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Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith

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Passover [Mar. 30th, 2007|10:19 am]
Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith
March 29, 2007

Dear Interfaith Families and Friends,

“Take My Advice”

Last week John and Elizabeth Edwards announced that Elizabeth has incurable cancer and that he would remain a candidate for president. Immediately the papers, radio and TV were full of advice and opinions on whether they should pursue this path. Wow, so many experts on life in the Edwards family! Who knew?

When you are in an interfaith relationship many people are quick to step up and give you advice. And you didn’t even have to ask for it! In the case of parents, I think it’s to be expected. They love you and have a huge investment in your happiness. But beyond that, I am less charitable. You may need to tune out the rush of advice and opinions. Yet you may also WANT some advice but shy away from messages that feel judgmental. Chances are that you aren’t sure what to do. If you have an idea, you may not be sure how to put it into motion. You may be afraid that asking for advice will only result in painful and judgmental conversations.

This is where, I believe, an interfaith couples discussion group can be helpful. You will be with other couples making similar decisions about a similar situation. Will you all be exactly the same? No. Will you all come to the same conclusion? No. But you will gain insight from your different points of view. You may not finish the group with a “plan for life” but you will come away with some new ideas and skills. I will remind you that life is a constantly unfolding story. Even if you find your plan, I don’t want you to write it in cement. Be willing to address your decisions again, as needed. In many cases you come away with a really lovely circle of new friends.

Interested in a group? Call me, Dawn, at 510-839-2900 x237 or 925-943-8414 in the East Bay and Helena McMahon at 415-292-1292 if you’re in San Francisco or the Peninsula.

Read more...Collapse )
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Jewish Superheroes! [Feb. 20th, 2007|02:20 pm]
Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith
What does Superman have to do with Samson? Was Batman of Gotham really Golem of Prague? Did you know that a majority of the early comic book creators were Jewish?

Hear local comic book expert Rabbi Harry Manhoff talk about the secret “Jewish-ness” of your favorite comic book characters, and how their stories are part of both the Jewish folklore tradition and the story of immigrant assimilation at

Jewish Superheroes
Thursday, April 12, at 7:30 pm
Jewish Community Center of the East Bay
1414 Walnut Street, Berkeley

Rabbi Manhoff, of Temple Beth Sholom, San Leandro, has been collecting and lecturing about Jews and comic books for the past ten years, so he knows of that which he speaks. For more information, call Dawn Kepler, Building Jewish Bridges, 510-839-2900 ext. 347.
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Coffee Talk for Moms [Feb. 20th, 2007|11:42 am]
Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith
Are you a non-Jewish mom looking for support and guidance in raising Jewish children?
Are you a Jewish mother wondering how to bring more Judaism into your home life?

Join us on the second Wednesday of every month for a cup of coffee, a muffin, and a chat about raising Jewish children – we’ll talk about everything from the basics of the holidays to teaching Jewish values. In between we’ll share recipes, craft projects, books and local resources that can enhance your family’s Jewish home life. Come with questions, concerns and ideas you’d like to share!

Date: Wednesday, March 14
Time: 9:30 am -11:00 am
Place: Contra Costa JCC Gallery, 2071 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek

For more information, contact Dawn Kepler at 925-943-1484 or by email at dawn@jfed.org.
Facilitated by Dawn Kepler and Alice Hale of Building Jewish Bridges: Outreach to Interfaith Couples.
Sponsored by Building Jewish Bridges and the Contra Costa JCC
2071 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek, 94595
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(no subject) [Feb. 13th, 2007|04:50 pm]
Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith
Feb. 7, 2007

Dear Interfaith Families and Friends,

This is a busy month and I’m hoping that I’ll see many of you at one place or another. If you’re going to the Jewish Wedding Fair in Palo Alto on Feb. 25 do come by and say hello. I’ll be there doing a workshop on how to pick a rabbi for your wedding.


I have a whole string of events in Walnut Creek.

Dinner and a movie anyone?

Saturday, Feb. 24 at the Contra Costa JCC is the first night of the Contra Costa Jewish Film Festival.

Check out the website: www.jfed.org/filmfest07

Films from all over the world: France, Germany, Israel, Spain, England, the US and more.

On opening night they are showing The First Time I was Twenty, which I very much want to see, at 7pm and at 9pm, The Schwartz Dynasty. Here’s my proposition to you, if any of you would like to join me for dinner and a movie, get a ticket (!) and email me that you’re interested. The Agave Grill is right next to the theater (Brenden Concord 14 Theatre, 1985 Willow Pass Road, Concord) and we can have dinner before the films.


Contact me at dawn@jfed.org or (925) 943-1484.

On Feb. 21 is the Asian Jews panel at the Contra Costa JCC for The Asian American Jewish Experience. This will be a wonderful eye opener for everyone. Let’s delight in our diversity.

I’ll be back on Thursday, Feb. 22 at the CC JCC for Movies and Messages: Lashon Hara, a look at what Judaism teaches about gossip with the movie, Mean Girls. I’ll have to see if they have a microwave where I can pop some corn.

Online Resource for the Jewish HolidaysCollapse )

PurimCollapse )

EVENTSCollapse )
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The Jews of Asia, Taste of Judaism, T'Bshvat and many other February Events [Jan. 30th, 2007|04:15 pm]
Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith
[Current Mood |cheerfulcheerful]

Dear Interfaith Families and Friends,

Chinese Jews? Korean Jews? Japanese Jews?

Yes! The Contra Costa JCC is hosting a photo exhibit on the Jews of Kaifeng from Feb.11 to March 15. I was asked if I wanted to jump on the wagon and, like the Bureau of Jewish Education did in SF, run a workshop on Asian Jews. So on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 7:30pm I’ll have a panel of Asian Americna Jews talking about their experiences. Some were born Jewish, some converted, some were adopted by Askenazi Jews and raised Jewish. It isn’t always easy. Jewish community doesn’t expect Jews to be Asian. But once your rabbi is Chinese, it’s time to get over it! Please come offer your support, ask your questions, and delight in the diversity of our wonderful community!

Call me for more information, Dawn at 925-943-1484 or 510-839-2900 x347.

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 7:30pm at the Contra Costa Jewish Community Center, 2071 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek.

Be there!

A Taste of JudaismCollapse )

Holiday Ahead: Tu B'ShvatCollapse )

February Events!Collapse )
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Taste of Judaism: A FREE Three Session Course [Jan. 18th, 2007|03:08 pm]
Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith
Interested in exploring Jewish spirituality, ethics and community? Know someone who is? Building Jewish Bridges and Rabbi Dardik join together to offer “A Taste of Judaism.” A three-session course for people with little to no knowledge of Judaism, Jews of all backgrounds and non-Jews. This is a FREE class, but registration is required.

Call Dawn at 925.943.1484 or 510.839.2900 ext 347 to sign up today!

Dates & Time: Thursday nights, Jan 25, Feb 1, Feb. 8
Location: Walnut Creek

Note: Oakland classes will begin in February on Sunday mornings.

Exact time and locations will be given upon registration.
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(no subject) [Jan. 9th, 2007|09:28 am]
Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith
Dear Interfaith Families and Friends,

As we enter 2007 (or 5767 and a half) I wish you all a great year. I read a very nice drash (literally "word" but used to mean a teaching from the Torah/Bible) by Rabbi Judy Shanks of Temple Isaiah in Lafayette. It is for last week’s portion, Va-Yiggash (he drew close). She makes a good point, we often wait for another person to make the first gesture, for them to approach us, especially if we feel emotionally vulnerable, but being strong and brave, taking the first step towards reconciliation or simply connection, may reap a great reward.

Take a look:


I hope that each of you will resolve, along with me, to reach out and connect with others. If you are wishing to connect with Judaism or with learning or just to ask questions and explore your uncertainly, be brave, call me. Dawn 510-839-2900 x347 or 925-943-1484.

A few topics to mention and discuss:

New Interfaith BookCollapse )

Interfaith Couples Discussion Group in OaklandCollapse )

Start Your Year off by Learning MoreCollapse )

Feast of Jewish LearningCollapse )

January Events Galore!Collapse )
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Post Holiday Events! [Jan. 2nd, 2007|12:36 pm]
Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith
Dear Interfaith Families and Friends,

Just a quick note. I hope all of you enjoyed your holidays - Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, Solstice and any other holiday that brightens the winter. I am sending you just a smattering of events below.

I’m working on the next couples discussion group so if you want to be a part of it, email me right now and I’ll call you. I have a number of couples who are interested in starting in January. We’ll meet on Wednesday evenings at 7:30pm.


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A Chanukah Message from Dawn [Dec. 18th, 2006|09:49 am]
Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith
[Current Mood |cheerfulfestive]

Dear Interfaith Families and Friends,

We are closing in on the big days of Chanukah (began Friday night at sundown, Dec. 15) and Christmas (I’ll leave it to you to guess when that is). For a number of people this means a couple of weeks of work, work, work. Remember to take time for yourself, time to enjoy the holidays.

More ideas for minimizing overload, and maximizing joy:

One thing parents have reiterated to me is the desire to teach their children values – compassion, responsibility, honesty, generosity. Not one has said, "I’d like my kids to be materialistic and focused on getting lots of things!” We are about to hit the glut of the December holiday season. Don’t make yourself crazy. I heard a radio ad that said, “You still have so many gifts to get and so little time!” Naturally they were selling something. Don’t let the marketers run your family. The best gift you can give ANYONE is your time. A woman in my office just lost her sister unexpectedly. What can a gift do for her? Not a thing. All we can do is show up. Listen. Give a hug. And do that again tomorrow.

Give something meaningful. Here are some ideas shared with me for Chanukah (many of them work for Christmas too).

Cupcake menorah

Night of giving books and reading aloud

Sock night – or scarf, mittens, home-make cards

Poem night – write a silly, sweet, short, rhyming, not rhyming, whatever, poem for each other

Adopt a needy family to give gifts to

Bake bread together

Build a fire and stare into the flames, let the kids fall asleep in front of it

Chanukah Ideas from the Reform Movement

If you're wondering what you can do this year to make your family's Chanukah celebration more meaningful and enjoyable, you'll find the Chanukah Holiday Resource page is filled with suggestions for recipes, blessings, and ways to make tikkun olam a part of this year's celebration.


Holiday Events Galore!Collapse )
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(no subject) [Dec. 7th, 2006|05:29 pm]
Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith
[Current Mood |bouncyfestive]

Dec. 7, 2006

Dear Interfaith Families and Friends,

Chanukah Shopping

Looking for a menorah? Gelt? Dreidels? All the synagogue shops are open! Here’s an announcement I received from Rodef Sholom in San Rafael. You’re not in San Rafael? There’s a synagogue near you with a shop. There are also Judaica shops like Afikomen in Berkeley, bob and bob’s in Palo Alto and Dayenu in San Francisco. To find a shop, call Jewish Community Information and Referral at 415-777-4545. Judy or Gail or one of their volunteers will help you.

Rodef Sholom’s Announcement:Avoid the Chanukah rush & shop the gift shop for all your holiday items!Collapse )

Holiday Excess or Joy? Maybe shopping isn’t really what you are worried about...Collapse )

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered JewsCollapse )

Over 20 Events Galore! Your ticket to Bay Area Holiday fun!Collapse )
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