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Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith

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A winter message from Dawn [Nov. 30th, 2006|11:16 am]
Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith
[Current Mood |happyfestive]

Nov. 29, 2006

Dear Interfaith Families and Friends,

Women in Interfaith Relationships

Ladies, if you are coming to Women in Interfaith Relationships on Sunday in Walnut Creek and you haven’t called me, call. I want to know who to expect. It’s also fine to just come if you decide you can get away on Sunday morning. (Dawn: 925-943-1484 or 510-839-2900 ext 347 OR dawn@jfed.org) Feel free to bring your mom, your mother-in-law, your girlfriend, others already are.

8 Ways to Promote Justice this Hanukkah

A young friend of mine works for the Progressive Jewish Alliance, a Jewish organization that works for social justice. Her website has a list of "Eight Ways To Promote Justice This Hanukkah." Take a look at the site and consider expressing your values in fun and meaningful ways.


This will be a short note to all of you this week. Lots of calls and emails to catch up on. Lots of folks coming in. Remember you can call or make an appointment anytime. I love to talk with you. Enjoy this snap of cold weather! The last flowers clinging to life, the bright sunlight, the piles of leaves. What a joy life is.

As always, we end this message with over twenty more EVENTS GALORE for you to peruse and warm up your winter with fun!Collapse )
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Happy Thanksgiving! - A Message from Dawn [Nov. 27th, 2006|09:40 am]
Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith
[Current Mood |happyhappy]

Dear Interfaith Families and Friends,

I enjoyed seeing some of you at Dawn Margolin’s Making Shabbat Dinner workshop and dinner at Temple Beth Abraham on Friday night. Good food, loved the dancing!


Alice, my partner at Building Jewish Bridges, and Helena, our partner in outreach at Interfaith Connection, Karen & Shira from Project Welcome, and all us “outreach folks” wish you, your family and friends a warm and meaningful Thanksgiving.


Christmas is coming and for some families that is not good news. This holiday can be very problematic in a home where there are both Christians and Jews. First, slow down. Now is NOT the time to resolve “what to do with Dec. 25." One plan would be to just do whatever you did last year and determine to look at the issues AFTER January 1. If that isn’t going to help, call me at 510.839.2900 ext 347. We can just talk through the tough parts. Let’s make it work for now. We have look at modifications in 2007. Be good to each other and to yourself. If your partner simply can’t celebrate whatever you are celebrating, find friends, family or community who can help you through. If you need to get away from a holiday that’s not your own, then take time for yourself, seek out your own traditions with friends and community. Try very hard to leave the kids out of any arguments that arise. Don’t wrangle or bargain for them. Don’t ask them what they want - that is totally unfair to them. The two of you have to decide what they’re getting and then stick together. If they get mad, let them be mad at both of you. They may be mad now, but they’ll be happier and healthier in the long run. Better they should thank you when they are older and understand what you did for them.

For other folks on this list, Christmas... and little Chanukah, don’t present any problems. Congratulations, that’s good. Now be supportive of your friends and take this opportunity to reach out to those who are less fortunate than ourselves. Serve Christmas dinner at a shelter, adopt a family, donate books to your local school. Smile at everyone and don’t worry about whether they say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays,” it all means the same thing.

Wherever you are in the Bay Area - we've got your interfaith events covered! From Hannukah boutiques and fairs to festive shabbat dinners, here are your Events Galore for November December - fun ways to spend your holidays!Collapse )
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The Accidental Invention of Judaism [Nov. 16th, 2006|09:30 am]
Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith
The Accidental Invention of Judaism
Join us as Ken Cohen examines the Biblical model of King Josiah, an ancient Davidic king of Judah, who is described in the Bible as being on a religious par with Moses. We will see how Josiah’s innovatively aggressive program of centralization resulted in accidental outcomes that were directly opposite to his intentions. Ken will argue that these “unintended consequences” are, in fact, the primary reason that Judaism survived the traumas that followed Josiah’s reign, and, in reality, shaped the diaspora Judaism of today.

Tuesday, Nov. 28, 7:30-9:00 pm
Contra Costa JCC, 2071 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek

Please call Dawn at 510-839-2900 ext. 347 for more information

Message from the moderator: I apologize for the sudden overflow of posts, but I realized earlier (with help from Dawn) that I had accidentally been posting this information to our "parent blog" of this community, bay_interfaith as opposed to bjb_interfaith, so I am in the process of moving the information over to this blog. Thanks for your understanding!
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A message from Dawn [Nov. 16th, 2006|09:21 am]
Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith
Nov. 15, 2006

Dear Interfaith Families and Friends,

Chanukah is around the corner and so is Christmas. What choices will you make about what your family observes, where and with whom? If you would like to just think out loud about your feelings and desires, do give me a call. There are no right or wrong feelings, you feel what you feel. Let’s see if you can’t make things work for you and your loved ones. Dawn: 510-839-2900 x247 or 925-943-1484.

Chanukah Information

Jewish Community Information & Referral answers all kinds of questions! I turn to them when I hit a wall. You can too. For information about Chanukah and connecting to Jewish life, call JCI&R (415)777-4545 or toll-free (877)777-5247 or e-mail to JewishNfo@sfjcf.org . Gail and Judy have volunteers who help them answer the phones. They are the mavens of all things Jewish in the bay area – but try them for more distant communities too. I went to them for some resources in Sacramento recently.

Jewish Community Information and Referral is a service of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, and the Peninsula.

Websites: http://www.sfjcf.org and http://www.jholidays.org

A season for helping others

Turkey Drive Returns!

Some years ago a friend of mine, Danny, read an article in the Chronicle about the shortage of meat in the bay area food banks. He thought someone should do something, so he did. He asked his congregation, Temple Sinai, to send money to buy turkeys, he went to the big chain grocery stores and asked them to donate turkeys. It was a great response and the Alameda Food Bank was able to give out turkeys. But Danny was not satisfied. The next year he went to all the Oakland synagogues. Then he branched out. Now I get emails from synagogues all over the bay area with notes saying, “It’s time for Our Turkey Drive!”

Danny doesn’t need the recognition, he’s grateful that so many people have taken ownership. But I remember that one guy decided to get more meat on the tables of hungry people and he did something about it.

If you want to help I can tell you that your donation makes a big difference - $12 feeds up to 15 people; donations of $36 or $48 or more can have a bigger impact. Want to send money to a synagogue near you? Email me and I’ll tell you who is participating. Want to just send it to me and I’ll give it to Danny? Then made it out to: Temple Sinai Holiday Dinner Drive.

Want to contribute to the SF Food Bank? Send your check made payable to the “San Francisco Food Bank,” to the Temple Emanu El, 2 Lake St., San Francisco, 94159. Call Terry at 415-751-2535 if you need more info. (Heads up Terry at Emanu-El! I’m telling people to send you money.)

Contra Costa Women ALERT!

Ladies of Contra Costa, many of you have emailed me that you don’t think the JCC meets your needs. To quote one of you, it’s for the elderly and preschoolers. OK, there is a NEW FEMALE Director, Jamie Hyams. Jamie is smart, savvy and experienced. She’s also the speaker at a luncheon being held on Dec. 13. Please join Alice and me (the lunch is only $12 a person), sit with us and let’s be brainstorm about what YOU would like to see at the Center. Then we’ll tell Jamie. Put your tushie where your mouth is! At the table! See Events 23 and 24 below.

South Peninsula Moms ALERT!

My good friend and outreach maven, Frieda Haidt, is offering a Moms Group for non-Jewish moms raising Jewish kids. She’s doing it with Kathleen Doctor in Los Altos. See the second ongoing event below.

What is “Torah Study”?

Every week Jews around the world read and study a portion of the bible. Yes, basically, every Jew everywhere is on the same page! Amazing, isn’t it! If you’d like to know what is being read, but you only have about 2 minutes to find out, click on the Frig Door Torah and you’ll see a very brief overview along with some interesting thoughts to use for those “Teachable Moments” with your kids, yourself, your partner.

Every synagogue holds Torah Study – in English – see the first “ongoing” event below for an example.

Frig Door Torah

This week on Frig Door Torah - the life of Sarah, Torah portion Chayai Sarah.

Get a snapshot of the story, a question for your consideration and a letter of Hebrew.


Genesis: Chayai Sarah


Shabbat Morning Kolel Study Opportunities (San Francisco)

Mother’s Group for Non-Jewish Moms (Los Altos)

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(no subject) [Nov. 16th, 2006|09:17 am]
Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith
Dear Interfaith Families and Friends,

Thanksgiving is around the corner, a holiday filled with good food, good friends and no religious conflict!

Please give this to yourself

Let’s take a look at this day. In many ways it is a lot like Christmas minus the massive marketing job. No gifts, few decorations, less stress. But it holds the joy of gathering family and friends together for food and whatever activities we enjoy. I suggest you use it as a sort of testing ground. What if you plan to play checkers or Monopoly after the meal? What if you spend the weekend before making iced cookies and candies with your kids? Pick out some music that you can sing along with – old Beatles tunes, folk music, songs you used to sing to the kids when they were tiny. Christmas and Chanukah can be fraught with disappointment or anxiety. You deserve a lovely, stress-free holiday. Give yourself Thanksgiving. It will help as we plan for next month.

What if your relationship isn’t Jewish - Christian, but Jewish-Buddhist or Muslim or Hindu? Christmas may not be a stress at all. What are the other areas of holiday conflict that both you? E-mail me and let me know.

Come out and see me some time!

Saturday night I’ll be at the movie and discussion at Beth Jacob in Oakland (item 6 below). I’m bringing the popcorn, just come on over.

Then Sunday afternoon I’ll be in Walnut Creek with a panel if adults raised in interfaith homes. What is it is like? What works? What are these people practicing now as adults? (Item 8 below).

Contra Costa Jewish Book Festival Continues Through Nov 15

The annual Contra Costa Jewish Book Festival continues into most of next week. Each evening, an author and his/her work is spotlighted, "Born to Kvetch" (Saturday), an all-day holiday crafts fair on Sunday at the Contra Costa JCC, and more authors being showcased next week.

Go to the website for more information:


Place: Contra Costa Jewish Community Center

A Taste of Torah: FRID DOOR TORAH

A friend of mine, Ruth Adar, is a rabbinic student in Los Angeles. She started a project she’s calling Frig Door Torah. The idea is a single page – one for each Torah Portion. It’s easy to print out and stick to your Frig, I do. You read a short teaching on the weekly portion, there’s a question that you can ask of yourself, or your child, just a reflection. If you’re not getting to Torah study weekly it’s rather nice to have something oh-so-easy that is a reminder of where we are in the Torah. Plus, if you’re trying to solidify your knowledge of the Hebrew letters, there’s one letter a week to look at and say out loud each time you get the milk out.

So far this year we have:

Genesis: Beresheet

Genesis: Noach

Genesis: Lech-Lacha

Genesis: Vayera


Let me know what you think of it.

EVENTS!Collapse )
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Tradition [Oct. 5th, 2006|02:40 pm]
Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith
Dear Interfaith Families and Friends,

A new year begins, 5767. We all have the opportunity to make over the parts of our lives that weren’t working. Remember my resolution - to enjoy Shabbat with my family more? I had a couple friends ask me what I meant by that. Well, in action – I intend to invite more friends over on Shabbat afternoon. We’ll visit, eat, play games and enjoy one and other. My 20 year old is away in college and my 15 year old is hard to corral. I hope to just have enough good food and old friends to attract Jesse back to us now and then. Rituals can be made so quickly if they are attractive.

My coworker, Alice, described a holiday ritual that her mother developed when she, the youngest in her family, was 20 years old. "My siblings were in their 30s!"

"Do they still consider this a tradition twenty five years later?" I asked.

"Oh, yes," Alice assured me, and why not... it had to do with food, really good food!

Go on and start a new tradition. One you wish you’d had growing up. If you need help working out the details, feel free to give Alice or me a call. (Phone numbers below.) Live in SF? I'm sure Helena can help you. Call her at the Interfaith Connection, 415-292-1252.

Interfaith Couples GroupsCollapse )

Call if you don’t see what you want

My friends, it is impossible for me to list ALL the events and services taking place around the bay area. I can only give you a smattering of the fabulous array of options. If you don’t see what you want, or you saw something in a past email but can’t remember what it was, just give me a call at 510-839-2900 x347. Or call Judy or Gail at Jewish Community Information and Referral at 415-777-4545, they are a wealth of information (and they get this email, so they’ll know just what you’re talking about.)

Volunteers needed for Homeless ProgramCollapse )

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Days of Awe [Sep. 28th, 2006|10:22 am]
Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith
[Current Mood |thoughtfulthoughtful]

Dear Interfaith Families and Friends,

We are now in the "Days of Awe" the time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. If you have chosen to dip your lovely non-Jewish partner in the deep end of the pool, the High Holiday services, then now is a good time to consider balancing that experience with something light, joyful and fun – Simhat Torah or Sukkot, or Shabbat. Call if you need ideas of where to go.

Learn something while having Fun

Speaking of light, joyful and fun, if you live in Contra Costa, join me for Did God Have a Wife? item 6 below. Our teacher, Jehon Grist, has a PhD in archeology and still has a bit of the devil in him. Let me know if you’ll be joining us.

If you live in Alameda county, check out dinner at Raphael’s – The Wisdom in the Wine item 10 below. I love Raphael’s and we get dinner and a glass of wine! I’m sold. If you’re coming and want to join me, call and I’ll save you a place. Dawn, 510-839-2900 x347.

Israel, our family

In modern time we often confuse the people "Israel" with the land of Israel and Israelis. The bible refers to "the children of Israel" because Israel was a real man, the ancestor of the Jewish people. It gets very confusing when you try to sort out what exactly is Judaism? A race? A family? A people? A religion? I can answer yes to all of those and no only with an explanation.

The majority of American Jews – not all – feel a visceral response to threats to Israel. If we don’t defend them, who will? Who indeed?

A thought on this time of year:

Before Rosh Hashanah Rabbi Larry Raphael of Sherith Israel in San Francisco, sent out a very interesting piece to his congregation. I’m going to share it with you here:


As we prepare for Rosh Hashanah this Friday night, I share with you words from Severyn Ashkenazy co-founder of Beit Warszawa, a Progressive Synagogue in Poland.

I have known for some time now that life is a waiting room.

We wait for something wonderful to happen: love, elation, success, admiration, maybe even adulation.

However, I have learned lately that waiting can be very destructive without inner satisfaction for which we and we alone are responsible and capable of creating.

Without being able to think or look at ourselves every day with a measure of satisfaction for having done a good deed, changed someone's life for the better, had a positive influence or helped to make someone's life a little easier, I believe that waiting is often the waste of a life.

What a wonderful feeling it is to think of, plan and execute something that will help others, without expecting anything in return; no thanks, medals or public recognition, but the ultimate gratification of knowing that we have helped our fellow man and moved this world a little farther from the abyss.

May 5767 be a year of health and happiness for you and your family, and a year of peace and wholeness for all the people Israel, and all humankind.


Events Galore!Collapse )
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Did God Have a Wife? Asherah, Biblical Israel's Goddess [Sep. 21st, 2006|12:56 pm]
Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith
Recent discoveries have led scholars to an exciting (or disturbing) new theory: the God of Biblical Israel had a wife named Asherah! In this class, we’ll explore the Biblical and archaeological detective work that lead to this theory, and we'll ponder what happened to the 'divine feminine' of Israelite religion as early Judaism emerged. This lecture class will be presented by Jehon Grist, P.h.D., Executive Director of Lehrhaus Judaica.

Tuesday, Oct. 10, 7:30 pm
Contra Costa JCC, 2071 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek
Please call Dawn at 510.839.2900 ext. 347 or email dawn@jfed.org for more information
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Looking for a place to observe the High Holidays? [Sep. 11th, 2006|11:28 am]
Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith
Free High Holiday Services at the East Bay JCC

Come and pray with us in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Officiating will be Rabbi Jay Krause and Cantor Sandra Lipsman and sponsored by members of the community.

Rosh Hashana

Friday, Sept. 22 at 7pm

Saturday, Sept. 23 at 10am

Kol Nidre

Sunday, Oct. 1 at 6:30pm

Yom Kippur

Monday, Oct. 2 at 10am

(services continue all day and end with Neila service at sunset)

Held at the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay (formerly the Berkeley Richmond JCC) at 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley

510-848-0237 x6.

Family and Children's Services

In Oakland:

Temple Beth Abraham (Conservative), www.tbaoakland.org

Family services (for preschoolers and younger with parents)
Rosh Hashanah, Sat. Sept. 23, 9:30 am
Yom Kippur, Mon. Oct. 2, 9:30 am
In the social hall.
These services are short (30-45 min), and led by Rabbi Bloom, who plays guitar and is really gifted at communicating with young children. You don't need to buy a ticket or call ahead, but they will ask for your name at the front door.

Temple Sinai (Reform), www.oaklandsinai.org

Rosh Hashanah, Sat. Sept. 23, 1:30 pm
Yom Kippur, Mon. Oct. 2, 1:30 pm
You need to purchase tickets in advance for these services (ordering information is on the website); $36 per family per service if you are not attending any other services.

Kehilla Community Synagogue (Renewal), www.kehillasynagogue.org

Rosh Hashanah, Sat. Sept. 23, 1:00-1:45 pm, ages 2-6
Yom Kippur, Mon. Oct. 2, 1:30-2:#0 pm, ages 2-6
You need to purchase tickets here in advance as well (information on website), $25 per family per service.

In Alameda:

Temple Israel, Alameda, www.templeisraelalameda.org
Rosh Hashanah, Sat. Sept. 23, 9:00 am
Yom Kippur, Mon. Oct. 2, 9:00 am
Call the synagogue about tickets for the Children's services, 522-9355

In Walnut Creek

Congregation B'nai Shalom
74 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek CA
Family Services for families with young children (pre-K).
Rosh Hashanah -- Sat., Sept. 23, 9:00 AM
Yom Kippur -- Mon., Oct. 2, 10:00 AM
Both services will be 45 minutes long. Musical accompaniment will be included. On Rosh Hashanah, apples & honey and appropriate brochot in the courtyard of the Social Hall will follow the service.
Please call the B’nai Shalom Office, 925-934-9446, to reserve tickets. Although there is no charge for these tickets, we must control attendance due to fire regulations and medical and security precautions; therefore, call as soon as possible.

In Berkeley

Congregation Beth El
1301 Oxford Street
Berkeley, CA 94709

High Holy Days
Family services
Rosh Hashanah
Sat., Sept. 23, 3:30 pm

Yom Kippur
Mon., Oct. 2, 3:30 pm

2nd Day of Rosh Hashanah
Community Service
Sun., Sept. 24, 10:00 am
Services will be according to the Reform High Holy Day prayerbook, with lots of singing and an interactive sremon-dialogue on the topic of performing mitzot (moral deeds). No tickets are necessary, childcare provided for toilet-trained children under age 11.
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Inspiring Jewish, Arab Peacemakers to speak -- San Francisco -- Tues, Sept 5 -- St. Mary's Cathedral [Aug. 31st, 2006|02:05 pm]
Building Jewish Bridges:Bay Area Interfaith
Tuesday September 5, 2006 ~ ~ 7:30 p.m.

Meet The Peacemakers
Palestinian and Jewish Stories of Change

St. Mary's Cathedral ~ ~ Geary and Gough ~ ~ San Francisco

This inspiring public report-out follows the historic meeting of
over 200 Jewish and Palestinian youth and adults
from Israel, Palestine and North America
at a camp near Yosemite National Park.

Oseh Shalom ~ Sanea al-Salam Family Peacemakers Camp included
50 Muslims, Christians and Jews from 29 towns in the Holy Land, women and men equally.

Tonight is to meet them and hear their inspiring stories of courage to change enemies into partners.
There are visual and educational displays, Middle Eastern refreshments, and
a shared candle-lighting for a future that benefits all.

No charge. Ample free parking. More information is at http://traubman.igc.org/camptuesday.htm .
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