Rabbi David Booth

Rabbi David Booth

I just love this message from Rabbi David Booth of Kol Emeth in Palo Alto. Don’t make your introspection on the High Holy Days negative, find the joy.

It is Good to be Joyful
I feel the need to advocate for joy this week. We’re entering a time traditionally associated with introspection. Yet too often that introspection becomes an exercise in unproductive guilt rather than a more honest and potentially joyous assessment of who I am and who I have the potential to be.

When I teach converts, I have them write me three essays, one of which is an annotated list of their current observance. I always have to coach them to write what they are doing, because left to their own devices, they have become Jewish enough to focus only on what they are failing to do.

So exercise number one: I invite you to make a list of your mitzvoth. They could be Jewish-related observance like coming to shul or lighting candles on Friday night. They could be more humanly-related mitzvoth like volunteer work or thoughtfulness around issues of speech at work or at home. Now that you have this remarkable list, feel happy with yourself. You should feel good because you are making lots of meaning-filled choices, and that is always hard. If you want, examine which of these motivate you to do more and set some goals for the coming year.

When I do pre-marital counseling, I urge couples to work on a budget together as a communication tool. I urge them to name their values first, and plan their budget second. How we spend time and money are two of the most powerful ways in which we express ourselves in the world.

Exercise number two: write down three values that matter to you. Limit yourself to no more than four and no less than two. More, and most of us can’t honor so many values; less, and we are below our human capacity. Now, take a look at how you spend time and money. Does it match your values? In what ways do you feel good, and are there changes, places where you feel out of balance?

As you conclude these two exercises, return to joy. The easy and unproductive path is to turn now towards guilt and to allow feelings of unworthiness to prevent any ability to value ourselves in this moment, let alone to find the strength to change. Remind yourself of joy, of valuing what you ARE doing and the values you DO hold. Joy can enable us to find strength and affect real inner change.

For me, and for many, the last step is a turn towards God. There is joy in knowing that I am charting a path towards God, towards a lure in the Universe that invites blessing and goodness. It is joyous to know I am not alone in finding my path. It is joyous to know that I am on a path towards a Being of love who can fill me with blessing.

May this season of introspection bring you joy and growth!!

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi David Booth

Posted by admin under A meaningful life, High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah, Spirituality
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Holidays are closer than they appear

The High Holidays are coming:
Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Sept. 13
Tomorrow is the first day of August; that means the High Holy Days are getting very near. For those who joined this group in the last 11 months let me repeat my annual admonition: DO NOT make the High Holidays your non-Jewish loved one’s first experience of a Jewish service. The High Holidays have different liturgy, different
cantillation, and a very different feel from the regular weekly Shabbat services. There have been two Christians who told me they loved the Yom Kippur services – that’s 2 in 20 years. They are both devout Christians and love the concepts of seeking forgiveness and repentance. If this does not describe your sweetheart (or you) don’t make the long, introspective services of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur their first time in shul.

Really, I’m begging you.

So what to do?
Go to the High Holidays with a friend.
Go to services alone.
Ask me to match you up with a member of a shul near you and go with them.
Take your honey to a regular Shabbat service, or two or three, so they know the difference.

If you are not a member of a synagogue, August is a good month to check out the synagogues around you. Not sure which one to try? Give me a call (510-845-6420 x11) or an email (dawn@buildingjewishbridges.org) and I’ll help you decide. Try a short Friday night service or a Saturday morning that includes reading from the Torah. Many people like to try a musical service or an outdoor service. They feel less formal. If the rabbi asked newcomers to introduce themselves, do it. Even if you’re shy, in fact, especially if you’re shy, this is a good idea. People in the room will know that you’re new and come chat with you. You may meet your next best friend.

EVENTS
ShaBBQ (Fremont)
Poolside Sundays (Palo Alto)
Film Screening: The Farewell Party (San Francisco)
The Chuppah and Beyond (San Francisco)
Pizza Dinner for Shabbat (Walnut Creek)
1st Friday Shabbat and Family Dinner (San Leandro)
Tot Shabbat Morning (Lafayette)
Beth Emek Open House (Pleasanton)
Shabbat Unplugged (San Rafael)
Celebratory Kabbalat Shabbat (Berkeley)
Chai Shabbat Morning Service (Piedmont)
Women in Interfaith Relationships (Burlingame)
Chardonnay Shabbat (Berkeley)
Shabbat Dinners for Young Families (Palo Alto)
Jerusalem: A Home of Many Faiths (Jerusalem)

ShaBBQ
During the summer months we have a very family friendly Shabbat service on the last Friday of each month. We call it ShaBBQ! This is a unique opportunity to combine a relaxing and welcoming Shabbat service under the stars with a BBQ on real charcoal. Rabbi Schulman and Angela Gold provide the worship and music experience. You bring your own food items to grill (meat or vegetarian is fine, no dairy products please). The service begins at 6:30 followed by dinner outside with friends and family. Guests are most welcome to join in.

Date: Friday, July 31
Time: 6:30pm
Place: Temple Beth Torah, 42000 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont
www.bethtorah-fremont.org

Poolside Sundays
Join us all summer long for the best poolside parties in Palo Alto! This week: Art Under the Sun
Meet your friends or make new ones while relaxing on our spacious outdoor deck. Entertain the kids with water games, arts activities, a bounce house and sports activities led by our enthusiastic J-Camp counselors.
Poolside Parties are FREE for OFJCC Center Members. Non-Member guest passes may be purchased

11:30 PM– 3:00 PM:
Kids Activities – bounce house, arts & crafts, games with counselors and the indoor pool will be open
12:00 PM – 3:00 PM:
The poolside grill will be open with sandwiches, salads and ice cream for sale (cash only). This service is provided by Haute Cuisine.
12:30 PM – 3:00 PM:
The outside pool is open for family swim with lifeguards on duty.

Date: Sunday, Aug. 2
Time: 11:30am to 4pm
Place: Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto
www.paloaltojcc.org

Film Screening: The Farewell Party
The Israel Action Committee of Congregation Emanu-El invites you to a viewing of The Farewell Party. Winner of a number of international Film Festival awards, The Farewell Party is a unique, compassionate and unlikely funny story of a group of friends at a Jerusalem retirement home who decide to help their terminally ill friend. When rumors of their assistance begin to spread, more and more people ask for their help, and the friends are faced with a life and death dilemma. The film has adult themes but is suitable for age 12 and older.

Date: Thursday, August 6
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Place: Emanu-el, 2 Lake St., San Francisco
www.emanuelsf.org

The Chuppah and Beyond:
The Relationship Education Series for Couples in a Jewish Context
Are you an engaged or newly married couple? Then this series is meant for you. The Chuppah and Beyond helps participants cultivate the foundational tools for a successful life together while simultaneously building a community of peers. Emanu-El clergy co-facilitate each class along with Yael Melamed, psychotherapist and relationship expert.
Topics covered:
Assessing the challenges of communication
Develop skills for conflict resolution
Financial Planning
Maintaining intimacy
Lessons from a successful marriage

Dates: Thursdays, August 6 – September 10
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Place: Emanu-El, 2 Lake St., San Francisco
Cost: $150 per congregant couple; $200 per non-congregant couple.
Questions? Contact Jennifer at jgoldstein@emanuels.org or (415) 751-2541 x171
www.emanuelsf.org

Pizza Dinner for Shabbat
Join us at 6 p.m. for our monthly Pizza dinner. You can enjoy dinner with our CBT Community after the 5:30 p.m. Tot Shabbat or before the 6:30 p.m. Family Shabbat. Or, you can go to both services and have dinner in-between!
Email judyblum@tikvah.org to sign up for dinner and then send your check to the Temple Office.
RSVPs needed by Wednesday, August 5. As always, invite your friends to come along also!

Date: Friday, Aug. 7
Time: 6pm
B’nai Tikvah, 25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek
Cost: $10 adults / $5 children 5 – 12.
www.tikvah.org

1st Friday Shabbat and Family Dinner
Join us for worship services at 6:30 pm in the Main Sanctuary, followed by a delicious taco dinner sponsored by the Sisterhood.

Date: August 7
Time: 6:30pm
Place: Beth Sholom, 642 Dolores Ave, San Leandro
Please RSVP to the office for reservations.
Cost: $10 for everyone 16 years and older. No charge for the kids.
www.tbssanleandro.org

Tot Shabbat Morning
Geared toward families with children up to 5 years old, Tot Shabbat is an interactive and friendly Shabbat experience. Enjoy food, activities and prayer with other young families. All are welcome.
RSVP here for FREE bagel brunch.

Date: Saturday, August 8
Time: 9:30am
Place: Temple Isaiah, 945 Risa Road, Lafayette (in the Adult Lounge)
www.temple-isaiah.org

Beth Emek Open House
Whether you are new to the area or just new to Beth Emek, we invite you to drop by our Open House on August 9 to learn about worship opportunities, our community, and educational programs for all ages.
Meet Rabbi Larry Milder, Education Director Judith Radousky, and Preschool Director Melinda McDonald. Take a tour of the building and visit our sanctuary and classrooms. Light refreshments will be served.
Congregation Beth Emek is an inclusive Reform synagogue with an open and participatory atmosphere. We welcome all people on their Jewish journey.
For more information, contact Lisa, lisa.kama@bethemek.org.

Date: Sunday, August 9
Time: 10:00am to noon
Place: Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton
www.bethemek.org

Shabbat Unplugged
with Dan Nichols
Surprise! Thanks to a generous anonymous donor, Dan Nichols will be with us for a special mid-month Shabbat Unplugged, as well as Friday night and Saturday morning services. We’re really looking forward to taking over the JCC’s comfy atrium and filling it with our music and voices. If you play an instrument, bring it! And feel free to bring snacks/desserts/libations to share. RSVP to Molly at molly@rodefsholom.org.

Date: Friday, August 14
Time: 8:45 pm
Place: JCC Atrium, 200 N San Pedro Rd, San Rafael
Sponsored by Rodef Sholom, 170 N San Pedro Rd, San Rafael
www.rodefsholom.org

Celebratory Kabbalat Shabbat
Join us August 14 for the second Wilderness Torah/Urban Adamah collective Shabbat. Center your heart, clear your mind, and celebrate Shabbat with a special chanting musical service led by Wilderness Torah and Urban Adamah.
Facilitated by Maggid Zelig, Nathaniel Markman, Urban Adamah leaders, and a collaborative circle of musicians, we will sit in circle together to lift our spirits. A community vegetarian potluck will immediately follow the service.

6:30 pm: Kabbalat Shabbat service
8 pm: Community vegetarian potluck

Date: Friday, August 14
Time: 6:30pm
Place: Urban Adamah, 1050 Parker St, Berkeley
FREE
Hosted by Wilderness Torah and Urban Adamah
Register here.

Chai Shabbat Morning Service
Elul Rosh Chodesh-Ubuntu Sabbath
We kick off the last month before High Holy Days with a new-month Shabbat service, with some extra Hallel music to celebrate Rosh Chodesh. Join our musical prayer and spiritual leaders in an all-stops-pulled service as we enter the month of Elul.
Ubuntu: And we are participating in Oakland Community Organization’s “Ubuntu Sabbath” program during which congregations explicitly open the doors of their worship service to other faith communities. “Ubuntu” is a Bantu word that means the human essence as one of mutual-dependence and support. As Archbishop Tutu put it, “my humanity is bound to yours.”
Vegetarian potluck luncheon to follow. Please bring a vegetarian dish to share.

Date: August 15
Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Place: Kehilla Community Synagogue, 1300 Grand Avenue, Piedmont
http://kehillasynagogue.org

Women in Interfaith Relationships:
A Discussion for Girlfriends, Wives, Partners, Mothers & Grandmothers
Whether you’re Jewish or not please join us as we continue the discussion surrounding what it means to be in an interfaith relationship and family. During our time together we will talk about the most pressing issues in our relationships and also create a list of topics to discuss in the future. Everyone is welcome. Invite your friends

Date: Monday, August 17
Time: 7:30-9:00pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Sholom, 1655 Sebastian Drive, Burlingame
www.sholom.org

Chardonnay Shabbat
Celebrate the joy of Shabbat and the early summer evening with a glass of wine or juice, light snacks and song. Chardonnay Shabbat begins under the oak trees (weather permitting) at 5:30 pm; Shabbat evening services are at 6:15 pm.

Date: Friday, August 21
Time: 5:30 pm
Place: Beth El, 1301 Oxford St, Berkeley
www.bethelberkeley.org

Shabbat Dinners for Young Families
Join other young Jewish families from around the world at our laid back, kid-friendly kosher Shabbat dinners. You’ll meet new friends and become part of a welcoming community.
Dinner will be served buffet-style and all food will be prepared in a certified kosher kitchen.
Volunteers from a local Jewish high school will entertain the children to ensure the have a great time and to allow parents time to relax and enjoy their Shabbat meal.
We are working on creating a permanent toy/play area for the kids. If you are able to donate one item (lightly used is great) to add to the collection, we would appreciate it! Please bring it with you to the dinner.
There is a limited number of seats available for each dinner. The cut-off date for registration is five days prior to each event.

Date: Friday, August 28
Time: 5:30pm-8:00pm
Place: Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto
Cost: $35/adult, $10/kid, $5/toddler
www.paloaltojcc.org
Register here

Jerusalem: A Home of Many Faiths
This unique study tour will deal primarily with one city, but one to which three major and related faith communities are bound by veneration and love. We will try to understand what Jerusalem has meant to Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and what it means to them today. We will compare and contrast the diversity of the sacred bonds held by these communities. Engage with “living history” as actors meet us in the walled city of Jerusalem in character, speaking to us of the past. Finally, we will converse with the current issues as Jerusalem sits at the center of war and peace. The tour is presented in partnership with the JCCSF.

Tour leaders: Dr. Jehon Grist, Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan, and Ariel Goldstein
For more information, contact Ariel Goldstein atagoldstein@jccsf.org or 415-276-1506.
Date of tour: January 11-19, 2016

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Divorce w-ring

The High Holy Days can bring up some intense feelings for every Jew. One young man called me with a unique issue around the Holidays – his interfaith parents’ divorce and the subsequent lack of clarity about his status.

My September column (Mixed and Matched) in the J-Weekly addressed his feelings.

Here is his question to me:

My dad is Jewish and my mom converted before they got married. Her conversion was Conservative, but after they divorced my father began to go to an Orthodox shul. I have always known that I’m not seen as really Jewish when I’m at my dad’s synagogue. If my mom had continued to raise me as a Conservative Jew, I think I would have been OK, but she stopped practicing Judaism. So I went back and forth between a secular Christian home and a quasi-Orthodox one. I’m back in the Bay Area now, post-college, and living with my mom. The High Holidays are the worst. My dad wants me to go with him and I want to be Jewish and at shul, but not at his shul. The members are nice to me, but I know how I am perceived. My mom doesn’t do anything Jewish anymore. I want to fit in as a Jew. What should I do?
— Torn Apart

Read the rest of the article on the J-weekly page here.

Posted by admin under Adult Child of an Interfaith Family, Divorce, High Holidays, In the News, Rosh Hashanah
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Selichot text

As we move closer to the High Holidays in the shadow of 9/11 it is a good time to think about Selichot. To quote Rabbi Mark Bloom of Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland, “Selichot, the penitential service which occurs on the Saturday night before Rosh Hashana.” Selichot is a time to reflection on who we are, where we’ve been and where we are headed. It is a time to make a new commitment to our core values. I’ve listed a bunch of Selichot (or S’lichot) events below. This observance has a dreamy quality for me. It’s late, the lights are often low, the white and gold of Torah covers seems other worldly and beautiful. Try going to one — even if only to sit and ponder, where has the past year gone? What have I done well? What would I like to do better in the coming year?

Let me suggest some actions for the new year (Judaism is build on action):

Do something to build the strength of your interfaith/intercultural relationship*
Look deeply into your spiritual, emotional self – are you meeting your needs
Make a friend of someone who is quite different from you

*Consider joining a couples discussion series, listed in red below. Not a group person? Then consider the Let’s Talk Interfaith option for a couple to do together.

Shana Tova, may you have a joyous & prosperous new year (5775 – easier to remember!),

EVENTS
Jewish Meditation (San Mateo)
Chai Shabbat (Piedmont)
After the Play: Degenerate, Forbidden, Suppressed (Berkeley)
September Transitions: Bringing Calm to Chaos (Oakland)
What is the Sound of the Shofar? (Los Altos)
S’lichot Program: Soul Searching (Lafayette)
S’lichot: Film Screening, Havdalah & Service (Berkeley)
Selichot Musical Program (Oakland)
Selichot with Music (San Mateo)
Selichot Dessert, Havdalah, and Preparing for a New Year (San Francisco)
Selichot Service (Pleasanton)
Rosh Hashanah Road Trip (Petaluma)
Discussion series for Interfaith/Intercultural Couples (Berkeley)

ONGOING
Jewish Meditation
Or HaLev, the Center for Jewish Spirituality at Beth El, has resumed its weekly meditation sits in the Meditation Room behind the bima. Begin to prepare for the High Holy Days through contemplative Jewish chanting and meditation. Sits are led by experienced teachers and no prior experience is necessary.

Dates: Mondays
Time: 7 – 8:15pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Beth El, 1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo
www.ptbe.org

Chai Shabbat
Come enjoy an especially musical and festive Shabbat. Led by Kehilla’s spiritual and musical leaders and Ketzev Kehilla (our percussion orchestra). Special invite to NEW MEMBERS. Our Elul Shabbatot continue with a no-holds barred Chai Shabbat in our sanctuary. Join us for this heart-opening service.
The Kiddush lunch that follows is in honor of our new members. During and after lunch, there will be an opportunity for current and new members to meet and for a fuller introduction of people and the shul. If you are able to, bring vegetarian finger foods to share.

Date: September 13
Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Place: Kehilla Synagogue, 1300 Grand Ave, Piedmont
www.kehillasynagogue.org

After the Play:
Degenerate, Forbidden, Suppressed: Music and Otherness in Fascist Europe

You liked it so I did it again. Here’s another class with a Berkeley Rep play!
This fall, the Berkeley Rep presents An Audience with Meow Meow, about an international singing sensation and uber-award winning comedienne. This workshop explores music as a “degenerate” art form. The attitudes displayed by European fascist regimes (especially Italy, Germany, and Vichy France, from the early 1920’s to the end of WW2) towards musical cultures of the “other” — including Jewish, Romani, North African, and African American music, as well as cabaret and popular song — ranged from unambiguous condemnation and suppression, to more nuanced tolerance and even inclusion. This class will examine Fascist rules about music, examples including Brecht and Weill’s musical theater, Django Reinhardt’s “Gypsy Jazz,” Italian adaptation of American blues and jazz, and traditional music in colonial North Africa, exploring myths and facts about music history in the early 20th century.

Whether you take the class to prepare to see the play or as post play expansion, you’ll love the wild ride through degenerate music!
Info and play tickets here

Date: Wednesday, September 17
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Place: Lehrhaus, 2736 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
Cost: $12
Register here.

September Transitions: Bringing Calm to Chaos
September is a time of transition for families.No matter how old your children are, their internal adjustment transitions can result in all sorts of behaviors that will challenge you. In this parent workshop with Meg Zweiback, you will get practical ideas for helping your children and yourselves to cope with the transitions of September and every other month of the year. Meg Zweiback is a pediatric nurse practitioner and a family consultant who has had years of experience working with parents and young children.

Date: Thursday, September 18
Time: 7:30-9:00pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
RSVP to Rachel at Rachel@oaklandsinai.org

What is the Sound of the Shofar?
Join Rabbi Heath to celebrate Shabbat (and the upcoming New Year) with your kids ages 0-5 at Tot Shabbat. We’ll sing, we’ll dance, and we’ll blow our imaginary shofars in our Outdoor Chapel, then enjoy a delicious dinner (including apples and honey) together in Rooms 5-6. Siblings, friends and grandparents are also welcome! RSVP online by Wednesday, September 17 so we know how much food to order.

Date: Friday, September 19
Time: 5:15 p.m.
Place: Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills
www.betham.org

S’lichot Program: Soul Searching
with Joyce Klein at 8:30pm in the Adult Lounge
Soul Searching is a workshop featuring Improvisational Midrash, using one of the Biblical stories we read on Rosh Hashana. In groups, participants, will read through the text of the story and look for places to inject their own midrashic additions-and then present their midrashim to each other. The discussion will focus on the story, the improvised midrashim and an examination of some of the traditional midrashim on this powerful story. We will conclude with reflection in anticipation of the Kol Nidrei communal prayer that opens Yom Kippur. What good intentions or vows did we not live up to over the past year? How do we forgive ourselves for that? What kinds of changes might we be considering for the coming year?

S’lichot Service
Saturday, September 20 at 10:30pm in the Sanctuary
Place: Temple Isaiah, 945 Resa Rd., Lafayette
www.temple-isaiah.org

S’lichot: Film Screening, Havdalah & Service
A contemplative service of reflection and song, S’lichot is observed on the Saturday evening before Rosh Hashanah. Join us for Havdalah, dessert and an evening of inspiration, joy and beauty. Sweet Dreams, a story of reconciliation and women’s empowerment in Rwanda, is an award-winning documentary created by Lisa Fruchtman, Academy Award winner and Beth El member. Director Lisa Fruchtman will introduce the film. This inspiring and beautiful story of communal and individual resolve and renewal will combine with our S’lichot service to reawaken the themes and melodies of the Day of Awe.

Date: Saturday, September 20
Time: 8:00 pm
Place: Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley
www.bethelberkeley.org

Selichot Musical Program
The evening will begin with a special musical presentation by Denise Davis, Judy Bloomfield, Jill Rosenthal, and Jeanne Korn. They have prepared a number of songs, mostly in English, consistent with the themes of return and repentance that are the subject, Selichot, the penitential service which occurs on the Saturday night before Rosh Hashana. Interspersed among the songs will be a discussion on 10 significant questions for this time of year, part of the “10Q” program sponsored by the organization Reboot. The evening will conclude with the traditional late night service in the sanctuary.

Date: Saturday, September 20
Time: 8:30pm
Place: Beth Abraham, 327 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland
www.tbaoakland.org

Selichot with Music
As we enter the High Holy Days’ season of renewal, Selichot is a time for reflection on who we are, where we’ve been and where we are headed. In the belief that singing in harmony refreshes and renews our connections to each other, Cantor Hirschhorn will be teaching some of her songs in harmony for everyone to join in. The evening of original songs and stories will tackle the subjects of love, family dynamics, and moments of transition, all sprinkled with appropriate doses of anxiety and humor.

Date: Sat., Sept. 20
Time: 8 to 10pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Beth El, 1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo
www.ptbe.org

Selichot Dessert, Havdalah, and Preparing for a New Year
Join us as we open the gateways of the heart and spirit in preparation for the coming Days of Awe. After dessert and Havdalah, our clergy will lead small group programs ranging from text study, to cultural exploration, to music and movement. Once our small groups conclude, we will join together once again for a short and beautiful Selichot service.
Schedule (You can engage in one or more of these opportunities)
7:00 pm – Dessert and Havdallah
7:30 pm – Open Stations
Rabbi Beth Singer: The Art of Writing for Forgiveness
Rabbi Mintz: What We Talk About When We Talk About Israel
Cantor Barak: LARS AND THE REAL GIRL: Approaching Teshuva Through Film
Rabbi Kushner: Text and Teshuvah
Rabbi Bauer: Building Your Relationship for the Year to Come: A Talmudic Workshop for Couples
Cantor Attie:Tshuvah Yoga – Return to Self (Dress to move and bring yoga mat or towel)
9:00 pm – A short and beautiful Selichot Service will round out the evening.

Date: Saturday, September 20
Time: 7pm
Place: Emanu-el, 2 Lake St., San Francisco
www.emanuelsf.org

Selichot Service
Selichot is the gateway service to the High Holy Days, observed on the Saturday night preceding Rosh Hashanah. The program begins at 9:00p, followed by refreshments, the changing of the Torah covers, and the beautiful and poetic service of Selichot. This year, our Selichot program will focus on the music of the High Holy Days. Mike Regal will join Rabbi Milder in teaching and talking about the special melodies that make our High Holy Day services distinctive. Not only will we teach a few of the oldest melodies, but we will also explore the exquisite compositions familiar to our congregation but written in recent years.

Date: Saturday, Sep 20
Time: 9:00pm
Place: Congregation Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton
Info and to RSVP: Liz Sufit, religious@bethemek.org

Rosh Hashanah Road Trip
Join the JCCSF urban garden team for apple picking at Chileno Valley Ranch in Petaluma followed by mead tasting at Heidrun Meadery in Point Reyes Station. Tour both facilities: fill your basket with award-winning organic apples, learn about honey bees and toast each other with one of the few American-made sparkling honey wines. Gain a better understanding of some of the Bay Area’s special agricultural offerings as we share in this sweet adventure celebrating the Jewish New Year.

Date: Sunday, Sep 21
Time: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sponsor: San Francisco JCC, 3200 California St., San Francisco
Cost: JCC Member fee: $ 75.00; Non-member fee: $ 85.00*
*Cost includes round-trip transportation from the JCCSF, light lunch, picked apples to take home, and tour/tasting at meadery. Must be over 21 years of age. Trip involves physical activity.

Discussion series for Interfaith/Intercultural Couples
Interfaith couples get it – this is going to take some discussion, some compromise. But what exactly is ‘fair’? Can each of us get what we want and that will be OK for our kids? Then there’s our parents, grandparents, and siblings – how do we get them on board with our choices?
There’s a step-by-step process of breaking down the parts of this puzzle and finding out what you want and how to go about getting it. Join us! This may surprise you but it will actually be enjoyable!

Exchange ideas about such issues as:
Holiday Observances – Which holidays will be celebrated in our home?
Dealing With Our Families – How will we talk to our parents about our choices?
Raising Children – How can we make sure our child is “part” of each of us?
Spiritual Concerns – How do we satisfy our needs and recognize our Partner’s?
Cultural Differences – How do communication styles and familial expectations impact our relationship?

This is one of the most meaningful and powerful things you can do for your relationship. I encourage every couple to participate in a couples group.

Dates: 6 Tuesdays, Oct. 14, 21, 28, Nov. 4, 11, 28. Plus one social gathering to be arranged with the group.
Time: 7:30 to 9pm
Cost: $120/couple
There is a sliding scale. NO ONE turned away.
Register here.

Posted by admin under A meaningful life, High Holidays, Jewish Learning
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Rosh Hashanah banner

Well, this is it – September. The Jewish year really ramps up! High Holidays are just around the corner, kids go back to school and we all go into our work mode. As we approach those Days of Awe let me remind you, please don’t think that High Holy Day services are the time to first expose your non-Jewish sweetheart to a Jewish religious service. Yes, there are the 3 people in the world for whom that worked (I’ll probably get an email from you) but the rest of the non-Jewish world DOESN’T like these extra long, extra religious services. Heck, lots of Jews don’t like them either but they go because they “have to.” Wait, they have to? Are the High Holy Day police cruising the streets looking for Jews? No, and most Jews can’t really tell you why they have to go, they just feel it. As one 20-something told me, “It would just be weird to not be in services on those days. That’s where all the Jews are. That’s just where I want to be on those days.”

Let me offer a different service choice for first timers – S’lichot. S’lichot is a late night service that brings to a close the last Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah. I love it. My synagogue begins with a Havdalah service outdoors. From there we move inside where there is food (of course), and have a teaching on the High Holidays in the sanctuary. After that, the clergy leave to change into the white robes they will wear throughout the Days of Awe. We, the congregants, change the Torah scrolls from their usual Shabbat coverings to the special white covers. The clergy returns robed in white and lead a late night service.

It all has a wonderful warm and mystical feeling. The night, the ceremony, the soft lights, the music. I suggest you try that for a first timer.

EVENTS
Tot Shabbat (Walnut Creek)
Everything You Always Wondered about Torah Study (Palo Alto)
Blessing Etz’s Petz and Ice Cream Social (Palo Alto)
La Shuk by Omanoot (San Francisco)
Spiritual Preparation for the High Holidays (Walnut Creek)
The Pornography of Pain (San Jose)
Shabbat Yafe (Berkeley)
Chardonnay Shabbat (Palo Alto)
Shabbat Pizza Party for Families with Young Children (Pleasanton)
DIY Judaism: Jewish Greetings Cards (Oakland)
Re-Emergence: The Jews of Nigeria (Oakland)
Introduction to Judaism (San Francisco)
After the Play: Degenerate, Forbidden, Suppressed: Music (Berkeley)
Discussion series for Interfaith/Intercultural Couples (Berkeley)

Tot Shabbat
Tot Shabbat is a warm and friendly Shabbat experience with music, storytelling, and simple prayers for the littlest ones in our community. After Tot Shabbat, we’ll enjoy a simple pizza dinner* together, and at 6:30pm will move into our family service, for older children and the rest of the community. Kids will find that the service feels familiar and accessible, including a story told by special guests that you won’t want to miss.
Following this 6:30pm service, we’ll enjoy Oneg Shabbat including back to school treats for all the kids!
*Pizza dinner will begin at 6pm. To join us for dinner, please send your check for $10 adults / $5 children (5 – 12) to the Temple Office. RSVPs appreciated no later than Wednesday, September 3. Please be sure to let us know of any allergies.

Date: Sept. 5
Time: 5:30pm
Place: B’nai Tikvah, 25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek
Call the office if you have any questions – 925-933-5397.
www.tikvah.org

Everything You Always Wondered about Torah Study, but Didn’t Know to Ask
Join Rabbi Ari Cartun for an introduction to this quintessential Jewish practice.

Date: Saturday September 6
Time: 9:00am
Place: Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma St, Palo Alto
www.etzchayim.org

Blessing Etz’s Petz and Ice Cream Social
Connect and Reconnect with Shorashim friends. Bring a photo of your pet for the Giant Pet Collage. Learn a new
blessing just for pets! Come to the special PJ Library Story Corner. Another great chance to bring friends to see just how much fun we have at Etz!

Date: Saturday, September 6
Time: 3:00 – 4:30pm
Place: Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma St, Palo Alto
www.etzchayim.org

La Shuk by Omanoot
Here’s a fun and creative way to support Israel and Israeli artists! Presenting Omanoot’s first ever pop-up event in San Francisco. Please come support emerging Israeli artists, photographers, illustrators, jewelers and designers.
Omanoot means ‘art’ in Hebrew. Omanoot is a cultural e-commerce site and education portal that is committed to connecting the world to Israel’s vibrant culture and arts.

Date: Sunday, September 7
Time: 1:00 to 7:00pm
Place: Firehouse 8, 1648 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco
More info here.

Spiritual Preparation for the High Holidays
Join in our series of three hour-long sessions devoted to preparing for the coming holidays. Themes will range from the messages of our Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Torah and Haftarah readings, to ways in which the music and liturgy complement each other, to themes of change and beginning again, and how they personally affect us. (Rabbi Gutterman will lead the first and third sessions. Cantor Chabon and Rabbi Gutterman will lead the second one together.)

Dates: Tuesday September 9 at 7:30pm
Sunday September 14 at 11:00am
Saturday September 20 at 7:30pm.
(This last meeting will be followed by dessert and Havdallah, leading into our Selichot service.)
Place: B’nai Tikvah, 25 Hillcroft Way | Walnut Creek
www.tikvah.org

The Pornography of Pain: How the Media Promotes Violence and Hinders Peace in the Middle East
Presented by Hillel of Silicon Valley
In his talk on media policies of going for the “juicy story”, Aryeh Green will speak about media portrayal of the Middle East, and how it does more to hinder the peace process, than help it. Aryeh Green, originally from Menlo Park and a UC Berkeley grad, has been on the front lines promoting human rights and peace in the Middle East for 30 years. Today the head of MediaCentral in Jerusalem, he has served as a senior advisor to Israeli minister Natan Sharansky and in management positions in some of Israel’s leading companies. A frequent visitor to the Bay Area, Aryeh offers an insider’s view of current developments in Israel and the region, and is a captivating and knowledgeable speaker; his talks with Q&A always inform and inspire. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Yael at (408) 775-7534 or yaeld@hillelsv.org

Date: Wednesday, September 10
Time: 6:00pm
Place: Duncan Hall Room 351, San Jose State University, San Jose
www.hillelsv.org

Shabbat Yafe
Celebrate Shabbat together with an all-ages service & spirited song-leading! This month’s theme is K’hillah K’dosha, Holy Community. Here’s the schedule —
5:00 pm Tot Shabbat (geared to preschool families)
5:30 pm Catered Dinner: (Sign up for dinner here
6:15 pm Community-Wide Service
7:00 pm Oneg and Board Games

Date: September 12
Time: 5:00pm
Place: Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley
Cost: $10/household in advance; $15 at the door
www.bethelberkeley.org

Chardonnay Shabbat
Come celebrate the end of summer with us and discover what makes our community so special. Enjoy refreshing wines/other drinks, tasty appetizers, and relaxed , interesting chats. Families with children 3-9 years are welcome. We will have snacks and activities for the kids with teens to give the adults time to schmooze.

Date: Friday, September 12
Time: 6:30 pm
Place: Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma St, Palo Alto
www.etzchayim.org

Shabbat Pizza Party for Families with Young Children
All young families with children ages 0-5 and their older siblings are invited for a Shabbat pizza party. This will be a very relaxed evening where kids can play and their parents can enjoy each others’ company.
We’ll begin the evening by singing Shabbat songs with Rabbi Milder. Then, following the pizza dinner, there will toys out for the little ones and crafts and board games for their older siblings.

Date: Saturday, September 13
Time: 5:00pm
Place: Congregation Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton
Cost: Each family is asked to contribute $20 at the door to cover the cost of pizza, salad, fruit and dessert.
For more information, contact Lisa Kama, Pre-K Youth Chair, at prekyouth@bethemek.org

DIY Judaism: Jewish Greetings Cards
Hallmark shops don’t have cards for Rosh Hashanah or Sukkot. When it comes to the December holidays, can Jews send greeting cards in December? Should they be Chanukah cards? Can they send Christmas cards? What about solstice cards or those annual update letters? Join Dawn Kepler to discuss Seasons Greetings questions and make your own special Holiday cards while we talk. PLUS we’ll have some card fixings to make your own unique cards for Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot and Purim!

We will meet in a private home in Oakland. Children 10 and older may enroll at half price with their parent.

Date: Sunday September 14
Time: 2 to 4pm
Place: Private home in Oakland
Cost: $10
Register here

Re-Emergence: The Jews of Nigeria
Film Showing & talk by David Tobis about bringing a Torah to the Igbo Jews of Abuja, Nigeria
Thirty million Igbos live in Nigeria. Many consider themselves to be one of the lost tribes of Israel. At least 3000 of the Igbos are practicing Jews. They have come to Judaism in the past quarter of a century though some believe their Jewish roots go back to the bible. Re-emergence describes the Igbo’s Jewish communities, the hundreds of overlaps between Jewish and Igbo customs and practices, and their desire to be part of the larger Jewish community.
After the film, David Tobis, who is working in Nigeria and befriended the Igbo Jewish community, will speak about his experiences. He is working to repair a Torah in New York City and have it brought to Abuja.

Date: Sunday, September 14
Time: 10:00 am – Noon
Place: Temple Beth Abraham, 327 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland
For more information contact: Rayna Arnold, 510-832-0936

Confusion and Clarity in Zippori:
A 3rd Century Talmud Conversation with actress/educator Joyce Klein
Join us for an interactive dramatic presentation set in the House of Study in Zippori during the time of the Mishna when a seamstress comes looking for advice and guidance.

Date: Sunday, September 14
Time: 1:00 pm
Place: Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma St, Palo Alto
Cost: $10 at the door.
www.etzchayim.org

After the Play:
Degenerate, Forbidden, Suppressed: Music and Otherness in Fascist Europe

You liked it so I did it again. Here’s another class with a Berkeley Rep play!
This fall, the Berkeley Rep presents An Audience with Meow Meow, about an international singing sensation and uber-award winning comedienne. This workshop explores music as a “degenerate” art form. The attitudes displayed by European fascist regimes (especially Italy, Germany, and Vichy France, from the early 1920’s to the end of WW2) towards musical cultures of the “other” — including Jewish, Romani, North African, and African American music, as well as cabaret and popular song — ranged from unambiguous condemnation and suppression, to more nuanced tolerance and even inclusion. This class will examine Fascist rules about music, examples including Brecht and Weill’s musical theater, Django Reinhardt’s “Gypsy Jazz,” Italian adaptation of American blues and jazz, and traditional music in colonial North Africa, exploring myths and facts about music history in the early 20th century.

Whether you take the class to prepare to see the play or as post play expansion, you’ll love the wild ride through degenerate music!
Info and play tickets here

Date: Wednesday, September 17
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Place: Lehrhaus, 2736 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
Cost: $12
Register for the class here.

Introduction to Judaism
Fall: Seasons of Joy
Join with Emanu-El clergy to learn about the breadth and wonder of Jewish tradition. This class is a pathway for the adult learner who wishes to discover or deepen Jewish knowledge, non-Jews who are marrying a Jewish partner, and those who are considering conversion to Judaism.
Intro to Judaism meets on Tuesday evenings over three trimesters and has rolling admission. A student can begin in any of the trimesters. Trimesters do not have to be completed in a particular order.

Date: Tuesdays, October 7, 21, 28; November 4, 11, 18; December 2, 9
Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Place: Emanu-El, 2 Lake Street, San Francisco
Cost: Emanu-El Member $18; non-member $25 (per trimester)
One-time book fee: $65 (for members and non-members)
Register here.

Discussion series for Interfaith/Intercultural Couples
Interfaith couples get it – this is going to take some discussion, some compromise. But what exactly is ‘fair’? Can each of us get what we want and that will be OK for our kids? Then there’s our parents, grandparents, and siblings – how do we get them on board with our choices?
There’s a step-by-step process of breaking down the parts of this puzzle and finding out what you want and how to go about getting it. Join us! This may surprise you but it will actually be enjoyable! Groups form year round.
8 Sessions
Exchange ideas about such issues as:
Holiday Observances – Which holidays will be celebrated in our home?
Dealing With Our Families – How will we talk to our parents about our choices?
Raising Children – How can we make sure our child is “part” of each of us?
Spiritual Concerns – How do we satisfy our needs and recognize our Partner’s?
Cultural Differences – How do communication styles and familial expectations impact our relationship?

This is one of the most meaningful and powerful things you can do for your relationship. I encourage every couple to participate in a couples group.

Dates: 6 Tuesdays, Oct. 14, 21, 28, Nov. 4, 11, 28. Plus one social gathering to be arranged with the group.
Time: 7:30 to 9pm
Cost: $120/couple
There is a sliding scale. NO ONE turned away. Tell me you work evenings, tell me you can’t get a babysitter, but don’t tell me it’s the money because we can make it work.
Register here

Posted by admin under Community Activities, High Holidays, Introduction to Judaism, Spirituality
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From biblebeltbalabusta.com

From biblebeltbalabusta.com

A wonderful message from Rabbi Larry Milder of Beth Emek in Pleasanton – with both heart and humor. I couldn’t say it any better. Happy 5774!

God Writes a Blog

At the beginning of the Jewish New Year, it is customary to greet one another with a special wish: L’shanah tovah tikatevu, may you be inscribed for a good year.

Our ancestors envisioned God as a scribe, the One who records our deeds and measures our worth. There, in the Book of Life, is a record of everything we have done. Each year has its own volume. For good or bad, what we have achieved and where we have failed, how we gave hope and how we let others down-it’s all written down. Nothing of our lives is insignificant, too minor to matter.

I am certain that God is ahead of the curve, and writes a blog these days. All of our deeds are stored in the Cloud. God has unlimited storage capacity.

When you are tagged in God’s next posting, I hope it will be for something good. When you face challenges, I hope you will find yourself uploaded and uplifted by caring hands and hearts.

L’shanah tovah tikatevu, may you and all your loved ones be virtually inscribed for health and joy in the coming year.

Rabbi Larry Milder

Posted by admin under A meaningful life, God, High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah, Spirituality
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Why Bird Shapes?
According to “Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook” (Schocken, 2004), bird-shaped challah rolls, called feygelekh (Yiddish for “little bird”) symbolized “the protection of God’s people as stated in Isaiah 31:5: ‘As birds hovering [over their fledglings], so will the Lord of hosts protect Jerusalem.’” Another interpretation, offered by Linda Burghardt in “Jewish Holiday Traditions” (Citadel, 2001) is that birds are a traditional symbol of mercy, making them the perfect emblem during a season of judgment. The same rolls served before Yom Kippur, writes Gil Marks in “The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food” (Wiley, 2010), represented the eater’s hope that “our sins should fly away and…. our prayers soar to the heavens.” In addition to their symbolic nature, it’s easy to imagine the delight of the children at the table when the challah cover is lifted to reveal a flock of edible birds!

Read more here.

Bread birds

I use my own favorite challah recipe but here’s the one Leah Koenig gave.

Feygelekh (Bird-shaped challah rolls)
Challah recipe adapted from Marcy Goldman’s “A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking”
Makes 12 rolls

From The Forward

4 teaspoons dry yeast
1/4 cup plus a pinch of sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, divided
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups whole wheat bread flour
raisins, currants, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or flax seeds for decoration
1. In a large bowl, mix together the yeast, a pinch of sugar and water; let stand 3-5 minutes until foamy. Add remaining sugar, honey and salt, followed by the oil and three eggs, mixing well to combine.
2. Add all of the all-purpose flour and about 90% of the bread flour to the wet mixture and gently fold with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together but is still quite wet. Tip the dough onto a clean work surface; knead for about 8 minutes while slowly incorporating as much of the remaining flour as necessary to make a supple, elastic dough. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a dishtowel and let rise until almost doubled in size, from 45-90 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Deflate the dough and divide it into 12 small balls. Roll each ball into a 7-inch tube, leaving either end a bit thicker and more bulbous than the middle. Dust hands with flour; tie the tube into a knot and place on a baking sheet. Insert a pumpkin seed for a beak and two raisins (or whatever combination you prefer) for eyes on one end of the knot. Cut two small slices into the other end and fan out slightly, like a tail. Repeat with remaining dough balls.
4. Whisk the remaining egg in a bowl and brush over the tops of the rolls; sprinkle with additional seeds if desired.
5. Place baking sheet in the oven; turn oven down to 375 and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes until lightly browned and baked through. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Posted by admin under High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah, symbolic foods
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Secrets of the (Synagogue) Sanctuary
Most Americans have never been inside a synagogue. Those that have may not know the parts of the sanctuary and their meaning. What is the bema? What’s the Eternal Light and is it really eternal? Do Jews kneel? Where should you sit? Should visitors wear head coverings? What about prayer shawls? Why do some people sit up in front, not with the rest of the congregation? Where is the Torah scroll kept and what does a Torah scroll actually look like? Do Jews use prayer books or hymnals? Where does the rabbi stand and what exactly is a cantor? Join Rabbi Andrew Straus and other inquisitive people to learn the secrets of the synagogue sanctuary.

Date: Feb. 7, 2013
Time: 7:30pm to 9pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Free, please RSVP so we’ll get enough snacks. Email dawn@buildingjewishbridges.org with the number in your party. See you there!

Posted by admin under Conversion, Finding a Synagogue, High Holidays, Jewish Culture, Past Programs, Prayer, Spirituality
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This is it! Rosh Hashanah arrives this evening. If you are still considering where you’ll go and have no plans there are a few places where you can drop in. Look at the events list below and also check here.

If you are not up to services then think about how to have a warm, happy Rosh Hashanah dinner together with loved ones. Let the kids go outside and get flowers, grasses or twigs to decorate the table. You might put one votive candle on the table at each person’s place to “light up” a new year. Go around the table and say what your hope for in the new year is, what will you do better or differently. Invite people to ask for help putting their dream into practice. Maybe your son wants to improve at soccer or violin, can you help with encouragement? Maybe you’d like more help around the house, what can each member take on as a task? Maybe you’d all like a bit more time together, can you plan a weekly baking adventure, or a nightly book read aloud?

Put something into the coming year that you will look forward to with joy.

Shana tova! Happy New Year!

EVENTS
Rosh Hashanah for Kids (Palo Alto)
High Holy Day Services for Families with Young Children (Los Altos)
Kol Nidre – Yom Kippur Evening (Berkeley)
Exploring Jewish Beliefs and Practices: an Introduction to Judaism (San Francisco)
Eat, Pray, Lulav: Our 2nd Annual Sukkot Harvest Festival (Berkeley)
Homer and Moses: Poets of Their People (Berkeley)
An In Depth Introduction to Judaism (San Francisco)
Writing Your Ethical Will (Berkeley)
Women in Interfaith Relationships (Berkeley)
All in the Family: Jews talk about their Multiracial Families (Oakland)
God Talk (Berkeley)

Rosh Hashanah for Kids
Looking for a kid-friendly event during the High Holy Days? Join Etz Chayim for a Rosh HaShanah program designed for young children and their families. Are you raising a Jewish child? Join us for a program is geared for families with children in preschool through first grade. Our special guests, Treasure Cohen and her husband Rich, bring stories, music, puppets, and fun for the holidays. Treasure is a Jewish family educator, teacher trainer, and professional storyteller. The program is open to members of the community, affiliated and unaffiliated.

Date: Rosh Hashanah Day, Sept. 17
Time: 11am to noon
Place: Palo Alto home
To ensure a secure environment, advance registration is required. Your name tags, as well as location information, will be mailed to you. A donation of $18 per family is requested. To make a reservation, go to www.etzchayim.org or call 650 / 813-9094.
Sponsored by Congregation Etz Chayim 4161 Alma Street Palo Alto, www.etzchayim.org, 650-813-9094

High Holy Day Services for Families with Young Children
The young family services are free and open to anyone (no tickets required).
Rosh Hashanah Family Service (includes a special blessing for all babies born or adopted in the past year)
On Rosh Hashanah, we encourage you to bring a picnic lunch and join the Beth Am community outside by the fountain for lunch between the main service and children’s service. Children are also encouraged to bring a shofar to the service.
Monday, September 17, 1:45pm
Flint Center, De Anza College

Yom Kippur Family Service
Wednesday, September 26, 1:45 p.m.
On Yom Kippur, we understand that children need to be fed, so feel free to pack a lunch for them to eat by the fountain.
Sponsored by Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills, CA 94022 • (650) 493-4661

Kol Nidre – Yom Kippur Evening
Join the East Bay Minyan for the Kol Nidre service.
East Bay Minyan is an independent minyan in Berkeley and Oakland that values tradition and inclusivity and strives to accommodate both Egalitarian and Orthodox practice. This evening service of Yom Kippur will be in East Bay Minyan’s signature inclusive, participatory, spirited, and traditional style.
More information here: http://eastbayminyan.org/events/kol-nidre-services/
What else? For those who wish to stick around after services – and, really, what else do you have to do on Yom Kippur? – Shalom Bochner will lead a discussion class on “Yom Kippur: Sad or Serious?”
Contact: Got questions? Ideas? An overwhelming desire to help out? Reach us at kolnidre@eastbayminyan.org.

Date: Tuesday, September 25
Time: Promptly at 6:40pm (doors at 6:15).
Place: Finnish Hall, 1970 Chestnut St., Berkeley
RSVP: Required! Please use this link: http://bit.ly/S4NrMi
Cost: We ask that you give an amount that feels comfortable and appropriate. (The suggested donation is $36/person, but it’s really up to you.) No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Donation instructions will magically appear when you submit your RSVP.

Exploring Jewish Beliefs and Practices: an Introduction to Judaism
Get an in-depth look at the basics of Jewish thought and practice. Engage in a mix of study, discussion and hands-on experiences. Topics include:
• Jewish beliefs and values
• Holidays and the Jewish calendar
• Prayer and liturgy
• Lifecycle events
Taught by Rabbi Larry Raphael, Rabbi Julie Saxe-Taller and Lisa Erdberg.

Date: October 4 – Dec. 20
Time: 6:30 to 8pm
Place: Sherith Israel, 2266 California St., San Francisco

Materials fee: $5.The course book, Living Judaism by Rabbi Wayne Dosick, will be available for purchase at the first class for $15.
Information & registration: Eric Drucker, 415.346.1720, x24, or edrucker@sherithisrael.org.

Eat, Pray, Lulav: Our 2nd Annual Sukkot Harvest Festival
with Special Musical Performances by Octopretzel and The Bearded Ladies
Back by popular demand! We are pleased to host an unforgettable afternoon of harvest holiday happenings, right here on the farm, the source of Sukkot itself!
Live music * Goats, goats and more goats * Storytelling * Cob stove building * Really Local Tea Bar * Farm tours * Crafts * Food prep stations: pickles, pizza and more * Make your own salves * Face painting * Worm composting demonstrations * Grinding wheat, from the berry to pita * Harvesting the fall crop * Chickens exposed! * A surprise visit by a 100+ year-old creature * Local, kosher, organic food available for purchase

Date: Sunday, October 7
Time: 2-6pm
Place: Urban Adamah Farm, 1050 Parker Street in Berkeley
Cost: Adult: $18 in advance, $20 at the door
Child: $8 in advance, $10 at the door
Family Rate: $45 for 2 adults and 2+ children
Children 3 and under are free.
Sign up here: http://urbanadamah.org/programs/holiday-celebrations-2/

Homer and Moses: Poets of Their People
Imagine this. . . a religion that focuses on this world, not the next; a theology with angry gods who interact with humans. A tradition that is perpetuated in an illiterate society by men who sing the story in formulaic music and words. This describes both Homer’s Iliad and the Five Books of Moses.
How did the Iliad capture the essence of Greek thinking such that it has been passed down for centuries? How does it express the Greek theology and ideas of the relationship between man and the divine?
How does Moses’ Torah have modern relevance? How did the god of Moses surpass His primitive beginnings while the gods of Olympus did not?

Meets Thursdays, Oct 11 and 18 at Lehrhaus and Sunday, Oct. 21 at Berkeley Rep. Students must purchase their own ticket to the 2pm performance of An Iliad on Oct. 21. We will send you the link for the discount for our group.
The evening on Homer will be taught by UC Berkeley Classics Graduate student, Rachel Lesser. The evening on Torah will be taught by Rabbi Ruth Adar. We will attend the Berkeley Rep play, An Iliad, together and will have a docent’s presentation on this production.
Sign up for the class here. You’ll receive an email with the code to get your reduced price (Entourage) Berkeley Rep ticket.

An In Depth Introduction to Judaism
This course is a pathway for the adult learner who wishes to discover or deepen Jewish knowledge, non-Jews who are marrying a Jewish partner, and people who are considering conversion to Judaism. This class touches on many aspects of Judaism, from birth to death, including Jewish diversity and identity, and American Judaism and Israel. An In Depth Introduction to Judaism is taught by Congregation Emanu-El Clergy.

Class meets over three trimesters and has rolling admission. A student can begin in any of the trimesters. Trimesters do not have to be completed in a particular order. Refreshments will be served.

Fall: Time: Seasons of Joy
October 16, 23, 30; November 6, 13, 27; December 4, 11
Winter Space and Place: The Holy Land, Diaspora, and Community
January 15, 22, 29; February 5, 12, 19, 26; March 5
Spring: Peoplehood: How We Think of Others and Ourselves
March 19; April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; May 7, 14

Time: 7 to 9pm
Place: Emanu-El, 2 Lake St., San Francisco
$36 members, $50 non-members (per trimester)
One-time book fee: $65 (for members and non-members)
Register for each trimester online at http://www.emanuelsf.org/register

Writing Your Ethical Will
Is it as important to pass on your values as it is to pass on your possessions? Writing an ethical will is an opportunity to organize your thoughts on topics such as honesty, kindness, and charity, and share them with your children. The document gives insights into the heart and soul of the writer, permanently passing on parents’ values and describing how they wish those values continued, “dor l’ dor” from generation to generation.
Learn to write an ethical will and have the peace of mind that you will be leaving your children a spiritual, ethical, and moral legacy. For interfaith couples, an ethical will is wonderful way to give your children a clear message of your shared values.
The ethical will has its roots in the Torah. “For I have singled him out, that he may instruct his children and his household after him to keep the way of Adonai by doing what is just and right, in order that Adonai may bring about for Abraham what Adonai has promised him.” (Genesis 18:19).
We will take an evening to look at ethical wills from the Middle Ages to modern times. Students will each write an ethical will in the second meeting, and have the opportunity to share them in the final session.
Dates: Wednesdays – Oct. 24, Nov. 7 & 14
Time: 7:30pm
Place: Lehrhaus Judaica, 2736 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
Registration: $30; Register here.
Convenient parking is located across the street on UC Berkeley campus. Just a few hundred steps from the front door of Lehrhaus.

Women in Interfaith Relationships
Join other women, Jewish or not, to examine interfaith marriage in relation to culture and gender. What are the unique expectations and responses that a woman encounters as she creates a home and builds a family life in which her religion is not that of her partner? This will be a multi-generational discussion about the assumptions and possibilities surrounding our roles as sustainers of the family.
Pizza will be available at no extra charge. Childcare is available by reservation. You must request childcare by Oct. 15.
Date: Nov. 8
Time: 6:15pm
Place: Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley
Cost: $7 public; free to Beth El members; Register here.

All in the Family: Jews talk about their Multiracial Families
Parents, siblings, aunts and cousins may be white but when their family includes racially diverse members they too are impacted by racial assumptions in the Jewish community. What do white family members have to share with us about how we can be more tuned in to their family? Join us for a dynamic and exciting panel; this year’s opening program for What Color Are Jews?

Date: Nov. 11
Time: 10am
Place: Beth Abraham, 327 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland
Cost: $5 public; free to Beth Abraham members
Register here.

God Talk
Rabbis have amazing God conversations with children fairly regularly. Why we don’t continue these conversations as easily as we age? The questions certainly don’t get any easier! Perhaps we forget, over the years, that sharing doubts and yearning for hope is what makes us human. I invite you to join an open and caring – and non-judgmental – conversation. “You bring your questions. I’ll bring mine!” —Rabbi Creditor
Discussing the infinite, the unknowable, can be a source of commonality for interfaith couples – come give it a try.

Date: Wed., Dec. 5
Time: 7:30pm
Place: Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Avenue, Berkeley
Cost: $5 public; free to Netivot Shalom members
Register here.

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Join the East Bay Minyan for the evening of Kol Nidre for a very modest fee.

Kol Nidre – Yom Kippur Evening
Join the East Bay Minyan for the Kol Nidre service.
East Bay Minyan is an independent minyan in Berkeley and Oakland that values tradition and inclusivity and strives to accommodate both Egalitarian and Orthodox practice. This evening service of Yom Kippur will be in East Bay Minyan’s signature inclusive, participatory, spirited, and traditional style.
More information here: http://eastbayminyan.org/events/kol-nidre-services/
What else? For those who wish to stick around after services – and, really, what else do you have to do on Yom Kippur? – Shalom Bochner will lead a discussion class on “Yom Kippur: Sad or Serious?”
Contact: Got questions? Ideas? An overwhelming desire to help out? Reach us at kolnidre@eastbayminyan.org.

Date: Tuesday, September 25
Time: Promptly at 6:40pm (doors at 6:15).
Place: Finnish Hall, 1970 Chestnut St., Berkeley
RSVP: Required! Please use this link: http://bit.ly/S4NrMi
Cost: We ask that you give an amount that feels comfortable and appropriate. (The suggested donation is $36/person, but it’s really up to you.) No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Donation instructions will magically appear when you submit your RSVP.

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