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March Back to Gratz!

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It's time to return to Gratz for in-person programming! Enjoy these upcoming programs while munching on a continental breakfast. More events to follow!

Discovering the Shema
Sometimes called the "Pledge of Allegiance" of the Jewish people, Jews recite the Shema in times of joy as well as in times of crisis. Although it is the most familiar of liturgical texts, the Shema is rarely examined in depth. Dr. Wachs will guide a conversation about the implications of reciting these words with Kavannah (intent, concentration). 
Thursday, March 2, 2023
10:30 - 11:30 am ET
In-person at Gratz College
Dr. Saul P. Wachs, Professor Emeritus of Gratz College

$10 (Continental breakfast included)



Dr. Wachs first arrived at Gratz well before the beginning of his teaching career: in 1948, he started as a student in the Gratz Hebrew teachers program. Sixty-nine years later, in 2017, he retired as one of the longest-serving faculty members in College history. 

In 1975, after 22 years as an education director, teacher and/or music director at various synagogues; two years as an adjunct professor at The Jewish Theological Seminary; and three years as an associate professor of Jewish education at Brandeis University, Dr. Wachs was appointed dean of Gratz College. During his five-year tenure as dean, he pushed the College to expand into the area of graduate education, which has since become the mainstay of Gratz programming. In addition, he chaired the Department of Jewish Education for 41 years and helped establish the College's first doctoral program.

Dr. Wachs has lectured in almost 400 communities on five continents, authored close to 90 publications and served as scholar-in-residence over 100 times in institutions throughout the United States and beyond. As a national field consultant for the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, he visited every Solomon Schechter Day School in North America - and suspects that he may be the only person able to make this claim.

When Your Family Says No - You Can Find One That Says YES!
Author Laya Charlestein offers her first-hand account of the transition from her Orthodox upbringing to the secular world. "Laya was the perfect daughter of the perfect Orthodox family – obedient, loving, and devoted. However, her life was about to change forever. As she stepped into a new world of working in computer programming, becoming independent and finding true love, she was also losing both her family and the only community she had ever known." Books will be available for purchase in-person and online.
Thursday, March 16, 2023
10:30 - 11:30 am ET
In-person at Gratz College
Laya Charlestein
$10 (
Continental breakfast included)


After initially studying at Yeshiva University to become a Hebrew School teacher, Laya used her experience working as a part-time administrative aide at a software company to climb the industry’s ranks and become MasterCharge’s first women programmers at the time. Laya went on to found two successful data processing companies serving Fortune 500 clients and was identified by the Philadelphia Business Journal as one of Philadelphia’s Top 25 Women Business Owners. She is credited with founding the first club table for women (and business club table) at the Union League of Philadelphia.

The Greatest Story of All Time - The Passover Seder
More than 70% of Jewish Americans take part in the most celebrated Jewish tradition: the Passover seder. Arguably the greatest story of all time, the Haggadah provides a framework to tell the Passover story and recall shared family experiences. Just in time for the holiday, this discussion focuses on how the historic text stimulates meaningful conversations and the recollection of family members, both past and present. How can we make the Seder an opportunity to think about the issues of our time? How can we involve the relative who comes with only one question:"when do we eat?" We'll share memories and ideas and take home some practical strategies for bringing the Seder to life. Be sure to bring your questions! 
Thursday, March 30, 2023
10:30 - 11:30 am ET
In-person at Gratz College
Dr. Saul P. Wachs, Professor Emeritus of Gratz College

$10 (Continental breakfast included)


Gratz Event Calendar

March 2023
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