Adult Education 2016-17: Jews on the Frontier

This year, we are exploring the stories of Jews on the frontier, both literal and figurative. We’ll learn about everything from the history of Jewish pioneers settling the West, to Jews researching the frontiers of medicine, to Jews traveling the outer reaches of science fiction. We also will discover what some of our other community institutions–the Oregon Historical Society and the Oregon Jewish Museum–have to offer. Join us!

View and download our 2016-2017 Adult Education Brochure


Upcoming Events

Frontier Jews: A Night at the Oregon Historical Society

Wednesday, March 1, 7:00 PM
The Oregon Historical Society

Experience and enjoy the remarkable story of our pioneer heritage! Kerry Tymchuk, Director of the Oregon Historical Society (OHS), will host a screen of The Jewish Frontier. This OPB film uses rare historical photos, footage, and interviews with people statewide to tell the story of Oregon's Jewish pioneers. In addition to viewing and discussing the film, we will have a guided look at documents and artifacts housed at OJS that illustrate the experience of Oregon's earliest Jewish settlers.


Freedom Riders: Carol Silver and Claude Ligginsfreedomriders2

Sunday, March 5, 1:00 PM
Pollin Chapel

Carol Silver was a university of Chicago law student in June, 1961 when she became a Freedom Rider, traveling from New York to Mississippi. Freedom Riders challenged the segregated bus facilities throughout the south. She was arrested in Jackson, Mississippi for breach of peace and send to Parchman Penitentiary, arguably the worst prison in America, where she spent 40 days in maximum security. Ms. Silver went on to become a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors with Harvey Milk, luckily escaping death when fellow supervisor Dan White went on his murderous rampage.

After leaving politics she traveled to Afghanistan several times promoting women’s rights and education for girls. She kept a diary while at Parchman and smuggled it out of the prison. She has now completed the story and published "Freedom Rider Diary."


Claude Liggins was also a Freedom Rider sent to Parchman in 1961. He collaborated with Carol Silver on the bus providing the book, providing the photos.


They will speak about their experience as Freedom Riders and how the lessons from the movement are relevant today.


CBI Book Group

Sunday, March 5, 9:00 AM
Shirley and Herbert Semler Board Room

Calling all CBI book lovers! We will gather for coffee and discussion of Julie Orringer’s The Invisible Bridge.


Sunlight and Shadows - Music of Spain and the Sephardim

Tuesday, March 14, 6:00 PM
Goodman Hall

Classical guitarist Peter Zisa and Flutist LeeAnn McKenna join Cantor Ida Rae Cahana for an informal musical soiree featuring gorgeous music as well as tantalizing Sephardic light hors d’oeuvres and sweets.


Responsa Seminar

Sunday, April 9, 10:00 AM
Shirley and Herbert Semler Board Room

Rabbi Stephen Passamaneck leads the second of our responsa seminars, inviting you to try your hand at responsa, crafting answers to questions from everyday life in the light of Jewish law and legal principles. Your thoughts will be part of a longstanding tradition: collections of responsa—answers to questions from real people addressed to the rabbis of their day—date back to the 9th century in Babylonia. Sign-ups are appreciated. Call Molly Weisner in the CBI Main Office at (503) 222-1069.


Jews on the Frontier of Social Responsibility

Wednesday, April 12, 7:00 PM
Pollin Chapel

Rabbi Joseph will lead a conversation about Jewish leadership on historical, and current, social issues.


Jews on the Frontier of Sports

Wednesday, May 24, 7:00 PM
Pollin Chapel
Presenters: Harry and Marshall Glickman

The list of Jews who have shaped the business of sports is legendary. Harry Glickman tops that list. Join congregants Harry and Marshall Glickman as they present their take on how Jewish athletes and executives became the catalysts for the future of sports in America.

Harry Glickman is one of the founders of the Portland Trail Blazers, and was the team's president from 1987 to 1994. Harry is considered the "father" of professional sports in Oregon.

Harry’s son Marshall Glickman is also a former president of the Portland Trail Blazers. He has worked for the NBA and is the founder and CEO of Portland Family Entertainment. He has also served as a full-time consultant for Euroleague Basketball in Barcelona, Spain. Marshall is one of the few sports business executives who has been intimately involved with both of the world's leading professional basketball leagues.


Past Events

Three Clergy Present 2016: "The Illusion of Inclusion: Welcomed, Welcoming and Sometimes, Not."

Panel: Rev. Msgr. Patrick S. Brennan, St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception; Rabbi Michael Z. Cahana, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Beth Israel; The Very Rev. Nathan LeRud, Dean, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

On February 9, 2016, three clergy from three of the major NW Portland religious institutions gathered to discuss and teach about issues from their unique religious perspectives. Inclusion and Welcoming are important words in our religious practice these days. But how do we define ourselves if there is no distinction? America is a land of religious inclusion – but it hasn’t always been. Exclusion is also a part of our history. Read more about the event in this Catholic Sentinel article.

Watch video of some of the event:


Three Clergy Present 2015 - Three Clergy and a Wedding: Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in our Religious Tradition

Speakers: Msgr. Patrick Brennan of St. Mary’s Cathedral, The Rev. Canon Nathan LeRud, Acting Dean, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, and Rabbi Michael Z. Cahana of CBI

Continuing their popular series of discussions, the leaders of three major congregations in our corner of NW Portland joined in a lively dialogue.

Read more and watch snippets from the event.


Jews and the Civil Rights Movement:  
The Mississippi Journey of Mickey and Rita Schwerner

Speakers: Former Oregon Supreme Court Justice Jacob Tanzer and Ron Silver

Former Oregon Supreme Court Justice Jacob Tanzer, Ron Silver, and the Northwest Freedom Singers told the story of Mickey and Rita Schwerner and Jewish participation in the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi in the 1960s. After the FBI found the bodies of Mickey Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman in August 1964, Jake Tanzer was part of the Justice Department team that went to Mississippi to root out and indict the killers. Ron and Jake shared how Jews came to play such a large role in the Movement and how most of the killers were finally brought to justice. The Northwest Freedom Singers made the room come alive with the music of the Movement.

Did you miss this special event? Listen to the program on the top right of the page ->


The Struggle with G-d: From Antiquity to Modernity

This was a series of three lectures by Rabbi Michael Cahana about our struggle with G-d. Previous attendance is not a prerequisite to latter sessions.

Judaism’s radical insight to religion is the concept of a single G-d, unseeable and to a certain extent unknowable. And yet, that uniqueness creates a problem known to Moses and all the prophets: How can I know an unknowable G-d? In this series of classes, we will discuss the struggle we Jews have with divinity. Having trouble with G-d? Join the club!

 Listen to Session 1: "Why is G-d? The Trouble with Monotheism" and
Session 2: "Who is G-d? The Challenge of Love" on the right of the page ->

Session 3: “Where is G-d? The Holocaust Defiance”
Sunday, December 7, 10:00 AM
Pollin Chapel

In this final session we discussed one of the most theological difficult subjects: The question of where is G-d in our most difficult times. We looked at historic challenges from the Expulsions (Israel, Spain), the challenges brought by the Enlightenment, the Shoah and the 20th Century “Death of God” movement.


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"Three Clergy Present" Program

Three Clergy Present: "The Illusion of Inclusion: Welcomed, Welcoming and Sometimes, Not."

On February 9, 2016, three clergy from three of the major NW Portland religious institutions gathered to discuss and teach about issues from their unique religious perspectives. Watch the video below of Rabbi Cahana and his fellow faith leaders and read more about the event in this Catholic Sentinel article.

Listen to Past Events

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