Ilan Vitemberg speaks at the Library about Israel and Eurovision

Deep dive into Israel's Eurovision history a real ear-opener - J.

"This is one of the most horrible songs you'll ever hear," Ilan Vitemberg said with a grin as he cued up Israel's Eurovision submission for 2000. "Sameyakh," by Ping Pong, is truly terrible, but that's not why Vitemberg was playing it for his audience at the Jewish Community Library in San Francisco on Nov.

The Jewish Community Library celebrates Rabbi Ed Zerin

Ed Zerin, the 98-year-old who wrote the book on "Jewish San Francisco" - J.

Ten books, three languages, two bar mitzvahs - Rabbi Edward Zerin has seen a lot in his 98 years. Now people are gathering to celebrate his erudite life and long career with an event at the Jewish Community Library on Oct. 25. "It was completely unexpected," Zerin said of the celebration in San Francisco.

off the shelf | Two books explain how Israel became what it is

Two 2018 books explain how Israel became what it is - J.

When faced with a vexing situation, I tend to think that part of the answer lies in finding out how we got there. And this is particularly so in the case of Israel, whose history is complicated and contested. The title of Michael Brenner's "In Search of Israel: The History of an Idea" is fitting.

A Message from Our CEO

A Message from Our CEO

Soon I’ll be in my backyard, building my rickety old sukkah, laying palm fronds on its roof, trying not to kill myself with a falling beam, cursing out my clumsiness and the thorns or splinters that come my way. My sukkah-building has been the butt of family jokes for decades. But no one complains as they dine among the decorations on a beautiful autumn evening. I love Sukkot’s earthiness, the glow of Hanukkah’s candles piercing winter’s darkness, and singing until our voices give out at our Passover Seder. Each festival brings unbridled joy, celebrated in the warm company of family, friends, and community. 

Jewish Values in Action: How Youth Professionals Help Teens Thrive

Jewish Values in Action: How Youth Professionals Help Teens Thrive

By Dana Sheanin This summer my daughter was bullied and harassed by her male counterpart on the regional board of a national Jewish youth organization. The organization's professional staff failed to take meaningful action, and I watched my daughter suffer for months before this young man was finally removed from his leadership position.

Opportunities for Teen Educators Abound through the Teen Initiative

Last Friday, 20 youth professionals met at the Jewish Federation of the East Bay for our Youth Mental Health First Aid training. This training filled up within hours of registration opening - proving that there is, indeed a demand for this critically important work.

Reading 'The Plot Against America' across the Bay - J.

Reading 'The Plot Against America' across the Bay - J.

The surprising success of Donald Trump's candidacy in 2016 brought a number of literary works out of the woodwork, but none so much as Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America." Roth's work of counterfactual historical fiction (sometimes known as the "What if?" genre) explores the imagined impact of aviator Charles Lindbergh's defeat of incumbent Franklin ...

High Holy Days Resources

Printable Activity Pages for Kids

Kids fidget. 
Adults fidget.
Everyone has a little trouble focusing sometimes.

Keep little hands/minds engaged with activity pages created for kids of all abilities and appropriate for all types of observance. Use at home, in the car, on an airplane or during services.  Share it. Print it. Pass it on!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Check out whats inside:

High Holy Days Opportunities for Families from Kesher

An Introduction from our CEO

An Introduction from our CEO

This time last year, we’d just concluded a strategic plan in response to an existential crisis: would we survive? And, should we?

As it turned out, our attention shifted to a different question: what matters most?  What work, outcomes, and impact, were calling us?

I reflected on how Jewish learning has affected my life.  It’s helped me to be a better husband, better father, better son, better brother, better friend, better neighbor, better citizen. It informed my life with joy and purpose.  It helped me understand my place in the world and with whom I belong.  It provided tools with which I could discern what success and happiness mean.  It opened my eyes to the many blessings life has provided me.  It deepened my connections with and obligations to my family, community, and the world. It helped me understand what and whose story I am a part of.

In short, Jewish learning helped me understand how to live. 

The report that follows showcases our impact and explores who we are, what we do, who we serve, and who supports our work. Every section, including this one, offers an overview and an opportunity to click to dive in where your interest or curiosity is piqued.

If you find information that intrigues you, or puzzles you, or concerns you – please reach out to me by responding to this email or by phone - 415.529.3204.  We are a learning organization.  Jewish learning involves conversation.

On the Jewish Community Library | Ernest Newbrun, D.M.D., Ph.D.

On the Jewish Community Library | Ernest Newbrun, D.M.D., Ph.D.

Times are changing and people are getting more and more information online, but if you're a novice in a field, you have a hard time knowing what's factual. At the Jewish Community Library, the librarians help guide you. As concerns programming, I'm always amazed by the caliber of speakers which is very impressive. I've never been disappointed and wish I had more time to spend there. Click image for the full story…

Major new teen initiative launches in Bay Area

Major new teen initiative launches in Bay Area - J.

In the early 1990s, Debra Sagan Massey was a young adult working as a youth director at Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, and Mike Friedman was one of her teen charges. Today, 25 years later, Massey and Friedman are all grown up, and working together again - fittingly, with teens.

11 stellar Israeli novels that cry out to be read

11 stellar Israeli novels that cry out to be read - J.

As we mark Israel's 70th anniversary, I remain awed that a small country with a reconstructed language should produce a literature that is so rich. Below is a sampling of 11 varied titles that give a taste of Israeli literature at its best. 1. "Only Yesterday," S.Y.

‘Yiddish not spoken here’ — but my dad had a different idea

'Yiddish not spoken here' - but my dad had a different idea - J.

I grew up in Israel in a domestic war zone - a "language war" that raged between my parents. The fight was between Hebrew and Yiddish. Ours was not the only household where this war was fought. It was a struggle between the new Israel and the old diaspora, but it was very personal and quite emotional.

Shabbat @Home - a guide for families

Download and print our Shabbat @Home Guide, designed to enrich your family's experience of Jewish life, including the celebration of Shabbat.

Throughout the ages, Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath) has been celebrated in countless ways. This guide includes many traditions and customs but you won’t nd the words “should” or “ought to” in these pages. We hope you’ll experiment with practices that help your family create a joyful and meaningful Shabbat. The Jewish community as a whole is enriched by diversity, creativity and pluralism. We believe that there is no one “right” way to celebrate Shabbat or to be Jewish