Patralineal Descent, Reform Judaism & Those Other Jews

In 1983 the Reform movement officially recognized children of Jewish fathers as Jewish. But if you read the statement it says that every child of a mixed marriage, whether the mother or father is Jewish, must establish their identity as a Jew “through appropriate and timely public and formal acts of identification with the Jewish faith and people.” What are those acts? Do we really expect all kids from interfaith marriages to do so? What role do non-Reform Jews play in our lives and those of our children? Join Dawn Kepler for an exploration of Patralineal Jews today.

Date: Friday, Jan. 23
Time: 7:30pm (the discussion will be a part of the Shabbat service)
Place: Temple Israel, 3183 Mecartney Rd, Alameda
Free

I plan to devote a good deal of time this year to the experiences of individuals who grew up with one Jewish parent. Call them half Jews, partly Jewish, patralineal Jews, not Jews — they are our children and we need to listen to them. Do YOU fall in this population? Are you interested in sharing YOUR perspective? Read more about sharing your insights here.

Michella-Ore of Netivot
Read more about Michella’s experience as a Conservative Jew here.

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names in Hebrew

Join B’nai Tikvah congregants for services on Friday January 9 at 6:30pm, when I will be speaking in the sermon slot. My subject is the special place name and naming rituals holds in Jewish tradition. This dovetails with the start of a new book of the Torah called Shemot, in which the Twelve Tribes of Israel are named. Whether you have a Jewish name or want to choose one for yourself or someone else, this presentation will get you thinking. Please join us!

Date: Jan. 9, 2015
Time: 6:30pm
Place: B’nai Tikvah, 25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek
www.tikvah.org

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New Year 2015 formed from sparking digits over black background

The Spring 2015 line up of Building Jewish Bridges workshops and classes!

January

names in Hebrew

What’s in a Jewish Name?
Join B’nai Tikvah congregants for services on Friday January 9 at 6:30pm, when I will be speaking in the sermon slot. My subject is the special place name and naming rituals holds in Jewish tradition. This dovetails with the start of a new book of the Torah called Shemot, in which the Twelve Tribes of Israel are named. Whether you have a Jewish name or want to choose one for yourself or someone else, this presentation will get you thinking. Please join us!

Date: Jan. 9, 2015
Time: 6:30pm
Place: B’nai Tikvah, 25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek
www.tikvah.org

Are Our Children Jewish?
Patralineal Descent, Reform Judaism & Those Other Jews
In 1983 the Reform movement officially recognized children of Jewish fathers as Jewish. But if you read the statement it says that every child of a mixed marriage, whether the mother or father is Jewish, must establish their identity as a Jew “through appropriate and timely public and formal acts of identification with the Jewish faith and people.” What are those acts? Do we really expect all kids from interfaith marriages to do so? What role do non-Reform Jews play in our lives and those of our children? Join Dawn Kepler for an exploration of Patralineal Jews today.

Date: Friday, Jan. 23
Time: 7:30pm (the discussion will be a part of the Shabbat service)
Place: Temple Israel, 3183 Mecartney Rd, Alameda
Free
You can RSVP if you like here.

February

What Makes a Home “Jewish”?
A Jew may ask their spouse to agree to have a “Jewish” home. But what does that mean?
To a non-Jewish loved one it may mean simply that some of the people in the house say they are Jews. But our partners deserve a more in-depth answer. One Jew may say, a Jewish home has Jewish ritual objects – a menorah, Shabbos candlesticks, a ketubah on the wall. Another may add, but you need to do Jewish things in a Jewish home like observe Shabbat weekly or build a sukkah on Sukkot or recite the Shema before bedtime. Yet another will say we must act like Jews, give tzadakah, attend synagogue, refrain from eating pork.

Each Jewish partner will have their own ideas about what they need in order to feel that their home is “Jewish.” Or, they may have no clear idea at all! Every non-Jewish spouse deserves a clear statement as to what they are signing up for.

Join Rabbi Glazer, Dawn Kepler and other curious couples for an enlightening discussion and go home with your own individualized plan.

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015
Time: 7:30 to 9pm
Place: Beth Sholom, 301 14th Avenue (near the corner of Clement Street), San Francisco
Cost: Free to members of Beth Sholom, $8 for a non-member individual, $12 for a non-member couple.
Register here.

Preparing for Bar/Bat Mitzvah for Interfaith Families
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
Free

How Dare People Say I’m Not Jewish!
My dad is Jewish, my mom is not.
I was adopted and raised Jewish.
My mom had a Reform conversion.
Why do people tell us we aren’t Jewish?
Are you annoyed, hurt, confused by challenges to your Jewish identity? Let’s talk about patralineal Jews, halachic Jews, Judaism, and how to handle other people’s opinions.

Date: Thursday, Feb. 26
Time: 7:30 to 9pm
Place: Lehrhaus, 2736 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
Cost: $5
Register here.

March

This is a workshop I am doing for Temple Sinai. ANYONE is welcome to attend. It will have some relevance to you at any Reform synagogue.
The Non-Jew in the Synagogue
Temple Sinai is blessed to have many interfaith couples as members, many of whom are very involved. That involvement has led to some common questions. How should I behave in services; should I do what the Jews are doing – bow, recite the Hebrew? How should I deal with lines like, ‘thank you God for making me a Jew’ when I’m not a Jew? I wonder if I’ll be offending anyone by ‘acting’ like a Jew or by saying Shabbat Shalom or Shana Tovah. Does that make me an imposter? I don’t even know if I’m allowed to touch the Torah!
For better or worse, every synagogue has its own customs. Come learn about the customs and traditions at Temple Sinai. We can also touch on common practice at other shuls if you are anticipating visiting elsewhere for a family simcha.

Date: Wednesday, March 25
Time: 7:30 to 9pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Free
An RSVP is appreciated.

Raising A Mensch:
What it Means to Raise a Jewish Child with Universal Values
Many families decide to raise their children Jewish but for the non-Jewish parent, what does that really mean? What are the expectations of both parents? Dawn Kepler will lead a conversation about this important topic with parents. Each session we will address a Jewish value. Parents will go home with tools, ideas and thought-provoking questions ensuring both parents are on the same page.

Dates: Sundays, March 29, April 19 & 26, and May 3
Time: 10:30am to noon
Place: Temple Israel, 3183 Mecartney Rd, Alameda
Cost: Free to Temple Israel members, $18 public per session or $30 for all four.
Register here.

April

Women in Interfaith Relationships: A Discussion for Girlfriends, Wives, Partners, Mothers and Grandmothers
Join other women, Jewish or not, to examine interfaith relationships 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? Join a multi-generational discussion, facilitated by Rabbi Lisa Delson with Dawn Kepler of Building Jewish Bridges, about the assumptions and possibilities surrounding our roles as sustainers of the family. Women in any stage of relationship, any sexuality, and any age welcome.

Date: Thursday, April 30, 2015
Time: 7:30 to 9pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Sholom, 1655 Sebastian Drive, Burlingame
Cost: Free to members of Peninsula Temple Sholom, $8 to non-members
Register here.

May

After the Play: Head of Passes
Join us again to explore Jewish values in the arts. Playwright, Tarell Alvin McCraney, author of Berkeley Rep’s Head of Passes, states that his play was inspired by both the biblical story of Job and Shakespeare’s Lear. “This play is about a literal discourse in faith.”

How does Judaism perceive Job, or tragedy? How do we in modern times, view the concept of faith? What is our internal guide? Is McCraney correct in saying that, “everybody needs to invent or hold onto some inalienable truth. Or at least that they feel is the truth.” Is there a core Jewish truth?

Join Rabbi Chester to explore Job, faith, and meaning.

Date: Thursday, May 21
Time: 7:30 to 9pm
Place: Lehrhaus, 2736 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
Cost: $12
Register here.

Posted by admin under Adult Child of an Interfaith Family, Children, Past Programs, women
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child with star

You’ve made the big decision – we’ll raise our child(ren) as Jews. Now what? Does this mean no Christmas or Easter? How do we interact with our non-Jewish family’s holidays? What synagogue should we join and how can we ask for specific support in our process? Is a lot of the effort falling on a non-Jewish woman who doesn’t have a gut feeling for Judaism; how can she be supported? Let’s talk about how to integrate non-Jewish family and their holiday expectations, what to say to parents and siblings, what you can expect from a synagogue community and how to support the non-Jewish parent.

(If the non-Jewish spouse is not Christian but a different minority religion like Hindi or Buddhist, a different set of issues arise. Living with two minority religions in America presents its own challenges. We can discuss this situation if it is impacting any of the participants.)

Sunday, Nov. 16
3 to 4:30pm
Peninsula Jewish Community Center, 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City
Cost: $12 public, $10 for members of cosponsoring organizations
Register here.

Co-sponsored by Peninsula Jewish Community Center, Peninsula Temple Beth El, Peninsula Sinai Congregation, Peninsula Temple Sholom.

Posted by admin under Children, Parenting, Past Programs, Relationships
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Christian child

The Christian spouse knows how to ‘do’ Christianity and is supported in this by our American Christian culture, but you may still want to introduce a concept of Jewish heritage to your child. We’ll discuss how to offer the concept of Jewish roots without disrupting your child’s Christian identity.

Also, if your child’s mother is Jewish then your child will be considered Jewish by the Jewish community. What should you tell your child about this belief about them by people they may know very peripherally?

Sunday, Nov. 9
3 to 4:30pm
Peninsula Jewish Community Center, 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City
Cost: $12 public, $10 to members of co-sponsoring organizations.
Register here.

Cosponsored by Peninsula Jewish Community Center, Peninsula Sinai Congregation, Peninsula Temple Beth El, Peninsula Temple Sholom

Posted by admin under Children, Jewish Culture, Non-Jewish family, Parenting, Past Programs, Spirituality
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passover with children

What Religion Will We Pick for our Child?
Choosing a religious identity for a child is often feels like the hardest decision an interfaith couple faces. If both of you are attached to your religious/cultural heritage you may have gotten stuck in a circular conversation that nobody wins. Couples want to be fair to each other, but what if both feel strongly? What about doing both? How does that work? In this workshop we’ll discuss tools for making a decision, key elements to consider and how to test out your choice.

Date: Sunday, Nov. 2
Time: 3 to 4:30pm
Place: Peninsula JCC, 800 Foster City Blvd, Foster City
Cost: $10 for this single workshop or $25 if you choose to take the series of three. See full description here.

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grandparents and child

Join me for The Magic Power of Grandparents
Grandparents may not realize the special place they hold in the eyes and hearts of their grandchildren. Jewish grandparents are in a unique position to share their Jewishness with their grandchildren and to stimulate love and identity in the next generation. Join us for Shabbat services and a talk about The Magic Power of Grandparents. I’ll be speaking in place of a sermon so come for services! Sit with me if you like (just email me to look for you).

You are welcome to ask me any questions you like at the oneg after services.

Date: Friday, October 10
Time: Services begin at 8:00pm
Place: Temple Isaiah, 945 Risa Road, Lafayette
Free

Posted by admin under Grandparents, Intercultural, Parenting, Past Programs, Programs archive
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3 faiths

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.

Date: Sunday, October 12
Time: 11:00 am to 12:30pm
Place: Espresso Roma, 1549 Hopkins St., Berkeley
Free, please RSVP here.
For more information call Dawn Kepler at 510-845-6420 x11

Posted by admin under Adult Child of an Interfaith Family, Past Programs, Programs archive
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boy with star resized

Interfaith Couples Raising Children:
Identity for Your Child & Your Home

Three Workshops, come to one or come to all of them

Choosing a religious identity for your child is often feels like the hardest decision an interfaith couple faces. If both of you are attached to your religious/cultural heritage you may have gotten stuck in a circular conversation that nobody wins. How can you get free and make a decision?
Or, perhaps you have made a decision, Christian or Jewish.* If only one of you is attached to your faith tradition it may be easy to pick that tradition. But having done so, what comes next?

What Religion Will We Pick for our Child? We Can’t Decide
Couples want to be fair to each other, but what if both feel strongly about their own tradition? What about doing both? How would that work? In this workshop we’ll discuss tools for making a decision, key elements to consider and how to test out your choice.

One of Us is Jewish but We’ve Chosen Christianity, Now What?
The Christian spouse knows how to ‘do’ Christianity and is supported in this by our American Christian culture, but you may still want to introduce a concept of Jewish heritage to your child. We’ll discuss how to offer the concept of Jewish roots without disrupting your child’s Christian identity.

Raising a Jewish Child in an Interfaith Home
You’ve made the big decision – we’ll raise our child(ren) as Jews. Now what? Does this mean no Christmas or Easter? How do we interact with our non-Jewish family’s holidays? What synagogue should we join and how can we ask for specific support in our process? Is a lot of the effort falling on a non-Jewish woman who doesn’t have a gut feeling for Judaism; how can she be supported? Let’s talk about how to integrate non-Jewish family and their holiday expectations, what to say to parents and siblings, what you can expect from a synagogue community and how to support the non-Jewish parent.

*If the non-Jewish spouse is not Christian but a different minority religion like Hindi or Buddhist, a different set of issues arise. Living with two minority religions in America presents its own challenges.

Come to one or the entire series.
Sundays, Nov. 2, 9, 16
3pm to 4:30pm
Peninsula JCC, 800 Foster City Blvd, Foster City
Cost: Series of three sessions: $25 for members of the sponsoring organizations; $30 for the public
Individual session: $10 to members of the sponsoring organizations; $12 to the public.
Register here.

Co-sponsored by Peninsula Jewish Community Center, Peninsula Temple Beth El, Peninsula Sinai Congregation, Peninsula Temple Sholom.

Posted by admin under Children, Couples, Parenting, Past Programs, Spirituality
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Are you a crafter? Let’s do something fun and Jewish!

Homemade Rosh Hashanah Card

Homemade Rosh Hashanah Card

DIY Judaism: Jewish Greeting 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!

Date: Sunday, Sept. 14
Time: 2 – 4pm
Place: Private home in Oakland
Cost: $10

Register here.

Some of the beautiful cards that were made.

card by Louis

card by Natalie

card by Susan

Posted by admin under Holidays, Jewish holidays at home, Past Programs, Programs archive
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