrated “joie de vivre,” while at the same time sensitively attuned to sorrow and despair, to the realities of human life, to moral dilemma, to the political, to love, all with literary innovation and wild humor.  Many regard Mr. Mani as Yehoshua’s masterpiece. (Please read Mr. Mani before this meeting which will be in the synagogue following kiddush.)

Carole Kessner is professor emerita of comparative studies in the programs of Judaic studies and women’s studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She received her B.A. from Brandeis University and her Ph.D. from Stony Brook. The author of many essays and articles ranging from “Milton’s Hebraic Herculean Hero” to “The Emma Lazarus-Henry James Connection: Eight Letters,” she is the editor and contributor to The “Other” New York Jewish Intellectuals (1994) and is the co-editor of  and contributor to Studies in American Jewish Literature: vol.29, 2010. Her book, Marie Syrkin; Values Beyond the Self was recently reissued by Brandeis University Press.  She lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and is a West End Synagogue member.


View our 2023-2024 Adult Education brochure for all upcoming programming.  Be sure to check our website calendar for updates.

West End Synagogue is committed to adult study of Jewish sources, history, and cultural expression in its many forms. Adult education programs and activities focus on the vital areas of education, community, and outreach:

  • Education: Working to deepen the congregation’s Jewish knowledge at all levels.
  • Community: Involving members, enhancing interaction among WES populations, and enriching the communal life of the congregation.
  • Outreach: Providing opportunities for the community at large to enhance Jewish life and promote the values of Reconstructionism.
congregants in a panel discussion, and Second Aliyah workers eating lunch in the fields of Migdal.

Activities sponsored by Adult Education include:

  • Single-session lectures and courses, as well as longer series on selected topics by our rabbi, cantor, and invited speakers.
  • A variety of musical, theatrical, and literary programs.
  • Scholar-in-Residence and Artist-in-Residence programs that bring prominent figures in Jewish thought and culture to West End Synagogue.

Most of these events are in person in our synagogue, starting at 7:00 pm. In a few cases the programs on Zoom may start at 7:30. Please check before setting out. For more information contact the office [at] (WES Office)

Design drawing for stained glass window showing events from Old Testament: Moses and Commandments, by J. & R. Lamb Studios, Library of Congress, Public Domain