forgiveness

“The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest.”
This statement, from Rabbi Ken Cohen, is truly worth considering

Apologize? I know people who can’t get the words, “I’m sorry” out of their mouths. They sometimes will say, “I’m sorry if I hurt you.” IFyou hurt me? Obviously you did or you wouldn’t have gotten this far. But “if” I hurt you is not an apology. Why can’t these folks just say it? Because they are afraid; afraid that admitting wrong doing will make them subject to derision. It does indeed take courage to make yourself vulnerable by admitting an error or wrong doing. I know families whose members remain fractured because one or more people are not brave enough to acknowledge that they are human, fallible and have done something wrong to another person.
Do be brave. Is there someone that you are uncomfortable seeing because you know you have wounded them? Don’t waste time trying to justify your self. Pray, talk to your clergy person, read about how to apologize even when it scares you.

Forgive? Being able to forgive someone is tremendously liberating. It means you are not waiting for someone else to act. If you can forgive and move on, you own your life. No, don’t keep deceivers or hurtful people in your life. But forgive those people you love for being imperfect – you probably are imperfect too.

Forget? This one is a bit trickier. Utterly forgetting what transpired is not a good idea. But we do get to chose what and how we remember. A year and a half ago my sister died after a brief struggle with cancer. While we had been very close when we were younger she had become a very angry adult. She requested, through our other sister, that I not attempt to see her. It was hard but I promised. In the last weeks of her life her son told me to come see her. I was so conflicted as I felt I had made a promise to her and wanted to honor it. But in the end I went. She was a shriveled scrap of her self; it was shocking. As soon as she saw me she started to cry. I went to her and hugged her gently, “I love you,” was all I could say. She wept and said, “I love you too.”

Now I could try to forget the down right dangerous things my beloved sister had done but that would have meant not seeing the real pain she had left behind in my other family members. It would have meant not learning anything from all the misery, including her illness. But I could choose to focus on the memories of good times. I could pull out photos of us swimming or playing or hugging. That is what I chose. I will remember what went wrong and hope to avoid and heal that. AND I can remember my beloved sister as she was when we were best friends.

If you are able, and I know that family members don’t always allow you to contact them, consider healing a relationship this coming week. You will be able to celebrate a true personal liberation.

May we all be blessed with many imperfect, but loving family members and friends.

EVENTS
Welcome Shabbat Outdoors (Los Altos)
Taqueria Sinai Shabbat! (Oakland)
Summer Shabbat Potlucks (Palo Alto)
Community Picnic with B’nai Shalom (Walnut Creek)
Grand Opening! At the Palo Alto JCC! (Palo Alto)
PTBE Book Club (San Mateo)
Prospective Members Open House (San Rafael)

Welcome Shabbat Outdoors
Summer worship outdoors is a tradition at Beth Am, giving congregants an opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty of our campus. Everyone is welcome, feel free to bring friends and enjoy a picnic dinner before or after the service.

Date: July 8
Time: 6:15
Place: Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills
www.betham.org

Taqueria Sinai Shabbat!
Join us for this Sinai summertime favorite: a casual Shabbat dinner catered by Taqueria El Paisa followed by Erev Shabbat services in the Albers Chapel. BYO Bottles of beer or wine.

You must register and pay for dinner by July 11. You can do that here.

Date: Friday, July 15
Time: Dinner 6:00pm followed by Shabbat Services at 7:30pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland, in the Sacred Garden
www.oaklandsinai.org

Summer Shabbat Potlucks
Join Kol Emeth for a potluck this summer. Want to meet new people? These potluck dinners are a perfect place. They begin with an outdoor evening service and are followed by the meal. They are held in members’ backyards. So call Elaine Sigal, executive director of Kol Emeth at 650.269.3058 so she can tell you where you’ll be going and talk to you about what to bring.

Elaine says: This is exciting. The dinners are so haimish and warm, and friendly. Kids are for sure welcome.

They begin with an outdoor evening service and are followed by the meal.
On three Fridays in July, join us for outdoor Shabbat Evening Services at 6:00pm, followed by a festive potluck dinner.

Dates: July 15 and 29
Time: 6pm
Place: Call Elaine for the address.
Hosted by Kol Emeth, 4175 Manuela Ave., Palo Alto
More info: Elaine Sigal, 650.269.3058, execdir@kolemeth.org

Community Picnic with B’nai Shalom
Want to check out a synagogue this summer before the High Holidays? Why not go to B’nai Shalom’s fabulous annual Community Picnic with games, swimming, hot dogs and more! All are welcome!

Sunday, July 17
Time: 12:00pm
Place: Cowell Park in Concord
Call Lisa at the synagogue office at 925-934-9446 x102 if you have any questions. She is incredibly kind and helpful.

Grand Opening! At the Palo Alto JCC!
The Palo Alto JCC is proud to announce the Grand Opening of four new destinations on our campus!

* The Oasis Play Space–a unique play experience for kids ages 1-10–with gentle hills, tunnels, slides, a climbing structure and benches on which to hang out
* Nourish, a Newish Jewish Cafe offering a savory and healthy menu
* Family Center–a cozy hangout for parents with little ones
* Outdoor Training Area–an al fresco workout space for our members (open to the community at the Grand Opening)

The free celebration, which is open to the community, will include:

* Music and entertainment
* Samples from our tasty cafe menu
* Goodies and giveaways
* Fitness Center tours and demos
* Demos at our Outdoor Training Area
* Coupons for future cafe treats and drink
* Face painting, bounce house and carnival games

Date: Sunday, July 17
Time: 1:00pm-4:00pm
Place: Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto
650-223-8700
http://www.paloaltojcc.org

PTBE Book Club
Milton Steinberg’s As A Driven Leaf will be this summer’s reading. Also known as one of Rabbi Dennis’ favorite books, this masterpiece of modern fiction tells the gripping tale of renegade Talmudic sage Elisha ben Abuyah’s struggle to reconcile his faith with the allure of Hellenistic culture. Steinberg’s classic novel also transcends its historical setting with its depiction of a timeless, perennial feature of the Jewish experience: the inevitable conflict between the call of tradition and the glamour of the Modern world.
Please join Rabbi Lisa Kingston and Lisa Meltzer Penn for an exciting conversation based on the book.

Date: Thursday, August 18
Time: 7:00 – 8:30pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Beth El1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo
www.ptbe.org
Details here.

Community Shabbat Service and Dinner
You’re invited to Beth Am’s Shabbat service under the trees, followed by a special community Shabbat potluck dinner. We’ll have a chance to enjoy the delights of Shabbat together while savoring a beautiful summer evening. Please sign up here to bring a dish to share (enough for 10 people) according to your last name:
A-M main dish
N-Z salad or side dish
Beth Am will provide a delicious ice cream dessert!

Date: Friday, July 15
Time: Service at 6:15pm Potluck Dinner to Follow
Place: Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills
Service in the Outdoor Chapel; Dinner on the Patio
www.betham.org

Prospective Members Open House
Considering joining a synagogue in Marin? Want to learn more about Rodef Sholom?
Here’s the perfect opportunity! You will get to meet the clergy and other members of the Rodef Sholom community. RSVP to Molly at molly@rodefsholom.org.

Date: Friday, August 26
Time: 5:45 pm reception in Rabbi Stacy Friedman’s study; 6:15 pm Shabbat services
Place: Rodef Sholom, 170 N San Pedro Rd, San Rafael
www.rodefsholom.org

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Religious Action Center

Many synagogue congregants are receiving emails from their clergy about the tragedy in Orlando. I am confident that many church members are getting similar messages. I share with you the one that Peninsula Temple Sholom‘s clergy, Rabbi Dan Feder, Rabbi Lisa Delson, Rabbi Molly Plotnik and Cantor Barry Reich.

****

Over the weekend, the Jewish people celebrated Shavuot, the festival of receiving Torah at Mount Sinai. However, instead of waking to the wholeness and peace that comes with accepting our sacred stories, we awoke to news of devastating human destruction. We mourn the 50 lives that were cut short at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, a place where LGBT folks came to enjoy themselves in a comfortable and life-affirming place. Our thoughts are also with the more than 50 who were injured as well. Just like last week when we mourned the deaths of four people who were killed in Tel Aviv, once again we are reminded that we live in a broken world.

It is becoming clear that it is not only enough to pray. We must speak out against extremism and join together with the vast majority of our Muslim brothers and sisters who reject violence in the name of their religion. We must speak out against homophobia and spread the message that love is love. And finally, we must join together and advocate against gun violence and promote gun control laws to keep guns out of the hands of those who wish to cause harm.

Tzedek, tzedek tirdof – Justice, justice you shall pursue (Deuteronomy 16:20). Judaism offers us a framework for how we should act in the world. Prayer and study are important, but so is action. Let us cry and mourn over the lives lost and then transform our tears and fear into creating a more just and peaceful world.

To take action, visit rac.org/gvp and share your thoughts with our elected officials.

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LGBT Safe Zone

LGBT Safe Zone

Thanks to Keshet for this lovely sign.

I don’t have a huge amount of data about LGBT Jewish couples, but I do have the results of a survey done a few years ago of the East Bay LGBT Jewish population. Of the LGBT Jews in relationships 89% were in an interfaith relationship. If you didn’t think interfaith programming was important for the LGBT community before, I hope this changes your view.

Building Jewish Bridges is here to help ALL interfaith couples and families figure out their strategy for their family’s religious life. Please don’t hesitate to contact Dawn Kepler if you want to talk about the options you and your partner are exploring.

Happy Pride Month!

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Community Seder

Community Seder

Typically the first night of Passover (Pesach) involves a family Seder at home. But there are some places where there are community Seders for those who don’t have a family to invite.

Second night community Seders have become very common at synagogues and there are lots of them! If you don’t see what you need below just Google the name of your city and “community Passover Seder.”

FIRST NIGHT SEDERS

Community Passover Seder
led by Rabbi Chaim Koritzinsky
The Exodus from Egypt is not only something that happened to us thousands of years ago, but also something we continue to experience in our lives today. Seder night is the time to identify and share these stories of liberation as we weave the national and personal narratives into a tapestry of freedom. Come and experience the seder as you’ve never experienced it before with probing questions, the sharing of stories, lively discussion, festive singing, games for kids, and an evening of surprises for the whole family.

Friday, April 22 at 6:00 pm
Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma Street, Palo Alto
Click here to register – but hurry. The deadline is Sunday, April 17, at midnight. We won’t be able to accept reservations after that, as we have to give final numbers to the caterer.

First Night Family Seder in Berkeley
Rabbi Bridget Wynne of Jewish Gateways and Oakland musician Eric Schoen will lead us through the night. A kid-friendly event, our seder includes singing, storytelling, and a light meal served picnic-style.

Date: Friday, April 22, 5:00-6:15 pm (Doors open at 4:30 pm)
Berkeley Branch – 1414 Walnut Street, Berkeley
Details here

First Night Family Seder in Oakland
Rabbi Mike Rothbaum (Co-Chair at Bend the Arc and Director of Education at Congregation Beth El) and notable Yiddish musician Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell will lead us in a social justice themed Passover celebration. A kid-friendly event, our seder includes singing, storytelling, and a light meal served picnic-style.

Friday, April 22, 5:00-6:15 pm (Doors open at 4:30 pm)
Oakland Branch – 5811 Racine Street, Oakland
Details and cost here

First Night Community Seder in Berkeley
Rabbi Bridget Wynne of Jewish Gateways and Oakland musician Eric Schoen will lead us through the night. Join us for a warm, lively, and social celebration for people of all ages.
Friday, April 22, 7:30pm – 9:30pm
JCC of the East Bay, Berkeley Branch – 1414 Walnut Street, Berkeley
Cost and details here.

First Night Community Seder in Oakland
Rabbi Mike Rothbaum (Co-Chair at Bend the Arc and Director of Education at Congregation Beth El) and notable Yiddish musician Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell will lead us in a social justice themed Passover celebration. A warm, lively, interactive full seder celebrating the Festival of Liberation — for us and all people! Full seder meal to be served. All are welcome!

Friday, April 22, 7:30pm – 9:30pm
JCC of the East Bay, Oakland Branch – 5811 Racine Street, Oakland
Cost and details here.

SECOND NIGHT SEDERS

Peninsula Sinai Community Passover Seder
Join us for the 2nd Night of Passover at PSC. We will be hosting a seder on the 2nd night of the holiday, Saturday evening,April 23, at 6:30 pm. A great opportunity for people of all age. Kids and interfaith families welcome.

RSVP’s are due no later than April 15, 2016. Cost is $70 per adult and $25 per kid ages 3-12 (Kids under 3 eat for FREE). Vegetarian options available. This will be a great experience for the novice and the experienced at the seder table. Hope you can join us. Questions? Contact Rabbi Helfand at rabbi@peninsulasinai.org

April 23, 6:30pm
Peninsula Sinai, 499 Boothbay, Foster City
Please RSVP to by calling 650-349-2816 or emailinginfo@peninsulasinai.org
Details here.

Rodef Sholom’s 2nd Night Seder
Once again we are hosting a 2nd Night Seder. Join Rabbi Elana Rosen-Brown and Cantor David Margules, along with many of our own Rodef Sholom musicians as they host a beautiful, meaningful and musical Seder.

Saturday, April 23, 5:00 pm
Social Hall of Rodef Sholom, 170 No. San Pedro Road, San Rafael

RSVP to Molly at molly@rodefsholom.org by April 18. Prices for congregants are $50 for adults and $35 for children; prices for non-congregants are $60 for adults and $45 for children. Spaces are limited so RSVP soon!

Second Night Passover Seder
Join us for a warm, celebratory and multi-generational seder. We’ll share stories of slavery and freedom, join together in song, and enjoy a delicious Passover feast.

Saturday, April 23, 6:00 to 8:00pm
Peninsula Temple Sholom, 1655 Sebastian Drive, Burlingame
Cost: $50/adult, $32/child 12 and under. Make your reservation by Friday, April 15.
Details here.

Beth Am’s Annual 2nd Night Community Seder
Led by Rabbi Jennifer Clayman
Rabbi Jennifer Clayman will lead this year’s Beth Am Community Seder on the 2nd night of Passover. Enjoy a delicious multi-course meal without having to cook, clean up or remember where you hid the afikomen.

Saturday, April 23, 6:00pm
Social Hall of Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd, Los Altos Hills
Cost $47 per adult; $27 per child (12 and under). Seating is limited. Please sign up for Beth Am’s Community Seder by Friday, April 15. For more information, please contact Emily Osterman or call (650) 493-4661.
Details here

Temple Israel of Alameda’s Community Second Night Seder
Details here.
(seating is limited) Click here https://tialameda.payquiq.com/index.cfm?event=embedform&embedform=1&contentid=54F4776E-D741-4834-BEFD4B9E07C42957
or call the Temple office 510-522-9355

April 23, 5:00 – 8:00pm
Temple Israel, 3183 Mecartney Road, Alameda

Temple Sinai’s Annual Community Passover Seder
Let all who are hungry- for food and community- join us!
Join Rabbi Ruth Adar and Cantor Ilene Keys as we retell the story of Passover, enjoy delicious foods catered by Z Cafe, meet new friends and sing!

Saturday, April 23, 5:30pm (doors open at 5:00pm)
Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Please purchase tickets early as seats are limited and sell out every year.
Purchase tickets online here.

Sherith Israel’s Second-Night Community Seder
Let all who are hungry come and eat. We say these words every year as we sit down to tell the Passover story of the Israelites’ journey from bondage to freedom.
Once again, the festive Sherith Israel community Seder is the congregation’s annual fundraiser for our Chicken Souper and HaMotzi programs. They feed homebound seniors, people with chronic illnesses, and adults and children at the Women’s Shelter of San Francisco and the Compass Family Center.
Our wonderful volunteers, who sustain these critical programs year after year, will cater dinner. Joel Siegel will lead us in song. Rabbis Larry Raphael, Jessica Graf and Julie Saxe-Taller will keep us all on the same page.

Saturday, April 23, 5–8 pm
Sherith Israel, 2266 California St., San Francisco
Pricing and details here.

Oshman JCC Community Passover Seder Dinner
The Oshman Family JCC is holding a Jewish Passover Seder for all who would like to join us. The meal will be catered (Kosher for Passover).
Share your Jewish journey while sharing a meal with friends and family. Experience Passover in a warm and welcoming setting at a Seder which combines tradition and creativity. Meet people in the community and make new friends.

Date: Friday, April 22
Time: 6:30–9:00pm
Place: Palo Alto JCC, Room E-104, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto
Suggested donation of $36; subsidized places available for those in need
Contact: Robin Vasilakos | (650) 223-8791 | rvasilakos@paloaltojcc.org
Sign up here.

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Larry Milder with torah

I wanted to share with you this message that Rabbi Larry Milder sent to his congregation earlier this month.

Are You Intermarried? We Welcome You!

We are an intermarried congregation. I haven’t counted; I don’t know what the numbers are. It’s just an impression. Honestly, I don’t always know who is a Jew and who is not.

Things used to be different. When I began my career as a rabbi, back in the Pleistocene Age, intermarrieds were a cohort of members. They were a group, distinct. Sadly, they were sometimes marginal members, whether by their own choice or as a result of the reactions they received from in-marrieds.

It’s just not that way anymore. I don’t pretend for a moment that an intermarried family doesn’t have discussions that may be different from in-married families, or unique questions around extended family relationships. But something more fundamental has changed.

Intermarriage has moved from the periphery to the center of Jewish life, and that transition has taken place during our lifetime. We are a place where any Jew and his/her partner are integrated into the life of the congregation.

So, here is a shout out to all the non-Jewish moms and dads who bring their children to religious school, participate in family education, go to our early childhood programs, and learn Hebrew and Jewish prayers along the way. Here’s to all the non-Jewish partners, young adult and empty-nesters, who take classes, do social action projects, volunteer on committees and behind the scenes. Many are deeply moved by Judaism, and, while not Jewish themselves, hold Judaism and our traditions in high regard. Many are fellow travelers, understanding of their partner’s faith, and devoted to raising Jewish children. I am grateful for every hour you have put into what is a sacred task for us as a congregation. We simply could not achieve the raising of Jewish children, or realize our congregation’s potential, without your help.

Which leads me to a statement of Reform Jewish principles which bears repeating: Unlike the traditional movements of Judaism, we regard the child of either a Jewish mother or a Jewish father as potentially Jewish. We do not consider it an automatic identity; the parents must choose what religion their child will be, and must act upon that choice. But we do not follow the matrilineal descent principle which is practiced by Conservative and Orthodox Jews. We are egalitarian. A child may inherit his/her Judaism from either parent.

Sometimes, we take the commitments of intermarried couples for granted. That should not be the case. Their presence here in our congregation is a blessing to all of us. I hope that more will join us, and know that they are welcome here, too.

Rabbi Larry Milder is the spiritual leader of Beth Emek in Pleasanton, CA.
***

Are you looking for a synagogue that will be comfortable for an interfaith family? Don’t hesitate to call and make an appointment to speak with the rabbi. Be honest, say what you are looking for. If it isn’t a match, fine, shake hands and keep looking. If it is a match — then it’s good to be home!

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pollyanna-top-done1

I was delighted to receive this letter from an annoyed reader! They wrote:

Your column is always suggesting convoluted ways that interfaith couples can deal with more traditional Jewish views. Why bother? Why don’t you just tell them to join a Reform synagogue and be done with the people who don’t agree with their life choices or see their kids as Jewish? — Annoyed with Traditional Jews

So I answered —

Dear Annoyed: I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that you asked this question! I’ve been wanting to discuss this topic since I started writing the column. Read on here.

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Oneg Shabbat

Oneg Shabbat

Rabbi Milder of Beth Emek in Pleasanton sent out an email to his congregation last Friday reminding them of the importance of food – as a gesture of hospitality, as a social mixer, as a gesture of caring.

Here’s what he had to say:

Shabbat services don’t feel complete without Oneg Shabbat. It’s like dinner without dessert.

For many of us, Oneg Shabbat is where we sense belonging to our Jewish community. It is a Brigadoon kind of community, magically appearing each week, sometimes with new guests.

Oneg means joy, like a cookbook, “Joy of Shabbat.” The service is the meaty stuff, the deep thinking; the Oneg is the icing on the cake.

We need Oneg, the simple pleasure of being together with others in celebration of Shabbat. The schmooze, catching up on the past week, on where our kids went, on which relatives are visiting.

Of course, what makes it feel right to schmooze is that someone, very thoughtfully, put out a nosh, a snack. Maybe some nice cheese and crackers, whatever fruit is in season, perhaps a pie. They set out plates and napkins, made a pot of decaf, brought some lemonade. Maybe they made it pretty in some personal way.

We’ve gotten used to thinking that Oneg Shabbat just happens. Instead, it should be something that we do for one another, something that we each take pride in creating for our community.

Rabbi Milder continues and urges his congregants to take a hand in producing the oneg at their shul. Cooking, baking, or just buying food, is something each of us is able to do. Getting involved in a synagogue for the first time can feel hard. But we can all manage food. Join the Hospitality or Oneg committee at your shul. You’ll meet friendly people who like good food. You’ll share a favorite recipe or get a new one from a new acquaintance. I like to bring edible flowers from my garden to decorate the trays (pansies, calendula, roses). Food (and flowers) can start up a conversation with someone new. Give it a try. If you are already an old hand at your synagogue, make it your goal to chat with someone who looks new this coming Shabbat.

Then please email me and tell me how it went.

Posted by admin under A meaningful life, Community, Finding a Synagogue, symbolic foods
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Camp Tawonga Dining Hall

Camp Tawonga Dining Hall

Here comes summer! I asked Liora, the Youth and Family Concierge for the East Bay Federation to share some thoughts about Jewish Summer Camp. I did so because she has a marvelous spreadsheet of summer camp options and I want you to feel welcome to give them a try. Here’s what she has to say about her own take on Jewish Summer Camp:

With Memorial Day and Shavuot (The holiday marking the giving of the Torah) on the same weekend this year, nothing says “Summer” like ending the Jewish holiday cycle and BBQ at the same time! Shavuot is the last holiday until Rosh Hashana (mark your calendars, Evening of September 13th!) and with that Jews are officially on summer vacation. What better way to rejoice in the season than to meet new friends and reunite with old friends at summer camp?

Summer camp was a formative experience for me. I recently met up with a former camper from a summer when I was a bunk counselor. She is now married and seeing her again was so special for me. In the songs I sing to my own children (silly, serious, English, Hebrew) or the memories I cherish (Games of “capture the flag,” or cozy in my sleeping bag among my bunkmates) camp is really a special time.

In our first year of the Sprout Initiative at the Jewish Federation of the East Bay, it seemed only natural to produce a Summer Camp Guide for Families in the East Bay. From day camps to overnight camps in the region there are many wonderful options. Want to speak with someone to help you sort through the possibilities? I’m here for your family! As the Youth and Family Concierge, my job is to help families connect to Jewish life in the East Bay. I’d love to connect with you.

Not sure your children are camp material? Are your children too young to attend day camp or overnight camp? Try family camps. Specialty family camp weekends are a great way to test the waters or have a getaway while in community. Tawonga has family weekends and Be’chol Lashon has a weekend in November.

Check out our 2015 Summer Camp Guide for Families Click here to view the guide. (PDF)
Whatever your family has planned, all of us at Sprout wish you a wonderful summer.

Liora
liora@jfed.org

I urge you to try something Jewish this summer. It’s a great time, no pressure, that wonderful summery feeling. If you’re not sure what you want to try, feel free to give me a call.

Camp Kee Tov campers

Camp Kee Tov campers

Posted by admin under A meaningful life, Adult Child of an Interfaith Family, Children, Community
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Thank you Keshet for this sticker.

Thank you Keshet for this sticker.

I’m not going to pretend that LGBTQ folks are our primary audience just because it’s Pride Month. BUT LGBTQ folks do show up at many programs we offer. Why? Because 11% of the US population identifies as LGBTQ and 2% identifies as Jewish. So if you’re gay and Jewish the chances of finding another gay Jew is statistically challenging. It isn’t surprising that a study done a few years ago by the Jewish Federation of the East Bay found that 89% of LGBTQ Jews who are in a relationship are in an interfaith relationship.

Our doors are open to all interfaith couples whether they identify religiously or culturally with their traditions. We are here to provide honest answers and insightful suggestions. We have terrific resources and compassionate ears.

So go on, be old or young, gay or straight, any color you prefer, the faith/spirituality that moves you — we’re happy to hear from you.

L’CHAIM! TO LIFE!

The Pride Parade in San Francisco will be June 28 this year. The synagogues are taking contingents and you can join your own synagogue’s group. If you don’t have a group with whom to march Keshet, the Jewish LGBT organization, is delighted to have you sign up to march with them. Just go to this link to sign up. Note, they are marching with American Jewish World Service so when you get to the link it will be on AJWS’s website. You’re in the right place. Go here.

Learn more about Keshet here.

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mourning candle

Some of you know that I receive just about all of the synagogue e-newsletters. Sometimes the rabbis use that vehicle to contact their members. Not long ago I received an email from a Conservative congregation who had a recent loss. It is a useful way of illustrating some aspects of Shiva practice.

The rabbi said:

Yesterday we had the sad and moving funeral, burial, and first day of shiva for our beloved Lottie. Lottie’s daughters Janet and Myra are sitting shiva in Lottie’s home.

While most of our members receive shiva visitors around the time of the minyan service, the more traditional practice that Janet and Myra observe is to receive visitors throughout the day.

Please visit any time in the upcoming days after 9 in the morning: today, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (until Shabbat). Minyan in the evening is at 6:45. Please note the time is different from our usual, to allow for both the afternoon and evening services to be observed. It is very important to have a minyan each evening, and I encourage attendance there as well.

There is no public mourning on Shabbat, but we will have a service following the conclusion of Shabbat at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Finally, our Cares Committee is coordinating people to help set up the home around 6:30 in the evening, and clean up at the end of the evening (around 8:45).

What do we learn from this?
First, that the traditional shiva practice is to hold a daily minyan for a week, minus Shabbat (Friday night at sundown to Saturday at sundown). Second, that a minyan is present three times a day for the traditional three daily prayer services. Third, that the community takes care of the mourners, sets up in preparation of the gathering and clears up afterwards. The mourners are mourning; that’s all that is expected of them. Period.

Posted by admin under Community, Death & Mourning
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