Make 2015 a year of activities & community

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What’s up for 2015!
Now looking into the coming year – I am offering a number of occasions for adults raised in interfaith homes to reflect on and share their experiences of growing up. Those memories are as different as the people who hold them and yet there are also patterns and experiences that are shared. It is important for their voices to be heard and for us, their family and community to hear. Please contact me ( if you grew up with one Jewish parent and one not Jewish parent and are willing to share your story.

Now, here are some upcoming events in the Bay Area.

What’s in a Jewish Name? (Walnut Creek)
Introduction to Judaism (San Francisco)
Movie Midrash: Jewish Lessons from the Silver Screen (San Mateo)
Israeli Dancing (Walnut Creek)
Junior Jews (San Rafael)
Exploring Jewish Beliefs and Practices: an Introduction to Judaism (San Francisco)
Introduction to the Jewish Experience: Israel and Texts (Berkeley)
Cantor Rita Glassman: A World of Peace Concert (San Francisco)
Are Our Children Jewish? (Alameda)
Tu B’Shvat in the Redwoods (Oakland)
What Makes a Home “Jewish”? (San Francisco)

What’s in a Jewish Name?
Join B’nai Tikvah congregants for services on Friday January 9 at 6:30pm, when Dawn Kepler will be our guest speaker. As part of her work, she enjoys creating new Jewish rituals, and will be speaking with us about the special place name and naming rituals holds in our tradition. This dovetails with the start of a new book of the Torah called Shemot, in which the Twelve Tribes of Israel are named. Dawn’s presentation will be one that speaks to each of us, whether we have a Jewish name or not. Please join us!

Date: Jan. 9, 2015
Time: 6:30pm
Place: B’nai Tikvah, 25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek

Introduction to Judaism
Join with Emanu-El clergy to learn about the breadth and wonder of Jewish tradition. This class is a pathway for the adult learner who wishes to discover or deepen Jewish knowledge, non-Jews who are marrying a Jewish partner, and those who are considering conversion to Judaism.
Intro to Judaism meets on Tuesday evenings over three trimesters and has rolling admission. A student can begin in any of the trimesters. Trimesters do not have to be completed in a particular order.
Winter Term: Space and Place

Dates: January 6, 13, 20, 27; February 3, 10, 17, 24
Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Place: Emanu-El, 2 Lake Street, San Francisco
Cost: Emanu-El Member $36, Non-member: $50
One-time book fee: $65 (for members and non-members)
Register here.
Phone: (415) 751-2535

Movie Midrash: Jewish Lessons from the Silver Screen
Join Rabbi Callie & Matt Schulman as we explore Judaism through the medium of film.
Explore how the film, Defending Your Life (1991), starring Meryl Streep and Albert Brooks relates to the rabbis’ ancient Talmudic argument about how we are to understand Divine Judgment.

Date: January 10
Time: 7:30 pm
Place: Peninsula Temple Beth El, 1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo

Israeli Dancing
Whether you are a beginner or experienced, join instructor, Yardena Brooks, for an evening of Israeli dancing. Open to the community; all are welcome. Fee: $6.00 per session (6:00pm in the Social Hall)

Date: Sunday, January 11
Time: 6pm
Place: B’nai Shalom, 74 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek, meets in the social hall
Cost: $6 per session
For more info call the synagogue office at 925-934-9446

Junior Jews
Want to give your kid or grandkid some deeper Jewish roots? Want to empower them to become the biggest mensch s/he can be? Then join us once a month for some great singing, some great playing and some great learning. Join our clergy and educators for this family-friendly hour in the JCC Lounge.

Date: Select Sundays, next date is January 11, 2015
Time: 10:00 – 11:00 am
Place: JCC Lounge, 200 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael
Run by the Rodef Sholom clergy.
RSVP to Molly at Bring your friends and/or come and make some new ones!

Exploring Jewish Beliefs and Practices: an Introduction to Judaism
Begin learning the basics of Jewish thought and practice. Engage in a mix of study, discussion and hands-on experiences. Topics include:
* Jewish beliefs and values
* Holidays and the Jewish calendar
* Prayer and liturgy
* Lifecycle events
With teachers: Rabbi Larry Raphael, Rabbi Julie Saxe-Taller, Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf, Lisa Erdberg

Date/times: 14 sessions, Sunday, January 11, 2015 – Sunday, May 3, 2015 10am – noon; Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 9:30 and Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 9:30
Place: Sherith Israel, 2266 California St., San Francisco
Information & registration: Eric Drucker, 415.346.1720, x24, or email Eric at
Cost: $5 materials fee and you must buy the book, Living Judaism by Rabbi Wayne Dosick. The book is $10 if you buy it from Sherith Israel at the first class meeting.

Introduction to the Jewish Experience: Israel and Texts
The land of Israel has been central to Jewish history, both ancient and modern. Even during the years of galut (exile) the Jewish heart was “in the east,” in the words of medieval poet Yehudah HaLevy. This class will examine the history of ancient Israel, the beginnings of rabbinic Judaism, and the modern return to the land. With that history as a backdrop, we will learn about the great texts of Judaism: Tanach (Bible), Midrash, Talmud, the Prayer Book, and the Codes of Jewish Law.

Date: Wednesdays, January 14 – March 11 (no class 3/4)
Time: 7:30 – 9:00 pm
Place: Congregation Beth El, 1301 Oxford Street, Berkeley
Cost: $105 for the public; $90 for members of Beth El, Berkeley and Temple Sinai, Oakland
Register for class here.

Cantor Rita Glassman: A World of Peace
CD Release Concert
Cantor Rita Glassman (formerly of Rodef Sholom in San Rafael) will be accompanied by Fred Ross-Perry with Aliza Hava, Michael Gill, Be’eri Moalem, Joshua Zucker and Mike Spinrad. Cantor Glassman sings from the depths of her soul. Her music is uplifting and possesses a lyrical sensitivity, inspiring both inner peace and world peace.

Date: Sunday, January 18, 2015
Time: 4:00 pm
Place: Jewish Community Center, Kanbar Hall, 3200 California Street, San Francisco
Cost: $18 advance; $20 at door.
Tickets available by calling 415-292-1233 or online here.
Learn more about Cantor Rita Glassman on her website

Are Our Children Jewish?
Patralineal Descent, Reform Judaism & Those Other Jews
In 1983 the Reform movement officially recognized children of Jewish fathers as Jewish. But if you read the statement it says that every child of a mixed marriage, whether the mother or father is Jewish, must establish their identity as a Jew “through appropriate and timely public and formal acts of identification with the Jewish faith and people.” What are those acts? Do we really expect all kids from interfaith marriages to do so? What role do non-Reform Jews play in our lives and those of our children? Join Dawn Kepler for an exploration of Patralineal Jews today.

Date: Friday, Jan. 23
Time: 7:30pm (the discussion will be a part of the Shabbat service)
Place: Temple Israel, 3183 Mecartney Rd, Alameda
RSVP here.

Tu B’Shvat in the Redwoods
Come to the redwoods with your whole family to celebrate Tu B’Shvat, the unseen awakening of spring. In the tradition of the mystics of Tsfat, we gather in the forest to create an experiential Tu B’Shvat seder that connects us to the trees and the elements.

Date: Sunday, February 1, 2015
Time: 10 am to 3:15 pm
Place: Roberts Regional Recreation Area, Oakland
Cost: $50–$30 sliding scale for adults; $25 for teens age 11–17; $20 for children ages 4–10; Free for children ages 3 and under
Details here.

What Makes a Home “Jewish”?
A Jew may ask their spouse to agree to have a “Jewish” home. But what does that mean?
To a non-Jewish loved one it may mean simply that some of the people in the house say they are Jews. But our partners deserve a more in-depth answer. One Jew may say, a
Jewish home has Jewish ritual objects – a menorah, Shabbos candlesticks, a ketubah on
the wall. Another may add, but you need to do Jewish things in a Jewish home like
observe Shabbat weekly or build a sukkah on Sukkot or recite the Shema before bedtime.
Yet another will say we must act like Jews — give tzadakah, attend synagogue, refrain from eating pork.

Each Jewish partner will have their own ideas about what they need in order to feel that their home is “Jewish.” Or, they may have no clear idea at all! Every non-Jewish spouse deserves a clear statement as to what they are signing up for.

Join Rabbi Glazer, Dawn Kepler and other curious couples for an enlightening discussion and go home with your own individualized plan.

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015
Time: 7:30 to 9pm
Place: Beth Sholom, 301 14th Avenue (near the corner of Clement Street), San Francisco
Cost: Free to members of Beth Sholom, $8 for a non-member individual, $12 for a non-member couple.
Sign up here.