San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 37

Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 2.15.31 PMCBS is delighted to announce that we are co-sponsoring four films in this year's 37th SF Jewish Film Festival!

The oldest Jewish film festival in the world is back! This highly regarded festival runs from July 20 to August 6, and we invite you to check out as many movies as you can.

If you can only catch a few of the screenings, CBS is happy to invite you to four films we are co-presenting - details below!

Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 9.21.19 AMHarmonia
Writer/director Ori Sivan’s elegant and understated backstage musical drama is a modern adaptation of the Book of Genesis. Sarah is a talented harpist performing in the Jerusalem orchestra of her conductor and husband, Abraham (Alon Aboutboul). Into their childless marriage enters the enigmatic Hagar, a Palestinian horn player who offers to provide the Israeli couple with a child. The film’s finale is an unforgettable and emotional call for harmony between Arabs and Jews. (Israel; 2016; 98 minutes)

Screening locations & dates:
Castro Theatre | Friday, July 21, 8:55 p.m.
Cinearts | Saturday, July 22, 8:55 p.m.
Albany Twin | Wednesday, August 5, 2:30 p.m.
Smith Rafael | Thursday, August 6, 12:00 p.m.

Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 8.51.31 AM Rabbi Wolff: A Gentleman Before God
Willy Wolff escaped the Nazis, became a renowned British journalist, and didn’t go to rabbinical school till he was in his 50s. Now in his 80s, he leads two Jewish communities in Germany and still finds time for yoga, learning Russian, and enjoying the racetrack. We go behind the scenes to see the beautiful and sometimes heartbreaking life of a deeply religious man who is rarely seen without a twinkle in his eye. (Germany; 2016; 95 minutes)

Screening locations & dates:
Cinearts | Saturday, July 22, 11:30 a.m.
Castro Theatre | Sunday, July 23, 11:10 1.m.
Roda Theatre | Sunday, July 30, 4:00 p.m.

Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 8.44.24 AMBen Gurion: Epilogue
Featuring never-before-aired footage from a 1968 interview with Israel’s founding Prime Minister, filmmaker Yariv Mozer (Snails in the Rain, SFJFF 2014) pays homage to one of Israel’s first generation of political leaders. The resulting film begs the question, what would Ben-Gurion do given the current political climate in the Middle East? Viewers can hazard a guess when Ben-Gurion discusses trading land for an enduring peace. (Israel, 2016, 61 minutes).

Screening locations & dates:
Cinearts | Sunday, July 23, 12:00 p.m.
Castro Theatre | Saturday, July 29, 1:45 p.m.
Albany Twin | Sunday, July 30, 12:00 p.m.

Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 9.54.21 AM1945
August, 1945. Two Orthodox Jews arrive at a remote Hungarian train station. When the town gets wind of their arrival, rumors and fears spread that they may be heirs of the village’s denounced and deported Jews who will want their stolen property back. Shot in elegant black and white with a minimal evocative score, 1945 is a subtle and nuanced study in collective guilt, paranoia, and anti-Semitism in a postwar Hungary. (Hungary; 2017; 91 minutes)

Screening locations & dates:
Castro Theatre | Wednesday, July 26, 6:20 p.m.
Roda Theatre | Saturday, July 29, 6:20 p.m.
Cinearts | Thursday, July 27, 6:10 p.m.
Smith Rafael | Sunday, August 6, 2:10 p.m.

This summer, join CBS to celebrate community and storytelling at the 37th Jewish Film Festival. For ticket information, contact the box office at 415.621.0523 or visit the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival website to learn more.


Witness To The Birth Of Israel

Clockwise starting from top row L- Eileen Auerbach, Eva-Lynne Leibman, Betsy Eckstein, Becky Buckwald, Lucia Sommers, Ephraim Margolin, Abraham Silver, Sandra Cohen "Witness To The Birth Of Israel: An Interview With Ephraim Margolin" will take place on Saturday, June 10, 1 - 3 p.m. Becky Buckwald will interview Ephraim Margolin in the CBS Sanctuary.

Ephraim Margolin is well known to many of his fellow Beth Sholom congregants as an extraordinary scholar, raconteur, and successful attorney. We have come to admire his intelligence, meticulous research skills, and engaging style through his 49 – yes, 49! – years of annual Yom Kippur lectures. Ephraim’s intellectual curiosity is simply contagious.

But what do we know about Ephraim’s own life story? Born in Berlin, raised in pre-State Tel Aviv, Ephraim witnessed — and took an active role in — the very birth of the Jewish State. In this, his 90th year, join us to celebrate the gem that is Ephraim. Come hear stories of Ephraim’s early life in Israel and how he has served the country as a soldier, secretary to future Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and attorney for the State of Israel from his home here in San Francisco.

Bring your burning questions about Ephraim’s past!

Ephraim will be interviewed by one of his many fans, Becky Buckwald, member of the Achshav Yisrael Steering Committee and nominee to the CBS Board.

Join the community before this special Achshav Yisrael program for a kiddush luncheon, noon – 1 p.m., in Koret Hall.

ABOUT ACHSHAV YISRAEL: Achshav Yisrael’s mission is to provide quality programming about Israel to Congregation Beth Sholom and the broader community. Achshav Yisrael programs are open to all age groups and will occur on a regular basis. We intend to create a safe space at CBS for community exploration of Israel.

Achshav Yisrael Steering Committee Members: Eileen Auerbach, Becky Buckwald, Sandra Cohen, Betsy Eckstein, Ovid Jacob, Eva-Lynne Leibman, Ira Levy, Ephraim Margolin, and Lucia Sommers

Shana Cohen's Bat Mitzvah

Facebook_ShanaCohenHello! Hej! Jambo! Hola! שלום! Bonjour! Hallo! Helló!

My name is Shana Cohen, and I am a third generation San Franciscan and a student at Gateway Middle School. I like soccer (I play on SF Sol), reading, spending time with family and friends, animals, horseback riding, art, and being creative. I am bilingual – I speak both Swedish and English – as well as bicultural. I especially enjoy traveling, and have been fortunate to spend summers in Sweden with my family, and to travel and meet people around the globe. Wherever I go, I make friends and have experiences that I will always remember. So many people from my life have made an impact on me that has contributed to my journey towards reaching the age of mitzvot.

On February 25th, I will have my bat mitzvah, a changing point in my life. I will be sharing it with friends and family from many parts of the world including California, Sweden, Germany, and Kenya. No matter how far (or near) you came from, I am so thankful you are here to share this day with me and my family.

In this week's parsha, we learn that all Jews, rich and poor alike, were required to contribute half a shekel for the Mishkan. You will learn more about Parashat Mishpatim during the Torah service, which includes my d’var Torah.

The maftir that I will read describes a census taken of the children of Israel. Everyone over the age of 20 is required to give half a shekel to restore the Mishkan. The Mishkan was a portable structure used until the Temple was built in Jerusalem. The Israelites could bring sacrifices to redeem for sins or express thanks. Later, in the Torah portion Ki Tissa, God calls Moses to Mount Sinai to get the commandments. Meanwhile, the people became impatient and worried. As a result, they make a golden calf to have a substitute for God. When Moses comes down from Mount Sinai he sees the calf and breaks the tablets. God punishes the Israelites by making them drink the gold of the golden calf. Moses is mad but tells God to give them a second chance. He then returns to Mount Sinai to receive a new set of tablets.

I want to thank my mamma and pappa, my brother Ari, all my grandparents, and the rest of my family and friends. I also want to give special thanks to Rabbi Aubrey Glazer and Noa Bar for instilling in me the gift of Torah, and connecting it to my everyday life. I also want to thank Congregation Beth Sholom for supporting my ongoing Jewish education, and the opportunity to create lifelong friendships.

It will be my pleasure to see you at CBS this Shabbat.

Shul School: "Thinking Matters"

Congregation Beth Sholom's Thinking Matters course series
continues this fall.

Join our impressive line-up of teachers to wrestle with
some of the exciting and challenging questions of modern Jewish philosophy!

"Thinking Matters: Modern Jewish Philosophy"
Can there be such a thing as a Jewish philosophy, or a philosophy of Judaism? How have Jewish traditions participated in the philosophical canon or in philosophical questioning in modern times? How do Judaism and philosophy relate to the broader question of the modern relationship of ethics, religion, and theology to philosophy? Given that modern philosophy claims universal validity, what does it mean to emphasize its historically or culturally determinate sources?

For an introduction to Jewish modern thought and philosophy, we recommend Steven Katz's essay, "Eliezar Berkovits & Modern Jewish Philosophy."

The dates, topics, and educators of the remaining two sections are detailed below, and the relevant readings for Dr. Berman's section can be downloaded by clicking on the hyperlinks.

October 8, 15, 22, & 29
German Political Philosophy & Jewish Thinking (4 sessions with Dr. Russell Berman)

Dr. Russell Berman's classes meet Thursday nights in the Beth Sholom Board Room from 7-8:30 p.m.

October 8: Hannah Arendt, Zionism and Ethnic Politics

Reading: Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil

October 15: Eichmann in Jerusalem: Deception and Denial

Reading: the Gershom Scholem-Hannah Arendt exchange of letters
; Hannah Arendt, Reflections on Little Rock

October 22: Hannah Arendt as a Thinking Weapon Against Israel

Reading: Judith Butler, selected chapters from Parting Ways

October 29: Post-Zionism & Thinking against Academic BDS of Israel

Reading: Elkhanan Yakira

November 5, 12, 19, & December 3
Shoah & Postmemory (4 sessions with Dr. Murray Baumgarten)

Murray Baumgarten's classes meet Thursday nights in the Beth Sholom Board Room from 7-8:30 p.m.

November 5: Reading Primo Levi, Se questo è un uomo -- Narrator, Character, Identity, & the 'Hier ist kein Warum'

Reading: Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz (part 1)

November 12: Primo Levi, the Chemical Laboratory, and the Periodic Table

Reading: Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz (part 2)

November 19: Poetry and Hurbn: Speaking Jewish in German, Yiddish, English, & Hebrew

Readings: Paul Celan's poem "Death Fugue," and poems by Pagis, Glastein, and Reznikoff