Empathy

I don’t like the way emotions make me feel!

This classic teenage line was spoken by my own daughter during a teen *moment*. She knew what she was saying was silly but she also hated the roller coaster of emotion that teens are heir to. We all have feelings that we’d like to discard at times.

I thought of that line when a dear man I know, the Christian spouse in an interfaith family, said to me, “It’s so hard to worry about how the kids respond to various religious practices. Couldn’t we do what we want and hope it all turns out fine?” Of course he was joking, kind of. I had to give him a hug because it was clear that he didn’t relish the idea of digging down into feelings and all that murky stuff. Seriously though, there are far more parents who avoid that conversation than who make identity formation a conscious part of their parenting job. Why? Primarily two reasons – one, they really don’t have any idea how to even discuss identity with their spouse and kids. Two, it feels uncomfortable, to down right painful, to be out of sync with your partner.

I get it.

“Thank God, we’re not stuck anymore!” is the most common phrase I hear from couples after we’ll talked. It really doesn’t have to be a terrible experience. Think of it like cleaning out the hall closet. Everybody’s stuff is in there. You’re not sure what to do with the belongings of others. It will take time. What if your spouse wants to toss your favorite old sweater? So think of me as a professional organizer. We’ll sort through all that “stuff”, create some order and priorities. We’ll finish up with a plan to keep the closet neat in the future. Think of me as the Konmari of relationships.

You can even test drive the experience by coming to my Growing Up Interfaith Conference on May 22 and FOR FREE hearing lots of ideas on how to have a peaceful family relationship for everyone involved. Go ahead, sign up now. You’ll be glad + there are snacks.

EVENTS
Pirke Avot Study (San Mateo)
Friday Night Lights: The Lag b’Omer Virtual Bonfire Edition (Palo Alto)
Cab Shabbat (San Francisco)
Mizmor Shir! (Oakland)
Jewish Film Series Presents: Mamele (Los Altos Hills)
Preparing for Revelation (Berkeley)
Tikkun Leyl Shavuot – All Night Study (Berkeley)
Kol Truah (Alameda)

Pirke Avot Study
Come study this short and fun Talmud tractate full of pithy sayings and wisdom with Cantor Doron! It’s traditionally studied on Shabbat afternoons between Passover and Shavuot. Texts will be provided or bring your own from home if you have them.

Dates: May 14, 21, 28; June 4 and 11
Time: During Shabbat Kiddush lunch from 12:45-1:30 p.m.
Place: Peninsula Sinai, 499 Boothbay Ave, San Mateo
http://www.peninsulasinai.org

Achshav Yisrael Yom Ha’atzmaut Celebration
All are invited to our community celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day)! Join us to celebrate the 68th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.

There will be fun, food, and activities for the whole family: Israeli musician Lior Ben-Hurand his band, Sol Tevel, will perform in Koret Hall — come ready to dance! There will also be a film screening (Dancing in Jaffa), a variety of activities for families and kids on Eva Gunther Plaza, tasty Israeli goodies and drinks, and opportunities for schmoozing and reflecting on Israel’s accomplishments and challenges in the last 68 years.

Date: Sunday, May 15
Time: 3 to 5:30pm
Place: Congregation Beth Sholom, 301 14th Ave, San Francisco
Tickets and info here

Friday Night Lights: The Lag b’Omer Virtual Bonfire Edition
This program for the six and under crowd and their families features Shabbat singing, a light dinner, activities for the children including our featured Friday Night Lights Scavenger Hunt, and wine, cheese and conversation (without the children) for the grown-ups. This program is free and open to all, but please let us know you’re coming so we can plan appropriately.

Date: Friday, May 20
Time: 5:45pm
Place: Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma, Palo Alto
www.etzchayim.org

Cab Shabbat
Yes, that’s ‘cab’ as in cabernet! Kabbalat Shabbat Service featuring melodies by Shlomo Carlebach, led by Jeff Dielle, and wine and cheese pairings, led by Ken Mitchell.

Date: Friday May 20
Time: 7:30pm
Place: B’nai Emunah, 3595 Taraval St., San Francisco
http://bnaiemunahsf.org

Mizmor Shir!
Mizmor Shir! is a popular phrase found in the Book of Psalms which means ‘Sing a Song,’ and was used during ancient times to direct the Levites, the musicians in the Temple in Jerusalem. Psalm 150 lists the many instruments the Levites played in the Temple as they sang the liturgy during worship. Some of these instruments include: cymbals, harp, lyre, drums, strings and shofar.
In the spirit of the Levites and our ancient heritage, we have created our own Mizmor Shir!Shabbat service featuring guitar, mandolin, percussion, piano, clarinet and flute.

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

Jewish Film Series Presents: Mamele
A Sparkling Gem Starring Molly Picon
Molly Picon, “Queen of the Yiddish Musical,” shines in Mamele (little mother), as the dutiful daughter who keeps her family intact after the death of their mother. She’s so busy cooking, cleaning, and matchmaking for her brothers and sisters that she has little time for herself – until she discovers the violinist across the courtyard! The film is free and refreshments will be served.

Date: Saturday, May 21
Time: 3:30pm
Place: In the Beit Kehillah building of Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills
More information here

Preparing for Revelation
Join Rabbi Shefa Gold in counting the days of the Omer, as we are preparing ourselves to become the vessels for God’s Presence and messengers for the Divine Word. God instructs Moses to tell us to make ourselves holy for the Day of Revelation, to wash our garments and get ready!
We will joyfully prepare for revelation with this evening of Hebrew Chant. The Chant will help us connect with our longing for Truth, clear our minds, open our hearts and strengthen our commitment to receive Torah anew.

Date: Thursday June 9
Time: 7-9:30pm
Place: Chochmat HaLev, 2215 Prince St, Berkeley
Cost: General Public: Advance $25 /at the door $30; Members: Advance $20 /at the door $25
Details here

Tikkun Leyl Shavuot – All Night Study
Get ready for a unique celebration and night of learning – a spiritual journey bringing together people from a variety of perspectives and affiliations. Come for an hour or stay all night, joined by teachers from our diverse Bay Area Jewish community.

Saturday, June 11 – Sunday, June 12 (6pm – 7am)
JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St in Berkeley
co-sponsored by Chochmat HaLev

For most updated info, please check www.jcceastbay.org/tikkun
Childcare provided – pre registration required by June 10
Volunteers Needed! Please contact the office.

Kol Truah
We don’t think great music should disappear, so we’ve put together a volume of what we hop will be many concerts. Come hear us reprise favorites from the past 12 years, and if you don’t hear your own favorite, let us know! The only theme is that we love this music and we know you will too.

Featured on the program will be Ladino, Yiddish, Hebrew, English, Sephardic, old, new, liturgical… well, a mishmash of music!

Date: June 23
Time: 7:30pm
Place: Temple Israel, 3183 Mecartney Rd, Alameda
Suggested donation: $15 general, $10 for students and seniors
For more information contact Cantor Pamela Sawyer at cantorpam@koltruah.org or go to their website.

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