TOS Talks is an exciting series of lectures delivered by provocative and nationally renowned luminaries. For the past three years we have offered three stimulating evenings annually, led by our own Rabbi Sonia Saltzman.

Past TOS Talks Luminaries


Loretta Claiborne–April 2016
Loretta Claiborne tells her story
Ms. Claiborne is a world-class runner and gifted motivational speaker who happens also to be a Special Olympics Athlete and a person who has an intellectual disability. Born partially blind and intellectually challenged, she was unable to walk or talk until age 4. Eventually, though, she began to run. And before she knew it, she had crossed the finish line of 26 marathons, twice placing among the top 100 women in the Boston Marathon. Today, Ms. Claiborne is a celebrated athlete who was honored in 1996 with ESPN’s Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. Ms. Claiborne has addressed a joint session of the US Congress and has traveled the globe as a passionate advocate for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. She is an amazing and inspiring woman who has both touched and changed the lives of people around the world.

Ron Lieber–May 2016
THE OPPOSITE OF SPOILED: exploring the connection between money and values

Ron Lieber is the author of The Opposite of Spoiled, an instant New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller.  He writes about virtues like modesty, patience, generosity and perspective but also offers practical advice on such questions as: the best way to handle the tooth fairy, allowance, chores, charity, saving, part-time jobs and college. Wendy Mogel, author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee has this to say about Mr. Lieber’s book: “Finally an honest, modern, comprehensive and nuanced book about kids and money. I ran out of post-its marking pages containing pearls of useful advice.”

Since 2008 Ron Lieber has been the “Your Money” columnist for the New York Times. His columns about student loans won the 2011 Loeb Award, business journalism highest honor. Prior to 2008, he was the “Green Thumb” columnist for the Wall Street Journal’s Money and Investing section.defining commitments are to peace and reformed religion—critical religion—and democratic values.” He was ordained to the priesthood in 1969 and served as a Catholic Chaplain at Boston University until 1974, when he left the priesthood to become a writer. James Carroll has been called “one of the most adept and versatile writers on the American scene today” (Denver Post) and he has won multiple awards for his work.

Anat Hoffman–June 2016
CRACKS IN THE CITY OF STONE: struggling for pluralism in modern Jerusalem

Anat Hoffman is a world-renowned Israeli activist and a founding member of Women of the Wall, an organization which fights for women’s equal access to the Western Wall. Additionally, she is the Executive Director of IRAC (Israel Religious Action Center), the legal and advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel. Today IRAC is the pre-eminent civil and human rights organization in Israel and the leading Jewish organization that advocates on behalf of a broadly inclusive Israeli democracy.

Previously, Ms. Hoffman held a seat on the Jerusalem City Council. In 2013, the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, named her “Person of the Year,” and the Jerusalem Post listed her fifth among its list of 50 Most Influential Jews, noting her role in bringing the issue of women’s rights at the Western Wall to the forefront of the consciousness of world Jewry. Ms. Hoffman’s talk will focus on the struggle of IRAC to create a more pluralistic Judaism and a more appropriate representation – not only for women, but for all of the city’s inhabitants.


Ellen GoodmanTOS1Ellen Goodman–April 2015

Founded by Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Ellen Goodman, The Conversation Project is a public engagement campaign with a goal that is both simple and transformative: to have every person’s end-of-life wishes expressed and respected. Ellen Goodman offered us tools for having a conversation about values with our loved ones—parents, children, other family members and friends, in order to achieve happier endings. The Conversation Project counts among its advisors, Dr. Atul Gawande, author of the current bestseller—Being Mortal.

Ellen Goodman has spent most of her life chronicling social change and its impact on American life. As a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist she was one of the first women to open up the op-ed pages to women’s voices and became, according to Media Watch, the most widely syndicated progressive columnist in the country.

James-Carroll-siteJames Carroll–May 2015
THE JERUSALEM PARADOX: Religion, Violence and the Path to Peace

How is it that the cradle of three main religions has been home to so much violence? And what might the future hold? James Carroll, Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at Suffolk University, a columnist for the Boston Globe, and the author of eleven novels and eight works of non-fiction, among them Constantine’s Sword; Jerusalem, Jerusalem; and Christ Actually, offers a unique and insightful perspective on the past and the future of this troubled spiritual center.

Whether in his column or in his books, Carroll is clear about his central concerns: “My defining commitments are to peace and reformed religion—critical religion—and democratic values.” He was ordained to the priesthood in 1969 and served as a Catholic Chaplain at Boston University until 1974, when he left the priesthood to become a writer. James Carroll has been called “one of the most adept and versatile writers on the American scene today” (Denver Post) and he has won multiple awards for his work.

Bryan-Stevenson_credit_Nina_SubinBryan Stevenson–June 2015
CONFRONTING INJUSTICE: Race, Poverty and a Path to Progress

Issues of poverty and racial injustice have come to the foreground this past year. Mr. Stevenson, one of our nation’s leading voices fighting poverty and challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system will share his sobering but hopeful understanding of injustice in our country today.

Bryan Stevenson is a public-interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, incarcerated and condemned. He is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, an Alabama-based group that has won major legal advances. A graduate of the Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government and currently teaches at the NYU School of Law. Mr. Stevenson was recently named to the President’s Commission on 21st Century Policing. His recent book, Just Mercy, has been widely praised. Mr. Stevenson has been a guest on many national television programs, including The Daily Show, and has delivered a popular presentation on TED Talks.


Rabbi Harold KushnerRabbi Harold Kushner–April 2014
ONE YEAR LATER: Reflecting On Adversity

Acclaimed author and Rabbi, Harold Kushner joined us to reflect on the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing tragedy.

Author of the national best seller, When Bad Things Happen To Good People and most recently, The Book of Job, Rabbi Kushner shared illuminating wisdom and real life stories, helping us make sense of personal and collective adversity, and the pathways to help us find the courage necessary to move forward.

Sherry Turkle Ph.D.Sherry Turkle, Ph.D.–May 2014

MIT Professor Sherry Turkle shared stark insights from her latest book, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, exploring spreading societal alienation juxtaposed against instant, constant contact due to scientific advancements. BIG issues including cyber-bullying and loneliness.

Founder/director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, Dr. Turkle has authored several books on our relationship with technology. She has written for The New York Times, Scientific American and appeared on Moyers & Company and The Colbert Report.

Ron SuskindRon Suskind–June 2014
LIFE ANIMATED: The story of discovery of affinity therapy for autism

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist Ron Suskind’s most personal and moving book is perhaps the recently published and widely praised Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism about how he and his family reach their autistic son through the common denominator of Disney film characters. In his TOS Talk, Mr. Suskind focused on his remarkable family story.

Ron Suskind’s latest New York Times bestseller, Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President is a widely cited book about the Obama White House and the 2009 Wall Street collapse. He has written award-winning stories from union busting in Louisiana to the secret life of Warren Buffett to the mysterious death of Boston Celtic star Reggie Lewis.

TOS Talks is generously funded by a grant from the EHA Foundation, and by member contributions.