The Tirdof series draws from the phrase “tzedek, tzedek tirdof,” which translates to “justice, justice, you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20). We’ve heard many of you express a desire for this type of programming and we are focusing on bringing events to Beth El that allow opportunities for reflection, conversation and action. Reach out to Margaret Norman with any questions.  

View the Congregational Calendar to access the most up-to-date program details and registration information.


Book Talk with Dr. Joshua Rothman

7-8 pm, April 29, Zoom

Join us for “The Ledger and the Chain” book discussion and conversation with Dr. Joshua D. Rothman and Rabbi Sharon Brous, founder and senior Rabbi of IKAR Los Angeles, on April 29 via Zoom. This event is being held in partnership with IKAR and Thank You Books, where you can pre-order a copy of “The Ledger and The Chain.” The first 25 purchases will receive a signed copy of this book!
Join TBE community member and Chair of the University of Alabama History Department Joshua Rothman for a discussion of his new book, “The Ledger and the Chain: How Domestic Slave Traders Shaped America.” In his book, Rothman details the stories of three of the most prominent slave traders in American history. Focusing on the lives and careers of Isaac Franklin, John Armfield and Rice Ballard, Rothman documents the roles of these men in the evolution of the domestic slave trade, the shocking activities that their business entailed, and their significance for American society and the American economy before the Civil War.
This virtual event will be moderated by Rabbi Sharon Brous, founder and senior Rabbi of IKAR Los Angeles.

This series is part of the development of the Beth El Civil Rights Experience; a multimedia project exploring the intersections of Birmingham’s Jewish and Civil Rights histories, with an eye towards exploring the past and “building bridges” in the present and future. Learn more here.


‘Where Do We Go From Here?’ with Lisa McNair and Adath Jeshurun

3-4:30 pm, May 2

Since the fall of 2020, Temple Beth El has been engaged in a public facing programming series entitled Tirdof (You Shall Pursue), exploring issues of civil rights past and present. Now we’re asking, what’s next? Lisa McNair, whose sister Denise McNair was killed in the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, is a professional public speaker on the topic of reconciliation. This program will feature both a talk by Lisa on her family’s journey and experiences with reconciliation work, and interactive Q and A session. For this program we will be joined by members of Adath Jeshurun, a congregation in Minneapolis, taking advantage of virtual format to expand our reach, and to facilitate a conversation on racial justice and reconciliation across Jewish communities and regional distinctions.

Lisa’s presentation and the moderated Q & A will last for approximately an hour. For the last 20-30 minutes of our program, we will host small group breakout sessions for participants to collaborate and brainstorm across congregations (and states), and then come together for sharing and processing. Register here for this virtual program.

This series is part of the development of The Beth El Civil Rights Experience; a multimedia project exploring the intersections of Birmingham’s Jewish and Civil Rights histories, with an eye towards exploring the past and “building bridges” in the present and future.


Coming up:

Braving Discomfort to Move Toward Action with T. Marie King. Date TBD.


Beth El Civil Rights Experience: Call for Lay Leaders!  

Did you know that the Beth El team has been busy developing a plan for an innovative project focused on Birmingham’s Jewish and Civil Rights history? If you are interested in getting your feet wet in an exciting multimedia community history project, get in touch! Have a Civil Rights story to share? A passion for research or grant writing? An interest in historic markers, oral history, or audio editing? Just want to learn more about this fascinating history or about the project? All skill sets and knowledge levels are welcome. Contact Margaret to learn more.