Lunch & Learn

University Women Lunch & Learn's feature outstanding speakers, rabbis, professors and authors, many affiliated with AJU.

Vera L LL

From the Soviet Union to Freedom: Growing up Behind the Iron Curtain

With Vera Liebenthal
Wednesday November 15, 2017
American Jewish University 15600 Mulholland Drive Los Angeles, CA 90077 Small Berg Dining
Vera Liebenthal will discuss: • From a lens of a child: Growing up behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet Era • Jews vs. the “system” : Jewish life and the Zionist movement in the Soviet Union & the role of the North American Jewry in the liberation of Soviet Jews • Vera’s personal journey to Jewish identity • What can be learned from the Russian Jewry exodus story

Vera Liebenthal was born in Moscow during the Soviet era in the 1970’s.  Growing up in a family of refuseniks, Vera personally experienced anti-Semitism, persecution and discrimination.  After years of waiting for visas her family was allowed to immigrate to Israel in 1987 when she was a teenager.   Vera served in the IDF and has degrees in Economics, Sociology and Anthropology from Hebrew University & an MBA in Finance from Manchester University.  Prior to moving to the United States in 2001, Vera worked for the Israeli Ministry of Finance and the North American desk director.  


Today Vera is a business banker with First Republic Bank specializing in business and commercial RE lending.  As part of her strong commitment to the State of Israel, she has developed an innovative loan program backed by Israeli bonds that is now offered through First Republic Bank. 


Vera lives in Los Angeles with her husband and is a proud mother of 3 daughters.  She is an observant Jew and an avid advocate for Jewish education.  

Ed Feinstein

I Had A Little Dreidel: How Hanukkah Became an American Holiday

With Rabbi Ed Feinstein
Thursday December 14, 2017
American Jewish University 15600 Mulholland Drive Los Angeles, CA 90077 Small Berg Dining
Rabbi Ed Feinstein will discuss: • What does Hanukah symbolize • How has Hanukkah been reshaped and re-imagined • Trace the evolution of Judaism’s most beloved holiday

Rabbi Ed Feinstein is senior rabbi of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California and instructor at the Ziegler Rabbinical School of American Jewish University.  Formerly, Rabbi Feinstein served as founding director of the Solomon Schechter Academy of Dallas, Texas, associate rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel of Dallas, and director of Camp Ramah in California.  He holds degrees from the University of California at Santa Cruz, the University of Judaism, Columbia University, and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he was ordained in 1981 and received his doctorate in 2017. 


Rabbi Feinstein is the author of four books.  Tough Questions Jews Ask – A Young Adult’s Guide to Building a Jewish Life,and Jews and Judaism in the 21st Century were finalists for the National Jewish Book Award.  Capturing the Moon retells the best of classic and modern Jewish folktales.  His latest book, The Chutzpah Imperative, traces the history of Jewish humanism. 


Rabbi Feinstein shares life with his wife, Nina, and their children, Yonah, Nessa, Raffi and Elana.  Every Friday afternoon he bakes brownies from a recipe revealed to his ancestors at Mount Sinai.