Not-so-religious Things to do this Summer

It is the height of summer! My absolutely favorite time of year! I know, no Jewish holidays to speak of but lots of summer flowers and when we’re lucky, sunshine even around the bay.

How can you “use” these wonderful summer days to get you ready for a Jewish autumn? First of all, JEWS ON THIS LIST, PLEASE do NOT plan to have the High Holidays be your non-Jewish beloved’ first experience of a Jewish service!! I can’t say this strongly enough. I get regretful emails every year from someone saying, I took my significant other to HHs and it was long, boring, death & punishment, strangers, etc. The liturgy of the High Holidays is completely different from the rest of the year. That’s why the music is different too. The goal is a communal transformation, a renewal of commitment to Good Actions and a communal acknowledgement of short comings. It only works if you come somewhat educated and prepared. Otherwise it is a huge day of DREAD – remember that word in the liturgy? Don’t expect your sweetheart to feel good about these ideas – cold turkey.

Instead use these summer months to experience ordinary, peaceful Shabbat services. Go to an outdoor service, a musical service, a kids service, a Friday Shabbat with dinner. Have fun, celebrate, and rejoice in the beauty of nature and this fabulous world in which we live.

Wondering where to do that? Look below at the activities going on or email me with your questions.

This week the 31st Annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival begins around the bay!

31st Annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
A colorful array of cinematic gems from across the globe comes to the Bay Area for the 31st San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, with more than 55 vibrant and compelling glimpses of the Jewish experience from around the world.
The festival runs July 21-August 8

Festival locations and dates are:
* San Francisco: Castro Theatre: July 21 -28, 2011; JCCSF July 30-31
* Berkeley: Roda Theatre (@Berkeley Repertory Theatre) July 30-Aug 6
* San Rafael: Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center: August 6-8
Tickets tend to sell out quickly, so don’t delay in contacting the box office at 415.621.0523 for tickets and more information; or visit the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival online at

Quick before the end of July; books for kids!
Check out these Jewish eBooks for kids:

Tot Shabbat Potluck (Oakland)
Learner’s Circle (Tiburon)
Summer Shabbat Learners’ Services (Berkeley)
Summer Shuk: Clearance Sale and Discount Day (Berkeley)
Back to Summer Camp Shabbat (Palo Alto)
Shabbat Healing Service (San Rafael)
Summer Shabbat Picnic for Young Families (Tiburon)
Jewish Heritage Night at the Giants! (San Francisco)
An Evening in Gay Paris (San Francisco) for LGBT couples
A Jewish Evening of Love (Berkeley)
The Hazon Food Conference at UC Davis
Got Shabbat? (San Francisco)
Grief and Growing Family Camp (Santa Rosa)

Tot Shabbat Potluck
Join this informal gathering in Stern Hall prior to the monthly Tot Shabbat Service which follows at 6:30pm. Everyone is welcome to bring a side dish or dessert to share and something to drink for your family. We are asking for a $10 donation per family please. The Temple will provide the main dish, water, tea and coffee. Join us as we gather together to connect with new friends, old friends and to celebrate Shabbat!

Please by Wednesday, July 20 at 4:30pm so that we can order enough pizza. RSVP here:
Should you have any questions about this event, please feel free to contact

Date: Friday, July 22
Time: 5:30pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Questions: Contact Amy Jo at

Learner’s Circle
Join us for a Learners Circle about the Shabbat morning service. Teachings, discussions, singing and experiential practice will be led by different lay leaders in our congregation, and all levels of learning and curiosity are welcome to attend.

Date: 2nd & 4th Saturdays, next date is July 23
Time: 10:30 -11:30am
Time: 5:30 – 7:30pm
Place: Kol Shofar, 215 Blackfield Drive, Tiburon

Summer Shabbat Learners’ Services
This July, Rabbi Kahn is leading learners’ services. Attend one or more days. Each week will have a complete service with an extended look at a section of the liturgy: prayers, music & meanings of a part of the service.

• July 23 Amidah
• July 30 the Torah Service
A sweet, small group of regulars meets on Saturday mornings & we welcome newcomers.
Time: 10:15am
Place: Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley
*RSVP for lunch by the Thursday before to so we can plan the food. An RSVP is NEVER required for services! We just need to be sure to make enough food.

Summer Shuk: Clearance Sale and Discount Day
Modeled after the outdoor markets, or shuks, in Israel, Afikomen will hold an outdoor sale for past season or slightly defective merchandise that we are ready to move. The table outside will be piled high with gorgeous merchandise. Sue Levy will be wheeling and dealing, don’t be shy, make an offer.
Save the Date!

Date: Sunday July 24
Time: 11:00am-5:00pm
Place: Afikomen Judaica, 3042 Claremont Ave. Berkeley
Phone: 510-655-1977

Back to Summer Camp Shabbat
Join us at 6 pm for a dinner of hot dogs on the grill (veggie dogs, too) with sides and chips. At 7:30 pm we will gather around the fire for our annual Shabbat service with guitar music. Melissa and Rabbi Cartun will be leading songs from summer camps around the country. Guitars, drums and rhythm instruments welcome!

Date; Friday, July 28
Time: 6pm dinner and 7:30pm service
Place: Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma, Palo Alto
Cost: Contact at the office to make dinner reservations (required). The charge for dinner is $18.00/household or $10.00/individual.

Shabbat Healing Service
Please join us this fifth Shabbat of the month in our Sanctuary, at which we will focus our service on those in need of r’fua sh’lema, healing of body and healing of soul.

Date: Friday, July 29
Time: 6:15 pm
Place: Rodef Sholom, 170 No. San Pedro Road, San Rafael
Info: 415.479.3441

Summer Shabbat Picnic for Young Families
On the lawn at Kol Shofar (in front of the pre-school playground)
Join Rabbi Chai Levy and other Kol Shofar families as we welcome Shabbat outdoors with song and blessings. Kol Shofar will supply juice and challah. Please bring a picnic dinner, blankets, and layered clothing. Invite friends! Free and open to members and non-members.

Date: Friday, July 29
Time: 5:30 – 7:30pm
Place: Kol Shofar, 215 Blackfield Drive, Tiburon
Please RSVP by Friday, July 22nd to Sara Kupor: Questions? Please contact Sara Kupor at

Jewish Heritage Night at the Giants!
Bring your family and friends to Jewish Heritage Night at the Ballpark with the world champion San Francisco Giants!

Date: Tuesday, August 2
Time: 7:15 pm game
Place: AT&T Park, San Francisco
Tickets and info:

An Evening in Gay Paris
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Contemporary Jewish Museum invite members of the LGBT community to an evening celebration of the remarkable life and legacy of Gertrude Stein. This special event includes: Access to Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories at the CJM and The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde at SFMOMA.

Receptions at both museums featuring light hors d’oeuvres and cash bars; special programs at both museums.
6:30pm Performance by Bay Area chamber opera company Ensemble Parallèle at the CJM
8:00pm Performance by Kalup Linzy at SFMOMA

Date: August 4
Time: 5:30 to 8:30pm
Place: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Contemporary Jewish Museum
The Schwab Room at SFMOMA
Goldman Hall at Contemporary Jewish Museum
Cost: $15 members; $25 general
One single ticket will grant entry to both museum exhibitions and receptions. When purchasing your ticket online, please select the time you would like to enter The Steins Collect at SFMOMA; entry to Seeing Gertrude Stein at the Contemporary Jewish Museum is untimed.
Program subject to change. Must be age 21 or over to attend.
Info and to purchase your tickets:
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

A Jewish Evening of Love
A midsummer evening in our courtyard. Welcoming singles and couples of all orientations, Jewish, non-Jewish, and everything in between!
• “Dancing in the Vineyards: Sensual Poetry from Jewish Tradition” – Opening talk by Rabbi Andrea Berlin
• Enjoy champagne and chocolate
• Meet new people with easy icebreakers
• Israeli folk dancing – instruction included!
• Explore Jewish wedding traditions with a modern twist
• Renew your love, or receive a blessing for love, with Rabbi Bridget Wynne under the wedding canopy (chuppah)
• Compose your own arousing love letters
• Wood crafts
• Cupcake decorating
• Fun photo booth with LOVE-ly costumes
Date: Thursday, August 11
Time: 7:00-9:00pm
Place: JCC of the East Bay, 1414 Walnut Street, Berkeley
For more info:
Free, Must be 21 or older to participate.
Co-sponsored by Building Jewish Bridges, JCC East Bay, and Jewish Gateways

Got Shabbat?
Your family is invited to a Shabbat morning experience at Temple Emanu-El. Please join Jonathan Bayer and members of our clergy for a fun-filled service. Families with children of ALL AGES are welcome. Your family will enjoy a short service, music…and of course, a bagel nosh!

Date: Aug. 13
Time: 9:15 to 10:15am
Place: Emanu-el, 2 Lake St., San Francisco

The Hazon Food Conference at UC Davis
Farmers, rabbis, nutritionists, chefs, vegans, omnivores: Join the thinkers and doers of the New Jewish Food Movement for four days of learning and celebration!
The Hazon Food Conference is at the forefront of a national movement that explores the dynamic interplay of food, Jewish traditions and contemporary life. It will provide an opportunity to participate in four days of discussions, expert-led sessions, do-it-yourself food workshops, joyful Shabbat celebrations, and delicious, consciously prepared kosher food. The conference will take place at UC Davis, an agricultural sciences epicenter and premiere research institution which includes a student farm, dairy and brewery.

Dates: August 18th-21st
Visit to register and to learn more.

Grief and Growing Family Camp
A Healing Weekend for Individuals and Families in Mourning
For anyone experiencing grief from recent or past losses. “Grief and Growing” is professionally guided by griefcare specialists, providing a supportive Jewish environment where people of all ages and backgrounds can meet and work with those who have experienced similar losses.

Dates: August 26 to 28
Place: Camp Newman in Santa Rosa
“Grief and Growing” is a partnership between the Bureau of Jewish Education, Bay Area Healing Center and Sinai Memorial Chapel.