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Conversations from the Front Lines

Interviewed by our hosts Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf, Dr. Jonathan Graf, executive director Gordon Gladstone, and leaders from our community, these online panel discussions offer informative opportunities to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic, Israel, policing, incarceration, social justice, anti-racism, cybersecurity, current events and more.

These events are community forums. Questions are submitted from our audience in advance by email and within the meeting on Zoom chat.

Israel Right Now
Wednesday, November 30, 5 pm on Zoom

Israel held an election on November 1. Hear from experts at the Israel Policy Forum on what they think the results mean for Israel, the middle east and American Jews. Executive Director Gordon Gladstone will conduct a wide ranging conversation about Israeli society and democracy.

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A Jewish Conversation about Reparations

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

African-American reparations is one of the critical social justice issues of our times. What is the Jewish community’s responsibility for reparations to the black community? We will take look at Jewish texts and examine the complexities of a Jewish response to this issue. Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf, Aryeh Bernstein, the author of “The Torah Case for Reparations,” and CSI board member Christina Jefferson will discuss the Jewish view of reparations.

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Emergency Response Effort in Ukraine
Monday, April 11, noon, on Zoom

Discussion hosted by Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf with Erez Eshel and Yaron Eppel of the Ein Prat/Lev Echad organization, a delegation of Israelis training Ukranian volunteers working inside Ukraine and along the Polish/Ukranian border to rescue and aid Ukranian, Israeli and Jewish refugees. Our discussion will include testimonies from the border, where Israeli mentors and Ukraine leadership academy students will share their mutual experiences. Registration required.

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Shared Society in Israel in Light of the New Government: Opportunities and Challenges

Wednesday, April 6, 5 pm

Israel's new government created unprecedented political space for building an equal and shared society for all Israeli citizens, Jewish and Palestinian. A conversation with The Abraham Initiatives’ co-CEOs, Dr. Thabet Abu Ras and Amnon Be'eri-Sulitzeanu, alongside Member of Knesset Ghadia Rinawie-Zoabi, a member of the governing coalition for the Meretz party. They will talk with Gordon Gladstone about the progress we have made on critical issues facing Israeli society. Presented by Congregation Sherith Israel and the New Israel Fund. 

Ukraine: Special AJC Briefing with David Harris
Virtual Webinar
Monday, March 7, 12 pm on Zoom

As the world watches the brazen Russian invasion of Ukraine, it is important to understand how this happened and how to respond. American Jewish Committee was the first Jewish organization in the world to support the restoration of Ukrainian independence in 1991 and has since remained close allies and advocates. Join the CEO of American Jewish Committee (AJC), David Harris, for an in-depth analysis about this assault on democracy, with far reaching implications for the Jewish community and Western values. 

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What Is Ethnic Studies and Why Should We Care?
Karen Stiller

Wednesday, February 9, 5 pm

A new law passed in 2021 mandates a course in ethnic studies as a high school graduation requirement in the future for California’s students. Go behind the scenes with the Jewish Community Relations Council’s Senior Director of Jewish Affairs, Karen Stiller, as we discuss the controversies surrounding ethnic studies and why it’s so important that our schools get it right. Hosted by executive director Gordon Gladstone. Event copresented by JCRC.

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It's all Greek to Me...Updates on Covid in the age of Omicron
Dr. Sarah Doernberg and Dr. Jonathan Graf
Wednesday, January 12, 5 pm

Learn more about the Omicron variant of Covid-19 with Dr. Jonathan Graf and Dr. Sarah Doernberg, associate professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and medical director of Adult Antimicrobial Stewardship at UCSF Medical Center.

Can We Talk About Israel?: A Guide for the Curious, Confused, and Conflicted
Dan Sokatch

A Conversation from the Front Line on a new book by Daniel Sokatch, CEO of the New Israel Fund, in conversation with Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf and Gordon Gladstone. From the expert who understands both sides of one of the world's most complex, controversial topics, a modern-day Guide for the Perplexed-a primer on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
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Time Done: Senate Bill 731

A Conversation with Isaac Yosef and David Newman

Wednesday, August 18, 5 pm

Sherith Israel’s social action committee and Jewish Community Relations Council present a discussion of SB 731, the proposed California legislation to allow some people who have served time for felonies to have their convictions expunged and the charges against them dismissed. The discussion will provide various perspectives on the legislation, including an interview with Isaac Yosef, owner of Hummus Bodega, who hires formerly incarcerated individuals and is a strong supporter of SB 731. The program will be moderated by David Newman, chair of JCRC’s public policy committee.


What's up with Delta?

Dr. Jeremy Faust & Dr. Jonathan Graf

Wednesday, August 4, 5 pm

San Francisco has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country and cases are still increasing. What does it mean and what can we do? Join us for an informative conversation about the Delta variant and its impact on our lives. Dr. Jeremy Faust is an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the division of health policy and public health, and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Jonathan Graf is a professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco and a practicing internist and rheumatologist at Zuckerberg San Francisco General and UCSF Medical Centers. 

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Israel’s Democracy in a Year of Crisis

A Conversation from the Front Line with Daniel Sokatch

Wednesday, May 5, 5 pm


In conversation with Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf and Gordon Gladstone, Daniel Sokatch, CEO of the New Israel Fund, will shed light on the fight for equality and democracy in Israel in a year of global crisis. Learn how NIF grantees at the forefront of social change in Israel sprang into action to address the new challenges that emerged during COVID– and how in a crisis of unprecedented proportions, NIF made sure Israel’s vibrant civil society was able to continue its essential work.

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Yom Ha’Atzmaut Discussion with Israeli Deputy Consul Matan Zamir
Wednesday, April 14, 4 pm

On the eve of Israel’s 73rd Independence Day, join us for a conversation between Congregation Sherith Israel executive director Gordon Gladstone and Matan Zamir, deputy consul general of Israel to the Pacific Northwest. Find out what’s going on in Israel regarding everything from politics to culture to responding to the pandemic response.


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Immigrants, Refugees and the Challenges Ahead

Rev. Deborah Lee, Joe Goldman and Karen Alschuler

Wednesday, March 10, 5 pm

Join us for a discussion of issues related to immigration and asylum with Rev. Deborah Lee of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity; Joe Goldman, Community Engagement Director at HIAS; and our host, Karen Alschuler, co-chair of Sherith Israel's Social Action Committee.

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A Conversation from the Front Line
with SF District Attorney Chesa Boudin

Wednesday, February 24, 5 pm

A fascinating conversation with Chesa Boudin, the District Attorney of San Francisco, who has drawn praise and criticism for his policies around prosecution, policing and incarceration. Interviewing DA Boudin will be Warren Braunig, who in addition to being an active lay leader of Sherith Israel is an experienced litigator who specializes in intellectual property and antitrust issues.

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San Francisco's Vaccination Strategy

Dr. Jonathan Fuchs and Dr. Jonathan Graf

Wednesday, February 10, 5 pm

A discussion of San Francisco's Neighborhood COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy with Dr.  Jonathan Fuchs. Hosted by Dr. Jonathan Graf.

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Hate Groups and Conspiracy Theories
A Discussion with ADL Regional Director Seth Brysk
Tuesday, January 19, 5 pm

Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf and ADL Regional Director Seth Brysk discuss the emergence and proliferation of hate groups and conspiracy theories connected to the attempted insurrection at the Capitol and beyond.

Seth Brysk is the ADL Central Pacific Regional Director serving Northern California, Utah, and Hawai’i.  Previously, he was the AJC Regional Director in Los Angeles, JCRC Israel Center Director in Boston, and San Francisco Hillel Executive Director.  

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The Future of Election Security & Disinformation Campaigns

A Discussion with Seth Rosenblatt
Wednesdsay, January 13, 5 pm

Tech journalist Seth Rosenblatt discusses cybersecurity with our host, executive director Gordon Gladstone.

Seth is editor-in-chief and founder of The Parallax. He has worked in online journalism since 1999, including eight years at CNET News, where he led coverage of security, privacy, and Google. Based in San Francisco, he also writes about connected technology and pop culture.

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Update on COVID-19 Vaccines
Dr. Jeremy Rassen and Dr. Jonathan Graf
Monday, November 16, 5 pm

A discussion of the latest COVID-19 news on vaccines.

Dr Jeremy Rassen trained as an epidemiologist and computer scientist, and is currently Chief Science Officer at Aetion, Inc., where he uses data to examine the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. He was formerly assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School — and somewhat before that, a graduate of Congregation Sherith Israel religious school.

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Election Analysis with Senator Scott Wiener
Wednesday, November 4, 5 pm

A post-election discussion of ballot measures and election results. Discussion hosted by Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf.
Senator Scott Wiener represents San Francisco and northern San Mateo County in the California State Senate. Elected in 2016, Senator Wiener focuses extensively on housing, transportation, civil rights, criminal justice reform, clean energy, and alleviating poverty.

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The Legacy of RBG and Beyond
Stuart Pollak, Jeffrey Ross and Kathryn Werdegar

Wednesday, October 7, 5 pm

Join us for a conversation on our judicial system and the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Panel discussion hosted by Rabbi Jessica Graf with judges from Congregation Sherith Israel: Stuart Pollak, a presiding justice of the California First District Court of Appeal; Jeffrey Ross, a San Francisco Superior Court Judge; and Kathryn Werdegar, a retired justice of the California Supreme Court.

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What now? An Update on the Pandemic

Dr. Jeremy Faust and Dr. Jonathan Graf

Wednesday, July 29, 5 pm

We welcome back Dr. Jeremy Samuel Faust, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the division of health policy and public health, and an instructor at Harvard Medical School for a conversation with our host, Dr. Jonathan Graf.

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A Conversation from the Front Line with Mayor London Breed
July 22, 2020


San Francisco and Reform Judaism - two entities whose tradition is change. Mayor Breed and Rabbi Graf will discuss COVID-19, the movement for racial justice, and other challenges of this time.

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Mental Health Implications of Quarantine
Dr. Lauren Allerhand, Dr. James Davis and Lee Pollak
Wednesday, July 8, 5 pm


Join us for a conversation on how increased social isolation, lack of reliable guidance, and heightened awareness of racial and social inequities affect our sense of well being. This panel discussion will feature Dr. Lauren Allerhand, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University specializing in care for teenagers; Dr. James Davis, a Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF; and Lee Pollak, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in grief-care and eldercare. Hosted by Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf.

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Heeding the Call to Antiracism
July 17, 2020

Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf interviews two nationally renowned leaders in education working hard to combat racism: Wanda M. Holland Greene, the Head of School at The Hamlin School in San Francisco and Robert Greene, the CEO/Principal of Cedar & Burwell Strategic Consulting.

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The Future of COVID-19: Can Israeli Technology and Innovation Change the Course of the Pandemic?

Dr. Daniel Kraft and Steven Schoenfeld interviewed by Dr. Jonathan Graf

Wednesday, June 3, 5 pm

A conversation between Dr. Daniel Kraft, a Stanford and Harvard trained physician-scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, and innovator; Steven Schoenfeld, the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of BlueStar Indexes; and Dr. Jonathan Graf, professor of medicine at UCSF and a practicing internist and rheumatologist at Zuckerberg San Francisco General and UCSF Medical Centers.

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The victims of COVID-19: A discussion on how the virus affects its oldest and youngest patients
Dr. Bennett Zier & Dr. Valerie Flaherman interviewed by Dr. Jonathan Graf
Wednesday, May 20, 5 pm

A conversation between Dr. Jonathan Graf, professor of medicine at UCSF and a practicing internist and rheumatologist at Zuckerberg San Francisco General and UCSF Medical Centers; Dr. Bennett Zier, Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine at UCSF and STARS Medical Director at San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living; and Dr. Valerie Flaherman, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UCSF and Director of the Newborn Nursery at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

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COVID-19: A Conversation from the Front Line - Part 2
Dr. Jonathan Graf and Dr. Jeremy Samuel Faust

May 6, 2020

Dr. Jeremy Samuel Faust, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the division of health policy and public health, and an instructor at Harvard Medical School Interviewed by our host, Dr. Jonathan Graf.

Fri, May 24 2024 16 Iyar 5784