Try out this holiday: Shavuot

Blintzes for Shavuot

Shavuot is one of the three pilgrimage holidays described in the Torah (Bible). In ancient times Jews traveled to the Temple in Jerusalem for a massive holiday celebration. A terrific source of description for the holiday is in Arthur Waskow’s book, Seasons of Our Joy. Imagine a huge bar-b-que with your extended family, neighbors and everyone you know. In rabbinic times the holiday developed into a time of all night study.

Shavuot is in harmony with many cultures spring time celebrations and observances. Typically dairy foods are eaten – for Eastern European Jews that involves blintzes. Think about it, spring, new calves born, lots of milk. At the roots of most Jewish holidays is an agricultural connection. In a tradition as old as Judaism there is a history that reaches back to pre-industrial days. We Moderns may think we have found Shangri-La but chances are good that we are as short sighted as those who came before us and thought the world was flat. Yes, there are wonderful new inventions but there are sturdy truths in the past.

Think FRESH! Think SPRINGTIME! Now go out and grocery shop for spring fruits and vegetables, make a meal of seasonal foods, have a dairy dish. Teach your children about the blessings and delight that a new season brings. As long as we live on earth we will be shaped by our planet’s seasons. And that is a good thing.

Torah with Soul (San Rafael)
It’s Complicated: Muslims and Jews in America (Lafayette)
Summer Sha-B-B-Q (Lafayette)
Israel in the Gardens (San Francisco)
Annual California Street Corridor Traveling Shavuot (San Francisco)
Tikkun Leyl Shavuot (Berkeley)
Erev Shavuot Study Session and Service (Lafayette)
Bagels and Babies (San Francisco)
Brown Bag with Deborah Lipstadt, author of The Eichmann Trial (Berkeley)

Brown Bag with Deborah Lipstadt, author of The Eichmann Trial
in Conversation with Ron Feldman
Award-winning historian Deborah Lipstadt’s “penetrating and authoritative” (Publishers Weekly) THE EICHMANN TRIAL (3/15/2011) came out a month before the 50th anniversary of one of the most controversial courtroom trials in history. 50 years ago, the televised broadcast of Eichmann’s trial was a media phenomenon. Elie Wiesel has written, “Having covered the Eichmann trial myself, I can warmly recommend Deborah Lipstadt’s important analysis of its fascinating perspectives.”

DEBORAH E. LIPSTADT is Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University. She is the author of History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving (a National Jewish Book Award winner); Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory; and Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust, 1933-1945. She lives in Atlanta.

RON H. FELDMAN co-edited The Jewish Writings of Hannah Arendt, whose most famous book was Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.

Date; May 27
Time: Noon
Place: JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley

Torah with Soul
Join us for soul-lifting Torah for learners of all ages and levels. Meet in the Inner Conference Room.

Date: Saturday, May 28
Time: 9:15 am
Place: Rodef Sholom, 170 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael
Info: 415.479.3441

It’s Complicated: Muslims and Jews in America
with Rabbi Mintz
A distinguished panel takes a new look at the innovative ways in which Judaism and Islam have absorbed, and been profoundly altered by, the so-called “American experience.” American Jews and American Muslims have consistently engaged each other in conversation – whether directly or indirectly, constructively or not – in ways that have usually eluded their co-religionists throughout the rest of the world. The members of these two groups often find themselves the focus of a disproportionate amount of media attention, particularly when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. American Jews and American Muslims struggle with similar inter-communal concerns when it comes to education, politics or even pop culture. Join in a fascinating discussion.

Reza Aslan, Co-author, Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalities, Contentions, and Complexities ; Contributing Editor, The Daily Beast Aaron Hahn Tapper, Co-author, Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalities, Contentions, and Complexities ; Swig Chair of Judaic Studies, USF Aysha Hidayatullah, Assistant Professor of Islamic studies, USF Sidney Mintz, Rabbi, Congregation Emanu-El

Date: June 1
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette
Time: 6:15 pm check-in, 7:00 pm program
Cost: $22 standard, $12 members, students free (with valid ID)
Tickets here:

Summer Sha-B-B-Q
Join us for services in the Amphitheater, followed by a barbecue dinner. Please bring a non-dairy salad or side dish to share and $5 per person (pay at the door, exact change please) for a burger, hot dog or veggie burger. RSVP by the Thursday before Sha-B-B-Q. If you have not yet had the chance don’t miss the opportunity to participate in a Kesher Isaiah Community Conversation during dinner at Sha-Ba-B-Q! Make new connections and share your challenges, interests and hopes for the future.
If you are new to Isaiah, call Erica in the synagogue office and ask her to match you with a host member so you have someone with whom to sit.

Date: Friday, June 3
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Place: Temple Isaiah, 3800 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette
Info: call 925.283.8575

Israel in the Gardens
Come join with 20,000 others at Israel in the Gardens, to enjoy Israeli music, film, food, and to celebrate our Jewish community and Israel’s 63rd anniversary. This year’s music headliner, Knessiyat Hasekel, brings its unique Israeli Rock blend to new heights appearing with The Magik*Magik Orchestra, San Francisco’s 15-piece classical ensemble! There will be activities, displays and prizes, ethnic foods, culture, and plenty of fun for teens, families, young adults, and friends of all ages. The complete program guide is online at

Date: Sunday, June 5
Time: 11am to 5pm
Place: Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco

Annual California Street Corridor Traveling Shavuot
A Progressive Torah Study From Schul to Schul — Walk from location to location in a Shavuot Torah procession, or join us anywhere along the way!

Date: June 7
Time: 5:30 pm – Midnight
San Francisco synagogues & streets
For more information, click here:

Tikkun Leyl Shavuot
A Community-Wide Celebration and Night of Study
A unique community-wide celebration and night of Torah study, a spiritual journey bringing together Jews with varied perspectives and affiliations. Stay for an hour, or stay until dawn. We will be led in study by teachers from our diverse Jewish community.
*From 9:30 – 10:15 pm, join Rabbi Zellman and the Beth El Chorus for a participatory workshop on rare music of Shavuot!

Family Programming – We would love for you to join us for family programming, from 6:45 – 8:15 pm, featuring sessions for ages 2-12. Children must be accompanied by at least one parent. No pre-registration required.

Dates: Tuesday, June 7 – Wednesday, June 8
Time: 6:45 pm until dawn at the JCC East Bay
Place: JCC of the East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley

Childcare – From 8:00 pm onwards, we are offering FREE childcare/a sleeping room (for ages 2 and up) until the end of the Tikkun. Parents may not leave the JCC while their children are in childcare. Parents must provide bedding and pre-register their child(ren) here:
Questions? Email Lauren at or call her at 510-375-4263.

Erev Shavuot Study Session and Service
Come celebrate the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai! Join us for an Erev Shavuot reception, study session and service. The reception will take place in the Sanctuary foyer, with the study session in the Oneg Room, and the service, with a Torah Reading of the Ten Commandments and Yizkor, following in the sanctuary.

Date: Tuesday, June 7
7:00 – 7:30 p.m. Cheesecake Reception
7:30 – 8:45 p.m. Study Session with our Clergy
8:45 p.m. Erev Shavuot Service
Place: Temple Isaiah, 3800 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette
Info: call 925.283.8575

Bagels and Babies
Bring your bundle of joy (under 18 months) and spend time with other new parents for a wonderful morning. This month we will celebrate Shavuot! Invite a friend!

Date: Jun. 17
Time: 9:30 – 11:00 am
Place: The Chapel at Temple Emanu-el, 2 Lake St., San Francisco

RSVP to Leslie Ticktin with your child’s name and age: or (415) 751-2541 x167