It’s coming & it’s not Jewish!

I love Valentine’s Day! I can’t say exactly why – maybe because I love red and hearts or because I love LOVE. In any case I also love making and sending Valentines. No, it’s not a Jewish holiday or practice, but isn’t it fun? I hope it puts you in the mood to join me for my program Interlove Story. We will begin with a short (8 minutes) film made by a woman about her intermarried parents. It is tender and thoughtful. I think you’ll fall in love with her parents. The film was made 20 years ago and in it the filmmaker contemplates her own interfaith love. What would become of the two of them? Well, I know the answer. Join me to discuss love – let’s face it, it’s tremendously powerful, and religion – not too shabby either.

New Thinking About Connections Between Jesus and Jewish Mysticism (San Francisco)
Friday Night Lights – An Island in Time (Palo Alto)
Musical Kabbalat Shabbat (Tiburon)
3rd Friday Family Shabbat (Redwood City)
Developing an Authentic and Personal Shabbat Practice (Piedmont)
Dad’s Morning Out, Sunday (Palo Alto)
Shmuly Yanklowitz on Gay Rights and Minimum Wage (San Francisco)
Newborn Playgroup (Palo Alto)
Shabbat YAFE (Berkeley)
Jewish Film Institute’s WinterFest 2016 (San Francisco)
Shabbat Shiur: Visiting the Sins of the Father Upon the Sons (Palo Alto)
Interlove Story: When Jews Love Non-Jews and Judaism (Walnut Creek)
“You’re Funny, but you don’t look Jewish” Comedy Night (Alameda)
The Kind Words Film Screening (Palo Alto)
Jewish Film Q&A: Serial (Bad) Weddings (Pleasant Hill)
Masking and Unmasking for Purim (Palo Alto)

New Thinking About Connections Between Jesus and Jewish Mysticism
There has been a great deal of controversy regarding early Jewish mysticism centered around a near-divine figure called Metatron. Some scholars have seen him as being a direct descendant of early Jewish literary concepts untouched by so-called “outside” influences. Others have claimed that Metatron is entirely the product and imitation of Jewish envy of the Christ figure. Dr. Boyarin will suggest a different way of thinking about these ideas. He will present a more complex model of how Judaism and Christianity interacted in the first millennium.

Date: Wed., Feb. 17
Time: 7:30 to 9:30p
Place: Or Shalom, 625 Brotherhood Way, San Francisco

An Interfaith couple – in their own words

Friday Night Lights – An Island in Time
A free Shabbat experience for children six and under and their families (parents, grandparents & siblings all welcome).
Featuring our special FNL scavenger hunt, Shabbat blessings, singing, and dancing, child-friendly light dinner, and time for children to learn and play while the grownups relax and chat with Rabbi Chaim and the parents of other young children.

Date: Friday, February 19
Time: 6:00 pm
Place: Etz Chayim 4161 Alma, Palo Alto

Musical Kabbalat Shabbat
Bring in Shabbat with Achi Ben Shalom and our rabbis in this joyful, spirited musical service. Celebrate through song and dance. Light dessert oneg follows.
Sponsored by The Center for Jewish Spirituality.

Date: Fri, Feb. 19 and March 18
Time: 7:30 to 9:00pm
Place: Kol Shofar, 215 Blackfield Dr, Tiburon

3rd Friday Family Shabbat
A young child friendly Shabbat evening! Join us for dinner and/or services. Rabbi Ezray will lead the family friendly Shabbat service.

Date: Friday, February 19
Time: Buffet dinner at 5:30pm; service at 6:15pm
Place: Congregation Beth Jacob, 1550 Alameda de las Pulgas, Redwood City

Developing An Authentic and Personal Shabbat Practice
Taught by Rabbi Chaya Gusfield
When we think about Shabbat, many things may come to our minds and hearts—songs, prayers, rituals. For this afternoon’s experience we will not attempt to learn the words and tunes; rather, we will explore the intention and spirit of Shabbat and how each one of us can find our own personal Shabbat practice that will enhance our relationship with Shabbat. No experience or lots of experience with Shabbat welcome.
If you are planning to take this class, please register now!

Date: February 20
Time: 3:00-5:00 pm
Place: Kehilla Synagogue, 1300 Grand Ave, Piedmont
Cost: $18 for members of Kehilla, $24 general public
Registration and info here

Dad’s Morning Out, Sunday
Bring your babies and toddlers and come join other Jewish Baby Network dads for snacks, baby playtime, and camaraderie. JBN Director Carol Booth and Rabbi Heath Watenmaker from Congregation Beth Am will lead Baby and Me songs, activities, and a PJ Library story time along with plenty of time to schmooze as well. We welcome everyone, including interfaith and unaffiliated families. No RSVP necessary, and it is OK to come late! This event is free, but please consider bringing a $10 donation to help support all of the Jewish Baby Network’s wonderful programs.

Date: February 21
Time: 10 – 11:30am
Place: Parents Place, 200 Channing Ave, Palo Alto

Shmuly Yanklowitz on Gay Rights and Minimum Wage:
Torah Cares, And So Should We – An Orthodox Call for Social Justice
Hear from Modern Orthodox rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, founder and president of Uri L’Tzedek, the Orthodox Jewish social justice organization, and founder and CEO of the Shamayim V’Aretz Institute. He was named by Newsweek as one of the most influential rabbis in America.

Date: Tuesday, February 23
Time: 7:00 – 9:00pm
Place: In the Martin Meyer Sanctuary at Temple Emanu-el, 2 Lake St., San Francisco

Newborn Playgroup
(for babies born Oct. ’15 – Jan. ’16)
Do you have a new baby? Does your friend have a new baby? Come on your own or bring your friend to schmooze and share tips with other parents of newborns. This group is for babies born October ’15 through January ’16 and their parents. September and January babies also welcome!
We will have an icebreaker and a few minutes to talk about building a Jewish home for your growing family. The rest of the time we will spend socializing. Director Carol Booth will help facilitate the playgroup. We welcome everyone, including LGBTQ, single parent, interfaith, and unaffiliated families. No RSVP is necessary, and it is OK to come late! While this event is free, please consider bringing a $10 donation to help support all of our wonderful programs.
Parents Place is located at 200 Channing Ave in downtown Palo Alto is near Whole Foods and lots of great cafes and coffee places!
For more information about the Jewish Baby Network and this event, please contact Director Carol Booth, or visit our website,

Date: Friday, February 26
Time: 1:30-3:00pm
Place: Parents Place, 200 Channing Ave, Palo Alto
More info here

Shabbat YAFE
Shabbat YAFE is an inter-generational Shabbat celebration filled with music andruach (spirit)! Join us for a catered dinner (Please sign up here). All YAFE families and the entire congregation are invited and welcome at the service. THEME:Kavod (Respect) for the Earth.
Mah yafe hayom ~ How beautiful is this day!

5:00 pm Tot Shabbat in the Beit Midrash
5:30 pm Catered Vegetarian Dinner in the social hall
(cost: $15/family with RSVP and $20 at the door)
6:15 pm Shabbat services in the sanctuary

Date: Friday, February 26
Time: Starting at 5:00 pm
Place: Beth El, 1301 Oxford Street, Berkeley
Cost: $15/household
Sign up here.

Jewish Film Institute’s WinterFest 2016
WinterFest is a daylong mini-Festival showcasing the best in new Jewish film from the presenters of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.

Date: Saturday, February 27
Time: All day
Place: Alamo Drafthouse’s New Mission Theater, 2550 Mission St., San Francisco
Details here

Shabbat Shiur: Visiting the Sins of the Father Upon the Sons
With David Meir-Levi
Visiting the sins of the fathers upon the sons unto the 4th generation: the reason why! We will briefly contrast Ezekiel and Jeremiah regarding how “the fathers have eaten sour grapes,” and explore a new understanding of that conundrum in light of modern sensibilities.

Date: Saturday, February 27
Time: 1:15 pm
Place: Kol Emeth, 4175 Manuela Avenue, Palo Alto

So how does Shabbat Shiur work? “Shiur” means a lesson on any aspect of Torah. Their friendly and delightful communications manager, Ruthie, explained it to me this way: “Our Shabbat Shiurim are always at 1:15pm in the Main Sanctuary, immediately following Kiddush lunch. Anyone can come for all or part of our Saturday morning/afternoon activities (services and/or lunch and/or shiur.) It’s also completely fine to come into services at any point after they start (hardly anyone shows up right at 9:15am, which is when they technically start, and plenty of people join at11:00 or 11:30….) It’s really totally up to you! Also, we have a greeter who is always ready to assist anyone.”
Between Ruthie and me, we know a number of members of Kol Emeth so if you’d like to attend and sit with a friendly person, just let me know.

What to talk about your relationship one-on-one?

Interlove Story: When Jews Love Non-Jews and Judaism
In 1994 Anne was a graduate student at Stanford University in the Film Department. For her Master’s Thesis she made a short film (9 minutes) about her parents’ intermarriage and titled it Interlove Story. In it she uses old family movies and current interviews with her parents to tell the story of their Catholic – Jewish marriage, the choices they made regarding religion in their home and the advice they gave her regarding her own relationship with a non-Jewish man. In her film, Anne does not propose any answers. She opens questions and relates choices, the choices that have brought her to be who she is.
There are some statements that jump off the screen – whether you agree or disagree, you’ll have an opinion.

Date: Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016
Time: 10am to 11:30am
Place: B’nai Tikvah, 25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek
Cost: Free to members of B’nai Tikvah, $5/public
Sign up here

“You’re Funny, but you don’t look Jewish” Comedy Night
This show features four comedians that have been selling out shows in the U.S. and Canada. Arrive when doors open to find the “perfect” seat, socialize and partake in the raffle. There will be a reception with comedians after the performance. Tickets are available for sell in the temple’s office or online.
More info on the Temple Israel Facebook page.

Date: Saturday, March 5
Time: Doors open at 7:30 pm, show starts at 8
Place: Temple Israel, 3183 Mecartney Road, Alameda (inside the Harbor Bay Landing mall)
Price: $25/adults, comes with 2 drink tickets

The Kind Words Film Screening
Three siblings are joined by the death of their mother, and a revelation about the identity of their ‘real’ father. They set off on a quirky journey through Israel, Paris, and Marseille — but ultimately, into the past and their own confusing selves.

Date: Saturday, March 5
Time: Two showings at 6:00pm & 8:30pm
Place: Palo Alto JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto
Cost: $13 General admission; $10 Seniors/Students/Members; $15 at the door, space permitting
For tickets call 1-650-223-8700
Book Online at 6:00pm show & 8:30pm show

Planning your Interfaith Wedding: First steps

Jewish Film Q&A: Serial (Bad) Weddings
This film’s original title is So Ein Schlamassel, which translates from the German as So A Mess; or we might say, Oh What a Mess. Anyway, if you are Googling it, be aware of the different translations. But come see a comedy!
Join me at the Contra Costa International Jewish Film Festival to see, what is now being translated as, Serial (Bad) Weddings. This comedy of manners turns on Jill, a single, 30-something Jewish tax preparer in contemporary Berlin who falls for Mark, a landscape architect, and a nice German boy.
The film will be followed by a 20 minute Q&A with Dawn Kepler, Director of Building Jewish Bridges: Embracing Interfaith Families.

Date: Tuesday, March 8
Time: 10am
Place: Century 16 Theatres, 125 Crescent Drive, Pleasant Hill
Read more info here

Masking and Unmasking for Purim (with Wine and Pastry Tasting)
The Jewish Studio Project presents a creative workshop of fun, festivity and intrigue as we prepare for the upcoming holiday of Purim.
Often understood as a ritualized celebration of the breaking down of our day-to-day persona and identity, Purim is a time for questioning the old and trying on the new. Together we will delve into Jewish and modern sources on the way Purim flips outcomes and identities on their heads and then explore resonance in our own lives through an interactive mask-making experience. Leave with new insights into yourself, the holiday and a mask to celebrate in!
As we make our masks, we’ll sample wine and eat different types of hamantaschen (pastries for Purim), pairing the best combinations.

Open to all adults (21+); no experience or background necessary.

Date: Thursday, March 10
Time: 7:00pm-8:30pm
Place: Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto
Cost: $7 for general public | $5 for OFJCC members.
Sign up here.