Our Diverse Jewish Families

Last week we had a powerful discussion about parenting in a multiracial Jewish family. I was struck by a young Black Jew who said he wants his white parents to talk with him about racism.  We heard about slips of the tongue, misguided statements, things that we, the white majority can learn to do better. One mother in a multiracial family said, “I wish I’d brought all my white friends.”  We hear the ways in which parents anticipate difficulty and work to disarm it before it hits their children. I really wish we’d taped it. I’ll have to do that next time.

This Sunday we have another compelling program. It is the closing celebration for the Berkeley site of the exhibit, This Is Bay Area Jewry. At each location we add a couple new photos and stories. Even if you’ve seen the exhibit at other places, you haven’t seen the entire show as it stands now. Additionally we will have a panel of three of the subjects of the photo exhibit. They will raise topics including, multiracial Jewish families, converting to Judaism, being gay and Jewish, surviving the Holocaust. You’ll want to chat one on one with them over a glass of wine.


Tot Shabbat Childcare (Redwood City)
This is Bay Area Jewry: Exhibit Closing Celebration (Berkeley)
How to Do Passover (San Mateo)
Tastes of Tradition for the Wondering Jew (near Berkeley)
Parent Education Workshop: Talking About Race w/ Children (Berkeley)
Pray with Your Feet Dance Shabbat (Berkeley)
Shabbes Beat with Cantor Bernstein (San Francisco)
Cab Shabbat (San Francisco)
Einstein and the Rabbi: Searching for the Soul (Palo Alto)
Laugh with Us (Oakland)
Beyond Bubbie (San Rafael)
Serenity Shabbat (San Rafael)
Passover-Themed Tot Shabbat Service (Los Altos)
Special Passover Concert of Freedom! (San Francisco)
Passover Celebration (Palo Alto)
(((Semitism))): Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump (Palo Alto)


Tot Shabbat Childcare
Join Teacher Natalya as she engages young children in Jewish traditions and customs through stories, songs, dancing, and Shabbat-appropriate arts and crafts.
Shabbat blessings over challah and grape juice at snack time is the highlight of the morning as children share the positive experiences they’ve had during the week and what they are looking forward to in the week to come. Tot Shabbat is held in the school wing, in Room Hey, and is FREE to both CBJ members and non-members.  No registration required; drop off any time you would like.

Dates:  Every Saturday, March 10, etc.
Time:   9:00am thru the end of services
Place:   Congregation Beth Jacob, 1550 Alameda de las Pulgas, Redwood City


This is Bay Area Jewry: Exhibit Closing Celebration
Our beautiful photo exhibit, This Is Bay Area Jewry, is hanging in the social hall of Beth El in Berkeley. Please join us for a reception with refreshments at 2pm. There will be a tour of the exhibit at 2:15 pm.

At 2:30, three of the exhibit participants will be in conversation with Dawn Kepler, discussing why they participated and what they hope to communicate to the Jewish community. There will be Q&A as well as time after the discussion to mingle and meet the speakers.

Date:   Sunday, March 11
Time:   2 to 4pm
Place:   Beth El, 1300 Oxford St., Berkeley
It’s free, but please consider signing up since we are estimating food and wine. Sign up here.


How to Do Passover
Join Elana Jagoda Kaye and learn how to make your seder extra fun with songs and games for kids. Get help planning your creative kid-oriented seder.

Date:   Sunday, March 11
Time:   9:45 to 11:30 am
Place:   Peninsula Temple Beth El, 1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo
RSVP to Cindi at cserbin@ptbe.org


Tastes of Tradition for the Wondering Jew
From Rabbi Bridget Wynne: Does it ever seem that much of Judaism is based on unbelievable stories? Outdated rituals? Beliefs that don’t hold up in real life?
As an adult I got curious and decided to learn more. I discovered that Judaism is far more sophisticated and more connected to our deepest yearnings than I had imagined. One reason I became a rabbi is to help others uncover the wisdom, spiritual opportunities, and more that are often hidden beneath Bible stories about the “guy in the sky.”

I invite you to join me for some or all of these sessions.
​All are welcome, Jewish or not. I encourage you to invite others who may be interested.​

Dates:  March 13: The God I Don’t Believe in … or the Bible and the Prayerbook
March 20: Jewish Spirituality
March 27: Jewish Mysticism​​
Time:   7 to 9pm
Place:   Private home, address given at registration
Cost:    $25 to $65
Register here.
Sponsored by Jewish Gateways


Parent Education Workshop: Talking About Race w/ Children
Building Dialog for Inclusive and Respectful Communities
This workshop created for families, aims to create a positive and supportive learning environment where the art of dialog guides challenging conversations around issues of social equity, inclusion and the important work of “Anti-Bias Education” with children and families.

Date:   Wed, March 14
Time:   6 to 8pm
Place:   JCC of the East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley
Cost:    $10 to $18 – dinner and child care are options. Look here for details.


Pray with Your Feet Dance Shabbat
with Rabbi Lynn & Bruce Bierman
Learn the Yiddish dance repertoire including the Romanian hora, hasidl, shifers tantz, terkesher and freylekh with Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, followed by an improvisational and joyous round of Jewish dancing with Bruce Bierman. Click your heels to the music of Peter Bonos and guest musicians. Spiritual leader Julie Batz will lead us as we dance and sing Sabbath songs.

Date:   Friday, March 16
Time:   7:30pm
Place:   Chochmat Halev, 2215 Prince St., Berkeley
Details here.


Shabbes Beat with Cantor Bernstein
It’s all about that Shabbes groove! Sing, dance, and pray. Joy up, relax, breathe, sway! Join Cantor Sharon and the Shabbes Beat band and chorus at this monthly rock, jazz, Latin, and blues service and get your Shabbes rest on.

Date:   Friday, March 16
Time:   7:30pm
Place:   Sha’ar Zahav, 290 Dolores Street, San Francisco


Cab Shabbat
Yes, that’s ‘cab’ as in cabernet! Kabbalat Shabbat Service featuring melodies by Shlomo Carlebach. Join us for wine and cheese pairings.

Date: Friday March 16
Time: 7:30pm
Place: B’nai Emunah, 3595 Taraval St., San Francisco


Einstein and the Rabbi: Searching for the Soul
“A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest-a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness…” ~ Albert Einstein
When Rabbi Naomi Levy came across this poignant letter by Einstein it shook her to her core. His words perfectly captured what she has come to believe about the human condition: That we are intimately connected, and that we are blind to this truth. Levy wondered what had elicited such spiritual wisdom from a man of science. Thus began a three-year search into the mystery of Einstein’s letter, and the mystery of the human soul. What emerges is an inspiring, deeply affecting book for people of all faiths filled with universal truths that will help us reclaim our own souls and glimpse the unity that has been evading us.

Date:   Tuesday, March 20
Time:   7:30pm-9:00pm
Place:   Palo Alto JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto
Cost:    $20 to $35, details here.

Laugh with Us
Many of us have had the pleasure of listening to Indian Jewish Comic Samson Koletkar; if not, here’s your chance. He will be performing, along with Elon Gold, at the Oakland Museum of California on Wednesday evening, March 21 at an event celebrating 70 years of friendship between Israel and India.

Date:   Wed., March 21
Time:   6:30 reception, 7:30pm program
Place:   Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak Street, Oakland
Cost:    $18
Tickets here.


Beyond Bubbie
With Reboot & JIMENA
Come for the food, stay for the conversation. Guest chefs will prepare favorite dishes, while sharing their own stories behind the recipes. Opportunities for discussion and recipe exchanges abound! Nosh, drink, and share details from your Bubbie’s favorite meal!

This immersive experience will include an array of Sephardic cuisine from North Africa and the Middle East through two of the guest chefs, Gina Waldman and Joseph Shamash. They will each prepare and demonstrate a traditional Sephardic dish from their country of origins (Libya and Iraq, respectively) and share their family history that go along with them. To end on a sweet note, Amy Kritzer is making Baklava Spiced Rugelach, a twist on her Bubbe’s classic cinnamon variety, with the addition of candied ginger, cardamom and other spices.

Date:   Wed. March 21
Time:   7pm
Place:   Marin JCC, 200 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael
Cost:    $15 Public
Register here.


Serenity Shabbat
Music. Recovery. Judaism. Connection. Serenity Shabbat is a celebration of recovery, incorporating creative and original music as well as the spiritual wisdom of 12-step programs and the Jewish tradition.

Date:   Friday, March 23
Time:   6:00 pm
Place:   Kol Shofar, 170 No. San Pedro Rd., San Rafael
RSVP to psteinberg@kolshofar.org.


Passover-Themed Tot Shabbat Service
Fun for Families with Children Ages 0-5
Join Rabbi Heath Watenmaker for a Passover-themed Shabbat service for families with children ages 0-5 years. Following the service, enjoy grape juice and challah as well as arts and crafts. Come have fun with your child!

Date:   Sat., March 24
Time:   9:15am
Place:   Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills
Details here.


Special Passover Concert of Freedom!
The Klezmatics with special guest Joshua Nelson & the Third Baptist Church United Voices Choir
Grammy-winning superstars of the Klezmer world, the Klezmatics will celebrate their 30th anniversary at Congregation Emanu-El in a special multi-cultural Passover Freedom Celebration Concert, “Brother Moses Smote the Water.”
Joining the Klezmatics will be “kosher gospel” singer, Joshua Nelson to explore the musical complexity of Jewish and Black identity.

Date:   Sunday March 25
Time:   5:00 pm
Place:   Temple Emanu-El, 2 Lake St., San Francisco
Cost:    $32 and up. Get tickets here.


Passover Celebration
Celebrate the Passover journey to freedom with your family and friends. Enjoy:
– The amazing Riveropolis, a mini river for your children to explore
– Arts and Crafts
– Building with matzah
– Face painting
– A water balloon toss

Date:   Sunday, March 25
Time:   11:00am-2:00pm
Place:   Mitchell Park, 600 East Meadow Dr., Palo Alto
Sponsored by the Palo Alto JCC; details here.


(((Semitism))): Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump
This evening will be is a short, literary, powerful contemplation on how Jews are viewed in America since the election of Donald J. Trump, and how we can move forward to fight anti-Semitism.

Jonathan Weisman, author of (((Semitism))), is Deputy Washington Editor of The New York Times and author of the novel, No. 4 Imperial Lane. He has reported for The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and others.

The evening will be moderated by Anne Elise Kornblut, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist currently serving as Director of Strategic Communications for Facebook. In 2014, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service as the lead editor overseeing coverage of Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations.

Date:   Tuesday, April 17
Time:   8:00pm-9:30pm
Place:   Palo Alto JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto
Cost:    $32 Ticket and book bundle | $18 General Public (ticket only) Get tickets here.