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RESCHEDULED POST-IRMA: 'Jews of India' program to kick off synagogue speakers series

India is known for its antiquity and modern high-tech. Spirituality and Bollywood swagger. Bustling cities and pristine nature. A cultural kaleidoscope that's the world's largest democracy.

But what’s typically not known is India’s long history as one of the most hospitable homes in the Jewish diaspora.

Discussing this fascinating chapter of Jewish history will be Florida International University Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, Dr. Nathan Katz, a leading authority and award-winning author on Indian Jewish life, and his wife, Ellen Goldberg, an author, photojournalist and long-time Jewish communal professional. The couple's presentation Sept. 24 (rescheduled from Sept. 10, due to Hurricane Irma) will kick off Temple Beth Am’s Sunday Salon season at 10 a.m. on the temple campus, 5950 N. Kendall Drive, Pinecrest.

Katz and Goldberg have lived and traveled for several years in South Asia, including a year as Fulbright researchers in Kochi (formerly Cochin), South India, where they coauthored two books on the Jewish community there. Over the last two years, they’ve traversed the country leading Jewish-India tours, appropriately called “India My 2nd Home (http://IndiaMy2ndHome.com/)," which included a number of South Florida participants. Another tour is planned for Jan. 31-Feb. 13, 2018.

"Here in America, where Jews are free and are successful, we worry about preserving our heritage," Katz noted. "In India, where Jewish communities were intact for 1,000 years and more, small communities flourished in both Jewish and Indian terms. We want to explore how they managed to do that and see what we can learn from them."

Katz said they will be showing photos of Indian people and telling stories of people they know there.

"There's great history and there's great architecture, but the most remarkable things about India are the special people who live there, and that's what we want to present to people."

The program is open to the community and free of charge. To RSVP or for more information contact Etta Gold, 786.264.6543 or egold@tbam.org.

For more information about the next India My 2nd Home tour Jan. 31-Feb. 13, 2018, click: IndiaMy2ndHome 2018 brochure.

Miami Beach JCC to host community art show reception

Enjoy works by local artists, wine and 'lite bites' at May 8th gathering

The Miami Beach Jewish Community Center will host its 2nd Annual Community Art Show reception, featuring multimedia works by eight area artists, Monday, May 8.

The evening will feature paintings, photographs and mixed-media works now on display at the center by Deborah Cohn, Caryn Frishman, Ellen Goldberg, Sandi-Jo Gordon, Yehudis Levitin, Eva Neidich, Susan Schermer and Iris Slomowitz. Wine and “lite bites” will be served. The evening, which gets under way at 6:30 p.m., is free and open to the community.

The JCC is located at 4221 Pine Tree Drive, Miami Beach. For more information, contact Karen Sepsenwol at 305.534.3206, ext. 214 or karen@mbjcc.org. MBJCC art show reception flyer

'Meet the Jews of India'

Mizo Jewish man

Couple that has lived with, written about Indian Jewish communities to speak March 6 at Beth Torah Benny Rok Campus

India is known for its antiquity and modern high-tech. Spirituality and Bollywood swagger. Bustling cities and pristine nature. A cultural kaleidoscope that's the world's largest democracy.

But what’s typically not known is India’s long history as one of the most hospitable homes in the Jewish diaspora. A program, titled “Meet the Jews of India,” will look at this fascinating, little-known chapter in Jewish history on Monday, March 6 at 7 p.m. at Beth Torah Benny Rok Campus, 20350 NE 26th Ave., North Miami Beach. The program is free of charge and open to the community.

Guest speakers will be Florida International University Distinguished Professor, Emeritus Dr. Nathan Katz, the world’s leading authority and award-winning author on Indian Jewish life, and his wife Ellen Goldberg, an author, photojournalist and long-time Jewish communal professional.

Katz and Goldberg have lived and traveled for several years in South Asia, including a year as Fulbright researchers in Kochi (formerly Cochin), South India, where they stayed and coauthored two books on the Jewish community there. Over the last two years, they traversed the country leading Jewish-India tours, appropriately called “India, My Second Home” (IndiaMy2ndHome.com), which included a number of South Florida participants. Another tour is planned for Jan. 31-Feb. 13, 2018.

"Here in America, where Jews are free and are successful, we worry about preserving our heritage," Katz noted. "In India, where Jewish communities were intact for 1,000 years and more, small communities flourished in both Jewish and Indian terms. We want to explore how they managed to do that and see what we can learn from them."

Later this month, the couple plans to speak on the subject at a lunch program March 22 at the Miami Beach JCC and an evening presentation March 23 for the Forum Nashim group at Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center. Both programs are open to the community. Registration is available by contacting the JCC at 305-532-3206, ext. 214 and Forum Nashim at forumnashim.wordpress.com.

Katz said they will be showing photos of Indian Jews and telling stories of people they know there. "India has great history and great architecture. But the most striking thing is the remarkable, tremendously kind people who live there. That's what we want to present to people."

For more information on the March 6 program, contact Beth Torah at 305-932-2829 or info@btbrc.com..

Slichot program looks at 'Return of Indian Jews'

Expert on Indian Jewry to discuss recent phenomenon of 'spiritual return' at Temple Menorah's Slichot program

The number of people who believe they are descendants of Jews or the ancient Israelites has sprung up around the globe and now numbers in the tens of millions. A relatively new phenomenon, this voluntary affiliation with the Jewish people includes newly-identified Jewish communities in places as unlikely as northeastern India, according to an expert on Indian Jewry who will speak on the subject.

Nathan Katz will discuss "The Return of Thousands of Indian Jews to the Path of Judaism" at a Slichot program Saturday, Sept. 24 at Temple Menorah, 620 75th St. in Miami Beach.

The evening begins at 8:15 p.m. with a dessert buffet, followed by Katz's talk at 9, and a concert and musical Slichot service at 10. The evening is free of charge and open to the community.

Katz, the world’s leading authority and award-winning author on Indian Jewish life, is a Distinguished Professor, Emeritus at Florida International University. Founding chair of FIU’s religious studies department, Katz was director of Jewish Studies and founding director of the Program in the Study of Spirituality. While at the university, he brought the Dalai Lama to Miami three times and was a delegate to the 1990 Tibetan-Jewish dialogue hosted by the spiritual and temporal leader, which was chronicled in the bestselling book, The Jew in the Lotus.

For more information, contact Temple Menorah at 305-866-2156.

Katz Slichot flyer

'Cultural Islands, Cultural Bridges: The Jews of Kochi'

Dr. Nathan Katz, a leading authority on Indian Jewish life, looks at Jewish continuity from an unexpected source at a Sept. 26 program at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU

The small, far-flung Jewish community in Kochi (Cochin), South India, not only survived for at least 1,000 – possibly 2,000 – years, but also flourished. How did they manage to do this while still remaining learned, committed Jews? How did they establish an identity that wedded their Jewishness with their Indianness?

Dr. Nathan Katz, a distinguished professor, emeritus at Florida International University and leading authority on Indian Jewish life, will explore this unique model of acculturation without assimilation – something from which all diaspora Jews can learn – in his talk, "Cultural Islands, Cultural Bridges: the Jews of Kochi and their Neighbors."

The program takes place Monday, Sept. 26 at 7 PM at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU, 301 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Open to the community, admission is $5 for museum members, $10 for non-members, and free of charge for students with a valid ID. To RSVP and for more information, call 786.972.3175 or email info@jewishmuseum.com.

JMOF-FIU program flyer

'Meeting the Jews of India'

Katz and Goldberg

Miami Beach JCC kicks off Lunch & Learn series Sept. 28 with program by Dr. Nathan Katz and Ellen Goldberg

India is known for its antiquity and modern high-tech. Spirituality and Bollywood swagger. Bustling cities and pristine nature. A cultural kaleidoscope that's the world's largest democracy.

But what’s typically not known is India’s long history as one of the most hospitable homes in the Jewish diaspora.

Discussing this fascinating chapter in Jewish history will be Florida International University Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, Dr. Nathan Katz, the world’s leading authority and award-winning author on Indian Jewish life, and his wife Ellen Goldberg, an author, photojournalist and long-time Jewish communal professional. The couple's presentation will kick off Miami Beach JCC's Lunch & Learn series at 12 noon on the center campus, 4221 Pine Tree Drive, Miami Beach.

Katz and Goldberg have lived and traveled for several years in South Asia, including a year they spent as Fulbright researchers in Kochi (formerly Cochin), South India, where they lived with the Jewish community, the subject of two coauthored books. They spent a chunk of this year in India, including this past February for their INDIA MY SECOND HOME Jewish-India tour that included a number of South Florida participants.

"Here in America, where Jews are free and are successful, we worry about preserving our heritage," Katz noted. "In India, where Jewish communities were intact for 1,000 years and more, small communities flourished in both Jewish and Indian terms. We want to explore how they managed to do so and see what we can learn from them."

Katz said they will be showing photos of Indian Jews and telling stories of people they know there. "There's great history and there's great architecture but the most remarkable things about India are the amazing, tremendous and kind people who live there, and that's what we want to present to people."

The program is open to the community. Tickets are $15, which includes a kosher lunch. To register, contact Stella Gelsomino at 305.534.3206, ext. 235, or stella@mbjcc.org. Program flyer

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Meet 'The Jews of India'

Katz & Goldberg

Temple Beth Am continues its Sunday Salon series Sept. 18th with a presentation by Dr. Nathan Katz and Ellen Goldberg

India is known for its antiquity and modern high-tech. Spirituality and Bollywood swagger. Bustling cities and pristine nature. A cultural kaleidoscope that's the world's largest democracy.

But what’s typically not known is India’s long history as one of the most hospitable homes in the Jewish diaspora.

Discussing this fascinating chapter in Jewish history will be Florida International University Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, Dr. Nathan Katz, the world’s leading authority and award-winning author on Indian Jewish life, and his wife, Ellen Goldberg, an author, photojournalist and long-time Jewish communal professional. The couple's presentation will be part of Temple Beth Am congregational library's Sunday Salon season held at 10 a.m. in its Adult Reading Room on the temple campus, 5950 N. Kendall Drive, Pinecrest.

Katz and Goldberg have lived and traveled for several years in South Asia, including a year they spent as Fulbright researchers in Kochi (formerly Cochin), South India, where they lived with the Jewish community, the subject of two coauthored books. They spent a chunk of this year in India, including this past February for their INDIA: My Second Home Jewish-India tour that included a number of South Florida participants.

"Here in America, where Jews are free and are successful, we worry about preserving our heritage," Katz noted. "In India, Jewish communities were intact for 1,000 years and more, small communities flourished in both Jewish and Indian terms. We want to explore how they managed to do so and see what we can learn from them."

Katz said they will be showing photos of Indian people and telling stories of people they know there.

"There's great history and there's great architecture but the most remarkable things about India are the amazing, tremendous and kind people who live there, and that's what we want to present to people."

The program is open to the community and free of charge. To RSVP or for more information contact Etta Gold, 786.264.6543 or egold@tbam.org.

See India Through Jewish Eyes

Tour participant with new friends

Register now, early bird discount available through August 31

Tour ‘must-see’ sights while exploring Jewish life, history

India is known for its antiquity and modern high-tech. Spirituality and Bollywood swagger. Bustling cities and pristine nature. A cultural kaleidoscope that’s the world’s largest democracy.

But what’s typically not known is India’s long history as one of the most hospitable homes in the Jewish diaspora. For centuries, Jews found a haven in which their traditions flourished. So too, they’ve been among India’s great mystics, taken center stage in Bollywood, served as mayors in major cities, and produced the country’s greatest military hero, as well as its most celebrated English-language poet.

Fresh off a successful February launch, registration is now open for India: My Second Home (www.indiamysecondhome.com), a Jewish-India tour led by Dr. Nathan Katz, a leading authority and award-winning author on Indian Jewish life, and his wife Ellen Goldberg, a writer, photographer and former Greater Miami Jewish Federation professional. The tour, which will offer opportunities to meet and interact with India’s diverse Jewish communities, has an itinerary that includes Kochi (Cochin), Kolkata (Calcutta), Mumbai (Bombay), New Delhi, and Agra. **Registration is now under way, with an early bird discount available through August 31.

India: My Second Home runs Jan. 11-23, 2017, and will visit many “must-see” sights while offering insight into the fascinating, little-known Jewish experience in India. Visit the iconic Taj Mahal, Elephanta Caves, and other UNESCO World Heritage sites. Make new friends and learn new traditions at Shabbat services and dinners in Mumbai and New Delhi. Tour Kochi and Kolkata’s historic synagogues with local members of the Jewish community. See Kerala’s scenic backwaters by boat while exploring rural Jewish settlements. Enjoy Indian dance and music performances. Ride a rickshaw through Old Delhi. Stay at luxurious 5-star hotels, including Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Tower, overlooking the Gateway of India and Arabian Sea.

Katz is a Distinguished Professor, Emeritus at Florida International University, where he was director of Jewish Studies and founding director of the Program in the Study of Spirituality. He has written 15 books, including The Last Jews of Cochin and Who Are the Jews of India? A Fulbright scholar who has spent more than eight years in South Asia, he was a delegate to the 1990 Tibetan-Jewish dialogue hosted by the Dalai Lama, which was chronicled in the bestselling book, The Jew in the Lotus.

The fully-escorted tour costs $7,195 per person, double occupancy, and includes 5-star deluxe hotels, all meals (kosher or strictly vegetarian), concierge service featuring three English-speaking guides and personalized photos/travel blog of the trip, cultural events, internal flights in India, and all tips and taxes. Airfare to and from India and Indian visa fee additional.

For reservations and information, call your travel agent, or contact trip organizer Pacific Delight Tours toll-free at 800.221.7179 or 212.818.1781 or pdt@pacificdelighttours.com. To contact Katz and Goldberg, email indiamysecondhome@gmail.com.

To download a tour brochure, click here

Registration now under way for Jewish-interest tour of India, led by authority on Indian Jewry

With the High Holidays now behind us and a new year ahead, it’s time to consider fresh opportunities and adventures.

Registration is now under way for "India: My Second Home," a two-week tour that will be led by Dr. Nathan Katz, an internationally-recognized authority and author on the Jewish experience in India. The tour, which will offer opportunities to meet and interact with members of India’s diverse Jewish communities, leaves Feb. 16, 2016, with an itinerary that includes New Delhi, Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, Mumbai, Jaipur, and Kochi, where travelers will visit the city's 16th-century synagogue.

The fully escorted tour costs $6,995 per person, in double occupancy, and includes deluxe hotels, all meals, tours and cultural events, and domestic travel throughout India. Registration is now under way. The trip is being organized by Lotus Tours, 2 Mott Street, New York, NY 10013; info@lotustours.us and 212-267-5414.

Katz is the world’s foremost expert on Indian Jews, with pioneering and award-winning books on the subject, including the National Jewish Book Award finalist, Who Are the Jews of India? A four-time Fulbright scholar, he was a delegate to the 1990 Tibetan-Jewish dialogue hosted by the Dalai Lama, whom he brought to Miami three times. Katz is a Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, at Florida International University was Director of Jewish Studies and founding director of the university’s Program in the Study of Spirituality. He retired July 31 after 40 years of college teaching, and is excited to share his knowledge of and love for India, where he has lived and traveled extensively for years.

For more information, go to "India: My Second Home" (or click: http://www.indiamy2ndhome.com/), or contact Lotus Tours at info@lotustours.us and 212-267-5414.

India synagogue pic

First American rabbi honored by queen to be guest speaker at Temple Israel's Shabbat service, Oneg reception

Winer pic The first American rabbi to receive a Member of the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II for fostering interfaith relations will be a guest speaker at Temple Israel of Greater Miami's July 31st Shabbat evening service.

Rabbi Mark L. Winer, an international interfaith activist and scholar, will discuss the importance of interreligious dialogue at the temple’s 7:30 p.m. Shabbat service led by Rabbi Tom Heyn, with music by guest cantorial soloist Jennifer Rueben, accompanied by director of music Dr. Alan Mason. Following the service, Winer will facilitate a discussion during an Oneg dessert reception. The evening is open to the entire community.

In 2013, Queen Elizabeth II named Winer a Member of the Order of the British Empire for "promoting interfaith dialogue and social cohesion” in London and the United Kingdom, based on work during his 12-year tenure as senior rabbi of the Reform West London Synagogue.

Prior to his post in London, Rabbi Winer served as a congregational rabbi for over 30 years in the U.S. and was president of the National Council of Synagogues. In May 2013, he moved to Miami to become director of the Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Studies at St. Thomas University, where he also served as an adjunct professor of religion until his retirement last year.

In 1995, Winer founded and has served as president of the international interfaith initiative FAITH: the Foundation to Advance Interfaith Trust and Harmony, which also has a chapter in London. Since 1998, he has chaired the International Interfaith Task Force for the World Union for Progressive Judaism.

He has been involved in several international events, including resolving the issues that led to the Treaty between Israel and the Vatican. He was also a key negotiator for the release of Ethiopian Jews and the resolution to the dispute over the Carmelite convent at Auschwitz. Rabbi Winer graduated from Harvard University magna cum laude in 1964 and earned a Ph.D. with highest distinction in 1977 at Yale University in sociology, comparative religion, contemporary Jewry and race and ethnic relations. He was ordained as a rabbi in 1970 at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Temple Israel is located at 137 NE 19th St., Miami. Free self-parking is available in the temple’s lot.

For more information, contact the temple office at 305.573.5900 or info@templeisrael.net.