Finding Some Quietude in the Summer

I saw an article titled, “How to Prepare Your Kids for Summer.” Wow, whose kids are these? Are they from Mars and unaccustomed to our atmosphere? The way my kids prepare for summer is with whoops and hollers. Summer is utter freedom, no homework, sleep late and dig for emeralds in the backyard. Yes, we as parents may need some preparation – camp reservations, play dates, grandparent coverage – but I believe that summer is the time to let your children’s minds and bodies run free. Studies have found that our most creative time is when we are musing or daydreaming. Be sure to pack some of that time into your kids’ days as well as your own.

With my apologies to the hard working clergy, I find some of the best musing time is during services. The rhythm of the chanted prayers, the soft lights, the hum of humanity around me, these all help me to let go of the stresses of the week and drift into my own thoughts. Whether those thoughts are a prayer for a sick friend, what to do with those extra garden zucchinis or the formulation of a solution to a problem, that quiet time in my own mind is soothing and inspirational. Try going to a service and letting your mind drift. Then email me and tell me what you thought about.

Happy June!


Summertime Splashes and Sleepytime Stories (Los Gatos)
Tot Shabbat & Dinner, Anyone? (Pleasanton)
Friday Night is ‘Chicago’ Night (Walnut Creek)
Community Shabbat Dinner (Pleasanton)
Yoga for Your Soul (Palo Alto)
Pride Shabbat (Berkeley)
San Francisco’s Gay Pride Parade (San Francisco)
Summer Shabbat Potluck (Palo Alto)
Summer Tot Shabbat (Los Altos)
Shabbat Under the Stars (Pleasanton)

Summertime Splashes and Sleepytime Stories
The PJ Library Program and Congregation Shir Hadash present a fun afternoon for kids.
Join other parents of children age 3 to 7 for water play and bubble fun. Children are encouraged to come in bathing suits. Children will change into pajamas for dinner, a craft activity, dinner, and cuddles with family and friends.

Date: Thursday, June 20
Time: 4:30 to 6:00pm
Place: Shir Hadash, 20 Cherry Blossom Lane, Los Gatos
Free, but advance registration is required.

Tot Shabbat & Dinner, Anyone?
Beth Emek holds Tot Shabbat before their June community dinner (above) at Beth Emek. If you have lttle ones and just want a short service, early dinner and to head home, you can attend Tot Shabbat at 5:45pm, stay for dinner at 6:15pm and go home afterwards. Or you can just go to Tot Shabbat and get wee ones home to bed.

Date: Friday, Jun 21
Time: Tot Shabbat at 5:45pm and Dinner is at 6:15pm
Place: Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton
Tot Shabbat is always free, just show up.
Dinner is free to newcomers but you do have to RSVP.
Clink here to RSVP to the dinner:
For more information contact Ellen Kiefer at or 925.931.1055

Friday Night is ‘Chicago’ Night
Did you grow up in CHICAGO?
Did you live in CHICAGO as an adult?
Come to Shir Joy on Friday and meet other CBT members who, at one time or another, called CHICAGO home. Some will share Jewish stories during the service.
Some are bringing CHICAGO comfort food for you to enjoy during the Oneg (sorry – no hot dogs), while our wonderful Tikvah Tones will be playing some CHICAGO favorites.

Date: Friday, June 21
Time: 7:30 pm (not Chicago time)
Place: B’nai Tikvah, 25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek

Community Shabbat Dinner
Curious about getting Jewishly connected in Pleasanton? Check out Beth Emek at this community dinner. Come join the friendly members at this month’s community potluck Shabbat dinner. Feel free to bring a bottle of wine to share (or not!).
RSVP by Friday, June 21 at 3:00pm.

Date: Friday, Jun 21
Time: Dinner is at 6:15pm and is followed by a family service at 7:30pm
Place: Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton
Free to newcomers
Clink here to RSVP
For more information contact Ellen Kiefer at or 925.931.1055

Yoga for Your Soul
Start your summer fresh, relaxed, and rejuvenated! Join Rabbi Laurie Matzkin for a Sunday morning workshop combining gentle stretching and movement, Jewish prayer and meditation. Wear loose clothing, bring water and a yoga mat if you have one.
All levels are welcome – no charge.

Date: Sunday morning, June 23
Time: 9:30-10:30am
Place: Kol Emeth, 4175 Manuela Ave., Palo Alto
To RSVP just email Ruthie,

Pride Shabbat
In honor of GLBT Pride and Freedom, you, as well of course as your friends, family, kids, parents — along with the rest of Beth El !– are invited to our second annual Pride Shabbat on Friday, June 28. The evening will begin at 5:30 pm with a glass of wine or juice and other refreshments at Chardonnay Shabbat. The evening will continue with our gay and festive Shabbat evening service – with special readings and music for the festival – after which we’ll gather under the oak trees for a Pride-B-Q picnic dinner, featuring veggie burgers, kosher hot dogs and all the sides.

Date: Friday, June 28
Time: 5:30pm
Place: Beth El, 1301 Oxford Street, Berkeley
Free; Newcomers are welcome but please RSVP so there is enough food by emailing Juliet at

San Francisco’s Gay Pride Parade
March with Bend the Arc and Jews from all over the Bay Area in San Francisco’s Pride Parade. Meeting location TBD. For more information and to RSVP Bend the Arc.

Sunday, June 30, 10:30 am
San Francisco

Summer Shabbat Potluck
Join Kol Emeth families for the first in a series of summer Shabbat potlucks! The evening features a 6pm Friday Night service in the backyard of a Kol Emeth family, followed by a kosher dairy potluck dinner. It’s always a very relaxed, welcoming atmosphere, and the food is always delicious and plentiful! These evenings are free and open to all.
This is a great way to experience the Kol Emeth community, meet lots of incredibly friendly families, and make new friends.

Date: July 5
Time: 6pm
Place: A Palo Alto home
What to bring: Your family & friends! One potluck dish per family is also appreciated. If you’d like to bring something homemade, please see Kol Emeth’s Kashrut Guidelines here. If bringing something store bought, please bring a dish with a dairy or parve heksher (kosher symbol). Otherwise, just some whole, uncut fruit would make a great addition to the meal! Confused? No problem, just call Ruthie who is a user-friendly member of Kol Emeth and who REALLY wants you to come!

For more information and the location of the potluck this month, call Ruth at 650-948-7498.
Sponsored by Congregation Kol Emeth, 4175 Manuela Avenue, Palo Alto
Future Shabbat Potluck dates are July 19, July 26, Aug. 2 and Aug 9.

Summer Tot Shabbat
Summer is here and that means it’s time to celebrate Shabbat outside with your tots, family and friends! Bring a picnic blanket for you and your family, and we’ll provide dinner and drinks. We’ll start with some singing, we’ll bless our kids and then we’ll enjoy a wonderful meal together. Rabbis Jennifer and Adam will be there to shmooze, tell stories and hang out. You and your kids are welcome to stay after dinner and join the larger Beth Am community for the main service, which begins at 6:15 p.m. and is held in the Sanctuary.

Dates: Friday July 12 at 5:15pm
Friday August 16 at 5:15 pm
Saturday September 21 at 9:30 am – no dinner this morning, but a kid-friendly snack!
Place: Grassy area next to the Beth Am playground at Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills
RSVP to by the Wednesday before the date listed so we know how much food to order.

Shabbat Under the Stars
The entire Tri-Valley community is invited to join Congregation Beth Emek as it moves its weekly Shabbat observance to a public park near downtown Pleasanton. Revel in the summertime weather, relax with your CBE friends, reconnect with your Jewish friends, make new friends, invite your neighborhood friends…it’s all about friends, community, and cultivating Jewish connections.
Come early, stay late
Shabbat Under the Stars is open to everyone in the Tri-Valley community and you are welcome to attend any of the three components:
COMMUNITY DINNER, 6:00: Bring a blanket, your lawn chairs, and your favorite picnic food. In the spirit of Jewish tradition, we request that you follow kosher style with your meal.
SHABBAT SERVICE, 7:00: Rabbi Milder and a group of guitarists and music lovers will bring a light and friendly tone for all to enjoy. Bring your favorite blanket and/or lawn chair.
ONEG, ~8:00: Enjoy a sampling of delicious desserts and cold beverages, compliments of CBE host families.
Tell a Friend
Beth Emek members are encouraged to bring non-member families with them—unaffiliated Jews or friends and neighbors of any faith. Everyone is welcome to attend this evening.

Date: Friday, July 19
Time: 6:00pm
Place: Harvest Park, 1401 Harvest Rd., Pleasanton
Sponsored by Congregation Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton
More info here:

Giants Jewish Heritage Night
See the Giants battle the Milwaukee Brewers, receive a limited-edition Jewish-themed item, and gain admission to the pregame party.

Date: Tuesday, August 6
Time: 7:15 pm
Get tickets here.