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Alfred Gross Lecture

The Annual Alfred Gross Memorial Scholars Lecture Weekend

The Alfred Gross Memorial Scholars Lecture Weekend was established at Seaside Jewish Community in his memory following his death in 2007.

Alfred, a founding member of Seaside, was a true religious leader who loved education, especially the study of Torah. Among his many contributions, he led the first High Holy Day Service for Seaside, taught an early Talmud class, led Torah discussion groups, participated in choosing the congregation’s prayer books, and provided guidance in the development of Seaside’s mission statement. While believing Jewish ritual to be essential to the growth of the newly forming congregation, Alfred and the other founding members agreed Seaside would not be affiliated with a specific denomination within Judaism.

Born in 1928 to Hungarian immigrants, Alfred grew up in the Bronx, NY, and had an early Orthodox education. He earned an undergraduate degree at City College New York and attended two Jewish theological seminaries. He continued his education by earning a doctorate in clinical psychology at Adelphi University and went on to become a professor of psychology at the University of Baltimore, while maintaining a private practice in this field. 

The Alfred Gross Memorial Scholars Lecture Weekend has continued to further Alfred’s love of education and Judaism for the members of Seaside by the generous donations made to this fund. With much gratitude, Seaside Jewish Community offers thanks to Suzanne Gross, Alfred’s wife, for her continued generosity in sponsoring the meal following the presentation.

Speakers over the years

2008    Dr. Arthur Lesley, Associate Professor of Hebrew Literature, Baltimore Hebrew University: “Two Immigrant Streams: The Exodus to America and to Palestine And the Different Expectations Carried with Each.”

2009    Estelle Abraham, host of “Jewish Community Radio”: “Yiddish Expressions as a Medium and Means of Transmitting Our History and Culture.”

2010    Avi Lyon, past Executive Secretary of the National Jewish Labor Committee:

            “Jews in the Labor Movement in the US and Eastern Europe.”

2011    Judy Meltzer, Director of Adult Learning, Baltimore Chizuk Amuno Congregation: “Demons and Dybbuks and Golems, Oh My!  Folklore and Magic in Jewish Tradition.”

2012    Shayn Smulyan, PhD Candidate at Brown University: “Mit Gezang Tsum Kampf (With Song to the Struggle) -An Introduction to the Jewish Labor Movement Through Yiddish Songs.”

2013    Lee Mussoff, member of Seaside Jewish Congregation: “Jews in the Performing Arts, A Rich Legacy (the creative genius of untold number of Jews who have enriched our loves in every aspect)”

2014    Rabbi Amy Scheinerman, Howard County MD Hospice rabbi: “Entering Eden and Strolling Through the PaRDeS,” An examination of the 4 levels of interpretation that have guided Jewish exploration of sacred texts since antiquity.”

2015    Edward Kaplan, the Kevy and Hortense Kaiserman Professor at Brandeis University: “Living Judaism: Spirituality and Social Justice,” the special relationship between the Union for Reform Judaism and the NAACP.

2016    Rabbi Sue Levi-Elwell, Director of the Pennsylvania Council and the Federation of Reform Synagogues of Greater Philadelphia of the Union for Reform Judaism: “The Torah of Poetry and the Poetry of Torah” and “21st Century Judaism: How Our Precious Legacy Has Been Enhanced and Expanded.”

2017    Rabbi Mark Novak and Renee Brachfield, husband-wife storytelling duo: “A Celebration of a Jewish Cultural Experience with Storytelling, Song, Juggling, and More.” 

2018    Charles Richter, Professor: Directing, Theatre History, and Theory, Muhlenberg College: “Jewish culture and identity portrayed in early television and the impactful role Jews played in all aspects of this “new” form of entertainment”.

2019    Ralph Begleiter, CNN world affairs correspondent: “The Media and Politics in the Middle East.”

2021  Dr. Adriana M. Brodsky, Professor of History, St. Mary’s College of Maryland: “The history of the Sephardim, or Spanish Jews, and their Diaspora to the Americas after the expulsion from Spain.”

2022  Rabbi David Teutsch, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. “Jewish Ethics of Speech in a Time of Political Polarization;” “Valuing Life from Beginning to End: A Jewish perspective at a time when religious fundamentalists are pushing Christian definitions into secular law, how does the Jewish view differ?” 

Sat, January 28 2023 6 Shevat 5783