Jewish Activities in the Bay Area

Wedding in film Interlove Story
Wedding in film Interlove Story

In 1994 Anne was a graduate student at Stanford University in the Film Department. For her Master’s Thesis she made a short film 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.

This is the 9 minute film that I will use to open my program on April 26 at Beth Am. I re-watched the film in preparation for the program. There are some statements that jump off the screen – whether you agree or disagree, you’ll have an opinion. It is likely to stimulate a reaction in your own life. Whether that reaction is, “honey, THAT will never happen in our home!” Or, “she makes a good point,” it is a great starting point for conversation. I hope that you’ll join me Sunday morning in Los Altos at Beth Am Congregation. Details are below.

Not Forgotten: Art Exhibit by Erella Teitler (Palo Altos)
Shabbat YAFE (Berkeley)
Soulful Shabbat Ruach (San Rafael)
Israel Shabbat (Oakland)
Jewish/Muslim Interfaith Text Study (Piedmont)
Crazy Hat Shabbat (Los Altos)
Mending Hearts, Making Peace (San Rafael)
Interlove Story: When Jews Love Non-Jews… and Judaism (Los Altos Hills)
Raising a Mensch (Alameda)
Women in Interfaith Relationships (Burlingame)
Crazy Hat Shabbat (Los Altos)
On Culture, Comedy, and Richard Pryor (Berkeley)
Community Lag Ba’Omer Bonfire (Berkeley)
Camp Shabbat (San Mateo)
Tikkun Leyl Shavuot (Berkeley)
After the Play: Head of Passes (Berkeley)

Not Forgotten: Art Exhibit by Erella Teitler
This is an exhibit of collages/mixed media using old photographs from families of refugees depicting Jewish life in the Middle East and North Africa at the beginning and middle of the 20th century.

Erella Teitler was born into a Sephardic family in Israel and has a strong connection with her Jewish identity. As an artist, Erella has been influenced by the varied cultures, music styles and landscapes she’s encountered while living in Israel, Burma, Canada, Nigeria, Cameroon and currently, the United States. Her mother and aunts, who were fiber artists, also have had a strong impact on Erella’s creativity.

Exhibit Dates: April 1-May 20
Place: Palo Alto JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto
Young Adult Art Night is May 6
Time: 6:30pm
Free and open to the community

Shabbat YAFE
Celebrate Shabbat together with an all-ages service & spirited song-leading! This Shabbat Yafe service features a Tot Service, Catered Dinner (RSVP in advance required for the dinner), Service followed by an Oneg & Community Activity.
This month’s theme: Shmiat Ha’Ozen – Being a good listener!
Mah yafe hayom ~ How beautiful is this day!

Date: Friday, April 24
Time: 5:00 pm Tot Shabbat
5:30 pm Catered Dinner
6:15 pm Community-Wide Service
7:00 pm Oneg Shabbat
Place: Beth El, 1301 Oxford Street, Berkeley
Details here

Soulful Shabbat Ruach
Soulful Shabbat Ruach is an original service written by Cantor Levine. It was created to appeal to young and old alike, people of different faith backgrounds and inclusiveness. The prayers are set in both Hebrew and English and meld a variety of styles including gospel, country, folk, Chassidic, Klezmer and Ladino.

Date: Friday, April 24
Time: 6:15 pm
Place: Rodef Sholom, 170 N San Pedro Rd, San Rafael

Israel Shabbat
Celebrate Israel’s 67th Birthday! Join us for a special Shabbat celebration of Israel’s independence with the Temple Sinai Adult Choir and Cantor Keys. Rabbi Regev will share some thoughts about the unique role that Israel plays in our lives, and what the future of our relationship with the Jewish homeland might be.

Date: Friday, April 24
Time: 7:30pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland

Jewish/Muslim Interfaith Text Study
Join us for an evening of interfaith text study, and open dialogue co-facilitated by Dr. Leyla Ozgur Alhassen, scholar of Qur’anic narrative, and Arielle Tonkin, visual artist and specialist in Jewish text.
We will explore text as an intellectual and artistic pursuit in the Jewish and Islamic traditions. So come join us for learning and building community!
This event is in celebration of the exhibition “Women in Islam” currently on view in Kehilla’s Fireside Art Gallery in partnership with the Islamic Art Exhibit (IAE).

Date: April 26
Time: 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Place: Kehilla Synagogue, 1300 Grand Ave, Piedmont, In the Fireside Room
Details here

Mending Hearts, Making Peace: Using Music for Healing of Mind, Body, Spirit
led by Cantor Lisa Levine
Music leads the way into the deepest parts of our souls and has the power to release stress, stir emotions and open the heart and body to healing and a connection with the Divine. Cantor Lisa has been writing healing music chants and adapting prayer melodies for her embodiment work in Yoga Shalom for years. Now Cantor Lisa has written some new deeply spiritual melodies which will help focus your intention on the path to wholeness, hope and inner peace.

Date: Sunday, April 26
Time: 9:15am
Place: JCC Gallery, Osher Marin JCC, 200 N San Pedro Rd, San Rafael
RSVP to Molly at

Interlove Story: When Jews Love Non-Jews… and Judaism
You are Jewish and you fell in love with a person who isn’t Jewish; now it’s up to you to make a Jewish home and raise Jewish children. How have other families managed Jewish commitment and interfaith love? We’ll begin with a tender film by the daughter of an interfaith couple (Interlove Story was her Stanford University Masters Film Thesis) and discuss the choices her parents made and what options we all have.
Join Rabbi Sarah Weissman, Dawn Kepler, and interfaith couples for a warm and open discussion.

Date: Sunday, April 26
Time: 9:15 – 11:00 am
Place: Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills
Cost: $5 for the public; Free for members of Beth Am
Register here

Raising a Mensch
Compassion, generosity, respect and satisfaction are values shared by all religions. When do they become uniquely “Jewish” and why do that? Join other parents for a fascinating discussion that combines Jewish teaching and the current Science of Happiness to develop tools to raise a mensch. Warning: you may increase your own menschlichkeit (humanity) too!

April 26 I Can’t Get No Respect: Kavod in Our Modern Society
Who is worthy of honor? The one who honors others. (Pirkei Avot 4:1)
Our culture worships the famous and rich. How can we teach out children to respect those whom we believe are truly of value, like parents and teachers?

Time: 10:30am to noon
Place: Temple Israel, 3183 Mecartney Rd., Alameda
Cost: Free to Temple Israel members, $30 for the series, $18 per single session (please
bring cash or a check.)
To register go here
Co-sponsored by Temple Israel, Building Jewish Bridges and Lehrhaus Judaica.

Women in Interfaith Relationships: A Discussion for Girlfriends, Wives, Partners, Mothers and Grandmothers
Join other women, Jewish or not, to examine interfaith relationships 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? Join a multi-generational discussion, facilitated by Rabbi Lisa Delson and Dawn Kepler of Building Jewish Bridges, about the assumptions and possibilities surrounding our roles as sustainers of the family. Women in any stage of relationship, any sexuality, and any age welcome.

Date: April 30, 2015
Time: 7:30 to 9pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Sholom, 1655 Sebastian Drive, Burlingame
Cost: Free to members of Peninsula Temple Sholom, $8 to non-members
Register here.

Crazy Hat Shabbat
Put on your craziest hat and join me and other Beth Am friends for a fun, musical Shabbat morning service. Following the service, enjoy grape juice and challah as well as arts and crafts. Come have fun with your child and meet other parents of young children (~ages 0-5).

Date: Saturday, May 2
Time: 9:30am
Place: Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills

On Culture, Comedy, and Richard Pryor
Scott Saul and W. Kamau Bell In Conversation:
Join Scott Saul, author of the recent biography Becoming Richard Pryor, as he and W. Kamau Bell discuss comedy, race, and culture. A rare chance to spend an evening with some of the East Bay’s greatest talent and to reflect on the evolution of comedy in response to struggle.
From an interview with Scott Saul: “Pryor invented, more than anyone else, the art form of stand-up comedy. Before Pryor, comedians told jokes; after Pryor, they told their story—and, if they followed Pryor’s lead more fully (as have comedians from Roseanne Barr and Dave Chappelle to Sarah Silverman and Louis CK), they felt free to lean on those parts of their story that made their audience squirm as well as roar. He was the master artist who rewrote the rules.”

Date: Tuesday, May 5
Time: 8:00 pm
Place: East Bay JCC, 1414 Walnut St, Berkeley
Cost: $10 general admission / $8 JCC members, seniors, students
More information here.

Community Lag Ba’Omer Bonfire
Dancing, Potluck, S’mores and More
The story goes that almost 2,000 years ago the 24,000 students of the great sage Rabbi Akiva died in a massive plague sent from the heavens because the students were really being mean to each other. Lag Ba’Omer, the 33rd day of the journey from Passover to Shavuot, marks the day when the great plague ended.
We’ll celebrate on the farm by being REALLY nice to each other, sipping warm chai, lighting a huge bonfire, roasting s’mores, and dancing to the amazing music of Bolo. Please bring a dish for our dessert potluck and your dancing shoes!
7:30: Schmooze, enjoy treats from the dessert potluck and roast s’mores around the fire circle
8:00: Community singing and counting of the Omer
8:30: Dance and groove to the soulful tunes of Bolo in the big tent

Date: May 6
Time: 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Place: Urban Adamah, 1050 Parker St. Berkeley
Cost: $5, buy tickets here
This community-wide celebration is hosted by Urban Adamah and co-sponsored by Afikomen Judaica, Chochmat Halev, Congregation Beth El, East Bay Minyan, Fair Trade Judaica, JCC East Bay, Kehilla Community Synagogue, Temple Beth Abraham, and Wilderness Torah.

Camp Shabbat
Come for a Shabbat full of camp-style worship andruach (spirit), with a special opportunity to bless all of our PTBE campers, as well as our graduating seniors who are moving off on to their next adventures.

Date: Friday, May 8
Time: 6:30pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Beth El, 1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo

Tikkun Leyl Shavuot
Get ready for a unique community-wide celebration and night of learning; a spiritual journey bringing together people of all varied perspectives and affiliations. Stay for an hour-or stay until dawn!

Date & Time Saturday-Sunday, May 23-24, 6pm-Dawn
Place: East Bay JCC, 1414 Walnut Street, Berkeley
Details here.

After the Play: Head of Passes
Join us again to explore Jewish values in the arts. Playwright, Tarell Alvin McCraney, author of Berkeley Rep’s Head of Passes, states that his play was inspired by both the biblical story of Job and Shakespeare’s Lear. “This play is about a literal discourse in faith.”

How does Judaism perceive Job, or tragedy? How do we in modern times, view the concept of faith? What is our internal guide? Is McCraney correct in saying that, “everybody needs to invent or hold onto some inalienable truth. Or at least that they feel is the truth.” Is there a core Jewish truth?

Join Rabbi Chester to explore Job, faith, and meaning.

Date: Thursday, May 21
Time: 7:30 to 9pm
Place: Lehrhaus, 2736 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
Cost: $12
Register for the class here.