Little White Lie

Little White Lie

Here we are in the delightful summer months with long warm evenings full of crickets. This is when the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival fills theaters around the Bay Area with films that we pretty much won’t get a chance to see otherwise. I hope you have received the 2014 brochure in the mail and have had time to pour over the films to make your choices. This year Building Jewish Bridges is again co-presenting two films. They are El Critico and Little White Lie. I believe that the first one, El Critico, was given to us just to have a fun social time out. It’s a romantic comedy and from what I can see has very little to do with anything Jewish. But it will be fun and we can contemplate the question, does love conquer all? The second film, Little White Lie, is much more serious. It is a documentary made by a young woman who figured out at the age of 18 that she wasn’t the child of both her parents. It’s a fascinating and challenging story of identity, family, truth and secrets. I hope you’ll join me for one or both of them. If you can’t make it to one of ‘my’ films, do take a look at the whole lineup and fit a film into your summer. You can see the full program at www.sfjff.org.

EVENTS
Essential Jewish Knowledge: A Four Part Series with Rabbi David Kasher (Berkeley)
Shabbat Morning Learners’ Services (Berkeley)
Yad B’Yad (Hand in Hand) Tot Shabbat & Picnic (San Mateo)
Jewish Film Series Presents “Rashevski’s Tango” (Los Altos Hills)
Stop The Sirens In Israel: An Emergency Solidarity Gathering (San Francisco)
Mazel Tots! (San Francisco)
Chardonnay Shabbat Evening Service (Berkeley)
Oneg Shabbat: Saturdays Unplugged (San Francisco)
Welcoming Prospective Members (Los Altos Hills)
Let’s Go to the Movies! El Critico (Berkeley)
Tisha b’Av Text Study (San Francisco)
Israeli Folk Dancing with Allen King! (Kensington)
Let’s Go to the Movies! Little White Lie (Oakland)
Kabbalat Shabbat on the Farm (Berkeley)

Essential Jewish Knowledge:
A Four Part Series with Rabbi David Kasher

This July, Urban Adamah is pleased to offer a four-part evening workshop series exploring Judaism’s relevance to life in the 21st Century. These classes, led by our friend Rabbi David Kasher, is designed for both beginners and those with years of learning under their belts. Classes will be held Thursday nights in July, in our main tent.

July 17th: The Diversity of Jewish Beliefs
July 24th: Hallmark Jewish Practices
July 31st: The Making of the Jewish Family
Time: 7 to 8:30pm
Place: Urban Admah, 1050 Parker St. Berkeley
Cost: Join us for one class ($10 in advance, $15 at the door)

Shabbat Morning Learners’ Services
Starting on July 19, Rabbis Kahn and Stern will lead a series of learners’ services on Shabbat mornings. Attend any individual day or the entire month. Each week there will be a complete service, with an extended look at one section of the liturgy; we will learn about the prayers, music and meanings of a part of the service in depth. A light lunch at noon follows each of these intellectually and spiritually engaging mornings.
All are welcome! No need to RSVP.
July 19: The Preliminary Service – Entering Sacred Time & Space
July 26: Sh’ma and Its Blessings – Prayer as Ideology
August 2: Amidah – Prayer as Dialogue
August 9: Torah Service – Community & History
Congregation Beth El, 1301 Oxford Street, Berkeley 94709

Dates: Saturday mornings, July & August, beginning July 19
Time: 10:15 am
Place: Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley
www.bethelberkeley.org

Yad B’Yad (Hand in Hand) Tot Shabbat & Picnic
Families with young children join for a short Shabbat service, followed by time to play, schmooze and to enjoy a beautiful morning together. We’ll provide snacks. Bring a picnic and stay.

Date: Saturday, July 19
Time: 10:00 am
Place: Peninsula Temple Beth El, 1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo
RSVP to rabbisara@ptbe.org
www.ptbe.org

Jewish Film Series Presents “Rashevski’s Tango”
What does it mean to be Jewish? Three generations of the Rashevski family grapple with the question after the death of Rose, the secular matriarch who believed that the tango would make all troubles disappear. Charming and endearing, the characters confront issues of relationships, family, religion, love, romance and interfaith marriage. The film is in French and Hebrew with English subtitles. Rabbi Sarah Weissman will lead a discussion following the film. Free; refreshments will be served.

Date: Saturday, July 19
Time: 3:30pm
Place: In the Beit Kehillah at Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd, Los Altos Hills
www.betham.org
Sponsored by the Interfaith Outreach Committee of Beth Am.

Stop The Sirens In Israel: An Emergency Solidarity Gathering
Temple Emanu-El is hosting a mass gathering this Sunday, organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council, the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund and the Board of Rabbis of Northern California. Join us as we stand with the people of Israel during this difficult time. Learn more here.

Date: Sunday, July 20
Time: 4:00pm
Place: Emanu-el, 2 Lake St., San Francisco
www.emanuelsf.org

Mazel Tots!
Join other parents and little ones and welcome the new week with Havdalah and Mimi Greisman. This group will provide a wonderful opportunity to connect with other parents and create lasting friendships. We hope you can participate in this musical play group that focuses on parenting your baby or toddler. We will talk about language development, making friends, starting preschool, finding time for you, siblings, physical development, new-found autonomy, and any topic identified by the group. We will have guest speakers from time to time as well as celebrate Jewish holidays and traditions. Enjoy a relaxed setting filled with music, puppets, and more, while you and your little one can play and meet other parents and kids!

Dates: Mondays, Ongoing weekly drop-in, next Monday is July 22
Time: 9:30 – 11:00 am
Place: In Martin Meyer Reception room of Temple Emanu-el, 2 Lake St., San Francisco
www.emanuelsf.org

Chardonnay Shabbat Evening Service
Begin your Shabbat with hors d’oeuvres and a glass of wine or juice before we join together in song and community to welcome the Shabbat. Everyone is always welcome at our services and programs (and like all our Shabbat services, childcare is available).

Date: Friday, July 25
Time: 5:30 pm Refreshments & Schmoozing • 6:15 pm Shabbat Service
Place: Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley
www.bethelberkeley.org

Oneg Shabbat: Saturdays Unplugged
Sherith Israel is happy to partner with the JCCSF and other Bay Area Jewish organizations to bring you Oneg Shabbat: Saturdays Unplugged. Come for the play date, stay for the live music. Unplug and meet up with family and friends for a screen-free afternoon of fun activities and celebratory cocktails. Conclude the day with Havdalah, a sweet send-off for Shabbat and a welcome to the new week. Each week features a family-friendly concert; July 26 will host Isaac Zones and Melita Silberstein! Family Fun, Havdalah, and Happy Hour!

Date: Saturday, July 26
Time: 3:00 – 6:00 pm
Place: JCC of San Francisco, 3200 California St, San Francisco
Free
www.jccsf.org

Welcoming Prospective Members
Beth Am is inviting their members to “Bring Your Friends, Family and Neighbors Interested in Beth Am.” You don’t need a friend to take you! You can just go check out Beth Am on one of the Friday nights in August. Want someone to meet you at the door and “take” you? Just let me know and I’ll arrange it.
Beth Am invite all prospective members to celebrate Shabbat with Beth Am in our Outdoor Chapel at 6:15 p.m. every Friday in August. After the service, prospective members are invited to get to know clergy and lay leaders and ask any questions they may have about our community. Prospective members are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner, and we will provide dessert and good company!

Dates: Fridays in August beginning August 1
Time: Service 6:15 p.m., Outdoor Chapel; Picnic and Oneg Shabbat 7:30 p.m.
Place: Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd, Los Altos Hills
www.betham.org

Let’s Go to the Movies! El Critico
Join us for the SF Jewish Film Festival! Building Jewish Bridges is co-presenting El Critico. The film runs from 6:50 to 8:30pm. We’ll go for ice cream afterwards.
El Critico
Víctor Tellez is jaded, emotionally repressed and arrogant. Not surprisingly, he is an influential but harsh film who especially detests Hollywood romantic comedies.One day while searching for a new apartment, he unexpectedly meets Sofía, a spontaneous and vibrant woman. She clearly does not fit with his conception of good taste. Víctor finds himself going soft and his movie reviews reflect this. He suspects that the movie genre that he hates the most is taking its revenge.

Date: Saturday, Aug. 2
Time: Film runs 6:50 to 9:00
Showing at California Theater, 2113 Kittredge St., Berkeley, between Oxford and Shattuck.
Get your ticket at the SF Film Festival site.

Tisha b’Av Text Study
Join Rabbi Jessica Graf for an evening of learning to commemorate the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. (This is an opportunity to meet the new rabbi at Sherith Israel!)

Date: Aug. 4
Time: 7:15-8:30pm
Place: Sherith Israel, 3200 California St., San Francisco
www.sherithisrael.org
Questions? RSVP? Contact rabbigraf@sherithisrael.org or 415.346.1720

Israeli Folk Dancing with Allen King!
Please join us for Kid’s Night at Israeli Folkdancing. The evening will feature easy-to-follow dances led by Allen, a beloved and experienced kid’s dance teacher. All ages and adults too are welcome for this fun annual family event. For more info, email Bronwyn at imogen@alumni.princeton.edu.

Date: Wednesday, August 6
Time: 8:00 pm
Place: Arlington Community Church, 52 Arlington Ave, Kensington
Cost: Kids are free, adults are $3 (or $6 if you stay until 11:30 pm) or pay what you can.
Hosted by Beth El in Berkeley.

Let’s Go to the Movies! Little White Lie
Join us for the SF Jewish Film Festival! Building Jewish Bridges is co-presenting Little White Lie. The film runs from 7 to 8:05pm. We’ll go for ice cream afterwards. Email me so I’ll know you’re coming and keep an eye out for you.

Little White Lie tells Lacey Schwartz’s story of growing up in a typical upper-middle-class Jewish household in Woodstock, NY, with loving parents and a strong sense of her Jewish identity — despite the open questions from those around her about how a white girl could have such dark skin. She believes her family’s explanation that her looks were inherited from her dark-skinned Sicilian grandfather. But when her parents abruptly split, her gut starts to tell her something different.

– Little White Lie manages to be both a particular family’s story of the price of living in denial, but also raises larger questions for us all: What factors—race, religion, family, upbringing—make us who we are? And what happens when we are forced to redefine ourselves?-Peter L. Stein

Date: Thursday, Aug. 7
Time: 7pm
Place: The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th St, Oakland
Get your ticket at the San Francisco Film Festival site.

Kabbalat Shabbat on the Farm
Join Urban Adamah fellows and friends for a joyful community Kabbalat Shabbat service and dinner on the farm!
Kabbalat Shabbat was invented in the 16th century by the Jewish mystics. Today, it’s practiced in most Jewish communities as a spiritual and emotional doorway into our day of rest. Our version includes chanting, meditation, poetry, movement and quiet alone time on the farm. Drums, guitar and clarinet will carry us into the night.

6:30-8:00 pm: Kabbalat Service led by Adam Berman and the Urban Adamah staff
8:00 pm: Vegetarian potluck dinner! Please bring a vegetarian dish to share for the potluck dinner after the service.

Date: Friday, Aug. 8
Time: 6:30 – 8pm
Place: Urban Adamah, 1050 Parker St, Berkeley
This event is free and open to the public, but kindly register in advance here.

Overwhelmed by Argument: The Conversation I Want to Have Now
Convened by Josh Kornbluth
We care, and because we care, we despair. Will there be any outcome for Israelis and Palestinians, for Israel and Palestine, in which both Peoples are acknowledged and respected? Where one group’s national aspirations are not deemed unworthy? This is the conversation Josh wants to have, the conversation we believe we need. We need is as Jews. We need it as people. We need it as one People among many Peoples. Will there ever be a solution? We don’t know. We worry. Everyone suffers when some suffer. And so someone who cares is convening a loving, respectful conversation with a very clear mandate: More hope, More dignity, More love.

Here are the rules for the conversation Josh invites us to share:

1) If your position is that Israel should cease to exist as the Jewish Homeland, that is not the conversation we are going to have.
2) If you believe Jews are better than Palestinians, that is not the conversation we are going to have.
3) If you believe that only Jews have the right to a state, that is not the conversation we are going to have.
4) If you believe Israel’s concerns about security are imagined, that is not the conversation we are going to have.

The jumping-off-point for our conversations will be these two books:
The Crisis of Zionism, by Peter Beinart
My Promised Land, by Ari Shavit

Dates: 2 evenings: Wednesday Aug. 13 & 20
Time: 7:30pm-9pm
Place: Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Ave, Berkeley
Class fee: $20 (no one turned away for lack of funds)
Registration is required – please register with Daniel at office@netivotshalom.org.

Tot Shabbat Services
Bring your tot to Tot Shabbat! Beginning September 5th, Temple Beth Hillel will hold Tot Shabbat Services the first Friday of the month,6:00 – 6:30 p.m., followed by a family potluck and Shabbat service at 7:30 p.m. Please join us!
Open to the Community.

Date: First Friday of the Month beginning September 5
Time: 6:00 – 6:30 pm
Place: Temple Beth Hillel, 801 Park Central, Richmond
Questions/Information: www.tbhrichmond.org or 510.223.2560

Posted by admin under Community, Current Programs, Film
No Comments

An Audience with Meow Meow

An Audience with Meow Meow

This fall, the Berkeley Rep presents An Audience with Meow Meow, about an international singing sensation and über-award-winning comedienne. In connection to the play, I’ll be offering a class exploring the music as a “degenerate” art form.

Degenerate, Forbidden, Suppressed. Music and Otherness in Fascist Europe
The attitudes displayed by European fascist regimes (especially Italy, Germany, and Vichy France, from the early 1920′s to the end of WW2) towards musical cultures of the “other” — including Jewish, Romani, North African, and African American music, as well as cabaret and popular song — ranged from unambiguous condemnation and suppression, to more nuanced tolerance and even inclusion. This class will examine Fascist rules about music, examples including Brech and Weill’s musical theater, Django Reinhardt’s “Gypsy Jazz,” Italian adaptation of American blues and jazz, and traditional music in colonial North Africa, exploring myths and facts about music history in the early 20th century.

This class will be taught by the fabulous Francesco Spagnolo
The class will be Wed., Sept. 17 from 7 to 8:30pm and will meet at Lehrhaus, 2736 Bancroft Way, Berkeley.
An Audience with Meow Meow opens Sept. 5th.

Our ENTOURAGE code, making tickets available at reduced rates will be forthcoming. Email me if you have questions.

Berkeley Rep’s publicity says:
Ladies and gentlemen, from the lights of London’s West End, the backrooms of Berlin, the sails of the Sydney Opera House, and the opium dens of Shanghai, please welcome…Meow Meow! The international singing sensation and über-award-winning comedienne—who’s wowed audiences from Paris to the Antipodes—finally brings her electrifying repertoire to our lucky shores. The “post-post-modern” phenomenon creates a musical world premiere of gargantuan proportions for Berkeley Rep’s audiences, featuring sizzling songs, sequins and satire, blow-torch wit, and divine mayhem! The captivating Meow Meow has rendezvoused with fellow superstars Mikhail Baryshnikov, Pina Bausch, and David Bowie. Now she’s entangled with the endlessly inventive director Emma Rice (The Wild Bride, Tristan & Yseult, Broadway’s Brief Encounter). Expect beauty, expect hilarity, expect heart. And possibly the splits. You are the perfect audience and she is…the extraordinary Meow Meow.

Posted by admin under Current Programs, Jewish Culture, Music
No Comments

Little White Lie

Let’s Go to the Movies!
Join us for the SF Jewish Film Festival!
BJB is co-presenting Little White Lie
The film runs from 7 to 8:05pm. We’ll go for ice cream afterwards.

Little White Lie tells Lacey Schwartz’s story of growing up in a typical upper-middle-class Jewish household in Woodstock, NY, with loving parents and a strong sense of her Jewish identity — despite the open questions from those around her about how a white girl could have such dark skin. She believes her family’s explanation that her looks were inherited from her dark-skinned Sicilian grandfather. But when her parents abruptly split, her gut starts to tell her something different.

Little White Lie manages to be both a particular family’s story of the price of living in denial, but also raises larger questions for us all: What factors—race, religion, family, upbringing—make us who we are? And what happens when we are forced to redefine ourselves?-Peter L. Stein

Date: Thursday, Aug. 7
Time: 7pm
Place: The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th St, Oakland

Buy your own ticket at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival here.

Read more about this film here.

Posted by admin under Community Activities, Current Programs, Film, Jews of Color, Non-Jewish family
No Comments

El Critico poster

Join us for the SF Jewish Film Festival!
BJB is co-presenting El Critico
The film runs from 6:50 to 8:30pm. We’ll go for ice cream afterwards.

El Critico
Víctor Tellez is jaded, emotionally repressed and arrogant. Not surprisingly, he is an influential but harsh film who especially detests Hollywood romantic comedies.One day while searching for a new apartment, he unexpectedly meets Sofía, a spontaneous and vibrant woman. She clearly does not fit with his conception of good taste. Víctor finds himself going soft and his movie reviews reflect this. He suspects that the movie genre that he hates the most is taking its revenge.

Date: Saturday, Aug. 2
Time: Film runs 6:50 to 9:00

Showing at California Theater, 2113 Kittredge St., Berkeley, between Oxford and Shattuck.

Get your ticket at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival website here.

Posted by admin under Community Activities, Current Programs, Film
No Comments

3 teens kidnapped

Perhaps you have been following the kidnapping of 3 boys in Israel. One was age 19 and the other two were only 16. There was steely hope that some terrorist group would claim responsibility and demand money or the release of some of their jailed compatriots. But unfortunately it was not to be and their bodies were found yesterday. Apparently they were murdered soon after they were kidnapped.

The reactions have ranged from, now we must kill all terrorists to now Israel must get out of the West Bank to, what I find more realistic, so long as each side is in such pain neither side will recognize the other’s pain and no progress can be expected.

A few years ago a friend of mine went to live in Israel for a year. Her American eyes were opened to the completely different culture of that region. She told me, “Here, to turn the other cheek is seen as expressing weakness and you can’t negotiate from a place of weakness. Here you must return a blow for a blow or you will not be respected.”

Wow. Yeah, that’s really not American cultural thinking at all. So I sit in America, safe, and know that I cannot judge the actions of those who are under attack daily. And by that I mean everyone in that anguished land.

What I do know is that Jews are responsible for one and other. Now don’t fall over in a faint. We are all responsible for each other AND the sad reality is that very few non-Jews will stand up for a Jew. (Did you know that the great American songbird, Kate Smith, received death threats for singing God Bless America BECAUSE it was written by a Jew? That was less than a century ago.) So to all the non-Jews reading this – thank you. I know you would not sit idly by as your spouse, children, in-laws were threatened. Non-Jews in the Jewish family means that more people will, like Kate Smith, stand up and say, not on my watch.

All I ask of you is to say a prayer (I don’t care whether it involved “God” or not, you can just address yourself to the great cosmic wonder that is the universe). A prayer, or a directing of your thoughts to this: May the families of these boys be comforted. May they know that we all offer them our hearts. And may the people who did this terrible deed be healed to the point that they realize that it was wrong. May they come away from the brink of a despair so God-awful that murder seemed reasonable.

Pour out your own love on a world that so very much needs it. Need an idea? Look at this –

A woman wrote:

Who can begin to recount the kindness and giving we have witnessed over the past difficult 18 days?

This Friday, wherever you are, please do an act of kindness or giving in memory of Our Boys and the lives they led.
One catch – please do the act of kindness to someone for whom it is difficult for you to be kind. We all have them. Please do something generous to the neighbor you dislike. Do something kind to your coworker with whom you have virulently differing political views. Give something to the very needy family member you can’t stand. It doesn’t need to be big, and it doesn’t have to be given in public.

In memory of Naftali, Gil-ad and Eyal.

Let’s fight the unkindness in ourselves. Begin here, in our own hearts and minds.

May peace come to all of us, everywhere and may it begin with us.

Posted by admin under A meaningful life, Death & Mourning, In the News, Israel
No Comments

Friendly faces

Friendly faces

Judaism is an ancient tradition with its roots in an agricultural society. That means that for the first thousands of years summertime found the Jews out tending the flocks and the crops. Not surprisingly then, summer lacks the plethora of holidays that we get the rest of the year. What to do in the summer? Well, it’s a great time to shul shop. Try going to services at the synagogues near you. Introduce yourself to the rabbi. Go to the oneg after services. See how you like the music, the chanting, the people. Services will be low key and at some point the rabbis will be on vacation. When they are typically lay leaders will step in. Get to know the place.

Student home from college sings on the bema

Student home from college sings on the bema

It was in June, so many years ago, that my daughter picked our synagogue. She was four years old and she picked it because she loved Tot Shabbat. If you have kids, take them to some of the summer services that are outdoors, or mostly musical, or just for kids.

This is a good time to take your non-Jewish sweetheart to synagogue. Services during the summer lean towards a more casual feel. If you feel shy you can always sit in the back and slip out before anyone slides up and greets you or invites you to the after services goodies. Then talk it over between the two of you and see what you each liked most.

A story
Years ago a woman I knew, not Jewish, was feeling very blue. Life was tough, she was young and her relationship was struggling. Because she knew me, she decided to go to services at her local synagogue. Later she called me and told me about it. She said, “I cried a lot. And after services a tiny old woman came up and hugged me. All she said was, it’s hard to be young.”

Why did she go to a synagogue? Why did the old woman speak to her? Why did it help? I don’t know. I just know there is something about community, something about a spiritual moment, something about Shabbat, that can heal.

Give it a try. You may want some succor or you may just want some smiles and music. Go see if it will work for you.

Feeling shy? Want to go with someone else to services? Then you need a Shabbos buddy – that’s a member of the synagogue who meets you at the door, sits with you, explains anything you don’t understand, and introduces you to others at the oneg. Want one? Call me and I’ll get you one.

Posted by admin under A meaningful life, Finding a Synagogue, Spirituality
No Comments

Bees know their job

Bees know their job

​The ​concept of ‘chosen-ness’ really messes with some people’s minds. Let’s clear it up so we can be productive.

I read a drash​/teaching​ by a friend for the parshah Kedoshim​ (teaching on a section of the Jewish bible)​. He said:

The Parshah of Kedoshim begins with the statement, ​’​You shall be holy, for I, the L‑rd your G‑d, am holy.​’​ This is followed by dozens of mitzvot (Divine commandments) through which the Jew​ ​sanctifies him- or herself and relates to the holiness of G‑d.

I have underlined the part that held my attention. ​My understanding is that​ ​b​y performing the mitzvot Jews set them​ apart and become holy AS JEWS, not as Christians, not as Sufi, but as Jews.​ Other religious traditions have other rules and understandings of how they are to relate to God’s demands on them. They have their own contract with the Eternal. The mitzvot are the Jews’ contract. This is how I see ‘choseness.’

Thus, every person, every tradition​,​ has been chosen for something. The goal in life is not to worry about what someone else’s job is but to clarify what YOUR job is. And then do it.

Please don’t waste any energy worrying that someone thinks they are better than someone else. At the end of the day, who cares if they think they are so hot? You are here for one brief shining life. Get to work identifying what you are here to accomplish.

One of my favorite sayings is from Rabbi Tarfon who said, “You are not required to complete the task, nor are you free to desist from it.”

Feeling anxious about this concept? Feel free to email or call me.

Posted by admin under A meaningful life, Non-Jewish family, Spirituality
No Comments

one-Jewish-child

Kveller, an online magazine published the first person story of a woman whose eldest daughter from her first marriage is not Jewish and her second daughter from a Jewish marriage, is Jewish.

How this woman got to this place in life is interesting and is the result of being alive in a time when many things are possible. You might read her story and think that she should have done things differently. Or you may believe you know how she should handle things with her ex. In my work I see the bottom line being the daughter who wants to be included. Mom has her hands tied in a number of ways but there are things she can do to create work-arounds that will help her older child to feel part of the family.

Read Rita’s story.

Here’s my advice to her.

Rita, I’m betting that there is a lot more to this than can be put in a single article. If it is possible, I would suggest broaching the subject with your ex. Can you figure out some cultural things that our new family does that could include your daughter without upsetting him? When non-Jewish kids in my family visit us, we include them in holiday activities – decorating the sukkah, making charoses pyramids, picking flowers for the Shabbat table. Have a list of potential activities and see if he can OK them. I am guessing that she will decorate a Christmas tree, dye eggs, dress up for Halloween while with her dad. These are all Christian cultural activities. It is reasonable that raising her as a culturally aware individual that she learn about other cultures. You could include some of the Jewish traditions from Sephardic and Mizrachi Jews so that both girls have a richer understanding of the practices of others around the globe. (My sister-in-law is from Tunisia. Their dress, food, dance, music and language are all different from my Ashkenazi family.)

Also, sit down and explain to your daughter that her dad loves her and that the two of you have agreed on some special things in her life. Point out the things that she will be doing at each home and explain that this is what you both have decided to give her.

One very important thing that parents in your situation frequently fail to do is decide WHAT AGE is it that you will let your child make her choice. Will it be a particular year – age 12? 16? 18? Or will it be after a particular accomplishment? Since this is now an important time in her life, the two of you need to be clear about when it is. Then going forward you can say, “Honey, you’re learning about the different cultures that your dad and I practice so that you’ll be ready to decide when you are…”

See if there are some things around the house right now that she can do to feel included. Can she help set the table? Help make her sister’s Purim costume? Hold the poles up as you put up the sukkah? Find ways that she is essential to your family activities so you can honestly say, “You are important. You do …”

Surely your ex wants his child to feel good about herself. Approach this topic not as a conflict but as a solution that the two of you will solve together. Good luck!

Posted by admin under Conversion, Divorce, Parenting
No Comments

Proud to support Pride-image_FINAL-500x500

We will be marching with MANY friends at the Pride Parade in San Francisco on Sunday, June 29! Hope to see you there!

Posted by admin under A meaningful life, Community, Jewish Culture, LGBT
No Comments

2 interfaith heads

Feeling confident as a Jew can be complicated for individuals with one Jewish parent and one non-Jewish parent. For people who have a Jewish mother, Jewish law (halachah) is on your side. No matter how you were raised, if you decide you want to identify as Jewish, the Jewish world accepts you. But it may not be that simple for the individual so viewed. A friend of mine wrote in a recent article about her friend, Rose Black, “According to halacha—Jewish law— Poet Rose Black is Jewish because her mother was a Jew. But Black feels confusion and discomfort when people point this out. ‘Although my mother told me I would always be Jewish,’ she says, ‘I felt I could never be Jewish enough to REALLY be Jewish.’”

As another person with a Jewish mother said to me, “I still don’t know all the secret handshakes.” What are those in-group secrets? Things like, knowing a little Hebrew and Yiddish. Understanding internal Jewish jokes. Knowing the assumptions that are made by practicing Jews. Like any subculture, whether Jewish or African American, Chinese or Cuban, the individuals who have lived this culture for decades, perhaps for a lifetime, have internal, unspoken understandings and behaviors. It can feel awkward while one is just learning them.

For the person with a Jewish father, it is more complicated. Jewish law says that having only a Jewish father is not sufficient to make you Jewish. However, the Reform movement recognizes as Jewish those who have a Jewish father and are raised as a Jew, observing Jewish lifecycle events. But, just to complicate things, this is only true of the Reform movement in the United States, so where you live and where you connect with Jewish community impacts how you are viewed.

Confused much? All this variety leaves a lot of room for opinions and positions of all sorts.

If YOU grew up with one Jewish parent I invite you to share your insights and experiences.

I am currently working with Dr. Bruce Phillips on a study of the experience individuals who grew up in an interfaith family. I would love to include your thoughts in the study.
If you’re willing to be interviewed (interviews take 1 to 1.5 hrs) please call Dawn at 510-845-6420 x11 or email dawn@buildingjewishbridges.org.
Please call or email (dawn@buildingjewishbridges.org) for details.

Feel free to share this information with friends and family members.

Posted by admin under Adult Child of an Interfaith Family, Non-Jewish family
No Comments

Next Page »