Personal Conversations



Personal Conversations provide a forum for members to address everyday issues through discussions about obstacles and opportunities, using conference calls and/or easy to access webinars.


On March 19, 2021

Organ Donation: Out of the Shadows
People may shy away from discussing organ donation … until they or a loved one face a crisis. In the USA alone, 117,000 people currently await a lifesaving new organ. We hope to highlight the incredible mitzvah of registering for and supporting organ donation. 
This program will illuminate the types of donation, the registry system, today’s medical boundaries, the halachic framework, and ethical dilemmas. We’ll also hear some personal stories from people who have been on the giving and receiving ends.  

The speakers are:

  • Rabbi Dr. Elliot N. Dorff – Rector and Distinguished Service Professor of Philosophy, American Jewish University; Chair of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards.
  • Dr. Amy L. Friedman – Transplant Surgeon and the Chief Medical Officer/ Executive Vice President of LiveOnNY, an organ donation network, support, and outreach program.
  • Dr. Michael Kaner – Dentist in the Philadephia area
  • Jeanette M. Brownstein – Florida Region Torah Fund Vice President.

To view session, click here.


On January 21, 2021


What’s Good About Aging?
…and at times when it’s not, how can seniors and their families manage the challenges with less stress?
Renee Glazier, a certified Geriatric Care Manager, now retired, presented a program that takes us through the positives that come with aging, along with its challenges. 

To view video of session, click here.

To download accompanying documents, click here.


On October 29, 2020
When Someone Close to You Comes Out as LGBTQ, will you be knowledgeable and open-hearted?
With Rabbi Areiella Rosen and Rabbi Becca Walker

Click here to view or download the video of the session

To download the accompanying slides, click here.


On September 10, 2020
Keep Family Relationships Emotionally and Spiritually Healthy During Covid-19 and in an Election Year

A Personal Conversation
Speakers: A leader in Pastoral Education/JTS, Rabbi Naomi Kalish, and Psychologist Alison P. Block, Ph.D.

Click here to view the video of the session


On Tuesday, April 28, 2020

A Very Personal Conversation about our Planet: Earth Day 2020:
Fifty Years Later Where Are We and What Should We Do About It? with 
Rabbi Katy Z. Allen


The first Earth Day was 50 years ago, yet threats from climate disruption are more dire than ever. In this time of social isolation brought on by a global pandemic, how is climate change relevant to us and our communities? What can we do? What might we do, both individually and in our synagogues? What difference might it make? What prevents us from acting?
Rabbi Katy Allen, co-founder of the Jewish Climate Action Network, climate activist and eco-chaplain will explore these and other questions and share thoughts about a Jewish response to climate change. 
Rabbi Katy Z. Allen, President pro-temof the Jewish Climate Action Network-MA, and the founder and rabbi of Ma’yan Tikvah – A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long. She received her rabbinic ordination in 2005 from the Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, NY, and her chaplaincy board certification from Neshama:Association for Jewish Chaplains in 2010.
Prior to her ordination, Allen worked as a science teacher, a writer and editor of educational materials, and a Jewish educator. She later served Temple Tifereth Israel in Winthrop, MA for three years, worked as a staff chaplain at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston for 10 years and then served part-time as a hospice chaplain at CareGroup Parmenter Hospice and Homecare in Wayland, MA, while facilitating spirituality and Earth programs at Open Spirit in Framingham, MA.
She is one of the pioneers in the field of eco-chaplaincy. Rabbi Allen lives in Wayland, MA, with her spouse, Gabi Mezger.

Click here to watch the video of this personal conversation.



On Thursday, January 16, Women’s League Personal Conversation was “Neshama: A Conversation About Bringing Breath (the Physical) and Soul (the Spiritual) Together” with Rabbi Jaymee Alpert.

Click here to watch a video of the conversation.

“So often we find ourselves living either in our bodies (at the gym, on a walk around the block) or in our souls (at synagogue, during a moment of prayer). The ancient rabbis understood that in order to be fully functional as human beings, we need to inhabit both parts of our neshama. Over the last few years, I have been exploring ways to bring breath and spirit/soul together by creating opportunities to exercise while we pray. Please join me for a conversation about reconnecting the physical and spiritual sides of ourselves.” – Rabbi Jaymee Alpert

Rabbi Jaymee Alpert joined Congregation Beth David in Saratoga, CA, as Senior Rabbi in the summer of 2018. She is passionate about Jewish life and strives to create a warm, inviting atmosphere, where people from all backgrounds are welcome, and all questions are valid. She cares deeply about interfaith, interdenominational, and community relations and is an active member of the Saratoga Ministerial Association, also serving on the board of the Addison-Penzak JCC.

Rabbi Alpert is interested in the connection between spirituality and physical activity. She has created a Shabbat morning hiking service and is the co-creator of Neshama Body and Soul, a practice that combines exercise with prayer, in order to help participants connect their physical and spiritual lives. Prior to moving to Northern California, Rabbi Alpert had spent a lifetime in the Northeast, most recently serving Congregation Kneses Tifereth Israel in Port Chester, NY. While in Port Chester, she was the chaplain for the local Police and Fire Departments, a member of the Port Chester Board of Ethics, and past President of the Westchester Board of Rabbis. She is also a Rabbis Without Borders fellow.

Rabbi Alpert is a graduate of Brandeis University, holds master’s degrees in Jewish Education and Jewish Women’s Studies, and was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2003. She lives in San Jose with her husband Danny Kischel and their dog Monte. Having grown up in the Boston area, they are loyal Patriots fans.

More Personal Conversations for 2020-2021 will be announced soon. For more information, contact Vivian Leber at