Start 2009 by doing something NEW

 Where do you find interfaith programming?

I asked you last week to tell me three places you know of that provide interfaith outreach programs.  The messages I got back were either, I don’t know of any or here’s the name of a synagogue that is welcoming.  This confirms my suspicion that what programs there are, are few, small, and unknown by most couples.  Good to know.  I want the community to change this.


If you can tell me even ONE program in the bay area that you know offers programs specifically for interfaith couples and families, email me.  You don’t have to come up with three.  Send your comments to


And thank you for all the kind words about my program.  The feeling is entirely mutual!  You know I’m very attached to you all.



Start the 2009 by doing something new!

Do something for your relationship

For starters I am going to recommend that you participate in an interfaith couples discussion group.  Call or email me right now and let’s talk about it.  You’ll look at who you each are as individuals, improve your communication, and sort out issues that have felt stuck.  If you want to talk to someone who has already gone through a group, just say so.  You don’t have to take my word for it.


Learn something

As I told you a few months ago I have moved my program back to Lehrhaus Judaica, where it all began.  Here I can offer programs around the bay – Lehrhaus serves the entire bay area.  There are lots of classes that Lehrhaus offers and I’ll be pointing out some of the ones that will support your exploration and understanding of Judaism.  I want you to feel comfortable and informed.


Facing Death

My father died 15 years ago; his yahrzeit* was Jan. 2. A few days ago a fellow who is writing a book about my dad emailed me asking for some information.  I stared at the screen and felt my entire body grow hot and my heart rise in my throat.  I ached for my dad; I felt like I could not possibly look up the information from the past for this stranger.  Why do people have to stay dead?  Why can’t there be visits?  My mind filled with the offers, the deals, the suggestions one makes to God to break the law of death.  No dice.  God didn’t answer.


Death is hard.  Rituals are for the living.  Jewish tradition has developed a series of behaviors that get you through that challenging first year and then help you to remember once a year.

There will be a program on Jewish Traditions Around Death & Mourning in Oakland, look below.  It can be helpful to know what is involved BEFORE you need it.



*yahrzeit – commemoration of a death.  Learn more at:






Beth Sholom’s Annual Jewish Comedy Film Festival (San Leandro)

11th Annual Feast of Jewish Learning   (Los Altos)

Buenos Aires comes to Rodef Sholom (San Rafael)

Bubbes + Zaddes + Babies = FUN!!!  (Lafayette)

Simchat Shabbat Dinner (San Francisco)

Thank God It’s Shabbat!  (Palo Alto)

Tot Shabbat: Loving the World (San Rafael)

Jewish Traditions Around Death & Mourning (Oakland)

Baruch Ha’ba – Jewish Parenting for Expectant Parents (San Francisco)

Kindergym Family Sunday (Oakland)

Pagan & Mystical Roots of the Jewish Calendar (Berkeley)

Singing for Peace: Jewish and Episcopal Traditions (Oakland & Berkeley)

Beth David Adult Purim Party (Saratoga)





Beth Sholom’s Annual Jewish Comedy Film Festival

From January 24 to Feb. 8 – Films include:

To Be or Not to Be, Mel Brooks, (1983)

It Runs In the Family, Kirk, Michael, & Cameron Douglas (2003)

History of the World, Part I, Mel Brooks, 1981

You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Adam Sandler

Keeping the Faith, Ben Stiller, Jenna Elfman, (2000)

The Bands Visit, Bikur Ha-Tizmoret, (2007)


Times vary, check the website.

Place:   Temple Beth Sholom, 642 Dolores Ave, San Leandro

$8 is the suggested donation per evening/ double feature

Refreshments available for purchase are to be

Drinks, Popcorn, Sandwiches, Candy, & More!



Contact Beth Sholom in one of the following methods:

~ the office at 510-357-8505

~ send an email to: childcare@TBSSanLeandro DOT org

You will receive confirmation via email.

Go online to see the entire schedule of films.




11th Annual Feast of Jewish Learning

with the Greater Palo Alto Jewish Community

Join more than 45 educators and rabbis from dozens of local Jewish institutions.  This year’s theme is “Lost and Found.” As always, we will begin with a moving, community Havdallah ceremony in the Beth Am Social Hall, followed by classes, workshops and lots of schmoozing. Check the Beth Am website for a complete list of classes. Please carpool, as we expect parking to be tight.


Date:    Sat., Jan. 31

Time:    7pm

Place:   Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills





Buenos Aires comes to Rodef Sholom

A Cantorial Concert

Two amazing young cantors direct from Buenos Aires, Argentina, will give a beautiful and moving concert in our sanctuary. Diego Rubinsztein and Alejandra Levi are among the pioneers of Jewish renewal in prayer through music in South America. The two cantors have performed throughout the world, from New York and Miami to Brazil, Uruguay, and Israel.


Date:    Sunday, February 1

Time:    1pm

Place:   Rodef Sholom,170 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael

This concert is free and open to the public.

RSVP to Gigi at 479-3441 or




Bubbes + Zaddes + Babies = FUN!!!

Calling all Grandmas & Grandpas to bring their Grand Babies to our Temple Isaiah Bubbes, Zaydes, & Grand Babies Group. We will meet in the Adult Lounge in the Temple House building, beginning February 6. We will share our experiences, questions, issues, and knowledge as we guide infants and toddlers in play on wonderful toys. We look forward to a special hour of discussions and FUN. As an added plus, the wonderful Temple Isaiah clergy will join us to talk about Jewish grand parenting.


Date:    Begins Friday, February 6

Time:    12:00-1:15pm

Place:   Temple Isaiah, 3800 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette


Please call Temple Isaiah member (and proud Bubbe!) Lucy DiBianca at (925) 935-7980 to RSVP, or if you have questions.

Do your parents live nearby?  Send them off with the baby to this grandparent program.  They’ll meet other grandparents, have fun and give you an hour off.




Simchat Shabbat Dinner 
The Simchat Shabbat dinner, on the first Friday of each month, begins at approximately 6:45 pm, so it’s perfect for those leaving the 5:30 or 6:00 pm services, or for those coming to the 7:30 pm service. Come enjoy a family-friendly (but not child exclusive!) Shabbat dinner. In an attempt to make this dinner accessible to all, we are offering a lower-priced Mediterranean menu, similar to what we’ve been serving after the SOMAnu-El service.


Date:    Feb. 6

Time:    6:45pm

Place:   Emanuel, 2 Lake St., San Francisco

Cost:    $10 for adults and $5 for children.

WE NEED YOU TO RESERVE AHEAD as we only order food based on reservations. Payment is due when you make your reservation, by the Tuesday before the dinner, either online at, or by calling Vera Zelichenok at (415) 751-2541 x189.




Thank God It’s Shabbat!

On Friday February 6, we will have our next Thank God It’s Shabbat (TGIS) potluck and service.

Sue Dinwiddie will play harp to accompany our joyful singing, in an experience new for Keddem on Friday evening. We plan to intersperse lots of songs! Whether you’re an undiscovered Pavarotti or Beverly Sills, or you couldn’t carry a tune in a basket, join us and contribute your spirit, your smile—and your voice!

Bring a vegetarian, cheese or fish (with scales) dish to share. If you bring dessert we will share it after the service.


Date:    Friday, Feb. 6

Time:    Doors will be open for set up starting at 5:40pm. The potluck is at 6pm, Services at 7, and an oneg with the desserts at 8pm

Place:   Keddem Congregation, 3900 Fabian Way, Palo Alto

For more information call the synagogue at 650-494-6400.

Come start the new year with us, and be part of the change.




Tot Shabbat: Loving the World

with Jonathan Bayerf

This is the month that we will be learning about our Sh’ma Yisrael, which is a prayer about listening to and loving the world. There is a special kind of Jewish listening that only happens when everyone sings all together. Experience this kind of listening and loving in our Sanctuary. We will also be tasting new fruit as we get ready for Tu B’Shvat, which is our new year of the trees!


Date:    Saturday, February 7   

Time:    9:30am

Place:   Rodef Sholom,170 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael

For more information call (415) 479-3441



Jewish Traditions Around Death & Mourning

Join us for a panel presentation on Jewish traditions in death and mourning, and practical planning advice. Presenters include Warner Oberndoerffer, Home of Eternity Administrator; Rabbi Mates-Muchin; Robin Reiner, Funeral Director; and a representative of the Caring Committee of Temple Sinai. Attendees will receive a helpful handbook on traditions, shopping for funeral and cemetery services, and guidelines on what to do when an unexpected death occurs.


Date: February 22
Time: 11:30am
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St

Please RSVP to Robin Reiner at by February 17.




Baruch Ha’ba – Jewish Parenting for Expectant Parents
Are you expecting a baby? We offer an exciting series for expectant parents. Before your bundle of joy arrives, learn many ways to prepare for your new Jewish family. Leslie Ticktin, our Family Programs Coordinator, will facilitate the group along with our clergy and various guest speakers. If you have questions about the series, please contact her at . See for the course outline.


Dates:   Thurs., February 26; Wed., March 4; Thurs. March 12; Thurs., March 19; Thurs. March 26; Thurs. April 2 

Time:    7 – 8:30 pm

Place:   Emanuel, 2 Lake St., San Francisco

The cost for the 6-week series is $50 for members and $75 for non-members.

To register, go to:




Kindergym Family Sunday

Please join us for a morning of fabulous fun! Your under-3 year old can jump on a trampoline, slide, climb, slither in our ball pit, sing, create a playdough masterpiece, pop bubbles and all of you can make new friends!


Date:    March 1

Time:    10:30-12noon

Place:   Temple Beth Abraham, 327 MacArthur Boulevard, Oakland

Cost:    $10 per family

Open to ALL families. Please call Dawn Margolin at 510.547.7726 for more info! for schedule and directions

Our Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings are busy too! Join us for Kindergym and Toddler classes for your 9 month-3 year old.

Friday classes for toddlers include a 15 minute circle time, with candle-lighting and challah. Rabbi Bloom joins us with his guitar to lead us in rousing Shabbat songs for little ones.

If you are an East Bay Mom and you have not been to Kindergym to meet Dawn Margolin, well, you haven’t lived.  Dawn is wonderful, warm, great with kids and moms alike.  She has three kids of her own and a great deal of wisdom.  Go.  You’re going to love it. 





Pagan & Mystical Roots of the Jewish Calendar

Christianity has been described as Jewish wine in a pagan vessel. Likewise, the classical monotheistic grapes of Jewish history and law were grafted on to hardy mythic and magical rootstock, the agricultural year as a mirror of heaven. The medieval Kabbalists were able to link their mystical understanding of Jewish belief to these ancient pagan roots in ways that deepened the meaning of our traditional holidays and observances. Mystical texts like the Zohar did this not just for the mystics themselves, but for the average devout Jew who found cold comfort in Jewish philosophy. This workshop will explore the magical, numerological, astrological and mystical depths hidden within our own normative Jewish practice with the intention of reconnecting us to the life of the earth.


Date:    Wednesday, March 4

Time:    7:30 to 9pm

Place:   Netivot Shalom,

Cost:    $15; $10/member of the Alameda co-sponsors

Enroll at the Lehrhaus website.

Co-sponsored by Netivot Shalom, Berkeley

I can’t begin to tell you how much fun this class is going to be.  Ira Steingroot, the teacher, is full of information.  Got a mystical side?  You’ll love him.  Like your teachers down to earth and based in reality?  You’ll love him.  Join me there.



Singing for Peace: Jewish and Episcopal Traditions

The choir of  St. Mark’s Episcopal Church of Berkeley and the choir of Temple Sinai of Oakland will join together for two evenings of songs to peace including Sim Shalom and Dona Nobis Pacem. Cantor Ilene Keys of Temple Sinai says they will sing both texts to the same melody as an expression peace and understanding between traditions.


There will be two performances:


Sunday, March 8

5:pm for Evensong

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
Phone: (510) 848-5107


Friday, March 13

7:30 pm

Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland

Phone: (510) 451-3263




Beth David Adult Purim Party

Beth David Sisterhood invites the Jewish community to its Purim Party: Come in costume and dance the night away; for all generations of adults.  A dynamic DJ, decadent desserts, delightful dancing (Israeli, contemporary and square).


Date:    Saturday, Mar. 14

Time:    8 to 11pm

Place:   Beth David’s Social Hall, 19700 Prospect Rd., Saratoga.

Cost:    $20 per person includes two beverage tickets for beer or wine as well as unlimited soft drinks, coffee, tasty desserts.

RSVP to Beth David at (408) 257-3333.




Posted in Life Cycle
Published on January 26th, 2009