lemons & blossoms

It’s JUNE! Summer brings big changes to Jewish institutions and synagogues. You’d think it were the year 100 and we were all farmers again. There are very few holidays in the summer, Hebrew school is closed, rabbis go on vacation, apparently Jews are tending their gardens and flocks. However, many synagogues take advantage of the good weather and have outdoor Shabbat services on Friday nights and Shabbat in the Park or the Woods for Saturday mornings. This is a lovely time to visit synagogues and get to meet some members and the clergy. Go “shul shopping” if you don’t have a synagogue or are seeking a change. Take a look at some of the alternative services I’ve listed below and if you don’t see one near you – email me. I’ll find some. Next week I’ll send you info about some of the alternative Jewish organizations you can explore. (If you are currently involved with one of them – like Urban Adamah or The Kitchen – let me know what you think of them.)

BIG NEWS: As you recall my program belongs to Lehrhaus Judaica and we are located in the same building as the UC Berkeley Hillel in Berkeley. Well, the decision has been made to redo the foundation of our building and do a remodel too. So we all moved OUT of the building on Bancroft Way and have temporary offices being set up in Albany. During our transition next week the best way to reach me is by email. Once we’ve settled in at the temporary building and our phones are turned on, I’ll let you know.

Happy Summer and Shabbat Shalom!

EVENTS
Pride Shabbat (San Rafael)
Torah with Soul (San Rafael)
The Home I Love: Cabaret from Berlin to Tel Aviv (San Francisco)
Welcome Shabbat Outdoors (Los Altos)
Story Shabbat (Pleasanton)
This is Bay Area Jewry: Photo Essays on the Changing Nature of Our Community (San Rafael)
Bagels & Babies (Tiburon)
Outdoor Potluck Shabbat Dinner (Redwood City)
Grief and Growing Weekend (Santa Rosa)

Pride Shabbat
Join us for our Pride Shabbat – a celebration of LGBTQ Jews, friends, allies and their families. Services will include liturgical additions, musical celebration, special readings for Pride and speakers from our Rodef Sholom community. Everyone is welcome at this important Shabbat where we celebrate our shared commitment to justice and community!

Date: Friday, June 2
Time: 5:45 pre-oneg, 6:15 pm Shabbat service
Place: Rodef Sholom, 170 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael
www.rodefsholom.org

Torah with Soul
Whether you are a Torah veteran, or completely new to Torah, all are welcome. Shabbat by Shabbat, we will study the weekly parsha, based on the third year of the triennial cycle. Additionally, time permitting, we’ll continue our study of the Book of Psalms. On the third Saturday of each month, weather permitting, Torah with Soul becomes Torah on the Trails, where we take a short hike on a local trail before studying Torah surrounded by nature. To be added to the Torah with Soul and/or Torah on the Trails email lists, please contact Molly at molly@rodefsholom.org.

Dates: Most Saturdays
Time: 9:15 am
Place: Rodef Sholom, 170 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael
www.rodefsholom.org

The Home I Love: Cabaret from Berlin to Tel Aviv
Join us as Emanu-El hosts a concert event in honor of the German Consul General Stefan Schlüter’s service to the Bay Area community! Cabret and Jazz singers, Karen Kohler and Noa Levy will be joined by pianist, Tracy Stark.

Date; Wednesday, June 7
Time: 6:30 pm Check-in
Place: Emanu-El (Martin Meyer Sanctuary), 2 Lake Street, San Francisco
RSVP for this free concert via email at paconsul@sanf.diplo.de
Attendance is free and open to the community. We look forward to seeing you there!
www.emanuelsf.org

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

Dates: June 9, 16, 23, 30
Time: 6:15pm
Place: Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills
www.betham.org

Story Shabbat
Bring your young children or grandchildren to celebrate and observe Shabbat in a service and program that is designed for families with children ages 3-7.
We begin the morning with a developmentally appropriate, music-filled service and a story relating to the weekly Torah portion. After the 20-minute service, we join for motzi and kiddush before enjoying a luncheon together. We conclude with a project for the children and some outside time (weather permitting). It’s a great opportunity to get our youngest friends excited about Shabbat!

Date: Saturday, June 10
Time: 10:30am
Place: Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Ct, Pleasanton
For more information about Story Shabbat, contact Anna Kalman at prekyouth@bethemek.org

This is Bay Area Jewry: Photo Essays on the Changing Nature of Our Community
Lehrhaus Judaica and Building Jewish Bridges present a photo essay exhibition showcasing the range of diversity in our community. The exhibition features 16 intimate portraits of individuals and families (including longtime Rodef Sholom congregants, the Giacomini family) from a variety of backgrounds and levels of religious observance. The project is a combination of photographs and written profiles, shedding light on the unparalleled Bay Area Jewish community.

The exhibition will be on display June 1 – August 31. Click here for more information.
Opening event: Tuesday, June 13, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Place: Osher Marin JCC, 200 N San Pedro Rd, San Rafael
www.marinjcc.org

Bagels & Babies
Kids under the age of 18 months should bring their parents for this fun chance to nosh, schmooze, exchange parenting tips & have some special baby play time.

Date: Friday, July 7
Time: 11:30am – 12:30pm
Place: Kol Shofar, 215 Blackfield Drive, Tiburon
www.kolshofar.org

Outdoor Potluck Shabbat Dinner
Join us for a potluck dairy Shabbat dinner, followed by a beautiful, outdoor musical service.

Date: July 14
Time: 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Place: Beth Jacob, 1550 Alameda de las Pulgas, Redwood City
RSVP to Rebecca@bethjacobrwc.org

Grief and Growing Weekend
Now in its 21st year, the retreat is professionally guided by griefcare specialists, providing a supportive Jewish environment where people of all ages and backgrounds can meet and work with those who have experienced similar losses. For more information and to register, visit www.jewishhealingcenter.org

Dates: September 15 – 17
Place: Camp Newman, Santa Rosa
https://jewishhealingcenter.org

Posted by admin under Community, Community Activities, Current Programs
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This is Bay Area Jewry: Photo Essays on the Changing Nature of our Community
Lehrhaus Judaica and Building Jewish Bridges present a photo essay exhibition showcasing the range of diversity in our community. The exhibition features 16 intimate portraits of individuals and families from a variety of backgrounds and levels of religious observance — from the North and South Peninsulas, San Francisco, Oakland/Berkeley, Contra Costa, and Marin. The project is a combination of photographs and written profiles, shedding light on the unparalleled Bay Area Jewish community. Each person, couple or family profiled has loved ones who are not Jewish. The reality of Bay Area Jewry is that we are all touched by our non-Jewish family members. We invite you to meet these unique individuals – born Jewish and converts, LGBT Jews, and multicultural Jews all take center stage. Their paths to Judaism and spiritual connections may differ, but they are all Jewish.

Opening Event — Tuesday, June 13, 7-9 pm
Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael

Join us for a reception with refreshments. There will be a tour of the exhibit at 7:15 pm. At 7:45, three of the participants will be in conversation with Dawn Kepler, discussing why they participated and what they hope to communicate to the Jewish community. There will be time to mingle and talk.

The exhibition will be on view June 1 to August 31 at the Osher Marin JCC.

Posted by admin under Adult Child of an Interfaith Family, Current Programs, Intercultural, Jews of Color
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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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