Jewish Values, Justice and the Law

Upcoming Events

Jeffrey RosenOseran Family Lecture: Jeffrey Rosen

Sunday, October 29, 4:00 PM
Main Sanctuary

Congregation Beth Israel is pleased to welcome Jeffrey Rosen, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Constitution Center, as our 2017 Oseran Family Lecturer. Mr. Rosen, a renowned journalist whose essays and commentaries have appeared in New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, on National Public Radio, and in The New Yorker, has been named one of the ten best magazine journalists in America by the Chicago Tribune and lauded by the Los Angeles Times as “the nation’s most widely read and influential legal commentator.” He received the 2012 Golden Pen Award from the Legal Writing Institute for his “extraordinary contribution to the cause of better legal writing.” In addition to his leadership at the National Constitution Center, the only institution in America chartered by Congress “to disseminate information about the United States Constitution on a non-partisan basis,” he is a professor at The George Washington University Law School, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a contributing editor for The Atlantic. His latest book, Louis Brandeis: American Prophet, was published on June 1, 2016, the 100th anniversary of Brandeis’s Supreme Court confirmation.



CBI Book Group

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

CBI’s Book Club will participate in Jewish Book Month with their discussion of The Best Place on Earth by Ayelet Tsarbi. Tsarbi’s collection of eleven short gives the reader a glimpse into the lives of Yemeni Jews, both in Israel and Canada.


Author Event

Sunday, November 19, 10:00 AM
Cedar Sinai Park (Zidell Room)

Ayelet Tsarbi, author of The Best Place on Earth, will be speak via Skype in honor of Jewish Book Month. She will comment on the reason she felt she needed to write the collection’s eleven short stories which deal with immigration, conflict, love, loss, generational conflict, and more. Additionally, local speakers will talk about several stories and the author will comment on them as well. This book was awarded the Rohr Prize in 2015 as the best example of Jewish Literature. Come experience this opportunity to hear from the acclaimed author, and support CBI`s sponsorship.


Adult Hebrew Class

Adult Hebrew class with Cantor Ida Rae Cahana starts up again in the fall; please call the office at (503) 222-1069 to learn more and register!


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.


Temple upperright

"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

Please update your Flash Player to view content.