Rosh Hashanah is Here!

This is it! Rosh Hashanah arrives this evening. If you are still considering where you’ll go and have no plans there are a few places where you can drop in. Look at the events list below and also check here.

If you are not up to services then think about how to have a warm, happy Rosh Hashanah dinner together with loved ones. Let the kids go outside and get flowers, grasses or twigs to decorate the table. You might put one votive candle on the table at each person’s place to “light up” a new year. Go around the table and say what your hope for in the new year is, what will you do better or differently. Invite people to ask for help putting their dream into practice. Maybe your son wants to improve at soccer or violin, can you help with encouragement? Maybe you’d like more help around the house, what can each member take on as a task? Maybe you’d all like a bit more time together, can you plan a weekly baking adventure, or a nightly book read aloud?

Put something into the coming year that you will look forward to with joy.

Shana tova! Happy New Year!

Rosh Hashanah for Kids (Palo Alto)
High Holy Day Services for Families with Young Children (Los Altos)
Kol Nidre – Yom Kippur Evening (Berkeley)
Exploring Jewish Beliefs and Practices: an Introduction to Judaism (San Francisco)
Eat, Pray, Lulav: Our 2nd Annual Sukkot Harvest Festival (Berkeley)
Homer and Moses: Poets of Their People (Berkeley)
An In Depth Introduction to Judaism (San Francisco)
Writing Your Ethical Will (Berkeley)
Women in Interfaith Relationships (Berkeley)
All in the Family: Jews talk about their Multiracial Families (Oakland)
God Talk (Berkeley)

Rosh Hashanah for Kids
Looking for a kid-friendly event during the High Holy Days? Join Etz Chayim for a Rosh HaShanah program designed for young children and their families. Are you raising a Jewish child? Join us for a program is geared for families with children in preschool through first grade. Our special guests, Treasure Cohen and her husband Rich, bring stories, music, puppets, and fun for the holidays. Treasure is a Jewish family educator, teacher trainer, and professional storyteller. The program is open to members of the community, affiliated and unaffiliated.

Date: Rosh Hashanah Day, Sept. 17
Time: 11am to noon
Place: Palo Alto home
To ensure a secure environment, advance registration is required. Your name tags, as well as location information, will be mailed to you. A donation of $18 per family is requested. To make a reservation, go to or call 650 / 813-9094.
Sponsored by Congregation Etz Chayim 4161 Alma Street Palo Alto,, 650-813-9094

High Holy Day Services for Families with Young Children
The young family services are free and open to anyone (no tickets required).
Rosh Hashanah Family Service (includes a special blessing for all babies born or adopted in the past year)
On Rosh Hashanah, we encourage you to bring a picnic lunch and join the Beth Am community outside by the fountain for lunch between the main service and children’s service. Children are also encouraged to bring a shofar to the service.
Monday, September 17, 1:45pm
Flint Center, De Anza College

Yom Kippur Family Service
Wednesday, September 26, 1:45 p.m.
On Yom Kippur, we understand that children need to be fed, so feel free to pack a lunch for them to eat by the fountain.
Sponsored by Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills, CA 94022 • (650) 493-4661

Kol Nidre – Yom Kippur Evening
Join the East Bay Minyan for the Kol Nidre service.
East Bay Minyan is an independent minyan in Berkeley and Oakland that values tradition and inclusivity and strives to accommodate both Egalitarian and Orthodox practice. This evening service of Yom Kippur will be in East Bay Minyan’s signature inclusive, participatory, spirited, and traditional style.
More information here:
What else? For those who wish to stick around after services – and, really, what else do you have to do on Yom Kippur? – Shalom Bochner will lead a discussion class on “Yom Kippur: Sad or Serious?”
Contact: Got questions? Ideas? An overwhelming desire to help out? Reach us at

Date: Tuesday, September 25
Time: Promptly at 6:40pm (doors at 6:15).
Place: Finnish Hall, 1970 Chestnut St., Berkeley
RSVP: Required! Please use this link:
Cost: We ask that you give an amount that feels comfortable and appropriate. (The suggested donation is $36/person, but it’s really up to you.) No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Donation instructions will magically appear when you submit your RSVP.

Exploring Jewish Beliefs and Practices: an Introduction to Judaism
Get an in-depth look at 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
Taught by Rabbi Larry Raphael, Rabbi Julie Saxe-Taller and Lisa Erdberg.

Date: October 4 – Dec. 20
Time: 6:30 to 8pm
Place: Sherith Israel, 2266 California St., San Francisco

Materials fee: $5.The course book, Living Judaism by Rabbi Wayne Dosick, will be available for purchase at the first class for $15.
Information & registration: Eric Drucker, 415.346.1720, x24, or

Eat, Pray, Lulav: Our 2nd Annual Sukkot Harvest Festival
with Special Musical Performances by Octopretzel and The Bearded Ladies
Back by popular demand! We are pleased to host an unforgettable afternoon of harvest holiday happenings, right here on the farm, the source of Sukkot itself!
Live music * Goats, goats and more goats * Storytelling * Cob stove building * Really Local Tea Bar * Farm tours * Crafts * Food prep stations: pickles, pizza and more * Make your own salves * Face painting * Worm composting demonstrations * Grinding wheat, from the berry to pita * Harvesting the fall crop * Chickens exposed! * A surprise visit by a 100+ year-old creature * Local, kosher, organic food available for purchase

Date: Sunday, October 7
Time: 2-6pm
Place: Urban Adamah Farm, 1050 Parker Street in Berkeley
Cost: Adult: $18 in advance, $20 at the door
Child: $8 in advance, $10 at the door
Family Rate: $45 for 2 adults and 2+ children
Children 3 and under are free.
Sign up here:

Homer and Moses: Poets of Their People
Imagine this. . . a religion that focuses on this world, not the next; a theology with angry gods who interact with humans. A tradition that is perpetuated in an illiterate society by men who sing the story in formulaic music and words. This describes both Homer’s Iliad and the Five Books of Moses.
How did the Iliad capture the essence of Greek thinking such that it has been passed down for centuries? How does it express the Greek theology and ideas of the relationship between man and the divine?
How does Moses’ Torah have modern relevance? How did the god of Moses surpass His primitive beginnings while the gods of Olympus did not?

Meets Thursdays, Oct 11 and 18 at Lehrhaus and Sunday, Oct. 21 at Berkeley Rep. Students must purchase their own ticket to the 2pm performance of An Iliad on Oct. 21. We will send you the link for the discount for our group.
The evening on Homer will be taught by UC Berkeley Classics Graduate student, Rachel Lesser. The evening on Torah will be taught by Rabbi Ruth Adar. We will attend the Berkeley Rep play, An Iliad, together and will have a docent’s presentation on this production.
Sign up for the class here. You’ll receive an email with the code to get your reduced price (Entourage) Berkeley Rep ticket.

An In Depth Introduction to Judaism
This course is a pathway for the adult learner who wishes to discover or deepen Jewish knowledge, non-Jews who are marrying a Jewish partner, and people who are considering conversion to Judaism. This class touches on many aspects of Judaism, from birth to death, including Jewish diversity and identity, and American Judaism and Israel. An In Depth Introduction to Judaism is taught by Congregation Emanu-El Clergy.

Class meets 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. Refreshments will be served.

Fall: Time: Seasons of Joy
October 16, 23, 30; November 6, 13, 27; December 4, 11
Winter Space and Place: The Holy Land, Diaspora, and Community
January 15, 22, 29; February 5, 12, 19, 26; March 5
Spring: Peoplehood: How We Think of Others and Ourselves
March 19; April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; May 7, 14

Time: 7 to 9pm
Place: Emanu-El, 2 Lake St., San Francisco
$36 members, $50 non-members (per trimester)
One-time book fee: $65 (for members and non-members)
Register for each trimester online at

Writing Your Ethical Will
Is it as important to pass on your values as it is to pass on your possessions? Writing an ethical will is an opportunity to organize your thoughts on topics such as honesty, kindness, and charity, and share them with your children. The document gives insights into the heart and soul of the writer, permanently passing on parents’ values and describing how they wish those values continued, “dor l’ dor” from generation to generation.
Learn to write an ethical will and have the peace of mind that you will be leaving your children a spiritual, ethical, and moral legacy. For interfaith couples, an ethical will is wonderful way to give your children a clear message of your shared values.
The ethical will has its roots in the Torah. “For I have singled him out, that he may instruct his children and his household after him to keep the way of Adonai by doing what is just and right, in order that Adonai may bring about for Abraham what Adonai has promised him.” (Genesis 18:19).
We will take an evening to look at ethical wills from the Middle Ages to modern times. Students will each write an ethical will in the second meeting, and have the opportunity to share them in the final session.
Dates: Wednesdays – Oct. 24, Nov. 7 & 14
Time: 7:30pm
Place: Lehrhaus Judaica, 2736 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
Registration: $30; Register here.
Convenient parking is located across the street on UC Berkeley campus. Just a few hundred steps from the front door of Lehrhaus.

Women in Interfaith Relationships
Join other women, Jewish or not, to examine interfaith marriage 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? This will be a multi-generational discussion about the assumptions and possibilities surrounding our roles as sustainers of the family.
Pizza will be available at no extra charge. Childcare is available by reservation. You must request childcare by Oct. 15.
Date: Nov. 8
Time: 6:15pm
Place: Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley
Cost: $7 public; free to Beth El members; Register here.

All in the Family: Jews talk about their Multiracial Families
Parents, siblings, aunts and cousins may be white but when their family includes racially diverse members they too are impacted by racial assumptions in the Jewish community. What do white family members have to share with us about how we can be more tuned in to their family? Join us for a dynamic and exciting panel; this year’s opening program for What Color Are Jews?

Date: Nov. 11
Time: 10am
Place: Beth Abraham, 327 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland
Cost: $5 public; free to Beth Abraham members
Register here.

God Talk
Rabbis have amazing God conversations with children fairly regularly. Why we don’t continue these conversations as easily as we age? The questions certainly don’t get any easier! Perhaps we forget, over the years, that sharing doubts and yearning for hope is what makes us human. I invite you to join an open and caring – and non-judgmental – conversation. “You bring your questions. I’ll bring mine!” —Rabbi Creditor
Discussing the infinite, the unknowable, can be a source of commonality for interfaith couples – come give it a try.

Date: Wed., Dec. 5
Time: 7:30pm
Place: Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Avenue, Berkeley
Cost: $5 public; free to Netivot Shalom members
Register here.