Sunday at the Pride Parade Keshet organized the synagogues to march together. There was LOTS of gaiety and exuberance. Rabbis around the bay are encouraging their LGBT members to give them a call and set a date for their wedding. Looking for a rabbi to officiate at your LGBT — and interfaith wedding? Give me a call! Dawn at 510-845-6420 x11.

Let the celebrations begin!

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This is Pride Week in the San Francisco Bay and Building Jewish Bridges is proud to support LGBTQ Jews and their partners. Our local Jewish population studies found that the vast majority of gay Jews who are in relationships are in interfaith relationships. BJB welcomes LGBTQ couples to all our programs.

To get involved in the local LGBTQ Jewish community look at Keshet’s website.

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Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community
How can transgender people live Jewish lives when many of their significant life choices might be considered ‘un-kosher’? How do transgender Jews navigate gendered Jewish rituals such as burial and conversion?

Balancing on the Mechitza, winner of a Lambda Literary Award, is an anthology by scholars, activists, theologians and others, both transgender and non-transgender allies, who share their interpretations of classical Jewish texts about ambiguous bodies, as well as their stories of Jewish prayer, ritual, and social life.

Nov. 1
JCC East Bay, Oakland site, 5811 Racine St., Oakland
$7 public; $5 for JCC members
Register here.

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Pride-B-Que Shabbat
In honor of GLBT Pride and Freedom, you and your friends, family, kids, parents – along with the rest of Beth El are invited to our first annual Pride-B-Que on Saturday, June 23, 2012. Following our gay and festive Shabbat morning service – with special readings and music for the festival – we will gather under the oak trees for a Pride-B-Q picnic lunch, featuring veggie burgers, mahi-mahi burgers, kosher hot dogs and all the sides…

Date: June 23
Time: Shabbat morning services start at 10:15 (but the Prideful stuff will start around 11) and the Pride-B-Q will commence at around noon.
Place: Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley

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Lost in the Garment District: Jews, Gender, Dress-Up, and Drag

Streisand, Hoffman, Drescher, along with Fierstein, Busch, and Angels in America. Oy vey! Between cross-dressing, drag, and a flair for the dramatic, these Jewish artists re-visit old Jewish stories with new Jewish twists. With film clips and conversation, come explore the private parts and public performance of Jewish Gender! Led by Sasha T. Goldberg and Rabbi David Dunn Bauer. Co-sponsored by Keshet and Nehirim

Thursday, June 21
7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
JCC East Bay, Oakland Branch, 5811 Racine Street, Oakland
$8 General, $6 Member, Senior Discount
Buy Tickets online:

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Abi & Andy with their kids


Voices From Our Community Imagining What’s Next

Activists, environmentalists, single mothers, Israelis, interfaith couples, Jews of color, spiritual seekers, grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, adopted, transgendered – describe anyone you know?

Join us Sunday, Feb. 26, from 1-5 p.m. at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto. I am proud to have helped find community members to speak about their different identities, lives and approaches to Judaism. Come hear short presentations providing a glimpse of the future of our diverse and changing Bay Area Jewish community. $15/adv, $25/door. Register online or call 510-845-6420.

Posted by admin under Adult Child of an Interfaith Family, Children, Community, Conversion, Couples, Jewish Culture, Jews of Color, LGBT, Past Programs
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Did you know that some people don’t know that you can convert to Judaism? Others figure you can’t convert if you’re gay. Wrong!

Join a panel of LGBTQ folks who have converted to Judaism to learn about their process, their questions and worries. Also, how is it working out being a gay/bi/or transgendered Jew? They will discuss congregational life and Jewish communal life and the San Francisco Bay Area. Bring your own questions, we’ll bring the noshes.

Date: Nov. 3
Time: 7:30 to 9:15pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Co-Sponsored by the Outreach & Out-and-About Committees.

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Audience at the Asian & Jewish program

This coming week of programs range pretty widely. A panel on LGBT folks who have converted to Judaism. A panel of people who are Black and Jewish, a Tot Shabbat program for preschool age kids. You may not be gay or lesbian, you may not be Black, you may not have preschoolers, but I’m betting that you know people who fit these categories. Please share these programs with them.

Gay? Lesbian? Considering Conversion?
About the conversion program – I got 4 emails in the course of 10 days saying essentially, I want to convert… but I’m gay. That word ‘but’ needs to come out of the sentence. LGBT folks need to know they can convert and they need to hear from those who have. The panel will include a trangendered person because that path has additional questions about things like who goes to the mikvah with me if I’m transitioning from female to male? However, even if you’re straight, there will be plenty of information on conversion worth knowing. (program below)

Black or Mixed Race and Jewish?
Last Sunday’s program on Asian and Jewish was fantastic. I can’t remember how many people came up to me, emailed me, or called to say it was the best program they’ve attended. Most of the audience was white, but we covered many other variations on race and identity. Please join us for these powerful discussions of identity for adults and children in mixed race, Jewish families. (program below)

Another blending of Jewish and Black to create something special is the musical program, Black Sabbath at the East Bay JCC.

I got an email from a woman volunteering to be on a panel on Hispanic and Jewish. I have not scheduled such a program but I think I have to do that now. Thought? Volunteers?

Let me know what YOU think.

B’shalom/in peace,

LGBT and Converting to Judaism Panel (Oakland)
Rock ‘n Roll Shabbat (Oakland)
Tot Shabbat (San Rafael)
An Evening of Wine, Cheese and Music (Richmond)
Black & Jewish (Oakland)
God Talk (Berkeley)
Black Sabbath: The Secret Musical History of Black-Jewish Relations (Berkeley)
Moroccan Jewish Cuisine (San Francisco)

LGBT and Converting to Judaism Panel
Join a panel of LGBTQ folks who have converted to Judaism to learn about their process, their questions and worries. Also, how is it working out being a gay/bi/or transgendered Jew? They will discuss congregational life and Jewish communal life and the San Francisco Bay Area. Bring your own questions, we’ll bring the noshes.

Date: Nov. 3
Time: 7:30 to 9:15pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Co-Sponsored by the Outreach & Out-and-About Committees.

Rock ‘n Roll Shabbat
Yes, it’s time to rock ‘n roll with Rabbi Mark Bloom and his band! If you want to stick around for a Family Shabbat Dinner after services you can RSVP, pay and join everyone for a delicious catered dinner.

Date: Friday, November 4
Time: 6:15pm
Place: Beth Abraham,
Cost: $18 per adult, $7 per child, (4 years old and under are free)
Please note if vegetarian dinner is requested
RSVP to by November 1
Payment: Mail a check, or charge to a credit card. Call the office at 510-
(Virginia’s email response is your confirmation)

Tot Shabbat
Jonathan Bayer, the rock star for the pre-school crowd, will be using movement and song to introduce young children to Shabbat morning services. Come with your child or grandchild and learn developmentally appropriate Jewish rituals and prayers that you can take home. Hear an interactive story and experience Shabbat in a new way, whether you are new to Jewish prayer or ready to help Jonathan lead! No RSVP necessary. Everyone welcome!

Date: Saturday, November 5
Time: 9:30am
Place: Rodef Sholom, 170 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael

An Evening of Wine, Cheese and Music
Enjoy the acclaimed Diablo Theatre Company STARS 2000 performing songs from Fiddler on the Roof and other Broadway shows.
Listen to the melodic styling of Saxophonist Dave Alt playing musical compositions from Motown to Big Band sounds and Jewish melodies.
Join us for a lively, social evening! Bring your friends, and wine or spirits to share. A suggested donation of $10 or more would be greatly appreciated.

Date: Saturday, November 5
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Place: Temple Beth Hillel, 801 Park Central, Richmond

Black & Jewish
Hear a panel of local Black Jews (born Jewish or converted) discuss the challenges they meet daily and ways that we, their fellow Jews, can be better advocates, allies, and family members. What are the funny stories? What are the annoying ones? Join us for a thoughtful and intimate conversation about how it feels to be Black and Jewish.

Date: Sunday, November 6
Time: 9:30am
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Please call Dawn for more information at (510) 845-6420 x11.
Co-sponsored by Lehrhaus Judaica.

God Talk
with Rabbi Menachem Creditor
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

Date: Nov. 9
Time: 7:30pm
Place: Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Ave., Berkeley
Co-sponsored by Building Jewish Bridges and Congregation Netivot Shalom

Black Sabbath: The Secret Musical History of Black-Jewish Relations
In contrast to the oft-told story of how Jewish songwriters and publishers of Tin Pan Alley and Broadway transformed Black spirituals, blues, and jazz into the Great American Songbook, scant attention has been paid to the many Black responses to Jewish music, life, and culture; audiences can learn how Black artists treated Jewish music as a resource for African-American identity, history, and politics.

Date: Thursday, November 10
Time: 7:30 pm
Place: JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley
Tickets are $10-$15. For more information, visit
Sponsored by the Jewish Music Festival at the JCC East Bay in Berkeley.

Moroccan Jewish Cuisine
The rich colors and flavors of Moroccan Jewish cuisine developed over a long history in Morocco and are some of the most enticing in Jewish food. Learn how to cook a full meal, including a proper tagine, and enjoy the lesson for lunch.

Date: Friday Dec. 9
Time: 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Place: SF JCC, 3200 California St., San Francisco
Cost: Members $50; non-members $55.

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Pride Parade in San Francisco

Pride Parade in San Francisco

About 2 percent of Americans are Jewish.  Somewhere around 10 – 15 percent are gay, lesbian, transgendered, bisexual.  So how easy is it to be Jewish & gay and find another gay Jew?  You do the math.  It won’t surprise you to learn that most LGBT Jews are in interfaith relationships.  There are things about being interfaith that are standard fare – what will we do about the holidays?  what will our wedding look like?  how will we raise the kids?  where will we find spiritual community?  sometimes I feel weird about how Jewish/Christian/Hindu/secular you are.

Some things are unique to LGBT interfaith relationships.  We have both suffered from prejudice, alienation and rebuff.  We may be worried about our child having a role model from the “other gender.”  Our income tends to be lower than straight couples.  One or both of us may have been rejected by our religious or cultural community.  We feel extra protective of each other and our children.

Would you like to join other LGBT couples to discuss your concerns, hopes and plans?
Contact us about a couples group.

Exploring Interfaith LGBTQ Relationships
Join us for an exploration of key issues that come up for interfaith couples: clarifying values, good communication, relationships with family and friends, finding community, and joyfully sharing each other’s traditions, holidays and religious observances. This class will be a combination of discussion, readings, and guided activities. All genders welcome.

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This Sunday is the Gay Pride Parade.

Jews from around the bay area are all getting together to march as one Jewish community. On both sides of the bay the Jewish Federations are organizing to help people carpool, get the right BART connections and get to the Jewish location in the parade. Lots of synagogues are organizing their members. My congregation has made a T-shirt for the parade and my friend, Susan, is sending out emails to get people organized. They want you to sign up if you’re coming. I plan to go early and have breakfast with the mass of Jews.

If you are interested you can find information at both Federation websites:

I plan to go for the breakfast in SF nice and early to beat the crowds. Plus I’ll get to visit with everyone – as you know I love to see friends! I hope to see you there.

Are you Gay and Interfaith? Here’s a program just for you:

Chosen Family:

A Discussion Series for Interfaith LGBT Couples

with Karen Erlichman and Helena McMahon

Couples with one Jewish partner sometimes face challenging decisions regarding holiday celebrations, spiritual practices and raising children. Interfaith LGBT couples, too, face a unique set of challenges. Join other couples to discuss relationships, community and creating meaningful ritual. Discover new ways to address important and sensitive issues.

All genders welcome.

7 sessions, 7 to 9pm

for dates and fees, contact Helene at 415-292-1252 or email

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