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An egalitarian Conservative congregation serving the diverse Orange County Jewish Community

Let’s Continue the Debate…

The Debate
Sunday night CBI was fortunate to be able to host a remarkable debate on American Jews and Israel between Dr. Daniel Gordis and Peter Beinart, moderated by Rabbi Elie Spitz. The near-capacity crowd heard our speakers’ differing views on why young American Jews are less connected to Israel and what we should do to change it, if there can be a potential two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and what the balance should be between showing love for Israel and criticizing its government and policies. The debate was captured on video and will be posted on our website,, as soon as it is available. You can find more information about Daniel Gordis at and follow him on twitter at @DanielGordis, and find more information about Peter Beinart at and follow him on twitter at @PeterBeinart.

Thank you to The Roslyn and Joseph Baim Family Foundation, Barbara and Joseph Baim for underwriting the debate, and for promotional support from Community Scholar Program and Jewish Federation & Family Services, Orange County.debate-2016

Books by Peter Beinart and Daniel Gordis
Books by both presenters will be available at the CBI office until Wednesday, September 21st. Please contact the office at 714-730-9693 or if you are interested in purchasing any of them.

By Peter Beinart:

  • The Crisis of Zionism $20, includes a bookplate signed by the author

By Daniel Gordis:

  • The Promise of Israel $30
  • Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul $30
  • Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn $30 presale (This book is due out in October. It can be mailed to CBI for pickup at no cost, or shipped to another address for an additional $4.)

Join Us For More Israel-Related Programs
One point on which both presenters agreed was that there is a general lack of Israel literacy among American Jews. Let’s keep learning and continue the conversation!

  • Saturday, September 24th, 8:00 p.m. at CBI: Selichot speaker Micha Odenheimer will speak about his Israeli NGO that aims to create Israeli and Jewish leadership passionately engaged in Tikkun Olam—fixing the world—locally and globally. Following Micah’s presentation, join us for a Hal’lu Selichot service led by Amy Robinson Katz, Carl Cedar, Leeav Sofer and the Hal’lu team.
  • In October and November study with friends as a part of this year’s CBI small group program:Leading a Life of Significance”, where one session will be devoted to “What is the place of Israel in Jewish belonging?”
  • Wednesday, November 30th,12:00 p.m. on the Federation campus: CSP lunch lecture “A Walk of the Land: The Israel National Trail” with travel photographer, speaker, teacher and artist Udi Goren.
  • Thursday, December 15th, 12:00 p.m., location TBD: CSP lunch lecture “A History of US-Israel Relations as Seen Through the Oval Office” with author, columnist, and professor Gil Troy.

Consider a Visit to Israel with Rabbi Spitz
October 15-27, 2017: This unique adventure is brought to you by Community Scholar Program, Congregation B’nai Israel of Tustin and Temple Beth El of South Orange County in co-sponsorship with Jewish Foundation of Orange County. Group leaders will be Rabbi Elie Spitz, Arie Katz and Rabbi Kvod Wieder.

If you dig beneath the surface of Israeli life you will find a new spirit alive in the country.  It is the spirit of young and old, drawing on ancient roots and a very Israeli willingness to improvise, daring to re-invent what it means to be Jewish in the land of Israel.  Join us as we set off on a Fall 2017 adventure of all five senses that will take us back to the time of Abraham and catapult us forward into the 21st Century. We will meet poets and politicians, artists and musicians, archaeologists and writers, kabbalists and theologians, thought leaders and community activists, who are creating a new reality in our ancient homeland.

Thank You!
We’d like to thank all those who supported this event by purchasing tickets and encouraging friends and family to come as well. A special thank you to our Executive Director Sandy Klein for coordinating all the aspects of this event, and our office, staff Ana Cottle and Helene Coulter for assisting in all the details. Thank you to the Debate Committee: Barbara Baim, Heather Katz, Debbie Meline, Francine Morrison, and Susan Seely for donating countless hours during the months of planning, and to the volunteers who greeted guests and helped with ticketing and ushering.

Beth Elster and Nancy Neudorf
Debate Committee Co-chairs