Literature & Lectures

The Evolution of Delis – Three Decades of Saul’s in Berkeley with Peter Levitt

Day: Tuesday, March 15 

Time: 6:30-7:30

Location: Berkeley Branch and Saul’s Deli 

Fee: $36 (includes dinner)


Presented in partnership with Saul’s, Lehrhaus Judaica, and Contra Costa Jewish Film Festival

What does it mean to be an authentic, vibrant, relevant Jewish deli today? What will keep delis from disappearing, as so many have, especially in the historic deli cities of New York and Los Angeles? Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Saul’s continues to build bridges between the “Old Country”, the “New World,” and the future of food. Hear co-owner and executive chef, Peter Levitt, discuss the past, present, and future of delis. Join the conversation then head around the corner to Saul’s for a sampling of culinary delights.  

Peter Levitt, Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen, has been reconnecting the Jewish eatery with traditional culinary practices for two decades. After graduating from UC Berkeley, Peter enjoyed cooking stints at Oliveto and Chez Panisse, where he developed an understanding of local food procurement and production. In 1995 he began re-authenticating the Jewish deli experience with Saul’s farmer's market-driven menu. 


Short Stories and Essays

Day: Thursdays

Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Location: Berkeley Branch

Fee: $35 per semester


In partnership with Berkeley Adult School

This class will focus on the craft of the short story, which we will explore through reading contemporary short stories and essays. Participants will read stories and analyze them with a focus on narrative technique to understand ways in which different writers have addressed issues of plot, character, place and theme. Instructor George Porter is a credentialed teacher who has taught numerous classes at the JCC. For more information, visit or call 510-644-6130.


Tribalism, Race, Nationalism, Religion - What are Jews?

Day: Wednesdays, October 14 - 28

Time: 7:00 - 8:30 PM

Location: Berkeley Branch

Fee: $50 General | $40 JCC East Bay Member


In partnership with Lehrhaus Judaica

The question of what is a Jew/Judaism is one that comes up repeatedly. Occupying headlines and permeating modern political problems, it is important to clarify these terms and understand how they are used. In this three-part class led by Dr. Avram Davis, we will look at classical literature and modern blogosphere. We’ll consider the question ‘what is a tribe’ and examine words like ethnicity, race, and religion, as well as the notion of a nation state and ‘ethnic’ nation state. For more information, visit