Fall 2012 Programs

This fall has a varied and exciting line up of classes and workshops. Take a look below and feel free to call me if you don’t see what you want.
Dawn 510-845-6420 x11

Homer & Moses: Poets of their People
Join us at the Berkeley Rep production of An Iliad!
Imagine this…a religion that focuses on this world, not the next; a theology with angry gods who interact with humans. A tradition is perpetuated in an illiterate society by men who sing the story in formulaic music and words. This describes both Homer’s Iliad and the Five Books of Moses.
How did the Iliad capture the essence of Greek thinking such that it passed down for centuries? How does it express the Greek theology and ideas of the relationship between man and the divine?
How does Moses’ Torah have modern relevance? How did the god of Moses surpass His primitive beginnings while the gods of Olympus did not?

Meets Thursdays, Oct 11 and 18 at Lehrhaus and Sunday, Oct. 21 at Berkeley Rep. Students must purchase their own ticket to the 2pm performance of An Iliad on Oct. 21. We will send you the link for the discount for our group. Register here.

Writing Your Ethical Will
Is it as important to pass on your values as it is to pass on your possessions? Writing an ethical will is an opportunity to organize your thoughts on topics such as honesty, kindness, and charity, and share them with your children. The document gives insights into the heart and soul of the writer, permanently passing on parents’ values and describing how they wish those values continued, “dor l’ dor” from generation to generation.

Learn to write an ethical will and have the peace of mind that you will be leaving your children a spiritual, ethical, and moral legacy. For interfaith couples, an ethical will is wonderful way to give your children a clear message of your shared values.

The ethical will has its roots in the Torah. “For I have singled him out, that he may instruct his children and his household after him to keep the way of Adonai by doing what is just and right, in order that Adonai may bring about for Abraham what Adonai has promised him.” (Genesis 18:19).

We will take an evening to look at ethical wills from the Middle Ages to modern times. Students will each write an ethical will in the second meeting, and have the opportunity to share them in the final session.
3 Wednesdays – Oct. 24, Nov. 7 & 14
Lehrhaus Judaica, 2736 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
Registration: $30
Register here.

Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community
How can transgender people live Jewish lives when many of their significant life choices might be considered ‘un-kosher’? How do transgender Jews navigate gendered Jewish rituals such as burial and conversion?

Balancing on the Mechitza, winner of a Lambda Literary Award, is an anthology by scholars, activists, theologians and others, both transgender and non-transgender allies, who share their interpretations of classical Jewish texts about ambiguous bodies, as well as their stories of Jewish prayer, ritual, and social life.
Nov. 1
JCC East Bay, Oakland site, 5811 Racine St., Oakland
$7 public; $5 for JCC members
Register here.

Women in Interfaith Relationships
Join other women, Jewish or not, to examine interfaith marriage in relation to culture and gender. What are the unique expectations and responses that a woman encounters as she creates a home and builds a family life in which her religion is not that of her partner? This will be a multi-generational discussion about the assumptions and possibilities surrounding our roles as sustainers of the family.

Pizza will be available at no extra charge. Childcare is available by reservation. You must request childcare by Oct. 15.
Nov. 8
Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley
Cost: $7 public; free to Beth El members
Register here.

All in the Family: Jews talk about their Multiracial Families
Parents, siblings, aunts and cousins may be white but when their family includes racially diverse members they too are impacted by racial assumptions in the Jewish community. What do white family members have to share with us about how we can be more tuned in to their family? Join us for a dynamic and exciting panel; this year’s opening program for What Color Are Jews?

Nov. 11
Beth Abraham, 327 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland
Cost: $5 public; free to Beth Abraham members
Register here.

God Talk
Rabbis have amazing God conversations with children fairly regularly. Why we don’t continue these conversations as easily as we age? The questions certainly don’t get any easier! Perhaps we forget, over the years, that sharing doubts and yearning for hope is what makes us human. I invite you to join an open and caring – and non-judgmental – conversation. “You bring your questions. I’ll bring mine!” —Rabbi Creditor
Discussing the infinite, the unknowable, can be a source of commonality for interfaith couples – come give it a try.

Wed., Dec. 5
Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Avenue, Berkeley
Cost: $5 public; free to Netivot Shalom members
Register here.

Talking to Children about God
Join Rabbi Straus and other parents to explore children’s concepts of God. Should parents open a conversation about God or wait for children to ask questions? What if you don’t believe in God but your spouse does? What should you say about what they are being taught in Religious School? What if you and your spouse are not the same religion? Bring your own questions and we’ll look for answers together.

Dec. 9
Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Free & open to the community. Please RSVP so we have enough chairs by emailing dawn@buildingjewishbridges.org