KIm Carter Martinez, our speaker

KIm Carter Martinez, our speaker

It is not unusual for a Jew of color to be asked, “How did you get to be Jewish?” Quite simply the question stems from their appearance, “You don’t look Jewish.”
There are a number of ways that an adult from a biracial Jewish or interfaith family can arm themselves for these micro-aggressions. Join Kim Carter Martinez, the biracial daughter of an African American father and a white Ashkenazi mother. Kim has spent years honing her skills and is pleased to teach others how to own your identity in spite of the doubts of others.

Date: Sunday, Dec. 17
Time: 10am to 11:30am
Place: Temple Beth Abraham, 327 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland
Free, but preregistration is required.
Sign up here.

Posted by admin under Jews of Color, Parenting, Past Programs, Programs archive
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Shaking the Lulav

Shaking the Lulav

Sukkah Party for Interfaith Couples & Families
Come to the Sukkah for some food and fun. Together we’ll make and hang sukkah decorations and everyone will get a chance to wave the lulav and etrog. We’ll make edible sukkahs that kids (and adults) can take home.

Date: Sunday, October, 8
Time: 2 to 4pm
Place: Private home in Oakland, address sent after registration
Cost: $5/person or $15/family of 4 or more.
Register here.

Posted by admin under Past Programs, Programs archive, Sukkot
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Jewish - Christian - Hindu

Jewish – Christian – Hindu

Do You Have One Jewish Parent?

Do you see yourself as Jewish, half-Jewish, part Jewish, Jew-ish? Were you raised as a Jew, a Christian, a Hindu, some of this and that? We are looking for people who have one Jewish parent and would like to talk about their experience, share their stories, their questions, their wisdom. What was good? What was not so good? Will you try to duplicate your parents’ path? What would you like to ask of or tell to the “organized” Jewish community? We will come together to discuss our shared experiences as well as our differences—what we want from life now and how we are going about making that happen.

Thursday, October 22
7:30 – 9:00 pm
Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Please do register here since without enough registrations the gathering will be cancelled.

Call Dawn at 510-845-6420 x11 if you have questions.

Thank you to all the people who have already shared your experiences and insights.

Posted by admin under Adult Child of an Interfaith Family, Past Programs, Programs archive
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The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival is in its 35 year.
Building Jewish Bridges is delighted to be a co-presenter of the following films at this year’s festival.


Food has always represented more than sustenance in Jewish culture, and its transformative power is on display in this delightful British dramedy which unites a widowed third generation kosher baker, Nat (a crusty yet compassionate Jonathan Pryce), and his new Muslim apprentice, Ayyash (Jerome Holder in a breakout performance). Dayan & Son Bakery is in a downward spiral. Nat’s customers are all moving or dying. To top it off, his adversarial competitor is moving in on his turf, and his son has no interest in carrying on the family business. Read more

Thursday, July 23, Castro Theater, San Francisco
Sunday, July 26, CineArts, Palo Alto
Wednesday, August 5, California Theater, Berkeley
Sunday, August 9, Smith Rafael Film Center, San Rafael

Red Leaves

Red Leaves
After the death of his wife, Ethiopian immigrant Meseganio Tadela makes a fateful decision. Settled in Israel for the past 30 years, the 74-year-old widower sells his apartment and informs his grown children that he has no intention of buying a new place. Instead, the obstinate Meseganio plans to shuttle between each of their homes for the remainder of his life. Read more

Sunday, July 26, CineArts, Palo Alto
Monday, July 27, Castro Theater, San Francisco


Jews in Shorts
Five short films with a range of topics. Read the details here

Wednesday, July 29, Castro Theater, San Francisco

Posted by admin under Film, Jewish Culture, Past Programs
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Rabbi Sarah Weissman of Beth Am, Los Altos

Rabbi Sarah Weissman of Beth Am, Los Altos

Have you wondered what happens at some of the workshops that you missed? It’s a pretty common question I get – so what happened? Here is one of the topics that came up in Interlove Story:

What is the position of the Reform movement regarding kids with a Jewish dad (patralineal descent)? There we were in a Reform shul, Beth Am, and Rabbi Weissman explained the Reform policy that states that any child with one Jewish parent, whether the father or the mother, must be raised observing Jewish holidays and lifecycle events in order to be affirmed as Jewish. So bottomline, for the Reform movement, the mother doesn’t have to be the Jewish parent.

This looks in one way, stricter than the other movements, you have to DO something to make your child officially Jewish.

In practice, I mentioned to Rabbi Weissman, I have yet to find a rabbi of ANY denomination that does not accept matrilineal descent as affirming Jewish identity in the children. She smiled and said quite honestly, “there is policy and there is practice.” Well, I just fell more in love with her at that moment because she was totally honest. I believe that all of YOU are intelligent adults in the midst of making thoughtful decisions. What you deserve is not the party line, rather you should be given as many facts as can be assembled.

Rabbi Weissman went on to articulate some of the options that a family with a Jewish father has – such as staying within the Reform community or taking your child to the mikvah. But very important, let the information regarding Jewish identity come from you, the child’s parents.

I feel strongly that you can handle such comments with a matter-of-fact tone and with age appropriate terms. The particular non-Jewish mom in this workshop was concerned that a little girl had told her child that he “was not Jewish and never would be.” Well, “not Jewish” is based on one’s belief system and “never would be” is quite simply 100% wrong. It is essential that the parents be ready to handle comments like this without the charge of negative feelings. Don’t give the topic more weight than necessary for your child. Let them come away from the conversation with a light heart and a confident sense of self.

If you want to talk this through with me, I’m happy to do so. Just email or call.

Posted by admin under Past Programs
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2 challah loaves sweet cropped

Now I ask you, is there anything better than hot homemade bread? I’ll answer, No!

Come make challah, the most delicious bread ever! We’ll mix, knead and braid our own challah dough. Learn how to braid with 3 or 5 strands as well as making round loaves. You’ll take home your own loaf of warm bread.

Date: Sunday, July 12
Time: 2:00 – 5:00 pm
Place: A Private home in Oakland, near Lake Merritt. Registrants will receive the address.
Cost: $25/person

Every Friday I make challah. It is a ritual in my home and everyone loves it. I’ve experimented with both dairy and parve* recipes and found the BEST RECIPE in the world. Got one you think is fantastic too? Bring it! We’ll share.

Email to sign up for the class.

Posted by admin under A meaningful life, Holidays, Past Programs, Programs archive, Shabbat, symbolic foods
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Trang & Ron from behind (2)

Falling in love and finding “the one” is a wonderful experience. If you are Jewish and that “one and only” isn’t, you have some sorting out to do. How will your home reflect your dual identities, how will you raise the kids, what holidays will you celebrate. There are lots of choices — and honestly, aren’t you glad there are?

Interlove Story: When Jews Love Non-Jews… and Judaism
You are Jewish and you fell in love with a person who isn’t Jewish; now you want to make a Jewish home and raise Jewish children. How have other families managed Jewish commitment and interfaith love? We’ll begin with a tender film by the daughter of an interfaith couple (Interlove Story was her Stanford University Masters Film Thesis) and discuss the choices her parents made and what options we all have.
Join Rabbi Sarah Weissman, Dawn Kepler, and interfaith couples for a warm and open discussion.

Date: Sunday, April 26
Time: 9:15 – 11:00 am
Place: Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills
Cost: $5 for the public; Free for members of Beth Am
Register here

Posted by admin under Past Programs, Relationships, Weddings
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The bat Mitzvah girl's family

The bat Mitzvah girl’s family

Compassion, generosity, respect and satisfaction are values shared by all religions.
When do they become uniquely “Jewish” and why bother to color values with a particular religion? Because there are ways in which this helps a child identify with and incorporate the values you are seeking to transmit.

Join other parents for a fascinating discussion that combines Jewish teaching and the current Science of Happiness to develop tools to raise a mensch. Warning: you may increase your own menschlichkeit (humanity) too!

Raising a Mensch is 4 sessions; come for one or more.

Dates & Topics:
March 29 Gimme, Gimme, Gimme: Contentment & Tzedakah
Jewish tradition teaches, “Who is rich? Those who are content with their lot.” The marketing culture around us equates contentment with possessions; who ever dies with the most toys wins. How can we establish a family value of tzedakah? How does tzedakah (responsible giving) result in contentment?

April 19 What’s in it For Me: Compassion for Others
The world is sustained by loving-kindness (Pirkei Avot 1:2)
How does being kind to others make us happier and how can we encourage children’s natural tenderness in a tough world?

April 26 I Can’t Get No Respect: Kavod in an Open and Free Society
Who is worthy of honor? The one who honors others. (Pirkei Avot 4:1)
Our culture worships the famous and rich. How can we teach our children to respect those whom we believe are truly of value, like parents and teachers?

May 3 Why Should I Care: Taking Action
Do Not Stand Idly By As Your Neighbor Bleeds. (Pirkei Avot 2:4)
When should one take action? Whether defending a classmate against a bully or stopping to help a lost dog, there are times when we want our children to stand up for justice. But we also want them to be safe. How do share our values, protect our kids and set an example of how to be a good person?

Time: 10:30am to noon
Place: Temple Israel, 3183 Mecartney Rd., Alameda
Cost: Free to Temple Israel members, $25 for the series, $9 per single session (please bring cash or a check.)
To register go here
Co-sponsored by Temple Israel, Building Jewish Bridges and Lehrhaus Judaica.

Posted by admin under A meaningful life, Jewish Learning, Non-Jewish family, Parenting, Past Programs, Programs archive
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A number of organizations have basic Judaism classes that run from fall to spring but are offered in modules so it is easy to start the class throughout the year. Even if you see that a class has already started, give the synagogue or institution a call and see if you can join the class. Many teachers will arrange to speak with you and bring you up to date with the other students.


Introduction to Judaism
Winter: Space and Place
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, January 6, 13, 20, 27; February 3, 10, 17, 24
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)
Telephone: (415) 751-2535
Information here.

Jewishing: An Ongoing Conversation about Doing & Being Jewish
What is quintessentially Jewish? The Passover Seder? This most ancient Jewish celebration was actually modeled on an ancient Greek banquet. What about the intricate layout of a Talmud page? A joint creation of rabbis and Jewish scholars working with Italian Catholic printers under the direction of a Dutch Protestant publisher. And then there’s the questionable origins of the bagel.
“Jewishing” is an exploration of Judaism not as a monolith of static concepts and practices but as a dynamic system of choices and questions. Listen and talk, read and write and sing and eat your way into questions of Jewish identity, seeing through a Jewish lens and living among Jews in the Bay Area in the twenty-first century.
Complementing the group classroom experience, students are also guided through a process of individualized self-study, using books, media, other courses and tutorials that enhances group process and deepens learning.

Dates: Wednesdays, January 7 – February 25
Time: 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Place: San Francisco JCC, 3200 California St., San Francisco
Cost: $175/public; $160/ JCC members
Includes books and refreshments
Register here.

Exploring Judaism
This course is a year-long exploration of the history, beliefs, traditions, and practices of the Jewish people. “Exploring Judaism” will be interesting and meaningful whether you are becoming an adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah, you are just beginning to explore Jewish studies, you are considering choosing Judaism, you are in an interfaith relationship, or you are simply looking for a deeper and more mature understanding of Jewish history and tradition. Students are encouraged to expand their Jewish literacy by taking this course in conjunction with Beginning Hebrew. Instructor: Rabbi Ruth Adar

You can enter this class at several points, the entry points are:
Jewish Text & History: Jan. 11, 25, 2/1, 2/8, 2/22, 3/8
Jewish Thought, Prayer, and Music: 3/15, 3/22, 4/12, 4/19, 4/26, 5/3

Date: Sundays, through May 3, 2015
Time: 10:10-11:10 a.m.
Place: Contra Costa Jewish Day School, 945 Risa Rd., Lafayette, across the parking lot from Temple Isaiah. The class is in the library (Rm 211) upstairs to the right. Follow the voices.
Cost: Tuition is $30 per block for members; $70 per block for non-members.
For more information see on the Temple Isaiah website.
Sponsored by Temple Isaiah.

Introduction to the Jewish Experience: Israel and Texts
The land of Israel has been central to Jewish history, both ancient and modern. Even during the years of galut (exile) the Jewish heart was “in the east,” in the words of medieval poet Yehudah HaLevy. This class will examine the history of ancient Israel, the beginnings of rabbinic Judaism, and the modern return to the land. With that history as a backdrop, we will learn about the great texts of Judaism: Tanach (Bible), Midrash, Talmud, the Prayer Book, and the Codes of Jewish Law.

Dates: Wednesdays, January 14 – March 11 (no class 3/4)
Time: 7:30 to 9pm
Place: Beth El, 1301 Euclid St., Berkeley
Cost: $105 for the public; $90 for members of Beth El
Register here.
Taught by Rabbi Ruth Adar, this class is part of a three-unit series. This course will be available to registered students via Adobe Connect distance learning software at no extra charge, both live and via full video recording. Students may attend live in the classroom, live online, or anytime via recording.

The Building Blocks of Judaism
This course is for those who wish to learn (or re-learn) Judaism. All are welcome: non-Jews, Jews, interfaith couples, those considering conversion, and anyone who is interested in learning more about Judaism. Students will learn the basics of Judaism in a friendly and informal atmosphere. We’ll explore fundamental aspects of Jewish practices such as holiday observance and life-cycle celebrations. We’ll also cover Jewish understandings of God and religious beliefs, essential Jewish texts, Jewish history, mu sic and literature, and the significance of Israel in Judaism today.
Taught by Rabbi Heath Watenmaker.
The spring term is from Jan. 21 to March 11, 2015.

Dates: Wednesdays, January 21 – March 11
Time: 7:30 – 9:00 pm, Plus a Friday evening Shabbat experience TBD
Place: Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills
Cost: $120 for the public
Register here.

Posted by admin under Community Activities, Conversion, Introduction to Judaism, Jewish Learning, Past Programs
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cousins on bema

Planning a b’nai mitzvah is stressful enough if you had one yourself, but if you weren’t raised Jewish it can be truly nerve wracking. There are the questions of how the study process works, timing, sessions, amount to be learned, how to help your child succeed. Then there’s the non-Jewish partner and extended family. How do you include them, make them comfortable, and explain what is going on.
How does a non-Jewish parent participate? What part of the planning do they want to share? What if it’s all on you alone? What role does each parent play during the bar or bat mitzvah? Is this a service or a celebration of one child? Join other wondering parents of all backgrounds as we decipher this life cycle event!

Sunday, February 22, 2015
9:30 – 11:00 am
Temple Sinai

You can call Dawn for more details at 510-845-6420.

Posted by admin under Adult Child of an Interfaith Family, Children, Non-Jewish family, Parenting, Past Programs, Programs archive, Synagogues
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