Kallah is an ancient term originally used to describe a gathering of scholars. We are thrilled to invite you to our current day Kallah for a virtual evening of friends, thought-provoking entertainment and intellectual fulfillment.

Our night will center around the theme of Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) and features a Zoom live performance of Theatre Ariel’s production “Ethics of the Fathers aka: The Gangster and The Grandpa” written and performed by Jesse Bernstein. Following this powerful and sometimes humorous piece, we will then go into breakout rooms to connect with fellow community members and participate in interactive conversations on the topic of “Ethics of the Fathers,” led by our local rabbis and scholars.

Registration is Closed

Virtual EVENT DETAILS

January 22, 2022
7:30 p.m. – 10:15 p.m.

Cost: $10 per person | $5 for students

No one will be turned away for lack of funds. If the cost of the ticket creates a financial barrier, please contact Shelley Rappaport at chestercounty@kehillah.jewishphilly.org

Registration is Closed

Program SCHEDULE

7:30 p.m.     Welcome, Havdalah, KALLAH online housekeeping 

7:45 p.m.    Performance of “Ethics of the Fathers AKA: The Gangster and The Grandpa,” A one-man show written and performed by Jesse Bernstein, directed by Deborah Baer Mozes, Artistic Director, Theatre Ariel. The performance will be followed by Q&A with Jesse Bernstein. 

9:00 p.m.     Classes on Pirkei Avot taught by local rabbis and scholars

10:00 p.m.     Gathering and L’hitraot

SESSION 1: “ETHICS OF THE FATHERS AKA: THE GANGSTER AND THE GRANDPA

 “Beginning in 1950, and continuing for nearly a decade, my grandfather was the doctor to the head of the Jewish Mafia in New Jersey,” said playwright and actor Jesse Bernstein about the inspiration for his show. 

This play focuses on an unlikely friendship that puts rabbinical ethics and a grandson’s self-image to the test. From Newark street fights to Congressional hearings, mobsters to Moses, this one-man show tells a Jewish-American story about morality and legacy, with humor, thoughtfulness and love.

SESSION 2: PRESENTERS AND TOPICS

During registration, you will have the opportunity to pre-select the class you would like to join from the following options:

“The Illustrated Pirkei Avot: A Graphic Novel of Jewish Ethics” – Rabbi Janine Jankovitz, Congregation Beth El – Ner Tamid

Flying ghosts. Floating skulls. A leather-clad, motorcycle-riding rabbi. How can art challenge and inspire our engagement with an ancient Jewish text like Pirkei Avot? Using Jessica Tamar Deutsch’s The Illustrated Pirkei Avot, we will dive into a whimsical world of our ancient rabbis.

A limited number of registrants for this class will receive a copy of “The Illustrated Pirkei Avot: A Graphic Novel of Jewish Ethics” on a first-come-first-serve basis. This book distribution is generously made possible by our sponsor, Print-O-Craft LLC.

“The World’s Tripod” – Rabbi Yossi Kaplan, Chabad Lubavitch of Chester County and the Western Main Line

Shimon the Righteous was among the last surviving members of the Great Assembly. He would say, “The world stands on three things: Torah, the service of G-d, and deeds of kindness.” In this conversation, we will explore the importance of Jewish values and their impact on our world. 

“The Songs of Our Ancestors” – Rabbi Shelley Goldman and Cantor Rick Lawrence, Kesher Israel Congregation – West Chester

Shirei Avot – The Songs of Our Ancestors – Pirkei Avot, or “The Ethics of Our Ancestors”, was seen as such a concise and intelligible tractate of the Mishnah that it is the only tractate to not have a Talmudic commentary from our Rabbinic ancestors. As such, it’s no surprise that composers took these straightforward aphorisms and set them to music. Together, we will explore some of the songs based on this body of text, both old and new.

“You’ll never walk alone… but if you do, pay attention” – Rabbi Eric Lazar, Temple Brith Achim

Pirkei Avot warns against walking alone — and yet in the Torah, someone who does exactly that changes the course of history! Join us for a textual scavenger hunt as we examine what it means to be alone, and the responsibility we each bear in our “aloneness.”

“Transforming Our Lives Through Acquiring Torah” – Rabbi Linda Potemken, Congregation Beth Israel of Media

In Pirket Avot 6:6 we learn: “Greater is learning Torah than the priesthood and than royalty, for royalty is acquired by thirty stages, and the priesthood by twenty-four, but the Torah by forty-eight things.” In our session, we will study this Mishnah and explore the 48 steps to acquiring Torah. By these steps we will “make the heart feel what the intellect understands” or learn how to build our interior world. This class also serves as a lesson in Mussar.

“How Does Judaism Define Success?” – Rabbi Jeff Sultar, Congregation B’nai Jacob 

Today’s world has come to define success in terms of material gains, social status and career advancement. What is Judaism’s definition of true success? Is it the same as yours? As society’s? We’ll explore a text from Pirkei Avot that raises intriguing questions about what it means to live a successful life.

Pirkei Avot: A Social Justice Commentary” – Rabbi Jeremy Winaker, Executive Director, Greater Philly Hillel Network  

We will be studying from the newly published commentary by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, which explores the text through a lens of contemporary social justice and moral philosophy, engaging both classical commentators and modern thinkers.

*Classes are subject to change

THANK YOU TO OUR PARTNERS 

This event is a partnership between the Kehillah of Chester County and the Kehillah of Delaware County, and features a performance of “Ethics of the Fathers aka: The Gangster and The Grandpa,” produced by Theatre Ariel,  Philadelphia based non-profit theatre company that focuses on illuminating the rich social, cultural, and spiritual heritage of the Jewish people by highlighting works of Jewish dramatic literature.  

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSOR

We gratefully acknowledge the generous sponsorship of Print-O-Craft LLC, a small, independent Jewish publishing house in Philadelphia.

To register for the Print-O-Craft newsletter, click here.