Alex Billick's Bar Mitzvah

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Alex Billick becomes Bar Mitzvah

Hello. My name is Alex Billick, and I am a sixth grader at Live Oak School. I’m excited to be having my Bar Mitzvah at Beth Sholom, and it's been fun preparing for it with my parents, my brother Max, Noa Bar and Rabbi Ain.

Preparing for my Bar Mitzvah has been an enlightening journey. I especially enjoyed writing my Dvar Torah with the help of Rabbi Dan Ain. It was also fun learning something new in the form of trop.

My parsha is Emor. In it, Moses lays out the laws for the Cohanim and the details of the sacred times and festivals of G-d, the Mo’adei Adonai. It also sets out the laws about profaning God's name, maiming and murder, the famous ‘an eye for an eye’.

Becoming a Bar Mitzvah has been a long, and sometimes stressful road. It was challenging to balance my Bar Mitzvah preparation with my other activities. I like to play baseball, basketball, and go on adventures with the Boy Scouts. I also like to play guitar, practice archery, and game. My favorite subjects at school are science and social studies.

I would like to thank Rabbi Ain for being very thoughtful and insightful with his questions and helping me prepare my drash, and Noa Bar for teaching me to chant Torah. I would also like to thank Dora, Lewis and Ben for helping me articulate my ideas in my drash. Lastly, I would like to thank my mom, my dad, my brother, and the CBS community for helping me get to this day.

Nate Teitelbaum's Bar Mitzvah

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Nate Teitelbaum becomes Bar Mitzvah

Shalom! My name is Nate Teitelbaum, and I am a 7th grader at The Brandeis School of San Francisco. On May 11, 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 play sports and hang out with my friends. I have an adorable dog named Tucker, and two amazing, loving parents.

My bar mitzvah is Shabbat Kedoshim. Parshat Kedoshim is interesting because it has the “holiness code” and the golden rule. In my drash, I will be talking about the meaning of holiness, and how different people approach it today. I will also be talking about some of the weird rules in Kedoshim, and how they can be interpreted in today’s age.

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, Marilyn Heiss for being amazing and making learning fun. 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!

Security Update -- Peace and Prayer for Poway

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Dear CBS Community,

We stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters in Poway, San Diego, and unite against senseless hatred and violence. We mourn the loss of life and pray for the healing of those injured and shaken, attacked in their sacred place of worship.  

At this sad and confusing time, we also gather our focus at home - where we continue our efforts to ensure the protection, safety and security of Congregation Beth Sholom and our congregants who gather in prayer, learning and community. 

Over the past several months we have been working with law enforcement, Jewish organizations, and security professionals and, with their help, will continue to evaluate and improve our safety policies and procedures. 

Our House Committee is currently leading the planning of upgrades to our facility, in coordination with applications for federal security funding, to ensure that our synagogue building continues to be a safe space for all who enter in peace. We also rely on the vigilance of our congregants. If you see something, say something to a staff member or security guard.

Rabbi Ain will be making additional time available in the coming weeks for personal counseling. In the meantime, in the face of ugly and brutal hatred, we are grateful to the members of our community who demonstrate every day the strongest love of our tradition, our community and each other. 


Rabbi Dan Ain 
Ben Chinn, President of the Board

CBS Community Passover Preparations

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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 bcrotty@bethsholomsf.org 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

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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

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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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