(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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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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Rabbi Adar teaching

Rabbi Adar teaching

It is autumn and the Jewish year will start up very shortly. Along with the new year come all the new BASIC Judaism classes. I am listing all those of which I am aware. Do email me (dawn@buildingjewishbridges.org) to tell me of other BAY AREA basic Judaism classes.

Introduction to Judaism:
Exploring Jewish Beliefs and Practices

Looking for a good foundational knowledge of Judaism? Whether you are in a relationship with a Jew or want to become Jewish or are just plain curious, this is a good starting place. Sherith Israel has provided the following syllabus for the class:

Sept. 13: Introduction to the course and High Holidays: The Meaning of the Shofar with shofar expert Maurice Kamins
— High Holidays / no classes —
Oct. 18: History and texts—Torah to Second Temple period
Oct. 25: History and texts—Second Temple period to modernity
Nov. 1: Theology and belief
Nov. 8: Prayer and liturgy—overview
Nov. 15: Prayer and liturgy—arc of the service
Nov. 29: Calendar and festivals
Dec. 6: Mitzvot—exploring the commandments
Dec. 13: Shabbat
Dec. 20: Kashrut—dietary laws
Jan 10: The Jewish lifecycle
Jan 17: Zionism and Israel
Jan 24: Judaism in contemporary society: Reform, Conservative and Orthodox
Judaism; Responsa; Keeping an ancient tradition relevant
Jan 31: Personal Reflections/What do I believe?
Don’t worry if you miss the very first class; it will mostly be introductions. Contact Allison Green to get started.
FYI: street parking is free in the evening and many take Lyft to Sherith Israel.

Date: Wednesdays September 13, 2017 and then Oct. 18, 2017–Jan. 31, 2018
Time: 6:30–8 pm
Place: Sherith Israel, 2266 California Street, San Francisco
Cost: Free to Sherith Israel members; $180 for nonmembers. Interfaith couples are encouraged to attend together: $180 plus $72 for a second person. Scholarships available. No one turned away for financial reasons.
For more information or to register, contact Allison Green at agreen@sherithisrael.org or 415.346.1720, x 24.
Note: Allison is incredibly nice and will work things out for you. Give her a call.

Exploring Judaism Part One: An Introduction
This course will provide participants with a foundation in the basic tenets of Judaism. The course is organized around the three pillars of Judaism mentioned in the Mishnah: Torah, Prayer, and Acts of Loving Kindness/Social Justice. Within these topics we will also cover the Jewish calendar, Shabbat practice, and deepen our ability to interpret and understand texts. Participants in this class have ranged from 40-year-long members of Rodef Sholom to individuals completely new to Judaism. This class welcomes learners of all ages and levels looking to (re)-ground themselves in the basics of Judaism. Participants will also have the opportunity to experience Shabbat and havdalah together. RSVP to www.rodefsholom.org/rsvp.

Dates: Sunday, September 24; Oct. 8, 15, 22; Nov. 12; Dec. 3, 10, 17
Time: 9:15-10:15am
Place: Marin JCC in the library, 200 N San Pedro Rd, San Rafael
Sponsored by Rodef Sholom, 170 N San Pedro Rd, San Rafael
Free

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, including opportunities for some hands-on practice and 2 field trips. We’ll also cover Jewish understandings of God and religious beliefs, essential Jewish texts, Jewish history, literature, and the significance of Israel in Judaism today.

There are two semesters. You may enroll for just the Fall or for the entire year. Look here for details.
Please note, there was a first class on Sept. 7th but the class will really get underway in October. So don’t hesitate to enroll.

Date: October 5 to Dec. 7
Time: 7:30 to 9pm
Place: Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills
Cost: $245 for the public, reduced rates for members, students and émigrés.
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. Books for the course are TBD; please note that books are not included in the price for the course.

Dates: Sundays, Oct.8 through May 20, 22 sessions*
Time: 10:10-11:10am
Place: Contra Costa Jewish Day School on the Temple Isaiah campus, 945 Risa Rd, Lafayette, Room 207 of the CCJDS Building
Cost: Tuition: $100/ Temple Isaiah members; $250/non-members
*Year-long Course Sundays, Oct 8 through May 20 (No class: 10/29, 11/19, 11/26, 12/17, 12/24, 12/31, 1/14, 2/18, 4/1, 4/8, 5/13)
Details and enrollment here.

Introduction to Judaism
An overview of the Jewish life-cycle, holidays, and ritual. During the course of the year, students will gain an understanding of Jewish belief, history and calendar and gain exposure to important Jewish books including the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud. Each session includes thirty minutes of Hebrew instruction. Sessions will rotate among local synagogues and the APJCC based on which rabbi is teaching.

Date: October 10, 2017 to May 1, 2018
Time: 7:00 to 8:30pm
Place: Classes rotate between synagogues and the JCC.
Cost: $180 for a set of books. A couple who buys only one set will pay only $180.
Details and registration here.
For more information, please contract rabbihugh@apjcc.org
Instructors: Rabbi Berkenwald of Congregation Sinai, Rabbi Aron of Congregation Shir Hadash, Rabbi Ohriner of Congregation Beth David, Rabbi Magat of Temple Emanu-El, and Rabbi Seid-Valencia of the APJCC.

Intro to Judaism: Learning for the Mind, Heart, & Soul
Jew-Curious? Interested in converting to Judaism? Sharing your life with a Jew and want to crack the code? Calling all potential conversion students and interfaith couples!

Our engaging, university-accredited Intro to Judaism class is interactive and encourages questions, discussion, and hands-on learning. No knowledge of Hebrew is required, but you will learn to read the language as part of the class.

Dates: 8 Sundays, meeting monthly on Oct. 14, Nov. 4, Dec. 9, Jan 13, 2018, Feb. 10, March 10, April 14, and May 12
Time: 10 am – 12 pm
Place: Beth Sholom, 301 14th Avenue, San Francisco
Cost: $360 for an individual, $540 for a couple, with 20% discount offered to Beth Sholom members. Some financial aid and payment options are available — CBS is committed to never turning people away. For more information, contact email Amanda Russell or call us at 415-221-8736.
Details here.

Judaism 101
This 18-week course is for those who would like to learn about Judaism from the ground up, or to fill in gaps from what they learned (or didn’t learn) as a child. The class also prepares those considering conversion. It covers Hebrew pronunciation, biblical and rabbinic writings, history and culture, holy days, festivals, Shabbat, Jewish concepts of God and ethics, life cycle, dietary laws and Israel.
By the end of the course, students will be able to read aloud any Hebrew text with vowels. Students who wish to take a single class by topic may do so. Topical learning begins a half hour into the session.

Date: 18 Sundays, October 15 – May 6
Time: 9:30 am – 12:00 pm
Place: Kol Shofar, 215 Blackfield Dr., Tiburon
Cost: $275 for the 18-week series or $20 per class. Free for members.
To register, contact Alona Shahbaz at ashahbaz@kolshofar.org or 415-388-1818 x100

Introduction to Judaism
Join 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. Participants register for each trimester separately.

Date: Begins on Tuesday, October 17
Time: 7:00 -9:00pm
Place: Temple Emanu-El, 2 Lake St., San Francisco
Cost: Public/$75 each trimester; members of Emanu-El $54
Register here.

Introduction to the Jewish Experience: Lifecycles and Holidays
Communal and individual Jewish life dances to the rhythm of two different cycles: Jewish lifecycle events and the cycle of the Jewish year. This class covers a basic introduction to the Jewish lifecycle (weddings, birth, bar mitzvah, conversion, mourning, and funerals). Then we will look at the Jewish year, with its cycles of fall and spring holidays as well as holidays reflecting historical events.

This class is part of a three-unit series.

Dates: Wednesdays, October 18 – December 13 (no class 11/22)
Time: 7:30 – 9:00 pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Cost: $105 for the public; $90 for members
Register here.
There is also an ONLINE version of this class. Go here to explore that option.

Introduction to Judaism
Whether your familiarity with Jewish learning and experience is academic or informal, you are warmly invited to join a conversation that seeks to integrate your knowledge and explore your questions. This four-week-long class is comprised of classic and contemporary thought on Jewish ethics, the Jewish calendar, Shabbat, life-cycle events and theology. All materials will be provided.

Date: 4 Wednesdays, October 18 – November 8
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Place: San Francisco JCC, 3200 California St., San Francisco
Cost: $120 for the public and $110 for JCC members
Register here.

Judaism 101
Bring your questions and insights to this introduction to Jewish thought and practice. We will explore Jewish denominations, theology and atheism, liturgy/services, the role of learning and key Jewish texts, death and the afterlife, relationship to Israel, Judaism as a spiritual practice, the Jewish lifecycle, Shabbat and holidays. This class is perfect for Jews and non-Jews, those brand new to learning about Judaism, people who are looking for a refresher, interfaith couples exploring Jewish life, and those hoping to convert to Judaism through our Journey to Judaism program. No previous knowledge required-just bring a thirst for learning and discussing! Open to members and non-members.

Dates: 7 Mondays, Oct.30-Dec.11
Time: 6:45 – 8:00pm
Place: Sha’ar Zahav, 290 Dolores St., San Francisco
Cost: $149/public
If you’re a Sha’ar Zahav Member, email heidy@shaarzahav to access your discount code.
Register here.

AND ONE MORE that begins later in the year –
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

THIS JUST IN! For those of you who plan far in advance, Rabbi Bloom of Oakland’s Beth Abraham sent this class listing in for 2018.

Introduction to Judaism
Rabbi Mark Bloom’s class will be aimed primarily at those interested in conversion but open to everyone who is curious to learn more. Running approximately 10 weeks, it will cover Jewish texts, holidays, the Jewish life cycle, prayer, the Holocaust, Israel, and more.

Date: Begins Wednesday, January 31, 2018 & continues through mid April 2018
Time: 7:30-8:45pm
Place: Temple Beth Abraham, 341 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland
Cost: $54
If you would like to register for this class you can contact Rabbi Bloom at: Rabbibloom@tbaoakland.org, 510-832-0936

Posted by admin under Community Activities, Introduction to Judaism, Jewish Learning
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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

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image from Wikipedia

image from Wikipedia

Beginning tonight at sundown is Shavuot. This holiday is a bit quirky. It is one of the three Biblical pilgrimage holidays, so very important, and yet doesn’t have the foods, actions and traditions of the other two big festivals, Sukkot and Passover. My Jewish Learning has a lot of good information and you can delve into this holiday’s roots as much, or as little, as you like.

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area a number of synagogues and Jewish Community Centers get together to offer a joint All-Night Study, Leil Tikkun Shavuot, or provide a study evening on their own.

I believe that the Tikkun Leyl Shavuot (note the different spelling) that the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay offers is the oldest continuously offered program in the country. You can go to their website to read all the details including their extensive schedule of teachers.

icecream

In San Francisco a number of the synagogues have come together for Shavuot Shul Stroll: The Kabbalah of Ice Cream. Participating are Congregation Chevra Thilim, Congregation Beth Sholom and Toy Boat Dessert Café – because, of course, you’ll need ice cream. See the schedule here.

Also in San Francisco, in the Sunset District, four congregations are collaborating on a Tikkun Leyl Shavuot from 7 to 11 pm at Beth Israel Judea & Or Shalom Community, 625 Brotherhood Way. See their flier here.

In the South Peninsula, Congregations Kol Emeth, Beth Am, Etz Chayim, and Keddem, together with the Oshman Family JCC, Jewish LearningWorks, and Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, invite you to an all-night experience of learning and prayer celebrating the gift of Torah. They will be meeting in Palo Alto. See their schedule here.

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Purim Mask

Purim Mask

Purim
We are a few days from Erev Purim! I hope you have a costume planned and a place to go for the Purim Schpiel. Purim is one of those “different” holidays. There’s the kids’ level – a story of Queen Esther saving the Jews, and the adult level – where there’s a lot of killing, beginning with Vashti. I don’t suggest that you start with the dark story with kids. But it is worth the time to learn the full story and to investigate the rabbinic teachings on this story in which God is never mentioned.

Here’s a somewhat sanitized version of the story from My Jewish Learning.

Here is a more complete and darker version from Chabad.

On the light side, go here to download a printable template for a Purim crown from Chai and Home.

Of course, you’ll need to eat! So here are some Hamenashen recipes.

Trouble Times
Many of you are aware that I have a multiracial, interfaith, multiethnic family. I’ve been more frightened of my own government that ever before. What has helped me is to become part of the activism that is growing rapidly. A friend told me about an app that will send you a “Daily Action” https://dailyaction.org I have attended services at synagogues and churches. I have marched and will again. Don’t just sit there and get depressed! Look into your conscience and act on behalf of those who are vulnerable. Every major faith believes in protecting those who are unable to protect themselves.

Bomb Threats
Yes, there have been a lot of bomb threats to Jewish buildings, especially JCCs and Jewish schools. But guess what? A number of Muslim veterans have tweeted that they want to guard Jewish organizations! Many Muslim organizations have reached out to offer compassion and support to the Jewish community. Our own Palo Alto JCC was threatened and a local group of Muslim-Jewish women sent them this letter of support.

EVENTS
Purim Carnival (Walnut Creek)
Tri-Valley Cultural Jews Purim Celebration (Livermore)
Shushan County Fair (Saratoga)
This Shabbat Rocks! (San Mateo)
Wendy Mogel “Blessing of a Skinned Knee” (Los Gatos)
Beyond Bubbie: Taste of the Old East (Berkeley)
An Evening of Learning About Jewish Mindfulness (San Mateo)
Jewish Women’s Theater presents Exile: Kisses on Both Cheeks (San Rafael)
Passover Second Night Seder (Walnut Creek)

Purim Carnival
Join us for a fun filled afternoon with Pony Rides, Laser Tag, Giant Inflatables, Face Painting, Midway Games, and Fun Prizes. Hot dog lunch and carnival treats for purchase.

Date: Sunday, March 12
Time: 11:00am – 1:30pm
Place: Congregation B’nai Shalom, 74 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek
Cost: $18 per child includes all games; $20 at door per child
RSVP office@bshalom.org

Tri-Valley Cultural Jews Purim Celebration
Tri-Valley Cultural Jews will be holding a secular Purim celebration! We will make hamantaschen, have crafts, games, and fun for all ages, and present our annual Purim skit. Attendees are welcome to come dressed as their favorite Purim character.

Date: Sunday, March 12
Time: 10:30am – 12:30pm
Place: The Bothwell Arts Center, 2466 8th St., Livermore
Cost: Free for TVCJ members, and costs $10 for non-members (which can be applied to a membership if someone wishes to join).
For more information email maluba2@yahoo.com

Shushan County Fair
Come One, Come All, to the Shushan County Fair!
Fun for all ages.
Featuring the Klezmer band “Hot Kugel”
Pony Up Petting Zoo
Rides and Inflatables Including a 20’ Slide
Haman Haunted House
Games, Food, Entertainment
White Elephant Sale and Auction
Exhibit Hall, Contests and Prizes
Demonstrations: Robot pancake maker, Shaving soap & candle making, Yarn spinning, 3D printer and more.

Date: Sunday, March 12
Time: 11:00am – 3:00pm
Place: Beth David, 19700 Prospect Road, Saratoga
Cost: Pre-purchase a wristband for access to all inflatables and games plus a $5 voucher for food! Online or call the office 408-257-3333. $30 before March 3rd and $36 at the door. Individual tickets for games and rides will also be available for sale at the event. Buy tickets online.

This Shabbat Rocks!
This joyous Shabbat service will awaken our bodies and souls with a prayerful shake, rattle, and roll. Come and experience this vibrant service with The Band and you’ll find yourself exclaiming, “this Shabbat rocks!”

Date: March 18
Time: 9:00am – 9:40am
Place: Peninsula Temple Beth El, 1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo
www.ptbe.org

Wendy Mogel “Blessing of a Skinned Knee”
Dr. Wendy Mogel, clinical psychologist, parenting expert, and New York Times best-selling author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee and The Blessing of a B-, will be giving a parenting talk.
Dr. Mogel’s books address the question of how to raise resilient children in the face of trends toward anxious parenting and over-parenting

Date: March 23
Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Place: Addison-Penzak JCC, 14855 Oka Road, Los Gatos
Cost: General admission is $18, JCC members $10. JCC members get a special early bird price of $7 when you buy tickets online by 3/15.

Beyond Bubbie: Taste of the Old East
with Reboot and JIMENA
Join us for an immersive Sephardic culinary experience where participants will get a taste of traditional North African and Middle Eastern Passover recipes and stories from JIMENA speakers. Guest chefs will each prepare and demonstrate a traditional Sephardic dish from their country of origin. These chefs and other members of the community will share their stories and the family histories that go along with them. Come for the food, stay for the conversation.

Date: Thursday, March 23
Time: 7:30 pm
Place: JCC East Bay Berkeley Branch, 1414 Walnut St, Berkeley
Cost: $12 (presale, student, senior, member); $15 (at the door)
Tickets here.

An Evening of Learning About Jewish Mindfulness
with Rabbi Jeff Roth
Rabbi Roth offers a contemporary approach to Jewish meditation. He focuses on the practice of mindfulness/heartfulness, combined with the teachings of Torah, to offer a path to liberate us from alienation, awaken us to the truth of the present moment, and open us to a sense of the Divine Presence.

Date: Thursday, March 23
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Beth El, 1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo
Sponsored by Or HaLev, the Center for Jewish Spirituality at Peninsula Temple Beth El.
This program is free, but please help us plan: RSVP to cserbin@ptbe.org by March 21.

Jewish Women’s Theater presents Exile: Kisses on Both Cheeks
Come for an evening of salon-style theatrical entertainment with professional actors performing contemporary stories in intimate settings. Exile: Kisses on Both Cheeks explores the Sephardic legacy of family, community and country, looking for home more than 500 years after the expulsion from Spain. It is a Jewish immigrant story that is rarely told on stage. Until now.

Date: Sunday, April 2
Time: 5:00pm-7:00pm
Place: Osher Marin JCC, 200 North San Pedro Rd., San Rafael
http://www.marinjcc.org
Cost: $18 Members; $25 Public and same-day tickets. Purchase tickets here.

Passover Second Night Seder
Join us second night for a family friendly service led by Rabbi Daniel Stein and Hazzan Wallach. Please call Alyssa at 925-934-9446 x102 to get all the details and to tell her what entrée you want.

Date: Tuesday, April 11
Time: 6:30pm Service
Place: Congregation B’nai Shalom, 74 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek
Cost: $54 per adult 13 and up; $36 per child ages 9-12; $15 per child ages 5-8; Free for children 4 and under
RSVP office@bshalom.org by Tuesday March 28th

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Photo from Pixabay

Photo from Pixabay

Here we go – 2017! Our world has been shaken. I, for one, was stunned by the election results. The majority of my family and friends are in categories that feel increasingly unsafe. As a woman I have been subject to sexual harassment and as a Jew I have been told I wasn’t welcome (yes, literally asked to leave). But that feels small compared to my Muslim friends, my African American niece, my Hispanic nephew, my many LGBT friends, and friends who were brought to America as infants from Mexico and fear deportation to a land they’ve never seen.

I admit that I was paralyzed for several days. But then I remembered that I need to use my privilege to protect the vulnerable. The major faiths all state that we are responsible for our sisters and brothers – no matter their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. So time to get crackin’!

It is a whole lot easier to move mountains with your community that all alone. I hope you are involved with your synagogue, church or mosque. If you need to get connected just contact me. (dawn@buildingjewishbridges.org).

My job is still to help interfaith couples and families discover whether and how they can feel comfortable in the Jewish community. Call me anytime.

I LOVE it when I run into one of you out and about! Do always say hello.

EVENTS
Jacob and Wrestling and Finding Balance in the New Year (Oakland)
Tots ‘n Torah (Burlingame)
Jewish Overnight Camp Fair (Palo Alto)
Introduction to Judaism Winter 2017 (San Francisco)
Intro to Judaism Class: Israel and Texts (Berkeley)
The Book of Ruth (Oakland)
Ruach! (Spirit!) (Danville)
Mizmor Shir! Social Action Shabbat (Oakland)
Shabbatot (San Francisco)
Sababa Shabbat (Oakland)
Be a Fabulous Interfaith Grandparent! (Pleasanton)
It Wouldn’t Be Make Believe: A Sing-along Concert (Oakland)
Prayerbook Blues? (Danville)
Book Discussion: “Why Be Jewish?” (Palo Alto)
Family Learning Day: The Secret Life of Bees and Trees (Berkeley)
Wilderness Torah’s Tu B’Shvat in the Redwoods (Oakland)
Master the Interfaith, Intercultural, Multigenerational Seder (Pleasanton)

Jacob and Wrestling and Finding Balance in the New Year
A special musical Kabbalat Shabbat
Temple Beth Abraham’s singers have compiled a handful of songs to add to this week’s regular Friday evening service. Inspired by the stories of Jacob wrestling and Rabbi Bloom’s high holiday theme of balance, they invite you to start the new secular year with a mix of niggunim, contemporary Jewish tunes, traditional spirituals, jazz melodies as well as a Polish melody brought back from the congregation’s trip to Eastern Europe last summer.

Date: Friday, January 13
Time: 6:15 – 7:15 pm
Place: Temple Beth Abraham, in the chapel, 327 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland
www.tbaoakland.org

Tots ‘n Torah
Please join us for a musical and festive Shabbat service geared to preschool-age children.
Tots ‘n Torah is open to our entire community.
RSVP includes a light meal for parents and children ($5 for children, $10 for adults). The meal is usually immediately after the short service.
(We send out evites to get an RSVP count for each event. If you are not receiving these evites and would like to be added to the list, please email asteckley@sholom.org)
At dinner there will be a sign in sheet on your table, so there is no need to pay in advance, but please RSVP to the evite so we can order the right amount of food for all.

Dates: Jan. 13, Feb. 10, March. 10, April 14, May 12
Time: service at 6pm; dinner at 6:30pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Sholom, 1655 Sebastian Dr, Burlingame
PLEASE contact Rabbi Lisa at rabbidelson@sholom.org and let her know to expect you. She is concerned about having enough food.

Jewish Overnight Camp Fair
Are you interested in a Jewish overnight camp experience for your kids or teens? Come to the Fair where there will be LOTS of camps represented. Including:

Buck’s Rock Performing and Creative Arts Camp
Brandeis Pre-College Programs
Camp Alonim
Camp Be’chol Lashon
Camp Kimama
Camp Ramah
Camp Tawonga
Habonim Dror—Camp Gilboa
JCC Maccabi Sports Camp
URJ 6 Points Sports Academy
URJ Camp Newman

Date: January 15
Time: 4:00-6:00pm
Place: Osher Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto
www.paloaltojcc.org

Introduction to Judaism Winter 2017
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.

Date: January 17, 2017
Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00pm
Place: Temple Emanu-El, 2 Lake St., San Francisco
www.emanuelsf.org
Details here.

Introduction to the Jewish Experience: Israel and Texts
Introduction to the Jewish Experience is a three-part series of classes to introduce students to Jewish culture and practice. Students come from a wide variety of backgrounds: Jews who did not receive a Jewish education, Jews who wish to resume their education as adults, persons interested in conversion to Judaism, and others who wish to learn more about Judaism. The three parts of the series may be taken in any order. Please pre-register.

Dates: Wednesdays, January 18 – March 8
Time: 7:30 – 9:00 pm
Place: Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley
Cost: $105 for the public; $90 for members of Beth El and Temple Sinai.
Register here.

The Book of Ruth
This brief but fascinating text touches so many bases in our understanding of the Biblical world: daily life, family, clan and national identity, and the roles and limitations of women. This four-session class will delve into each of the four chapters of this brilliantly concise yet expressive text, both revealing the world of Ruth and linking its timeless meaning to our world.

Dates: Thursdays, January 19, February 2 and 16, March 2
Time: 7:00–8:30pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Cost: $50
Register here.
Co-sponsored with Lehrhaus Judaica.

Ruach! (Spirit!)
Please join us for this joyful, spirited service featuring music by the incomparable Dean Chapman!!
Ruach service is followed by Ice Cream Sundaes!

Place: Friday, January 20
Time: 7:00pm
Place: Beth Chaim, 1800 Holbrook Dr, Danville
www.bethchaim.com

Mizmor Shir! Social Action Shabbat
This year, Social Action Shabbat will feature poetry performances by 2015 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Tova Ricardo and two Slam Champions. We will hear their poetry during the service and have an opportunity to talk with them during the oneg. Youth Speaks, the organization who helped them develop their voices, will be with us as well. Join us.

Date: January 20
Time: 7:30pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
www.oaklandsinai.org

Shabbatot
Our new community-based, music, song, and story-filled Shabbat service and dinner.
3rd Friday of the month will include a short service at 6pm and an inter-generational dinner will be served at 6:30pm.
There is no cost for this program.
We would like our programs to be accessible to those with chemical sensitivities and allergies, and therefore support a fragrance-free environment.

Date: January 20 and Feb. 17
Time: Begins at 6pm. You can leave or stay for the 6:30pm dinner
Place: Sha’ar Zahav, 290 Dolores St., San Francisco
If you have questions, please contact Adam Pollack, Director of Engagement at adam@shaarzahav.org or at 415-861- 6932
Details here.

Sababa Shabbat
Join us for Sababa Shabbat, our special Shabbat program for young children (pre-school age through 2nd grade) and their families. Join us for pizza and salad dinner (Dinner price is $25 per family, please RSVP by Wed, Jan 18 here, No one shall be turned away due to lack of funds.) or join us afterwards at 6pm for a small child friendly, music-filled Kabbalat Shabbat service. We look forward to sharing Shabbat with you and yours!

Date: Friday evening, January 20
Time: 5:30pm for the dinner and 6pm for child friendly services
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Questions? Please contact Michael@oaklandsinai.org

Be a Fabulous Interfaith Grandparent!
Explore how to engage in Jewish activities with grandchildren without overstepping boundaries.

Date: Feb. 6
Time: 7:30 to 9pm
Place: Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton
Cost: $8, no one turned away.
Register here.

It Wouldn’t Be Make Believe
A Sing-along Concert

The songs of Yip Harburg and Lorenz Hart. We’ll project the words on a screen. All you need is your voice (and maybe your glasses).
Recognized these songs:
Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
Over the Rainbow
My Funny Valentine
Join other people too shy to sing alone for a musical evening.

Date: Sat., Feb. 4
Time: 7:30pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland, a block from Broadway
www.oaklandsinai.org
Recommended Donations: $15 and for those under 30 and over 80 $10
Questions: Phil Rubin 510-547-8080

Prayerbook Blues?
Are you lost when you open a prayer book? Where did these prayers come from? Who wrote them? How did prayer develop? Join Jamie Hyams for a 3-session exploration of the history, development and purpose of Jewish prayer.

Dates: Feb. 9, Feb.23, March 2
Time: 7:30 – 9:00pm
Place: Beth Chaim, 1800 Holbrook Dr, Danville
Free
www.bethchaim.com

Book Discussion: “Why Be Jewish?”
Ruth Andrew Ellenson, author of The Modern Jewish Girl’s Guide to Guilt, and Ari Y. Kelman, Jim Joseph Chair in Education and Jewish Studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, will discuss the late Edgar M. Bronfman’s book Why Be Jewish?
Ms. Ellenson was Bronfman’s literary collaborator on this compelling reflection on what it means to be Jewish in the modern age. The topics of Jewish identity, ritual, faith, secularism and the future of the Jewish world will be addressed. As the book jacket of Why Be Jewish? states, Edgar Bronfman “makes a compelling case for the meaning and transcendence of a secular Judaism that is still steeped in deep moral values, authentic Jewish texts and a focus on deed over creed or dogma.” The talk will be followed by a Q & A session.

Date: Thursday, February 9
Time: 7:00–7:30pm Happy hour schmooze
7:30pm Discussion begins
Place: Palo Alto JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto, Room F-401
Cost: $10 Students | $12 Members and J-Pass holders | $15 General Public
One drink is included in the price of each ticket
Info: Ilanit Gal | (650) 223-8649 | igal@paloaltojcc.org

Family Learning Day: The Secret Life of Bees and Trees
The Secret Life of Bees and Trees: an Urban Shtetl community-wide, family Tu B’Shevat celebration! We welcome kids of all ages to come celebrate the new year of trees with learning, connecting, art, and games in our cozy sanctuary. A beekeeper will teach us secrets from the bees, plus enjoy stories from Joel Ben Izzy, art projects, honey making games and more.

Date: Sunday, Feb. 12
Time: 10:00-2:00pm
Place: Chochmat Halev, 2215 Prince St., Berkeley
Cost: $40/family in advance; $50/family at the door
Sign up here.

Wilderness Torah’s Tu B’Shvat in the Redwoods
Come to the redwoods to celebrate Tu B’Shvat, the unseen awakening of spring. In the tradition of the Tsfat mystics, we gather in the forest to create an experiential Tu B’Shvat seder that connects us to the trees and the elements. Morning seder, kids program, and afternoon workshops!

Date: Sunday, February 12
Time: 10 am to 3:30 pm
Place: Roberts Regional Recreation Area, Oakland
Cost: See Wilderness Torah’s website for pricing details.
Register here by Thursday, Feb 9 – Advance tickets only, none available on site.

Master the Interfaith, Intercultural, Multigenerational Seder
What do you do when you have Muslims, Christians, atheists and Jews coming to your Seder? And they are all different ages, from toddler to senior? You make it fun and you make sure no one is succumbing to hungry before the meal.
We’ll discuss food planning, toys at the table, games ANYONE can play, and how everyone can have fun – even YOU!
Come discuss ways to engage people of different ages, cultures and religions in your Seder.

Date: Sunday, March 19
Time: 10:30am to 12noon
Place: Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton
Free

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ptbe-clergy-2

The rabbis of Peninsula Temple Beth El sent out this email to their community.

Dear PTBE Community,

This morning the sun rose just as it did yesterday and as it will tomorrow, but for most of us it doesn’t feel the same.

Today greets our nation with feelings of unprecedented division. For some elation and optimism, for others despair and anxiety. As a Jewish people, when we have entered uncertain times, we have persevered by holding Torah close, by living the values that define us as a religion and as a people.

We hope that these values guide us all in the work of reaching toward one another to bridge political divides, affirm the sacredness of our community, and continue the work of justice that our country desperately needs.

This has to be a time of personal and communal healing, a time for personal and communal reflection, and a time for personal and communal hope.

For those who are feeling as if they don’t quite know what this means right now, or what to do, we invite you into your spiritual home to sit, reflect, talk, process, pray, and gain support from your clergy and friends. Our meditation room, sanctuary, and garden will be open for you. Rabbi Sara, Rabbi Lisa, and Rabbi Dennis will be around throughout the day to lend a comforting ear and a hopeful shoulder to lean on.

May God bless our congregation and our country.

L’Shalom,

Rabbi Dennis Eisner
Rabbi Sara Mason-Barkin
Rabbi Lisa Kingston

For all those who are seeking healing, check the synagogues, churches and mosques near you. A number of communities of faith are coming together to discuss healing from the terrible divisiveness we have seen in this election. Find a community, find welcome and comfort.

From Rabbi Chaim at Etz Chayim in Palo Alto:
Dear Friends,

This election- and its results- has raised a lot of strong emotions.
I will be leading a gathering from 7:15- 8:30 pm this evening for anyone who wants to join together in prayer and reflection.
This will be an opportunity to connect to one another as we express care for our country at this important crossroads.
Feel free to invite your friends.
With you all in this moment of transition–
Rabbi Chaim

In the North Bay:

It’s been a hard election season on many levels. The rhetoric has been divisive and polarizing. Bring your neighbors, bring your kids, bring your soul, bring your heart. We join together in love and blessings for the future of our community and country. Tonight we gather to hold one another, reflect, pray, and stand together in hope.
Please join us for one or both of the following events this evening:

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 pm
at Congregation Rodef Sholom
Interfaith Gathering
in Prayer for Our Country

170 N San Pedro Road, San Rafael

7 p.m.
at Congregation Kol Shofar
Gatherings for adults and teens
with Rabbi Chai Levy & Jonathan Emanuel
and Meditation with Larry Yermack
215 Blackfield Drive, Tiburon

In Walnut Creek
Rabbi Gutterman of B’nai Tikvah writes:
I hope we can give ourselves a wise and forgiving period of time to mourn our losses, to ache for what might have been, to be patient with ourselves, to quiet our racing minds and find a steady place.
Friday night November 11, our 6:30 Kabbalat Shabbat will be a time to offer up the prayers of our hearts together. We will also share in the joy of our 1st/2nd grade class’s participation – they are very excited to show you what they’ve learned! And more than ever, they are our light and our hope for the future.

Saturday night November 12 at 6:00pm, Cantor Chabon and I will lead a community Havdallah in the Amphitheatre, followed by time to continue singing, and to be there for and with each other. There will not be speeches, strategizing or partisan debate; rather, it will be an opportunity to stand with each other and let our presence speak for itself.

Bring a candle (a friend too if you’d like) and dress warmly – unless it rains, we will be outside.
May we be blessed with a measure of peace as Shabbat approaches.

From Berkeley
Rabbi Menachem Creditor of Netivot Shalom says:
All ye who are weary and suffer from post-election shock syndrome:
Join us at Good Shepherd for a multi-faith service of togetherness at 7:00pm. 9th and Hearst in Berkeley.

Posted by admin under Community, Community Activities, Spirituality, Synagogues
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patricia-l-with-cousins

A wonderful couple I know have five grown children who are interracial, intercultural and sort of interfaith. The Chinese mom converted before marriage and is now trained as a mohel. The couple raised their children Jewish and Chinese. Yup, they got asked questions like, “Are you adopted?” “Is your mother Jewish?” “How come you’re in a synagogue; do you want to convert?”

But this wise couple knew what was in store for their kids and they prepared them. They knew the kids would be asked questions when the parents were not around to step in. They wanted their kids to feel strong ownership of their Jewish identities.

Their family is interfaith in that all of mom’s side of the family is not Jewish. Some of the 5 kids have married non-Jewish spouses and are raising Jewish kids – just like Mom and Dad did.

The systematic teaching of the children to be confident and comfortable as Chinese Jews was brilliant. It reminded me of some of my African American friends who said, “I’ll teach my kids what to expect in the white world. I’LL be the voice they hear, they’ll be ready for racist ignorance.”

On November 10, I will be sharing the strategies that this couple – and many adults who grew up in interfaith families – advocate doing to help kids in interfaith families grow up confident and comfortable with who they are.
Raising a Confident Child in an Interfaith Family

I hope to see you on the tenth.

EVENTS
How Jesus Became God (Alameda)
Or HaLev – Jewish Meditation (San Mateo)
Dispelling (Religious) Myths (Pleasanton)
Raising a Confident Child in an Interfaith Family (Berkeley)
Preschool Science Fair! (Foster City)
Mourning and Grief: After Death (Walnut Creek)
Fourth Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service (Livermore)
Klezmer Shabbat (San Francisco)
Chanukah Festival (Redwood City)

How Jesus Became God
How did the radical Jewish learner, Jesus, change Judaism and the World?
Rabbi Brickner will lead a discussion, following a DVD screening that traces one of history’s most significant movements led by a world-changing Jew: Jesus. The radical Jew? Prophetic Jew? The promised Messiah?
The series will discuss issues such as the historic, scientific, cultural and spiritual context of Israel and the Mid-East during the Roman era, key events and personalities, different perceptions of Jesus.

Dates: Sundays, Nov. 6 and 13
Time: 10:30am to noon
Place: Temple Israel, 3183 Mecartney Rd., Alameda
http://templeisraelalameda.org

Or HaLev – Jewish Meditation
For the last 14 years, Or HaLev (Light of the Heart) – the Center for Jewish Spirituality at PTBE – has provided the opportunity for one of our meditation teachers to teach about a different Jewish topic related to mindfulness meditation along with one or two short sits. Whether you are an experienced meditator or have never meditated before, please join us!

Dates: Mondays, November 7, 14, 21, 28
Time: 7:00 to 8:15 pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Beth El, 1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo
www.ptbe.org

Dispelling (Religious) Myths
Our topic will be “What myths would you like to dispel about your religion or religious practice? What are frequent misconceptions?” The speakers will be Imam Tahir Anwar of the Muslim Community Center and Robin Wood, Jewish Educator. Religion Chat is sponsored by Interfaith Interconnect the second Wednesday of every month.

Date: Wednesday, November 9
Time: 5:00 – 6:00 pm
Place: Muslim Community Center, 5724 West Las Positas Blvd., Pleasanton.
(Please enter from the school side of the building, Suite 100.)
Free
For more information contact the Interfaith Interconnect by emailing to: interfaith.interconnect@gmail.com

Raising a Confident Child in an Interfaith Family
A child needs happy, loving parents more than anything else. They also deserve to feel comfortable with their own identity. We’ll come together to discuss what parents are currently doing, what they may want to alter and to talk about planning for your child’s religious traditions.

Date: Thursday, November 10
Time: 7:30 – 9:00 pm
Place: Lehrhaus Judaica, 2736 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
Cost: $12 per couple; $8 per person; no one turned away for lack of funds
Register here

Preschool Science Fair!
Wornick Jewish Day School and PJ Library invite you to a morning of science exploration especially for children ages 3 to 5 and their families.

Date: Sunday, November 13
Time: 10 am to Noon
Place: Wornick Jewish Day School, 800 Foster City Boulevard, Foster City
Admission is free. Lunch will be served.
Advanced registration is required at their website.

Mourning and Grief: After Death
In this essential session we will address Kaddish basics, what the Jewish tradition says about mourning and grief and memory, and how to gather community support. We will create a safe place to share special cases such as stillbirth and neonatal death; sudden, and traumatic death. We will explore the customs of the first year and talk about “When does grief really end?”

Date: Nov. 13
Time: 10:30am to noon
Place: B’nai Tikvah, 25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek
Cost: $10
Register here.

Fourth Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service
All are invited to attend this year’s Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, ‘Our Common Humanity.’ The service is free, but space is limited, so please register on Eventbrite.
Through readings, music, and reflections, our many faith communities will explore the common ground that unites us all. During the service an offering will be accepted; donations will go to Big Heart Wellness Center after minimal event costs are covered.

Interfaith Interconnect comprises sixteen Tri-Valley congregations. Its mission is, “To enrich, inform and educate ourselves and others about the great diversity of faiths and cultures in our valley.”

Date: Sunday, November 20
Time: 5:30–6:30pm
Place: St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, 678 Enos Way, Livermore
Simple reception in the church hall immediately following the service.
www.interfaithinterconnect.weebly.com
interfaith.interconnect@gmail.com

Klezmer Shabbat
Come light candles, sing songs, delight in familiar prayers melded with klezmer rhythms and melodies, dance, and of course, eat and drink!

Cantor Sharon Bernstein will be joined by master klezmorim Stu Brotman on bass, Sheldon Brown on clarinet, and Ilana Sherer on violin, and Josh Horowitz on accordian. And, the magnetic Bruce Bierman will provide dance support and instruction.

Date: December 2
Time: 7:30pm
Place: Sha’ar Zahav, 290 Dolores St (@16th St), San Francisco
www.shaarzahav.org

Chanukah Festival
Come eat some latkes, buy your presents from our vendors, enjoy our Preschoolers in Concert, and of course see friends.

Date: Sunday, December 11
Time: 11:00am – 2:30pm
Place: Congregation Beth Jacob, 1550 Alameda de las Pulgas, Redwood City
www.bethjacobrwc.org

Posted by admin under Chanukah, Children, Community Activities, Death & Mourning, Parenting
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Beth Sholom, San Francisco

Beth Sholom, San Francisco

THIS JUST IN:
A class at Beth Sholom in San Francisco

Intro to Judaism: Learning for the Mind, Heart, & Soul
Jew-Curious? Interested in converting to Judaism? Sharing your life with a Jew and want to crack the code? Or maybe you’re a Jew who doesn’t know much about Judaism or Jewish identity?

Our engaging, university-accredited Intro To Judaism course is interactive and encourages questions, discussion, and hands-on learning. No knowledge of Hebrew is required, but you will be learning to read the language as part of the class. The 2015-16 course syllabus is available for download here. The syllabus and schedule for the 2016-17 course will be distributed during the first class and available for download here shortly thereafter.

Taught by Henry Hollander, a CBS congregant, service leader, bookseller (specializing in Judaica), and the teacher of both our weekly Talmud shiur and Intro To Judaism class.

Dates: Sundays, 2016: Oct. 23, Nov. 6 & 20, Dec. 4 & 18; 2017: Jan. 15 & 29, Feb. 5 & 19, March 5, 12 & 26, Apr 9 & 23, May 7 & 21, June 4 & 18
Time: 10am to 12 noon
Place: Beth Sholom, 301 14th Ave., San Francisco
Cost: $344/person, $533/couple. Some financial aid available – Beth Sholom is committed to never turning anyone away. For more info, contact info@bethsholomsf.org or call the shul at 415-221-8736.
Details here.
www.bethsholomsf.org
Note: Yes, the first class on Oct. 23 is past. You can ask to prorate the tuition and to have the teacher give you any reading for the class.

Posted by admin under Community Activities, Conversion, Introduction to Judaism, Jewish Learning
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