April-May 2014 - Congregation Beth El



April-May 2014 - Congregation Beth El
Congregation Beth El is a member of The Union for Reform Judaism
ISSUE 142 · April/May 2014
“Honoring Tradition, Celebrating Diversity, and Building a Jewish Future”
the Nazis
in Occupied
Pag e 3
Says “Yes!”
Pag e 11
Pag e 12
Across the
Pag e 17
In This Issue
1301 Oxford Street
Berkeley, CA 94709-1424
Phone: 510-848-3988
Fax: 510-848-2707
2From the President
17 Beth Elders
26 Calendars
3 Member Spotlight
18 Men’s Club
28 Gift Shop
8 Members
20Youth Programs
12 Feature
13 Israel Committee
23 B’nei Mitzvah
Nursery School Office
14 Music Room
23Torah Study
Camp Kee Tov Office
15 Recipe
16 Library
24 Tzedakah
Youth and Family
Education Office
Direct Line: 510-848-2122
Direct Line: 510-848-9428
Direct Line: 510-848-2372
Midrasha Office
Direct Line 510-843-4667
FROM THE President
Beth El’s Annual Meeting &
First-Ever Volunteer Fair
by Paul Sugarman
Later this month all Beth El members will receive
notice of our congregation’s Annual Meeting, to be held this year on
Sunday, May 4 at 10:00 am. The Annual Meeting is the time when
certain activities associated with the governance of our synagogue
must be conducted as provided in Beth El’s bylaws, most notably,
the election by the membership of the Board of Directors and the
approval of the proposed budget for the ensuing fiscal year.
But I envision the Annual Meeting as potentially much more than
that. I hope it will be a time when our members can gather to socialize
together over bagels and coffee; to hear and discuss the Beth El leadership’s view of the
state of the synagogue: program-wise, strategically, fiscally and spiritually; and to address
with Beth El’s clergy, staff and lay volunteers issues of interest or concern.
This year we are adding yet another dimension to the Annual Meeting: Beth El’s
first ever Volunteer Fair! During the first hour, all those attending the Annual Meeting
will have the opportunity to roam from table to table and talk with volunteers who help
lead the dozens of program committees, task forces and synagogue-wide events to learn
about what their group does, what kind of volunteer opportunities exist and the time
commitment entailed.
Perhaps you were thinking about joining the Adult Education Committee, or the
Membership Committee, or the Israel Relations or the Camp Kee Tov Committee or
Ritual or Youth or Marketing/Communications, but were uncertain about whether your
interests would fit well with what those committees do and whether you have the time
to get involved. Or, perhaps you were considering joining the group that helps plan Beth
El’s annual Shabbaton or Gala, or signing up for the Mitzvah Corps or Homeless Meal
programs, but again, were unclear about what participation would entail.
Beth El’s Volunteer Fair is the ideal time to learn about all of these volunteer-led
programs and activities and the many ways in which you can participate. It’s like speed
dating — but without any fear of rejection! — with the goal of finding the best way for you
to do a mitzvah for your synagogue community.
I urge all Beth El members to attend this year’s Annual Meeting and Volunteer
Fair. Brunch will be served and childcare will be available. Please watch for the formal
announcement in the mail soon.
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Rabbi Yoel H. Kahn
Rabbi of the Congregation
ext. 215 · [email protected]
Rabbi Reuben Zellman
Assistant Rabbi & Music Director
ext. 228 · [email protected]
Norm Frankel
Executive Director
ext. 212 · [email protected]
Debra Sagan Massey
Director of Education
ext. 213 · [email protected]
Maguy Weizmann-McGuire
Early Childhood Education Director
ext. 219 · [email protected]
Zach Landres-Schnur
Camp Kee Tov Director
ext. 217 · [email protected]
Tameka Young-Diaby
ext. 210 · [email protected]
Rebecca DePalma
YAFE Administrative Coordinator
& Youth Group Advisor
ext. 214 · [email protected]
Juliet Gardner
Clergy Coordinator
ext 235 · [email protected]
Molly Daniels
Communications Coordinator
ext. 211 · [email protected]
Emily Schnitzer
Camp Kee Tov Admin. Coordinator
ext. 223 · [email protected]
Diane Bernbaum
Midrasha Director
510-843-4667 · [email protected]
Odette Blachman
Gift Shop
ext. 240 · [email protected]
Rabbi Ferenc Raj
Rabbi Emeritus
[email protected]
Member Spotlight
She Evaded Nazis in Occupied France
By Her Wits
by Elisabeth Wechsler
Beth El new member Renee Passy-Zale was
six and one half years old and living in Paris when the Second
World War broke out. Soon, she learned to demonstrate
courage (though very afraid) while she helped her
Sephardic family stay one step ahead of arrest by
the Nazis in occupied France in the early 1940s.
Renee’s first memory of the war came with
a radio broadcast in which Adolf Hitler was
“screaming something in German.”
Her father, Isaac, originally from Istanbul,
came to Paris after the First World War to study.
He was an accomplished athlete and taught
Renee how to box “and pick myself up again to
keep fighting.” Thus, she learned resistance and
resolve early in her life. Her father was also fluent
in German, a fact that helped the family navigate
through dangerous situations.
Her mother, Feride, an artist originally from
Izmir, Turkey, taught Renee to act “from the
top of my head to the tip of my toes,” Renee
explained. This served her well when Nazis or
French collaborators, who supported the
Nazis, knocked on the family’s door.
Her story starts and ends in Paris.
Remarkably, only one of her extensive
family of grandparents, aunts, uncles and
cousins died in the war. It was an uncle,
Freddy, who was shot in a large battle in
the Alps against the Germans, along with
fellow members of the French Resistance.
But, in between, the family constantly
was tested for its bravery and ingenuity in
outsmarting the “enemy” — Nazis and the
French collaborators.
When restrictions were being
increasingly placed on Jews, her father lost his job as a director
of his family-owned business in Paris; her governess left (but
not before telling Renee’s mother that she “hated Renee and
the family”) and the family maid also had to resign because
of new laws forbidding a maid under 40 to work for Jews,
and their country home near Versailles was threatened by a
neighbor. The neighbor came over to tell her father to sign the
title of the house to him or he, the neighbor, would turn them
in. Her father said, “No, you’ve got it all wrong — if you take
the title to my home, you’ll be sorry!” (Already, her father had
contacts in the Resistance.)
In June 1940 just before the Nazi occupation of Paris, Renee’s
family left for Limoges, farther south. All along the way, planes
with machine guns sprayed the road with bullets. Renee, traveling
with an uncle and her older sister, Louise, had to get out of the
car when they saw planes coming and flatten themselves in a
ditch near the road. When the shelling stopped, Renee said she
exclaimed in glee, “you-tried-to-kill-me-but-I-won,” pointing to the
sky and pretending it was a game.
In Limoges, which was not yet occupied,
Renee lived with her family and other relatives
in a small apartment. Soon, an Armistice was
signed between France and Germany, and
the family members moved back to Paris to
resume “normal life.” They lived in the very
swank neighborhood of the 16th arrondissement
(district) and only socialized with family, believing
that they were totally assimilated. Her father
refused to wear a Jewish star, now required
of all Jews in France. They almost never went
to synagogue, and Renee’s understanding
of Judaism was almost non-existent. But, at
bedtime, her father would recite the Shema with
her and she knew she was Jewish.
One day she (quite unusually) rode the
subway with her father; most of her days
were spent at home after going to private
school in the morning. (Formerly, she would
go to the park with her governess in the
afternoon.) In the subway underground,
there were banners saying, “Death to the
Jews. They killed Christ.” Another banner
showed a hook-nosed caricature of a Jew in
a trash bin. It said, “Jews to the trash. They
are filth.” Renee, not knowing, thought the
banners were accurate. No one talked about
them; they were just there for all to see. She
watched a young Jew wearing the yellow
star being hassled by two other men in the
subway. She remembers wanting to go hug the man,
to protect him. Renee said she became very depressed and her
thoughts even extended to wanting to throw herself on the train
tracks. She assumed the banners about Jews were true.
She then remembered the one time the whole family had
gone to synagogue (before the Nazi occupation) for the bar
mitzvah of her cousin, Raymond. There, Renee had observed
her paternal grandfather, a retired physician and part-time rabbi,
who was very respected and, of course, her own father whom
everyone called “a saint.” Renee remembered the beautiful
synagogue service. She then stopped believing the words in the
banners and ceased thinking of suicide. She felt reassured when
she realized that the Nazis were lying about Jews.
Her paternal grandmother was very Orthodox, and the family
went to her home for Pesach. Her mother was not religious at all,
co n g r e g at i o n be t h e l · bet h elberkeley. org · 3
and Renee remembers her mother passing her a ham sandwich to
eat in the bathroom before the Seder began.
In the months following, there were repeated threats of
deportation from the police, but the former maid (who married a
policeman) would put an empty bottle of olive oil at the family’s
front door to warn them when their neighborhood would be
raided. When the family saw the brown bottle, they immediately
got in their car and went to their home near Versailles, a short
distance from their arrondissement. Meanwhile, Renee learned to
hide behind the piano in her living room and spy on her parents
because she was still anxious from her experience of being nearly
sprayed with bullets on the road to Limoges. She wanted to know
what was going on.
When the restrictions against Jews became even worse, the
family once again fled south. This time, they went to a cousin of
her mother’s in Aix-en-Provence, who would find them a place to
live. The problem was how to cross over into Vichy France. The
border between occupied France and the puppet government of
Vichy in the South was closely guarded and patrolled.
One dark, moonless night after dinner in April 1942, Renee’s
mother told her to “dress in dark clothes and not wear any
white” — not even her hair ribbon. The family left with nothing —
Renee remembers her heart beating
so hard that she wondered how she
would put it back into her body.
not even her mother’s purse, although she had sewn gold coins
and jewelry into the lining of her coat. They drove to Ivry, a district
in the southeastern part of Paris. There, they met a Resistancearranged mechanic who presented each of the four family
members with dark navy blue overalls to wear. They pretended
that they were the family of the mechanic, enroute to a wedding.
The first train they boarded took them to the border between
the two halves of France, the occupied and so-called “free” zones.
They disembarked from the train and crawled “a long distance,”
past Nazi sentinels with guns standing along the railroad tracks,
on their “bellies and elbows” in single file behind the mechanic,
Renee recalled.
They then boarded a larger train and hid in secret
compartments near the front. Renee and her father were in
one hidden spot, and her mother and sister were packed into
the nose of the locomotive in fetal positions. The four of them
made no sound when the train was searched, helped by a signal
from Resistance fighters that this would happen soon. Renee
remembers her heart beating so hard that she wondered how she
would put it back into her body. She was nine years old at the time.
More of Renee Passy-Zale’s story will be told in the next issue
of The Builder. Stay tuned for this remarkable story of continued
subterfuge and escape during the Nazi occupation of France, which
eventually took over the South and her “safe” city, Aix-en-Provence.
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Beth El’s 10th
Annual Gala a
Great Success!
Thank you to everyone who came out to the
“Saharan Sunset” in February and helped to make it a
huge success!
We are so grateful to our wonderful leaders,
Jennifer Brand and Dana Zell, for co-chairing the
Gala two years in a row (three for Dana!). They led
the planning and coordination of the event so that it
“wowed” us all! The evening was fun, festive and an
incredible fundraiser, as well!
For their countless hours of planning and
support, thank you to the Saharan Sunset planning
committee, especially Jenn Brysk and Andrea Balazs,
for transforming Beth El into a true oasis of color
and enchantment. The silent auction would not have
been possible without the charm and efforts of Max
Cooperstein, auction-planner extraordinaire, and Lisa
Frydman and Tamar Kurlaender, whose energy and
dedication made the auction a huge success.
Thank you to Paul Sugarman, Beth El President, and
Jim Offel, Fundraising Chair, for their ongoing support
and effort in engaging the Board of Directors and
numerous Beth El committees to assist.
Thank you to Cori Kesler for her beautiful graphic
designs; Molly Daniels, Juliet Gardner and Rabbi Margie
Jacobs for helping with all administrative needs and
maintaining the Gala website; Steve Branoff and Jason
Turbow for making sure that our glasses stayed full;
Christine Meuris for her wordsmithing; Anna Fogelman for
editing and program assistance; Moorea Malatt, our raffle
maven; and Lorianna Seidlitz-Smith for helping engage the
BENS community and new members in Gala festivities.
A big thank you to Dan Magid for enthusiastically
hosting the live auction and fund-a-need. To Seth
Kaufman, Josh Hesslein and the rest of the Gala
committee and Beth El staff, thank you for your gift of
hard work, time and ruach to make the event a success;
included are: Rabbi Kahn, Rabbi Zellman, Norm Frankel,
Debra Sagan Massey, Maguy Weizmann McGuire, Zach
Landres-Schnur, Emily Schnitzer, Allie Liepman, Jose
Tirado, Gustavo Lopez, Joel Contreras, Jesus Andrade
and Tameka Young-Diaby.
Photos from the
“Saharan Sunset”
Everyone had a blast at
Beth El’s gala on February 8!
Here are some highlights...
co n g r e g at i o n be t h e l · bet h elberkeley. org · 5
Coming up
Sell Your Chametz (leavened products)
It is a Pesach tradition to clean and remove all chametz from our
homes before Pesach begins. If you would like to sell your chametz
before Pesach, Beth El’s rabbis will be happy to help. Traditional
practice is to clean and remove all chametz (bread, crackers,
pasta, etc.) from our homes before Pesach begins. As an added
measure, if there is still chametz in our possession, many Jews sell
that chametz before the holiday begins. (It is customary to buy
it back after the holiday, but we don’t say that up front because
then it wouldn’t really be sold!) Rabbi Zellman will sell the
synagogue’s chametz and yours in advance of Pesach. The final day
to give your chametz sale form to Juliet Gardner in the front office
is Friday, April 11. If you choose to do this, just download the very
simple form from the Beth El website or request it from the front
office. Then drop it off in the front office or email it to Juliet. If you
have questions about your Pesach preparations, Rabbi Zellman is
happy to help. Chag sameach!
Need a Seder this Pesach?
Erev Pesach (first seder): Monday evening, April 14. Do you
have an extra seat at your seder table? Beth El wants to make
sure that every member of our community has a place to go for
the first night of Pesach. We are matching up those who would
like to go to a seder with those who have extra space and would
like to host. If you’re looking for a place to be on the first night,
contact Juliet Gardner by Monday, April 7. If you have one or
more seats available at your seder this year, please consider the
great mitzvah of inviting community members to celebrate with
you. All types of seders and all types of people are appreciated
as hosts! Contact [email protected] And, if you’re
looking for a seder on the second night, join us at Beth El for our
congregational seder (see below for details).
Second Night Community Seder on Tuesday, April 15,
6:00 pm: Join Rabbi Reuben Zellman along with Beth El friends,
old and new, for a festive Pesach celebration and delicious catered
kosher-for-Pesach meal. We are never too old nor too young to
learn and retell the story of liberation. Through song, ritual and
discussion, we will retell the Pesach story, making connections to
6 · T h e B ui l d e r · A pr i l / M ay 2 0 1 4
our own lives and our world. Members: Adults $54, Young Adult
(30 and under) $36, Children $18. Guests: Adults $72, Young Adult
(30 and under) $36, Children $25, College students with ID $18.
Through the generosity of anonymous Beth El members, no one
will be turned away because of inability to pay. Kids are warmly
welcomed to join in the seder and/or the parallel kids’ Pesach
activities. RSVP by Wednesday, April 10 to the front office.
Lunch & Learn Offers Special Program on
April 12
“The Power of Dialogue: Israelis and Palestinians Working
Together,” presented by Judy Gussmann and Seema Dajani on
Thursday, April 12 from 12:00–1:30 pm. Working together for
a peaceful resolution, Seema Dajani (descendant of a Palestinian
Jerusalemite family) and Judy Gussmann (of European and Middle
Eastern Jewish descent) were previously co-facilitators of the
East Bay Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue Group. Seema shared her
Palestinian experience at the Jewish Community High School
of the Bay, San Francisco. Judy facilitated “Deep Listening”
workshops through the Jewish Community Federation’s Year of
Civil Discourse. Lunch & Learn events are free and open to the
entire community. They are held on the second Thursday of the
month, from noon to 1:30 pm. Bring a bag lunch and dessert
and beverages will be provided. Contact Harry Margulius at
[email protected] for more information. Donations can be
made to Beth El Adult Education Fund.
Pesach Yizkor Service and Havdalah on
Tuesday, April 22
As a community, we seek to support our members as they live with
loss and grief. Yizkor is our tradition’s dedicated memorial service,
recited four times a year, including on Pesach. While anyone can
attend the Yizkor service, it is especially appropriate to attend
during the first year of mourning after a loved one has died.
6:00 pm Yizkor Circle: A facilitated gathering to speak about
the people whom we have lost.
7:00 pm Yizkor Service led by Rabbi Zellman.
Community Yom Ha’Shoah Observance
Congregation Netivot Shalom (1316 University Ave,
Berkeley) will host the Berkeley Jewish community’s annual
commemoration of Yom haShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day,
on Sunday, April 27 at 7:00 pm. The program will include
song, reflection, testimonials and prayer. Our annual service
is jointly organized, consisting of Congregations Beth El,
Netivot Shalom and Beth Israel, and is co-sponsored by the
Jewish Community Federation of the East Bay.
Yom Ha’Shoah Commemoration at Beth El
On Tuesday, April 29 from 4:00–6:00 pm in the Beth
El sanctuary, Beth El member Alfred Cotton will share his
experiences with 5th–7th grade students and parents about
living in Europe through the Second World War. Free and
open to the community.
Connect and Be Connected
at our Volunteer Fair!
Participating in volunteer activities is a great way to get to
know other members. On Sunday, May 4 at 10:00 am,
please come learn more about how to get involved at our
Volunteer Fair. The fair will include representatives from our
community’s various committees and activities, including the
Israel Committee, the Homeless Meal, the Gala Committee
and others. Meet fellow members, share interests and find
out how you can become more involved! Details to follow
in the e-updates. You can also email Lisa Feldman, VP of
Membership, for more information.
Yom Ha’atzmaut Celebration
Come and celebrate Israel’s birthday on Tuesday, May 6 from
5:00–7:00 pm! Join YAFE students as we have our annual
celebration including music, Israeli dancing, face painting, arts
and crafts and the LIBA Falafel truck. Free and open to the
Celebration of Education
Join us for an evening of inspiration and celebration on
Friday, May 9. Dinner is at 6:15 pm and the service will begin
at 7:30 pm. A festive oneg will follow the service. Our 7th
graders and 10th graders (Confirmation students) and our
graduating seniors will lead the Shabbat service. Our Revitalized
Mitzvah Corps
Could Use Your Help
by Susan Sugarman
As a Mitzvah Corps volunteer, you’ll discover many
ways to help a fellow congregant in need. You might offer to
deliver a meal (purchased or homemade) to a congregant who has
an acute illness or who has been in an accident, or to contribute
food to a shiva gathering. Or you might volunteer to drive
someone to a medical appointment or to a Beth El event either
occasionally or on a regular basis.
We welcome all members who are able to help, and we
especially need new volunteers outside Berkeley. If you live in
Kensington, El Cerrito, Oakland, Alameda or beyond and can help,
even occasionally, please consider signing up for this mitzvah. We
know that Beth El is a caring community — let’s put our values
into action.
As of this writing, more than 70 congregants have become
members of our online Mitzvah Corps community: https://www.
lotsahelpinghands.com/c/645571/. If you are a Beth El member
and are willing to help, but have not yet signed up, you can join
the Mitzvah Corps by visiting the website. Then choose “join this
community” and fill in the requested information.
What will happen when you sign up? Will you be bombarded
with notifications and emails? No! From time to time, you will
receive an email telling you that someone in our congregation
has a need. If your schedule and energy allow, you can respond.
If it’s not a good time for you to help out, you can wait for a more
convenient opportunity, allowing another volunteer to step up.
That’s how simple it is.
If you or another congregant is in need of assistance, please
contact one of our rabbis. All requests to the Mitzvah Corps
will come through our clergy to one of the three volunteer
coordinators (see below). Before arranging for any help, we will
phone or email the person or family in need to clarify details
(dates, times, dietary restrictions, etc.).
Once we have this information, we will post requests to
the website, and corps volunteers will have the opportunity to
respond. It is our goal to provide short term, temporary assistance
to alleviate stress for members in urgent situations. We will not be
able to provide comprehensive or longer term services, but may
help serve as a bridge until such services can be put in place.
Please note that in order to honor the privacy of our
membership, only current Beth El members may serve as Mitzvah
Corps volunteers or request assistance from the corps.
Here is how to reach us:
Susan Zarchy, [email protected]
Laura Turbow, [email protected]
Susan Sugarman, [email protected]
Thank you for joining in this important community effort!
co n g r e g at i o n be t h e l · bet h elberkeley. org · 7
Compiled by Elisabeth Wechsler, Editor
Welcome to Our New Members!
We welcome the following people to our Beth El community
Benjie Achtenberg and Rachel Amsterdam
Benjie Achtenberg and Rachel
Amsterdam are residents of
Oakland, as well as public
school teachers there. Benjie
is originally from San Francisco
and grew up at Congregation
Sha’ar Zahav in San Francisco.
Rabbi Kahn named him as a
baby and guided him through
his bar mitzvah there. Rachel
is originally from Fullerton, CA
and has lived in the Bay Area
for eight years. They were
drawn to Congregation Beth El
because of Rabbi Kahn. Benjie
and Rachel had celebrated
some Shabbats and High Holy
Days here and felt welcomed by the congregation and attracted
by its diversity. They both enjoy practicing martial arts, spending
time with friends and family and enjoying the beauty of the Bay
Area. “We are hoping to get to know other Jewish couples and to
deepen our own Jewish community ties,” Rachel said.
The Isaacsons are looking
forward to getting involved
in tikkun olam (improving
the world) opportunities
with Beth El. They moved
to the Bay Area to be closer
to the cultural, social and
intellectual opportunities in
the community, as well as
to be closer to Lake Tahoe.
The whole family are avid
skiers and snowboarders.
Mollie (9) also loves soccer,
trampolines and hanging out with the family’s dog, Mazel. Ross
(6), loves science, Legos and Taekwondo. Ben has spent most of
his career in Internet privacy law and now wants to pursue his
dream of building a smart accessories business. Tyia is a licensed
social worker with a private therapy practice focused on working
with new and expecting parents and is currently pursuing a PhD
in contemporary psychoanalysis. “We are both very excited at
being part of such an entrepreneur-friendly and emotionally
aware community, and we can’t wait to get to know the Beth El
community,” Ben said.
Amy and David Cottle
Dikla and Moshe Leon
Amy Cottle is originally from
Brookline, Massachusetts and
David Cottle grew up in Palo
Alto. Amy has lived in Berkeley
for 13 years and David has
lived in Berkeley for 24 years.
They were drawn to Beth El
because of the warm and
inviting community. Amy added
that she wants to raise their
daughter Amanda (5) among
Jewish traditions, cultures and
friendships. As a family, the
Cottles enjoy outdoor activities
and socializing with friends. Amanda plays soccer and is learning
to swim. Amy teaches fourth grade and David is a commercial
construction cost estimator. The Cottles are interested in getting
involved with Beth El’s youth programs.
Ben and Tyia Isaacson
Ben and Tyia Isaacson moved from San Diego (after 10 years
there) to Albany in August. They previously lived in Aspen and
New York City, and both grew up in Wisconsin. Ben was raised in a
family active in a Milwaukee reform synagogue similar to Beth El.
Tyia grew up in the only Jewish family in her town but spent a year
in Israel, which gave her a strong connection to Jewish culture.
8 · T h e B ui l d e r · A pr i l / M ay 2 0 1 4
Dikla and Moshe Leon were born and raised in Israel. They moved
to the U.S. more than a decade ago and met in the Bay Area in
2006. They now live in Berkeley with their two sons, Nevo (4.5)
and Yanai (almost two). Moshe is a computer science student at
UC Berkeley and Dikla is a full-time mom. The Leons joined Beth
El to further their sons’ Jewish education. Nevo is excited to go to
Camp Kee Tov this summer, and Yanai will start Beth El Nursery
School (BENS) this fall. The family is looking forward to meeting
the rest of the Beth El community.
Julie and Ted Obbard
Julie and Ted Obbard
have lived in Berkeley
since 2004 and in
the East Bay since
2001. Julie grew up
in Palo Alto, and Ted
is originally from
Pennsylvania and
New Jersey. They
were drawn to Beth
El because they had
“heard great things about the community from friends, and our
kids had a wonderful experience last summer at Camp Kee Tov.”
The Obbards enjoy spending time outdoors, cooking (Julie),
yoga (Ted), playing legos and soccer (Evan, 8), playing piano
and playing with American Girl dolls (Rachel, 6) and being with
friends and family. “We love spending time in Maine during
the summer,” Julie said. Ted works as a psychologist in private
practice in Rockridge. Julie is an education consultant, providing
strategy and communications support to education nonprofits,
schools and school districts. Ted is excited to have joined the
Beth El chorus, and Julie is interested in the education and social
action committees. “We look forward to becoming a part of the
community,” Julie said.
Aaron Rappaport and Ellen Veomett
Aaron Rappaport and
Ellen Veomett moved
to Berkeley from San
Francisco about two years
ago. Ellen is originally from
Lincoln, Nebraska, and
Aaron is from New York
City. Ellen has lived in the
Bay Area for almost seven
years, and Aaron has been
here for 14 years. Congregation Beth El was highly recommended
to them by Rabbi Larry Raphael of Sherith Israel in San Francisco,
where they previously were members. Ellen and Aaron both love
to dance — they met while tango dancing in San Francisco. They
have an enthusiastic dog, Walter, and are looking forward to the
arrival of their first child. Ellen is a math professor at Saint Mary’s
College in Moraga. Aaron teaches law at Hastings College in
San Francisco. Ellen is interested in volunteering with programs
to feed the hungry, and may want to join the chorus. She’s also
hoping to improve her Torah chanting skills and recently took
Rabbi Zellman’s class. Aaron is interested in Torah study and in
working on social justice programs, particularly criminal justice
issues, at Beth El.
Maria Raven and Andrew Dreskin
Maria Raven is originally from Tucson and Andrew Dreskin is
originally from Livingston, NJ. They met in San Francisco over
18 years ago, one week after Maria graduated from Cal. At that
time, Andrew was living in Berkeley pursuing a career in the
music industry. They had always planned to end up in the Bay
Area, and after a decade in New York City where their children,
Maxwell (8) and Sophie (5), were born, they moved back in
2011. Maria is an emergency medicine physician and health
services researcher on the faculty at UCSF. Her research focuses
on frequent users of the health system and Medicaid payment
policies. Andrew is the co-founder and CEO of Ticketfly, a
technology provider to the live events industry. He is also a
founder and producer of the Virgin Mobile FreeFest, a large,
recurring free music event. Max and Sophie are in kindergarten
and 2nd grade, and are very excited to attend Camp Kee Tov
this summer. They love to watch movies, spend time outdoors,
play and listen to music, and spend time with family and friends.
The family was drawn to the welcoming Beth El community and
educational opportunities it offers for families.
Elisabeth “Lisa” Ochs and Cheryl “Lea” Salem
Elisabeth “Lisa” Ochs and Cheryl “Lea” Salem live in San Francisco
with their two daughters, Faith (17)and Nicole (16). Both originally
from New York City, they met here. Lisa has lived in the Bay Area
for 30 years and Lea for about 21 years. Lisa and Lea were drawn
to Congregation Beth El because
they are friends of Rabbi Kahn.
They had come to services at
Beth El and always enjoyed
them. In their free time, they
both love to read, love animals
(they currently have two cats
and a dog) and enjoy hiking. Lisa
also sings and Lea plays bridge.
Faith is also a singer, plays the
piano, and enjoys writing songs,
stories and poems. She will
graduate from Gateway High
School this spring. Nicole is a
junior at San Francisco’s Mission High School. She loves to dance
and to do hair and makeup. Lisa works as an registered nurse at
Kaiser-Permanente in San Francisco. Lea works as finance director
at the Northern California Community Loan Association. They
look forward to being involved at Beth El “and getting to know
this wonderful community.”
Merav Singer
Merav Singer was born in Jerusalem.
She moved to the Bay Area from
Lawrence, Kansas in 2006 to pursue a
doctorate at UC Berkeley. Merav was
away for a few years doing fieldwork
and attending to family but has
been back since August. She joined
Beth El because she was looking
for “a community and support for
me and my 18-month-old daughter,
Kalina.” Merav is finishing her PhD
in ethnomusicology, writing about
Israeli women singer-songwriters. Before returning to graduate
school, she was a full-time freelance violinist and teacher and
would love to start teaching violin again. She has offered to
play violin at BENS and can also sew, if something is needed
around Beth El’s building. Mentoring Jews-by-choice also sounds
interesting to Merav. She and her daughter live in Albany.
Mateo and Anya Soltero
Both Mateo and
Anya Soltero are
San Francisco
natives and “have
fog in [their] blood
and bones.” Anya
was involved in
the San Francisco
Jewish Community
Center from
preschool through
her first college job as a summer camp counselor. The family
resides in El Cerrito. They describe their family as an interfaith
family with a more cultural bent toward Judaism and a dash of
religious curiosity. They had been looking for a synagogue that
would be a good fit. After attending their first Tot Shabbat at Beth
El and experiencing the inclusiveness, music, and high spirits,
they were convinced; however, it was signing up for Camp Kee
Tov that pushed the Solteros toward membership. Anya writes
co n g r e g at i o n be t h e l · bet h elberkeley. org · 9
a blog about teaching Caleb (8) and Sadie (4) to become global
citizens through cooking, eating, and going on food adventures.
Caleb enjoys his daily after-school Jujitsu training, and Sadie
takes pleasure in drawing and entertaining her family and friends.
Mateo is a talented writer of short stories and poetry, and enjoys
playing soccer, chess, guitar and piano. Anya loves food writing,
cooking, creating and testing recipes, as well as photography.
Mateo and Anya both work for Kaiser Permanente in the national
offices. When time allows, both parents would enjoy lending their
writing talents to the community. Anya would also be glad to
teach a healthy ethnic food cooking class for children and families.
Hilda Steckel
Hilda Steckel came to Berkeley
nine years ago from New York,
where she worked as a ceramic
sculptor. A friend introduced Hilda
to Torah study some time ago. She
said that “the cordiality and spirit
of community” drew her to join
Beth El. Occasionally, Hilda makes
something out of clay but she has
been participating in activities
that are not studio related “since
that is where so much of my
time was spent in the past,” she
explained. For example, she has been auditing classes at UC
Berkeley. Her family came to the U.S. from Germany before the
second world war and Hilda spent most of her life in New York,
where her family belonged to a reform congregation. She and her
husband (who died in 2010) moved to Berkeley in 2004. Hilda
has three children and seven grandchildren, two of whom live in
Berkeley and attend Longfellow Middle School.
Josh Greenbaum and Keren Stronach
Josh Greenbaum
and Keren Stronach
have spent about 20
years in Berkeley, San
Francisco and Berkeley
again, with brief stints
in Seattle and Ann
Arbor, Michigan. Josh
is originally from Ann
Arbor, and Keren traces
her roots from Iran,
Israel and the UK.
Josh has a high-tech
global consulting firm. Keren works as an author and speaker
in the cancer field, and runs a support group for young adults
10 · T h e B ui l d e r · A pr i l / M ay 2 0 1 4
with cancer. Daughter Talia (10) is an aspiring musician, iceskater and gymnast, and son Ben (8) divides his time between
drawing fantastic creatures and creating them with his vast Lego
collection. Keren and Josh said that they are “thrilled to be part of
the Beth El community” and look forward to having Judaism “play
a more active role in their lives.”
Claire and Richard Taylor
Claire and Richard Taylor are
Londoners who moved to Berkeley
in July 2013. Their daughters, Zara (9)
and Jasmine (6), attended Camp Kee
Tov this summer and loved it, and
that led the family to Beth El. Richard
is interested in photography, singing
and music in general, Arsenal football
club (London), diving and film. Claire
is interested in art, film, singing
(backing vocals) and “being on my
phone, according to my youngest
daughter!” Jasmine and Zara like
art and pottery, making videos, writing stories and generally
“monkeying around.” The girls have also just started Kadima at
Beth El. Claire’s expertise lies in marketing, interior design and
administration. Richard’s TV job has brought them here, as the
new BBC North America technology correspondent. Claire is
interested in volunteering to help in administration or marketing
and “if you need some interior design advice, that too!”
Tony Tieu and Liz Cohen
Tony Tieu and Liz Cohen were introduced through mutual friends
and moved to Berkeley together three years ago. Tony was raised
in San Francisco. After high school, he spent many years in Santa
Barbara and returned in 2011. Liz, a Philadelphia native, moved
to San Francisco after college to pursue a graduate degree in
traditional Chinese medicine. They were looking for a synagogue
in which to marry and also wanted to join a progressive and openminded Jewish community that valued multiculturalism, which
they found at Beth El. Tony and Liz will be married at Beth El on
March 30, 2014 with Rabbi Zellman officiating. Tony works at UC
Berkeley as a student affairs officer for the landscape architecture
and urban design graduate programs. Liz works as a licensed
acupuncturist. They both love traveling, eating good food and
spending time with their dog, Nisha. They hope to be involved
at Beth El, helping with service projects and giving back to the
Julian and Jessica Marshall
We also welcome Julian and Jessica Marshall, who live in Albany
with their twins, Abraham and Louisa (5).
Member profile
Dedicated Volunteer Says
“Yes” to Beth El’s Call
by Elisabeth Wechsler
Congregation Beth El is fortunate to
have Anna Fogelman as a dedicated volunteer in her
four years of membership. As committee co-chair, she
has helped organize Beth El’s annual Shabbaton, the
very successful multigenerational weekend at Camp
Newman in Santa Rosa, for three-, going on four years.
Last October, attendance reached a record high of 285
participants. (This year, the Shabbaton will be held the
weekend of September 5-7.)
As unofficial “ambassador” of the Camp Kee Tov
Committee, she has reached out to many potential new
members among camp parents — helping them become
acquainted with Beth El and all it has to offer. Many of
those families have since joined the congregation.
When I asked if I could interview her, she responded that she
“would be happy to do anything to help Beth El,” and she means
it. But she is modest about her extensive volunteer involvement.
At last fall’s Yom Kippur service, Anna gave a moving
testimonial to the congregation about how giving financial
help to Beth El was an important mitzvah. She emphasized the
spiritual benefit to the individual donor, as well, and made quite an
impression on the congregation.
Anna was born in Northern California but raised in San Diego.
Her immediate family was “culturally Jewish” and observed the
“big Jewish holidays.” She experienced her first Shabbat in college
and spent a transformational junior year abroad in Israel at the
urging of one of her professors. “That [year] was a life-changing
event for me,” Anna said.
Her paternal grandparents had lived in Berkeley and were
members of Beth El starting in the 1950’s. She fondly remembers
visiting them and attending High Holy Day services at Beth El.
So, when she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in sociology
from UC Santa Cruz, she decided to move to Berkeley. She later
received her RN license and a Master’s degree in nursing case
management from Samuel Merritt University in Oakland.
The Israel experience in college inspired her to work on staff
at Camp Tawonga in the Sierra foothills after graduation. She
often describes that initial day working in 1992 as “the first day of
the rest of my life,” because that summer helped her internalize
her Jewish identity. She worked in Camp Tawonga administration
in San Francisco for three years following that summer.
Anna met her future husband, Michael, on a blind date in
2003. He grew up in Marin County and is a commercial real estate
developer in a family company, specializing in urban in-fill projects
and shopping centers.
Anna and Michael are raising two children, Eli (8.5 years old)
and Naomi (6). Eli is in third grade and is “an avid baseball player,”
and Naomi is in kindergarten and “into gymnastics.” The children
attend Malcolm X Elementary School in Berkeley, where Anna is
also a room parent. She is organizing a raffle fundraiser for the
school this month.
She has initiated the idea of transferring those “room parent”
skills and responsibilities to a volunteer project at Kadima,
Beth El’s religious school. Working with Education Director
Debra Sagan Massey, Anna hopes to create a greater sense of
community for religious school families by serving as a liaison
between parents and teachers in the program and inviting others
to do the same in their classrooms. This new initiative, helping to
strengthen the relationships among Beth El parents, is scheduled
to begin this fall.
Anna is also involved in organizing the new monthly
Shabbat Yafes at Beth El along with Debra and the committee.
In future, there will be a new structure — namely, a discussion
and activites on specific Jewish values to follow the dining and
singing, Anna said.
In her limited free time, Anna participates in two study series
at Beth El: The Beth El Leaders Forum, a leadership training series
which started in March and a Kevah monthly Torah class at Beth
El taught by Rabbi Dorothy Richman. Sponsored by the local
Kevah organization, the class teaches leadership through Jewish
spirituality and meditation.
Before becoming a full-time stay-at-home parent last summer,
Anna had spent three years as UC Berkeley Hillel development
director. Previously, she was a registered nurse in the pediatric
oncology unit at Childrens’ Hospital in Oakland. Before that, Anna
worked as the events coordinator on fundraising at the Jewish
Federation of the East Bay. She was later appointed women’s
division director and young leadership director at the Federation.
She and her family spend significant time with relatives in
the Bay Area, as well as with friends. “We’re also at Beth El a lot
pursuing Jewish life,” she added. The Fogelmans have recently
begun volunteering as a family for the Special Olympics. They
spend vacation time and some weekends at Lake Tahoe, skiing in
the winter and “hanging out by the lake in the summer.”
co n g r e g at i o n be t h e l · bet h elberkeley. org · 11
Coming from Krozh, Lithuania
by Jeff Gillman
We’re clean, comfortable, we can eat whatever we
like, whenever we like, we’re secure in our homes, relatively; most
of all, we’re alive!
All this, at least in part, because our families somehow found
the resources and the courage to “leave their parents on the dock”
and escape from Russia in the late 19th century; and then escape
to America, and in the case of my family, to Minneapolis.
Assassination, economic depression, the breaking of the
prairie to the plow, railroads, fast reliable steam navigation; the
European Enlightenment, the Vienna Conference of 1815 — are
some of the titanic forces in which our ancestors were caught up
in the 1880’s, and to which they responded with typical Jewish
canniness and courage.
My mother’s family members came from the shtetl of Krozh
in central Lithuania and probably made their way to Hamburg.
They then crossed the North Sea, most likely in a storm, steamed
up the Thames Estuary, found their way somehow among the
docks of the great port of London, then probably to Liverpool
and crossed the Atlantic in all its fierceness in the steerage of an
ancient side-wheel steamer (see drawing).
After a long and nasty voyage crowded into the belly of an
old and filthy second-class ship, they arrived on the New York
waterfront long before Ellis Island was built. Essentially they had
the clothes they stood up in. Maybe, after all they’d just passed
through, they still had a gold coin, maybe two. In fact, they did
have brass. That’s what those shtetl families took with them
through it all: the heavy brass mortar and pestle and the shabbas
licht (light), which now gleam on my mantle.
12 · T h e B ui l d e r · A pr i l / M ay 2 0 1 4
When I was about eight years old, my Aunt Fannie, my
grandmother’s elder sister, was becoming senile. She and my
grandparents lived in the north-side Jewish neighborhood of
Minneapolis, the demi-paradise that I remember. Fannie would
have lunch with us in my grandmother’s kitchen. “Lena, do you
remember Krozh,” she would ask over and over. “Lena, do you
remember Krozh?”
Fifty years later I figured out that Krozh, the oldest and
largest Jewish shtetl in Lithuania, was where our people came
from. Lena probably didn’t remember Krozh because when they
emigrated she was five. Fannie was ten, old enough evidently to
have formed memories of her childhood home — the flourishing,
colorful, poor, vulnerable, culturally rich, vanished world of
Yiddish-speaking European Jewry, the fountainhead of American
humor, movies, music, musical theater and so much more.
When the Grodniks arrived penniless on the New York dock,
Pillsbury Mills was recruiting. “Come to Minneapolis. There’s work
in the mills. We’ll pay your fare.”
The Grodniks got on the train. Being Jews, however, they
didn’t work in the mills. They made their own way. They opened a
store, on 6th Avenue North, and sold household goods.
Jeff Gillman wrote this story as part of the Life Stories
workshop at Beth El. Everyone is welcome to join these
supportive, autobiographical writers’ workshops. (See page 17 for
more information.)
israel committee
Is Peace in Israel Possible?
by Laurie Swiadon, Co-chair, Beth El Israel Committee
Middle East experts will explore the question
“Is Peace Possible?” in a four-part series presented by Beth El’s
Israel Committee this spring, beginning Thursday, April 24.
The series will look at the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, using a special video report produced in 2011 by
journalists from The Atlantic magazine together with experts from
the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. The video
is divided into four segments highlighting four major areas of
difficulty in peace negotiations: borders, refugees, security and
Jerusalem. (You can view it at www.ispeacepossible.com.)
The Israel Committee has invited four distinguished
experts to present their own short analysis of each 15-minute
portion of the video shown for that week. After the video, the
speakers will give their presentations, and the community will
have an opportunity to explore with them the principles, values
and considerations that drive Palestinians and Israelis at the
negotiating table.
As with all Israel Committee events, discussions will take
place in an atmosphere of respect, following civil discourse
guidelines. The committee does not endorse any of the ideas
presented, but rather hopes to look at the complexity of the
situation and at the interesting ideas suggested in the video to
end the stalemate.
All sessions start at 7:30 pm with a look at the relevant video
portion. The discussions will end around 9:00 pm and will be
followed by a reception.
The Events
Thursday, April 24: Borders: Can land swaps really meet
the needs of both sides? Presented by Gordon Gladstone,
past director of UC Berkeley Hillel, current Northwest
Regional Director of J Street and a Beth El member.
Thursday, May 1: Refugees: Can the needs of displaced
Palestinian refugees be met while preserving Israel as
the Jewish State? Presented by Peter Bartu, a UC Berkeley
lecturer in the International and Area Studies Academic
Program. Dr. Bartu has also worked for the United Nations and
various NGOs in crisis-ridden areas throughout the Middle
East, Asia and Africa. From 2001 to 2003 he served as political
adviser to the UN envoy to the Middle East peace process.
Thursday, May 8: Security: Can Israel protect itself
without controlling land in the West Bank? Presented
by Zeev Maoz, professor of political science and director
of the Correlates of War project at UC Davis, as well as
distinguished fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya,
Israel. Dr. Maoz was president of the Peace Science Society
(International) during 2007–08. Before coming to UC Davis,
he was head of the Graduate School of Government and
Policy at Tel Aviv University. He also served as head of the
Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies (1994–1997), as academic
director of the Masters’ program of the National Defense
College of the Israel Defense Force (1990–1994) and as
chair of the political science department at the University of
Haifa (1991–1994).
Thursday, May 22: Jerusalem and The Current Peace
Process, presented by Eran Kaplan, Richard and Rhoda
Goldman Professor in Israel Studies, SFSU. Dr. Kaplan is
the author of Jewish Radical Right: Revisionist Zionism and
Its Ideological Legacy and co-editor of From Settlement to
Statehood: The Origins of Israel 1882–1949. His scholarly focus
is on Zionist political ideology and post-Zionist thought, as
well as the history of Israel and Israeli culture. His current
research focuses on post-Zionist debates in their historical,
social and cultural context.
co n g r e g at i o n be t h e l · bet h elberkeley. org · 13
A Baroque Bris in Provence
Final Concert of the Season of Jewish Early Music
by Rabbi Reuben Zellman
Between June 2013 and June 2014, our congregation has welcomed a
rare concert series: four productions of Jewish music of the Medieval, Renaissance
and Baroque periods. The first three performances have packed our sanctuary and
received rave reviews. Don’t miss the last one!
For several years I have been a singer with the professional ensemble San
Francisco Renaissance Voices (SFRV). This ensemble presents creative concerts of
early music — that is, music written before the year 1750 (or so) — with some of the
Bay Area’s best performers of this period’s music.
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, Palestrina or Gregorian chant, but whose words are in Hebrew with the
subject the Torah. Most of this music is little-known and very rarely performed,
especially outside of Israel.
Music of Celebrations: May 25, 2014, 4:00 pm
Pre-concert lecture by Rabbi Reuben Zellman at 3:15 pm
If you’ve ever dreamed of celebrating a bris (circumcision ceremony) with a
glorious 20-minute piece of music for solo voices, chorus and shimmering
chamber orchestra in the early French Baroque style, you don’t want to miss
this concert. Our own Beth El Chorus collaborates with SFRV and its period
orchestra to bring you the sounds of these celebrations in our sanctuary:
· A 14-movement ceremony for the dedication of the new synagogue in
Siena, Italy, in 1786, composed by Vincenzo Gallichi and Francesco Drei
· The Canticum Hebraicum, commissioned for the circumcision of the son
of a wealthy Jewish family in Provence, France, in 1680, composed by
Louis Saladin
· L’mi Echpots, echo-poem for a wedding, for double chorus, published by
Salamone Rossi in Mantua, Italy in 1622
· Chishki Chizki, composed for the dedication of the Portuguese
synagogue in Amsterdam in 1675, by Avraham Caceres
· Music for Shabbat and spring holidays, from the 1100s to the 1700s
All music will be sung in its original Hebrew with full written Hebrew
and English translations in the program. At 3:15 pm, Rabbi Zellman will give
the pre-concert lecture about the historical circumstances and literary and
artistic elements of these fascinating pieces of Jewish music history.
For complete information, full performance schedule, and tickets, go
to sfrvoices.org. Tickets will also be available at the door, $20.00–30.00.
Whether tickets are financially possible for you right now or not, we want to
see you there! If you need to, please contact Rabbi Reuben confidentially so
we can make sure you can join us: 510–848–3988, ext. 228.
14 · T h e B ui l d e r · A pr i l / M ay 2 0 1 4
Photo by Thomas Quine; used under a Creative Commons license
Chocolate Matzah Toffee Crunch for Pesach
by Margie Gelb
Not knocking Pesach, but I can’t help but feel that a
holiday without chocolate chip cookies isn’t really a holiday. But
we’re Jews. We’re resourceful. This Pesach, give Chocolate Matzah
Toffee Crunch a try. Imagine English toffee, but easier to make.
The matzah provides the crunch, the chocolate chips provide the
chocolate, and all you need to do is watch the sugar-butter so it
doesn’t burn.
Chocolate Matzah
Toffee Crunch
Time: 25 minutes; serves 8
4–6 unsalted matzahs
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar, all dark, all golden, or half and half
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
Cooking Directions
· Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 10 x 15 inch rimmed
cookie sheet with foil, and then cover the bottom with parchment
paper. Cover the bottom with four matzahs. It doesn’t matter if
you have to break them into pieces to make them fit.
· Melt the butter and brown sugar together. Bring to a boil,
and boil for three (3) minutes.
· Pour the butter-sugar mixture over the matzahs. Put in
oven and immediately turn down the temperature to 350 degrees.
Cook 10–15 minutes watching out for burning. I put another
cookie sheet on the oven shelf under the cookies to help prevent
· When it looks done, turn off the oven, pull it out, sprinkle
with the chocolate chips, and put it back in the oven for five (5)
minutes to melt the chips. Remove from oven, and spread them
over the cookies (matzahs) with a spatula.
· Sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts.
· Cool in refrigerator or let sit out for several hours so that
the chocolate hardens. Cut into pieces and serve.
Photographers Pro and Amateur: Beth El Needs Your Help
If you take photos at Beth El events , please consider sending them for inclusion in our photo database. Photos are
archived for use in publicity, illustrations for The Builder and other Beth El purposes.
We’re hoping to expand our stock of images, so bring your cameras to future events at Beth El! (An exception is during Shabbat,
when photographs are not permitted.)
Please send your Beth El photos (and any questions) to Molly Daniels at [email protected]
Photo by Tracy Benjamin; used under a Creative Commons license
co n g r e g at i o n be t h e l · bet h elberkeley. org · 15
by Scott Spear, Library Chair
Donations to the Aaron Plishner and Rabbi George Vida Funds make it possible
to buy new children’s and adults’ books. Here are some new adult books:
The Parable and Its Lesson, by S.Y.
Agnon, is the first English translation
of this novella by the greatest Hebrew
writer working in the 20th century. The
story is the tale of a rabbi’s journey
into the netherworld, just after the
1648 massacres of hundreds of Jewish
communities, encountering troubling
contradictions about divine justice. This
book was part of a massive project of
Agnon’s in the last years of his life, telling
of the town where he was born.
Jews and the Military: A History, by Derek
Penslar, professor of history at both Oxford
University and University of Toronto, analyzes
diaspora Jewish participation in armies from
the 17th century to the present, demolishing
myths of Jewish pacifism and showing that
the Israeli war of independence drew upon
immense and long diaspora experience in
warfare, throughout the world.
The Elixir of Immortality, a novel by
Gabi Gleichmann, translated from the
original Norwegian, tells the story of 36
generations of the Spinoza family and
its secret document, through medieval
Portugal, Torquemada’s Spain, Rembrandt’s
Amsterdam, the French Revolution, Freud’s
Vienna and both world wars.
Unscrolled: 54 Writers and Artists
Wrestle with the Torah, ed. by Roger
Bennett, is responses to the Torah portions
in unusual ways — plays, scripts, poems,
stories, memoirs, a blueprint, and comics.
Here one can read psychiatric observations
of Abraham, the divine editing process
of an arcane Leviticus law, or Pharaoh’s
neuroses about boils, lice, and frogs. The
book shocks some, thrills others.
Abraham Joshua Heschel: the Call of
Transcendence, by Shai Held, is called a
“lucid and elegant study” by Jon Levenson, a
“masterful work” by Arthur Green. Held here
are searches for the overarching themes and
unity in Heschel’s great sprawling writing,
focusing on the idea of transcendence and
comparing Heschel’s thought with that of
other contemporary thinkers.
Becoming the People of the Talmud: Oral
Torah as Written Tradition in Medieval
Jewish Culture, by Talya Fishman, won the
National Jewish Book Award for scholarship.
Here she meticulously delineates how the
Talmud achieved its determining role in Jewish
practice, taking different paths among the
Sephardim of Spain and Tunisia from those of
the Ashkenazim of France and Germany. How
did the Oral Torah become the authoritative
written prescriptive guide to Jewish life, bringing about a major
cultural transformation, with teachers replaced by books, what
were the resistances to this movement and how was this affected
by the Christian attack on the Talmud? These and much more are
examined in this important work.
People of the Book Meets on April 17 and May 15
People of the Book continues to meet and read. Gatherings take place on the third Thursday of the month from 7:00–8:30 pm at
Beth El. You need not read the books to participate in what are always engaging discussions. Join us!! Offerings in April and May are:
April 17: The Rise of David Levinsky, by Abraham Cahan, presented by Robert Brandfon. This book offers a dramatic
impression of Jewish immigrants in New York. This semi-autobiographical novel presents a clear picture of the Jewish poor in New
York, their struggles to succeed and the success they achieved. As a pure novel, it is engaging, plausible and moving.
May 15: Jews and Power, by Ruth Wisse, presented by Florence Lewis. This deeply provocative book is sure to stir debate
both inside and outside the Jewish world. Wisse’s narrative offers a compelling argument that is rich with history and bristling with
contemporary urgency.
Questions? Write Barry Silverblatt at [email protected]
16 · T h e B ui l d e r · A pr i l / M ay 2 0 1 4
Beth Elders
What Do the Beth Elders Do?
by Marilyn Margulius
Here is a summary of the current programs and issues presented
to the congregation by the Beth Elders Committee.
At Beth El
· The recent “Compassion and Choices” program presented
many different end-of-life options, including the various types of
advanced care directives you can create.
· Senior services Meredith Caplan talked about aging
in place.
· An Ashby Village representative spoke about its support
services and neighborhood social networks.
· Our Life Stories program has two ongoing guided
autobiography groups: one gathers on the first and third
Mondays from 2:30–5:00 pm, and another meets in members’
homes every Monday from 7:00–9:00 pm. You may have
read many of our stories in The Builder. L’Dor Va Dor, Generation
to Generation, is an ongoing program to share our stories and
interact with kids in the Youth and Family Education (YAFE)
In Congregants’ Homes
Monthly meetings are the second Tuesday of the month from
7:00–9:00 pm. Our first guest presenter was Mark Fineman,
CEAC, owner of Complete Construction, a highly regarded
disability access construction company.
Our chair is a permanent member of the Longevity Revolution
Committee. The committee is working to provide important
information for the community for people over age 60 and their
families. The goal is to provide the best possible programming
and facilities to meet elders’ expanding needs. Check out the
Longevity Revolution website at jfed.org/longevity revolution.
You can also join the Longevity Revolution list-serve. It’s free.
It’s the place to post your questions and concerns directly to the
member organization and other private members. The list-serve is
monitored for appropriate content, with no advertising. Subscribe
by emailing longre[email protected]
“Challenges” Questions
Many questions emerged from our Longevity Revolution
“Challenges” program in February.
Is aging in your own homes a tantalizing option? Is it
reasonable for you to consider this option? Is it within your reach
financially? Do you know what the rates per hour are in the San
Francisco Bay Area for such care? Most of us don’t realize what
hourly care costs are or that the caretakers need to be managed.
How will you manage and afford a live-in caregiver? What does
it take to have home care, depending on the needs of the care
receiver? What are some of the alternative sources of care you
might consider?
Beth El’s Multigenerational Outreach
by Allen Nudel, Beth El parent
Every night, I ask my daughters what their favorite part of the
day was. Last night, Elise (age 8, third grade) said “Kadima!” I
asked her what she liked specifically, and she said “the Beth
Elders came in and told stories about what life was like with
the first washing machines. One lady said she used to go
around and sip the cream off the top of the milk bottles in her
neighborhood,” and my daughter went on and on. Elise really
enjoyed it, and I wanted to pass that along.
Do you understand the terminology of “independent living,”
“assisted living,” “nursing home,” “memory care,” etc. and what is
offered in each option? What will they cost and who does best in
which situations? Do we want to have a Beth El directory of these
places as well as one for the care management firms, and to give
them Yelp-style Beth El ratings?
What about long-term care insurance? What do the various
plans cover and what do they cost? What are the pitfalls and
how do you use the insurance? What is the difference between
the State of California long-term insurance plan and the private
insurance options? What is the best age to purchase long-term
care insurance (between ages 60 to 75, or younger)? What does it
cost to self-insure for average needs?
The Emotional Component
in Successful Aging
How will you navigate the challenges of unresolved relationships,
which can become exacerbated when a parent/sibling/spouse is
failing? How will you behave if/when a family member/spouse
becomes a stranger because of dementia or Alzheimer’s? Who has
the right, the responsibility and the capacity to make decisions? Is
the money “my parents’,” or “my inheritance?”
What about self-help discussion groups that are initially led by
professionals? Can they be continued by the participants with the
professionals in an advisory capacity, as needed? Will this kind of
support group allow you to come to your own individual solutions
to the problems while you are still able?
What about a session on how to fill out “Five Wishes“ that will
express to our loved ones/caretaker what our health-care wishes
are and how we individually express quality of life for ourselves?
Future programs that can deal with both the information and
emotional issues like these take a lot of time and energy to put
together. Some require funding.
Please contact me, [email protected], for other
program suggestions.
co n g r e g at i o n be t h e l · bet h elberkeley. org · 17
Men’s Club
Find Out About the Men’s Club
All Beth El members, including women, are invited to join the Beth El
Men’s Club. Our membership is composed mainly of men 50 and older. We particularly
encourage men in this age group to become active in the Men’s Club to assist in
planning events and developing new events to assure that the Men’s Club remains a
vibrant part of the Beth El community.
The Men’s Club organizes several events for the Beth El community. These events
and our contributions to them include:
· The Men’s Club Shabbat, honoring a Beth El member who has provided dedicated
service to the congregation. This year’s service in March honored Cathy Stevens.
· Making latkes for the annual Beth El Chanukah celebration.
· Arranging a Kids’ Day at nationally ranked Cal Women’s Basketball game. This
year’s event was an exciting game against the University of Oregon team. We also
arranged for UC’s Women’s Basketball Coach Lindsay Gottlieb and Israeli team member
Avigiel Cohen to speak at Beth El and to visit with kids in the Beth El community.
· Planning “The Day at the A’s” at an Oakland A’s game. (See sidebar.)
· Sponsoring speakers both at Beth El and in private homes. Past speakers have
included: Professor Michael Nacht of the Goldman School at UC, Professor David Tabb,
formerly of SFSU and Jeff Brand, former dean of USF Law School.
· Organizing wine tastings, theater parties and an annual Super Bowl party.
To join the Men’s Club, send a check for $25, payable to “Beth El Men’s Club,” to
Robert Goldstein, 2921 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705.
Save the date: “The
Day at the A’s”
Sunday afternoon,
June 22 vs. the Red Sox
Tickets with the barbeque are
$28 for adults and $20 for kids
(12 and under)
Tickets without the barbeque are
$22 for adults and $16 for kids
To reserve tickets now e-mail Bob
Goldstein at [email protected]
Deadline to order is May 19.
For further information about the
Men’s Club contact Andy Ganes at
510-525-2244 or [email protected]
net. To get on our e-mail list, contact
Robert Goldstein at 510-548-0720
or [email protected]
Letters to the Editor
Editorial Staff of The Builder
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 and Senior Writer: Elisabeth Wechsler
Editor, The Builder
[email protected]
Associate Editor: Jerry Iserson
Guest Contributors: Margie Gelb, Jeff Gillman, Bob
Goldstein, Marilyn Margulius, Scott Spear
Copy Editors: Mara Bernstein, Gail Bernstein, Evie Groch
Deadline for the June/July issue:
April 25, 2014
Proofreaders: Juliet Gardner, Evie Groch, Jeff Seideman
Letters, essays and guest articles may be
edited for length and at the discretion of the
Marketing & Communications Committee.
Communications Coordinator: Molly Daniels
No anonymous submissions
will be accepted.
18 · T h e B ui l d e r · A pr i l / M ay 2 0 1 4
Designer and Graphic Artist: Cheshire Isaacs
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 [email protected]
News from BENS
by Maguy Weizmann McGuire
Our students continue to thrive and learn
in Beth El Nursery School (BENS). Check out their Spring activities:
Gan Devorim and Gan Alonim: 2-year-olds
As our two-year-olds continue to go through their developmental
milestones, they are demonstrating abilities to socialize and
express their needs to one another. The 2’s team continues to
collaborate on creating curriculum that focuses on sensory-related
activities using watercolors, clay, paint and glue.
Gan Galim: 3-year-olds
Since their recent visit to Lawrence Hall of Science, the Gan Galim
students have shown great interest in expanding their knowledge
of animals and their habitats. They created an indoor forest with
homes for owls and squirrels and constructed an elaborate animal
park using blocks, paper, tape and wire. As the holiday of Purim
approaches, the forest will become the City of Shushan where the
children will engage in enacting the story of Purim.
Gan Hadar: 4-year-olds
Our older group has been exploring the world of archeology,
specifically of ancient homes and how they were built. Their
small group adventures took them into a world of examining
artifacts found in various digs (that teachers have staged) around
the school. They found ancient coins, clay pots and a mosaic,
which they carefully pieced together forming a full image of the
artifact. As they constructed knowledge about ancient homes,
they discovered the meaning and symbolism of the mezuzah.
Using soft putty, they were able to mold their own mezuzah to be
placed on their own front door. A museum showing the process
in which this activity took place is beautifully documented in the
Gan Hadar classroom. You are welcome to visit the museum at
any time.
Special Shabbats
This year, we created Shabbat gatherings accompanied by a
catered Shabbat dinner for each of our age groups. It’s an evening
where families connect, share and enjoy one another. The event
was welcomed with positive feedback in hopes that it will become
a continued tradition at BENS.
involved in such programs. In addition to targeting our own BENS
families, we are focusing on extending this invitation to families of
Beth El at large and families from the surrounding community. If
all goes well with the planning, we will start the program in April.
In addition, BENS staff and its committee chairs are
collaborating to restructure the outdoor space. We developed a
preliminary drawing (giving it a natural organic look). The plan
is to remove the play structure to allow for developmentally
appropriate spaces. Currently, the classrooms’ centers reflect
Howard Gardner’s “The Multiple Intelligences.” Our hope is to
expand his ideas and link them to the outdoor space creating areas
of movement, music, painting, reading, construction and dramatic
play in which our children can be engaged.
Dates to Remember
Monday, April 7
Parents Café
Friday, April 11
Pesach Family Celebration
April 16–21
BENS Closed for Pesach
April 16–18
Spring Mini-Camp
Friday, May 2Tot / Shabbat Yafe Service with Isaac
Zones followed by a potluck dinner
Monday, May 5
Parents Café
Wednesday, May 7Parent Education Workshop (a
pediatrician will present a program on
Saturday, May 10
Parents’ Night Out, 5:00–9:00 pm
Sunday, May 18
BENS Messy Day
Friday, May 30Honoring Parents and Shavuot
Celebration 9:00 am
Monday, June 2
Parents’ Café
Friday, June 13Last day of BENS and All School Siyum
Pesach Celebration
Pesach is just around the corner. We will be having a Holiday
Family Celebration scheduled for Friday, April 11 from 12:00 to
1:00 pm. The entire family will have an opportunity to engage and
choose from a variety of Pesach-related activities organized by
BENS Jewish Resource Specialist, Jodi Gladstone
Other News
We are currently in conversation exploring the possibility of
launching an infant/toddler and expectant parents’ program.
The program will be led by an infant/toddler specialist who will
oversee its structure, schedule and implementation. BENS has
over a dozen families with infants and toddlers seeking to be
co n g r e g at i o n be t h e l · bet h elberkeley. org · 19
Youth Programs
Our Teen Leaders at Beth El
by Rebecca DePalma
At Beth El we are proud to have amazing teen
leaders working hard to help keep our community strong. As we
approach the end of another school year, I want to use this article
as one way to honor them. Our teens plan and lead amazing
events for each other on the Sababa (6th–8th grade youth group)
and BESTY (9th–12th grade youth group) youth group boards
which are full of Jewish content, community building and fun
activities. Our Ruach coordinator intern, Bowen Johnson, plans
and runs the events for our 4th and 5th grade youth group. The
teens have planned and run events like the Harry Potter Sukkot
Sleepover, Ruach Shabbaton, BESTY Cook-Off and more. They
recruit friends to participate, and do a great job of creating events
where everyone is respected and has a good time while learning
about Judaism. Thank you so much to our board members who
have done amazing jobs this year!
Our teens work hard at Kadima and Chug Mishpacha as
madrichim (teaching assistants, tutors and office assistants) to
help younger students have fun and be encouraged in their Jewish
learning. Over the course of the year, they’ve led creative lesson
plans, handled classroom management, and worked with students
one-on-one. Thank you so much to our madrichim who are
amazing role models for our younger students!
Furthermore, we have teens who are hadracha (counselors)
at Midrasha who helped lead retreats for their peers. Don’t forget
our incredible Camp Kee Tov counselors who take nine weeks of
their summers to make sure campers have an awesome Jewish
experience. While I do not get to work with them as directly, I am
so impressed by their awesome achievement, and I want to thank
them for being inspiring leaders in our community.
In May, our youth groups will elect new boards for 5775 and
I will begin hiring madrichim for next year. I am hopeful that our
teens next year will be as thoughtful, inclusive, patient, hardworking and fun-loving as the group this year. If your teenager is
interested in getting involved, please feel free to contact me or
have her/him contact me.
20 · T h e B ui l d e r · A pr i l / M ay 2 0 1 4
How to Get Involved
For more information about teen programs at Congregation Beth
El or to RSVP for an upcoming event, please contact Rebecca
DePalma, [email protected], 510-848-2122 ext. 214.
In addition, you can go to the youth group webpages for
more information, to register for events, and to download forms:
April/May Youth Group Calendars
April 4–6 NFTY-CWR Spring Conclave at
Congregation Rodef Shalom
Saturday, April 19, BESTY Event
Friday, May 9, BESTY Elections
May 14–16 NFTY-CWR Gesher Conclave at Camp Newman
April 11–13, Sababa Shabbaton at Camp Newman
Friday, May 9, 5:00–8:30 pm, Sababa Elections & Pizza Party at Congregation Beth El — 5th graders welcome
Sunday, May 4, 1:00–3:00 pm, Ruach Israel Adventure at Beth
El — 3rd graders welcome
Beth El Band
Rehearsal: Tuesday, April 29, 6:30–8:30 pm
Performance: Friday, May 9, 7:30 pm
Performance: Friday, May 30, 6:15 pm
Scribes of Beth El
Meets on Wednesdays, 4:15–5:15 pm at Starbucks in Safeway on
Shattuck Avenue at Rose Street
Two Special Midrasha Events in May
by Diane Bernbaum, Director of Midrasha
As the Midrasha year winds to a close, there
are two special events where we hope you will join us. The first
is our annual Open House for parents and students in seventh
grade or anyone considering enrolling at Midrasha next year.
This will be held on Sunday, May 4 at 9:30 am. Teens will have a
chance to meet other in-coming students and get their questions
answered about Midrasha during the first part of the program.
They then get to visit two different elective classes. Parents will
meet with the Midrasha director and some board members and
students from 9:30–10:30 am. Then parents are free until their
teens are ready to leave at 12:30 pm. Please pass this information
on to any families with teens in grades 7–11. It’s a great way to
check out Midrasha and get a feel for it.
Although our Open House may be an event mainly for
families with Midrasha-aged teens, our graduation is for all of
you. You’ll get to hear each graduate speak about what Midrasha
and the 18 years of Jewish education have meant. Each year,
when I hear the words of our graduates, I am overwhelmed with
pride and have absolutely not a worry in the world about “Jewish
continuity.” For me, this year’s graduation will be the last before
I retire, so I know it will be a special day for me. And if you come,
I guarantee that it will be a special day for you, as well. You don’t
have to be the school director or be related to Midrasha in any
way to take pride in our teens. Please join us for graduation on
Sunday, May 18 at 10:15 am in the sanctuary. The graduation
epitomizes the pluralistic nature of our Midrasha community. We
have 12 graduates from six synagogues. We are truly a community
Mazel tov to the following Beth El graduates and their
families: Will Glasser, Casey Lapidus, Jacob Maler and Isaac
Rothenberg, and to the other Midrasha graduates and families:
Rozzie Heeger, Blythe Hyman, Adam Johnson, Shari Kimball,
Marcela Oñate-Trules, Emma Pines-Schwartz, Maya Sherne and
Peri Zangwill.
Camp Kee Tov Summer 2014
Session 1: June 23–July 18
Session 2: July 28–August 22
There are still a few spots available!
Sign up soon at www.campkeetov.org
co n g r e g at i o n be t h e l · bet h elberkeley. org · 21
YAFE Registration is now open
for the 2014–2015 school year!
Honoring our Teachers
by Debra Sagan Massey, Director of Education
Be an early bird and get the $75 discount if
you register before July 1. We look forward
to learning with you next year. See you in
September! bethelberkeley.org/learning/k-7education/register-now
“What we need more than good textbooks
is good text people.” This quote by Abraham Joshua Heschel
represents what we look for when hiring our teachers for Youth
and Family Education (YAFE) programs. While the content is
important, the teacher is what makes the learning come to life.
Our teachers at Beth El are mensches.
They are role models of Jewish adults who
inspire our youth to become active and
engaged Jews. We are so grateful to the
many teachers this year who continue to
ignite curiosity and a love for Judaism in our
students. A few of our teachers have grown up
at Beth El and continue to serve as role models
today — Julia Liepman, Tal Garner, Ruby
Shapiro and Adrienne Sontag-Murphy, to name a few.
Others have joined us as adults and have taught here for
several years in a row — Orly Perlstein, Gillian Loevner, Jodi
Gladstone, Jody Seltzer, Desmid Lyon, Sacha Kopin, Alice Pennes,
Nicole Maderas, Julia Sheng, Linda Miller, Miriam Schwartz,
Lauren Byrne, Arella Barlev, Isaac Zones and Allen King. And this
year we welcomed for the first time very talented new teachers
whom we hope will be a part of our congregational family for
many years: Reut Rom, Julia Gilden, Becca Friedland and Alina Fox.
We also have a special group of teachers who are here
every day, teaching our youngest children in the preschool. We
are grateful for their inspired teaching, their energy and their
dedication. Many thanks to our preschool teachers: Nicole Booz,
Emma Newman, Rachel Shearn, Nurit Garner, Ashleigh Rubinsky,
Gillian Lich, Janet Seltzer, Erik Hale, Teresa Marylander, Jodi
Gladstone, Carol Brownstein, Sara Kupor, Michelle Frankel and
Melissa Lozano.
We celebrate and honor our teachers each year at the
end of our YAFE programs: May 8 for Kadima and May 10 for
Chug Mishpacha. Please join me in saying thank you to such a
wonderful group of teachers and leaders. We are so grateful for
the holy work they do and are inspired by their dedication to and
love for Judaism.
I also want to highlight one of our teachers who not only
instructs our children but our parents, as well. Rabbi Bridget
Wynne has been teaching at Chug Mishpacha, our Shabbat family
school, for the past five years. Over the course of this time, she
has built a strong community of learners. Her teaching invites
all the adults into a discussion no matter what one’s Jewish
background is, and she integrates Jewish concepts into modern
day issues. She is a master teacher, and we are so grateful for her
leadership and teaching at Chug Mishpacha. She has directed
the program for the past three years and has collaborated with
me in designing and implementing the curriculum. This is Rabbi
Bridget’s last year teaching Chug Mishpacha, and we are all so
grateful for her wisdom and dedication. Thank you, Bridget, for
being our model of a “good text person” and inspiring so many of
us with the joy of Jewish learning.
Todah Rabah (thank you!) to all of our dedicated teachers!
22 · T h e B ui l d e r · A pr i l / M ay 2 0 1 4
Upcoming Shabbat Yafe Dates
Everybody’s talking about...Shabbat Yafe (means “beaufiful in
Hebrew)! Don’t miss out on this fun-filled Shabbat evening
with something for everyone! Mark your calendars now for
our upcoming Shabbat Yafe dates:
Friday, April 4 2nd grade hosts
Friday, May 2 1st grade hosts
Friday, June 13 Kindergarten hosts*
* indicates potluck dinner; otherwise, a catered meal will be
5:00 pm Tot Shabbat led by Isaac Zones
5:30 pm Community Dinner
6:15 pm Community-wide Shabbat Services
7:00 pm Oneg and Board Games
YAFE Calendar
5th Grade Family Program (5:30–7:00 pm)
4/4Shabbat Yafe: Tots at 5:00 pm, Dinner at 5:30 pm
and Family Shabbat at 6:15 pm
4/8Education Committee Meeting; 7:30–9:00 pm.
4/10All School Service: parents encouraged to come
at 5:40 pm
4/11–13 Sababa Shabbaton at Camp Newman
Classes resume
6th Grade Mitzvah Corps
4/29Yom Hashoah Speaker (4:00–6:00 pm);
6th and 7th grade
5/2Shabbat Yafe: Tots at 5:00 pm, Dinner at 5:30 pm
and Family Shabbat at 6:15 pm
Ruach Israel Adventure
5/6Yom Ha’atzmaut Family Celebration and Art Show
(5:00–7:00 pm)
5/8Last Day of Kadima: Family Celebration at 5:30 pm
with picnic
5/9Celebration of Education at 6:15 pm
Sababa Elections & Pizza Party
Chug Mishpacha Picnic
5/186th Grade Mitzvah Corps; Redwood Regional Park
b’nei mitzvah
The congregation is cordially invited to
attend the service and kiddush following to
honor these bar and bat mitzvah candidates:
Eliana Tucker will be called
to the Torah as a bat mitzvah on
Saturday, April 26 at 10:15 am.
Eliana is the daughter of Barrett
Tucker & Mara Stonefield.
Talia Appel-Bernstein will
be called to the Torah as a bat
mitzvah on Saturday, May 24 at
10:15 am. Talia is the daughter of
Judith Appel & Alison Bernstein.
Dory Arnold will be called to
the Torah as a bat mitzvah on
Saturday, May 3 at 10:15 am. Dory
is the daughter of Doug Arnold &
Julie Katz.
Eli Lebowitz will be called to
Sam Schickler will be called
Ruby Levine will be called to
the Torah as a bat mitzvah on
Saturday, May 31 at 10:15 am.
Ruby is the daughter of John
Levine & Angela Powlen.
the Torah as a bar mitzvah on
Thursday, May 29 at 10:15 am. Eli
is the son of Tracy Hollander &
Noah Lebowitz.
to the Torah as a bar mitzvah on
Saturday, May 10 at 10:15 am. Sam
is the son of Eric Schickler & Terri
April 5
Parashat Metzorah
Leviticus 14:1 – 15:33
Toni Stein
April 26
Parashat Kedoshim
Leviticus 19:1 – 20:27
Debra Sagan Massey
May 17
Parashat Bechukotai
Leviticus 26:3 – 27:34
Caroline Lehman
April 12
Parashat Acharei
Leviticus 16:1 – 18:30
Jeff Brand
May 3
Parashat Emor
Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23
Rebecca Abravanel
May 24
Parashat Bamidbar
Numbers 1:1 – 4:20
Ellen Goldstein
April 19
Shabbat during Pesach
Song of Songs
Arella Barlev
May 10
Parashat Behar
Book of Ruth
Norm Schneider
May 31
Parashat Naso
Numbers 4:21 – 7:89
Rabbi Zellman
co n g r e g at i o n be t h e l · bet h elberkeley. org · 23
Aaron Plishner Children Library
Phyllis Zisman in memory of Dorothy Scherr Wollins
Donate to
Beth El!
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.
Please make checks payable to
Congregation Beth El and mail to
1301 Oxford Street, Berkeley, CA 94709
or visit bethelberkeley.org/give/donate.
This contribution of $
in memory of*
in honor of*
Please credit the fund checked below:
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
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 Group Fund
Address 1:
Address 2:
Thank you for
your support!
24 · T h e B ui l d e r · A pr i l / M ay 2 0 1 4
Allan & Sybil Smith Kahn Fund
Jeffrey & Susan Brand
Allen & Joan Dekelboum
Steven Joseph & Corey Hansen-Joseph
Peggy & Michael Lipson
Renee Passy-Zale
Ruth & Scott Spear
Annual Appeal
Frances Alexander in memory of Ernest Alexander
Adele Amodeo
Richard & Christine Aptaker
David Huebner & Sandy Bacskai
Arella Barlev
Alexander & Michelle Bergtraun
Lon Poole & Karin Bliman
Richard & Liz Bordow
Ann & Steve Brick
Ellie Goldstein-Erickson
Michael & Merle Fajans
Lisa Feldman
Dan & Lynne Fingerman
Matt Oshry & Alison Fisher
Samuel Fishman
Moshe Maler & Susan Frankel
Lisa & Matthew Friedman
Marlene Getz & Bob Gilden
Paul & Sali Gold-Johnson
Arthur & Carol Goldman
Andrew Kivel and Susan Goldstein
Martin & Selma Graham
Avrum Gratch
Edythe Heda in memory of Burton A. Heda
Rabbi Rebekah Stern & Sean Holcombe
Esther & Mark Hudes
Mary Jacobs
Marc Derewetzky & Jennifer Kawar
Steve Tabak & Blair Kilpatrick-Tabak
Leo & Rebecca Levenson
Albert Magid
Dan & Robinn Magid in memory of Marian Magid
Marilyn & Harry Margulius
Leigh Marymor
Rosa Mayeri
Eugene & Robin Millstein
Lloyd Morgan
Paul Steckel & Marlene Morris
Allen & Pamela Nudel
Renee Passy-Zale
Julie & Eddie Pledger
Jenn Rader
Stephen & Wilma Rader
Gail & Thomas Reagan
William Lee & Amy Resner
Eileen Rosenfeld
Bruce Saldinger & Lynne Royer
Katherine Haynes Sanstad
Alan Sanstad
Stanley & Miriam Schiffman
Cecile Isaacs & Norm Schneider
Nina Rivkind & Steven Shatz
Sharon Levy & Marv Sternberg
Laurie Swiadon
Ann Manheimer & Arthur Swislocki
David & Judith Tabb
Buddy & Jodi Warner
Elisabeth Wechsler & Jeffrey Seideman
Bruce & Peg Winkelman
Benjamin Wolfe
Susan & Bill Zarchy
Josefina Coloma & Dan Zeiger
Arjmand Adult Education Fund
Leah Emdy
B’nei Mitzvah Tzedakah Fund
Stuart & Ronnie Cohen
Michael & Sharon King
Karen Frasier-Kolligs & Walter Kolligs
Jonathan Loran & Jennifer Resner
Yael Bloom & Howie Rosen
Jerry Weintraub in honor of Jolie Gobler’s Bat Mitzvah
Edward & Robin Wenrick
Building Fund
Jennifer Mangel in appreciation of
Beth El community partnerships
Vadjiheh Yadegar in memory of Benjamin Benlevi
Camp Kee Tov Campership Fund
Lita Krowech
David Cotton Memorial Swig Fund
Alfred & Anita Cotton in memory of David Sol Cotton
Frances Alexander
Felicia Cole & Dean Amundson
Brian Parker & Leyna Bernstein
Robin Mencher & Matthew Dimond
Abigail Rezneck & Miles Ehrlich
Joshua Langenthal & Diane Halberg
Nancy Berglas & Benjamin Highton
Chanisa & Scott Homer
Sandy Bacskai & David Huebner
Jonathan Packman & Elizabeth Kaplan
Julie Matlof Kennedy & Patrick Kennedy
The Morrill Family
Carolina Reisenman & Michael Nachman
Steve Kurzman & Kim Nies
Marvin Pearlstein
Rabbi Ferenc & Paula Raj
Marc Davis & Nancy Turak
Edward & Robin Wenrick
Joanne Miller & David Zonana
General Fund
Anonymous in memory of Bryan Shohet, cousin of
Lea Salem
Anonymous in honor of the 60th anniversary of
Bonnie and Max Cooperstein
Frances Alexander in memory of Ethel Alexander
Odette Blachman in honor of the 60th anniversary of
Bonnie and Max Cooperstein
Barbara Brenner Buder in memory of Alan H. Buder
Martin & Jill Dodd in memory of Miriam Gockner
Leah Emdy in honor of the 60th anniversary of
Bonnie and Max Cooperstein
Karen Feldman in honor of Lisa Feldman
Michael & Anna Fogelman in honor of the 60th
anniversary of Bonnie and Max Cooperstein
Roberta & Mark Gross in memory of Edward Kantz
Harold Hoffman
Stacey & Edward Holly
Marc Derewetzky & Jennifer Kawar
Laura Taub & David Kline
Sara & Robert Kupor in honor of Rabbi Kahn, Rabbi
Zellman, Debra Sagan Massey, Maguy Weizmann
McGuire, Jose Tirado, Gustavo Lopez, Joel
Contreras, Jesus Lopez, Beverly Eigner, Torah Study
Naomi Janowitz & Andrew Lazarus in memory of
Gigi Lazarus
Leo & Rebecca Levenson
Neil & Jane Levy
John Gordon & Janis Mitchell in memory of
Eda Gordon
Susan Reinhold
Amy & David Tick
Vadjiheh Yadegar in memory of Aziz Olah Benlevi and
Jahangir Yadegar
Phyllis Zisman in honor of Rabbi Rebekah Stern; in
memory of May Schere and Eleanore Schere
Homeless Meal Program
Susan Amdur
Janine Baer
Bonnie Bishop in memory of H. Corey Bishop
Barbara Fierer & Robert Brandfon in memory of
Leon Fisher
Linda & Richard Clymer
Clarke & Maria Daniels
Michael & Merle Fajans in honor of the 60th anniversary
of Bonnie and Max Cooperstein
Rose & Jack Gansky in memory of
Benjamin Cooperstein
Linda Gerson
Valerie Gutwirth & Elio Gizzi
Anna Mantell & Robert Goldstein in honor of
Judy and Stu Berman’s 40th wedding anniversary
Kenneth Kathie Goode in honor of
Erica and Barry Goode
Roberta & Mark Gross in memory of Bill Kantz
Esther & Mark Hudes in honor of Gail Offen-Brown
Allen King
Ruth Ehrenkrantz & Spencer Klein
Debbie & Jeffrey Leon
John & Florence Lewis
Jennifer Light
Rose Ellen Morrell
Herbert Napell in memory of Oto Napell
Renee Passy-Zale
Abigail & Craig Rudnick
Sharon Levy & Marv Sternberg in memory of
Ruthie Levy and Dr. Aaron Ziegman
Laurie Swiadon
David & Judith Tabb in honor of Nancy Turak and
Marc Davis
Toot Sweets
Leah Witus
Vadjiheh Yadegar in memory of Sinoor Yadegar
Ma Tovu capital campaign
Laura Mytels & Ethan Andelman
Harry Pollack & Joanne Backman
Rabbi Yoel Kahn & Dan Bellm
Michael & Merle Fajans
Lisa Feldman
Dan & Lynne Fingerman
Arthur & Carol Goldman
Anna Mantell & Robert Goldstein
Joshua Langenthal & Diane Halberg
Marc Derewetzky & Jennifer Kawar
Debbie & Jeffrey Leon
Leo & Rebecca Levenson
Leigh Marymor
Eugene & Robin Millstein
Doug & Lori Perlstadt
Alan & Paula Statman
Paul & Susan Sugarman
Ellen Singer-Vine & Ed Vine
Vadjiheh Yadegar
Marian Magid Fund
Melvin & Dorothy Lemberger in memory of
Marian Magid
Marc Davis & Nancy Turak
Men’s Club
Elaine & Allan Sobel in memory of Benjamin Sobel
Mitzvah Committee
Leah Emdy
Jack & Rose Gansky in memory of Abraham Bass and
Mollie Bass
Music Fund
Leah Emdy
Juliet & Peter Gardner in memory of
Peregrine Elan Gardner
Ellie Goldstein-Erickson
Ronni Bergman & Nancy Gordon in memory of
Doris Gordon
Sandy Bacskai & David Huebner in honor of Daniel
Huebner’s bar mitzvah
Karen Frasier-Kolligs & Walter Kolligs in appreciation
of Rabbi Zellman & Sacha Kopin for preparing Nat
Kolligs for his bar mitzvah service
Renee Passy-Zale in memory of
David Rosenbaum-Alfandary
Shoshana Berger & Anthony Saxe in memory of
Stanley Berger
Ruth & Scott Spear in memory of
Peregrine Elan Gardner
Nursery School Fund
Shoshana & Leor Beary in memory of Mimi Loevner,
grandmother of Gillian Loevner
Jenn & Seth Brysk in memory of Mimi Loevner,
grandmother of Gillian Loevner
Deborah Katler Fink & Aaron Fink in memory of
Mimi Loevner, grandmother of Gillian Loevner
David & Nurit Garner in memory of Lilly Rosenthal
Lori & David Hess in memory of Mimi Loevner,
grandmother of Gillian Loevner
Leeat & David Louvton in memory of Mimi Loevner,
grandmother of Gillian Loevner
Rachel & Dev Millstein in memory of Mimi Loevner,
grandmother of Gillian Loevner
Carolina Reisenman & Michael Nachman in memory of
Mimi Loevner, grandmother of Gillian Loevner
Abigail & Craig Rudnick in honor of the birth of
Quincy Jambo Rolland-Bass
Suzanne & Bob Samuels in memory of Mimi Loevner,
grandmother of Gillian Loevner
Elana Schlafman & Erin Weltzien in memory of
Mimi Loevner, grandmother of Gillian Loevner
Oneg/Kiddush Fund
Stuart & Judy Berman in honor of their wedding
Steven Joseph & Corey Hansen-Joseph in memory of
Belle Rosenstein Joseph
Project Nechama
Nancy Billig Arons & Michael Arons in memory of
Samuel Menachem Wolin Rosen
Debbie & Joshua Bamberger in memory of
Samuel Menachem Wolin Rosen
Diane & Ed Bernbaum in memory of
Peregrine Elan Gardner
Mina & Dan Bressler in memory of
Peregrine Elan Gardner
Kate and Margee Burch in memory of
Peregrine Elan Gardner
Peter & Marian Edelman in memory of
Samuel Menachem Wolin Rosen
Juliet & Peter Gardner in memory of
Benjamin Anani Gerson Feinstein
Blair & Laura Kellison in memory of
Samuel Menachem Wolin Rosen
Ruth Ehrenkrantz & Spencer Klein in memory of
Peregrine Elan Gardner
Charles Lerner in honor of Sybil Wolin
Desmid Lyon in memory of Peregrine Elan Gardner
Scott & Kate McGlashan in memory of
Samuel Menachem Wolin Rosen
Wendy Plotkin-Mates & Naomi Plotkin in memory of
Samuel Menachem Wolin Rosen
Abby Friedman & Daniel Schifrin in honor of
Jessica Wolin
Ruth & Scott Spear in memory of Benjamin Wolk &
Gary Orkin
Tamara Lerner & Richard Topel in memory of
Samuel Menachem Wolin Rosen
Jane & Brian Wise in memory of
Samuel Menachem Wolin Rosen
Rabbi Emeritus Raj’s
Discretionary Fund
Mary & Richard Firestone in honor of Rabbi Raj
Ellie Goldstein-Erickson
Steven Joseph & Corey Hansen-Joseph in memory of
Benjamin Wolk
Esther & Mark Hudes in honor of Paula Raj
Barbara & Michael Liepman in memory of
Benjamin Wolk
Sandra & Herb Napell in memory of Pauline Matkowsky
and Kate Napell, our mothers
Gerald Weintraub in memory of Benjamin Wolk
Rabbi Kahn’s Discretionary Fund
Michael & Susan Austin in memory of Rose Beal
Mona Cain in honor of Jolie Gobler’s bat mitzvah
Norman Postone & Lisa Fruchtman in memory of
Rabbi Abraham Postone
Juliet & Peter Gardner in memory of
Peregrine Elan Gardner
Paul & Sali Gold-Johnson in memory of
Irma Margaret Sundberg Johnson
Ellie Goldstein-Erickson
John Scott & Ann Gonski
Ronni Bergman & Nancy Gordon in memory of
Doris Gordon
Steven Joseph & Corey Hansen-Joseph
Sandy Bacskai & David Huebner in honor of
Daniel Huebner’s bar mitzvah
Martin Rosenthal & Patricia James in memory of
Arnold Rosenthal
Karen Frasier-Kolligs & Walter Kolligs in honor of
Nathaniel Kolligs’ bar mitzvah
Peggy & Michael Lipson
Lloyd Morgan in memory of Lawrence Morgan
Paul Steckel & Marlene Morris in memory of
Abraham Morris
Rozelle Morris in memory of Abraham Morris
Sandra & Herb Napell in memory of Pauline Matkowsky
and Kate Napell, our mothers
PJ & Marty Rosenthal in memory of Arnold Rosenthal
Abigail Rudnick in honor of Craig Rudnick
Marcel & Margrit Schurman in memory of
Anne Edwardson
Ruth & Scott Spear in memory of
Peregrine Elan Gardner
Cathy Stevens in honor of Lisa Feldman
Lloyd & Lassie Ulman
Rabbi Vida Library Fund
Odette Blachman in memory of Benjamin Wolk
Clarke & Maria Daniels
Debbie & Jeffrey Leon in memory of Benjamin Wolk
Social Action Fund
Leah Emdy
Youth and Family Education (YAFE)
101 Auto Body
Lisa Feldman
Herschel & Judith Langenthal
Barry & Helen Lebowitz
Youth Group Fund
The Morrill Family in honor of Rebecca DePalma &
Samuel Lockhart on the birth of their son,
Daniel Harry
co n g r e g at i o n be t h e l · bet h elberkeley. org · 25
Ap r i l 2014 · Nisan 5774
S u nday
T u esday
T h u r sday
F r i day
S At u r day
7:00 pm Chorus
7:30 pm Intro to the
Jewish Experience
(at Temple Sinai)
7:30 pm Midrasha
7:00 pm Israel
5:00 pm Talmud
Shabbat Yafe:
5:00 pm Tot
5:30 pm Shabbat
Catered Dinner
6:15 pm Shabbat
Evening Service
7:00 pm Oneg &
8:30 am Early
9:15 am Torah Study
10:15 am Shabbat
No Midrasha
9:00 am BENS
3:00 pm Leaders
Forum with Prof.
Nora Silver
7:30 pm Beth El
Kevah Group
9:00 am BENS
Parents Cafe
2:00 pm Library
2:30 pm Life Stories
6:30 pm Beth El
Band Rehearsal
7:00 pm Executive
7:00 pm Chorus
7:30 pm Intro to the
Jewish Experience
(at Temple Sinai)
5:00 pm Kevah with
Rabbi Richman
5:40 pm All-school
7:30 pm Ritual
Sababa Overnight
at Camp Newman
12:00 pm BENS
Pesach Family
5:00 pm Talmud
6:15 pm Shabbat
Sababa Overnight
at Camp Newman
8:40 am Shabbat
B’Yachad Service
1:00 pm Adult B’nei
Mitzvah: Individual
Drash Meetings
Sababa Overnight
at Camp Newman
No Midrasha
Pesach: First Night
1:00 pm Office
1:00 pm BENS
Pesach: Second
Office Closed
BENS Closed
No Kadima
10:15 am Pesach
6:00 pm
Pesach: Third Night
BENS Closed
Office Closed
7:30 pm Intro to the
Jewish Experience
(at Temple Sinai)
Pesach: Fourth
BENS Spring Camp
7:00 pm People of
the Book
Pesach: Fifth Night
BENS Spring Camp
5:00 pm Talmud
6:15 pm Yismechu
Shabbat Evening
Pesach: Sixth Night
No Chug Mishpacha
8:30 am Early
9:15 am Torah Study
10:15 am Shabbat
Pesach: Seventh
2:00 pm Homeless
Meal: Medical Clinic
5:00 pm Homeless
Pesach: Eighth
BENS Spring Camp
2:00 pm Library
2:30 pm Life Stories
BENS Spring Camp
No Kadima
6:00 pm Yizkor
7:00 pm Pesach
Yizkor Service
7:00 pm Chorus
7:30 pm Intro to the
Jewish Experience
(at Temple Sinai)
7:30 pm Israel
Committee “Is
Peace Possible?”
Midrasha Retreat
5:00 pm Talmud
6:15 pm Shabbat
Midrasha Retreat
8:30 am Early
9:15 am Torah Study
10:15 am Shabbat
Service: Eliana
Tucker Bat Mitzvah
Midrasha Retreat
Erev Yom ha’Shoah
3:00 pm Leaders
Forum with Paula
Yom ha’Shoah
2:00 pm Library
6:30 pm Beth El
Band Rehearsal
7:00 pm Board of
6:30 pm Tawonga
New Family
7:00 pm Chorus
7:30 pm Intro to the
Jewish Experience
(at Temple Sinai)
26 · T h e B ui l d e r · A pr i l / M ay 2 0 1 4
May 2014 · Iyar –S ivan 5774
S u nday
T u esday
T h u r sday
F r i day
S At u r day
5:00 pm Kevah
with Rabbi Dorothy
7:30 pm Israel
Committee’s “Is
Peace Possible?”
7:30 pm Ritual
Shabbat Yafe
5:00 pm Tot
5:30 pm Shabbat
Catered Dinner
6:15 pm Shabbat
Yafe Service
7:00 pm Oneg &
8:30 am Early
9:15 am Torah Study
10:15 am Shabbat
Service: Dory
Arnold Bat Mitzvah
1:00 pm Adult B’nei
Mitzvah: Individual
Drash Meetings
9:30 am Midrasha
10:00 am Volunteer
Fair & Brunch
11:00 am Annual
1:00 pm Ruach
Israel Adventure
Yom Hazikaron
2:00 pm Library
2:30 pm Life Stories
Yom ha’Atzmaut
5:00 pm Yom
Ha’Atzmaut Family
6:30 pm Beth El
Band Rehearsal
6:00 pm Leaders
Forum with Rabbi
Doug Kahn
7:00 pm BENS
Parent Workshop
7:00 pm Chorus
7:30 pm Intro to the
Jewish Experience
(at Temple Sinai)
7:30 pm Midrasha
Board Meeting
Kadima Last Day
7:30 pm Israel
Committee “Is
Peace Possible?”
12:00 pm BENS Yom
ha’Atzmaut Family
5:00 pm Talmud
5:00 pm Sababa
Election & Pizza
6:15 pm Shabbat
Service &
Celebration of
8:30 am Early
9:15 am Torah Study
10:15 am Shabbat
Service: Sam
Schickler Bar
5:00 pm BENS
Parents Night Out
Mother’s Day
9:30 am Midrasha
7:30 pm Beth El
Kevah Group
2:00 pm Library
7:30 pm Executive
1:00 pm BENS
Closes: Parent/
7:00 pm Chorus
7:30 pm Intro to the
Jewish Experience
(at Temple Sinai)
7:00 pm People of
the Book
12:30 pm BENS AllSchool Shabbat
5:00 pm Talmud
6:15 pm Yismechu
Shabbat Service
Chug Misphacha
Camping Trip
8:30 am Early
9:15 am Torah Study
10:15 am Shabbat
Lag ba’Omer
BENS Messy Day
9:30 am Midrasha
Graduation & Last
Day of Class
2:00 pm Homeless
Meal: Medical Clinic
5:00 pm Homeless
2:00 pm Library
2:30 pm Life Stories
6:30 pm Beth El
Band Rehearsal
7:30 pm Program
7:30 pm Intro to the
Jewish Experience
(at Temple Sinai)
7:30 pm Israel
Committee “Is
Peace Possible?”
5:00 pm Talmud
6:15 pm Shabbat
8:30 am Early
9:15 am Torah Study
10:15 am Shabbat
Service: Talia AppelBernstein Bat
3:30 pm Pre-concert
Talk: Renaissance
and Baroque
Music of Jewish
4:00 pm Concert:
Renaissance and
Baroque Music of
Jewish Celebrations
Memorial Day
Office Closed
BENS Closed
7:00 pm Board of
10:15 am Eli
Lebowitz Bar
9:00 am BENS:
Honoring Parents
5:00 pm Talmud
6:15 pm Shabbat
Evening Service:
Recognition &
Board Installation
8:30 am Early
9:15 am Torah Study
10:15 am Shabbat
Service: Ruby
Levine Bat Mitzvah
1:00 pm Adult B’nei
Mitzvah: Individual
Drash Meetings
co n g r e g at i o n be t h e l · bet h elberkeley. org · 27
congregation beth el
1301 Oxford Street
Berkeley, CA 94709–1424
Mark Your Calendar
Shabbat Yafe, Friday April 4, p. 22
Second Night Community Seder
Wednesday, April 16, p. 6
“Is Peace Possible?” Part I
Thursday, April 24, p. 13
Annual Meeting and Volunteer Fair
Sunday, May 4, p. 7
Celebration of Education
Friday, May 9, p. 7
Music of Jewish Celebration
Sunday, May 25, p. 14
Cover photo by Edsel Little;
used under a Creative Commons license
From the Gift Shop
by Odette Blachman and Robinn Magid
Following a successful Chanukah season, we have been
busy replenishing our inventory. Our display of Safed candles is filled with
colorful choices. The new mezuzzot are crowding the shelves and the tallit
rack is heavy with great new selections for men and women. We think you
will appreciate our latest affordable jewelry, some from our favorite designers
as well as a few more casual pieces from new sources. Our fair trade offerings
have been so popular that we have added these exciting new items:
· elegant wire baskets made from recycled bicycle spokes
· c olorful night lights and serving pieces made from reclaimed window
panes in Argentina
· inexpensive bracelets and necklaces made from a South American nut
that is polished smooth
· beautiful Judaica cards and art work from Cape Town, South Africa
Pesach is coming! The first seder is Monday, April 14. We are wellstocked with seder plates, matzah baskets, hand-wash cups and a variety of
afikomen gifts. We can also suggest a number of items suitable for hostess/
host gifts. One of our favorites is a three-piece set consisting of a hand towel,
pot holder and oven mitt in a matzah-patterned fabric for $11. We have a
choice of three popular haggadahs. And for new and amazing recipes and
great menu ideas, check out our cookbooks!
Lots to love at the Beth El Gift Shop!
Nonprofit Org
US Postage
Berkeley CA
Permit #207