CBS Community Passover Preparations


CBS Seder Matching:
Open Seats & Friendly Faces

Do you have an extra seat not already reserved for Elijah or Miriam?
Are you interested in joining a Seder at the home of a CBS community member?
This year, CBS staff will be helping community members with extra seats fill their table by facilitating community connections. Please use the forms below to help us in this process!

If you are planning a Seder and interested in adding a chair (or three): Please use this form

If you are interested in joining a CBS Community Member’s Seder: Please use this form to help us match you with an available host!

Please email Bill Crotty at with any questions.

Preparing CBS for Passover

  • Help us prepare CBS from 1-4 p.m. in a bi-annual event of tidying our physical spaces for the community!

  • We'll be accepting donations of usable clothes and household items for Community Thrift from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. (proceeds benefit CBS). Please ensure all donations are acceptable items.

  • Following our community-wide tidying of CBS, we will nosh on some bread products (chametz) while listening to a dialogue between Rabbi Ain and Jeremiah Lockwood.

  • Rabbi Ain and Jeremiah Lockwood discuss their most meaningful Passover traditions - through rabbinic and musical lenses. Bring your questions and engage us all in a holiday filled with purpose, inquiry and spirit, beginning at 4 p.m.

  • Finally, Revive your soul with a performance from The Fraternal Order of the Society of Blues. Jeremiah Lockwood (guitar and voice), Ernesto “Lover Cat” Gomez (harmonica and voice) and Ricky “Dirty Red” Gordon (washboard and voice) comprise this band: a tribute to the Life and Music of Carolina Slim (aka Elijah Staley). Check out the video below for a preview! Performance will begin at 5 p.m.

Four Questions with At the Well’s Sarah Waxman

Sarah Waxman, Founder of  At the Well

Sarah Waxman, Founder of At the Well

In preparation for our upcoming Women’s gathering, April 9 at 6:30 p.m. -- where we’ll be exploring Passover themes of personal exile and freedom -- Alana Ain asks Four Questions of our special guest, and At the Well founder, Sarah Waxman.

AA) I love the vision of At the Well, a space that brings women together at the intersection of wellness and Jewish Spirituality, and particularly the charge of “inspiring women to lift each other up" This feels so essential. Can you share an example of how we can lift one another up?

SW) Just one?! That's really hard for me!!
I am inspired by the way the Daughters of Zelophehad worked in a feminine style of leadership, collaborative and shared. I’m also inspired by Jewish teachings’ commitment to do personal growth within the community. On our hardest days, we don't isolate ourselves and do our healing alone, we show up in a community and pray and work together. Because of this, I know in my heart that women's groups, Well Circles, inspired by the Rosh Chodesh New Moon ritual have the power to transform the world because it is designed to teach you how to be a leader and a supporter, to commit to your own growth as a way of committing to others.  In these spaces, we are unlearning the way society raised us as women to be with each other. Instead of being in competition and petty, we are learning to listen, role model, and understand we are all connected.

AA) Your Holistic Passover Detox encourages us to set an intention before we enter into the ritual of the holiday, as stated:
"Setting intentions help us act on purpose instead of acting because we "should" or "have to."
Amen to that! What's your intention for this Passover?

SW) I personally never use the word should. It is dangerous, and Brene Brown would agree! It makes my spine hurt when I hear people in the Jewish community say I "should do this, I should keep that." I can feel the pain, burden, and disconnect in that statement. Passover is the oldest ritual in the western world. Literally, every Jewish person has been telling the story and bringing intention to this radical moment in time, every spring that invites us to consider how we could live more free. In a time when we have the highest rates of loneliness, depression, and isolation we can all lean towards bringing intention into our celebration instead of putting unnecessary burden, pressure, or heaviness on ourselves. Either commit to the ritual or don't. But please, for your personal mental health commit to one! And take a week! It is so powerful to change your diet or life to say, "this week I am not eating bread because I am using it as a symbol to help me connect more deeply with my spiritual self."
Our discussion on April 9th, is going to be designed to help us all think of what we are dedicating our Passover week towards.

AA) Change can be so challenging! How do we make time - in our frenetic lives - to ensure that this Passover is different from all others?

SW) Everything in your life is a choice. In every moment we have complete power to choose how we respond. Even when we have 1000 emails and a crying baby in our arms, we can still lean towards connection and love at the Seder.  Passover is coming every full moon of Nissan, so use it as a GREAT gift from this Jewish wisdom tradition inviting you to literally stop, reflect, throw out, adjust, and work towards your liberation. Change IS hard, and it's even harder when you are doing it alone. Good news, Judaism rarely does this. DO it TOGETHER, with your family, with your friends, at the Seder, speak to the people at the table about what they are committing to this week, ask them who wants to be accountability partners with you, etc. But remember, we are ALL connected. So your mom’s commitment to growth will only transform you. Perhaps test out what it really looks like to show up!

AA) As a resource that brings so many women together - celebrating our shared experiences as well as our unique differences - what's one thing you've observed that unites and empowers us?

SW) Kindness, eye contact, singing, and (consensual) touch!
The most vulnerable leaders are the people we can all breathe a little deeper around, truly open up around, and feel empowered to act towards our love potential around. Be like the #BiblicalBabe Hannah, who poured out her soul so beautifully and publicly, that we as Jews literally learn to pray from the way she showed up in her pain and love. We are all craving more connection to each other and within ourselves, we are all living with low-level anxiety and fear, and we are all looking for ways to find more love. Walk forth in the world looking for the light in people, and no doubt you will find it.

AA) Thank you!

SW) Right back at you.

Luka Ehrensaft-Oh's Bar Mitzvah


Shalom! My name is Luka Ehrensaft-Oh, and I am a 7th grader at The Brandeis School of San Francisco. On March 30, 2019, I have the honor of being called to the Torah to become a Bar Mitzvah.

At school, I really enjoy math, writing, and being with my friends. Outside, of school, I like to skateboard, draw, and play the guitar. I have a brother named Finn, an adorable dog named Ruby, and 2 amazing, loving parents. My bar mitzvah is Shabbat Parah, a special Shabbat that precedes Pesach. Parshat Shemini is interesting because it tells the story of the deaths of Nadab and Abihu, two of Aaron’s sons who were consumed in flames for offering "alien fire" before G-d. This has taught me a lot about the importance of respecting people’s roles, and I will talk more about other rabbis’ thoughts as well as mine on this in my Drash.

Preparing for my Bar Mitzvah has been a challenging process, and I couldn’t have done it alone. I would like to thank my parents for always pushing me to get in some practice time, Rabbi Ain for helping me through the process of writing my Drash, and my wonderful tutor, Randy Weiss, for all the FaceTime lessons and helping me learn everything I need to know on the day of my Bar Mitzvah, as well as the potato chips and cookies. I would also like to thank all my wonderful friends for supporting me every single day, and for the many laughs we have shared together. I look forward to seeing all of you at my Bar Mitzvah.

Volunteer at Purimpalooza!

Volunteers Needed!

Join the CBS community on March 20th to celebrate a world turned upside down! There will be carnival games, two bounce houses, a teen escape room, a raffle with amazing prizes, a silent auction, delicious food, and booze aplenty!

Your kids will enjoy the Purim puppet show and singalong by beloved Bay Area Jewish educator and entertainer, Mimi Greisman, and staffed by our wonderful teachers--allowing all the “big kids” time to schmooze. We’re also producing a CBS original, western-themed Purim spiel, written by Steve Miller and produced by Tracy Swedlow. "The Shushana Maidel Goes West!," will have two performances in Beth Sholom's Koret Hall.  

You will also have a chance to view performances by Elai & Noa's Youth Band performance and belly dancing by sisters Celeste, April, and Allegra Hirschman. The success of this event depends on you! Please sign-up for one (or two) or THREE slots of your preference and support our education programs at CBS!!

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Women of Congregation Beth Sholom: Sisterhood Reconsidered

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Dear Women of Beth Sholom,

It's been so exciting for me to connect with you over the past 6+ months, and to learn that so many of us are seeking similar things: greater opportunities to connect and for mentorship from one another – across the generations – in the realms of life, work and spirit. 

As a step to move us closer towards this shared goal, let's gather on Sunday, March 3, at 10 a.m. at CBS for an ideas exchange and light nosh. 

We'll have a chance to discuss what we're hoping to build with one another, and unpack iterations of "Sisterhood," reconsidering and imagining this concept as something that can hold relevance in our lives now.

We'll leave time for a creative writing exercise to help us flesh out ideas that bring us closer to our personal and communal visions. 

I'd love to know how many of you to expect, so please send me a quick note and let me know you'll be joining us.

Looking forward to more with all of you,

DATE: Sunday, March 3
TIME: 10 a.m.
PLACE: Main Meeting Room
COST: Free

The Installation of Rabbi Dan Ain

The Installation of Rabbi Dan Ain

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Shabbat, January 26, 2019, was a wonderful day in the history of Congregation Beth Sholom as we formally installed Rabbi Dan Ain and welcomed his family, Alana Joblin Ain, Autumn, and Samson. We are so happy that many of you were with us to celebrate!

The day began with a moving Shabbat service that not only recognized Rabbi Ain but also the diversity of Beth Sholom, featuring service and prayer leaders of all ages. The sanctuary was packed with congregants, special guests, and members of Rabbi Ain and Alana’s family who came to mark this special day.  We were fortunate to be joined by the distinguished Rabbi Rebecca Sirbu, who formally installed Rabbi Ain and offered the priestly blessing to the Ain family. It was heartwarming to hear the warmth and affection that imbued Rabbi Sirbu’s remarks, and there were more than a few moist eyes in the house when Rabbi Ain gave his address, comparing this installation to a wedding in which the congregation and Rabbi make a binding commitment to each other.

The kiddush following services was extra special thanks to the talented bakers in our congregation who prepared the challot, cookies, and a beautiful cake.

The hope, optimism and naches that filled the sanctuary in the morning continued during the sold-out evening gala. The atmosphere was electric as we we kicked off the night with a beautiful Havdalah service led by our Rabbinic Intern Amanda Russell, together with Beth Sholom Music Specialist, Jonathan Bayer. We were honored to be joined at Havdalah by State Senator Scott Weiner, who held the Havdalah candle, and San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. We were also honored to host District 1 Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, who presented Rabbi Ain with a proclamation to honor the day. In addition, numerous professionals and lay leaders from a broad spectrum of Jewish community organizations were in attendance. It was a night of great music, great food, and great community.

The primary goal of the evening was to welcome the Ains and celebrate as a congregation.  However, we’re thrilled to announce that the gala also raised nearly $90,000 for Beth Sholom!

There are many, many people to thank for the hard work that made this day possible.  First, we want to thank everyone who supported the Installation--from volunteers to major donors.  Our devoted and enthusiastic Installation Committee was a spectacular team: Jenny Bernstein, Stuart Blecher, Mitzi Dean, Sandy Edwards, Judy Leash, Naomi Lempert Lopez, Liz Noteware, Marcia Sohn, Gary Sokol, Debra Surkin-Perloff, and Sharon Weinberg. We are grateful, too, for the constant help and support of Beth Sholom’s President, Ben Chinn.

We also want to thank the bakers who provided the delectable challah, cookies, and cake for the Installation kiddush:  Debra Surkin Perloff, Maralyn Tabatsky, Ruth Jaffe, Betty Newman, Heddi Cundle, Susie Spiwak, Marsha Glantz, and Eva-Lynne Leibman. Thank you to the Ratner Family for sponsoring the kiddush in honor of Rabbi Ain’s Installation and Ellianah’s birthday.

We are lucky at Beth Sholom to have some exceptionally skilled congregants. Thank you to lifelong Beth Sholom-er Ben Lempert for his and his band’s musical stylings, and to photographer Sharon Goldstone for capturing the evening so beautifully.  Below are just a few photos that capture the magic of the gala. We will share more soon. We are also indebted to David Malman for his help with the lighting and to Christopher Reiger, who designed all of the Installation materials. Also to Allen Levy, David Madfes and Ken Merrylees, who assisted with all things related to the facility and audio/visual systems.

Last, but certainly not least, a special thanks to the amazing Beth Sholom staff who made this day, and every day, possible.

We are thrilled to welcome Rabbi Ain, Alana, Autumn, and Samson into our congregation and we look forward to celebrating together with you as a congregation for years to come.

-Ellen Ginsberg & Becky Buckwald

Installation Co-Chairs

CBS congregants honor MLK day with community service!

This MLK Day, Monday, January 21, three Beth Sholom families honored Martin Luther King Jr.’s memory by cooking and serving a meal at the winter shelter for the homeless at St. Mark's Lutheran Church as part of a program organized by the San Francisco Interfaith Council.

The Buckwald, Darling Lempert, and Lempert Lopez Families (plus friend Tony) had a great time preparing the meal in St. Mark’s kitchen.  On the menu was chili, mac-and-cheese, corn bread, salad--and a last-minute apple crumble (thanks, Naomi!).  

Everyone, including the kids, pitched in--from shopping, to cooking, to serving the 65 men housed at the church that night as well as the shelter’s staff.  A fun and fulfilling time was had by all the volunteers!

If you are interested in this type of volunteer activity, consider joining Beth Sholom’s Social Action Committee and get in touch!

Purim is coming! Donations of great raffle prizes needed!


Every spring the CBS community comes together to plan a truly amazing Purim Carnival. The 2019 event date will be forthcoming but we know it will be in March. Besides being one of the best parties of the year at CBS, it also raises funds for programs that our preschool children enjoy all year, like Music with Jonathan, Hi-Five sports, etc, as well as scholarships for families in need. Proceeds come from event tickets, a raffle, and a silent auction. 

This is where you come in! We are asking our community to help with donations of goods or services for the raffle and silent auction. Here are ways you can help:

1. Personal donations
• Vacation house (Tahoe, Hawaii, etc)
• Sports tickets (Giants, Warriors, A's etc)
• Museum/theater tickets (i.e. Exploratorium, Academy, A.C.T., SHN, etc)
• Services (organizing, planning, specialty service, etc)
• Wine (above $20 please)

Email Denise Goldstein about your personal donation contributions.

2. Donations from businesses you frequent or have a connection to
• Do you golf? Ask your Golf Course for a round
• Have a favorite spa or salon? Ask for a gift certificate
• Do you participate in a wine club? Ask for a one-year membership
• Do you have a favorite clothing store or kids store? Ask for a gift certificate or a highly desirable item
• Do your kids take classes at local schools, like ballet, kung fu, chess, etc? Ask for a class pass
• Do you know someone who owns a restaurant? Gift certificates are usually easy to get
• Do you have friends or associates who own a business or have access to tickets, memberships at museums, items, gift certificates, etc?
• Are you willing to submit online requests for Disneyland ticket, airline tickets, etc? There are online forms for some of these - we can help identify them.

Businesses will get recognition by being involved! It's a great marketing opportunity for them. We have a donation request letter template that you are welcome to use.

We have started a list of organizations to reach out to for donations and have begun to contact them. Please email Denise Goldstein and let her know who you will be reaching out to so that we don't cross-over each other and contact these businesses twice. You can also send her more ideas!

Tot Shabbat at Beth Sholom


We invite children, birth - age 5, and their families, to celebrate Shabbat mornings once (or twice) each month. Our music specialist, Toby Pechner, will facilitate this short and sweet, preschool-friendly, interactive service that allows even our youngest community members to experience the joy of Shabbat in a warm and welcoming setting.

Tot Shabbat begins at 11:15 a.m. and concludes at noon in the chapel. Everyone is invited to join the greater CBS community for Kiddush lunch at noon in Koret Hall every month (no RSVP or payment required).

Mark your calendars now for the upcoming dates:
UPCOMING DATES: January 26, February 2 & 23, March 2 & 16, April 6, May 4 & 18
TIME: 11:15 a.m.
PLACE: Gronowski Family Chapel

CBS Parent's Book Group: February's Book

A book club for parents in the CBS community, the group comes together on school class days to discuss books of interest to the participants. The club reads books from the Jewish Community Library’s Book Club In A Box program, and all books are available to borrow from Rebecca Goodman‘s office in the CBS administrative area. Join us to discuss the next great book pick:

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by Eshkol Nevo

This heart-warming, charming and clever first novel dips into the lives of each of the inhabitants of a village in Israel.

It is 1995 and Noa and Amir, a student couple, have decided to move in together. Noa is studying photography in Jerusalem and Amir is a psychology student in Tel Aviv. They choose a small apartment in a village in the hills, midway between the two cities. 

Originally called El-Kastel, the village was emptied of its Arab inhabitants in 1948 and is now the home of Jewish immigrants from Kurdistan. Not far from the apartment lives a family grieving for their eldest son who was killed in Lebanon. The younger brother left behind, Yotam, forgotten by his parents, turns to Amir for support. 
Further down the street, Saddiq watches the house while he works at a building site. He knows that this house is the one from which his family was driven by the Jews when he was a boy, and to which his mother still has a rusty key. Despite friendships that develop and lives that become entwined, tensions among this melting pot of characters seem to be rising to the surface.

This enchanting and irresistible novel offers us windows into the characters’ lives. Each comes from somewhere different but we gradually see that there’s much about them that’s the same. Homesick is a beautiful and moving story about history, love, family and the true meaning of home. Summary from

WHEN: Quarterly
WHERE: Boardroom
NEXT MEETING: Saturday, February 2
TIME: 9:45 - 11 a.m.
CONTACT: Elin Cohen