In These Troubled Times, Get Support

Last week I asked folks on my email list, how are you doing after the Pittsburgh shooting. This reply did not surprise me, “I’m crying a lot.” For some people this tragedy stood alone and stark. For others it added to other troubles in their lives.

I asked the people on my list of Seekers and Jews by Choice what they were feeling. I wondered whether some would have misgivings about becoming Jewish. Surprisingly, the murders seemed to have the opposite effect – it solidified people’s commitment to being Jewish. You can read their responses here.

One woman who has lived as the Christian member of a Jewish family very recently chose to convert. She wrote a beautiful piece that Reform Judaism has published. You can read it here. Thank you, Pam. I’d love to hear what you all think of her piece.

I want to confront the truth that fear of anti-Semitism can be a new and shocking experience for non-Jewish spouses and loved ones. Suddenly their own family feels vulnerable in a way they never knew before. Some parents may not want their children to be raised as Jews, hoping to shield them from danger.

How are you doing with that? Are you frightened? Stressed?  Do you have helping souls around you? Would it feel good to talk to your rabbi? Do you want to chat with me? Remember that your feelings can’t be “wrong”, they are real and need addressing. Please let me know how you are doing.

Here in the Bay Area we are facing another monster firestorm. That is feeding into everyone’s stress. Stay in touch with family and friends. Know where people are. Check on single, elderly or isolated loved ones. This is when it is REALLY GOOD to remember that we are all one big family and we will help each other.

Sending prayers for healing and rain!

Singing the Shards Together Shabbat Service (San Francisco)
Rockin’ Havdallah! (Palo Alto)
Film: Tomorrow (Los Altos Hills)
Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration (Palo Alto)
Hanukkah Celebration for Families with Young Children (Berkeley)
Inspector Gadje: Big Brass Holiday Celebration (San Rafael)
Wornick Elementary School Open House (Foster City)
Festival of Lights (Richmond)
Jewish Baby Network Chanukkah Party (Redwood City)
Chanukkah Party and Concert (San Carlos)
Hanukkah Party (Berkeley)
Beatles Shabbat (Foster City)
Chanukkah & Science (Foster City)


Singing the Shards Together Shabbat Service
A multi-cultural, multi-faith evening of song-sharing to create bonds of love, strength, and community on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht. All are welcome!  Details here

Date:   Friday, November 9
Time:   7:30 pm
Place:   Sha’ar Zahav, 290 Dolores St. San Francisco

Rockin’ Havdallah!
Join us for an incredible evening of amazing music, delicious tacos, margaritas, and mocktails!
6:30pm Community Havdallah
6:45pm Dinner and Drinks
7:30pm Lior Ben Hur and Sol Tevel

With their positive message, uplifting melodies and a unique refreshing approach to Reggae, this San Francisco-based band represents a new generation of Reggae and World music. For more information, please visit:

Date:   Saturday, November 10
Time:   6:30pm – 8:30pm
Place:   Palo Alto JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto
Hosted by Kol Emeth

Film: Tomorrow
Everyone is welcome to a screening of Tomorrow, an inspiring film about facing environmental challenges. Tomorrow documents positive steps that are being taken around the world to combat climate change, focusing on five primary areas — agriculture/food production; energy, the economy, democracy and education. Following the film, we’ll join in a discussion with Beth Am member Nicole Kemeny, president of 350 Silicon Valley.  In French with English subtitles.

Date:   Thursday, November 15
Time:   7:00 pm
Place:   Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills

Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration
Etz Chayim will be hosting again this year.  We will begin with a Call to Prayer from Many Faith Traditions, sharing our stories, musical groups, prayers for our Nation, dancing and refreshments. Children are welcome! A thanksgiving collection will be received and given to a local and global charity. Everyone is welcome, come with your neighbors.

Date:   Sunday, November 18
Time:   7:00 pm
Place:   Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma St, Palo Alto

Hanukkah Celebration for Families with Young Children
Join other families with young children to celebrate the festival of lights with Rabbi Bridget and beloved musician Joel Siegel.
Enjoy Hanukkah songs and dancing, the holiday story, lighting the menorah, a hands-on holiday project, Hanukkah treats, and more.
This event is part of Jewish Gateways’ Holidays for Young Children series for children 1-5 and their grownups. Older siblings and babies are also invited.
All are welcome, including interfaith, LGBTQ, and adoptive families; single parents; and grandparents. No Jewish knowledge or experience is necessary. Feel free to invite friends who might be interested!

Date:   Saturday, December 1
Time:   10:30am-12:00pm
Place:   Epworth Church, 1953 Hopkins St., Berkeley
Cost:    $12/adult, $5/child, and children under one year are free.
Details here.
Presented in collaboration with Sprout and PJ Library.

Inspector Gadje: Big Brass Holiday Celebration
Who says kids get all the fun during the holidays? This year, the Osher Marin JCC is presenting a weekend Hanukkah celebration and kicking off with a wildly crazy wonderful dance party featuring live music from Inspector Gadje.  Dance the night away to the beautiful and bumpin’ brass band with music of the Balkans and bring your appetite; cocktails and noshes will be available for sale.

The driving, right groove of low brass and drums with soaring melodies from trumpets, saxophones, and clarinet incite joy from the very first downbeat. Inspector Gadje ignites the dance floor and makes the party wherever they play (including MGM Arena, Fox Theater, Palace of Fine Arts, The Independent, Ashkenazi, Cafe du Nord, The New Parish, Rickshaw Shop and Yoshi’s to name a few).

The Kanbar Center & CJP at the Osher Marin JCC join forces to bring this special evening of BIG Brass, BIG Music, BIG Party BIG fun, cocktails, food and dancing to the JCC.  Hearing Inspector Gadje is love at first listen and this program is a party in a box, unique, talented, fun and well …. a little loud. Come experience the fun, and a “not so quiet” secret that is about to bust out of the SF dance scene.  There will be room for dancing, a belly dancing performance food and drink available, so get ready to party!

Date:   Saturday, December 1
Time:   7:30pm-9:30pm
Place:   Osher Marin JCC, 200 N San Pedro Rd., San Rafael
Cost:    $10 to $35
Details here

Wornick Elementary School Open House
Parents and children are warmly invited to visit classrooms, meet teachers, and enjoy hands-on activities. For more information about Wornick and to register, please visit:

 Date:   December 2
Time:   9-11:30am
Place:   Wornick Jewish Day School, 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City


Festival of Lights:
Temple Beth Hillel’s Annual Hanukkah Celebration and Latke Luncheon
Temple Beth Hillel invites the community to its annual family friendly Hanukkah Celebration, traditional latke luncheon, and celebratory candle lighting ceremony.  Bring your favorite Hanukkah Menorah and a few candles.  Join the candle lighting ceremony led by the synagogue’s religious schoolstudents.Enjoy a complete latke luncheon with all the trimmings.  Candle lighting and luncheon begin at 12:30 p.m.

Original arts and crafts created by members and students will be available.  The Temple Gift Shop will be open with holiday menorahs, candles and other gifts.  All foods and crafts are reasonably priced.
Details and flyer here.

Date:   Sunday, December 2
Time:   Noon – 3:00 p.m.
Place:   Temple Beth Hillel, 801 Park Central (Hilltop exit off I-80), Richmond
Contact info:   510.223.2560,

Jewish Baby Network Chanukkah Party
*Hanukkah Sing Along* *Crafts* *Hanukkah Snacks* *PJ Library Story* *Baby Play Area* *Gift Bags* *Community Menorah Lighting*

Please bring your own Hanukkah menorah to light with the community. We will also have plenty of menorahs and candles to share!
This event is free, and no RSVP is necessary. We will have teen volunteers to play with your little ones and lots of snacks and time to schmooze with new and old friends.
You do not need to be a member of Beth Jacob or any organization to attend.

Date:   Sunday, December 2
Time:   3:30pm
Place:   Congregation Beth Jacob, 1550 Alameda de las Pulgas, Redwood City
Lots of easy parking.
JBN welcomes all, including unaffiliated, interfaith, single parent, and LGBTQ families.
Cosponsored by Congregations Beth Am, Kol Emeth, Beth Jacob, and the PJCC.

Chanukkah Party and Concert
For families with children ages 3-5. Art activities and music with Elana Jagoda! Light snacks will be served.
with Elana Jagoda, Cantor at Peninsula Temple Beth El.

Date:   December 6
Time:   4-5:30pm
Place:   The Reading Bug, 785 Laurel St., San Carlos
Hosted by Wornick Jewish Day School. Co-sponsored by PJ Library®.
Free admission. Advance registration required.

Hanukkah Party
with Alison Faith Levy and the Big Time Tot Rock Band
Join us for a not-to-be-missed Hanukkah celebration with beloved Bay Area children’s musician, performer, and educator Alison Faith Levy. Her live show engages kids and families in a variety of dancing, jumping, spinning, wiggling, pretend play, and other silliness—all to the rhythms of her imaginative, upbeat retro pop songs.

Date:   Sun, Dec 9
Time:   2pm
Place:    JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut Street, Berkeley
Cost – JCC Member: $10 / General: $15
Cosponsored by Jewish Gateways, Eden Village West, Camp Tawonga, Camp Ramah, and PJ Library/Sprout

Beatles Shabbat
Peace, love & Shabbos – a Beatles Shabbat!
Join Peninsula Sinai for a spiritual and traditional Shabbat service (7:30pm), oneg Shabbat (8:30pm), Shabbat morning and Shabbat Kiddush as we sing our prayers to the Beatles classics you love!

Dates:  Shabbat Dec. 14 and 15
Place:   Peninsula Sinai Congregation, 499 Boothbay Ave, Foster City

Chanukkah & Science
Join Wornick and PJ Library for a morning of fun hands-on activities. For families with children ages 3-5. Lunch will be served.

Date:   December 16
Time:   10am-12pm
Place:   Wornick Jewish Day School, 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City
Free admission. Advance registration required.