Thanksgiving even in a Pandemic

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving – not the way we planned it… but still a great holiday.

A few thoughts to get you off on the right foot.

If your holiday will not be much fun and you already know that, try to change your own mind. Remember, this is just ONE YEAR, next year you can have 25 people over. Think of something, a guilty pleasure, that you can give yourself.  Love to watch Christmas movies? DO IT! Wish you could eat more pie? DO IT!  Want to sleep in and just order out for dinner? DO IT!  Think of it this way, someday a young person will ask you, what did you do for Thanksgiving during the Great Pandemic of 2020?  You need a good answer! Maybe you love to read and you’ll hole up with a stack of books. Maybe you’ll put on a mask and go for a 10 mile walk. Do something worth talking about.


My birthday is this weekend and I have already announced that next year I want to celebrate is a big way – maybe a destination party. So many options to choose from. If I get to feeling a bit down I’ll assign myself 15 minutes of online research for my 2021 birthday.


Thanksgiving, here we come!
Here are some Thanksgiving influenced ideas for this Shabbat.

A recipe for PumpkinChallah because what better time for it??
A video on how to make yourchallah into a turkey shape.


Holidays for Heretics
Jewish Music Workshop Series
The Old, Weird Bible
Modern Comfort Food with Ina Garten
Bee Bright: Hanukkah Candle Making Workshop
Terrific Tastings: Let’s Go Nuts!
Hanukkah: Let There Be Light!


Holidays for Heretics
Holidays for Heretics is a weekly educational experience presented by Tova Birnbaum and Zoe Fertik on behalf of the OFJCC and BINA: The Jewish Movement for Social Change. Weekly 45-minute classes are streamed live, or offered anytime on demand, at

Holidays for Heretics offers an introductory tour of the Jewish calendar and Jewish holidays. Tova and Zoe host a weekly conversation about the Jewish yearly cycle, and teach about each holiday’s major themes. The course topics follow the schedule of the year, so tune in to learn about whatever holiday is coming up

Dates: Wednesdays now through May 12, 2021
Time:   10:00 – 10:45am
Hosts:  Oshman Family JCC and BINA
Every Wednesday, from 10:00-10:45 AM, you can live-stream “Holiday for Heretics” on!

Jewish Music Workshop Series
We are proud to introduce the Jewish Music Workshop Series via Zoom on various topics of Jewish music and vocal/choral development led by guest musical artists, both Jewish and secular. These 1-hour workshops are open to the entire congregation, and are both entertaining and educational allowing us to study and interact with some of the most talented composers, performers, and teachers from around the world. This program is intended to expand our knowledge of the breadth of Jewish music, and encourage maximum participation in our music programs at Temple Sinai.

Dates:  Tuesdays now through May 2021
Look here for a list of topics and their dates and times.
Host: Temple Sinai, Oakland

The Old, Weird Bible
Perhaps you’ve noticed that sprinkled throughout the Torah are fragmented stories – echoes of the long-gone myths of ancient Near Eastern civilizations. The Bible as we have it is a palimpsest for earlier cultures which occasionally peek up between the editorial seams of the text. Inspired in part by Greil Marcus’s “The Old, Weird America,” we discover through these stories a Bible that is a much stranger and funkier than it is often credited with being.
All are welcome!

Date:   Tuesdays, December 1, 8 and 15
Time:   4 to 5:30pm Pacific time
Online, sign up here


Modern Comfort Food with Ina Garten
Join us for a very special evening with the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, as she dishes up some delicious conversation with comedian and author Michael Ian Black. The two will discuss Ina’s latest, Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, which features a collection of all-new soul-satisfying dishes from America’s favorite home cook!

Date:   December 2
Time:   4:30 pm
Host:   JCC of the East Bay
One virtual ticket for $45 includes a copy of book (shipping included).


Bee Bright: Hanukkah Candle Making Workshop
As we approach the winter solstice, the days grow shorter and we see less of the sun. We likely spend more time cozying up at home and less time in community!

Join Community Herbalist Chelsea Taxman and Jessica Gonzalez of Happy Organics for a live workshop exploring a honeybee hive, pollinators, and how they all connect to Hanukkah and the Hebrew month of Kislev in which it falls! Follow along at home to create your own hand-dipped beeswax candles.

Date:   Sunday, December 6, 2020
Time:   11:00am to 12:00noon
Host:    Urban Adamah, Berkeley
Sliding Scale: $0 to $36 per person
Register here


Terrific Tastings: Let’s Go Nuts!
Whether to put a twist on your meals, into your holiday baking/gifting, onto a nosh tray, or simply enjoying them on your favorite bread or toast, leave the world aside and come join this nutty experience!

You’ll have to visit their website because I just can’t describe this program!  Look here

Date:   Sunday, Dec. 6
Time:   2:00–3:30pm
Host:   Palo Alto JCC
Cost:    $15 – $89

Hanukkah: Let There Be Light!
Nightly candle-lighting followed by a short activity or teaching so you can light and go, or stay and play! Each night will be led by a different SZ community leader or group. Activities will range from storytelling, to art, to yoga, so invite your friends and family and let’s bring in the light together! Open to everyone.

Dates:  From December 10 to December 17
Time:   6:30 – 7:00 pm
Host:   Sha’ar Zahav, San Francisco
View the Nightly Schedule and How to Join