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 Current Programs, Jews of Color, Parenting
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(Pixabay, Natan)

(Pixabay, Natan)

Here come the holidays!

I love warm colors. I prefer gold to silver, red to blue. So you can imagine how much I want to change up the “traditional” colors of Hanukkah. Years ago I bought some gorgeous gold and red Hanukkah wrapping paper at my synagogue’s gift shop. It hit me – I don’t HAVE to have a blue and silver Hanukkah. Gold, red, green, silver, blue, purple are just colors, not religious symbols. I began to decorate my holiday with the warmth that I desired.

This year I was thrilled to find a craft blog that I follow, Chai and Home, has a Pinterest page called Hanukkah: Gold. Another resource for creating my personal home decoration style!

One of the things that Christianity has been really good at is absorbing the cultures of the countries and societies that it flows into. Christmas, aided by the American marketplace mentality, has been masterful at blending with just about anything. At Christmas time, a sale becomes a Christmas sale, a car becomes a Christmas gift, a dog gets a red bow, a train gets a wreath, trees get lights and bulbs, scarves get red & white candy stripes. One of the difficult things about reducing or giving up Christmas is that it is massive and everywhere. Some Jews react by downplaying Hanukkah. This can add to the feeling of loss for the non-Jewish partner. I don’t suggest that you try to make Hanukkah match Christmas – that’s truly not possible. But you can certainly borrow from American culture to spice up your Hanukkah. You can even look at your past Christmas practices and see what can be absorbed into Hanukkah celebration. What do you particularly love about Christmas? For some it is all the baking. There’s no law that says you can’t bake your heart out anyway. You can even look for themes that mesh with Judaism while using your already existing tools. Got a bunch of animal cookie cutters? Make a centerpiece of edible Noah’s Ark critters. Love to make gorgeous cakes? There are so many options. During the Gulf War one of my sisters had a friend who deployed as a nurse. For Christmas my sister and I baked a dozen different kinds of cookies to send to her.

Have you got ideas and suggestions for keeping a favorite non-Jewish tradition in a Jewish way? Please share it! Let’s get creative!
Email your ideas to me at dawn@buildingjewishbridges.org.

EVENTS
Ganeinu Jewish Playgroup (Lafayette)
Thanksgiving Shabbat (Palo Alto)
Tot Shabbat Morning (Lafayette)
Kol Neshama Minyan (Tiburon)
Shabbat in a Bag (Berkeley)
Patralineal Jews: Navigating the Jewish World (Oakland)
Folktales from Around the World (San Francisco)
Community Kristallnacht Commemoration (Walnut Creek)
Let’s Go to the Theater: Imaginary Comforts (Oakland)
Peninsula Sinai & Ramah Community Shabbat Dinner (Foster City)
November Community Shabbat Dinner (Pleasanton)
Glitter Kabbalat Shabbat and Trans Day (Piedmont)
A Benefit Performance for North Bay Fire Storm Victims (Richmond)
Is Judaism a Religion? (Palo Alto)
Shabbat Hallelu Service (San Mateo)
Making Shabbat Your Own: Shabbat Candlesticks (Berkeley)
Chanukah Shabbat w/Mizmor Band (Lafayette)
Hanukkah Celebration (Oakland)
Mizmor Shir! Service Friday Night Live! (Oakland)
Jews of Color: Taking Charge of Your Jewish Identity (Oakland)

Ganeinu Jewish Playgroup
Temple Isaiah is proud to offer a free, weekly, Jewish, drop-in playgroup for parents and caregivers, and their infants and toddlers (0-30 months). All are welcome.

Date: Every Friday, next one is Nov 10
Time: 9:15am
Place: Temple Isaiah, 925 Risa Rd., Lafayette; in the Adult Lounge.
www.temple-isaiah.org

Thanksgiving Shabbat
Come join us for this special Thanksgiving themed Shabbat! We’ll give thanks by renewing the ancient Jewish ritual of Bikkurim, where we’ll share our achievements and news for the year and celebrate our successes together as a community.

Please bring a dish to share with the group.
We are also collecting canned food which will be donated to the needy.

Date: Friday, November 10
Time: 5:30–8:00 pm
Place: Palo Alto JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto, in Room E-104
Cost: $10 per Family
Register here.
Contact: Tova Birnbaum | (650) 223-8694 | tbirnbaum@paloaltojcc.org

Tot Shabbat Morning
Geared toward families with children 0 to 5 years old, Tot Shabbat is an interactive and friendly Shabbat experience. Enjoy a free bagel brunch, activities and prayer with other young families.

Date: Saturday, November 11
Time: 9:30am
Place: Temple Isaiah, 925 Risa Rd., Lafayette, in the Adult Lounge
RSVP here.
www.temple-isaiah.org

Kol Neshama Minyan
with Rabbi Chai Levy
This musical, meditative, and participatory prayer experience is a chance to open your heart through song, to sink into the peace and joy of Shabbat, and to find a meaningful personal connection to the Torah portion and to others in our community. “Kol Neshama” means “voice of the soul/breath.” No Hebrew knowledge required.

Dates: Saturdays on Nov. 11, Dec 9, Jan 13, Feb 10, Mar 10
Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Place: Kol Shofar, 215 Blackfield Dr, Tiburon
http://kolshofar.org

Shabbat in a Bag
Celebrate Shabbat together with other families with young children!
We’ll enjoy song, dance, and instruments, led by Rabbi Bridget and beloved Jewish songleader Isaac Zones, plus challah, juice, and other Shabbat treats.
Each family will also decorate your own “Shabbat in a Bag” to bring home, including candleholders, challah cover, and Shabbat kiddush cup, along with blessings, songs, and family-friendly Shabbat ideas to create your own traditions.
This event is part of Jewish Gateways’ HandsOn Holidays series for children 1-5 and their grownups. Older siblings and babies are welcome, too.

Date: Saturday, November 11
Time: 10:30am-12:00pm
Place: Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley
Cost: $30 per family
Register here.

Patralineal Jews: Navigating the Jewish World & Keeping Your Identity Strong
Are you the child of a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother? At some point in life patrilineal Jews usually are told, “You know you’re not really Jewish, right?” Let’s talk about how to be a confident Jew even if others don’t affirm your identity. Share your stories and ideas with others. Join us for coffee at We’ll offer you an array of approaches for dealing to unwanted comments.

Date: Sunday, Nov. 12
Time: 10:30am to noon
Place: Café Dejena 3939 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Oakland
Free, but preregistration is requested.
Sign up here.

Folktales from Around the World
Join us for a magical storytelling experience with Muriel Johnson, telling folktales related to themes from the current exhibition Jewish Folktales Retold: Artist as Maggid.

Date: Sunday, November 12
Time: 11:30am-12:00pm
Place: Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., San Francisco
Cost: FREE with regular admission as follows: Members and youth 18 and under, Free; General Admission, $14; Students with a valid ID and Seniors, $12.
http://www.thecjm.org

Community Kristallnacht Commemoration
If you are a bystander and witness a crime, should intervention to prevent that crime be a legal obligation? Or is moral responsibility enough? Law professor Amos Guiora, the former Commander of Israel’s School of Military Law, examines these profound questions from a deeply personal and legal perspective, focusing on the Holocaust and then exploring cases in contemporary society.

Date: Sunday, November 12
Time: 3pm
Place: B’nai Tikvah, 25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek
Admission is free. Open to the public.
www.bshalom.org
Co-sponsored by the Israel and World Jewry Committee.

Imaginary Comforts, or The Story of the Ghost of the Dead Rabbit
Join us this fall for Berkeley Rep’s new play by Daniel Handler, AKA Lemony Snicket, that “celebrates ordinary people trying to make sense out of life in the midst of endless, comedic chaos.” The play is described this way,

The genius behind Lemony Snicket brings his relentlessly mischievous style to a new play for adults. Sarah’s father is dead, her mother is in hysterics, and the new rabbi totally bungled the funeral. To further the absurdity, the ghost of a rabbit hops into her life, pushing her to confront her deepest issues. Fantastical and wise, hilarious and sobering.

Jews have often felt that life is chaotic, sometimes comic, sometimes tragic. Join Rabbi Chester to reflect on how Judaism makes sense of life that often feels nonsensical.

Date: Thursday, Nov. 16
Time: 7:30 to 9pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Cost: Free to Temple Sinai members; $10 to the public
Register here.

Peninsula Sinai & Ramah Community Shabbat Dinner
Celebrating Jewish camps!
Join us for a delicious community Shabbat dinner at 6:15 pm co-hosted by Peninula Sinai Congregation and Camp Ramah. This is a great opportunity to learn about and connect with the Ramah community! After dinner, stay for a spirited and music-filled Shabbat Sovev led by our clergy.

Date: Friday, November 17
Time: 6:15pm
Place: Peninsula Sinai Congregation, 499 Boothbay Ave., Foster City
Cost: $5 for non-members, free for members
Please RSVP here
https://www.peninsulasinai.org

November Community Shabbat Dinner
Come celebrate Shabbat!
Prior to Shabbat services, we invite you to come for a potluck dinner. This is a wonderful opportunity to eat great food and connect with the Beth Emek community.
As with many of Beth Emek’s best events, the Community Shabbat Dinner relies on community volunteers for its success. We appreciate all participants helping at the end of the meal by putting away tables and chairs and assisting in kitchen clean-up.
Please RSVP by 3:00 pm on Friday, November 17.
Feel free to bring your own bottle of wine to go with dinner.
Please contact the CBE office if you have any questions at 931-1055.

Date: Friday, November 17
Time: 6:15pm
Place: Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton
Here is the sign-up sheet for what folks are invited to bring.

Glitter Kabbalat Shabbat and Trans Day of Remembrance & Resistance
Glitter Kehilla invites the community to join us for our annual Shabbat observance that centers and honors the resilience of the trans community and remembers lives lost to anti-trans violence. We will be collecting tzedakah for the Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex Justice Project (TGI Justice Project).

Date: Friday, November 17
Time: 7:30pm
Place: Kehilla Synagogue, 1300 Grand Ave., Piedmont
Details here.

A Benefit Performance for North Bay Fire Storm Victims
An Evening of Wine and Music with Award-winning Singer and Songwriter Steve Seskin
Steve Seskin, singer-songwriter and acoustical guitar player, will perform and all proceeds from the evening will go to the Jewish Federation of East Bay North Bay Wildfire Emergency Relief Fund.
“Steve Seskin is an electrifying performer. His voice has a natural lilt that can’t be learned,” writes Joel Selvin in the San Francisco Chronicle; he is “a really exceptional talent,” says Alan Lewis in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. His “presentation is simple, affective, and effective,” writes Jim Carnes in the Sacramento Bee.

Our neighbors in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake and other counties in the North Bay, suffered from devastating wildfires with loss of residences and lives. Temple Beth Hillel provides its support to fire victims by donating all the proceeds from the Steve Seskin Benefit concert to the North Bay Wildfire EmergencyRelief Fund. Please join us for an evening of wine and music. Details here.

Date: Saturday, November 18
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Temple Beth Hillel, 801 Park Central (Hilltop exit off I-80), Richmond
Cost: Admission is $18 and any extra amount you would like to donate at the door.
To make your reservations: call 510-223-2560 or email alisby@tbhrichmond.org.

Is Judaism a Religion?
Is Judaism a religion, and if so, how is it similar to, and different from, other religions? Join UCSC Professor Nathaniel Deutsch as he explores when and why Jews, themselves, began to adopt the category of “Judaism” to describe the basis of their collective identity.

Date: Sunday, November 19
Time: 10:00 am
Place: Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma, Palo Alto
www.etzchayim.org

Shabbat Hallelu Service
Welcome in Shabbat with joyous singing and music with Elana Jagoda Kaye and the Hallelu Band. Elana Jagoda Kaye is a local star; people love her music. This is a great way to experience Peninsula Temple Beth El.

Date: Fri, December 1
Time: 7:15pm – 8:15pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Beth El, 1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo
http://www.ptbe.org

Making Shabbat Your Own: Shabbat Candlesticks
Come make Shabbat candlesticks from metal foil, discuss how to make the celebration of Shabbat work for yourself or your family, and learn the “Secret of Shabbat!” While discussing Shabbat we will explore lots of options for decorating our candlesticks: emboss lines, attach beads, add color, and cut decorative holes for the light to shine through. No artistic talent or prior knowledge required to create incredible candlesticks. Appropriate for age 8 and up. Join Claire Sherman, artist and mensch for this fun filled workshop.

Date: Dec. 3
Time: 10am to noon
Place: Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Ave., Berkeley
Cost: $20
Register here

Interfaith Shabbat
with the Islamic Center of North Marin and Mill Valley with keynote speaker Imam Fasih
Last year Rodef Sholom hosted the Islamic Centers of North Marin and Mill Valley for a wonderful service of sharing stories and getting to know our neighbors’ faith. Since then we have joined in each other’s homes for conversations and learning. Imam Fasih serves as Imam for the Islamic Center of North Marin community. He is an active member of the Marin Interfaith Council and travels extensively as a visiting scholar to Muslim communities throughout the United States.

Potluck dinner to follow. Please bring a vegetarian dish for approximately eight to share.

Date: Friday, December 8
Time: 6:15 pm
Place: Rodef Sholom, 170 North San Pedro Rd., San Rafael
https://rodefsholom.org

Chanukah Shabbat w/Mizmor Band
Join us for a special Shabbat service with Chanukah celebration and sing along with our Mizmor Band. Remember to bring your chanukiyah to light!

Date: Friday, December 15
Time: 6pm Oneg and 6:30pm Service
Place: Temple Isaiah, 925 Risa Rd., Lafayette
www.temple-isaiah.org

Hanukkah Celebration
Join our community Hanukkah celebration including music, latkes, arts and crafts, and menorah lighting. This is a child-friendly celebration for people of all ages.

Date: Dec. 15
Time: 6 to 7:30pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Free
www.oaklandsinai.org

Mizmor Shir! Service Friday Night Live!
A musical Shabbat service featuring Cantor Keys and the Mizmor Shir! musicians which include: piano, guitar, mandolin, flute, saxophone, clarinet, drums and other percussive instruments. This service features congregational melodies and eclectic, contemporary music which compliment the creative service booklet compiled by Rabbi Mates-Muchin specifically for this service.

Date: Dec. 15
Time: 7:30 to 8:30pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Free
www.oaklandsinai.org

Jews of Color: Taking Charge of Your Jewish Identity
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 Chanukah, Christmas, Community Activities, Current Programs, Holidays, Jewish holidays at home
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Anti Semitism

Being an interfaith couple doesn’t protect you from anti-Semitism, not in Nazi Germany, not in America. Having one partner who is NOT a Jew doesn’t prevent people from hating the Jewish members of your family, and even hating the person who loves Jews. Sadly there has been a spike in anti-Semitism in the bay area. Several families have contacted me asking for help. A couple of them said the problem was in their public school. There will be a program next week in San Rafael about Jewish kids in public schools. The Marin Jewish Community Center is hosting a program with the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC). The RSVP link goes to a Facebook event. If you are not on Facebook contact the JCRC to get more information or to ask for help in your own community.

Jewish Students, Public Schools
Resources & Tools for Addressing Anti-Semitism, Intolerance & Bias
In the wake of Charlottesville, and in response to the J Weekly article about rising anti-Semitism in Bay Area schools, the Osher Marin JCC and the Jewish Community Relations Council is hosting a program designed to provide parents with the tools and resources to be advocates, resources and proactive partners in addressing challenges facing school age children and schools in Marin. Free event. For more information and to RSVP go to https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/JCRCSanFrancisco/schools.html

Date: Wednesday, October 25
Time: 7-8:30pm
Place: Center for Jewish Peoplehood, 200 N. San Pedro Rd., San Rafael

EVENTS
Practicing Power (Lafayette)
Pumpkin Carving (Foster City)
Jewish Meditation (Oakland)
Parenting and Grandparenting in an Interfaith Family (Pleasanton)
Introduction to Judaism (San Mateo)
Family & Friends Shabbat (San Francisco)
Patralineal Jews & Identity (Oakland)

Practicing Power: How to Think Jewishly About Accomplishing Anything Together
What comes to mind when you hear the word “power”?
Is it good, bad, or ugly?
Join Rabbi LeVine for a special three-part course examining the concept of power, what Judaism has to say about it, and how to practice power more effectively.

While attending all three sessions will allow you to make the most of the learning, please feel free to join for just one or two sessions as well.

Dates: Sundays, October 22, 29 and November 5
Time: 11:15am
Meets at the Contra Costa Jewish Day School, across from Temple Isaiah, 945 Risa Road, Lafayette
Offered by Temple Isaiah
Please RSVP to daniella@temple-isaiah.org or call (925) 284-9191.

Pumpkin Carving
(BYOP – Bring your own Pumpkin)
Please join us at the park for a little bit of fun in the sun before winter creeps in. This kid-friendly event will be fun for all ages. Don’t forget to bring your own pumpkin and cutting tools. Card games and light snacks will be provided.
RSVP to karenbberman@gmail.com if you are interested.

Date: Thursday, October 26
Time: 4:30-6:00pm
Place: Catamaran Park, 479 – 499 Catamaran St, Foster City
Sponsored by Peninsula Sinai Congregation, 499 Boothbay Ave., Foster City
www.peninsulasinai.org

Jewish Meditation
Please join us to chant, meditate, learn and share together in community. Open to everyone, absolutely no previous experience required.

Meditation supports the practice of presence. It boosts your immune system, calms your nerves, and helps us stay connected with what is most important.

The evening will be facilitated by Temple Beth Abraham member Jueli Garfinkle who is certified and been teaching Jewish meditation since 2004. Jueli’s classes are based on the Jewish mystical tradition and calendar, and always include meaningful everyday practices to cultivate presence, joy, and connection. She leads ongoing meditation groups, workshops, and retreats throughout the Bay Area, as well as meets one-on-one with individuals to provide support and guidance.

Dates: Thursday, Oct 26, Nov 16, Jan 18, 2018, Feb 22, March 22, April 19, May 26
Time: 7 pm to 8:30 pm
Place: Temple Beth Abraham, 327 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland
Cost: $18 cash or check for each session
Please RSVP by email jueligarfinkle@gmail.com, if you know you are planning to attend. Walk-ins always welcome!
www.tbaoakland.org

Parenting and Grandparenting in an Interfaith Family
Techniques for listening and talking to adult children
Your child has married a non-Jewish person, maybe a Christian. Possibly they have not yet determined whether to have a Jewish home. The question of children may also be up in the air. You know that any children they have are THEIR children but you hope to impart some of your Jewish identity to your grandchildren. How can you talk to your own child and child-in-law about your desire while respecting them as parents? What is reasonable to say or request? How do you open the conversation?

Join other grandparents and Dawn Kepler to discuss this delicate conversation and come away with ideas for being the fabulous grandparent you know you can be!

Date: Monday, Oct. 30
Time: 7 – 9pm
Place: Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Ct, Pleasanton
Free, preregistration required.
Please register here

Introduction to Judaism
Join this 12-week course taught by Rabbis Dennis Eisner, Sara Mason-Barkin, and Lisa Kingston. This course is for anyone who wants to learn more about Judaism. Course will cover life cycles, holidays, culture, and belief. Text: Living Judaism by Wayne Dosick.

Dates: Thursdays, November 2, 9, 16, 30; December 7, 14; January 11, 18, 25; February 1, 8, 15
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Beth El 1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo
Cost: Public/$180 and members are free
www.ptbe.org

Family & Friends Shabbat
The whole family is invited to a short, joyful monthly Shabbat service led by Isaac Zones and Rabbi Copeland. Bring babies, toddlers, and young school aged kids for music, stories, and dinner.

Isaac Zones is a Bay Area musician specializing in Jewish, spiritual, folk and family music, and has led for years here at Sha’ar Zahav and at Camp Tawonga.

Dates: Friday, Nov 10 & Dec 15
Time: 6:00pm
Place: Sha’ar Zahav, 290 Dolores St., San Francisco
RSVP to education@shaarzahav.org to accommodate for dinner. Thank you!
www.shaarzahav.org

Patralineal Jews: Navigating the Jewish World & Keeping Your Identity Strong
Are you the child of a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother? At some point in life patrilineal Jews usually are told, “You know you’re not really Jewish, right?” Let’s talk about how to be a confident Jew even if others don’t affirm your identity. Share your stories and ideas with others. Join us for coffee at We’ll offer you an array of approaches for dealing to unwanted comments.

Date: Sunday, Nov. 12
Time: 10:30am to noon
Place: Café Dejena 3939 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Oakland
Free, but preregistration is required.
Sign up here

Posted by admin under Community, Current Programs
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Carly and her mom

Parenting and Grandparenting in an Interfaith Family
Techniques for listening and talking to adult children

Your child has married a non-Jewish person, maybe a Christian. Possibly they have not yet determined whether to have a Jewish home. The question of children may also be up in the air. You know that any children they have are THEIR children but you hope to impart some of your Jewish identity to your grandchildren. How can you talk to your own child and child-in-law about your desire while respecting them as parents? What is reasonable to say or request? How do you open the conversation?

Join other grandparents and Dawn Kepler to discuss this delicate conversation and come away with ideas for being the fabulous grandparent you know you can be!

Date: Monday, Oct. 30
Time: 7 – 9pm
Place: Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Ct, Pleasanton
Free, preregistration required.
Please register here.

Posted by admin under Current Programs, Grandparents, Parenting
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Fall 2017 Programs

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.

Carly and her mom

Parenting and Grandparenting in an Interfaith Family
Techniques for listening and talking to adult children

Your child has married a non-Jewish person, maybe a Christian. Possibly they have not yet determined whether to have a Jewish home. The question of children may also be up in the air. You know that any children they have are THEIR children but you hope to impart some of your Jewish identity to your grandchildren. How can you talk to your own child and child-in-law about your desire while respecting them as parents? What is reasonable to say or request? How do you open the conversation?

Join other grandparents and Dawn Kepler to discuss this delicate conversation and come away with ideas for being the fabulous grandparent you know you can be!

Date: Monday, Oct. 30
Time: 7 – 9pm
Place: Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Ct, Pleasanton
Free, preregistration required.
Please register here.

Michella Ore
Patralineal Jews: Navigating the Jewish World & Keeping Your Identity Strong
Are you the child of a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother? At some point in life patrilineal Jews usually are told, “You know you’re not really Jewish, right?” Let’s talk about how to be a confident Jew even if others don’t affirm your identity. Share your stories and ideas with others. Join us for coffee at We’ll offer you an array of approaches for dealing to unwanted comments.

Date: Sunday, Nov. 12
Time: 10:30am to noon
Place: Café Dejena 3939 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Oakland
Free, but preregistration is required.
Sign up here.

Imaginary Comforts

Imaginary Comforts


Imaginary Comforts, or The Story of the Ghost of the Dead Rabbit
Join us this fall for Berkeley Rep’s new play by Daniel Handler, AKA Lemony Snicket, that “celebrates ordinary people trying to make sense out of life in the midst of endless, comedic chaos.” The play is described this way,

The genius behind Lemony Snicket brings his relentlessly mischievous style to a new play for adults. Sarah’s father is dead, her mother is in hysterics, and the new rabbi totally bungled the funeral. To further the absurdity, the ghost of a rabbit hops into her life, pushing her to confront her deepest issues. Fantastical and wise, hilarious and sobering.

Jews have often felt that life is chaotic, sometimes comic, sometimes tragic. Join Rabbi Chester to reflect on how Judaism makes sense of life that often feels nonsensical.

Date: Thursday, Nov. 16
Time: 7:30 to 9pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Cost: Free to Temple Sinai members; $10 to the public
Register here.

Making Shabbat Your Own: Shabbat Candlesticks
Come make Shabbat candlesticks from metal foil, discuss how to make the celebration of Shabbat work for yourself or your family, and learn the “Secret of Shabbat!” While discussing Shabbat we will explore lots of options for decorating our candlesticks: emboss lines, attach beads, add color, and cut decorative holes for the light to shine through. No artistic talent or prior knowledge required to create incredible candlesticks. Appropriate for age 8 and up. Join Claire Sherman, artist and mensch for this fun filled workshop.

Date: Dec. 3
Time: 10am to noon
Place: Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Ave., Berkeley
Cost: $20
Register here.

Raising Kids in an Interfaith Family
As partners and parents we want the best for each member of our family. Does that mean putting our relationship before the children? Can’t we give equally to our partner and our kids?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to love and parenting in any family, including interfaith families. Together we will look at balancing competing needs and how to sketch out a plan for your family’s choices. We’ll touch on the December holidays too.

Date: Dec. 10
Time: 10:30am to 12noon
Place: Temple Israel, 3183 Mecartney Rd, Alameda
Free, but please RSVP to dawn@buildingjewishbridges.org so that I’ll know how many to expect. Thanks!
https://templeisraelalameda.org

Jews of Color: Taking Charge of Your Jewish Identity
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 Adult Child of an Interfaith Family, Current Programs, Jewish holidays at home, Jews of Color, Sukkot
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Imaginary Comforts

Imaginary Comforts

Once again we go to a local theater production and then take a Jewish look at the play. That won’t be difficult with this comedy from Daniel Handler. See the play before – or after – the class.

Imaginary Comforts, or the Story of the Ghost of the Dead Rabbit
Join us this fall for Berkeley Rep’s new play by Daniel Handler, AKA Lemony Snicket, that “celebrates ordinary people trying to make sense out of life in the midst of endless, comedic chaos.”
The play is described this way:
The genius behind Lemony Snicket brings his relentlessly mischievous style to a new play for adults. Sarah’s father is dead, her mother is in hysterics, and the new rabbi totally bungled the funeral. To further the absurdity, the ghost of a rabbit hops into her life, pushing her to confront her deepest issues. Fantastical and wise, hilarious and sobering.
Jews have often felt that life is chaotic, sometimes comic, sometimes tragic.

Join Rabbi Chester to reflect on how Judaism makes sense of life that often feels nonsensical.
Imaginary Comforts, or The Story of the Ghost of the Dead Rabbit will be in production at the Berkeley Repertory Theater October 5 – November 19.

Date: Thursday, November 16
Time: 7:30 – 9:00 pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Cost: $10 for the public, Free for Temple Sinai members
Register here.
Do sign up soon, we always get a big turnout.

Posted by admin under Community Activities, Current Programs, Jewish Learning
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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 Current Programs, Sukkot
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One of the hardest things about getting assistance with your interfaith relationship is making the move to ask for that assistance. What the devil will it be LIKE to talk to someone? I thought it would be helpful for you to hear what other folks have said about the experience of working with me. One note, if you are not in the San Francisco Bay Area that’s OK, we can “meet” by Skype or phone. If you do live in the area, we can meet in person OR Skype or phone.

I find it helps to know what someone looks like, so I’m including a photo of myself.

Me with the President  (I thought you should know that I have a sense of humor.)

Me with the President (I thought you should know that I have a sense of humor.)

It is also nice to know what their voice sounds like. If you’d like to hear my voice you can listen to my podcast on finding a rabbi for your wedding. It’s short. Here’s the link.

And now people’s comments on working with me.

COMMENTS

I sought out Dawn’s services after I got engaged because my fiancé, who was Catholic, and I were having trouble navigating what it meant to have a Jewish household and a Jewish wedding. While he had agreed to have a Jewish family, while planning the wedding it became clear that there was not a clear understanding of what that meant and we were having trouble communicating about it. Dawn created a safe space for us to be able to talk about our expectations for raising a family and what it meant to incorporate beliefs and customs that were important to each of us. She provided us with great resources, including books, events, and people to talk to. The experience was invaluable, and I can’t thank her enough for the clarity she brought to the relationship. I would recommend her services (which I have) in a heartbeat!
H, San Francisco

Thanks Dawn. You were such a big part of us growing in our relationship. I can’t say that the time before being engaged was easy. Ah, waiting and not knowing where we were headed and trying to figure out some major stuff. Phew, it was intense at times. But I know I speak for both me and Mike, you really helped us navigate some hard questions and know how to talk about them with each other. There were so many times we just didn’t even know what questions to be asking but wanted to be proactive in exploring deeper in our relationship. You really challenged us and allowed for more open honest discussion.
H & B, San Francisco

We wish we were closer to your classes and could have meet in person, but the phone calls did work great. We are so glad we found you via the web.
Now we are so excited to get married and glad we talked through so much early on. It really helped all the holiday drama and concerns we had. Not that this past year was all smooth sailing, but we were more equipped to talk it through and find a solution we both felt comfortable with!

K & M, Colorado

Dawn, I love how you challenge people to be their best selves. I am attending services more regularly – thanks for all you did to help me reach this point.
L, El Cerrito

We miss you so much, Dawn! We wish there were two of you so Denver could be blessed with your presence as well. If you do know of a counterpart to Building Jewish Bridges in Colorado, please send us the info. I have found a few things online but nothing as good as what we had with you.
Love, S & P – from Berkeley, now in CO.

I want to personally thank you for all that you do to make people like me feel welcome at the “Jewish table.” Words cannot describe what a difference it has made. In fact, part of why we wanted to have a child was to bring another Jew into the world. We’re excited to learn about Judaism ourselves, so that we may teach our kiddo.
I & S in San Francisco

Thank you for the meeting yesterday. You really provided us with incredibly helpful context and perspective. We have much to sort through but feel that we now have many more guideposts. We also appreciate your open style, from welcoming us into your home, to being direct and sharing personal stories.
B & N Oakland

Posted by admin under Current Programs, Finding a Synagogue, In their own words, Weddings
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2 adults talking

Are you interested in an interfaith/intercultural couples discussion group for couples not planning to have children? I’m planning a group in the Berkeley/Oakland area. Call if you’re interested in participating.

Dawn – 510-845-6420 x11
4 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 families about our choices?
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.
There is a sliding scale. NO ONE turned away. Tell me you work evenings but don’t tell me it’s the money because we can make it work.

Posted by admin under Couples, Current Programs
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Love Valentine

Some people just are not “group” people. They want to have the same conversatons about the key questions in an interfaith/intercultural home but they want to have that conversation in private. For those of you in this category Let’s Talk “Interfaith” is a better option. The two of you meet with me, Dawn, for three 1.5 hour sessions to cover topics like: How will we interact with our families? Where will we go for which holidays? Which holidays will we have in our home? How do we feel about each other’s religious and/or cultural tradition and how will we share them? What about children? We will focus on the topics you feel are most important to you.

Cost is $120 for the three sessions. Or we can schedule individual one hour sessions and see how many meetings you want. These are $50 a meeting.

The first session is always free so you can determine whether this is something you want to do and whether you feel comfortable. I also do skype sessions with people who are unable to come in. No one turned away for lack of funds. Sessions to be scheduled to fit your home and work life.
Call or email me.

profile

Thanks Dawn. You were such a big part of us growing in our relationship. I can’t say that the time before being engaged was easy. Ah, waiting and not knowing where we were headed and trying to figure out some major stuff. Phew, it was intense at times. But I know I speak for both me and M, you really helped us navigate some hard questions and know how to talk about them with each other. There were so many times we just didn’t even know what questions to be asking but wanted to be proactive in exploring deeper in our relationship. You really challenged us and allowed for more open honest discussion.

We wish we were closer to your classes and could have meet in person, but the phone calls did work great. We are so glad we found you via the web.
— K & M, Colorado

Posted by admin under Couples, Current Programs, In their own words
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