apple-tree-boughs

I love summer and am a bit sad to see autumn arrive. But S’lichot gets me in the mood for the coziness of cool weather, the prayers of the High Holy Days, and the emotional warmth of returning my energies to the Jewish community from my garden.

S’lichot translates as forgiveness and refers to the prayers of repentance that are said as we approach Yom Kippur. Read more details here.) Just about every synagogue has a special late night service for S’lichot. They may include food (we are Jews, you know!) and teaching and possibly, music. To go into the sanctuary late at night surrounded by friends and family has such a loving, peaceful feeling. The congregants take the regular mantles off the Torah scrolls and redress them in white covers. There is both a solemnity and a joy to the activity.

An interesting thing to note is that the rabbis teach that Yom Kippur and Tu B’Av are the happiest holidays in the year. Why? Because they represent love and intimacy. Tu B’Av focuses on the relationship between lovers. Yom Kippur is said to be the day that each of us draws near to God, recites our failings and God says, “I know. I love you.” It is being accepted for who you are – warts and all. Of course, we strive to do better each year and, God willing, we are better people this season than we were last season. But what is nicer than being seen for who you are and loved just as you are?

Shabbat Shalom,

Dawn

EVENTS
S’lichot Service (Lafayette)
S’lichot and Havdalah Service (Palo Alto)
Jewishness: A Cultural History (Oakland)
Exploring Judaism (San Rafael)
Judaism 101 (Tiburon)
5th Friday Shabbat: High Holy Day Melodies (Palo Alto)
Greatest Hits of the High Holidays! (Oakland)
Taking Charge of Your Jewish Identity: Being Black, Asian, Danish…and Jewish (Oakland)
Sukkot Shabbat Dinner (Palo Alto)
Isaac Zones Concert and Harvest Festival (Foster City)
Hollywood and Censorship (Walnut Creek)

S’lichot Service
Prepare yourself for the Days of Awe with our S’lichot program and service exploring repentance and forgiveness.
7pm Join us in the Social Hall where we will watch two short films: “The Science of Character” and “The Making of a Mensch,” followed by learning and discussion.
8pm Service in the Sanctuary. A beautiful and moving service setting us on the path of repentance, forgiveness and renewal. We will also participate in the ritual of changing the Torah mantles to white for the High Holy Day season.

A dessert reception will follow in the foyer. Please bring sweet treats to share.

Date: Saturday, September 24
Time: 7:00pm
Place: Temple Isaiah, 925 Risa Rd., Lafayette
www.temple-isaiah.org

S’lichot and Havdalah Service
In preparation for the High Holy Days, Etz Chayim and Keddem will hold a co-led S’lichot observance with a short service, including Havdalah and changing the Torah covers for the High Holy Days. The service will include poetry, prayer, meditation and chanting. We hope you’ll join us for this beautiful and meaningful observance. Co-led by Elaine Moise from Keddem and by Jonathan Salzedo.

Date: Saturday, September 24
Time: 8:30 pm
Place: Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma St, Palo Alto
www.etzchayim.org

Jewishness: A Cultural History
with Shaina Hammerman, PhD
Jewish cultures span thousands of years and at least as many villages and urban centers, political ideologies, theologies, rituals, and literatures. Indeed, it is impossible to point to a singular entity called “Jewish Culture.” If we contend that Jewish cultures are so varied, what about these cultures makes them “Jewish”?
In this session, we will take a look at the variety of Jewish cultures from Jewish societies in antiquity through the contemporary Jewish-American scene. We will focus on the theme of “the Other”: how Jewish cultures create themselves by constructing boundaries between themselves and their neighbors, as well as themselves and their historical predecessors.

Date: Sunday, September 25
Time: 9:30-11:00am in the Albers Chapel
Place: Temple Sinai, in the Albers Chapel, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
For course and registration information go here.
Co-sponsored by Lehrhaus Judaica and Temple Sinai

Exploring Judaism
Part One, with Rabbi Elana Rosen-Brown
This course will give participants a foundation in the basic tenets of Judaism. We will explore areas such as history, holidays, life-cycle events, theology, Torah and prayer through foundational Jewish texts, beliefs and customs. Whether you grew up Jewish and are looking to explore more deeply as an adult, are entirely new to Judaism, or are part of an interfaith family and want to study together, we welcome you to join us!

Dates: Select Sundays starting September 25
Time: 9:15 – 10:15 am
Place: Rodef Sholom, in the Library, 170 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael
RSVP here

Judaism 101
with Rabbi Leider
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.
See course details here

Dates: Sundays, September 18 though May 7, 2017
Time: 9:30 am – 12:00 pm
Place: Kol Shofar, 215 Blackfield Drive, Tiburon
Tuition: $180 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, ext. 100

5th Friday Shabbat: High Holy Day Melodies
Come get in the mood for Rosh Hashanah with this special Fifth Friday service led by Rabbi Chaim and Karen Kennan. The service will incorporate High Holy Day melodies and reflections as an opportunity for introspection and preparation for welcoming the New Year.

Friday, September 30
Time: 7:30 pm
Place: Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma St, Palo Alto
www.etzchayim.org

Greatest Hits of the High Holidays!
Are you interested in learning more about the High Holidays, but not ready for (or want to supplement) traditional synagogue services?

Join us at Beth Jacob Congregation for the Greatest Hits of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur!

All are invited to join Rabbi Fox for “The Greatest Hits of Rosh HaShanah” on the first day of Rosh HaShanah, Monday, October 3rd at 6:15 PM and Rabbi Albert for “The Greatest Hits of Yom Kippur” on Wednesday, October 12th at 8:00 AM in the Small Sanctuary. Both are only one hour long.

This is a learners’ service that will include some of the special prayers of the day, learning, and discussion. Please feel free to invite family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues! Anyone and everyone is welcome!

Dates: Rosh HaShanah, Oct. 3 at 6:15pm
Yom Kippur, Oct. 12 at 8:00am
Place: Beth Jacob Congregation, 3778 Park Blvd, Oakland
www.bethjacoboakland.org

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.

Date: Sunday, October 9
Time: 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Free, but space is limited so reserve your spot here.

Sukkot Shabbat Dinner
The Jewish holiday of Sukkot commemorates the wanderings of the Israelites in the desert after being freed from Egypt. Huts, or Sukkahs, represent the temporary shelters that the Israelites lived in during those 40 years.

Join the OFJCC in our community Sukkah for a festive Shabbat dinner celebration, with music from Jewish musicians Jeremiah Lockwood and Jewlia Eisenberg.

Sukkot and Shabbat are times to come together with family and sit in the Sukkah, connecting with nature and each other as we express gratitude for the good things in our lives.

Date: Friday, October 21
Time: 6:00pm-8:00pm
Place: Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto
Cost: $20 per person | $10 per child | $50 per family | Free for children under age 2.
www.paloaltojcc.org

Isaac Zones Concert and Harvest Festival
Wornick and PJ Library invite you to a joyful concert and a morning of fun learning activities for children ages 3 to 5 and their families. Lunch will be provided.

Date: Sunday, October 30
Time: 10:00 am to Noon
Place: Wornick Jewish Day School, 800 Foster City Blvd, Foster City
This event is free, but you must register.

Hollywood and Censorship
From the earliest days of motion pictures in America, bluenose reformers accused the film industry of poisoning the minds of its viewers with scenes of illicit sex and wanton violence.
With the use of film clips, we will explore how the push for film censorship led to the 1934 Production Code Authority, the near erasure of Jewish characters in American films and the prohibition of movies that explored what was happening in The Third Reich.

Dates: 5 Wednesdays, November 2 – December 7 (no class 11/23)
Time: 7:30 – 9:00 pm
Place: B’nai Shalom, 74 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek
Cost: $70 for the public; $50 for members of B’nai Shalom
Register here.

Posted by admin under High Holidays, Holidays, Prayer, Rosh Hashanah, Spirituality, Synagogues
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This common question for this time of year came to me via my Mixed and Matched column in the Jweekly.

Congregation Emanu-el, San Francisco

Congregation Emanu-el, San Francisco

I am getting serious about my boyfriend (who is not Jewish) and I want him to understand what’s important to me about being Jewish. I’m thinking that this year I should take him with me to High Holy Day services. Chabad has free services and I was always treated kindly by the Chabad rabbi on my college campus, so I thought about going there. I was raised Reform; do you think I’ll be able to follow the traditional service and explain it to my boyfriend?
Wondering

My reply:

Dear Wondering: I appreciate your growing awareness that your boyfriend deserves to know more about what Judaism is and especially what it means to you. However, starting with the High Holy Day services is really pushing him into the deep end of the pool. I don’t recommend it.

In the 20-plus years I’ve been working with interfaith couples, I’ve seen exactly two people, both practicing Christians, who liked High Holy Day services. Two!

If you have grown up going to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services, you are acclimated to the length of the service, the language and the atmosphere. But for your boyfriend it is utterly unknown and probably uncomfortable. The liturgy is unique; so is the music. The intention is to jolt Jews into a heightened state of awareness. Additionally, the reference to sins is heard by most Jews as “missed the mark,” but to most people raised in American culture, it can sound like the precursor to a quick trip to hell.

I suggest you take your boyfriend to a regular Shabbat service. At this time of year, many synagogues have outdoor services or services that include a picnic dinner or lots of music. Since you were raised Reform, I suggest you help him get familiar with a Reform environment. That is going to be most comfortable for you, and your comfort level will significantly influence his.

I would not recommend a Chabad or Orthodox service as his first experience because, for one, you would be sitting on opposite sides of the mechitza, which would preclude you from sharing a prayerbook and explaining things. Additionally, there are parts of a traditional Shabbat service that the Reform movement has deleted, so you too would be a bit confused.

I understand the concern about the cost of High Holy Day tickets, and I have a few suggestions. Rosh Hashanah starts the evening of Oct. 2. A couple of weeks before the holidays, this newspaper will print a long list of free services in the area (last year’s list at http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/75582 could give you a lead). Additionally, look at websites of Reform synagogues near you; many have lower prices for students, military and young adults. Or feel free to call me at (510) 845-6420 ext. 11; I can help you find options near you.

I also want to reflect on this idea you’ve formed: wanting your boyfriend to understand what is important to you about being a Jew. This is very important and he deserves to know. And you are doing the right thing by making this effort.

I want to you to consider the best way to go about assisting him. First, it is best if you and he learn together. Don’t make this a job for him with you as boss. Look for a basic Judaism class that you could attend together. Since most adult Jews haven’t studied Judaism since their teens, you’ll find yourself able to take in more of the details and the subtleties of Jewish history, practice and theology.

Many synagogues offer basic courses, and certainly Lehrhaus Judaica offers classes throughout the Bay Area, including an online option if you are located far afield.

Should you take him to services? Yes! But go easy. Find a service that is a bit shorter and has a lot of music. And, if you can, go with friends. Also, prepare a Shabbat dinner at home for him. Explain the elements of Shabbat at home. Demonstrate how Judaism is, in fact, a home-based religion. It is likely that the Jewish activities you will want him to do with you are home-based: Shabbat, Hanukkah, Passover. Have fun and be prepared to do this together.

Posted by admin under Couples, High Holidays, Mixed & Matched, Non-Jewish family, Relationships, Rosh Hashanah
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siddur-kippah-shofar

When you think “High Holy Days” what do you feel?

High Holy Days usher in a wide range of emotions for Jewish people. Some are looking forward to the solemn yet joyful services, seeing everyone at shul, gathering with the “usual crowd” for a special meal, going to tashlich and Breaking the Fast. Others dread what they perceive to be the depressing message of Yom Kippur, the fast (or the expectation that one will fast), the hot synagogue sanctuary, the Vidui (the confessional prayer), and the longer than usual services.

May a Jew is annoyed at the demands of the holidays. But who is making these demands? Typically, we are making them on ourselves. But it is much easier to project them onto someone else. “My rabbi expects everyone to come to services,” “my spouse wants me to go with him/her,” “my parents expect me to set an example for my kids.” Some of these may be true, some we are simply sure that others are thinking.

What to do about this? First, it is essential that you figure out what you want to do and what you feel obligated to do. Then figure out why you feel obligated and is it a good thing or a bad thing? As a parent I feel obligated to feed and clothe my children. I feel obligated to stay home with them when they are sick. As a spouse I feel obligated to spend time with my husband, to be an ear when he is troubled, to stand together with him when we are dealing with a challenging child. As a friend I feel obligated to make time to see my friends, to help them when they are sick or worried, to celebrate and mourn with them. My parents are dead. So I am no longer obligated to visit them, write letters, make phone calls.

I embrace my obligations to my children, spouse and friends. Frankly, I wish I still had my parents; I would welcome the responsibilities of that relationship.

Can you sort out which obligations you feel as a Jew – or a partner of a Jew – and determine which you embrace and which you find irritating? Until you really know what it is you want to do and don’t want to do and why, you won’t be able to make peace with the holiday or yourself. I invite you to join me this coming Sunday morning in Pleasanton at Beth Emek for: The High Holidays… Do I Want to or Do I Have to?

If you can’t make it but want to talk, just shoot me an email or give me a call.

EVENTS
Musical Early Childhood Sing Along (Tiburon)
The High Holidays…Do I Want to or Do I Have to? (Pleasanton)
Adults from Interfaith Families: A Roundtable Discussion (Berkeley)
Tot Shabbat (Pleasanton)
Preparation for the High Holy Days & Selichot Service (Richmond)
Exploring Judaism (Lafayette)
High Holiday Pop-Up in the Lobby (San Rafael)
Introduction to the Jewish Experience: Lifecycles and Holidays (Berkeley)
Introduction to Judaism (San Francisco)
Intro to Judaism (San Jose area)
Intro to Judaism (Burlingame)

Are the High Holy Days a good time to introduce my non-Jewish boyfriend to Judaism?

Musical Early Childhood Sing Along
with Rabbinic Intern Sam Rotenberg
Join Sam for this special musical experience – sing, dance, and get all jazzed up for the High Holy Days.

Date: Sunday, September 18
Time: 9:30- 10:30am
Place: Kol Shofar, 215 Blackfield Drive, Tiburon
www.kolshofar.org

The High Holidays…
Do I Want to or Do I Have to?

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: 10:30 – 12:00
Place: Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Ct, Pleasanton
www.bethemek.org
Register here.

Adults from Interfaith Families: A Roundtable Discussion
Join other adults who grew up in an interfaith family to discuss how that went for you and to consider challenges and desires. Do you think of yourself as Jewish? Half Jewish? Jew-ish? Does it annoy you that other Jews want to put their own label on you? Do you have a comfortable relationship with your Jewish community or not? Come share your insights and suggestions with others who have dealt with similar life situations.

Thursday, September 22
7:30 – 9:00 pm
Lehrhaus Judaica, 2736 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
Free, please sign up here as we have limited space.

Tot Shabbat
Bring the babies and toddlers for our weekly playgroup. We have bagels and coffee and the snacks you bring to share. At 11 am, Rabbi Milder joins us for our Shabbat celebration, including songs, candle lighting, motzi, and kiddush. Kids have fun, adults have fun – come check it out!

Dates: Every Friday, Sept. 23, 30
Time: 10 am – Noon
Place: Congregation Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton
For more information, contact Anna Kalman, prekyouth@bethemek.org
www.bethemek.org

Preparation for the High Holy Days & Selichot Service
Prepare for the High Holy Days with Cantor Fran Burgess. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and explore the meaningful liturgy found in the Mishkan HaNefesh, Machzor for the Days of Awe. Cantor Fran and the High Holy Days Choir continue with a Havdalah ceremony followed by Selichot (forgiveness), a moving and beautiful service introducing the themes of the season through music and meditation. Selichot provides a quiet time for personal reflection and self examination.

Date: Saturday, September 24
Time: 8:00pm
Place: Temple Beth Hillel, 801 Park Central, Richmond
For more information on Beth Hillel’s High Holy Day services, look 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 will be Jewish Literacy by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, along with Michael Strassfeld’s The Jewish Holidays and The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel. The books are not included in the price for the course. Taught by Rabbi Oren Postrel.

Year-long Course (22 sessions): Sundays, Sept 25 through May 7 (No class: 10/2, 10/23, 11/27, 12/18, 12/25, 1/1, 1/15, 2/19, 3/12, 4/9, 4/16)
If you would like to sign up for 1 or more blocks of Exploring Judaism (instead of registering for the whole year), we welcome you to do so. Tuition is $30 per block for members; $70 per block for non-members.
• Jewish Calendar & Holidays: How we Celebrate Together – 9/25, 10/9, 10/16, 10/30, 11/6, 11/13
• Jewish Life Passages and our Homes: How Jews Do Jewish – 11/20, 12/4, 12/11, 1/8, 1/22
• Jewish Text and History – 1/29, 2/5, 2/12, 2/26, 3/5
• Jewish Thought, Prayer, and Music – 3/19, 3/26, 4/2, 4/23, 4/30, 5/7

Dates: Sundays, beginning Sept. 25
Time: 9:00-10:00am
Place: Contra Costa Jewish Day School, 955 Risa Rd, Lafayette (Room 206 ) Immediately across the parking lot from Temple Isaiah.
Cost: The year long class is offered in 4 blocks. Tuition is $100/members; $250/non-members for the year or $30 per block for members; $70 per block for non-members.
Details here

High Holiday Pop-Up in the Lobby
Honey & reflection for a sweet New Year at our High Holiday pop-up in the Lobby!
During the holiday of Rosh Hashanah—the Jewish new year— it is time to take a moment to reflect on our past year and make resolutions for what’s to come. It is traditional to eat apples dipped in honey and to give gifts of honey to symbolize our desire for a sweet year, blessings and abundance.
At this pop-up in the Osher Marin JCC Lobby, drop by to:
Sample local apples, pick up a sweet honey treat, and discover the best places to go apple picking in Marin!
Participate in our High Holidays scavenger hunt—for kids and adults alike! Peruse a selection of holiday-related Judaica and gifts.
Find your high note! Blow your best tekiah in front of a captive audience with our shofar.
Everyone can make teshuvah (turning from where we missed the mark): make a holiday card for Jewish inmates at San Quentin.
Toss your regrets into a pool as we model the ritual of tashlich (using rubber duckies).
And more!

Date: Tues, September 27
Time: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
Place: Marin JCC, 200 North San Pedro Rd., San Rafael

Bring the kids! No RSVP necessary.
FREE
Details 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. You are welcome to take one or more in the series.)

Date: Wednesdays, October 19 – December 14 (no class 11/23)
Time: 7:30 to 9pm
Place: Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley
Cost: $105/public; $90/members of Beth El
Register here

Introduction to Judaism (2016-2017)
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. Mark your calendars now for the 2016-2017 classes:
Dates
Fall: Oct. 25; Nov. 1, 8, 15; Dec. 6, 13
Winter: Jan. 17, 24, 31; Feb. 7, 14, 21, 28
Spring: Mar. 21, 28; Apr. 4, 25; May 2, 9, 16

Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Place: Temple Emanu-el, 2 Lake St., San Francisco
Cost: Emanu-El Member Cost: $54, Non-member cost: $75
Register here
www.emanuelsf.org

Intro to Judaism
Introduction to Judaism is offered in partnership with our local Reform and Conservative congregations for anyone interested in exploring Judaism – individuals, interfaith couples, those considering conversion, and Jews looking for adult-level basics. This class introduces the fundamentals of Jewish thought and practice in 20 weeks.
Topics include Jewish holidays and life cycle celebrations, theology and prayer, Israel, history, and Hebrew. In addition to the weekly class and reading, there will be two Shabbat Dinners and two Shabbat Lunches, one at each of the sponsoring congregations.
Whatever you are seeking, Introduction to Judaism offers you a time and place to broaden your Jewish awareness and give you the skills necessary to “do Jewish”.

Dates: Tuesdays, November 1, 2016 to May 9, 2017
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Place: Each class is at the facility associated with the teacher for that evening: Rabbi Aron at Congregation Shir Hadash; Rabbi Ohriner at Congregation Beth David; Rabbi Berkenwald at Congregation Sinai; Rabbi Magat at Temple Emanu-El; and Rabbi Seid-Valencia, the Center for Jewish Living and Learning at the APJCC.

Cost: $180 for an individual or a couple. Registration Fee includes one set of books for the class. For more information or to register, please contact the Center for Jewish Life and Learning at (408) 357-7411 or look here
Register here

Intro to Judaism
From concepts of God to Jewish history, learn the fundamentals of Jewish thought and practice with our clergy. This ten-session course is perfect for interfaith couples, non-Jews considering conversion, and Jews looking for an adult-level introduction.

Dates: Mondays, November 7, 2016 – January 30, 2017
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Sholom, 1655 Sebastian Drive, Burlingame
Taught by Rabbis Dan Feder, Lisa Delson, and Molly Plotnik
Cost: Free for members of Peninsula Temple Sholom; $36 for non-members
For more information look on the synagogue’s website

Posted by admin under Current Programs, High Holidays, Introduction to Judaism
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emanu-els-dome-horizontal

Here’s autumn! Time to consider what we want to do in the upcoming Jewish year of 5777. Here are all the workshops and classes scheduled from Building Jewish Bridges. I hope you’ll find something you like. As always, feel free to email me (dawn@buildingjewishbridges.org) if you have a topic that you’d like to see offered.

Dawn

The High Holidays…
Do I Want to or Do I Have to?

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: 10:30 – 12:00
Place: Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Ct, Pleasanton
www.bethemek.org
Register here

Adults from Interfaith Families: A Roundtable Discussion
Join other adults who grew up in an interfaith family to discuss how that went for you and to consider challenges and desires. Do you think of yourself as Jewish? Half Jewish? Jew-ish? Does it annoy you that other Jews want to put their own label on you? Do you have a comfortable relationship with your Jewish community or not? Come share your insights and suggestions with others who have dealt with similar life situations.

Thursday, September 22
7:30 – 9:00 pm
Lehrhaus Judaica, 2736 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
Free, please sign up here as we have limited space.

Kim Carter Martinez

Kim Carter Martinez

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

Date: Sunday, October 9
Time: 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Free, but space is limited so reserve your spot here.

Making Shabbat Your Own
Would you like to start doing Shabbat? Do you need an easy way to start or do you want to take your current observance up a notch? Come learn easy steps to create “your” Shabbat. We’ll tell you how to have warm, homemade challah even if you work until 6pm. How to engage children of all ages. Ways to approach teens or other skeptics in your family. As a bonus, we’ll tell you how one simple ritual can improve your child’s and your health, happiness and wellbeing. No kidding!

Date: Sunday, October 30
Time: 10:30 – 12:00
Place: Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Ct, Pleasanton
www.bethemek.org
Register here.

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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
Lehrhaus Judaica, 2736 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
Cost: $12 per couple, $8 per person
Register here.

Double Roots: A Film and Discussion
A young woman with a Jewish mother and a Christian father was raised religiously “nothing.” She was told that “if the Nazis were here, they’d kill you” and that was the extent of her Jewish education. Decades later she went out to learn what others with one Jewish parent had been taught and how their lives were similar or different from her own. When asked, “Why did you make this film of interviews with adults from interfaith families she replied, “I wanted our voices to be heard.”
Please join us to hear these voices as they were interviewed and to hear from some of the interviewees about their lives today.

Date: Thursday, December 1
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Place: Kehilla Community Synagogue, 1300 Grand Ave., Piedmont
Free, please sign up here.

To Tree or Not to Tree: What Will We do for the Holidays?
You may want to decorate a Christmas tree while your partner wants to make latkes. What will work for you as a family? Whether December is your favorite month – full of Christmas cookies and chocolate gelt – or your most dreaded month – material surfeit and cultural overwhelm – you are invited to join this open and supportive discussion on how to handle the December dash.

This year will be especially interesting because the first night of Hanukkah falls on Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 4
Time: 10:30 – 12:00
Place: Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Ct, Pleasanton
www.bethemek.org
Register here

Posted by admin under Adult Child of an Interfaith Family, Chanukah, Children, Christmas, Current Programs, High Holidays, Jewish holidays at home, Jews of Color, Parenting, Shabbat
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Temple Isaiah, Lafayette, CA

Temple Isaiah, Lafayette, CA

Here’s a comment I get frequently – I’m going to take my non-Jewish sweetheart to the High Holy Days this year. Here is one woman who posed it as a question —

I am getting serious about my boyfriend (who is not Jewish) and I want him to understand what’s important to me about being Jewish. I’m thinking that this year I should take him with me to High Holy Day services. Chabad has free services and I was always treated kindly by the Chabad rabbi on my college campus, so I thought about going there. I was raised Reform; do you think I’ll be able to follow the traditional service and explain it to my boyfriend? — Wondering

Dear Wondering: I appreciate your growing awareness that your boyfriend deserves to know more about what Judaism is and especially what it means to you. However, starting with the High Holy Day services is really pushing him into the deep end of the pool. I don’t recommend it.

In the 20-plus years I’ve been working with interfaith couples, I’ve seen exactly two people, both practicing Christians, who liked High Holy Day services. Two!

If you have grown up going to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services, you are acclimated to the length of the service, the language and the atmosphere. But for your boyfriend it is utterly unknown and probably uncomfortable. The liturgy is unique; so is the music. The intention is to jolt Jews into a heightened state of awareness. Additionally, the reference to sins is heard by most Jews as “missed the mark,” but to most people raised in American culture, it can sound like the precursor to a quick trip to hell.

I suggest you take your boyfriend to a regular Shabbat service. At this time of year, many synagogues have outdoor services or services that include a picnic dinner or lots of music. Since you were raised Reform, I suggest you help him get familiar with a Reform environment. That is going to be most comfortable for you, and your comfort level will significantly influence his.

I would not recommend a Chabad or Orthodox service as his first experience because, for one, you would be sitting on opposite sides of the mechitza, which would preclude you from sharing a prayerbook and explaining things. Additionally, there are parts of a traditional Shabbat service that the Reform movement has deleted, so you too would be a bit confused.

I understand the concern about the cost of High Holy Day tickets, and I have a few suggestions. Rosh Hashanah starts the evening of Oct. 2. A couple of weeks before the holidays, this newspaper will print a long list of free services in the area (last year’s list could give you a lead). Additionally, look at websites of Reform synagogues near you; many have lower prices for students, military and young adults. Or feel free to call me at (510) 845-6420 ext. 11; I can help you find options near you.

I also want to reflect on this idea you’ve formed: wanting your boyfriend to understand what is important to you about being a Jew. This is very important and he deserves to know. And you are doing the right thing by making this effort.

I want to you to consider the best way to go about assisting him. First, it is best if you and he learn together. Don’t make this a job for him with you as boss. Look for a basic Judaism class that you could attend together. Since most adult Jews haven’t studied Judaism since their teens, you’ll find yourself able to take in more of the details and the subtleties of Jewish history, practice and theology.

Many synagogues offer basic courses, and certainly Lehrhaus Judaica offers classes throughout the Bay Area, including an online option if you are located far afield.

Should you take him to services? Yes! But go easy. Find a service that is a bit shorter and has a lot of music. And, if you can, go with friends. Also, prepare a Shabbat dinner at home for him. Explain the elements of Shabbat at home. Demonstrate how Judaism is, in fact, a home-based religion. It is likely that the Jewish activities you will want him to do with you are home-based: Shabbat, Hanukkah, Passover. Have fun and be prepared to do this together.

This letter is from the monthly column, Mixed and Matched, in the Jweekly.

Posted by admin under Couples, High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah, Synagogues
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Elul2 reduced

This is one of those years when you hear “the holidays are SO late this year!” While the Jewish holidays always fall on the same day of the Jewish calendar, the Jewish calendar and the Gregorian calendar are always moving around.

The Gregorian calendar was put into practice by Pope Gregory in 1582. Just thinking about how the calendar shapes our daily thinking makes you realize how Jewish time & culture are naturally different than Gregorian/Christian time and culture. It’s really quite fascinating. One of these days I’m going to as a rabbi to teach about Jewish time – that’ll blow your mind!

Back to the High Holy Days – they fall late in the Western calendar this year, Rosh Hashanah begins the evening of October 2. The month leading up to Rosh Hashanah is Elul and it will begin Sept. 3 at sundown. For the entire month of Elul Jewish tradition teaches that we reflect on our selves. How are we doing? What would we like to improve? Similar to the January 1st New Year, this is a time to reassess one’s life.

For those of you who like to reflect here are some interesting options.

Take a look at a calendar where the Jewish dates are dominant and the Gregorian dates are subordinate.

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat discusses the two times a year that Jews count the days here.
She gives this reason for counting:
We count the days between one thing and the next because that helps us stay situated in this moment in time. The counting can help us combat the tendency to draft either into the remembered past or into the anticipated future. Beyond that, it links us both with that past and with that future.

Rabbi Ruth Adar discusses Teshuvah (often translated as repentance but a better translation is return, as in returning to the right path) and how we can go about it without beating ourselves up.

What do you hope to do better in the coming year? Please tell me; I’d love to hear from you.

Shabbat Shalom,

Dawn
dawn@buildingjewishbridges.org

EVENTS
Mussar & Meditation (Lafayette)
Shabbat for Baby and Me (Redwood City)
Sunset Picnic and Havdallah (Tiburon)
Shabbat with Rabbi Amy Eilberg (Foster City)
Young Families Havdalah Pizza Party (Pleasanton)
Open-Faith Salon: Ecumenical Exploration of Forgiveness (Berkeley)
The High Holy Days…Do I Want to? Do I Have to? (Pleasanton)
Temple Beth Hillel’s Religious School Open House (Richmond)
The Jewish Refugees of Syria (San Francisco)
Introduction to the Jewish Experience (Berkeley)
Preparation for the High Holy Days and Selichot Service (Richmond)
Erev Roshanah Family Picnic (Mill Valley)
Introduction to Judaism (Sam Francisco)

Mussar & Meditation
We often associate Shabbat with prayer. But Shabbat is also a story: For six days God created our world, and on the seventh, God rested. And we, who are in the image of God, live out this sacred story of creativity (a.k.a. work) and stillness. At Mussar and Meditation we are reminded of this story, and asks ourselves – who are we and who will we become? We reconnect to the art of creative, soulful Jewish living through singing, silence, community and discussions of Mussar wisdom. Mussar, a Jewish path toward menschlichkeit, deepens our commitment to ethical behavior and a more compassionate embrace of the unique qualities we find in ourselves and others.

This Shabbat we will focus on the middah (quality) of kashei oref, having a stiff neck. As the month of Elul begins and we start the journey towards teshuva (repentance), we ask together: where am I stubborn, and to what purpose?

Mussar and Meditation services are held the first Saturday each month. Join us!

Date: September 3
Time: 10:30am
Place: Temple Isaiah, 945 Risa Rd., Lafayette
www.temple-isaiah.org

Shabbat for Baby and Me
Tot Shabbat and Childcare
For children ages 2.5 to 8. No prior registration or payment required. Come for
supervised Shabbat-friendly play, indoors and outdoors (weather permitting), with a Tot Shabbat service starting at about 10:45 a.m.

Date: Saturday, Sept. 10
Time: Childcare is open at 9am in case you want to attend services
Tot Shabbat is at 10:45am if you want to come just for that
Place: Beth Jacob, 550 Alameda de las Pulgas, Redwood City
http://bethjacobrwc.org

Sunset Picnic and Havdallah
The end of summer is the perfect time to enjoy an evening al fresco! Gather a dairy picnic dinner, beach blanket and pillows, family and friends and come celebrate a communal Havdallah with our Kol Shofar community and Rabbi Leider. We’ll meet in the parking lot at Blackie’s Pasture and take a 5 minute walk out to the South Knoll Park. Chai Lights will provide wine, sparkling cider and sweet treats. Rabbi Leider will provide spiritual inspiration. After the sun sets at 7:26 pm we’ll locate 3 stars in the sky, form a circle and bid Shabbat farewell.

Date: Saturday, Sep. 10
Time: 6:30pm
Hosted by Kol Shofar, 215 Blackfield Dr, Tiburon
Call for more information 415-388-1818

Shabbat with Rabbi Amy Eilberg
Rabbi Amy Eilberg is the first woman ordained as a Conservative rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. She serves as the director of the Pardes Rodef Shalom (Pursuer of Peace) Communities Program, helping synagogues and Jewish organizations place the pursuit of peace in interpersonal relationships at the center of their communal mission. Rabbi Eilberg also serves as a spiritual director, interfaith activist and conflict counselor. Her book, From Enemy to Friend: Jewish Wisdom and the Pursuit of Peace, was published by Orbis Books in March 2014

Sermon during Services: Seeing You is Like Seeing the Face of God A Spiritual Practice For Our Times and Relationships
At Kiddish: The Pracatice of Peace Training the Heart and Mind For Peace and Tshuva For more information please contact Rabbi Helfand at rabbi@peninsulasinai.org.

Date: September 10
Time: Services begin at 9:30am
Place: Peninsula Sinai, 499 Boothbay, Foster City
www.peninsulasinai.org

Young Families Havdalah Pizza Party
Join Beth Emek Young Families for a night of playing, socializing, eating, and Havdalah with Rabbi Milder. Kids will play, parents and grandparents will socialize and supervise, and we’ll all eat dinner together before doing Havdalah as a group. Event is $20 per family, collected at 6 pm, and includes a pizza dinner with salad, fruit, and dessert. Hope to see you there to kick off the school year!

Date: Sept. 10
Time: 5pm
Place: Congregation Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton
For more information, contact Anna Kalman, prekyouth@bethemek.org
www.bethemek.org

Open-Faith Salon: Ecumenical Exploration of Forgiveness
In this first of three Open-Faith Salons, we will explore the theme of forgiveness from a Jewish, Muslim/Sufi, Christian and native Hawaiian perspective. Like the European-inspired salons of yore, this will be an evening of shared stories and practices, spiritual edification and dialogue involving leaders and members of different faith communities. At a time when so many people are erecting walls to keep “others” out, we seek to build bridges of understanding made up of our shared values and aspirations. This gathering is our special way of marking the 15th anniversary of 9-11.

Date: Sunday, September 11
Time: 7 – 9:30pm
Place: Chochmat HaLev, 2215 Prince St., Berkeley
Details here

The High Holy Days…Do I Want to? Do I Have to?
All are invited for this first workshop in the series “Interfaith Homes, Jewish Choices” facilitated by Dawn Kepler of Building Jewish Bridges. 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 to Noon
Place: Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton
Cost: $8 for the public, free for members of Beth Emek
Register here if you are not a member.

Temple Beth Hillel’s Religious School Open House
Interested parents and children are invited to meet teachers and students, participate in classroom activities, and learn about the school’s educational program.

Temple Beth Hillel’s Religious School offers an exploration into Jewish history, culture, holidays, customs and Hebrew for toddlers 2 1/2 through Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation and beyond. First day of class is September 18th.
Also available is Mazel Tots, a special free class for toddlers, 2 1/2 through four years.

Date: Sunday, September 18
Time: 10:15 a.m.
Place: Temple Beth Hillel,
For enrollment or more information look here.

Rock ‘n Roll Shabbat
Join Rabbi Bloom and the TBA Band for a ruach (spirit) filled service with music! Shabbat services will be followed by a Family Shabbat Chicken Dinner, if you chose to sign up for it.

Date: Friday, September 16
Time: 6:15pm
Place: Temple Beth Abraham, 327 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland
Cost for the dinner is $18 per adult $7 per child (4 years old and under are free) Vegetarian option available only when requested in advance
RSVP to virginia@tbaoakland.org by September 12
Virginia’s email reply is your confirmation. Money is sent to the synagogue care of Virginia.
www.tbaoakland.org

The Jewish Refugees of Syria
JIMENA invites you for a night of learning through the eyes Syrian Jews and those working with displaced Syrian communities. Rabbi Eli Joseph Mansour, of Syrian Jewish decent, will discuss his tight knit community and their response to current events in Syria. Rabbi Mansour is a Jewish Orthodox Sephardic Rabbi of Syrian descent. He is an eminent Torah scholar, internationally renowned and a highly sought out speaker. The Rabbi co-authored a Sephardic Hagada Shel Pesach with commentary that was published by Artscroll.

Date: Sunday, September 18
Time: 7:30pm
Place: Magain David, 351 4th Ave, San Francisco
Free admission, light drinks & snacks afterwards.
JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa

Introduction to the Jewish Experience
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. Click here for more information and to register. Taught by Rabbi Ruth Adar.
Co-sponsored by Congregation Beth El with Lehrhaus Judaica.
Three sessions—the first starts October 19, Wednesdays, 7:30–9:00 pm

Preparation for the High Holy Days and Selichot Service
Prepare for the High Holy Days with Cantor Fran Burgess. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and explore the meaningful liturgy found in the Mishkan HaNefesh, Machzor for the Days of Awe. Cantor Fran and the High Holy Days Choir continue with a Havdalah ceremony followed by Selichot (forgiveness), a moving and beautiful service introducing the themes of the season through music and meditation. Selichot provides a quiet time for personal reflection and self examination.

Date: Saturday, September 24
Time: 8:00 pm
Place: Temple Beth Hillel, 801 Park Central St, Richmond
www.tbhrichmond.org
More information here.

Erev Roshanah Family Picnic
Join our community to welcome in the new year, 5777 at Boyle Park in Mill Valley! We will enjoy an evening of fun activities for families, music, and food. This event is open to everyone. Bring your picnic dinner to the park, hear the shofar and an enjoy a sweet way to celebrate the new year with a beautiful evening among friends!

Date: Oct. 2
Time: 5:00-7:00pm
Place: Boyle Park, Thalia St, Mill Valley
Sponsors: Kol Shofar is partnering with the PJ Library and Marin Mishpacha for this family picnic.
Details here.

Introduction to Judaism
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. Mark your calendars now for the 2016-2017 classes:
Dates
Fall: Oct. 25; Nov. 1, 8, 15; Dec. 6, 13
Winter: Jan. 17, 24, 31; Feb. 7, 14, 21, 28
Spring: Mar. 21, 28; Apr. 4, 25; May 2, 9, 16

Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Place: Temple Emanu-el, 2 Lake St., San Francisco
Cost: Emanu-El Member Cost: $54, Non-member cost: $75
Register here
www.emanuelsf.org

Posted by admin under High Holidays, Holidays, Rosh Hashanah
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Kim Carter Martinez

Kim Carter Martinez

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

Date: Sunday, October 9
Time: 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Free

Space is limited so please sign up if you want to participate.

Panelists discuss their interfaith upbringings

Panelists discuss their interfaith upbringings

Adults from Interfaith Families: A Roundtable Discussion
Join other adults who grew up in an interfaith family to discuss how that went for you and to consider challenges and desires. Do you think of yourself as Jewish? Half Jewish? Jew-ish? Does it annoy you that other Jews want to put their own label on you? Do you have a comfortable relationship with your Jewish community or not? Come share your insights and suggestions with others who have dealt with similar life situations.

Date: Thursday, Sept. 22
Time: 7:30 to 9pm
Place Lehrhaus Judaica, 2736 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
FREE, but please register here to assure a place.

Posted by admin under Adult Child of an Interfaith Family, Current Programs, Jews of Color, LGBT
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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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