June & July 2013 - Congregation Beth El


June & July 2013 - Congregation Beth El

ISSUE 137 • June & July 2013 Congregation Beth El is a member of The Union for Reform Judaism

“Honoring Tradition, Celebrating Diversity, and Building a Jewish Future”

In this issue

From the Rabbi p.2

Member Spotlight p.3

President’s Message p.4

Youth & Family Education


Guest Articles p.5, 15


B’Nei Mitzvah p.11

Events p.11

New Members p.13

Board Buzz p.14

New Books in the Library p.16


Pride Shabbat with wine

Friday, June 28 at 5:30 pm on the terrace

Ludus Danielis (The Play of Daniel)

Sunday, June 30 at 4:00 pm at Beth El


Chardonnay Shabbat

Friday, July 26 at 5:30 pm on the terrace


Growing Up in Nazi Germany, p. 3

Judaism and Emerging Adults, p. 5

Taking Tallitot to Jews in Uganda, p. 9

Torah Study Turns 36, p. 17

Music Room p.18

Torah Study Schedule p.19





Gift Shop p.24


What Makes an Organization


There are numerous Jewish

teachings and texts about our

responsibilities to the poor and marginal in the community. A

passage in the Talmud explains that the longer one resides in a

town, the broader one’s obligations to the community: “[After

a person resides in a town for] 30 days, one is obligated to

contribute to the soup kitchen, after three months to the [general

tzedakah] fund, after six months to the clothing fund, after nine

months to the burial fund, and after twelve months to the repair

of the town walls.” This passage from late antiquity illustrates

how both civic works and social welfare were understood as

obligations for all the residents of a town.

For hundreds of years, the Jewish community taxed its

members — as well as solicited voluntary contributions — to

support its schools, raise ransom for captives, offer dowries

to orphan brides, maintain the soup kitchen and to establish

the cemetery and provide a decent burial for all. In America,

our grandparents and great-grandparents quickly founded

mutual aid and communal outreach organizations, from

hospitals to burial societies to social service agencies to serve

the needs of their own community and to provide the services

that governments did not. In the Bay Area, we are the proud

inheritors of their legacy when we continue to support and to

benefit from the programs of the Hebrew Free Loan Association,

Reutlinger Center (originally the Home for Jewish Parents),

Jewish Vocational Services and Jewish Family and Children’s

Services (JFCS) of the East Bay.

JFCS-East Bay, on whose board I serve, was founded more than

135 years ago to support the needs of an immigrant Jewish

community. In recent years, as the needs of our wider Jewish

community have changed, JFCS has asked itself again and

again what it means to be a “Jewish social service agency” at

this time. JFCS continues its historic mission of serving the needs

of the Jewish community by providing financial support, cultural

activities and counsel to our community’s aging Holocaust

survivors; offering emergency financial assistance and support

to Jews in need; and providing sliding-scale mental health

counseling services to Jewish individuals, families and the


For many years, JFCS-East Bay served as the primary

resettlement agency for Jewish immigrants from the former

Soviet Union and from Iran arriving in our communities. Now

that the demand for these services from the Jewish community

has ended, JFCS has taken its expertise in the many dimensions

of refugee resettlement and is assisting in the welcoming and

resettlement of Afghani and Iraqi families; recently, it has also

specifically sought out and welcomed gay and lesbian refugees

who are fleeing persecution. In this way, the agency combines

our Jewish values and the legacy of Jewish experience to

help those who are most in need today. Among many other

programs, JFCS is also a major provider of mental health

consulting services to public early childhood education programs

in Oakland.

The work JFCS does is a contemporary expression of what it

means to be “Jewish” today and, in my opinion, represents the

theological outlook reflected in our Reform liturgy at Beth El.

As Jews, we share an enduring commitment to the values of

caring and compassion taught by our tradition. As a Jewish

community, we continue to assume responsibility and take care

of our own community. We consider it our obligation to reach

out towards and serve the needs of the larger community, most

especially those who have been where we were: “You know the

heart of the stranger because you were strangers in the Land of

Mitzrayim (Egypt).”

I take pride in how Beth El partners with JFCS and other Jewish

agencies to serve our members, the Jewish community as a

whole and the wider community where we live, fulfilling the

summons “l’taken olam b’malchut Shaddai – to repair the world

in consonance with our highest values.”

Rabbi Yoel Kahn

Jewish Family and Children’s Services of the East

Bay is now offering Home Care services in addition to case

management. Please contact JFCS at 510-558-7800 for

additional information.

Rosh Hashanah 5774: Single Evening Service

Rosh Hashanah 5774 begins on Wednesday evening,

September 4. This year, we will hold a single Rosh

Hashanah evening service (instead of an Early and a

Late service), beginning at 7:30 pm. A single service will

allow more of our members to enjoy a meaningful and

restful beginning of the High Holy Day season. After

extensive discussion and consultation, the Ritual Committee

decided that the varied musical and liturgical needs of our

membership could be served at a single evening service.

There will continue to be, as there has been in the past,

Early and Late services for the morning of Rosh Hashanah

and for the evening and morning of Yom Kippur. Childcare

will be available at the Rosh Hashanah evening service.

2 The Builder: June & July 2013


One Member’s Story: Growing up

Jewish in Nazi Germany

by Elisabeth Wechsler

This is the first of three articles describing how Alfred Cotton’s

almost normal upbringing in 1930s Germany became restricted.

The second article relates how Kristallnacht affected Alfred

and his family, followed by the miracle of Kindertransport. The

third and last article addresses Alfred’s experience in war-torn

England and his eventual emigration to the United States.

As LOng-time Beth El member Alfred COTTOn observed,

“Very few Jews alive today had the experience of growing up

in 1930s Germany.” The story of how his normal childhood

upbringing gradually evolved into a series of restrictions — and

eventually a nightmare — follows.

Early in 1934, Alfred

remembers that a large

glass display case, about

300 to 400 yards from

his house, was filled with

anti-Semitic screed and

grotesque drawings of what

Jews supposedly looked like.

It was a way for the Nazis to communicate with the average

person who didn’t have a radio and didn’t buy newspapers.

The newspaper publisher who created the window display riled

up people against Jews and Alfred’s parents told him not to read

what was in the window, but when other people weren’t looking

Alfred sneaked a glance. The newspaper, Der Sturmer, became so

infamous that after World War II the publisher was found guilty of

war crimes during the Nuremberg trials and was hanged.

When Alfred was nine-and-a-half, the family’s summer vacation

was marred by a sign in their destination railroad station on the

North Sea that stated “Jews not wanted here,” which shocked him.

Also in 1935, the infamous Nuremberg Laws were enacted. These

laws took away citizenship from all German Jews and enforced

many other restrictions. Alfred remembers that although no

Jewish household could have a maid under 45 years of age, the

family had an older, very loyal cleaner who came three times a

week and who stayed until his parents left Hamburg.

The son of Polish citizens who emigrated to Hamburg, Germany,

after World War I, Alfred’s first memory of Naziism is as a

seven-year-old, of their maid who wore a swastika lapel pin on

her overcoat. His parents didn’t discuss the matter with Alfred

but soon moved to a different neighborhood closer to his school,

an Orthodox institution named Talmud Torah. This was 1933,

the year that Adolf Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany

after garnering a large number of votes in the election.

A few months after his family’s move, they visited relatives

in Rostock, Germany. Even though his relatives’ family was

Orthodox, they kept their store open on Saturdays, the busiest

day of the week. During Alfred’s visit one Saturday, two Brown

Shirts (Nazi hoodlums) appeared and stood in front of the

clothing store with signs for Germans to boycott it because

the store was Jewish-owned. To prevent the men from leaning

against the doors, Alfred’s uncle left the front doors of the store

open. The Brown Shirts stood there all day, or may have been

relieved by others, but “this made a big impression” on Alfred.

Until 1935-36, Alfred played in a neighborhood park and

remembers sliding down a small hill in the snow during the

winter. One day he was with a friend there and at the entrance

to the park was a sign saying “No Jews Allowed.”

Because Alfred took English for language study in junior high

school, he and his friends went to a movie theater to see a

Shirley Temple film, but by the end of 1936, no Jews were

allowed in movie theaters.

Alfred’s family kept kosher but after the Nuremberg Laws, no

shochets (kosher butchers) were allowed to work and there was

no more kosher meat. As with other observant Jewish families,

Alfred’s had to go without meat. Some butchers bought regular

meat, heavily salted it and offered it as “new kosher,” Alfred

recalled. “The situation was bad but life went on and you did the

best you could.”

Increasingly, boys in his schools were called names such as

“Jewish pigs” as they walked to and from Talmud Torah, so most

Continued on p.10

www.bethelberkeley.org 3


The State of the Synagogue

I would like to begin THIS column, my

first as President of Congregation Beth El, by

thanking all of you for entrusting me with the

responsibility of heading up Beth El’s volunteer leadership for the

next two years. I am excited about the work that lies ahead and

look forward to collaborating with the talented and dedicated

volunteers who were elected to serve on the Board of Directors.

I am writing this column en route home from Atlanta, where I

attended the 15th annual Scheidt Seminar sponsored by the

Union for Reform Judaism. (URJ, formerly called the Union of

American Hebrew Congregations, is the umbrella organization

of Reform synagogues in North America. More than 900

congregations, including Beth El, are members.) The Scheidt

Seminar is designed for presidents and presidents-elect of URJ

member synagogues. This year 117 congregational leaders —

a record number — from 34 states, the District of Columbia,

Canada and Puerto Rico attended the seminar. Over the course of

three 12-hour-plus days, we learned together, celebrated Shabbat

together, sang together, exchanged program and administrative

ideas together, schmoozed together and overate together.

So what did I take away from the conference, besides an

expanded waistline Many things. First, I gleaned several

exciting program ideas from my fellow Reform synagogue

leaders that I think would fit in well at Congregation Beth El.

Some are narrow in focus, mainly concerning the functioning of

our Board of Directors and program committees; but others are

broader in scope, potentially engaging our entire community.

Over the next year I will share these ideas with you after input

and guidance from the Board, our clergy and staff, and Beth El’s

program committees.

Second, the Seminar confirmed that the challenges that confront

Congregation Beth El are shared by many, if not most, Reform

synagogues in North America. Nearly all synagogue leaders

recounted the difficulty their synagogue faces in attracting new

members and — most importantly — retaining those members

beyond b’nei mitzvah. Nearly all reported coping with financial

stress, struggling to secure the resources needed to sustain

their programs; pay their clergy, educators and professional

staff; and maintain their physical space. Nearly all bemoan the

modern-day exodus of young adults, those in their late teens to

early 30s, from synagogue engagement. And nearly all recount

the difficulties they and their clergy confront in fashioning

worship services that resonate with their members spiritually, are

fresh and innovative, and appeal to a broad cross-section of

their congregation — yet do not alienate those who prefer that

Shabbat and holiday services never change.

Third, I learned that despite the challenges confronting Beth

El, we are far stronger than many congregations. Some

presidents decried the net loss of members their synagogues

were experiencing year after year, sometimes leaving only a

handful of worshippers to pray in a cavernous space originally

built to accommodate 1,000. In contrast, Beth El’s membership

has remained stable for years and is now growing modestly.

Some at the seminar spoke of recurring budget deficits, forcing

the exhaustion of financial reserves, the sale of a portion of

their property, or the laying off of educators and administrative

staff. In contrast, at Beth El we are holding our own financially,

notwithstanding the significant mortgage debt we took on when

we moved to our new building. Other presidents noted the

difficulty they face in engaging more than a small percentage of

their members in synagogue life. In contrast, Beth El’s programs

are robust, well-attended and growing as we continuously find

new ways to connect with our members spiritually, educationally

and socially.

“Our community remains

cohesive, respectful and


Still others at the seminar described the poor condition of their

synagogue facility, with roofs that leak, spaces that are too

large or too small for current needs, and buildings constructed

long before we embraced the very Jewish goal of inclusiveness

and physical accommodation for all. In contrast, at Beth El we

enjoy a beautiful, accessible building, carefully tailored to suit

our needs. Our community remains cohesive, respectful and

embracing, devoid of factionalism and internecine strife.

I draw these comparisons not to gloat, even less to bask in

some form of Jewish schadenfreude, but rather to highlight the

enormous strengths and successes our synagogue community

has achieved, in large part through the efforts and participation

of all of you. Beth El’s successes sometimes get overlooked

when we bog down, as we inevitably will, trying to cope with the

problem-of-the-day, the crisis du jour. I believe that the source of

our success derives directly from the strength of the partnership

we have managed to forge — thanks to the efforts of many over

the years — among our clergy, professional and administrative

staff, and remarkable volunteer lay leadership. Each is an

essential component of the sacred community we call Beth El.

Each gives its all to create an environment that is welcoming,

inclusive, multi-faceted, engaging and meaningful so that all of

Beth El’s members can find what they seek within our walls.

I wish you all a pleasant summer. And for those children, teens

and young adults now immersed in the extraordinary, multisensory

experience known as Camp Kee Tov, I wish you a

summer overflowing with ruach.


Paul Sugarman

4 The Builder: June & July 2013


1301 Oxford Street

Berkeley, CA 94709-1424

Phone: 510-848-3988

Fax: 510-848-2707

Youth and Family Education Office

Direct Line: 510-848-2122

Nursery School Office

Direct Line: 510-848-9428

Camp Kee Tov Office

Direct Line: 510-848-2372

Midrasha Office

Direct Line 510-843-4667


Rabbi Yoel H. Kahn

Rabbi of the Congregation

ext. 215 - rabbikahn@bethelberkeley.org

Rabbi Reuben Zellman

Assistant Rabbi & Music Director

ext. 228 - rabbirz@bethelberkeley.org

Norm Frankel

Executive Director

ext. 212 - norm@bethelberkeley.org

Debra Sagan MaSSEY

Director of Education

ext. 213 - debra@bethelberkeley.org

Maguy WEIZmann-mCgUIre

Early Childhood Education Director

ext. 219 - maguy@bethelberkeley.org

Zach Landres-Schnur

Camp Kee Tov Director

ext. 217 - zach@bethelberkeley.org

Tameka Young-Diaby


ext. 210 - tameka@bethelberkeley.org

Rebecca DePalma

YAFE Administrative Coordinator

& Youth Group Advisor

ext. 214 - rebecca@bethelberkeley.org

Juliet Gardner

Clergy Assistant

ext 216 - juliet@bethelberkeley.org

Margee Burch

Communications Coordinator

ext. 211 - margee@bethelberkeley.org

Molly Daniels

Communications Coordinator

ext. 235 - molly@bethelberkeley.org


Camp Kee Tov Admin. Coordinator

ext. 223 - emily@bethelberkeley.org

Diane Bernbaum

Midrasha Director

510-843-4667 - diane@midrasha.org

Odette Blachman

Gift Shop

ext. 240 - oblachman@sbcglobal.net

Rabbi Ferenc Raj

Rabbi Emeritus


Guest Article

Keeping the Faith…or Not

Judaism and Emerging


by Elizabeth Fishel

Are we in the midst of a great religious recession A number of recent

studies all show that younger people are less religious than older people in every way,

and religiosity has declined with each successive generation. In the 2012 Pew Research

Center report on Religion and Public Life, one-fourth of 18-to-29-year-olds are classified

as unaffiliated, a far higher proportion than among their parents (15 percent) or

grandparents (10 percent).

Is this news bad for the Jews

In a recent interview, Congregation Beth El’s Rabbi Yoel Kahn took the long view, optimistic

and unperturbed. “We’ve been hanging out successfully for 5773 years,” he said, adding,

“we’ve seen many worse challenges.”

Some of us grew up in a Judaism of obligation, he pointed out, with a sense of

responsibility to Jews who gave their lives in the Holocaust. But for today’s young people,

he believes, it’s better to lead with attraction, not coercion and guilt. The best thing parents

can do to keep their Jewish young adults in the fold is to live their own vibrant Jewish lives

and model that engagement to their kids.

In hundreds of interviews with parents and their 18-to-29-year-olds, as well as survey

responses from around the country for a forthcoming book When Will My Grown-Up Kid

Grow Up, it was clear that religious questioning is part of the identity explorations that are

woven into this life stage. Emerging adults generally feel that it would be wrong for them

simply to accept what their parents and others have taught them about religious issues.

Their inquiry sometimes leads to a confirmation of their childhood beliefs, but more often

to modifying them, and sometimes to a wholesale rejection.

So how do we build a 21st-century community that attracts and supports its young people

To reach them where they live, many congregations, including Beth El, recognize the need

to increase their Web and Facebook presence to reach a wider group of young adults.

They also strive to offer programming that draws in a younger cohort and then makes sure

young people feel welcomed and supported.

We’re also fortunate to live in a time when other institutions are also stepping up outreach

to young people. Hillel enriches the lives of college students on 550 campuses around the

country. Birthright has offered free heritage trips to Israel for 340,000 18-to-26-year-olds,

80 percent from the United States and Canada. Urban Adamah started its farm-based

Jewish residential leadership program in Connecticut, and in 2010 opened a farm in

Berkeley (located at 1050 Parker Street) that combines urban agriculture and social justice.

Even if your Jewish young adult misses out on these programs, never underestimate the

passage of time. According to Kara Powell and Chap Clark, authors of Sticky Faith, about

half of the emerging adults who drift away from their parents’ religion do return in their

late 20s. Rabbi Kahn observes this pendulum swing back at Beth El, as well. “When people

become partners and parents themselves, they realize the value of being part of a longterm

community,” he says. Returning to Beth El signifies, “I’m really an adult now.”

Elizabeth Fishel is a long-time Beth El member and the co-author, with Jeffrey Arnett, of

When Will My Grown-Up Kid Grow Up Loving and Understanding Your Emerging Adult,

published by Workman in May, 2013.

www.bethelberkeley.org 5


Passion and Respect — Two

Sides of Leadership

I cannot believe that two years have

passed so quickly and that this will be my

last column as President of Congregation Beth El. Starting with

this issue of The Builder, you will begin to hear from our new

President, the amazing Paul Sugarman. Paul’s contributions to

Beth El have already been immeasurable, including running

the original capital campaign that made it possible for us to

build our beautiful new building and co-chairing our Program

Council. Paul, like many of our Beth El leaders, lives a life of

service to the community.

One of the great pleasures and, at the same time, one of the

great challenges of being President of Beth El is the diversity of

our congregation. In this case I am not referring to the rainbow

of diversity in backgrounds represented at Beth El. It is true

that Beth El has worked hard at becoming a welcoming place

for interfaith families, converts, LGBTQ members, physically

challenged members, atheists, true believers, young families,

empty nesters, singles and people of all racial backgrounds —

and this will continue to be a focus for us in the future. However,

another real challenge and source of excitement for me as

President has been the diversity in how people connect with Beth

El and the passion they bring to those connections.

“Passion makes Beth El programs

spectacular and mutual respect

keeps our community together”

There are those who connect to Beth El through our Torah Study

group and our early morning Shabbat minyan. They love that

those programs are lay-led, giving our congregants a way

to express themselves. At the same time, we have those who

love our outstanding rabbis and staff-led programs. They are

passionate about our regular Shabbat services, Rabbi Kahn’s

Sunday morning “Roots and Branches” classes, Rabbi Zellman’s

chorus and music programs and our learners’ Shabbats. There

are those families that connect through our thriving Youth and

Family Education programs, our warm and nurturing Nursery

School, the fun and young leadership development of our youth

programs, and through the spirit and sheer joy of Camp Kee Tov.

We have many members of our community who are passionately

connected to our social action programs like our homeless

Congregational Shabbaton on October

11-13 at Camp nEWman

Save the date for a weekend away with your Beth El

family! Registration will open in the middle of the summer.

Don’t miss out on this fabulous experience!

meal, food drives, meals for shut-ins or for those who are ill. We

have those who can’t stand to miss any of our Adult Education

programs or our Israel programs. And we have those members

who just like to come and join our community, who sit for hours

after Shabbat services chatting with their Beth El friends or who

have been members of the same chavurah for decades, or who

love the Men’s Club events or the programs put on by the Women

of Beth El. Then, of course, there are those like me who take

advantage of almost every one of these programs.

It is a blessing to have a congregation with such a variety

of passions. It is that passion that makes each one of our

programs so successful. Yet, at the same time, those passions

can create challenges: What happens when there is conflict

between groups What happens when the Torah study group

and the Shabbat services group both want to use our beautiful

Beit Midrash but the transition is problematic What happens

when some of the people involved in a particular program

are committed to a change in leadership while others are

committed to keeping the leadership in place How do you

deal with the conflict that arises when some of our congregants

come to services because they love the chorus and the musical

instruments while others find they are a distraction and violate

their sense of tradition How do you deal with the conflicting

views on our relationship with the State of Israel It is here

where those who connect to the congregation by generously

volunteering to take leadership positions must participate. As

President, I have been blessed with leaders on our board, our

program council and our staff who have done a tremendous job

at navigating through these difficult situations.

In facing these challenges, we have always been guided by

the Talmudic teaching that “these and these are the words of

the living G-d.” This teaching instructs us that it is possible for

two people to hold diametrically opposed positions — even in

interpreting the will of G-d — but if their intentions are good,

each position can still be correct. The Talmud goes on to teach

us that you still must make a decision as to the appropriate

course of action. It teaches that we should listen carefully to

each side and then make a decision that is guided by “kindness

and humility.” The purpose of the teaching is to ensure that

we continue to treat each other with respect even when we

passionately disagree. It is the passion that makes Beth El

programs so spectacular and it is the respect that keeps our

community together.

Now that I am leaving the presidency, my next job will be to

find and help develop the next generation of Beth El leaders.

It is an opportunity I look forward to because it will give me a

chance to meet and get to know more of the tremendous people

who make up the Beth El community. So, if you are interested

in making a difference and helping to guide the future of this

wonderful congregation, please let me know. I’d love to meet

you and get you plugged in!

Dan Magid

Past President, Board of Directors

6 The Builder: June & July 2013


Beth El: A Place for Everyone

by Debra Sagan Massey, RJE, Director of Education

Beth El is embarking on a project to

earn a Rosh Pina Cornerstone Certification

by examining how welcoming we are to families and individuals

with special needs, and improving where needed. We will be

looking at all of our programming, examining our facility, and

educating our leadership and members so that we can be a

more inclusive congregation. Beth El is partnering with Rosh

Pina, an organization started by Elana Naftalin-Kelman, that

will help guide us in a thoughtful process and will lead us to

important changes. Our goal at the end of the Cornerstone

certification process is to open doors into the Jewish community

for many who currently do not feel welcome. We need your

partnership in this process.

First, you can share with us your ideas as to what you would like

Beth El to offer in order to be more inclusive. Would you like to

see Shabbat services that welcome and encourage noise and

disruption Would you like to have more programs for families

with children with special needs Would you like sign language

interpretation during Shabbat services Or perhaps you are

interested in having programs for siblings of a child with special

needs Whatever your idea, we are interested in your input! We

are convening a task force of both adults and youth to meet with

Elana and to identify priorities for the synagogue to address.

Please email me at debra@bethelberkeley.org if you would like

to join this meaningful task force.

Second, we want to spread the word to our friends and family in

the East Bay who might be interested in being involved, but have

not felt included in the past. We need your help to spread the

word that Beth El is addressing these needs and we want to be a

place where people come to be included in the Jewish community.

We hope to begin making significant changes this summer and

into the fall of this coming year. Please join us in this important

work and help to make Beth El a place for everyone.

YAFE Registration Now oPEn!

Don’t miss out on all the fun, friends and learning! Our youth

and family education programs are open to all preschoolers

through 7th graders for next fall, and offer something for

everyone. Go to our website, www.bethelberkeley.org, for more


Beth El Garden nEEds Volunteers

With many thanks to our garden volunteers and our garden

teacher Nathaniel Markman, the Beth El Garden continues to

grow and offer us delicious produce. Our students have been

getting their hands in the dirt and connecting Judaism to the earth

and the seasons. All Beth El members are welcome to come to

the garden any time and to harvest food for your table at home

(please just remember to close the gates!). We are always looking

for volunteers to help water and maintain the garden when our

students are not available. Please email debra@bethelberkeley.

org if you are interested in helping with the garden.

Summer Plans from the Ritual Committee

by Ruth Ehrenkrantz

Come JOIn us for a happy hour and festive gathering on

Beth El’s terrace for two summer Chardonnay Shabbats:

Friday, June 28 at 5:30 pm and Friday, July 26 at 5:30 pm. Sit

outside with a glass of wine on a lovely summer evening. The

service begins at 6:15 pm.

August 31 is our summer Shabbat B’Yachad (All Together) service.

Check the e-updates for the service times. A festive oneg will be

provided after the combined services. Come join us as we meld

our separate Saturday morning practices into one service.

Over the past few months we have been looking for solutions to

our Saturday morning space issue. Many people use our facilities

on Saturday mornings. We are examining ways to tweak our

programming to make the late morning service more welcoming.

In August, Rabbi Kahn will lead several services in the sanctuary

and test various options we are considering (including some

historic European synagogue furniture arrangements).

After each Saturday morning service, we are planning to have

a sit-down oneg where everyone can relax and enjoy a meal

together. We are looking for people to help us with the oneg lunch.

The work would involve preparing salads, fruit plates, heating up

casseroles that have already been prepared, and making sure that

everything is ready to be served at the end of the service. If you

would like to perform this mitzvah, or would like to know more

about it, please contact me at ruthehren@comcast.net.

www.bethelberkeley.org 7

BENS & Youth Groups


School Taking

Applications for

Summer Program

by Maguy McGuire

It is hard to imagine that the end of the school year is

approaching. So much has happened since the school year

began, and soon we will be transitioning into our summer

program. Beth El Nursery School’s (BENS) summer schedule will

parallel that of Camp Kee Tov, starting in June and ending in

August. This year BENS will have three summer sessions:

• Session I will begin on June 24 and end on July 19

• Session II will begin on July 22 and end on July 26

• Session III will begin on July 29 and end on August 23

Summer sessions are open

to all children throughout

the Bay Area and the

community at large. We

are currently accepting

application for children two

to five years old.

This year’s summer

programs will focus on

creating activities related

to classic stories adopted

from nursery rhymes and

fairy tales. The children

will engage in dramatic plays, such as “The Three Little Pigs”

and “Billy Goat’s Gruff,” using our newly built outdoor stage.

In addition, the children will have the opportunity to explore

the outdoor environment; engage in sand play, plant our newly

built, enclosed sustainable garden; and feed and (hopefully)

collect eggs from our three hens.

BENS is happy to announce the start of a new transitional

program for the new incoming “Two” families. Gan Katan will

welcome our new two-year-olds for the summer. During this

time, Gan Katan teachers will assist families and their children

in the transition and separation process, helping them adjust

to their new environment, daily routines and schedules. We’ll

again get to watch the amazing transition as shy children forget

themselves when they play with their classmates.

Beth El Teens in

Our Community

Esther Simon has been accepted into the University of

Iowa Young Writers’ Studio summer program! Mazel tov,


Anna Saldinger has been accepted into the Young

Writers’ Workshop at Bard College at Simon’s Rock this

summer! Mazel tov, Anna!

Allison Lukas has been elected the Regional N’siah

(President) of BBYO’s Central Region West! Mazel tov,


Mazel tov to Beth El congregants Rudy Brandt and Bryn

Lewin-Offel, who have completed a full year of training

and strategic philanthropy work, raising money locally for

worthy causes in Israel and around the world with JCF’s

East Bay Jewish Teen Foundation.

Announcing our 2013-14 Sababa Board

Noah Winkelman, President

Liora Ami, Religious & Cultural Vice President

Tal Zvik, Communications Vice President

Eli Waldman, Membership Vice President

Nathan Magid, Programming Vice President

Emily Levenson, Social Action Vice President

Eliana Pollick, Photographer

Jessicah Ross, Member-At-Large

Avi Park-Bernstein, 8th Grade Representative

Anna Portnoy, 7th Grade Representative

Max Sklar, 6th Grade Representative

Nitzan Gladstone, Event Chair

Mazel tov on being elected and

we look forward to an amazing year!

Save the Date!

Beth El Congregational Shabbaton

October 11-13, 2013 at Camp Newman

Sababa & Ruach will be offering retreat options for our

6th-8th graders and 4th-5th graders!

I’m not ready to say goodbye to such a good year, but I also

can’t wait for the new year to come. Happy summer!

8 The Builder: June & July 2013

Distributing Tallitot

to Jews in Uganda

by Elisabeth Wechsler

Tagging along with a documentary film group, Marv Pearlstein,

a Beth El member since 2001, brought new tallitot in March to a

94-year-old congregation of Jews in Mbale, Uganda.

There are two stories here.

One is the establishment of a coffee-growing cooperative of

Muslims, Christians and Jews that sustains the community

economically and keeps the peace in a remarkable example

of religious respect and cooperation. The coffee cooperative is

called mirembe kawomera, meaning “delicious peace” in the

local language, Luganda. It was founded by J. J. Keki, who is

also active in the community’s religious life.

The Mbale cooperative has a contract with Thanksgiving Coffee

of Fort Bragg, California, to market their fair-trade coffee. Since

the cooperative was started living conditions in Mbale have

improved markedly. There is now electricity in the Abayudaya

(meaning “people of Judah”) Congregation Moses Synagogue

and interior facilities next door in the rabbi’s house.

The other story is that of a tribal elder in 1919 who chose

Judaism as his religion; then most members of the tribe

converted and the men were circumcised. The leader, Semei

Kakungulu, rejected both British rule and the New Testament

in one decision. Semei chose a literal interpretation of the Old

Testament as his sacred text, and his descendants are involved in

both the coffee cooperative and in Mbale’s religious life. Many

members of the community were officially converted to Judaism

in 2002 by Conservative rabbis.

Since the coffee cooperative was started, it has served as an

example of a stunning reversal of violence and strife in Uganda

by the cooperation of its residents across religious lines. The

documentary film about the cooperative will be aired on PBS in

the coming year.

www.bethelberkeley.org 9


”Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof“

Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue

by Laurie Swiadon and Norman Postone, co-chairs, Israel Committee

Congregation Beth El is connecting with the Israel Religious Action

Center (IRAC) of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism

(i.e., the Reform Movement) in an exciting new relationship.

Beth El’s Israel Committee has been working on creating greater

engagement in Israel for our congregation. We want to learn

more and do more to address the growing gap between Israel

and the Diaspora. We invite you to join our meetings, the first

Thursday of each month.

During the past two years, Congregation Beth El has hosted a

variety of scholars and representatives of organizations in Israel.

Through this process, we have realized that our engagement as

American Jews can affect the development of Israel. A number

of our speakers have encouraged us to become more actively

involved. As a result, our committee unanimously voted to ask

the Congregation Beth El Board of Directors to encourage its

membership to support the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC).

We are thrilled to announce that the Board has agreed.

As the public and legal advocacy arm of the Reform Movement

in Israel, IRAC was originally initiated in 1987 to win recognition

and gain equal government funding for Reform and Conservative

Judaism, with the goals of advancing religious pluralism in

Israel. After a long legal battle, IRAC won the right for Reform

and Conservative rabbis to be paid by government funding,

as Orthodox rabbis are. Today, IRAC’s legal work extends well

beyond advocating for the rights of Reform and Conservative

Jews. IRAC’s legal department has become expert on the issue

of fair distribution of government funds for other minority groups.

IRAC is now the preeminent civil and human rights organization

in Israel, having achieved many successes in the Supreme Court.

For example, IRAC has been at the forefront of the battle against

gender segregation for over a decade on bus lines and at the

Western Wall. In 2011, after a four-year legal battle, IRAC won a

Supreme Court case effectively making forced gender segregation

on public buses illegal and prosecutable.

IRAC also lobbies the Knesset on behalf of bills that promote

a more just, pluralistic and democratic society and works to

block new laws that are discriminatory, unjust and threaten

the democratic nature of the state. IRAC has greatly improved

laws regarding Israeli Palestinians, Bedouins, immigrants, LGBT

communities and widows, and is working to secure freedom of

choice in marriage and equal rights in divorce for all Israelis.

We want to do our part to build a strong Reform Movement in

Israel. In addition, we want to give what we can as a community to

promote an Israel that protects equal rights for its citizens, whatever

their religious or ethnic background. This purpose is clearly stated

in The Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel.

This year you will see a new box on your membership renewal

form asking for your support for IRAC. We encourage you to

check “Yes” to show your support for a more just and democratic

Israel, and add an extra $36 donation to your Beth El membership

toward that support.

Alfred Cotton Story, Continued from Page 3

of the kids, Alfred included, walked in pairs. Jewish children

who attended public school had a worse time of it. They were

often pushed, shoved and, increasingly, beaten up by their non-

Jewish classmates.

By this time no Jewish professionals — doctors, lawyers,

accountants — could work for “Aryan” (that is, non-Jewish)

clients, and no Jewish clients could be served by “Aryans.”

Fortunately, Alfred’s family’s doctors and lawyers were all Jewish.

In 1937, his father and uncle started to wind down their wine

wholesale business in Hamburg and were finished by the end

of that year. They gave up the premises by early 1938. At this

point there were about 18,000 Polish Jews living in Germany.

The Polish government decreed that they needed to revalidate

their Polish passports, but the problem was that the Polish

consulates refused to revalidate the passports of Jews and

made it clear that they didn’t want Jews to repatriate.


The Builder: June & July 2013

On October 28, 1938, two German

police came to the door in the middle

of the night and arrested Alfred’s father.

Along with other male Polish Jews,

Alfred’s father and uncle were deported to the Polish border, but

Poland wouldn’t grant them entry. They stayed in the “no man’s

land” between the German and Polish borders until agreement

was reached to allow the deported Jews to stay at a camp at

Zbaszyn on the Polish side of the border. Polish Jewish women

were not deported at this time.

Alfred’s father and uncle were able to board a train, first to

Alfred’s mother’s parents’ home in Przemysl and then on to his

father’s family’s house in Sambor a while later. They stayed

there for some time, Alfred said.

The next article will describe the effects of Kristallnacht on

the Jewish community in Germany and on Alfred’s family, in


The congregation is cordially invited to

attend the service and kiddush following

to honor these b’nei mitzvah candidates:


Eli Waldman will be called to the Torah

as a Bar Mitzvah on Saturday, June 1 at

10:15 am. He is the son of Jed Waldman

and Laura Harnish.

Photo by Emma Waldman

Rebecca Mogill will be called to the

Torah as a Bat Mitzvah on Saturday, June

22 at 10:15 am. She is the daughter of

Mark Mogill and Maribel Paterno-Mogill.

Ezra Bolton will be called to the Torah

as a Bar Mitzvah on Saturday, June 8 at

10:15 am. He is the son of Woody Bolton

and Judy Wolff-Bolton.

Abigail Cole will be called to the Torah

as a Bat Mitzvah on Saturday, June 29 at

10:15 am. She is the daughter of Felicia

Cole and Dean Amundson.

Avi Simon will be called to the Torah as a

Bar Mitzvah on Saturday, June 15 at 10:15

am. He is the son of Jonathan Simon and

Christina Spaulding.

Avi Park-Bernstein will be called to the

Torah as a Bar Mitzvah on Saturday, July 6

at 10:15 am. He is the son of Alicia Park

and Lee Bernstein.


Join Us at LGBT Pride 2013!

Congregation Beth El will join Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership

for Justice in the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT)

Pride Parade in downtown San Francisco on Sunday, June 30

at 10:30 am. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to release

its decision on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act

some time before the Pride parade. This will be an amazing

opportunity to celebrate — or protest — the decision together.

The entire Jewish community, including LGBT people and allies,

will stand together for equality. Please sign up to walk with us in

the parade online at http://bit.ly/sfpride2013. Contact Margee

Burch, margee@bethelberkeley.org or 510-848-3988, ext. 211,

for more information.

Open Sukkahs Wanted for Community


Each year, members open their sukkahs for an evening or an

afternoon and members visit, sit and share a potluck meal or a

snack in sukkahs throughout the East Bay. Invite your friends and

we will inform the Beth El community of your invitation. Sukkah

parties are the best! Please contact Ruth Ehrenkrantz ruthehren@

comcast.net with any questions or to sign up as an open sukkah

host this year: September 18–25. Thanks!

High Holy Days Volunteer oPPortunitIES

by Ruth Ehrenkrantz

There are many ways for our members to get involved and

make High Holy Day services a welcoming and participatory

experience. We need about 200 volunteers for various tasks over

the holidays. Please offer your help early and make planning

simpler for our clergy and lay leadership.

• Welcome people as they walk into our synagogue. This is

a wonderful way to make our members and guests feel at

home. Volunteer to be an usher and greeter by contacting

Jerry Weintraub at gdweintraub@yahoo.com.

• Volunteer to open the Ark, read a poem or a prayer during

a service. There are options in English and Hebrew. Please

contact Peggy Lipson at peggylipson@comcast.net if you’d

like to participate in one of the services.

• Read from the Torah. We will provide you with all of the

materials you need to prepare.

If you have any questions or would like to sign up, email Sara

Sarasohn sarakeiko@gmail.com.

Thank you for offering your help!

www.bethelberkeley.org 11


A Mediterranean Dish with Meyer


by Margie Gelb

Here’s a recipe THAT TAKES ADVAnTAge of the abundance of

Meyer lemons growing all over the East Bay. Preserved lemons

are easier than pie. Brined in salt and lemon juice for several

weeks, they mellow into a lovely, light, bright lemon pickle.

Mince the peel and use to perk up salads, marinades and

Moroccan tagines. This recipe is inspired by Paula Wolfert, the

noted author of Mediterranean Cooking.

Preserved Lemons

2 Meyer lemons, scrubbed and dried

2 to 3 tablespoons kosher salt

3/4 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)


1. Cut the lemons from the stem almost to the base, in

quarters, keeping all four sections attached at the base so

the lemon continues to hold together.

2. Open each lemon gently and sprinkle it inside with one

tablespoon of salt. If some spills, scoop up the spilled salt

and rub it over the outer edges.

3. Place the lemons in a glass jar just large enough to hold

them. Pour lemon juice over lemons. Seal the jar tightly

with lid.

4. Leave the jar on the counter for 7 days. Shake jar every

day. On day 7, place jar in the refrigerator. Keeps well for

2 to 3 months.

Asparagus & PrESErved Lemon Farro Salad

1 1/2 cups farro, semi-pearled

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 pound asparagus

1 preserved lemon, insides removed, rinsed and, diced small (or

2 tablespoons prepared preserved lemon from a jar)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/3 cup red onion, diced small

Freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces French feta cheese

1/2 cup dry cured Moroccan olives, pitted


1. In a saucepan, bring farro and enough water to cover to

a boil. Add salt, lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes.

Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with olive oil.

2. meanwhile, break the tough stems off asparagus. Steam

asparagus for 3 to 4 minutes or until they turn a bright and

vibrant green. Plunge in cold water to stop the cooking

process. Cut into 2-inch pieces. Add to cooked farro.

3. Stir diced preserved lemon, lemon juice, diced red

onion and black pepper into cooked farro. Fold in feta

cheese and olives. Taste for salt but you probably won’t

need it.

Serves 4 to 6.

Margie, along with her daughter Josie, wrote and published a cookbook entitled The Lazy Gourmet: Real Food, Real Easy.

Although she took cooking classes in France and in the Bay Area, most of her easy recipes were developed during the years

when she was a working mother and was determined to have wonderful meals using fresh ingredients

that were nevertheless not too onerous to prepare.

Letters to the Editor

Your thoughts and opinions are important to us. If you have

a subject of interest to the Congregation, write a letter or

essay of a maximum of 500 words and submit it to:

Editor, The Builder, emwechsler@earthlink.net by

June 26, 2013 for the August-September issue.

Letters, essays and guest articles may be edited for

length and at the discretion of the Marketing &

Communications Committee.

No anonymous submissions will be accepted.

Editorial Staff of The Builder

Elisabeth Wechsler, Editor and Senior Writer

Guest Contributors: Elizabeth Fishel, Margie Gelb,

Scott Spear, Cathy Sevens

Janine Baer, Copy Editor

Jennifer Robinson, Layout and Design

Margee Burch, Production Coordinator

The Marketing and Communications Committee will offer

guidance and suggestions for future issues of The Builder.

Interested members are invited to join the committee.

Contact jeff.seideman@earthlink.net


The Builder: June & July 2013

Member Corner

Compiled by The Builder Editor, Elisabeth Wechsler


Finkel Family

Lonnie and his children Sarah and Robbie Finkel live in Orinda;

Lonnie has his own law firm with offices in San Francisco and

Walnut Creek. He’s an avid swimmer who enjoys doing anything

outdoors. Daughter Sarah was born in Berkeley in January

2000, and son Robert was born there in February 2002. The

children attend Seven Hills School in Walnut Creek. Sarah is

finishing the seventh grade and she competes in equestrian

events around the state. Robbie is finishing the fifth grade and

will continue at Seven Hills’ middle school next year. Robbie is

also a good student and enjoys an array of seasonal sports and

playing the guitar. Lonnie, Sarah and Robbie love the East Bay

and Berkeley, in particular, for its diversity and eclectic blend

of peoples, perspectives, arts and restaurants. They also enjoy

the intellectual energy and diversity of viewpoints. Lonnie and

his children chose to join Congregation Beth El because of

that same diversity, intellectual energy and commitment to the

community. They also want an opportunity to volunteer and help

those who are less fortunate. The Finkel family was also looking

for a more personal and laid-back synagogue and have found

that at Beth El.

Eyal Gurion & Ellie Shor

“The great


we received from

Yuval and Reut Gez

encouraged us to

visit the place,” said

Eyal Gurion of Beth

El. He and his wife,

Ellie Shor, found that

Maguy Weizmann

McGuire’s warm welcome and her

tour of the preschool helped convince

them that Beth El “is the perfect

place for us and for our two-yearold

daughter Noga,” Eyal added.

The family will move to the East Bay

from Israel in August. Eyal will start

the MBA program at Haas School

of Business at UC Berkeley in the

fall; he currently works in sales and

marketing in the medical device field.

For hobbies, Eyal plays the drums, and enjoys wine tastings,

while Ellie has Noga(!), plus vegan and healthy food and

philosophy. Noga loves painting on everything. Ellie and Eyal

both plan to volunteer in Beth El’s preschool. Ellie also would

like to help with the library and perhaps teach philosophy. Eyal

may also volunteer as a handyman on standby.

Loren and Elise Perelman

Loren and Elise Perelman moved to Oakland from San Diego

a year ago because Loren secured a position in analytics at a

biotech company in Emeryville. Elise is a stay-at-home mom.

They were drawn to Beth El because of the preschool. “We have

two children, a first grader and a 3 1/2 year old,” Loren said.

Gail & Thomas Reagan

Gail and Thomas Reagan have lived in the Bay Area most of

their lives. They live in Oakland. Gail is a licensed clinical social

worker (LCSW) and Tom is a solar energy developer.

Other New Members

We would also like to welcome: Jack and Rose Gansky of

Berkeley; Judith Gussman of Albany; Nicole Harris and

Rattanoch Hort; Will and Teresa Kabat-Zinn, of Albany; Sydell

Lemerman (Rabbi Zellman’s grandmother), of San Francisco;

Allison, Dylan and Cora (2) Saloner; Emily Schnitzer (Camp Kee

Tov Administrator); Joshua and Talya Weinstein of Berkeley.

Ruth Ehrenkrantz’s Gefilte fISh

The person who gave me this recipe a few years ago

said to buy cheap fish. I have used cod, perch, salmon,

red snapper, basa basa and sole in the past. Using fish

that has been frozen is fine. It is nice to use two or three

different fish when you make it.

For two bread loaf pans:

3 pounds of fish fillets

In a food processor, grate 2 onions and 2 carrots. Place in

a large bowl. Add:

¼ cup of matzoh meal

1½ tablespoons sugar

½ tablespoon of salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon oil

¼ cup water

3 eggs

If the fish has bones, take them out with a pair of tweezers.

Grind up the fish in the food processor a pound at a time

using the pulse setting. You want it to be ground up, but

not turned into paste. Add the fish to the bowl. Mix well.

Turn into oiled loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 90 minutes.

Cool and slice to serve.

www.bethelberkeley.org 13

Editor’s Column

Board Buzz

by Elisabeth Wechsler

This column covers two BOARD meetings, March 19 and

April 30. In my first column (see the April-May issue of The Builder

on Beth El’s website), I covered most of the business brought to

the Board. This time, because of space limitations, I will just draw

your attention to the highlights of each meeting.

The March 19 meeting was highlighed by Joanne Backman’s

announcement of the slate of officers nominated for the Board.

By now you know the candidates, who are our elected officials of

Beth El. Note that Jill Dodd, first vice president, will assume the

presidency of the Board in two years.

A presentation by the Jewish Community Relations Council

(JCRC) representative, Myrna David, followed. Myrna, who is

based in Oakland, was introduced by member Wilma Rader and

then proceeded to outline what the JCRC does — namely, Israel

advocacy, social action, interfaith outreach, education, synagogue

engagement, legislative affairs, and more. The JCRC can help

publicize events and news to the larger Jewish community.

A discussion of the proposed dues increase to $2,875, a 2.7

percent increase, followed. It was noted that some 66 percent of

the congregation do not pay the full dues amount, and concern

was expressed about increasing the synagogue dues every year.

Jim Offel suggested that members pay 1.5 percent of their gross

income as dues. However, the resolution passed, and it was noted

that the cost per family to provide Beth El’s programs is $4,100 —

higher than the proposed dues increase.

There was also an update of the Ma Tovu Campaign by Jim Offel.

To date, we have received pledges from 40 member households,

for a total of $1,238,883. Solicitations continue for the 34 percent

of the congregation who pay at least the full dues amount, with

the goal of raising at least $2,000,000 in pledges by the High

Holy Days.

Norman Postone presented a request from the Israel Committee

for a voluntary $36-per-membership donation to Israel Religious

Action Center (IRAC) to provide advocacy on civil rights and

social justice in Israel. Norman asked that this request be part

of Beth El’s annual dues pledge process. Discussion followed,

with several cautionary remarks about setting a precedent. The

measure passed.

Absent: Paul Sugarman, Wendy Lukas, Nancy Turak and Amy


Guests were: Myrna David (JCRC), Wilma Rader and Elisabeth


The April 30 Board meeting was the last one presided over by

President Dan Magid. Paul Sugarman, Beth El’s new President,

will serve two years beginning May 6. Once again, just the


Beth El now has 502 member families. There will be a push

for members to submit their renewals by September 4, Rosh


A discussion was held about setting up a foundation for Camp

Kee Tov and to allocate a percentage of synagogue overhead

expenses, including pro-rating staff salaries. It is thought that it

might be easier to have parents of Kee Tov campers write a check

for a donation to the foundation rather than to Beth El. An alumni

group is being set up — with some alums in their 60s. In addition,

91 non-member families checked the box “yes,” asking if they

would be interested in membership at Beth El. Several Board

members noted that this development is a good recruitment tool

for Beth El. Membership packets, including brochures for Youth

and Family Education (YAFE) programs and Chug Mishpacha,

were sent to these 91 interested families.

A large part of the meeting was devoted to going over the

budget before the May 5 Annual Meeting and various slides were

recommended to show the full membership to keep it informed

but not overwhelmed.

Next was the authorization of a standing committee on governance

to cover Board nominations for next year’s slate and to establish

training materials for new members of the Board. Mentors signed

up to help the seven new Board members get up to speed and

were urged to contact their “newbies” before May 5.

The meeting ended with Dan giving farewell gifts to Board

members. The next meeting will be Tuesday, May 28 at 7:00 pm.

All Beth El members are welcome to attend.

Absent: Allen Nudel, Wendy Lukas, Amy Resner.

Guest: Elisabeth Wechsler

Note of ApprECIation

Immediate Past President Dan Magid has generously

offered to pay for the printing and bulk-mailing of this

issue of The Builder in order that every member household

will receive an actual hard copy in the mail. This gift is just

one of many that Dan has provided to our congregation.

His time and leadership have contributed to the success

of Beth El in many roles over the years, most recently as

President of the Board of Directors. Yasher Koach, Dan!


The Builder: June & July 2013

Jews By Choice

My Conversion

by Cathy Sevens

THROughout my LIFE I have been a spiritual journeyer. When

I left Ithaca, New York with two kids, one frog, and a passel of

dreams in tow, I had no idea that I would live in California for

the next 11 years, serve on the Board of Directors of Beth El, and

eventually convert to Judaism. All I knew was that once I had

found a neighborhood community, it would be important to me to

search out a spiritual one. Not being one to close doors, I sported

my kids to one church after another in search of a place that felt

— to all of us — comfortable, known, and yes, inspirational.

Our journey was rather fruitless. Finally, one morning, spiritually

parched and just a little desperate, I called my friend, Marian

Magid, and asked if I could come with her to her synagogue.

Of course, as I said, up to this point, I never considered actually

becoming Jewish. Growing up in the Bible Belt I never knew a

single Jew — or if I did, I sure didn’t know it. However, when

I moved from Wichita Falls, Texas, to Ithaca, New York, I

discovered with unerring accuracy who was Jewish: they were,

simply, the folks with whom, without knowing why, I felt an

instant and deep affinity. No wonder, then, that when I moved

here and Marian carted me off to my first Friday evening service

I immediately fell in love. I felt I had been here 5,000 years. I

was finally, finally home.

Of course, these transformative experiences tend to be

somewhat unnerving and I had to immediately step back and

take a deep breath for several months. However, when one

finds one’s true heart, there is no turning back. In another

several months, work slowed down and I was left with a wideopen

swath of time and the urge to study.

My study was pure pleasure. I read; I searched; I soaked up

everything I could. My desire and devotion were irrepressible.

Marian somehow gradually eased me over until I was serving

on the Board, making latkes, and presenting Torah portions. Of

course, by this time I had Albert and the rest of the family by my

side as well. I celebrated the High Holy Days, Chanukah, and

Passover with them. My first Seders were replete with Marian’s

matzo bagels, Robinn’s potato flour banana cookies, and lots

of memories of a loving, wide-hearted patriarch bargaining for

Afikomen with the not-yet-sleepy children who would eventually

manage to yawn their way through the final songs. By now I not

only had a home; I had a whole community.

I chose the Friday service for my conversion. I dressed and

headed with my friend Edith Reimann, my children and my

mother to the synagogue. There were all my friends from Torah

study — too many to name — standing ready to welcome me

into their family. I was so ready. That night I walked up to the

bimah, Marian by my side. Together we lit the candles and

together we sang the blessing. At the end of the evening, after

the last blessing, after the wine was passed and the challah,

shielded from embarrassment by the beautiful cloth, was

uncovered, broken and shared, I was Jewish at last. Without

knowing it, I had been waiting for this moment all my life.

Cathy Sevens is chair of the Women of Beth El.

Go, Listen, Take Part, Be Patient

by Scott Spear

A rabbi performed our wedding service 45 years ago

in the chapel of the Episcopalian seminary where I was studying

for the priesthood. I changed my mind about that vocation but

stayed as a student at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) for

three more years, then switched to law school so as to become

a public defender. By then, if I had been asked my religion, I

would have answered: none.

We joined Congregation Beth El about 30 years ago for our

children’s education, and I was asked to be on the religious

school committee. I had read books in my teens by Jewish

writers such as Buber, Heschel and Scholem, and my GTU

studies, though mostly in New Testament, included Hebrew and

rabbinic Judaism.

About 30 years ago at a picnic, a friend remarked to me that an

ethics requires an epistemology. This outraged me. Wondering

why I felt that way, I returned to some philosophers who had

meant a lot to me earlier. This led me to the works of Emmanuel

Levinas, Otherwise Than Being: Or Beyond Essence, a book that

made a decisive difference. One day six years later, it occurred

to me that I had never decided whether or not to become a Jew.

It was time to decide, one way or the other. I put this out of my

mind to await the decision, and two months later it came to me

in an instant that I must, so I told my rabbi, and he told me what

to do. I am certain, too, that the people of Beth El had a great

influence on this decision.

Books that had a signal effect upon me: The Bible, which I read

first as a child. There were also the works of Paul Celan, Jacques

Derrida and, especially, Levinas. Some Bible commentators have

been important to me, particularly Michael Fishbane and Jacob

Milgram. A recently important Jewish writer for me is Vladimir


Just go, listen, take part, be patient.

Scott Spear is chair of the Library Committee. He is an active

participant in the Roots and Branches class taught by Rabbi

Kahn. He is married to Ruth Spear.

www.bethelberkeley.org 15

New Books in the Library



Breaking Bread in Galilee: A Culinary Journey into the

Promised Land, by Abby Rosner, tells of the author’s learning

about the cuisine of Bedouins and Druze, whose trust she earned.

While there are few recipes, the book provides a great deal of

information about people and their food in northern Israel.

Recipes abound in Jerusalem: A Cookbook, by Yotam

Ottolenghi, of West Jerusalem, and Sami Tamimi, of East

Jerusalem, who own several restaurants together. Here are

recipes of Sefardi, North African, and Palestinians, a far cry

from gefilte fish and boiled beef.

Christina Hayes, Weis Professor of Religious Studies at Yale and

a leading expert on Talmud, presents the 24 lectures of her

undergraduate course in Introduction to the Bible. (She means

the Hebrew Bible.) This is an excellent such introduction, by an

outstanding Jewish scholar. This book is in the Torah Study section.

Inheriting Abraham: The Legacy of the Patriarch in

Judaism, Christianity and Islam, by Jon Levenson, List

Professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard, challenges the view

that the three “Abrahamic faiths” have a source of unity in the


by Scott Spear, Library Chair

patriarch, arguing that their interpretations are too diverse,

their differences too profound and enduring. The book

provides an analysis of the Genesis text and of the distinctive

roles of Abraham in each tradition.

Olga Litvak, Leffell Professor of Modern Jewish History at Clark

University, argues in Haskalah: The Romantic Movement

in Judaism, that the Haskalah, commonly called the “Jewish

Enlightenment,” was, in the 19th century, a Jewish religious

revival stemming from Eastern European Romanticism,

rather than a turn to secularism, intent on fostering culture

and community as a cure for the spiritual ills of the modern

individual. Paul Mendes-Flohr says she “marshals stunning

erudition in a nigh-magical fashion” in this book.

When we build a new synagogue, we think beforehand about

how our neighbors will respond to it, and to us and how we

present ourselves. Saskia Coenen Snyder considers these

elements in Building a Public Judaism: Synagogues and

Jewish Identity in Nineteenth-Century Europe, in relation

to major synagogues built in London, Amsterdam, Paris and

Berlin. Debates over these, before and after building, provide

her with a vehicle for gauging how Jews approached selfpresentation

and how public manifestations of their identity

were received.

Please make checks payable to Congregation Beth El and

mail to 1301 Oxford Street, Berkeley, CA 94709



This contribution of $_________ is * in Memory of* * in Honor of*


Please credit the fund checked at the right:





Address 1_____________________________________________________________

Address 2_____________________________________________________________

It is a Jewish tradition to give Tzedakah to commemorate life cycle events

and other occasions. Are you celebrating a birthday, engagement,

anniversary, baby naming, bat/bar Mitzvah or recovery from an

illness These are just a few ideas of appropriate times to commemorate

with a donation to Beth El. These tax-deductible donations are greatly

appreciated and are a vital financial supplement to support the wonderful

variety of programs and activities that we offer at Congregation Beth El.

The Builder: June







your support.

General Fund - Use Where Most Needed

Aaron Plishner Children’s Library

Allan and Tybil Smith Kahn Memorial Fund

Arjmand Adult Education Fund

Building Fund

Camp Kee Tov Scholarship Fund

Chevra Kadisha Fund

David Cotton Memorial Swig Fund

Ellen Meyer Childcare Fund

Endowment Fund

Freed Flower Fund

Homeless Meal Program

Israel Scholarship Fund

Bar Lev Landscape Fund

Marian Magid Memorial Fund

Men’s Club

Mitzvah Committee

Music Fund

Nursery School Fund

Oneg/Kiddush Fund

Prayerbook Fund

Rabbi Kahn’s Discretionary Fund

Rabbi Emeritus Raj’s Discretionary Fund

Rabbi Vida Library Fund

Social Action Fund

Youth and Family Education Fund

* Youth Groups Fund


Torah Study Robust at 36

by Elisabeth Wechsler

When a first-timer WALKS into the Beit Midrash on Shabbat

morning, she or he experiences something unique, joined by

a group of regulars, drop-ins and people from the community.

You know you’re someplace special when the niggun (wordless

melody) calls everyone to order. Then, an individual takes

responsibility for a guided tour of the week’s parashah (Torah

portion). It’s not usually a Torah scholar who leads, but a

fellow congregant who studies the portion and brings her or his

interests, expertise and, especially, a particular point of view.

Other Torah study groups are not usually as open to the

wider world. They may focus strictly on the text from a certain

interpretive viewpoint, but there isn’t room for people who don’t

already know a great deal about the parashah, said Florence

Lewis, a renewed member of Congregation Beth El since 2007.

(The Lewises belonged to Beth El in the ‘80s when they were

raising their children.) The difference at Beth El’s Torah Study,

she added — speaking from experience at other synagogues —

is that you can come with no knowledge of the parashah and

leave the session with a deep understanding of that sacred text.

With 50 to 70 members in attendance each Saturday morning,

Beth El’s Torah Study is a vibrant part of the synagogue’s

services buffet each week. Its success is based on several

factors, but one reason most people mention is the diversity of

presenters of the weekly parashah; a psychologist will take one

approach of analysis, while another member, an astrophysicist,

say, will give a whole new interpretation of Jacob’s ladder.

A second reason for Torah Study’s popularity is the tight structure

that Beverly Eigner, its moderator for 10 years, provides. A

member of Beth El for 35 years, she introduces the presenter

(who must also be a member of Beth El). After the 25-minute

exposition of some angle of that parashah or the accompanying

Haftarah portion, Beverly opens the floor to discussion, calling

on different exuberant participants who are waiting to make a

comment or ask a question.

The discussion is a significant part of the experience, because it

gives a participant the opportunity to question the presenter, say

what she or he feels about the drash (sermon), or tell a personal

story that fits into the parashah. “The session is stimulating and

comforting,” said Florence. “It’s a stable thing in our lives.”

Beverly commented that the format allows adults to participate

in the discussion without being lectured to. “Our heritage is

explored together in a relaxed and serious atmosphere.”

The loyal attendees tend to be singles or couples without small

children, so Torah Study draws a somewhat older crowd, but

you could never describe the discussion as conventional or

even anticipated. The presenter holds the key to how varied

the discussion becomes. Up to now, some 520 drashot

(presentations about Torah) have been recorded on tape. And

Photos by Bill Zarchy

it’s no problem getting members to

sign up as presenters – usually, the

list is full six months in advance.

The group began with one couple,

Marian (z”l) and Albert Magid, studying the Torah portion of the

week together on the bimah in the sanctuary. Then a few other

members began to trickle in and the group moved downstairs

to the former building’s library; Albert recalls bringing in some

chairs so that everyone could sit. Marian prepared the drash

every week for three years before others were prevailed upon to

take a turn.

During those three years, Torah Study expanded to about 15

people. Former Rabbi George Vida guided the discussion by

answering the religious text queries, while his wife, Emmy Vida,

called on questioners. Coffee and conversation would follow

and Albert commented that Torah Study really helped build

community for Beth El in those early years.

Beverly strongly echoed that sentiment. In fact, Torah Study has

been responsible for recruiting new members to the synagogue

even today. The group is almost like a big chavurah, or

personalized subsection, of the 500-member congregation. And

it makes congregants feel less isolated because of the warm


Beverly believes that Torah Study accomplishes the three main

purposes of a synagogue: as a house of prayer, providing

opportunities for study and bringing together the Jewish

community. The group augments what the rabbis offer in terms of

bible study. Prayer begins and ends every group meeting and the

religious texts are honored. Everyone who comes for the first time

introduces her- or himself and receives a warm welcome. Because

Torah Study is lay led, there is no need for a budget. In fact, Torah

Study is a very independent part of Beth El and draws many of the

secular-minded congregants for its intellectual approach.

Lastly, Torah Study has stimulated the Beth El library to expand

its research offerings to aid members in preparing their drash,

and most presenters spend several hours getting ready. Beverly

noted, “You may not get the most out of a parashah without

another’s guidance. And sometimes the best part is that you get

to know the presenter better.”

www.bethelberkeley.org 17


A Year of Medieval, Renaissance and

Baroque Jewish music at Beth El

by Rabbi Reuben Zellman

Between June 2013 and June 2014, our congregation

welcomes to our sanctuary a rare and beautiful concert series:

four productions of Jewish and Jewish-themed music of the

Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods.

For several years I have been a singer with the professional

ensemble San Francisco Renaissance Voices (SFRV). This

ensemble puts on high–quality, creative concerts of early music

— that is, music written before the year 1750.

What many of us don’t know is that some of the music that

has survived from the 12th – 18th centuries is Jewish music.

Imagine music that sounds very much like Bach or Gregorian

chant but with Hebrew words. It is truly a joy for me that SFRV

has dedicated its 2013 – 2014 season to this glorious and littleknown

repertoire, and that Beth El will be hosting one of each of

these performances.

We begin on Sunday, June 30 (4:00 pm) with the Latin play,

Ludus Danielis (The Play of Daniel). The remaining three

performances will be entirely in Hebrew. Complete English

translations will be provided. This September’s concert will

feature cantatas, prayers and chants for the final days of Sukkot.

On Purim evening 2014, we’ll host the 1774 Hebrew oratorio/

opera T’shuat Yisrael al y’dei Ester (The Salvation of Israel by

Esther) with soloists, chorus and chamber orchestra — and we’ll

be able to boo Haman. Finally, late spring 2014 will feature

music for weddings, circumcisions and synagogue dedications.

Even more exciting is that our own Beth El chorus and other area

musicians will be collaborating as performers for some of these

works. There is still a little time to be included in the chorus so if

you want to join in, contact me right away!

As each of these concerts approaches, I will be featuring more

information about the upcoming music and the marvelous

histories behind it, as well as the dates of the performances.

Ludus Danielis (The Play of Daniel)

Sunday, June 30 in the Beth El Sanctuary

3:30 pm Pre-concert talk by Rabbi Reuben Zellman

4:00 pm Performance

In the year 1140, the students of Beauvais Cathedral in

Northern France composed one of the earliest music dramas in

existence. For their subject, they chose the Hebrew Bible — the

mysterious, fiery Book of Daniel.

I will be portraying the prophet Habbakuk. If you’ve ever wanted

to see me in a den of lions, well, now is your chance. The text has

been slightly adjusted, removing the invocations to Jesus that the

young Catholics added to the story — they were required to, but

we’re not! Otherwise, you’ll see the Play of Daniel as originally

written. The music is in the style of Medieval chant and dance tunes,

with soloists and choir, costumes, and Medieval instruments and

dance. I will give a short pre-concert talk about the Book of Daniel

and how Jewish tradition has understood it (or not!) over time.

For complete information and tickets, go to sfrv.org. Tickets will

also be available at the door, $15.00-$30.00. Whether tickets

are financially possible for you right now or not, we want to see

you at there! If you need to, please contact me confidentially so

we can make sure you can join us: (510) 848–3988, ext. 228.

I hope to see many of you at these performances over the next

year—rare and wonderful opportunities to hear incredible

Jewish music.

Going Overseas and Want to VISIt a Reform Congregation

How do you find your larger Progressive/Reform/Liberal family when travelling outside of North America The process is different than what you find in

North America, where synagogues and Jewish institutions generally have an “open-door” policy and regularly welcome visitors. Elsewhere, there is a

pervasive security consciousness. Many synagogues do not publish their street addresses, return phone calls or emails, or openly declare their presence.

A random visitor, even one claiming affiliation with a Reform synagogue in the U.S. or Canada, is likely to be turned away if visiting unannounced.

The best way to connect is to have the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), the institution that serves, nurtures, and supports 1,700+

Reform/Progressive/Liberal Jewish congregations worldwide, make the connection for you. Several weeks in advance of your vacation, go to the

World Union for Progressive Judaism website, wupj.org. On the main page, use the dialogue box to search for WUPJ congregations by country and

then city. Once you verify the presence of a congregation in the area you plan to visit, email or call Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor (gary@wupj.org

or 212-452-6531) at the WUPJ’s New York office. Provide your travel dates, planned accommodations, when you would like to visit the congregation,

the number of people in your party, and a way to contact you once you are there. If given sufficient time, the WUPJ can arrange a personal visit.


The Builder: June & July 2013

Midrasha Wraps Up the Year


by Diane Bernbaum, Director


For those with teens in 8th TO 12th grade, please pull

out your calendars and make sure that you have the following

dates: Wednesday, August 28 – orientation for new students and

parents; Friday, August 30 – last day to register for Midrasha

without a late fee; Sunday, September 8 – first day of Midrasha

classes; Midrasha retreats – November 8–10; January 31–

February 2; and April 25–27.

Ask most teens what their favorite part of Midrasha is and

they will answer without blinking: “The retreats.” This year, the

Midrasha in Berkeley campus has taken on the administration of

the retreats on behalf of all four Midrasha campuses (Oakland,

Berkeley, Contra Costa, and Tri Valley/Tri Cities).

All together 230 teens from the four Midrasha campuses

attended one or more of our weekend retreats, and nearly

half of these teens attended two or three retreats. Teens spent

time together learning, praying, singing, dancing, growing and

playing. They had the chance to step out of their busy lives for a

brief period of time to catch their breath.

We have had the perfect person as Midrasha’s first Director of

Experiential Education, Jenni Mangel. Unfortunately, it proved

too difficult on her family for her to be gone so many nights and

weekends and Jenni made the difficult decision not to return to

this role next year.

The good news is that we have hired a fantastic individual to

take on the leadership of the Midrasha retreat program. Isaak

Brown is one of our own — he has been a teacher on both the

Oakland and Tri-Valley/Tri-Cities (Pleasanton) campuses and

has also staffed our retreat program in the past.

Isaak has been involved in education for the past seven years

with a focus on social justice, service-learning and spiritual

practice. He graduates this year with a masters in religious

leadership and social change from the Graduate Theological

Union. When not in front of a white board and a group of

teens, he is biking on- and off-trail, eating vegan donuts and

volunteering in violence prevention work across the Bay. “My

favorite things about Midrasha retreats are getting to sing songs

and practice being our best to each other all weekend long,”

Isaak says.

Midrasha Berkeley Registration Now oPEn!

East Bay teens in grades 8 through 12 receive an enriching

education and have fun while they’re doing it. For more

information or to register, go to the website www.midrasha.org.


June 1

Parashat Sh’lach

Numbers 13:1-15:41

Sara Kupor

June 8

Parashat Korach

Numbers 16:1-18:32

Robert Goldstein

June 15

Parashat Chukat

Numbers 19:1-22:1

Lisa Feldman

June 22

Parashat Balak

Numbers 22:2-25:9

Rabbi Yoel Kahn

June 29

Parashat Pinchas

Numbers 25:10-30:1

Arella Barlev

July 6

Parashat Matot-Masei

Numbers 30:2-36:13

Michelle Wolfson

July 13

Parashat Devarim

Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22

Arella Barlev

July 20

Parashat Vaetchanan

Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11

Toni Stein

July 27

Parashat Eikev

Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25

Dan Magid

www.bethelberkeley.org 19


Annual Fund

Jeff Sloan in appreciation of Rabbi Kahn

Bar Lev Landscape Fund

Zoe & Aaron Davidman in memory of Peregrine Elan Gardner

Michael Ogul in memory of Peregrine Elan Gardner

B’nei MitzVAH TzEDAKAH Fund

Ruth Ehrenkrantz, Spencer Klein & Micah Klein in honor of

the b’nei mitzvah class of 2013/14

Susan Orbuch & Jim Gilbert in honor of Gefen Gladstone,

Aliyah Ross, AJ Ingberman & Noah Winkelman becoming

b’nei mitzvah

Alicia Park & Lee Bernstein

The Simon-Spaulding Family in honor of the 2013 b’nei

mitzvah class

Building Fund

Bonnie Roditti in appreciation for Midrasha being able to use

Beth El’s Social Hall for MidrashaBang


Steven & Katherine Resnik

David COTTON Memorial Swig Fund

Diane & Edwin Bernbaum in memory of David Cotton’s birthday

Gail & Ralph Bernstein in memory of Gertrude Glueck,

Sidney Glueck & Samuel Bernstein

Resources Offered for Mental Health and

Mental IllnESS

by Susan Sugarman and Karen Harber

Did you know that Congregation Beth El has a task force

aimed at reducing the stigma of mental illness, and

working to ensure that our community is responsive to the

needs of families and individuals who struggle to maintain

mental health Our group of volunteer psychotherapists,

social workers, and psychiatrists has compiled a list of

local agencies that provide free or low-fee counseling,

consultation and advocacy services.

You may access the document here or via the Beth El

website at www.bethelberkeley.org/mentalhealth.

If you have difficulty accessing the document or if you find

that any of the entries are out of date, please contact Susan

Sugarman, susansugarmanlcsw@gmail.com or

510-206-9746. We hope that this list will enable

congregants and their friends to get the help appropriate to

their circumstances. For more information about the Mental

Health Task Force, contact Susan Sugarman or Karen

Harber, kharber1@aol.com. Our group is prepared to offer

speakers or programs to promote the well-being of Beth El

members and we welcome your suggestions for topics that

are of interest to you.

General Fund

Adele Amodeo in honor of Stuart Berman

Adele Amodeo in memory of Aron M. Rosenzweig

Gloria Bocian & William Schnitzer

Florence Borkon in memory of George Rosenberg

Barbara Fierer & Bob Brandfon in memory of Jacob Brandfon

Ruth Greer in honor of Stuart Berman

Juliette Hassid in memory of Marguerite Mizrahi

Edward Holly

Steven Joseph & Corey Hansen-Joseph in memory of

Dorothy Golner

Steven Joseph & Corey Hansen-Joseph in honor of Barbara

Fierer & Bob Brandfon’s granddaughter’s bat miztvah

Susan Klee & David Stoloff

Sara & Robert Kupor in honor of their chavurah

Gary & Lois Marcus in memory of Selma Marcus

Gary & Lois Marcus in memory of Sally White

Julie Matlof Kennedy & Patrick Kennedy in memory of

Morris Matlof

Brett Mendel & Michelle Pearl in memory of Eric Mendel

Barbara Morgan in memory of Ruben Zelwer

Lloyd Morgan

Marv Pearlstein in memory of Harriet & Alfred Pearlstein

Marv Pearlstein in honor of Adam Pearlstein’s birthday, Teri

Kozy’s recovery, Carol Pearlstein’s recovery, and Jacob

Pearlstein’s high school graduation

Lucymarie Ruth

Barry Silverblatt & Angela Botelho in memory of

Jacqueline Silver

Ruth & Scott Spear in memory of Norman Schiffman

Ruth & Scott Spear in honor of Paul & Susan Sugarman for

hosting a Supper & Schmooze dinner

John Steinfirst

Sharon Caplow Todd

Vadjiheh Yadegar in memory of Ashraf Kashvi

Vadjiheh Yadegar in memory of Nosrat Yadegar

Joel Zeldin

Phyllis Zisman in honor of Stuart Berman

Phyllis Zisman in honor of Max & Bonnie Cooperstein’s 59th


Homeless Meal Program

Susan & Bruce Carter in honor of the bat mitzvah of Sarah


Clarke & Maria Daniels

Edythe Heda

Jewish Community Center of the East Bay in memory of

Peregrine Elan Gardner

Steven Joseph & Corey Hansen-Joseph

Rabbi Yoel Kahn & Dan Bellm

Peggy & Michael Lipson

Debra & Oren Massey in memory of Peregrine Elan Gardner

Josie & Alex A.G. Shapiro in memory of Peregrine Elan Gardner

Rabbi Bridget Wynne in memory of Peregrine Elan Gardner

Rabbi Reuben Zellman & Erika Katske


Iren Suhami


The Builder: June & July 2013


Ma Tovu

Dan & Robinn Magid

Marv Pearlstein

Steven & Katherine Resnick

Alan Sanstad & Katherine Haynes-Sanstad

Marion MAGID Memorial Fund

Gail & Ralph Bernstein in memory of Gertrude Glueck,

Sidney Glueck & Samuel Bernstein

Music Fund

Adele Amodeo

Susan & Bruce Carter in honor of Shelley & Steven Simrin

and Rabbi Reuben Zellman

Amy Joy

Sara Weglinsky

Susan & Bill Zarchy

Nursery School Fund

Howard & Rosalind Feinstein in memory of Benjamin Anani

Gershon Feinstein

Robert Goldstein & Anna Mantell in honor of the 100th

birthday of Joel Zebrack’s mother

Kevin Hale & Ruth Ever wishing refuah shlemah to Erik Hale

J. Tyson Merrill in memory of Benjamin Anani Gershon Feinstein

Antony & Arlene Polonsky in memory of Benjamin Anani

Gershon Feinstein

Barbara & Steven Segal in memory of Arthur & Belle Winett

on their 100th birthdays

Michael Singer in memory of Benjamin Anani Gershon


David Weiner & Ellen Kaufman in memory of Benjamin Anani

Gershon Feinstein

Oneg/Kiddush Fund

Anthony Hecht & Michelle Wolfson

Suan Orbuch & Jim Gilbert

Rabbi Kahn’s Discretionary Fund

Richard & Christine Aptaker

Yonit Levy in memory of Dorothy Golner

Peggy & Michael Lipson in memory of Earle, Golda, Kenneth,

Charles & Robert Jester

Chang & Shira Liu in appreciation of Rabbi Kahn

Gary & Lois Marcus in memory of Bernard Ostrom

Amy Resner & William Lee in memory of Elizabeth Resner

Stephen & Doreen Rothman

Marcel & Margrit Schurman in memory of Rafael Kafka

Rabbi Emeritus Raj’s Discretionary Fund

Phyllis Zisman in honor of the bar mitzvah of Yoav Vigoda

Rabbi VIDA Library Fund

Odette Blachman in memory of Dorothy Golner

Steven Joseph & Corey Hansen-Joseph in honor of Bob

Kupor’s birthday

Chang & Shira Liu in appreciation of Scott Spear

Jeff Sloan in appreciation of Scott Spear


Sue Ezekiel in honor of Arella Barlev

Laura & Jason Turbow

Jed Waldman in memory of Claire & Martin Waldman

Volunteer PhYSICIan SUPErVISors

nEEded at Beth El Medical Clinic

by Adele Amodeo

As many of you know, Beth El has been offering a meal

for the hungry of our community for almost a quarter of

a century. We have tried to expand our Homeless Meal

services to address more of the needs we see each

month. For example, we collect and distribute gently

worn clothing, blankets, toiletries, backpacks.

One of the principal services we added about five

years ago is a partnership medical clinic during the

same afternoon as the Homeless Meal. The medical

malpractice coverage for licensed physicians who

supervise the volunteer medical students is provided

by Lifelong Medical Care, which also provides some

supplies. The other partners of Beth El’s medical

clinic include the Suitcase Clinic, organized by the

Joint Medical Sciences Program with medical students

from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.

Undergraduate public health majors also volunteer.

Our licensed physician supervisors provide the critical

piece of the partnership, and we cannot run the

clinic without them. The paper credentialing process

through Lifelong is a little tedious but not onerous.

Materials can be filled out at home and faxed to

Lifelong. One does not have to be a Beth El member

to participate. The clinics are held between 2:00 pm

and 5:00 pm on the third Sunday of the month and

end when the dinner service begins. With a larger

pool of physician volunteers, the burden could be

minimized to twice a year.

If you are interested in volunteering, or in just finding

out more about the program, please contact me, Adele

Amodeo, MPH, at aamodeo46@aol.com. I coordinate

the clinic and send out a call early every month for

that month’s volunteers. You can also talk to Drs. Neil

Gozan and Ralph Bernstein, who have volunteered for

the program since its inception. Thanks for considering

helping out and/or referring your physician colleagues.

This is a true mitzvah.

www.bethelberkeley.org 21


June 2013 / Sivan - Tamuz 5773

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday


8:30 am Early Minyan

9:15 am Torah Study

10:15 am Bar Mitzvah

of Eli Waldman

2 3 4 5 6 7 8

9:30 am Parent-Child

Play Group

7:00 pm Chorus


7:00 pm Israel


7:30 pm Ritual


6:15 pm Shabbat


8:30 am Early Minyan

9:15 am Torah Study

10:15 am Bar Mitzvah

of Ezra Bolton

9 10 11 12 13 14 15

11:00 am JYCA Info


9:30 am Parent-Child

Play Group

7:30 pm Executive


7:00 pm Chorus


7:30 pm Membership

Committee (Offsite)

BENS Last Day

10:30 am BENS


6:15 pm Shabbat


8:30 am Early Minyan

9:15 am Torah Study

10:15 am Bar Mitzvah

of Avi Simon

16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Father’s Day

2:00 pm Homeless

Meal - Medical Clinic

5:00 pm Homeless


9:30 am Parent-Child

Play Group

7:00 pm Program


6:15 pm Yismechu

Shabbat Service

8:30 am Early Minyan

9:15 am Torah Study

10:15 am Bat Mitzvah

of Rebecca Mogill

23 24 25 26 27 28 29

3:00 pm

Camp Kee Tov


Camp Kee Tov

Session 1 First Day


Session 1

First Day

7:00 pm Board of


5:30 pm Chardonnay


6:15 pm Shabbat


8:30 am Early Minyan

9:15 am Torah Study

10:15 am Bat Mitzvah

of Abigail Cole


4:00 pm Play of



9:30 am Parent-Child

Play Group

The Builder: June & July 2013

July 2013 / Tamuz - Av 5773

1 2 3 4 5 6


Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

YAFE Early Bird


9:30 am Parent-Child

Play Group

Independence Day

Office Closed

6:15 pm Shabbat


8:30 am Early Minyan

9:15 am Torah Study

10:15 am Bar Mitzvah

of Avi Park-Bernstein

7 8 9 10 11 12 13

9:30 am Parent-Child

Play Group

6:15 pm Shabbat


8:30 am Early Minyan

9:15 am Torah Study

10:15 am Shabbat


14 15 16 17 18 19 20

1:00 pm Women of

Beth El

Erev Tishah B’Av

9:30 am Parent-Child

Play Group

Tishah B’Av

7:30 pm Membership

Committee (Offsite)

5:30 pm Camp Kee

Tov Family Night

6:15 pm Yismechu

Shabbat Service

8:30 am Early Minyan

9:15 am Torah Study

10:15 am Shabbat


21 22 23 24 25 26 27

2:00 pm Homeless

Meal - Medical Clinic

5:00 pm Homeless


9:30 am Parent-Child

Play Group


Session 3

First Day

7:00 pm Chorus


5:30 pm Chardonnay


6:15 pm Shabbat


8:30 am Early Minyan

9:15 am Torah Study

10:15 am Shabbat


28 29 30 31

3:00 pm Camp Kee

Tov Orientation

Camp Kee Tov

Session 2 First Day

9:30 am Parent-Child

Play Group

7:00 pm Chorus


www.bethelberkeley.org 23

congregation beth el

1301 Oxford Street

Berkeley, CA 94709-1424

Nonprofit Org

US Postage


Berkeley CA

Permit #00207

From the Gift Shop

During the summer months it may seem

as if the only activity going on at Beth El is

Camp Kee Tov. However, the Gift Shop is

still open and accessible, and our gracious

office staff is always ready to help.

We have just replenished our stock of Shabbat

candles, both the 72-count basic candles and

the colorful sets of twelve from Safed, Israel.

Our Beth El group who travelled to Israel in April

visited the Gabrieli Tallit studio and came back

with a gorgeous new collection. With the High

Holy Days approaching, we have added some

very attractive new tallit sets. Our b’nei mitzvah

students can take advantage of a 15 percent

discount on any tallit, or any set priced over $100.

Parents take note!

Also, in preparation for the holidays, we are

stocking an assortment of shofars in several sizes.

Prepare to add your sound to the congregation’s!

We have a SPECIAL SALE of whimsical candlestick sets

made of poly-resin created by Israeli artist Orna Lalo.

She uses glorious colors suggested by nature to make

each pair individual and special. Usually $88 a pair, we

are reducing them to $60. Quantities are limited.

Visiting relatives this summer We have a number

of suggestions for easy-to-pack gifts suitable for any


The gift shop is open Mondays through

Thursdays, from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm,

Fridays from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm,

and by appointment. It is closed on

Jewish and legal holidays. For more

information or to make a special

appointment, please call Odette

Blachman at 510-526-4917.

Odette and Robinn


More magazines by this user
Similar magazines