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Connie Spear Birnbaum Foundation

Join us for the

20th Anniversary Celebration

of the
Connie Spear Birnbaum
Memorial Lecture

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Despite the closing of the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts, the annual Connie Spear Birnbaum Memorial Lecture is alive and well under the auspices of the Connie Spear Birnbaum Foundation. This nonprofit is headed up by Dr. Herbert Birnbaum and Alan Teperow, bringing the tradition of excellence and creativity that distinguished the Birnbaum Lecture for close to 20 years. Hosted by Temple Emanuel of Newton, the 20th anniversary lecture will be held on Sunday evening, April 23 rd at 7:00 pm and is free and open to the public.



Here at the Connie Spear Birnbaum Memorial Foundation, we are driven to foster unity within the extended Jewish family - in the splendor of its diversity - through education and the impact of bringing the community together.  Through our work, since 2004, we have strived to model for the Jewish community and beyond how much can be gained by embracing what we have in common rather than allowing our differences to divide us.  Please join us in our quest to shape the best possible tomorrow through the building blocks of understanding and shared connection, pride and respect.

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Connie Spear Birnbaum, z"l

The Connie Spear Birnbaum Memorial Lecture honors the legacy of a woman committed to Jewish unity and the Jewish People. A genuine presence with a magnetic personality, she was a natural at building relationships. Everything she did, she did with sensitivity, composure, and a sense of humor. Connie Spear Birnbaum z”l was a leader with vision and a genuine concern for all people. She showed us all how to live. 

The Coordinator of Unity Programming at the Synagogogue Council of Massachusetts for seven years, Connie coordinated educational programs, facilitated dialogue and led an annual two-day Mission to centers of Jewish learning and leadership in New York City.

The annual Connie Spear Birnbaum Memorial Lecture celebrates Connie's commitment to Jewish education and K'lal Yisrael, the Jewish People. 


Entitled “Writing the Next Chapter: Jewish Identity and Renaissance on the Horizon,” the Birnbaum Lecture's 20th anniversary celebration features a round table of Jewish thought leaders, educators, authors, and practitioners.

Scroll down for information about this year’s speakers, gift opportunities, and how to register for the event, whether in person or online. Pre-registration is not required but it helps us plan
for the evening, so please let us know that you are coming. Although there is no cost for the program, your tax-deductible contribution would be greatly appreciated. We look forward to seeing you on April 23rd!


Rav Hazzan Aliza Berger

Rav Hazzan Aliza Berger, our moderator, is the founder of Yisod 20s and 30s, a community of over 700 young adults based at Temple Emanuel with events around Boston. The first Rav Hazzan ordained by Hebrew College, she is also the director of young family engagement and programming for Temple Emanuel young families with children ages 0-5.

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Anita Diamant

Anita Diamant is a journalist and author who has written five novels and many self-help and guide books about modern Jewish life. As the founder of Mayim Hayyim in Newton, Diamant helped to pioneer a global revival of the ancient tradition of mikveh and made it accessible and attractive to Jews of all descriptions.

Josh Foer

Josh Foer is an author and founder of several organizations dedicated to preserving Jewish traditions including Leviathan, a premium film and television production company telling the Jewish people's most powerful stories on screen. He is also the co-founder and chairman of Sefaria, a digital library of Jewish texts, and of Lehrhaus in Somerville.

Rabbi Charlie Schwartz

Rabbi Charlie Schwartz, the founding director of Lehrhaus, has defined his work at the intersection of Jewish learning, community, and hospitality. Charlie served as Hillel International's senior director for Jewish education and has been named to the New York Jewish Week's "36 Under 36.”


Connie Spear Birnbaum Memorial Lecture Speakers
2004 - 2022

The richness and diversity of the Jewish people is reflected in the array of distinguished speakers - leading figures from the the United States and Israel; from the right, left and center and from the different streams of Judaism; from positions of leadership in religion, diplomacy, thought, government, academia, journalism, and the battlefields of military conflict and social justice - who have inspired and united us through their actions and words.

2004: Dr. Norman Lamm, z”l

2005: Richard M. Joel

2006: Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg

2007: Rabbi David Ellenson

2008: Rabbi Harold Kushner

2009: Rabbi Joseph Telushkin

2010: Rabbi Steven Weil

2011: Rabbi Steven Wernick

2012: Natan Sharansky

2013: Malcom Hoenlein

2014: Nancy Kaufman

2015: Ofir Shaer & Rabbi Rick Jacobs

2016: Leon Wieseltier

2017: Rabbi Dr. Meir Soleveichik

2018: Ron Dermer

2019: Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin

2020: 55th Anniversary Celebration of the Voting Rights Act

2021: Yossi Klein Halevi

2022:  Major General Amos Yadlin


Join Us In Person

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Join Us Online

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Join Our Email List

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To join us via live stream, click this link:

From its inception, the Connie Spear Birnbaum Memorial Lecture has been committed to providing the community with a first rate lecture which is free of charge to the public.  The ability to honor this commitment without any endowment, over the course of 20 years, owes itself to the extreme generosity of Connie's family and friends and the many within the community whose lives were touched by her.  Each and every gift matters and is deeply appreciated.

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All gifts $36 and above will be gratefully acknowledged at the event. Please consider a contribution in one of the following categories:

Pillar - $250.00+
Patron - $100.00-$249.00
Sponsor - $54.00-$99.00
Friend - $36.00-$53.00

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