What is summer good for — Jewishly speaking?

Yes, the Jewish world is pretty much holiday-free during the summer. There are some fast days, but as you can imagine, people don’t start practicing Judaism with fasting. So if you’re getting started, or ramping up, your exploration of Judaism, what is good to do in the summertime?

Visit your local Jewish community center. The JCCs have lots of summer programs from kids’ camp to musical performances, ceramics, swimming and yoga.

Your local JCC should be one on this list:

JCC Sonoma County
Osher Marin JCC
JCC of San Francisco
JCC of the East Bay
Peninsula JCC in Foster City
Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto
Addison-Penzak JCC of Silicon Valley in Los Gatos


Summer is a great time to take your Shabbat observance outside. You can attend an outdoor Shabbat at a synagogue. Or you can invite friends over and eat outside. When my kids were young we used to meet a couple other families in the park for Shabbat dinner and let the kids play soccer on the grass.

Are you a member of a synagogue? Put that community to work for you! Make play dates and dinner dates with people from shul, people you’d like to know better. Ask what they like to do to celebrate Jewish holidays or activities. See if they or their kids attend a Jewish camp. Maybe you’d like to go along.

Do something completely DIFFERENT. You could go to Naomi Stein’s performance, part of Raw Materials, about her experience growing up in an interfaith family. Look around, there’s so much to do. See something interesting? Tell me about it so I can share it with everyone else. You can email me at dawn@buildingjewishbridges.org




Raw Materials A – Stage performance on Growing up Interfaith (San Francisco)
Tot Shabbat Morning (Lafayette)
Standing with the Stranger at the Border (Mountain View)
Shabbat Sovev – Surrounding Shabbat (Foster City)
Tisha B’Av (San Francisco)
Sha’ar Zahav at the Jewish Film Festival (San Francisco)
First Fridays Shabbat in the Round (Oakland)
Jewish Heritage Night at the Oakland A’s (Oakland)
Jewish Heritage Night at the SF Giants (San Francisco)


Raw Materials A
With Naomi Stein’s performance about growing up between religions
Naomi Stein is participating in the FURYfactory, a biennial, national festival of ensemble and devised theatre.  She says, “I’ll be performing as part of a works in progress program they’ve titled ‘Raw Materials A’.  It promises to be a wildly diverse night of theatre!  The other two acts on the bill include an all female rap group and a fantastical queer fairy tale.
My work will be a 20 minute segment of a show I’m writing titled No Man’s Land.  It’s a re-working of a piece I originally created …some years ago.”
What do you get when you mix a first generation Jew with a 12th generation WASP? A lot of tsuris, and a show!  In No Man’s Land, Naomi Stein explores the experience of being “half-Jewish”, and the dissent over descent, through story and song. Come see this work in progress! Naomi throws the spaghetti of her thoughts against the wall and you decide what schtick sticks! Meet the characters who shaped her decisions, and listen to a voice coming from No Man’s Land.”  After the show there will be a super brief (10 minute) audience talk-back facilitated by Dramaturgs of the Americas.

Dates:  Wednesday, July 11 & Friday, July 13
Time:   7:30 p.m.
Place:   FoolsFury Theater, 470 Florida St., San Francisco
Tickets are here  If you are an artist, single Mom, or otherwise financially strapped, please note that you can get half-price tickets, just by self-selecting the ‘artist and community’ rate.

Tot Shabbat Morning
Geared toward families with children 0 to 5 years old, Tot Shabbat morning is an interactive and friendly Shabbat experience with free bagel brunch and activities.

Date:   Saturday, July 14
Time:   9:30am
Place:   The Adult Lounge at Temple Isaiah, 945 Risa Rd., Lafayette
Please click here to RSVP so we have enough food.

Standing with the Stranger at the Border
Rabbi Eilberg will invite us to study core Jewish teachings on treatment of the stranger in light of current realities in our society. She will then share about her trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, as part of mass demonstrations against the policies of separating and incarcerating immigrant families and reducing access to asylum. Rabbi Eilberg visited the Otay Mesa Detention Center, south of San Diego, on June 23rd as part of a 1,000-person demonstration organized by PICO California, a state-wide multi-faith, multi-racial community-organizing network.

Rabbi Eilberg is now working as Coordinator of Jewish Engagement for Faith in Action Bay Area, which is a member of the coalition that organized the detention center visit

Date:   Saturday, July 14
Time:   1:15pm
Place:   Kol Emeth is currently holding services and programs at the Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. Rabbi Eilberg’s talk will be in Room G100 at the OFJCC, near the Cultural Arts Hall. If you are a member of the JCC you can park in their lot. If the lot is full, please park in the lot for Kehillah Jewish High School, which is directly across the street from the OFJCC entrance on Fabian Way.

Other notes: Guests with mobility issues and a disability placard have access to reserved parking in the OFJCC lot. The lot also has bike parking for cyclists.

Finally, for anyone who wishes to join Kol Emeth for services at 9:15am (and a wonderful kiddush lunch), services will be on the 4th floor in the Friedrich Conference Center, upstairs from the Cultural Arts Hall at the Oshman Family JCC.
Details here.

Shabbat Sovev (Surrounding Shabbat)
Join Peninsula Sinai Congregation for a special Shabbat Sovev. This Sovev will feature musical instruments, be family friendly with snacks and drinks at 5:30 pm for all who are interested in joining us! Because Shabbat begins later in the summer, we will have time to jam, sing and enjoy some extra musicality before we bring in Shabbat with candle-lighting and ma’ariv (evening prayers) around 6:40 pm (with no instruments). Hope to see you there!

Date:   July 20
Time:   6pm
Place:   Peninsula Sinai, 499 Boothbay, Foster City

Tisha B’Av: A Contemplative Evening of Commeration and Meaning
in Rememberance of the Destruction of the Jerusalem Temple
Please join us for an engaging Tisha B’Av evening of study, song and meditation followed by a reading of the Book of Lamentations by candlelight. The traditional chanting of Eicha, interwoven with translation, will invite us to ponder the ancient and contemporary themes of spiritual darkness and desolation.
The evening will feature choral settings of the Book of Lamentations presented by Tactus SF.  BE member Susan St. Martin sings with Tactus SF.  You can learn more about them at www.tactus-sf.org.

Date:   Saturday Night, July 21
Time:   7:30pm – 9:30pm
Place:   Congregation Ner Tamid, 1250 Quintara St., San Francisco
Co-Sponsored by B’nai Emunah and Ner Tamid

Sha’ar Zahav at the Jewish Film Festival
Sha’ar Zahav is excited to be co-presenting films; The Prince and The Dybbuk at the 38th SF Jewish Film Festival which runs July 19 – August 5, 2018.

If you’ve ever seen his masterpiece, The Dybbuk, you will be compelled to learn more about the man who directed it. Michał Waszyński, director of The Dybbuk (1937), tried on many identities and led a life filled with contradictions. The Prince and The Dybbuk

Date: Sunday July 22
Time: 2:05 p.m.
Place:   Castro Theatre: 429 Castro Street, San Francisco
Visit www.sfjff.org to learn more about the film and purchase tickets.

First Fridays Shabbat in the Round
This month, join Rabbi Mates-Muchin, Cantor Keys, song leader Isaac Zones, and the First Friday Players to welcome Shabbat with a new song-filled worship service celebrating the richness of Kabbalat Shabbat and the spirit of community. A special oneg Shabbat with S’mores will follow the service.

Friday, August 3
Time:   6:30pm
Place:   Albers Chapel, Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland

Jewish Heritage Night at the Oakland A’s
Join the A’s for the annual Jewish Heritage Night on August 8. All participants that purchase a SPECIAL TICKET for this event will receive an exclusive A’s Jewish Heritage Night Stomper Bobblehead and access to our pregame party in Championship Plaza!

For more information or to secure your group of 15+ tickets, please call James Barber at 510-563-2352 or by email at jbarber@athletics.com. For individual tickets (below 15 tickets), purchase at the link below to receive the SPECIAL ticket that includes the giveaway item.

Date:   Wed., Aug. 8
Time:   First pitch is at 7:05 but get there earlier!
Place:   Oakland Coliseum, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland
For Info and Tickets check with your own synagogue or go here.

Jewish Heritage Night at the SF Giants
Join the Bay Area’s Jewish community at the Giants annual Jewish Heritage Night at AT&T Park! You are invited to bring your family and friends! Event ticket package includes a seat in one of the Jewish Heritage sections for the game versus the Diamondbacks, a collector’s-edition Jewish-themed Giants beanie, as well as admission to the Jewish Heritage Night pregame party in Lot A from 5:00-7:00pm! Live cultural entertainment will take place at the pre-game party, and cultural food and drink specials will be available for purchase. Partial proceeds from every special event ticket sold will benefit our community partners. Don’t miss this fun-filled night out at the park to celebrate Jewish Heritage!

Date:   Wednesday, August 29
Time:   Jewish Heritage Night Pregame Party in Lot A from 5:pm to 7:00pm
First pitch is at 7:15 p.m.
Place:   AT&T Park, San Francisco
Details and tickets here.