When You are the ‘Other’ and other Purim events

Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in? You were the ‘other’?
There are many reasons for feeling, I’m out of place, or as a dear friend of mine says, I feel like an onion in a petunia patch. Here are some: I’m Catholic in a Jewish family; I’m Chinese and Jewish; I’m gay; I’m married to a non-Jew; my dad is the Jewish parent; I don’t know Hebrew; I converted; I’m adopted, Black, Jewish and converted. Then here is something to contemplate. In the Bay Area Jewish community only 5% of the community is made up of a white heterosexual couple, both born Jewish, raising kids who were not adopted. That’s right, my friends, we are the new normal. That doesn’t mean that you don’t feel out of place sometimes. So let’s talk about it. And let’s discuss our strengths, our gifts and give each other support.

See below: When YOU Are the ‘Other’ Monday, March 5 as part of the Purim for Adults. Yes, you get to drink!

Love is good for all ages
A friend of mine has a son who just turned fourteen. Every time we talk she says, “Dawn, I am just trying not to kill him.” Teens can be so HARD. My friend and her son were very close until recently. Now he is individuating and he’s doing it big time.

Today I came across a lovely, short video by Rabbi Janet Marder of Beth Am in Los Altos about blessing one’s children on Shabbat. It is short and basically non-denominational. She comments that even teens need to hear that they are loved. Here are the words of the blessing – yes it is a traditional act for Shabbat.

May God bless you and keep you; may the light of God shine upon you; may God be with you always and give you peace.

Take a look at Rabbi Marder’s video and hear her thoughts about children, love between family members and how Shabbat is an excellent time to reaffirm them.

Purim for Adults: The Jewish Mardi Gras! (Berkeley)
Do you have plans for Purim? (Berkeley)
Purim Dinner, Spiel and Megillah Reading! (San Rafael)
Young Adult Purim Ball (Palo Alto)
PurimPalooza (San Rafael)
The “Purim” Follies (San Francisco)
Freedom Fest: Come Liberate your Passover Experience! (Berkeley)

Purim for Adults: The Jewish Mardi Gras!
A festive evening of cocktails, crafts, comedy, and conversation. All those 21+ are welcome to celebrate this wild and crazy holiday! No Jewish experience necessary.
7pm – brief and boisterous telling of the Purim story by comedian Joshua Walters!
Then choose from four stimulating conversations:
• When YOU are the Other – Dawn Kepler**
Interfaith couples, converts, multiracial Jews, patralineal Jews, non-Jews – many people have times when they feel they are “other.” Join people like yourself to discuss your strengths.
• Conceal or Reveal? – Rabbi Bridget Wynne
• Unmasking How You Give – Julia Malkin
• Yentl, Tootsie, & the Nanny: Jewish Gender – Sasha Goldberg & Rabbi David Dunn Bauer
8:15 – gather for cocktails, crafts, photo booth, and games with Moishe House!

Date; Monday, March 5
Time: 7-9:30pm
Place: Jewish Community Center of the East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley
Admission: Suggested donation $5.
Co-sponsored by Jewish Gateways, the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay, Building Jewish Bridges, EastBayJews, Moishe House, Nehirim, and Keshet.

**When YOU are the “Other”
I hear plenty of comments from people who feel uncomfortable for one reason or another in Jewish community. Yes, there are some thoughtless, inappropriate things said to us – for being gay, Asian, adopted, having the ‘wrong’ parent be Jewish, not knowing enough, and more. But guess what? This is the future! Did you know that only 5% of the bay area Jewish community is a straight white woman & man married to each other, born Jewish, with children that are not adopted? Yup, we are the 95%! Let’s talk!

Do you have plans for Purim?
Come dine with the Queen (& King)!
Come to the Purim Dinner for your Enjoyment and Nourishment! Bring your friends too!
Meal prepared by Arnon Oren of Oren’s Kitchen

Date: Wednesday March 7
Time: 5:15pm
Place: Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Ave., Berkeley
Cost: $15 adults, $6 kids
NEW This Year: Express line for those who pre-pay!
Please RSVP for the dinner: office@netivotshalom.org
There are 3 options to make payment- either pay online at netivotshalom.org and use the “Make a Donation” Tab and put “Purim Dinner” in the description field or send in your check to Congregation Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Ave., Berkeley, CA 94702 and write “Purim Dinner” in the memo line. Or pay at the event.

Purim Dinner, Spiel and Megillah Reading!
We’ll start the night with a dinner in the social hall, followed by a wild and crazy service as we read the megillah. Come in costume ready to laugh so hard you’ll be crying!

Date: Wednesday, March 7
Time: 5:45 pm Pasta dinner* 6:30 pm Megillah reading & spiel
Place: Rodef Sholom, 170 No. San Pedro Road, San Rafael
Cost: $5 per person or $20 per family (gluten free option available).
*Reservations needed for dinner by March 5th by contacting Pete at pete@rodefsholom.org.

Young Adult Purim Ball
Join us for the Young Adult Purim Ball at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto!
Start planning those costumes, the Young Adult Purim Ball will have a costume contest.
Open Bar (21+ – ID required)
Costume Contest:
*Out of the Box (individual)
*Best (individual, duo, or group)
DJ, Dancing, Light Nosh
This event is open to Jews and non-Jews, all genders welcome.

Date: Sat., March 10
Time: 9pm
Place: Palo Alto JCC, 3921 Fabian Way Palo Alto
Cost: $10 before March 8 at http://www.jvalley.org/svyad and $15 at the door
Brought to you by Hillel of Silicon Valley, Jews’ Next Dor, Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, Silicon Valley Young Adults Division of the Jewish Federation, Hillel at Stanford, and TKEYA.

Don’t forget to put PurimPalooza on your calendar! We will be partnering with the Osher Marin JCC and others in the community to provide carnival games, live entertainment, delicious food and a costume parade. Come in costume and stop by and say hello to our CRuSTY teens, who will be working to help your kids have fun!

Date: Sunday, March 11
Time: 11:30–3 pm
Place: Rodef Sholom, 170 No. San Pedro Road, San Rafael
Info: 415.479.3441

The “Purim” Follies
The entire community is invited to our annual sketch comedy show, the “Purim” Follies, for another hilarious evening! The comedy begins with a reception from 6:00 – 7:30 pm featuring drinks, hamantaschen, and dinner for sale (falafel and pita sandwiches, under $10 each). Then the show MUST go on at 7:30 pm!
(Parental Advisory: the show is rated PG-13 for crude humor, usually from the mouths of Jewish mothers.)

Date; Saturday, March 17
Time: 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Place: Congregation Emanu-El, 2 Lake St
Babysitting is available for children ages 1 – 10. Children under 1 may sit with their parent(s) during the show.
Sign up here: http://bit.ly/zBoDQ2
Want to party into night? Sign up for the PurimPalooza that goes until 1:30am!

Freedom Fest: Come Liberate your Passover Experience!
Have you ever wondered how to engage all ages in the Passover celebration? Do you want to make Passover more hands-on and meaningful? Then join us for a morning of Passover-focused workshops for everyone. A variety of workshops will be offered by our community’s talented rabbis and educators. Free childcare by advance registration; workshops will include options for everyone –seasoned Seder leaders, novices and families who want to learn together.

Date: Sunday, March 18
Time: 10:00 am-1:00 pm
Place: JCC East Bay; 1414 Walnut St. in Berkeley
To register for childcare, please email: debra@bethelberkeley.org

The Building Jewish Bridges workshopwill be at 10am:
Juggling the Multi-generational Seder
Freedom Fest is co-sponsored by the JCC East Bay, Congregation Beth El, Congregation Netivot Shalom, Congregation Beth Israel, Building Jewish Bridges, Urban Adamah, Jewish Gateways, Lehrhaus Judaica, Fair Trade Judaica, PJ LIbrary, Wilderness Torah and the Jewish Federation of the East Bay.