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Artists & Scholars in Residence

Open Minds is excited to host artists and scholars as they bring their talents and expertise to our community.

Artists and scholars hosted in partnership with the Jewish Book Council will be denoted below.

You can see our upcoming events below.
Click here to view our past JBC Author Series events. 

Click on an event to learn more or to register to attend.

Sunday, Nov 12

Monday, Jan 22

Tues, Mar 12


Upcoming Events

Chanukah Menorah Making with Jeff Rembrandt
Sunday, November 12 at 11:30 AM




Learn from stain glass artist Jeff Rembrandt, TCS Executive Director, while creating a beautiful menorah. Use it for your own Chanukah celebrations or gift it to a loved one!

Space is limited. Reserve your spot today.
We recommend making one menoah per household.


Jeff grew up in Cleveland Ohio. He received his BA in Rhetoric from Kent State University and an MSW from The University of Cincinnati, with a concentration in Non-Profit Administration.

Jeff was a woodworker for 20 years. When his family moved from a house to an apartment, Jeff picked up stain glass art and has been creating beautiful glass pieces for nearly a decade.


Comedy Night with Joel Chasnoff
Monday, January 22 at 7:30 PM  

Registration Opening Soon!

Joel Chasnoff is not your grandfather’s Jewish comedian! A Chicago native and former Lone Soldier in the IDF, Joel has performed his unique brand of clean, Israel-positive comedy for more than 1,000 Jewish communities in ten countries. 

How did Jerusalem’s stray cat problem spur religious debate? What’s it like to be an openly gay combat soldier in the IDF? And what’s so funny about moving to Israel and trying to build a life there, anyway?

“There’s so much more to Israel than what we see in the news,” says Chasnoff, a Chicago native. “With Israel turning seventy-five, Benji Lovett and I wanted to give communities a deeper, more nuanced understanding of what it’s like to actually live in this special and often crazy country.” 

Topics in their book Israel 201: Your Next-Level Guide to the Magic, Mystery, and Chaos of Life in the Holy Land include everything from pre–Yom Kippur bike sales and shomer-Shabbos car insurance policies to Arab Israeli stand-up comedy, the Olympic team’s preoccupation with “barefoot sports,” and the connection between subterranean tectonic plates and home prices in Tel Aviv. 

“The narrative we present in Israel 201 is honest, nuanced, and written with love,” Chasnoff says. “The premise is simple: the more people know about Israel, warts and all, the more connected to the country they’ll feel.”


Click here* to purchase Israel 201
*For each purchase using the link above, the synagogue receives a small commission.

Joel Chasnoff is the author of four books, including the bestselling memoir The 188th Crybaby Brigade about his experience as a Lone Soldier in the Israeli army, and the forthcoming Israel 201 which has received advanced praise from some of the biggest names in the Jewish world, including a front- and back-cover blurbs from Mayim Bialik, Yossi Klein Halevi, and David Broza.

Joel currently lives in Ra’anana, Israel, with his Israeli wife and their four kids.


Courageous Conversation with Rabbi Diana Fersko
Tuesday, March 12 at 7:30 PM via Zoom  


A millennial rabbi explores why we’re reluctant to discuss antisemitism — and empowers us to fight against it.

Antisemitism is on the rise in America, in cities and rural areas, in red states and blue states, and in guises both subtle and terrifyingly overt. Rabbi Diana Fersko is used to having difficult conversations with members of her congregation about the issues they face — from the threat of violence to microaggressions and identity denial. In We Need to Talk About Antisemitism, she gives all of us the ultimate guide to modern antisemitism in its many forms.

Exploring topics like vile myths about Jewish people and the intersection of antisemitism with other forms of discrimination, We Need to Talk About Antisemitism gives readers the tools they need to understand the state of antisemitism today. Fersko shows Jews and non-Jews alike how to speak up and come together, spreading a message of solidarity and hope. This is a timely read for anyone passionate about fighting for social justice.

Click here* to purchase We Need to Talk About Antisemitism
*For each purchase using the link above, the synagogue receives a small commission.

Rabbi Diana Fersko is the Senior Rabbi at the Village Temple in Manhattan. She is the national vice president of the Women’s Rabbinic Network and a member of the New York Board of Rabbis. Fersko has been profiled in The New Yorker and has been published in HuffPost. She lives in New York City.



Fri, December 8 2023 25 Kislev 5784