Coming Soon to a City – Or Zoom Screen -Near You

Beth Kissileff discusses her novel with Professor Nili Gold at the Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania



Upcoming events

October 12. Squirrel Hill Historical Society. By Zoom.  Register here.

October 25.  Mount Lebanon Library.  by Zoom.  Register here.

Past appearances Topic list

Past events

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May 15 by Zoom for Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh with Rabbi Jonathan Perlman.  Class on themes of Shavuot.

May 5 by Zoom at White Whale bookstore, Pittsburgh.  Discussion of Seamus McGraw’s From a Taller Tower: The Rise of the American Mass Shooter.

January 21, 2020.  Temple Beth Tikvah, Wayne NJ.  Thoughtful Thursdays book group.  7 PM. by Zoom.

December 1, 2020.  Jewish Theological Seminary Library.  7:30. Recording of on line presentation is available here.

November 22, 2020.  Together We Heal: Survivors of Hate.  Spoke  with Willi Glee of Mother Emmanuel Church and Brandon Wolf, survivor of Pulse Nightclub attack at event sponsored by JCRC of Charleston and Stamp out Hate SC .  On Zoom.

November 12, 2020.  New Light and other Pittsburgh congregations.  On line.  With Jim Busis, Eric Lidji, Molly Pascal, Laurie Zittrain Eisenberg and Arlene Weiner.  7 PM. Recording of event is here

November 10, 2020 Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC.  With Eric Lidji and Campbell Robertson.  Co-sponsored with Beth Meyer Synagogue.  7 PM.  Recording of event is here

November 5, 2020.  Community Day School, Pittsburgh PA.  With Molly Pascal, Laurie Zittrain Eisenberg, and Linda Hurwitz.  Register for Zoom link here.  7:30 PM

November 1, 2020.  B’nai David Judea Congregation, Los Angeles, CA.  With Rabbi Daniel Yolkut.  6 PM Pacific, 9 PM Eastern.

October 29, 2020  PittWire Live Book Club.  Noon.  Hosted by John Fagan of U Pitt Press.  On line.

October 29, 2020. Congregation Beth Shalom, Teaneck NJ.  On line conversation. 8:30 PM.  You Tube of event available here.

October 26, 2020   7:30 PM  Center for Jewish Studies at Penn event with Adam Shear, Barbara Burstin and Laurie Zittrain Eisenberg.  Recording can be viewed here.

October 25, 2020.  Beth El Synagogue Minneapolis, MN.  7:30 Central time, 8:30 Eastern.  With Eric Lidji.  Register here.

October 22 2020 Columbia Journalism School. With Peter Smith and Mark Oppenheimer.  Recording can be viewed here.

October 20, 2020 City of Asylum Pittsburgh.  On line.  Virtual book launch with co-editor Eric Lidji.

October 15, 2020.  Classic Lines Bookstore.  5825 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh PA.  Outdoor book signing, 5:30 – 6:30.

September 25, 2020. Lit Youngstown, Fall LIterary Festival.  4-5 PM. Register here

May 27, 2020 Caring for the Afflicted in the book of Ruth.  On line Tikkun Leil Shavuot.  Link to talk.  

June 8, 2019  Tikkun Leil Shavuot.  Squirrel Hill JCC, 5738 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh PA.  Midnight.  “The Power of Chesed in the Book of Ruth.”

January 2018

January 11, 2018 Temple Shalom of Naples.  Naples, FL.

January 22, 2018.  Beth El of the South Hills, Pittsburgh, PA.

February 2018

February 2-3 The Congregation Mikveh Israel. 44 North Fourth Street, Philadelphia, PA. 19106.

Fall, 2017

Reading at Kelly Writer’s House at the University of Pennsylvania.  November 9, 2017.

July 2017

July 9-15 Teaching at Beyond Walls at Kenyon College in Gambier Ohio.

June, 2017

June 20, 2017 Reading at Magers and Quinn bookstore in Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis, 7PM.

April 2017

April 22, 2017  Hewlett-East Rockaway Jewish Centre  East Rockaway, NY

April 29, 2017  Temple Israel of Natick, Natick, MA.  Speaker at Sisterhood Shabbat service and book club discussion on Questioning Return.

January 2017

  • 1/24:  Red Dog Reading Series, Carlow University, Pittsburgh, PA

December 2016

  • 12/1o:  Beth Shalom Synagogue, Pittsburgh, PA 12:45 PM reading and Q and A
  • 12/28: New York Public Library – Midtown Branch  Panel with Reading Genesis contributors Steven Brams, Seth Greenberg, Tobi Kahn and Moses Pava

November 2016

  • 11/2:  Jewish Theological Seminary Library, NY, NY
  • 11/15: Classic Lines Bookstore Pittsburgh, PA 7 PM Book launch for Questioning Return
  • 11/17:  Rodef Shalom Synagogue, Pittsburgh, PA, 10:30 AM

October 2016

  • 10/31:  Beth Shalom Sisterhood,  Paid up membership opening dinner, Teaneck, NJ

September 2016

  • 9/26:  Columbia University Seminar for teachers of Literature Humanities, session on Genesis
  • 9/27, 7 PM: Skirball Center at Temple Emanu El NY, NY.  With Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Joan Nathan, Dara Horn, and Tobi Kahn.  Free and open to the public.

August 2016

July 2016

  • 7/25:  Ansche Chesed Synagogue, NY, NY.  Part of the Scribblers on the Roof series.

March 2016

  • 3/2:  University of Pennsylvania Alumni club, Pittsburgh PA.
  • 3/14:  Siegel Center for Lifelong Jewish Learning, Case Western Reserve University, Beachwood, OH, two presentations March 14, 2016.  Click here for a video of this event.

February 2016

  • 2/11: Reading Genesis Book Launch, Jewish Community Center, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2/18:  Current events group at Pittsburgh JCC
  • 2/21:  Sisterhood, New Light Congregation Pittsburgh, PA

Possible speaking topics

Please be in contact to customize for your group or organization!

  • Discussion about Reading Genesis anthology with selections from its essays
  • Women in the Bible – any topic.  I have taught this on the college level and to adult learners many times.
  • The Torah Portion of the week – can deliver as sermon, discussion, text study session, bibliodrama or any combination of the above
  • Reading from my novel.  Can be paired with book club discussion suited both for those who have already read and those who have yet to read.
  • Workshop on creative writing or creativity in Jewish context, as part of Jewish conversation
  • Talk about liveliness of Bible study in Israel.  Click here for a video of this talk.
  • Talk about modern Israeli writers
  • Any of the articles or essays listed here can be adapted for a talk

Sample titles include:

  • The Man Came to Me: Marital Misunderstanding in the Bible
  • Recognition in the Book of Ruth
  • Luckless Israel: Fate and Destiny in the Book of Esther
  • Irresistible Samson: Performance Artist, Superhero or Suicide Bomber?
  • Tricksters, Thieves and Disguisers: Women’s Ways of Negotiation in the Hebrew Bible
  • “The Way of Women is Upon Me”: Underhanded Means of Revenge in Genesis.
  • Shabbat: Our Tool for attention literacy
  • Making Sense of History
  • The Feedback Loop
  • Joseph’s Power:  Reading Backwards and Forwards

Reactions to  talks by Beth Kissileff 

This anthology provided the basis for a moving and revealing conversation at Columbia Journalism School about media coverage of the Pittsburgh attacks and coverage of anti-Semitism more broadly. Highly recommended.

Jane Eisner, Director, Academic Affairs, Columbia Journalism School

In their book, Bound in the Bond of Life, Beth Kissileff and Eric Lidji share words of Torah and give us insight into the Pittsburgh community. They tell us about the roots that ground their community and their faith even in the face of the Tree of Life tragedy. In the process they deepen all our roots and prepare the tree to blossom forth once again.

Rabbi Alexander Davis, Beth El Synagogue Minneapolis, MN

Beth’s program at City of Asylum was a powerful presentation of Bound in the Bond of Life. Beth read essays from the anthology, featuring various writers and telling us more about their individual narrative approaches to writing. She also spoke about the editorial process and shed light onto the thematic orientation of the anthology. Lastly, Beth allowed ample time for audience question and answer to close the program—addressing the audience with candor and warmth, allowing a sense of camaraderie and community to take shape.

Abby Lembersky, Director of Programs City of Asylum Pittsburgh

Beth Kissileff gave a remarkable D’var Torah for our Sisterhood Shabbat. It was smart, engaging and very intellectually stimulating. I was captivated by her reading of her novel later in the morning.

Rabbi Andrew Warmflash, Hewlett-East Rockaway Jewish Center  East Rockaway, NY

Beth is an engaged & approachable speaker. Her unique and pluralistic Jewish background as well as her familiarity with traditional texts and love for the material combine to make her one of the most accessible and insightful authors available. Beth is able to speak to diverse groups on a multitude of subjects & can engage her audiences on multiple levels. Between her appreciation for the primary texts of Judaism and her penchant for fiction writing, Beth Kissileff is a refreshingly new voice for our generation.

Rabbi Aaron Benjamin Bisno
Frances F. and David R. Levin Senior Rabbinic Pulpit
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Beth  Kissileff has the remarkable capacity to intuit the special qualities and viewpoints inherent in the biblical narratives, and to be a “matchmaker” between those narratives and modern writers whose expertise allows them to shed new light on the biblical texts. Guiding and learning from the writers she gathers as commentators, Beth communicates their insights with humor and wisdom, assuring that listeners will take new lessons from even well known biblical stories.

David C. Kraemer, professor of Talmud and Rabbinics and the Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America

Dr. Kissileff is an engaging speaker who captures the depth and breadth of Jewish life in her work. Her voice is one that speaks to contemporary audiences: at once nostalgic and modern, with a subtle sense of humor and elegant turns of phrase. We were enthralled, amused, and informed.

Rabbi Seth Adelson
Congregation Beth Shalom  Pittsburgh, PA

We were very pleased to have Beth Kissileff read from her new novel Questioning Return to us at Congregation Beth Shalom. Dr. Kissileff is an engaging speaker who understands her audience. She chose to read from a section of the book that related well to the time and place where she was speaking, and that would be accessible and interesting to both those who had read the book before and those who were not aware of what the book was about. When answering questions at the end of her reading she engagingly covered a number of topics, from where she draws her inspiration, to the hurdles of publishing a book, and even to how she names her characters. It was wonderful to have Beth as a speaker!

Chris Hall, Adult Education Chair, Congregation Beth Shalom. Pittsburgh, PA

Thanks for the wonderful presentation this past week to launch our Adult Education Speaker Series.  You engaged the crowd and entertained the audience’s questions .  I think that everyone learned something that evening and enjoyed the format with Torah Study.  It was a pleasure to work together.
Shelley Siegel, Adult Education Chair, Beth El Congregation.  Pittsburgh, PA.