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Science in the Synagogue

Mazel/Shlemazel: Examining the Influence of the Heavenly Spheres on Human Lives

Sunday, January 23 2022 @ 7:00 PM

Contemporary conceptions of time are based on very ancient – in some cases, archaic – understandings of the movement of the heavenly spheres and their inter-relationships.  What do we do when modern scientific findings bring some of these “truths” into question?  And how do we deal with the ancients' misunderstandings of cosmology that have come to be embedded in the Jewish calendar and Jewish psyche?

Join us on Sunday, Jan 23 at 7 p.m. for our next installation of Science in the Synagogue, entitled Mazel/Shlemazel: Examining the Influence of the Heavenly Spheres on Human Lives” in which panelists Jonathan Levine (Assoc. Prof. Physics, Colgate) and Jason Mokhtarian (Assoc. Prof. Near Eastern Studies, Cornell) will bring their respective disciplinary lenses to bear on cosmology, time and fate.


Did you miss this event?  It's recorded right HERE 
passcode:  d&+4uBM8

What Our DNA Tells Us About Our Jewish Origins and Migrations

Sunday, November 14, 2021 @ 7:00 PM


Thanks to revolutionary advances in genetics and genomics research, science is advancing understanding of human geographic and ethnic/racial origins. Modern techniques allow separating maternal and paternal origins. Studies of Jews from around the world have shown a genetic signature of Jewish ancestry. The data show that the male founders of all groups [e.g. Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Mizrahi (Middle East or “oriental”)] of modern Jews came from the same ancestral male population from the Middle East. Surprisingly however the female founders have very different genetic histories from the men. Each community has a few female founders but in each community they are different from the others.

Join us for this presentation by Rita Calvo

Retired Senior Lecturer

Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University


Did you miss this event?  It's recorded right HERE


In Praise of Chametz: A Celebration of the Staple Grains and their Route to our Table
Tuesday, March 30th at 7:00 PM

During Passover, we focus our thoughts on Chametz, the products of wheat, barley, rye, oats, and other grains that have been allowed to ferment. We think of these foods at this time of the year because they are to be removed from our homes and our diet during the Holiday. Throughout the rest of the year we enjoy Chametz. Indeed, products of the seeds (actually fruits) of various species of the grass family, including rice, corn (maize), millet, and others, are among the major major sources of food for people throughout the world. In this session of Science in the Synagogue, we will examine the importance of grasses through the course of human history, and the manner in which they have found their way into our diet, culture, and religious experience.

Presented by our own Jerry Davis, Professor Emeritus, School of Integrative Plant Science Plant Biology Section, Cornell University.

You may access a recording of the presentation HERE.
Passcode: 2#sp53=y

Ethical Dimensions of the COVID-19 Vaccine
Sunday, March 7th at 7:00 PM

Temple Beth-El members Jennie Lavine (DPH, Tulane SPH) and David Evelyn (VP of Medical Affairs, Cayuga Medical Center) will be discussing with Rabbi Safman the communal and ethical dimensions of the decision to take the COVID vaccine.

How and why is this a decision with implications beyond your personal well-being?  How does Jewish thinking resemble or diverge from that of secular sciences (medical, public health) as to whether individuals should be encouraged – even compelled – to take a preventive vaccine? What factors should we be weighing as individuals as we decide how aggressively to pursue (or avoid) vaccination?

Click HERE to join by Zoom.

Meeting ID: 892 5207 3948

Passcode: Science

Sunday, December 20th at 7:00 PM

Light One Candle …

For one-click access to the program select this link:

Sat, May 21 2022 20 Iyyar 5782