Kim Carter Martinez

Kim Carter Martinez

Taking Charge of Your Jewish Identity
Being Black, Asian, Danish… and Jewish

Adults from interfaith families often have their Jewish identity challenged by both Jews and non-Jews. Having a name that is not perceived as Jewish, like Anderson, Christiansen, O’Toole, or Wong, can lead to questions like, “How did you get to be Jewish?” For biracial Jews the question stems from their appearance, “You don’t look Jewish.”

There are a number of ways that an adult from a biracial 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.

Sunday, October 9
3:00 – 4:30 pm
Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit Street, Oakland
Free, but please sign up here as we must limit participation to 30. Sign up here.

Posted by admin under Adult Child of an Interfaith Family, Current Programs
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Tallit kippah sidur

What is it about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur that pulls Jews into the synagogue by the droves? Obligation? Faith? Remembrance? What do these holidays mean? What part do they play in our lives? Should our children miss school to observe these holidays? Join us in a discussion of history and meaning.

Date: Sunday, September 18
Time: 10:30am – 12:00 pm
Date: Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court,Pleasanton
Cost: $8 for the public; Free for members

The class listing is here.

This is one workshop in a series of five. See the full series here.

Posted by admin under Current Programs, High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah
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Flower heart from Pixabay

Flower heart from Pixabay

I really enjoyed this article by Rabbi Larry Milder. He sent it to his congregation, Beth Emek of Pleasanton. It gives you a nice summary of the rather obscure holiday, Tu B’Av. Why not take his advice and tell someone that you love them, maybe even give them flowers.

The Jewish Day of Love

Today, the 15th of Av on the Jewish calendar, is the best holiday you’ve never heard of.

Tu B’Av (“Tu” equals 15) is a rabbinic holiday, i.e. one that isn’t mentioned in the Bible. According to the Mishnah (Taanit 4:8), on this day, young women would dress in white and dance in the vineyards, to attract the attention of young men.

Sounds a lot like Friday night Israeli folk dancing at summer camp!

Shimon ben Gamliel explains, “The Israelites had no greater holidays than the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur.”

It is a rather odd comparison. It is true that on Yom Kippur, it is also customary to dress in white. But we don’t usually think of Yom Kippur as a joyous holiday; rather, it strikes us as serious.

That was not how the rabbis of the Mishnah viewed it. Yom Kippur, too, was supposed to be a day for women, dressed in white, to dance. I don’t know how they did it while they were fasting, but the rabbis claim that these two days were the premier match-making days of the Jewish calendar.

I actually get it. People often do meet their bashert, their destined one, on the High Holy days. It is a time when Jews come together, and it is inevitable that some unmarried Jews will find one another, perhaps reacquaint after an absence of some years, and maybe fall in love. Or, at least, go get a snack together after services are over.

As widespread as the observance of Yom Kippur is, however, the celebration of Tu B’Av has somehow fallen by the wayside. What a shame! We can use a good holiday devoted to love, and nothing more! No fasting required, no hours of prayer, just a good hora, a line dance, Cajun two-step or Texas boot scootin’.

The wearing of white (Shimon ben Gamliel says “borrowed”) suggests a kind of equality, a way of getting beyond the surface appearance of who has fancier clothes. We are encouraged to consider character, the deeper qualities of a partner, the things that will lead to a lifetime of happiness.

I prefer not to think of Tu B’Av as a Jewish St. Valentine’s Day. Among other reasons, we don’t have saints, and the story associated with Saint Valentine isn’t a pretty story, either. There is nothing but beauty and simplicity in the tradition of Tu B’Av.

More importantly, we were celebrating Tu B’Av for centuries before St. Valentine’s Day.

Sometimes, the riches of our tradition are just waiting to be discovered.

Go out and get someone you love some flowers. It’s Tu B’Av!

Rabbi Larry Milder

Posted by admin under A meaningful life, Holidays
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Photo via Israeli PikiWiki, some rights reserved

Photo via Israeli PikiWiki, some rights reserved

This week I had the following communication:

Delightful woman: Hi Dawn, I receive your newsletter and am wondering what is the best way to honor my (Jewish) daughter-in-law on Tu B’Av?

Me: What a lovely idea you have! Tu B’Av is “observed” to the extend that is it observed at all, as a day of romantic love and couples finding each other. But, not unlike Valentine’s Day, a day of love is always a good time to tell a person what they mean to you. I think a card would be very sweet. If you want to do something, as in go somewhere, since the ancient celebration included dancing in vineyards you could have brunch together or go to the Wine Country. But believe me, I’m just punting. Anything you do will be just fine. It’s very dear of you to want to do anything for this minor holiday. I’ve very touched.

Delightful woman: Thanks so much, Dawn! I made a card, filled with words of love, and I made a donation to Jewish Family Services of the Bay Area. I’m all about love, so couldn’t pass this holiday up…no matter how minor.

I was so touched by this woman’s desire to impress upon her daughter-in-law that she loves her and SEES her Jewish identity. Too bad there is so much bad press given to the mother – daughter in-law relationship because it just isn’t true. I’ve heard many stories that dispell this negative myth.

(If you’d like to learn more about Tu B’Av you can read here and here.)

Whether family or friends, telling someone that you love them shouldn’t be reserved for special occasions. I am betting that you’ve noticed how touched people are when you tell them you love them. When a friend is going through a tough time I like to call and say, “I haven’t mentioned it today but I should: I love you.” Sometimes a loving word really helps you get through the day. Do you do this? If not, try it and let me know how your family and friends respond.

Cheers,
Dawn

EVENTS
Welcoming Prospective Members (Los Altos Hills)
Potluck Dinner and Services (Walnut Creek)
August Community Shabbat Dinner (Pleasanton)
Outdoor Shabbat Service at Temple Isaiah (Lafayette)
Shabbat in the Park (Lafayette)
Congregation Beth Emek Open House (Pleasanton)
Courtyard Service and Pot-luck dinner (Alameda)
Shabbat Service Under the Trees (Berkeley)
Build Your Own Sukkah! (Pleasanton)
Jewish Heritage Night at the Giants (San Francisco)
“Transparent”: A New Take on Gender & Jewish Identity (San Rafael)

Welcoming Prospective Members
Are you curious about Congregation Beth Am? All prospective members are invited to celebrate Shabbat with Beth Am in our Outdoor Chapel at 6:15 PM every Friday in August. After the service, prospective members will have a chance to get to know clergy and lay leaders, and ask any questions they may have about our community.

Date: All Fridays in August
Time: Picnic 5:30pm; Service 6:15pm; and Oneg Shabbat 7:30pm
Place: Outdoor Chapel of Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills
Details here

Potluck Dinner and Services
Join us and bring your friends or someone who might want to visit our congregation for a night of good food, good friends, and music as we celebrate Shabbat as a community.
Please sign up to bring one of the food item and a beverage. See the details here http://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090d4daeaa2fa3fe3-potluck

Date: Friday, August 19, must RSVP by noon on Aug. 18!
Time: Pot Luck Dinner at 6:00 pm; Shir Joy Shabbat Services begin at 7:30 pm
Place: B’nai Tikvah, 25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek
www.tikvah.org

August Community Shabbat Dinner
Celebrate Shabbat with Congregation Beth Emek at the August Community Shabbat Dinner!
Prior to Shabbat services, we invite you to come for a friendly, fun dinner. This is a wonderful opportunity to eat great food, meet new members, connect with existing members, and catch up with long-standing friends!

Date: Friday, August 19
Time: 6:15pm
Place: Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton
Please RSVP by 3:00 pm, Friday, August 19.
Please contact the CBE office if you have any questions 931-1055
Details here

Outdoor Shabbat Service at Temple Isaiah
Join us for a one-hour intergenerational come-as-you-are service that takes advantage of the beautiful summertime in our outdoor Amphitheater. Happy Half-Hour Oneg beforehand at 6pm in the Beit Knesset.

Date: Friday, August 19
Time: 6:30pm
Place: Temple Isaiah Amphitheater, 945 Risa Rd, Lafayette
www.temple-isaiah.org

OR

Shabbat in the Park
Bring Your Pets!
Hate driving in traffic? No problem! We’re bringing Shabbat to you. Meet at Heather Farm Park this Friday for family-friendly services. Bring your own picnic dinner, blankets, chairs, and pets on a leash for a special pet blessing. We hope to see you there!

Please find us at the picnic tables at the far end of the parking lot between the playground and the pool. Look for the sand volleyball court.

Date: Friday, August 19
Time: 6:30pm
Place: Heather Farm Park, 301 N San Carlos Drive, Walnut Creek
Sponsored by Temple Isaiah of Lafayette
www.temple-isaiah.org

Congregation Beth Emek Open House
Whether you are new to the area or just new to Beth Emek, we invite you to drop by our Open House to learn about worship opportunities, our community, and educational programs for all ages.
Meet Rabbi Larry Milder, Education Director Judith Radousky, and Preschool Director Melinda McDonald. Take a tour of the building and visit our sanctuary and classrooms. Light refreshments will be served.

Date: Sunday, August 21
Time: 10:00am-12:00pm
Place: Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton
For more information, contact Lisa Kama, Membership Chair, at membership@bethemek.org.

Courtyard Service and Pot-luck dinner
Do you live on the island of Alameda? Join the friendly folks at Temple Israel for services in the courtyard plus a potluck dinner.

Please bring a dish to share using this guide:
families with last names beginning
A-G Salads
H–M Drinks
N-S Main Dish – (dairy – no meat or shellfish – to avoid the possibility of mixing meat and dairy dishes in t he same course.)
T-Z Dessert
If you have any questions you can call Maya, Temple Israel’s office administrator, at 510-522-9355.

Need a friendly face to meet you there? Email me, Dawn at dawn@buildingjewishbridges.org, and I’ll put you in touch with someone.

Date: August 26
Time: 6pm
Place: Temple Israel, 3183 Mecartney Rd., Alameda
www.templeisraelalameda.org

Shabbat Service Under the Trees
Join us for an end of summer Shabbat morning service under the oak trees as we celebrate nature, community and the peace of Shabbat with music, meditation and joyful learning.

Date: Saturday, August 27
Time: 10:15 am
Place: Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley
www.bethelberkeley.org

Build Your Own Sukkah!
Thought of building your own Sukkah, but worried that it’s too difficult? Think you don’t have space in your yard for a sukkah or storage to keep the materials the rest of the year? Join Lisa and Alon Kama for a workshop on how to build a simple Sukkah out of PVC pipes. All participants will receive a detailed supply list, blueprint for building, and ideas for decorating.

Date: Tuesday, August 30
Time: 7:00p
Place: Beth Emek, Classroom 1, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton
Questions? Contact Lisa Kama at lisa.kama@bethemek.org

Jewish Heritage Night at the Giants
Join the Bay Area’s Jewish community at the Giants annual Jewish Heritage Night at AT&T Park! You are invited to bring your family and friends, or even your entire congregation! Your Special Event ticket package includes a seat in one of the Jewish Heritage sections for the game versus the Diamondbacks, a collector’s-edition Jewish-themed Giants hat, as well as admission to the Jewish Heritage Night pregame party on Terry Francois Boulevard from 5:00-7:00PM! Live cultural entertainment will take place at the pre-game party, and cultural food and drink specials will be available for purchase. Partial proceeds from every special event ticket sold will benefit Project Homeless Connect and Everybody Is A Star . Don’t miss this fun-filled night out at the park to celebrate Jewish Heritage!

Date: Tuesday, August 30
Time: 7:15pm
Place: AT&T Park, San Francisco
In Community Partnership with Jewish Community Federation, Chabad of San Francisco and Everybody Is A Star
Details on the Giants website

“Transparent”: A New Take on Gender & Jewish Identity
Calling all “Transparent” fans: Season 3 will be released to Amazon Prime members beginning September 23! Join us as we explore the impact that the show has made on how LGBTQ+ and Jewish characters are presented in popular culture. “Transparent” writer and producer Micah Fitzerman-Blue takes us behind-the-scenes into the writer’s room of this groundbreaking series, to discuss the show’s multi-faceted portrayal of Jewish identity and family dynamics. Immediately following the presentation, Jhos Singerexamines gender fluidity and its impact on his work as a Jewish transgender leader, teacher, and activist. A moderated panel discussion and audience Q&A will follow.

Date: Sun, September 11
Time: 5:00 pm
Place: Marin JCC, 200 N San Pedro Rd, San Rafael
Cost: Advance Tickets are $18 public / $15 Osher Marin JCC members.
To order tickets, please call 415-444-8000
Details here

Posted by admin under Community Activities, Holidays
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Isaiah Light is Sown for the Righteous

The High Holidays are coming – this year in October – so you still have weeks in which to do some shul shopping to determine whether you’d like to join a synagogue and have a “home” for the holidays and beyond. I’ve often told you to explore the lighthearted services of summer. Look below to see an outdoor service, a chocolate oneg, and a pre-High Holiday festival. Whether you find your Jewish place in a synagogue, a JCC or a Jewish day school, do find one for your self and your family. Feeling like you can’t figure this out? Call or email me. We can chat about it.

EVENTS
PTBE Book Club Discussion (San Mateo)
Last Outdoor Sanctuary of the summer (San Rafael)
5th Annual Tu B’Av Wine & Chocolate Oneg Shabbat (Los Altos Hills)
Shabbat on the Farm (Berkeley)
Tot Shabbat (San Mateo)
Prospective Members Open House (San Rafael)
Kindergym Sunday PlayDay (Oakland)
Rabbis Roundtable: Does Prayer Work? (Foster City)
Pre-Holiday Festival and Bazaar (Palo Alto)

PTBE Book Club Discussion
Milton Steinberg’s As a Driven Leaf will be this summer’s reading. Also known as Rabbi Dennis’s favorite book, it’s a great read.
This masterpiece of modern fiction tells the gripping tale of renegade Talmudic sage Elisha ben Abuyah’s struggle to reconcile his faith with the allure of Hellenistic culture. Steinberg’s classic novel also transcends its historical setting with its depiction of a timeless, perennial feature of the Jewish experience: the inevitable conflict between the call of tradition and the glamour of the Modern world.

Join Rabbi Lisa Kingston and Lisa Meltzer Penn for an exciting conversation based on the book.

Date: Thursday, August 18
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Beth El1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo
Details here.
www.ptbe.org

Last Outdoor Sanctuary of the Summer
Join us for the last outdoor Shabbat service this summer! Many of us feel spiritually rejuvenated when we’re drinking in the natural beauty that surrounds us in Marin County, and Outdoor Sanctuary offers a perfect opportunity to commune with God while connecting with nature. Bring a blanket or some lawn chairs, a picnic dinner, and a dessert to share. We’ll bring the challah. Feel free to invite your friends and neighbors -Outdoor Sanctuary services are extremely kid-friendly!

Date: Friday, August 19
Time: 6:00 pm
Place: China Camp Village in San Rafael
Sponsored by Rodef Sholom, 170 N San Pedro Rd, San Rafael
www.rodefsholom.org
Co-sponsored by PJ Library and Kesher.

5th Annual Tu B’Av Wine & Chocolate Oneg Shabbat
Celebrate Tu B’Av, the Jewish Day of Love, with a wine and chocolate Oneg Shabbat under the trees. The 15th of Av is a post-Biblical holiday of joy and matchmaking, rejuvenated in modern Israel with singing and dancing beneath the full moon. This service will include a short talk by Nancy Federman, the new President of Beth Am Women; and we’ll welcome the new 2016-17 Beth Am Women Board as they receive a special blessing. Then stay for our popular Oneg Shabbat featuring fragrant wines and delectable chocolates.

Date: Friday, August 19
Time: Immediately Following the Shabbat Service; Outdoor Chapel
Place: Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills
www.betham.org

Shabbat on the Farm
Center your heart, clear your mind, and celebrate Shabbat with a special musical service led by Urban Adamah and Wilderness Torah. We are excited to also partner with JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa) who will lead a few Morrocan melodies and Middle Eastern Beats as we bring in Shabbat.

Poetry, meditation and movement guided by a collective of musicians will transport us into the night. A community vegetarian potluck will follow the service. Kindly register in advance for this free event.

Date: Friday, August 19
Time: 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Place: Urban Adamah, 1050 Parker St. Berkeley
Register here.

Tot Shabbat
A fun-filled morning of songs, challah and playtime.

Date: Sat., Aug. 20
Time: 4 to 5pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Beth El1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo
www.ptbe.org

Prospective Members Open House
Want to share your Rodef Sholom community with your friends and neighbors? Here’s the perfect opportunity! Your guests will get to meet the clergy and other members of the Rodef Sholom community. RSVP to Molly at molly@rodefsholom.org.

Date: Friday, August 26
Time: 5:45 pm reception in Rabbi Stacy Friedman’s study; 6:15 pm Shabbat services
Place: Rodef Sholom, 170 N San Pedro Rd, San Rafael
Please remember to RSVP to Molly.
www.rodefsholom.org

Kindergym Sunday PlayDay
Join other parents of 3 year old children on weekdays starting again 8/24-26 for our 34th year! Siblings under 3 are Free!

As we enjoy our expansive, NEWLY RENOVATED play space at Temple Beth Abraham, near the Grand Lake Theater. Come for sliding, climbing, jumping, rocking horses, music, ballpit, stories, bubbles and so much more. Open to families of ALL beliefs, our inclusive classes celebrate kindness, fun and friendship.

Date: August 28
Time: 10:30-12noon
Place: Temple Beth Abraham, 327 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland
Cost: $15 per family/cash please
Free Parking
Details here.

Chardonnay/Shiraz Shabbat
Come celebrate the end of summer with us, and discover what makes our community so special. Enjoy refreshing wines/other beverages, tasty appetizers, and relaxed, interesting conversation. We will have snacks and activities for the kids to give the adults time to shmooze. Followed by our participatory service at 7:30.

Date: Friday, September 9
Time: Snacks & conversation at 6:30 pm, services at 7:30pm
Place: Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma, Palo Alto
www.etzchayim.org

Rabbis Roundtable: Does Prayer Work?
So much of the High Holidays are focused on prayer, at home and in the synagogue. But what is prayer? Is prayer a plea we address to a God outside ourselves or in praying do we awaken our own virtues and values buried deep within. Either way, does prayer work? Four of our local rabbis will teach texts about prayer and discuss their own personal views about if, and how, prayer works.
Participants will include Rabbi Nat Ezray of Congregation Beth Jacob, Rabbi Corey Helfand of Peninsula Sinai Congregation, Rabbis Dennis Eisner of Peninsula Temple Beth El, and Rabbi Lisa Delson of Peninsula Temple Sholom.

Date: Wednesday, September 14
Time: 7 to 8:30pm
Place: Wornick Jewish Day School, 800 Foster City Blvd, Foster City
This program is free but pre-registration is required. Register here.

Pre-Holiday Festival and Bazaar
Make cards for Rosh Hashanah, create sukkah decorations and get up and dance!

Date: Sunday, Sept., 25
Time: 11:00am to 2:00pm
Place: Palo Alto JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto
Free
Details here

Posted by admin under Community Activities, Synagogues
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Temple Isaiah has Shabbat at camp

Temple Isaiah has Shabbat at camp

Summer is a great time to go see different types of casual services. Many synagogues move their services outside. Whether it’s with marshmallows or guitars or both, this is a upbeat, relaxed time of year. Check out some of the interesting options going on. This is a grab bag of activities. If you don’t see what you want, email me (dawn@buildingjewishbridges.org) or look at the websites of your local synagogues.

EVENTS
Kumzits / Campfire Shabbat (Oakland)
Two Shabbat Services & Pizza Dinner (Walnut Creek)
Kol HaNeshama: The Meditative Service (Foster City)
Tot Shabbat (Foster City)
All Around This World – Musical Program (Oakland)
JymBABIES (San Rafael)
Toddler Playgroup (Oakland)
Tisha B’Av Today: Contemplating Our Tragedies (Burlingame)
Workshop: Enriching the Self (Danville)
PJ Library Playdate (Walnut Creek)
5th Annual Tu B’Av Wine & Chocolate Oneg Shabbat (Los Altos Hills)
Kesher Community Picnic! (Palo Alto)
The Secrets of An Urban Farm: A Interactive Farm Tour (Berkeley)
Grief and Growing: Weekend for Bereaved Individuals and Families (Santa Rosa)
Healing Prayers (Burlingame)
San Francisco Giants Jewish Heritage Night (San Francisco)

The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival continues through August 7. Take a look at their films.

Kumzits/Campfire Shabbat
Join us for family service around the fire. There will be lots of singing and s’mores!
Come in campfire attire and bring a picnic blanket.

Date: Friday, August 5
Time: 6:30pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland, In the Sacred Garden (Lower Courtyard off the parking lot.)
www.oaklandsinai.org

Two Shabbat Services & Pizza Dinner
Come for Tot Shabbat and/or Pizza dinner and/or Family Shabbat Services – see the schedule below. We welcome back Cantor Chabon as she leads both services this evening!

5:30pm – Tot Shabbat
6:00pm – Pizza Dinner
6:30pm – Family Shabbat Service

Date: Friday, August 5
Place: B’nai Tikvah, 25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek
Cost for dinner is $10 for adults, $5 for kids 4-12, 3 and under is free.
RSVP to Amanda at amanda@tikvah.org
www.tikvah.org

Kol HaNeshama: The Meditative Service
Join us for a Petach (entryway) into our Shabbat morning Tefillah (prayer experience).
We will pray together before the Shabbat morning service with the help of niggunim (wordless melodies), meditation, breathing exercises, singing, English, and more. This is a wonderful way to learn how to engage oneself in a meaningful prayer through meditation, singing, traditional and alternative prayer models.

Date: Saturday, August 6
Time: 9:15 am
Place: Peninsula Sinai, 499 Boothbay Avenue, Foster City
www.peninsulasinai.org

Tot Shabbat
Cantor Doron will be leading Shabbat songs and fun activities for kids ages 2-6!

Date: Saturday, Aug 6
Time: 11 am
Place: Peninsula Sinai, 499 Boothbay Avenue, Foster City
www.peninsulasinai.org

All Around This World – Musical Program
Meet musician Jay Sand visiting from Philadelphia, where he runs All Around This World

As Jay describes the program, “All Around This World is a unique, interactive global music and world cultures program for children 0-9 years old that encourages children and their families to explore the world by enjoying global music, rhythms and movement.”

Jay’s program focuses on presenting to young children (he has three cute ones of his own) amazing world Jewish music, on which he is one of the country’s leading experts.

What could be more fun than that? Come join us with your kids to play and listen to some great multicultural Jewish music on Sunday.

Date: Sunday, Aug. 7
Time: 10 am
Place: Temple Beth Abraham, 327 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland
www.tbaoakland.org

JymBABIES
A drop in play space for ages birth to two with parent or caregiver
Open every Tuesday for Drop In! Soft indoor playground for climbing, crawling, sliding, bouncing in our bounce house, building and dancing, scooting and more! On-site café for kid-friendly food and snakes.

Dates: Tuesdays – in August – 9, 16, 23, 30
Time: 9:30 to 11am
Place: Marin JCC, 200 N San Pedro Road, San Rafael
See cost details here

Toddler Playgroup
Toddlers and their caregivers are welcome to join a new playgroup. The group is ideal for those starting Temple Sinai Preschool in the fall, but is open to all toddlers. Parents, care-givers, grandparents are welcome. There is no fee and no commitment, just a great opportunity to engage with other kids and adults. Please contact Ellen Lefkowitz with any questions at(510) 832-6800 x313 but feel free to just show up on Tuesday.

Dates: Tuesdays, dates in August are 9, 16, 23, 30
Time: 9:15-10:15am
Place: Temple Sinai 2808 Summit St., Oakland
www.oaklandsinai.org

Tisha B’Av Today: Contemplating Our Tragedies
Tisha B’Av, or the 9th of Av, commemorates many tragedies in Jewish history, most notably the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE and again in 70 CE. This year, we will dedicate our contemporary observance of Tisha B’av to remembering not only what happened to us, but what happens every day to those who are in physical, spiritual and emotional exile in the 21st century.

Our evening will begin with a study session from Reform CA that will help us transform the mourning of our Temple’s destruction into a call of action to repair the wrongs in today’s society. We will conclude with an evening prayer service and a modern chanting from Eichah, the Book of Lamentations.

Join Peninula Temple Sholom and Peninsula Temple Beth El with Support from Reform CA. Led by Rabbi Molly Plotnik and Rabbi Lisa Kingston

Date: Saturday, August 13
Time: 7:00 to 8:30pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Sholom, 1655 Sebastian Drive, Burlingame
www.sholom.org

Workshop: Enriching the Self
Jenifer Zetlan is offering this three-session seminar that provides an introduction to theSefirot, “God’s emanations,” and how its wisdom can enrich and deepen the meaning of daily living.

Dates: Sundays, August 14, 21 & 28
Time: 4:00-5:30pm
Place: Beth Chayim, 1800 Holbrook Drive, Danville
Cost: $40, Materials Fee: $10
More information here
To register, contact the Beth Chayim office at admin@bethchaim.com

PJ Library Playdate
If you have a young kiddo in the Walnut Creek area, please join us at Small Talk Café for our PJ Library Playdate! (Facebook event)
Admission is 50% off for PJ Library subscribers — $6 for all day play — who are crawling and older. Pre-crawlers and adults are always free at Small Talk Café.

Date: Wednesday, August 17
Time: 9:15 – 11:30 am
Place: Small Talk Café, 1536 Newell Ave., Walnut Creek
(Please park across from Kaiser in the lot with the other shops)
Sponsored by Sprout, the Federation’s family initiative, designed to serve East Bay Jewish families
Got questions about Sprout? Contact Liora Brosbe, Youth and Family Concierge at 510-809-4914. She’s incredibly nice and wants to help.

5th Annual Tu B’Av Wine & Chocolate Oneg Shabbat
Co-sponsored by Beth Am Women and Beth Am Men
Come celebrate Tu B’Av, the Jewish Day of Love, with a wine and chocolate Oneg Shabbat under the trees. The 15th of Av is a post-Biblical holiday of joy and matchmaking, rejuvenated in modern Israel with singing and dancing beneath the full moon.
This service will include a D’var Torah by Nancy Federman, the new President of Beth Am Women; and we’ll welcome the new 2016-17 Beth Am Women Board as they receive a special blessing. Then stay for our popular Oneg Shabbat featuring fragrant wines and delectable chocolates.
Beth Am Women and Beth Am Men invite you to embrace the spirit of the festival of Tu B’Av. Whether you love someone special or just wine and chocolate, this community event is for you!

Date: Friday, August 19
Time: Immediately Following the Shabbat Service
Place: Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills – in our outdoor chapel
www.betham.org

Kesher Community Picnic!
Great activities, Sweet Prizes, Free Kosher Food, Fun for all ages!
This is a FREE Picnic and hosted by Kesher, the south Pen’s concierge for Jewish families and our Partner organizations.

Date: Sunday, Aug. 21
Time: 10:30am – 1:30pm
Place: Shoup Park, University Ave., Palo Alto
Info here

The Secrets of An Urban Farm: A Interactive Farm Tour
Join us for our monthly farm tour led by the farmers who make it thrive. We’ll share our secrets to soil fertility, plant propagation, growing food in water, and so much more. Tours include an exclusive meeting with the goats, chickens, bees and worms. Bring your sunhat and join us!
Farm tours are open to all. Children should be accompanied by an adult. Pre-registration is not required but we kindly ask you to register in advance if you can. We encourage you to stay for our community volunteer day (2:00-5:00 pm) immediately following the tour.
Like all events here on the farm, we ask that you bring a canned food item to contribute to our farm stand. Thanks for your support!

Date: Aug 21
Time: 12:45 pm – 1:45 pm
Place: Urban Adamah, 1050 Parker St. Berkeley
Sign up here
www.urbanadamah.org

Grief and Growing: A Healing Weekend for Bereaved Individuals and Families
This unique weekend is designed to help individuals and families attend to their losses and mourning in a comfortable setting. This weekend is the only one of its kind in the Jewish community, welcoming our diverse community. See Jewishhealingcenter.org for more information and a registration form. For financial aid, please call the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center at (415) 750-3436.

Date: August 26-28
Place: Camp Newman, Santa Rosa
www.jewishhealingcenter.org

Healing Prayers
For body, soul, mind and spirit

A Vision of Wellness: The Healing Power of Prayer
Many of us find music to be soothing and uplifting, particularly when we’re in need of healing. At this creative service, the soaring and soulful music and prayers led by Rabbi Dan Feder and Musical Accompanist Emily Pelc will be a spiritual healing balm.

Date: August 27
Time: 10:30 to 11:30am
Place: Peninsula Temple Sholom, 1655 Sebastian Drive, Burlingame
www.sholom.org

San Francisco Giants Jewish Heritage Night
It’s that time of the year again! Everyone is invited to join other members of the Bay Area Jewish community for San Francisco Giants Jewish Heritage Night.

Date: Tuesday, August 30
Game time: 7:15pm
Place: AT&T Park, San Francisco
Details on the Giants’ website here.

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Scotch & Jewish Wedding

Scotch & Jewish Wedding

When it comes to planning an interfaith wedding many interfaith couples want to integrate elements of both partners’ traditions into their wedding ceremony.

Personally, I like to get the whole picture before I plan an event. So I’m going to give you a link to a traditional Orthodox explanation of the elements of a Jewish wedding. You may not choose to do any of them but at least you’ll know what people are talking about when they inquire about your ceremony.

Here are some Jewish customs to consider. Do any of these speak to you?

Use a chuppah – the chuppah is a canopy under which the couple is married. In Jewish tradition the chuppah symbolized the home they will create together. The practice of having a canopy has entered into non-Jewish weddings and is quite lovely. Learn more about the chuppah here.

Break the glass – many Jews feel that breaking a glass is central to a Jewish wedding. That moment when the glass is crushed and everyone shouts, Mazel Tov, can easily be added to your wedding. Breaking the glass has a number of interpretations. Perhaps the most common is that the shattered glass represents the destruction of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem – which in turn is said to remind us that even in the most joyous of times there is sorrow. Some couples save the glass shards and make a framed art piece from them. There are special glasses you can buy, some people use a light bulb, but just be sure you haven’t chosen a glass so sturdy that your ankle will break before the glass does. The glass object you choose should be wrapped in a large white napkin.
You can read other interpretations here.

Have a ketubah (wedding contract). This contract was quite innovative when it was created because it set forth what a husband owed his wife, even, or maybe especially, if he divorced her. In a time when women were basically property the wedding contract prevented a woman from being discarded and destitute. You can get a very basic ketubah or you can buy a beautiful piece of art that can later be displayed in your home. (My ketubah hangs in my living room. It was written and painted by a woman artist who was a member of my shul.) There are interfaith ketubahs, English, same sex, Reform, Orthodox, etc. Look at the website www.ketubah.com and you’ll see a wealth of options.
More about ketubahs here http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-ketubah-or-marriage-contract/

Have both sets of parents walk their child down the aisle. This is one of my favorite Jewish traditions. Why should the groom’s parents be left out? Why should the bride’s mother be left behind? What if you have two dads? A wedding is the joining of the two families, not the giving away of a bride (or a groom). It is so beautiful to have each set of parents escort their child to the wedding officiant.

Recite the Seven Blessings or sheva brachos. These seven sentences are intensely focused on Jewish peoplehood. Some interfaith couples don’t feel that the blessings, in their original form, suit their ceremony. A number of couples take the central focus of each of the blessings and ask seven friends to write a blessing for the couple using that theme.

Circling. There is an old custom of the bride circling the groom seven times. I’ve seen it done that way, or with the two circling together or with each doing 3 circles and the seventh one together. I get a very primal sense from this ritual. It looks like sympathetic magic, the bride is binding the groom to her. It is described as representing the seven days of creation, the seven wedding blessings, and more. One of the things I love about ancient customs is that we reinvent them with modern meaning and still hold the old meanings.

Have a moment of privacy immediately after the ceremony. This tradition is called Yichud. The word means seclusion. In times gone by this was the first time the bride and groom had been left alone together. It symbolized sexual intimacy, whether it is done or not. Modern couples use this time to be together and out of the spotlight on their special day.

Your officiant can invite others to come under the chuppah to receive a blessing for love and companionship. This is not really a tradition but I’ve seen a rabbi do this while the couple was having their Yichud/private moment. The rabbi invited any guest who wanted to strengthen their own relationship or to find a relationship or to just feel the love of the couple, to walk under the chuppah. Then she offered a blessing to the assembled guests. It was quite lovely.

Dance the hora! There’s nothing like music and dancing to lighten hearts and heels. The hora is an easy dance that can quickly be taught so that everyone can join in.

Be lifted on chairs. You’ve seen this either in person or on the big screen, joyous guests raising the couple on chairs and dancing around with them. As when it happens at a bar or bat mitzvah, it shows who is the focus of the event. I’ve also read that it symbolizes that we all depend on others. In any case, if you do this it is a good idea to have several strong friends who you rely on to keep you safe. I’ve never seen anyone fall, but please don’t be the first!

Bride gives special blessings. There is a belief, should I say superstition, that a bride is in a special olam – time and place – for the year after her wedding. She has special access to the Devine. As such, she can give blessings to people that have greater power. I don’t remember which rabbi told me this but I think it’s lovely. To ask a woman to give you a blessing honors her and your relationship to her. I love asking brides for a blessing.

If you are the Christian or Hindu or Sufi or atheist partner, you probably have your own ideas of what you’d like to include. Please tell me what traditions you have or will include in your wedding ceremony?

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When a Jew Celebrates large

The following message was sent to me via my monthly column, Mixed and Matched

My dad is Jewish, but my parents raised me with no religion at all. I’ve always been spiritually minded and wanted a connection to God. I found a rabbi who was very kind and sympathetic. I told her that I didn’t want to convert just to convert, I want to believe in what I’m getting into. The rabbi guided me to a yearlong class on Judaism and also met with me privately. When I felt I was ready, she took me to the mikvah. I’m still learning, and I so very much wish I had learned about Judaism growing up. Is there no way for interfaith couples to give their children a Jewish education without committing themselves to being Jewish? I would have loved to have grown up around other Jewish kids. It was hard to do this all by myself. — Jewish Now and Forever

I answered:

Dear Jewish Now and Forever: I can’t tell you how delighted I am to hear of your kind and insightful rabbi! She is truly a blessing. I hope all rabbis will sit and listen to the adults from interfaith families, hear what they are seeking, teach them and help them find their own place.

To your question: Yes, there are ways for interfaith couples to give their children a Jewish education without deciding to practice Judaism. But I say this with caveats. Let’s begin with the “yes” part. Many synagogues allow members to enroll their children in Hebrew school while they are deciding what to do. Interfaith couples can meet with the rabbi and discuss their situation. Rabbis will not faint. They are used to the interfaith phenomenon. A local Orthodox rabbi told me that he believes that in order for a child to make a choice about which religion to choose, he or she must be knowledgeable about Judaism, which is a subordinate tradition in America.

Personally, I am one of many Jewish professionals who do not advocate a halfhearted attempt to send your child off to be educated without the parents doing anything themselves. This is disorienting for the child. So the “no” part would be that few rabbis are going to say, “Sure. Drop your child off and we’ll take care of everything. You just go shopping.” Couples are not surrendering their parental responsibilities.

Each synagogue has its own policies, so it is important to learn what they are. I have heard of some that give you a year to determine what you choose for your home. Others will educate a child right up until bar or bat mitzvah age and then ask the family to resolve the religious identity of the child.

Then there are the Jewish summer camps. Most of our local Jewish camps accept children of interfaith couples. At camp the child will have a fun, immersive Jewish experience and will learn Jewish songs, blessings, values and practices.

There are also Jewish community centers, which offer a wide array of Jewish activities and holiday celebrations, as well as preschool and summer programs for kids and families.

And let us not forget the many independent Jewish organizations that offer Jewish experiences. Locally there are organizations like Urban Adamah, Wilderness Torah, The Kitchen, Jewish Gateways, EcoJews of the Bay and Edah. A number of Jewish concierge programs have a professional who will help couples find the Jewish environment that works for them.

As you say, it would have been nice for you to have been around other Jewish kids. Children get a feeling of being “normal” when they have friends who celebrate the same holidays and are familiar with the same foods, music and cultural references. If an interfaith family is able to find another family, interfaith or Jewish, it is great for the children to have playmates who can share these ideas and experiences with them. Children like to be similar to their family and friends and they like having it pointed out. It gives them a sense of belonging. Children don’t have to be raised as Jews to understand elements of their Jewish heritage and enjoy being included.

Finally, I want to commend you on your personal tenacity. You found what you wanted and you worked hard to get it. You are a blessing to the Jewish people. Having lived on both sides of the Jewish identity, you have much to share.

Posted by admin under Adult Child of an Interfaith Family, In their own words, Mixed & Matched
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Israel in the Garden

Israel in the Garden

Sometimes people who feel they are on the margin of Jewish community because they don’t belong to a synagogue believe that there is not much available for them to do. Wrong! Every week I send out a list of random activities that ANYONE can attend. Here’s a list for the coming weeks. Of course there are MANY more. If you need help, just call me. Dawn 510-845-6420 x11

EVENTS
Kabbalat Shabbat on the Farm (Berkeley)
Torah with Soul (San Rafael)
Green Shabbat (Oakland)
Tot Shabbat in the Park (San Mateo)
Hummus! The Movie (Palo Alto)
Qirvah Sacred Ecstatic Participatory Music Event (Palo Alto)
Chardonnay Shabbat (Berkeley)
Fifth Friday Kumbaya Shabbat (Palo Alto)
Etz Handworkers (Palo Alto)
Tisha B’Av Today: Contemplating Our Tragedies (Burlingame)

Kabbalat Shabbat on the Farm
Join Urban Adamah for a musical Kabbalat Shabbat service on the farm. Kabbalat Shabbat was invented in the 16th century by the Jewish mystics. Today, it is 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 joyfully carry us into the night.

Date: Friday, July 22
Time: 6:30: Kabbalat Shabbat Service
8:00: Community Potluck Dinner – Please bring a vegetarian dish to share.
Place: Urban Adamah, 1050 Parker St., Berkeley
This event is free and open to the public, but please register in advance. As with every Urban Adamah event, please bring a canned good to donate to our weekly farm stand.
Details here.

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 second 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, this Saturyday, 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.

Date: Most Saturdays including July 23
Time: 9:15am
Place: Rodef Sholom, 170 No. San Pedro Road, San Rafael
www.rodefsholom.org

Green Shabbat
Join us under the redwoods to celebrate all that is around us. To better enjoy the outdoors, we recommend dressing in layers and bringing lawn chairs or picnic blankets for the service. A Potluck kiddush lunch will follow the service. Please bring a dish to share, if you are able.

Date: Saturday, July 23
Time: 10:30am, Roberts Park, Diablo Vista picnic area
Sponsored by Temple Sinai’s Green Committee.
www.oaklandsinai.org

Tot Shabbat in the Park
Join Rabbi Sara Mason-Barkin, Elana Jagoda Kaye, and Peninsula Temple Beth El families with young children for a Shabbat morning play date at the park. You will sing a few Shabbat songs and munch on challah, but mostly enjoy the beautiful California weather and a relaxing Shabbat morning together.
This is a great opportunity to meet some PTBE families!

Date: Saturday, July 23
Time: 10:00 am
Place: Laurelwood Park, 3471 Glendora Drive, San Mateo
Sponsored by Peninsula Temple Beth El, 1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo
www.ptbe.org

Hummus! The Movie
Oren Rosenfeld | USA, Israel | Documentary
From the SF Jewish Film Festival –
Where can you find the best hummus in the world? From Suheila, a single Muslim woman who is known for her legendary hummus, to Jalil, a Christian Arab hipster in Ramle who runs his father’s hummus joint, to Eliyahu, a born-again Orthodox Jew who owns a hummus restaurant chain, this fun and fascinating film about the highly competitive hummus restaurant business in Israel shows how powerful this chickpea spread can be.
Learn more here.

Date: Sat, Jul 23
Time: 12:30pm
Place: Cinearts at Palo Alto Square, Palo Alto

Qirvah Sacred Ecstatic Participatory Music Event
King David says in the Psalms: “qirvat Elohim li tov!” “Closeness to G!d is so good for me!”
How to get there? As David did: with chant, drumming and movement.
Come join Reb Tsvi and the Hevrah-team in learning how to get into the G!dzone (dveikut) using a variety of chants, drumming – both on drums and on the body, and movement.

Date: Sunday, July 24
Time: 2:00pm
Place: Kol Emeth, 4175 Manuela Avenue, Palo Alto
www.kolemeth.org
For more information, contact Reb Tsvi Bar-David at:tsvi.bardavid@gmail.com

Chardonnay Shabbat
Celebrate the joy of Shabbat and the early summer evening with a glass of wine or juice, light snacks and song. Chardonnay Shabbat begins at 5:30 pm; Shabbat evening services are at 6:15 pm. Join us for this fun, informal Shabbat gathering.

Date: Friday, July 29
Time: 5:30 pm
Place: Beth El, 1301 Oxford Street, Berkeley
www.bethelberkeley.org

Fifth Friday Kumbaya Shabbat
Whenever there are five Fridays in a month, we like to do something a little different. Join us for an informal backyard service featuring songs sung around the campfire. Bring a blanket and a picnic to enjoy on the grass (no pork or shellfish, please). We’ll have some tables and chairs for those who find that more comfortable. Wine for kiddush and challah for motzi will be provided. All ages are welcome! As the song says, “the more we get together, the happier we’ll be!”

Date: Friday, July 29
Time: Picnic at 5:45 pm, services at 7:00pm
Place: Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma, Palo Alto
www.etzchayim.org

Etz Handworkers
Would you like to do some needlework with others? Etz Chayim has a circle of members that quilt, crochet, knit, do needlepoint, embroidery, etc. Everyone brings their own project and tools – or you can work on one of their quilts for the Jewish Vets at the VA. All are welcome and this is a great opportunity to sit and schmooze.

If you’d like to join in please contact the woman in charge, Jessica. Email me and I’ll give you her personal email address.

Date: Monday, August 1
Time: 7:00 pm
Place: Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma, Palo Alto
www.etzchayim.org

Tisha B’Av Today: Contemplating Our Tragedies
Tisha B’Av, or the 9th of Av, commemorates many tragedies in Jewish history, most notably the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE and again in 70 CE. This year, we will dedicate our contemporary observance of Tisha B’av to remembering not only what happened to us, but what happens every day to those who are in physical, spiritual and emotional exile in the 21st century.

Our evening will begin with a study session from Reform CA that will help us transform the mourning of our Temple’s destruction into a call of action to repair the wrongs in today’s society. We will conclude with an evening prayer service and a modern chanting from Eichah, the Book of Lamentations.

Join Peninula Temple Sholom and Peninsula Temple Beth El with Support from Reform CA. Led by Rabbi Molly Plotnik and Rabbi Lisa Kingston

Date: Saturday, August 13
Time: 7:00 to 8:30pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Sholom, 1655 Sebastian Drive, Burlingame
www.sholom.org

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At the Oneg

At the Oneg

I had an ah-ha moment this week. I had attended a community meeting on the subject of responding to the violence against black people. We met at a black church. The event was organized by PICO, an organization that teaches faith-based community organizing. There were people of different faiths and races present. Afterwards there was some discussion among the dozen Jews around me about next steps. I felt oddly uncomfortable and out of place. It took me a couple days to realize why. Then it hit me. The conversation felt like we were helping “other people,” people of color. But I have family members who are people of color. Members of my synagogue are people of color. This isn’t about “them;” it’s about “us.” I know from speaking with you that many of you have multiracial families and friends. This struggle is our struggle. If you are feeling alone, reach out. There are many Jewish groups, synagogues, etc, that are confronting the violence; you can say you need support. If you want to help, reach out. Everyone is needed. Call your rabbi, call the Jewish Community Relations Council.

The most meaningful thing that I did (for me) was to start contacting my family and friends of color and say, “Are you OK? I’m thinking about you. I’m worried that even if you are physically unharmed you are being psychologically and spiritually hurt. I love you.” One on the young people I called was numb and depressed. I asked her, “What can I do to brighten your day?” Obviously I couldn’t alter the universe but I could do something to cheer her. She told. We did it. I’ll see her again tonight for Shabbat dinner and services. I will be sure to tell her that I love her.

Go tell someone that you love them, that you are thinking about them. Say you want them to be safe and to feel loved. See if you can do some small loving thing for them. Then please tell me what you did.

Some good articles:
6 Concrete Things You Can Do To Help End Police Brutality
Jews of Color Ask Us All to Dream of – and Fight for -Justice

Posted by admin under A meaningful life, Jews of Color
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