Leap Days, Summer Camp and Community Activities

(Image: Camp Tawonga)

Here we are on the brink of March! In a flash it will be full-blown spring.

Gregorian Calendar vs. Jewish Calendar
Tomorrow is Leap Day. We only get one every four years. I feel like there should be something special done on February 29. Interestingly this is also the year we get two months of Adar on the Hebrew calendar. No messing around with a mere day when you can add an extra month! Here’s a good explanation of why and how it works. I suggest an extra good dessert.

Jewish Summer Camp
When my kids were in elementary school one February another mom commented, “Oh I have to get busy planning summer camps!”  I remember I thought IN FEBRUARY!? But she was right. This month I’ve been receiving multiple announcements about signing up for Jewish summer camps. Whether you choose a sleep-away camp or the local synagogue or JCC program, this is the time to do your research. Sign up before the session you want is full.

Summer camp is praised by many educators for helping kids to stretch their independence, curiosity and friendship building skills. And that’s to say nothing about the creativity and exploration of crafts, hikes, projects, etc. I’m going to put together some info on local camps and the camp experience next week. For now here is a NPR podcast that I enjoyed from This American Life.

Notes on Camp
And an article by a non-Jewish mom who loved summer camp and is all in for her children to go to Jewish sleep-away camp.

Jewish Summer Camp was the Right Choice for Our Interfaith Family

One last thing, I’m including a very surprising event, Murder Mystery Shabbat. I have always wanted to attend a Murder Mystery Dinner. If you go, PLEASE tell me all about it! If you have one, invite me!


Murder Mystery Dinner and Shabbat (Palo Alto)
Unity March Standing Together Against Antisemitism (San Francisco)
Repairing Hope: Modern Jewish Song Lyrics and Poems (Lafayette)
Family Fun Time (San Francisco)
Hip Hop with Westside Gravy (Walnut Creek)
Shabbat Shmooze (San Rafael)
Tot Shabbat (Lafayette)
In Focus: Israel/Gaza with Standing Together (San Francisco)
A Shabbat of Reflection, Rejoicing and Renewal (Oakland)
“Being Good Neighbors” Interfaith Symposium (Fremont)
Honoring Your Jewish Child’s Non-Jewish Heritage (Zoom)
The Terrifying Realm of the Possible (Palo Alto)
Purim Carnival & Spiel Featuring the Barbie Megillah (Oakland)
Dacher Keltner presents AWE: The New Science of Everyday Wonder (San Rafael & Virtual)



 Murder Mystery Dinner and Shabbat
Join us for Kabbalat Shabbat at 6:00 pm, followed by an interactive comedy murder mystery dinner theater show brought to us by The Dinner Detective. Solve a hilarious mystery while you feast on a fantastic dinner. Just beware—the culprit is hiding in plain sight somewhere in the room, and you may find yourself as a prime suspect before you know it!

Date:   Friday, March 1
Time:   Begins at 6pm
Place:   Kol Emeth, 4175 Manuela Ave · Palo Alto
Sign up here.


Unity March Standing Together Against Antisemitism
In response to escalating acts against the Jewish community, Jews and allies throughout Northern California will gather for an unprecedented march to champion the values of inclusion, respect, belonging, and democracy – standing united against Antisemitism. Together, we will seek to foster understanding, connect diverse communities, and reinforce our commitment to a safe world, free from fear and prejudice.

Date:   Sunday, March 3
Time:   1:30 to 4:30 pm
Place:   March from the Embarcadero to Civic Center, San Francisco, IN PERSON
Learn More Here


Repairing Hope: Modern Jewish Song Lyrics and Poems
When our world faces challenging times, how can we find healing, resilience, and joy? Together, we will explore modern Jewish creative voices who have engaged with these questions, and who can shine light on our paths. From the sense of memory and irrepressible buoyancy of Carole King to the candor, empathy and affirmation of the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai, we will see the variety of ways these artists inherit Jewish texts and traditions, give them modern, personal twists, and speak to our moment. Come join us as we study together and share from our minds and spirits.

Dates:  Sundays, March 3, 10, and 17
Time:   11:15am to 12:30pm
Place:   Temple Isaiah, 925 Risa Rd., Lafayette
Cost:    $36 for nonmembers. Click here to RSVP.


Family Fun Time
Rain is starting tomorrow, but Sunday we are expecting a break! Join us for a sunshiny morning at Crane Cove Park for music, puppets, movement, ocean waves and more. Join other SF families at the park for a fun, silly and musical morning.

Date:   Sun, March 3
Time:   10:00 – 11:30am
Place:   Crane Cove Park, Potrero Point, San Francisco
Free, register here
Hosted by Jewish Baby Network


Hip Hop with Westside Gravy
Noah Shufutinsky, aka Westside Gravy, will present The Jewish Story Through Music, leading us on a journey from the Jewish indigenous roots in Israel through the Diaspora and back home.
Noah is a Jewish educator, lecturer, and musician. He graduated from George Washington University with a BA in Judaic Studies. As an artist, he fuses his passion for Jewish culture and history with his experience growing up Black and Jewish. Listen to Noah’s hit song Diaspora on YouTube!

Date:   Thursday, Mar 7
Time:   7 to 8:30pm
Place:   B’nai Tikvah, 25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek
Cost:    Admission is free for 12 and under. Teens (13-18): $5. Adults: $10.
Register here


Shabbat Shmooze
Join us in welcoming in Shabbat—the Jewish day of rest at our monthly Shabbat Shmooze in the JCC Lobby at 4 pm. Our gathering features local live music and drinks.
Drop by for this FREE event held the second Friday of every month. No sign up required, and all are welcome.

Date:   Friday, March 8
Time:   4:00 pm–5:00 pm
Place:   Marin JCC, 200 N San Pedro Rd, San Rafael
More info


Tot Shabbat
Experience the joy of Tot Shabbat. Geared toward families with children 0-5 years old, Tot Shabbat is an interactive and friendly Shabbat Experience led by our clergy. Enjoy activities, music and prayer with other young families. This experience is free of charge and open to the public.

Date:   Saturday, March 9
Time:   9:30am
Place:   Temple Isaiah, in the Adult Lounge 925 Risa Rd., Lafayette
Click here to RSVP.


In Focus: Israel/Gaza with Standing Together
Meet two inspiring Israeli grassroots activists—Sally Abed and Alon-Lee Green, from NIF grantee Omdim Beyachad/Naqif Ma’an (Standing Together). Standing Together is a grassroots movement mobilizing Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel in pursuit of peace, equality, and social and climate justice. To learn more, click here.

Date:   Tuesday, March 12
Time:   7pm
Place:   Congregation Sherith Israel, 2266 California St., San Francisco
Register here


A Shabbat of Reflection, Rejoicing and Renewal
Join us as we collaborate with our friends from St. Mark’s Episcopal Church choir and share a Shabbat of Reflection, Renewal and Rejoicing! This service will feature music from both faith traditions and is open to all!

Date:   Friday, March 15
Time:   6:30pm
Place:   Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland


“Being Good Neighbors” Interfaith Symposium
We are proud to be community partners for Being Good Neighbors: an Interfaith Symposium, sponsored by Tri-City Interfaith Council.
Join us as we strengthen cross-cultural communal bonds and learn how to better support their Muslim and Jewish neighbors in the Bay Area during this time of increased intolerance and violence.
This event features interactive conversations, a panel of distinguished speakers, a community dinner to break the Ramadan fast, and Havdallah.
This event will feature interactive “Meet Your Neighbor” conversations, a panel entitled “How to Be Good Neighbors to Muslims & Jews In Our Community” with distinguished speakers, a community dinner to break the fast of Ramadan, and a Havdallah ceremony concluding Shabbat.

Date:   Saturday, March 16
Time:   4:00 – 8:30pm
Place:   Washington Hospital West, 2500 Mowry Ave, Fremont
Register required by Tue, 3/12.  RSVP
Shared by Temple Beth Torah, 42000 Paseo Padre Pkwy, Fremont


Honoring Your Jewish Child’s Non-Jewish Heritage
Every child needs to understand where they come from. If you are raising your child as a Jew, but one parent is not Jewish it is essential that you teach your child about that side of their family. This is half of them! They need to be comfortable with how they put these parts together to make a whole person: themselves.

Jews may be concerned that learning about the non-Jewish parent means learning about another religion that will compete with Judaism. Not at all. There are hundreds of elements to another tradition or culture that are important and utterly without religious content:

There are cultural traditions which may include language, food, and music.
There are family traditions that include stories, memories, trips, games.
There are the traditions you create in your own nuclear family.

What if one parent has a religion? How can that be taught in a way that feels right to all members of the family – especially your child? Let’s discuss how to teach your child about BOTH sides of the family and how to integrate both parents into your child’s identity.

Date:   March 21
Time:   7 to 8pm
Place:   Online
Free, email me at dawn@buildingjewishbridges.org to receive the Zoom link.


The Terrifying Realm of the Possible: With Author & Comedian Brett Gelman
Brett Gelman (Stranger Things, Fleabag) will present his daring, hilariously neurotic literary debut (published March 19).

Date:   Thursday, March 21
Time:   8 – 9:30pm
Place:   Oshman Family JCC, (Building F), 3921 Fabian Way Palo Alto, CA 94303
Cost:    $25
Register here


Purim Carnival & Spiel Featuring the Barbie Megillah
Join Temple Sinai for a family friendly celebration of Purim! We’ll have carnival games and attractions, food for sale and “The Barbie Megillah” Spiel! Don’t miss out on all the fun!

9:00 – 9:50am: Early Purim Carnival
10:00 – 10:55am: Megillah Reading and Purim Spiel: “The Barbie Megillah!”
11:00am – 1:00pm: Late Purim Carnival

Cost:    Each child needs a wristband for unlimited access to the carnival games and attractions. Wristbands are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Meal deals are $6 (includes hot dog, chips, fruit, drink and one hamentashen).

Questions? Contact Hadas Rave.
Register here.
Sunday, March 24
Time:   9 to 1pm
Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland

Dacher Keltner presents AWE: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How it Can Transform Your Life
In Conversation with Rabbi Stacy Friedman
Rodef Sholom is thrilled to host author, Professor Dacher Keltner, as a follow up to Rabbi Stacy’s Yom Kippur Sermon on Awe, to continue this important conversation at a time where we all need a little bit more awe in our life.
Professor Keltner’s research focuses on the biological and evolutionary origins of compassion, awe, love, beauty, power, social class, and inequality. As a Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and director of the Berkeley Social Interaction Lab, he is a leading scholar in the study of emotion, including a new project on awe around the globe, as well as power, class, and inequality. Professor Keltner also serves as the Faculty Director of the Berkeley Greater Good Science Center.

Date:   Wednesday, April 17
Time:   7 to 9pm
Place:   Rodef Sholom, 170 N. San Pedro Rd., San Rafael ALSO ONLINE