Playing in the background is the beloved theme song from Cheers. “Making your way as a Jew today takes everything you’ve got.”  (Oh, we did we mention that it’s a Jewish bar?)

During a three-session, ZOOMed series, called ”Three Rabbis Walk into a Bar . . . ,” Rabbi David Nesson will discuss the place of Judaism in the modern world through the philosophy, theology, and thought of an Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Rabbi.

Rabbi David Nesson

The three titular rabbis are Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks (Orthodox), Rabbi Dr. Neil Gillman (Conservative) and Rabbi Dr. David Ellenson (Reform), all Jewish leaders of the 20th century and all who passed away in the last few years. The series, set for Thursdays, May 23 and 30, and June 6 at 1 p.m., is free and open to the public. Our Jewish World co-chairs are Melanie Levitan and Ilene Dorf Manahan.

Session 1, on May 23, will focus on Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, the  chief rabbi of Great Britain (1991–2023). His philosophy focused on morality and the intersection of universalism and particularism.

Rabbi Dr. Neil Gilman, the subject of session 2 on May 30, was professor of theology and dean of the Rabbinical School at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Much of his teaching centered on the the challenge of what he called “recovering theology for the Modern Jew.”

For session 3, on June 6, attention will be on Rabbi Dr. David Ellenson, chancellor of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in New York.  Among the many topics of his wide range of philosophical thought, he considered how to find Jewish meaning in a world of choice.

During each session, Rabbi Nesson will present and lead discussions on how each of these theologians still challenges us to think about the role of a Jewish community in the world today, and the effect their thinking can have on our own Jewish journey toward outward connection to the world at large, to the Jewish world and to our own inner lives.

Rabbi Nesson is the rabbi emeritus of the Morristown Jewish Center, where he served as spiritual leader and teacher for 35 years. He has been a popular and stimulating lecturer in the NCJW-West Morris Section Our Jewish World program since the inauguration of the Clergy Series.

Preregistration is required for Rabbi Nesson’s series. To preregister, email