Member Profile : Mark & Jenny Bernstein

Today, we invite you to meet (or reconnect) with congregants Mark & Jenny Bernstein.


How long have you been members of Beth Sholom?
Mark: Approximately 18 years.

Jenny: About 40 years.

How long have you lived in the Bay Area?
Mark: Since 1989.

Jenny: I'm a San Francisco native.

Mark, where are you from originally?
Mark: New York.

What kind of work do you do?
Mark: I'm a technical writer and manager at Apple.

Jenny: I'm a graduate student at San Francisco State University (SFSU) in Special Education.

Do you have any hobbies or other pursuits that are important to you? If so, what?
Mark & Jenny: Reading, watching movies, hiking, exploring San Francisco museums and playgrounds with our three-year-old son, Dylan, going to Warriors' and A's games, and taking road trips.

What’s your favorite movie, book, or album? Why?
Mark & Jenny: Our favorite movie is Young Frankenstein. It's hilarious and witty, and brings tremendous joy and endless laughter – never gets old.

Jenny: For books, anything by Joyce Carol Oates. I especially enjoyed Them. I love getting lost in the worlds she creates.

Mark: My book pick is Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel García Márquez. Amazing writing and a beautiful story.

For album, it's just so hard to choose, but let's go with a three-way tie between Joni Mitchell's Blue, Bob Dylan's The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen's Darkness on the Edge of Town. Oh, and, The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street. Okay. So, four. I'll stop now!

Jenny: I'll go with Florence and the Machine's Lungs.

Mark & Jenny: And we'll both add Fleetwood Mac's Rumours. Classic!

What’s your most meaningful Jewish memory?
Mark & Jenny: There are so many! Our top two are:
1. Watching our older children, Anastasia, Daniel, Alexander, and Emma grow up at Beth Sholom and become b'nai mitzvah.
2. Our marriage under the chupah in the sanctuary!

What, if anything, makes Beth Sholom special for you?
Mark & Jenny: The sense of community and the great friends we've made over the years. Also, Rabbi Glazer. His sermons are always inspiring and are profoundly meaningful to us. His spirituality connects us to our Jewish identities and the Beth Sholom community – plus he's nurtured our appreciation for Leonard Cohen!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the community?
We feel grateful to have been part of the wonderful Beth Sholom community for so many years. It is truly our second home – a place where we always feel comfortable, spiritually nurtured, and connected, and a place that has given our family so many special moments and memories over the years.

Staff Member Profile : Beth Jones

Sometimes it feels like Congregation Beth Sholom is always changing or trying out new things. We realize there can be mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, the idea that our community has been recognized for having some of the Bay Area's most innovative Jewish programming and interesting speakers is exciting, but we know that people also like consistency.

With that in mind, we want to take a minute to appreciate those elements of Beth Sholom that represent our strongest links to the past – and those, of course, are our people!

Today, we invite you to meet (or reconnect) with Beth Jones, a member of our staff for 13 years who now serves as our Director of Membership & Development.


How long have you been working at Beth Sholom?
My first day of work here was December 20, 2004. It was originally a three-month, part-time job supporting the Gesher Campaign, a major fundraising initiative. Since then I have worked in multiple facets at the synagogue including membership, facility rentals, managing events, and as database administrator.

How long have you lived in the Bay Area?
I moved here with my husband, KC, in 1981, and have been happily ensconced in our Bernal Heights home since 1988, where we raised our daughter and son.

Where are you from originally?
Born in Forest Hills, Queens, in New York, although I grew up mostly in West Hartford, Connecticut.

What kind of work do you do?
I know most of the Beth Sholom members, and I’m here to handle or redirect their questions, needs, and concerns. Welcoming new and prospective members is part of my job, and I oversee the annual membership renewal and High Holy Days ticket sales. I support the fundraising efforts of the Development Committee, maintain the membership database, and work with financials and reporting. I work closely with the rest of the wonderful Beth Sholom staff to plan events and be in touch with the community.

Do you have any hobbies or other pursuits that are important to you? If so, what?
Dancing at Rhythm & Motion has been an important part of my life since 1982. It’s a great place and I love the community.

I’m in a new book group which met last night to discuss Little Nothing, by Marisa Silver. The author is a friend of a book group member, so the evening included a phone call discussion with the author. Very exciting!

As a longtime fan of the Golden State Warriors, it used to be a shock when they won a game, now it’s the reverse!

What’s your favorite movie, book, or album? Why?
My favorite movie is Some Like It Hot. I love Jack Lemmon in that film. My favorite book is Atonement, by Ian McEwan; it’s beautifully written and heartbreaking. My current favorite album is side one of Hunky Dory, by David Bowie – it’s just so much fun.

What’s your most meaningful Jewish memory?
The bar mitzvah of our dear family friend, Russell Angelico, who is now 29. We have known him his entire life and he has always been very bright and has a beautiful voice. He did a wonderful job, and it goes down in Jones family lore as the best bar mitzvah ever!

What, if anything, makes Beth Sholom special for you?
It’s a wonderful community filled with a diverse group of interesting and intelligent people. I feel appreciated and very much at home here. The Beth Sholom staff is amazing: a cohesive, talented, and hard-working group who I enjoy spending my days with.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the community?
I’d like to thank the many congregants and all of my colleagues for the warmth, kindness, and support they have shown me as I deal with my very painful loss.

Golden State Warriors Jewish Heritage Night

jewish-night-pageCBS invites you to join your fellow congregants and other members of the Bay Area Jewish community for Golden State Warriors Jewish Heritage Night on Thursday, December 15.

The "Splash Brothers," KD, and the rest of the Warriors will be taking on the Knickerbockers of New York (better known as the Knicks). We have a block of 25 seats for our CBS crew, and the tickets are selling quickly.

The $118 event package includes:
- 1 seat in the CBS section (Section 223, Rows 8, 9, and 10) for the game (begins at 7:30 p.m.)
- A special, Jewish-themed Golden State Warriors "splash" towel
- Admission to the Jewish Heritage Night Pregame Party, 6 - 7:30 p.m. (Live entertainment and food/drink specials will be available for purchase during the pregame party, and a hanukkiah lighting will also occur.)

TO ORDER YOUR TICKET(S), PLEASE EMAIL TICKETS@BETHSHOLOMSF.ORG. (Alternatively, you can drop off cash or check in the CBS office.)

Jacob Goode's Bar Mitzvah

JacobGoodeI’m Jacob Goode, a seventh grader at Claire Lilienthal in San Francisco. I enjoy learning, playing baseball and golf, watching the Giants and Warriors, hanging out with my friends and playing video games, and traveling the world with my family. In fact, my family and I have recently returned from a trip to Israel, which has helped put my bar mitzvah in perspective. I have a greater appreciation for our long history.

I am very excited that this Shabbat is my bar mitzvah. This week’s Torah portion is Parashat Emor. The text outlines the Jewish festivals, holy days, and some of the Jewish laws and rituals. Parashat Emor concludes by describing an incident in which a man is accused of blasphemy. The text then provides the principle of lex talionis, "ayin tachat ayin, shein tachat shein" (literally, an "eye for an eye; tooth for a tooth"). I’m looking forward to sharing this day with friends, family, and members of the community, whom I hope shall end Shabbat with good sight and fully dentured.

I’d like to thank my amazing tutor, Noa, who helped me learn this week’s haftarah, the maftir for this week’s Torah portion, the blessings before and after the readings, and the Torah service in such a short time. I’d also like to thank our B'nai Mitzvah Chavurah for their support and friendship. I’d like to thank Rabbis Glazer and Hyman, and my CBS Shabbat School teacher, Elizabeth Andrews. And a very special thanks to my family (the Chikhanis and the Goodes), for being there every step of the way, for always supporting me, encouraging me, and schlepping me to where I wanted to be.