Last Friday I spent Shabbat with the folks at Jewish Gateways. A new friend who is a member there invited me. It was a potluck (my favorite!) so I took a loaf of homemade challah fresh from the oven. We met outside in a small private park in Oakland.
Rabbi Bridget Wynne, their spiritual leader, remarked on the sound of her own voice being a bit of a surprise after the last few years of isolation. We all laughed; we were feeling the newness of being social also.
There were folks of all ages there from the baby in the stroller to the older Jews with accents from “the old country”. Just my cup of tea! The evening was particularly special because Rabbi Bridget was introducing Rabbi Steph, the newly hired Rabbi Educator who will be leading the family school, Growing Together. Rabbi Steph is from Australia and an utter delight. I have heard a LOT of teachings in my day and I was very pleased to find Rabbi Steph Kennedy to be both reliant on text and innovative in moving us to find our modern selves in the teaching. Many rabbis try to do this; she succeeded.
I sat with my new friend, his French born wife and several of their friends. They were a jolly group and included me readily in their conversation.
I had a wonderful time. If you are looking for an outdoor joyful Shabbat contact them.
The reason for my acquiring a new friend is that Sandy, the Jewish Gateways member who invited me, had contacted me about helping him offer interfaith programs to their members. Since they want the programs to be open to the community I am very much looking forward to inviting all of you to a program soon.
Here are some photos from Shabbat.
First, blessings before dinner.
Second, the delightful Rabbi Steph.
Third, our song leader!