Shabbat Deep Dive
Saturdays at 11am
Join Rabbi Cantor's interactive weekly Shabbat Torah and text study. After a short Torah reading, we'll delve into a section of the portion together, and conclude by reciting Kaddish and Kiddush (bring your own wine!).
Tangling with Talmud
Wednesdays at 10:30am
The Talmud is a rich and lively conversation among many generations. Passionate arguments about law and justice are intertwined with wild stories and musings about the meaning of life. Join in Rabbi Cantor's lively weekly study group and add your own voice to the discussion. No previous experience is required. New participants are always welcome.
My Grandmother's Hands:
Racialized Trauma and the Pathway
to Hearts and Bodies
Co-Sponsored with Charter Oak Cultural Center
Thursdays at 6:30pm
January 7, 14, 21 ; February 4, 18
Join our friends at the Charter Oak Cultural Center and guest lecturers including Professor Traci C. West, the James W. Pearsall Professor of Christian Ethics and African American Studies at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, for this six-week community discussion. Registration will remain open throughout the duration of the series.
How We Navigate Ethical Dilemmas and Reshape Rituals to Draw Us Closer to God
Tuesdays: January 26, February 2, 9, 16 at 8pm
Join members of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards as they take us through four teshuvot (responsa) that have recently been passed by the Conservative Movement's Law Committee. Following each lecture, Rabbi Cantor will lead BTS/Neshama participants in a short discussion about the material presented.
1/26: Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin and Rabbi Avram Israel Reisner on Sustainability
2/2: Rabbi Micah Peltz on Vaccination
2/9: Rabbi Pamela Barmash on Birkat Hamazon
2/16: Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky on the Abbreviated Amidah
The ScholarStream series, offered by the Conservative Movement, gives communities the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s leading scholars and engage deeply with our texts and traditions. BTS/Neshama is one of the sponsoring congregations.
BTS Sisterhood Brunch:
Bagels and Bubbe-Meises
Sunday January 24, 11am
Join the BTS Sisterhood for a festive brunch to brighten the long winter! We’ll be sharing the bubbe-meises (grandmother’s stories) that we grew up with. What was the wildest thing your bubbe believed? BYO bagel and share your family’s myths, stories, and tales.
Weed Science: Cannabis Controversies and Challenges with Dr. Godfrey Pearlson
Sunday January 31, 4pm
It's not the pot you remember – or don't remember! – from the 60's and 70's. Cannabis science has made today's increasingly legalized product more abundant, potent, and popular than ever before. What does this mean for the effects on IQ? Does it trigger schizophrenia? How do we keep our communities safe by determining who's actually driving under the influence? BTS's Dr. Godfrey Pearlson, Director of the Olin Neuropsychiatry Center at Hartford Hospital, has published a book which addresses these issues and more. He will present some of his findings and answer your questions. BYO edibles, but only if they are legal!
BTS Sisterhood Book Group:
The Book of Lost Names
by Kristen Harmel
Sunday February 7, 2pm
Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, sees a photograph in a magazine lying open. It’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names. The accompanying article discusses the looting of libraries by the Nazis and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The book in the photograph is thought to have been taken from France in the waning days of the war. Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral und Landesbibliothek (library), it appears to contain some sort of code, but no one knows where it came from—or what it means. Only Eva holds the answer—but will she have the strength to revisit old memories and help reunite those lost during the war? Join Dr. Ellen Leonard in a discussion of this fascinating read.
Love in the Time of Corona
Sunday February 14, 4pm
Poetry lifts our spirits and soothes our souls. In the middle of a long pandemic winter, join Rabbi Debra Cantor and Jan Jeremias for an afternoon of poetry. Brew a cup of hot tea or cocoa and share with us your favorite poem evoking love and warmth. Please send us your poem in advance so we can share it on screen if possible or just bring it with you to share that day.
Partners in Creation
Sunday February 21, 11am
Sunday March 21, 11am
Together, we will reflect on a short Jewish teaching and relate it to the challenges, uncertainties, and opportunities of our own time. Then we'll do some creative writing and expressive art with items easily found around the house. Just bring a pencil or pen and any kind of paper. Plus any kind of art supplies you have: colored pencils, crayons, watercolors, whatever. (Just pencil and paper is okay, too.) Absolutely no experience needed!
Our February theme (in honor of Purim) is When Life Turns Upside Down. This event is free and open to all.
In March, the theme is Dayenu: My Personal Path to Freedom. You'll want a glue stick or tape in addition to any kind of art supplies you have on hand.
BTS Purim Celebration
Thursday February 25, 7pm
Join us for a zany Zoom Megillah reading, including a hilarious Purim spiel. We'll be sending BTS members a gragger, song sheets and treats in advance. Non-members, please call the office at 860-243-3576 to make arrangements to pick up a goody bag. Funny masks and hats are not required, but will be applauded by the crowd. It's strictly BYOB this year and everyone's welcome, but you do need to register in advance, please.
Creating Poetic Midrash: What Was Miriam Thinking?
Sunday March 7, 10:30am
Join Rabbi Debra S. Cantor and storyteller Sara deBeer to create poetic monologues which imagine what Miriam, the sister of Moses, might have been thinking at key moments in her story. No experience (in writing or in Torah study) needed. Open to people of all faiths.
Sara DeBeer is an acclaimed storyteller, teacher, poet and artist-in-residence.
Beautiful and Beneficial Gardens and Yards
Sunday March 7, 4pm
By early March, Connecticut gardeners and non-gardeners alike have been dreaming for months about getting outside and enjoying our yards. There’s so much that we can do to help native birds and pollinators – and it’s so easy! Join Lisa Newell, owner of Cultivated Gardens, as we explore ways to make attractive yards and gardens that benefit us all.
Passover Show & Tell
Sunday March 14, 4pm
Every Jewish family has special objects that are used only for the celebration of Pesach, and we want to see yours! Gather with the BTS Sisterhood to show us your most meaningful and beloved Passover treasures and tell your favorite Passover stories.
with Rabbi Debra S. Cantor
Thursday March 25, 8:30am
It is traditional for first-born and only children to fast on the eve of Passover in memory of the 10th plague, when their lives were spared. That obligation is lifted if they are invited to a siyyum, a celebration of a completion of learning. Rabbi Cantor has been studying some texts related to Pesah, and will share some of that learning with you on the moring before Passover. Afterwards, she'll invite you to join her in a virtual se'udah shel mitzvah - a meal connected with a mitzvah (an offer you may not refuse according to Jewish law.) The only catch: it's virtual this year, so you gotta provide your own bagels and OJ.
Friends of Yiddish
Second Sundays*, 10:30am
Friends of Yiddish is an informal, mostly English, bilingual drop-in social group which meets to hear a guest speaker or discussion and maybe absorb a Yiddish word or two.
Join us in 2021 on January 10, February 14, March 14, April 11, May 2, June 13, July 11, August 8, September 12, October 10, November 14, and December 12.
*Date occasionally shifts to accommodate other holidays and events. Register and watch your email to stay up to date.
Please note that, in order to preserve the sanctity and security of our worship and study, advance registration is required for all online BTS/Neshama events. Registration is required only once for any recurring event. you will receive confirmation by email and a reminder email with an event link 15 minutes prior to your meeting.
Thank you for your interest and participation. We look forward to gathering with you.
BTS/Neshama events are open to all and are offered free of charge unless otherwise noted.