This week a Jewish woman called me and asked, “Could my husband and I come talk to you about how it is for kids to be raised in an interfaith family? What do they tell you about what works for them?” Of course, I said yes. I was thrilled that this couple is asking, what is best for our children? Instead of, how can we make things the best for just the two of us? Now let me remind you first of my
Airplane Rules for Parents: you as a couple have to feel same and comfortable before you can make it safe for your child. That’s couples work and should come early in your relationship and be revisited with regularity and care. After your relationship comes your role as parents. What are your responsibilities to your children? Do you have to make them feel safe and comfortable? Do you have to do for them what you would want done for yourself? I hope you are saying, YES. Good. But sometimes you don’t know what exactly is good for children, or what makes them feel most comfortable in their identity or how you give to your child what wasn’t given to you. Children don’t come with instruction manuals and it is absolutely valid to be uncertain. Time for some help. I’ve heard from many Adults who were raised in interfaith families. I am currently conducting a study with Dr. Bruce Phillips on the experiences of these individuals. They have a lot to say about what worked or didn’t work. Have you ever used Yelp or talked to your friends before choosing a dentist, babysitter, or gardener? Have you read about a medical procedure before getting it? Studied up on country before going there? Don’t you think your children are equally worth the investment of time to learn what those who have lived the experience have to say about it?
I hope you will save the date of May 22, 2016 to attend an afternoon program on the Voices of our Children – what adults from interfaith homes have to teach us.
If you are a person raised in an interfaith home I hope you’ll:
*Come to the program below, Do You Have One Jewish Parent and share your insights
*Call or email me if you are interested in being interviewed
Let’s Talk Interfaith (comfort of your own home)
Kindergym with Dawn Margolin (Oakland)
JymBabies (San Rafael)
My Jewish Baby (Lafayette)
Shabbat Sha-Boogie (Los Altos)
Visits the Cemeteries of the Pioneer Jews of Gold Country!
Do You Have One Jewish Parent? (Oakland)
The Great Big Challah Bake (Palo Alto)
Got Shabbat? (San Francisco)
What Makes a Home “Jewish”? (Burlingame)
The Jewish Wisdom of Jesus (Piedmont)
Let’s Talk Interfaith
Some people are not comfortable discussing their personal choices and dilemmas in a group. They want to discuss the key questions in an interfaith/intercultural home but they want to have that conversation in private. For those of you in this category Let’s Talk “Interfaith” is a great option. The two of you meet with me, Dawn, to cover topics like: How will we interact with our families? Where will we go for which holidays? Which holidays will we have in our home? How do we feel about each other’s religious and/or cultural tradition and how will we share them? What about children? We will focus on the topics you feel are most important to you. You can come with your own questions or just ask me “what should we be discussing?”
The first session is always free so you can determine whether this is something you want to do and whether you feel comfortable. Your first step is to contact me, Dawn Kepler, at 510-845-6420 x11 or firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your free session.
Dates & times to fit your schedule.
Location: You have three options – come into my office on Bancroft Way in Berkeley or via Skype or on a conference phone call.
Cost is $120 for three 1.5 hour sessions. Or we can schedule individual one hour sessions at $50 per meeting.
Read more here.
Kindergym with Dawn Margolin
If you have a crawling baby—or a toddler (up to three years old) who is jumping off everything—Dawn Margolin’s Kindergym and Toddler classes are for you. Join other families, ready to play together and make new friends, with tons of play equipment in a large, well-lit room.
Temporary site (while our room at Temple Beth Abraham is being remodeled):
The Resurrection Lutheran Church, 397 Euclid Ave. (at Van Buren), Oakland, CA 94610
Dates & Times: Classes are on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 am – 11:00 am, and on Fridays from 9:30 am – 10:30 am and from 10:45 am – 11:45 am.
For more information, please go here or call Dawn Margolin at 510-547-7726.
Open every Tuesday at the Osher Marin JCC. Drop ins welcome! Our soft indoor playground is great for climbing, crawling, sliding, bouncing in our bounce house, building, dancing, scooting and more. We have an on-site café with kid-friendly food and snacks.
Time: 9:30 to 11am
Place: Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Rd. San Rafael
Cost: Drop-in is $10; or buy a JymBabies card at the front desk and get 10 visits for $90.
My Jewish Baby
A Support Group for Parents
My Jewish Baby is an 8 week session course for parents raising their children in the Jewish community. Led by Liora Brosbe, MFT, RDT, who will be bringing parents together, with babies from birth to 8 months old, to support one another through the transitions of parenthood. This group is a great way to connect with other Jewish families!
All are welcome. Registration required at www.temple-isaiah.org/myjewishbaby or 510-809-4914
Date: Wednesdays, October 7th -December 2nd
Place: Temple Isaiah, 945 Risa Road, Lafayette (meeting in the Adult Lounge)
Cost: $65 for the 8 week session
If you have an older child needing care during this time, we will explore special care arrangements on-site.
For Families with Children in Grades 1-5
Come Boogie with Us!
Make new friends at Beth Am at a rockin’ high-energy Shabbat service. Do you and your children enjoy T’filah during Sunday Program? Then this service is perfect for your family! Educator Mike Mason, along with Rabbis Heath Watenmaker and Jonathan Prosnit, will lead a Kabbalat Shabbat service with stories, songs and much more!
After the service, there will be a delicious dinner for your family to enjoy (recommended donation $5/person or $20/family)
You must RSVP online by Wednesday, October 14 so we know how much food to order for dinner. Hope to see you there.
Date: Friday, Oct. 16
Time: begins at 5:30pm
Place: Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills
Call for more information at (650) 493-4661.
Visits the Cemeteries of the Pioneer Jews of Gold Country!
Join the members of Netivot Shalom for a day of exploration when they travel to gold country. With an expert guide, you will visit the cemeteries of the pioneer Jews of gold country.
Everyone meets up at Netivot Shalom bright and early on Oct. 18 and then it’s off to the California foothills.
After the cemetery tour people can visit the Tuolumne County Museum, walk through the historic town of Sonora or visit the Columbia State Historical Park which has multiple activities for adults and children.
We will be carpooling.
Bring a picnic lunch!
Date: Sunday Oct 18
Time: Meet at 8:30am
Place: Meet up at Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Ave, Berkeley
You must contact the office in order to join this group.
Call them at (510) 549-9447.
Do You Have One Jewish Parent?
Do you see yourself as Jewish, half-Jewish, part Jewish, Jew-ish? Were you raised as a Jew, a Christian, a Hindu, some of this and a little of that? We are looking for people who have one Jewish parent and would like to talk about their experience, share their stories, their questions, their wisdom. What was good? What was not so good? Will you try to duplicate your parents’ path? What would you like to ask of or tell to the “organized” Jewish community? We will come together to discuss our shared experiences as well as our differences. What we want from life now and how we are going about making that happen.
Date: Thursday, Oct. 22
Time: 7:30 to 9pm
Place: Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Free, but please RSVP here.
(If we don’t have sufficient sign up the gathering will be cancelled so please respond!)
The Great Big Challah Bake
Join the Bay Area community as they kick off the International Shabbos Project! Get ready for an evening of unity and inspiration as we learn the art of making and braiding this traditional (not to mention delicious)
Date: Thursday, October 22
Place: Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto
Suggested donation: $10
Sign up here: ChallahBake
More info at 650-493-5764 or email@example.com.
This service is perfect for families with children under the age of 5.
Date: Sat, Oct 24
Time: 10:15 – 11:30am
Place: Congregation Emanu-El, 2 Lake Street, San Francisco
What Makes a Home “Jewish”?
A Jew may ask their spouse to agree to have a “Jewish” home. But what does that mean?
To a non-Jewish loved one it may mean simply that some of the people in the house say they are Jews. But our partners deserve a more in-depth answer. One Jew may say, a Jewish home has Jewish ritual objects – a menorah, Shabbos candlesticks, a ketubah on the wall. Another may add, but you need to do Jewish things in a Jewish home like observe Shabbat weekly or build a sukkah on Sukkot or recite the Shema before bedtime. Yet another will say we must act like Jews, give tzadakah, attend synagogue, refrain from eating pork.
Each Jewish partner will have their own ideas about what they need in order to feel that their home is “Jewish.” Or, they may have no clear idea at all! Every non-Jewish spouse deserves a clear statement as to what they are signing up for. Join other curious couples for an enlightening discussion and go home with your own individualized plan.
Date: Sunday, Oct 25
Time: 9 to 10:30am
Place: Peninsula Temple Sholom 1655 Sebastian Dr., Burlingame
Cost: $8/public; free to Peninsula Temple Sholom members
The Jewish Wisdom of Jesus
Taught by Rabbi Burt Jacobson
Did you know:
• that Jesus of Nazareth was a practicing Jew?
• that Jesus built his teachings largely out of the Hebrew Bible and the Jewish traditions of his time?
• that like the ancient Hebrew prophets, Jesus was deeply concerned about the poor and the disenfranchised?
• that Christianity was originally a form of Judaism?
This is the emerging consensus of contemporary scholarship, and more and more Jews are honoring Jesus as one of Judaism’s eminent teachers. Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi wrote that “the words of Yeshua of Nazareth are the teachings of a rebbe to his Hasidim, all of whom lived and died as Jews.” In this two-hour class we will study Jesus’ life and his spiritual and moral teachings. We will also examine the role played by Martin Buber in the 20th century in the creation of interfaith dialogue and the reclamation of Jesus as a Jewish teacher.
Date: Monday, October 26
Place: Kehilla Community Synagogue, 1300 Grand Ave., Piedmont
Cost: $18 for Kehilla members, $22 for others
Sign up required; go here to do so.