Pizza In The Hut Recap

Last Tuesday evening, CBS Family Preschool and Shabbat School families joined the rest of the Beth Sholom community in Koret Hall and the CBS sukkah on Eva Gunther Plaza for our annual Pizza in The Hut Sukkot community dinner.

Guests of all ages recited the Sukkot blessings and practiced shaking the lulav with Rabbi Glazer, and the many smaller attendees decorated harvest gourds, created bead and pipecleaner artworks, and had their faces painted and their limbs adorned with henna art. Wine, whiskey, water, and other beverages (not beginning with "w") complimented the various pizzas served, one of which was a fabulous Yukon gold potato pizza from the ever-popular Arizmendi Bakery. It was a wonderful family affair, with great energy and so many smiles. Thanks to all who came out to celebrate Sukkot under the s'chach!

Here, we've posted a selection of photographs taken during the festivities. You can also view more on our Facebook page.

Sukkot, Day Three -- Exodus 33:12 – 34:26

This Shabbat occurs during Sukkot, and we will be reading a special Sukkot selection from the Book of Exodus. The reading provides us with an opportunity to consider the role of strangers in our lives, especially during this time of heightened "othering" in the political and social arenas.

Atop Mount Sinai, Moses is famously granted a vision of the divine, but he is only permitted or able to see God's back. After Auschwitz, the great French Jewish thinker Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995) took this remarkable moment of Moses' request for a complete encounter with the divine "face" only to be granted a view of "the other side" to teach us that every human encounter with "the other" presents us with a trace of the divine.

- Rav Aubrey

Artwork note: This week's illustration is inspired by Exodus 33:22–23: "And it shall be that when My glory passes by, I will place you into the cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove My hand, and you will see My back but My face shall not be seen." Here, we peer from the rock cleft, obliquely seeing some semblance of the Divine. Many scientists, artists, and mystics are drawn to the notion of a hidden God, and frame the "holy" as something that can only be experienced indirectly. The forms that appear in this illustration are particles of coral sand viewed through a microscope. Illustration by Christopher Orev Reiger.

Pizza In The Hut (Sukkot Community Dinner)

Sukkot starts this Wednesday evening and the Beth Sholom sukkah is currently being constructed on Eva Gunther Plaza. Time spent in the sukkah is an important aspect of Sukkot – it helps us appreciate the outdoors and annual agricultural cycles, and it gives us an opportunity to come together in community – family, friends, and strangers.

On Tuesday, October 10, at 5:30 p.m., the CBS Family Preschool and Shabbat School families will join the rest of the Beth Sholom community and friends as we gather in our sukkah for the annual community Sukkot dinner, Pizza in the Hut. We'll say the sukkah blessings, shake the lulav, smell the etrog, nosh on pizza, and have a grand ol' time! There will be activities aplenty for the kiddos, and salad, carrots and dip, and dessert will be served in addition to the delicious pizza. It's a BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverage) event, and beverages of all kinds are welcome. We'll sing, learn, laugh, and dine...then dine some more!

Register below! The regular price registration deadline is Monday, October 9. (Day-of walk-ins are welcome, but the prices for adults and children 6–12 increase by $5 each.)

Nitzavim / VaYelekh -- Deuteronomy 29:9 – 31:30

American First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once duly remarked: "One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes... and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility."

Life is a series of choices. And sometimes having to make choices may not serve us well, even if it appears that each choice in the series seems perfectly well suited to serving our concerns. In such cases, philosophers will say we encounter a "dynamic choice" problem. When there are too many choices spread out over time, how do you navigate them all? Too often, we see the results of poor choices include self-destructive or addictive behavior and dangerous environmental ruination.

I suggest that Torah has its own pragmatic dynamic choice theory which shines through in Parashat Nitzavim. As Moses makes clear: "It is not in the heavens… neither is it beyond the sea… No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it." (Deuteronomy 30:12-14). Moses is reinforcing the practical nature of Torah and its pragmatic application to a life well lived as he reaches his 120th year. As Moses gets ready to transition leadership responsibilities to Joshua, he concludes writing the teachings of Torah in an actual scroll, which is then placed for safekeeping in the Ark of the Covenant. This Torah scroll is meant to be read by the king at a gathering in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem every seventh year (during the festival of Sukkot and the first year of the Shmita cycle). The concern for continuity shines through in the pragmatic dynamic choice theory of Torah, which belies a deeper calling to responsibility.

Reading Parashat VaYelekh, we consider another kind of responsibility – that of memory. As we struggle moment to moment in our over-programmed lives to continuously remember a present called consciousness, we should heed the words of English artist and critic John Berger, who once observed that "the camera relieves us of the burden of memory. It surveys us like God, and it surveys for us. Yet no other god has been so cynical, for the camera records in order to forget."

Parashat VaYelekh reminds us to never forget the exemplary life of Moses, who reaches his 120th year fully active (even in his short-lived retirement!). Among his final acts recounted here, Moses announces the transition in leadership to Joshua and also concludes the writing of the Torah scroll, now entrusted to the Levites for safekeeping in the Ark of the Covenant.

Additionally, he explains that every seven years, during the festival of Sukkot, the entire people of Israel are commanded to "gather" together in the Jerusalem Temple in a rite that comes to be known as the mitzvah of hak’hel. The gathering is a sacred moment of communal assembly, one during which those present hear the king read from the Torah scroll. Yet alongside this injunction to gather and read together, there is the acknowledgement that the Israelites will inevitably turn away from their covenant with the divine. When this turning happens, they will experience an eclipse of the divine face, as it were, even though the words of Torah will never be forgotten.

Judaism is both a day-to-day spiritual practice as well as a legacy project never to be forgotten – our challenge is how to strike the appropriate balance amidst our overly-surveyed lives.

- Rabbi Aubrey Glazer

Artwork note: This week's illustration is inspired by Deuteronomy 31:18 ("And I will hide My face on that day…"). In his book, God and the Big Bang, Daniel C. Matt points out that "according to the mystics, [the Hebrew word for 'universe,' olam], derives from the same root as ‘hiding,’ he’lem." Matt describes our relationship with God as a "cosmic game of hide-and-seek," and asserts that "divine energy pervades all material existence." Here, an atom, the basic building block of matter, is seen partially obscured by a scrim or some substance. Illustration by Christopher Orev Reiger.

Re'eh -- Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17

American naturalist-poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once remarked, "Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting."

Emerson’s 1836 essay, Nature, expresses the belief that everything in our world – even a drop of dew – is a microcosm of the universe. This transcendentalist notion is not foreign to Judaism, especially its more mystical streams. We open ourselves to such transcendence through the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes and, in so doing, daring to see beyond ourselves so that we can develop new relationships to all texts, even sacred texts of nature. It's all a question of how we see ourselves in relation to the text and its sacred inspiration.

So when Moses says to the Children of Israel, "See I place before you today a blessing and a curse," they enter an important stage of maturity in their covenantal relationship — that of responsibility. Seeing the consequences of our actions is a sign of growing responsibility. These are proclaimed on Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal as the Israelites are crossing over into the Holy Land. In establishing a Temple, we made a place where the Divine will dwell in essence and Name. This will become the new central address for sacrifices, and in keeping with the overall theology of Deuteronomy, no offerings can be made to the divine outside this locale. Laws of tithing are discussed in detail, including how the tithe is given to the needy in certain years. Here, we encounter one of the first iterations of charity as an obligation devolving upon the Jew to aid those in need with a gift or loan. But all such loans are forgiven on the Sabbatical year and all indentured servants are freed after six years of service.

The theme of seeing concludes Parashat Re'eh. Listing the three pilgrimage festivals of Passover, Pentecosts (Shavuot), and the Feast of Booths (Sukkot) as times when the pilgrim goes to see and be seen before the Divine in the precincts of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, the parsha demonstrates that encountering the Divine in our lives is indeed a "seeing into our nature" with fresh eyes. This "seeing" provides hope for such sacred encounters throughout our lives.

- Rabbi Aubrey Glazer

Artwork note: This week's illustration is inspired by mystical visions. It features a stylized eye with retinal ganglion cells and filaments of muscle radiating outward. Of his transcendent experiences, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "All mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me." His peer Walt Whitman described himself as part of a universal weave of "threads that connect the stars, and of wombs and of the father-stuff." Rabbi Arthur Cohen writes of being pressed "to the limit where thought cannibalizes itself in despair, where knowing ceases, where the emptying of the self is undergone and the fullness of God may commence." Mystics, be they American transcendentalists, Hasids, or academics, are not lunatics; their practice is an enthusiastic response to the world as it is – radically interconnected, with each individual indivisible from everything else. Illustration by Christopher Orev Reiger.

The High Holy Days At CBS

Web_MachzorCBS looks forward to sharing the High Holy Days with you this fall.

The High Holy Days provide us with an unparalleled opportunity to take stock and reconnect with our deeper selves. Importantly, the spiritual drama and possibility of the "Days of Awe" are matched by the pleasure of spending time with so many friends, both old and new!

With support from the outstanding lay leaders in our community, Rabbi Aubrey Glazer, Ph.D., Rabbi Dorothy Richman, and Rabbinic Intern Amanda Russell will guide us through the two main services that occur in the Sanctuary and Koret Hall.

SANCTUARY SERVICES
Our Sanctuary services balance traditional liturgy with familiar and innovative melodies so that the classic character of the High Holy Days is experienced in a contemporary context. Guided by Rabbi Glazer with support from Rabbinic Intern Amanda Russell and a cast of wonderful lay prayer leaders, the services include much interactive singing and reflection.

TESHUVAH / RETURN (KORET HALL)
The Teshuvah / Return services in Koret Hall are both traditional and creative, inspired by our beloved teacher, Rabbi Alan Lew (z”l). They are an invitation to "go deep" and connect with our prayer, with each other, and with the Divine. Led by Rabbi Richman and supported by a number of CBS lay leaders including Zoketsu Norman Fischer, these services engage active participation through group aliyot, lots of singing, traditional and creative ritual, and poetry, prose, and kavanot/intentions to inspire our prayer.

RENEW OUR DAYS: THE HIGH HOLY DAYS UNBOUND
We are also delighted to welcome back Aviva Chernick, shaliach tzibbur (prayer leader), musician, and teacher, to lead Renew Our Days, a special, two-part service occurring on Rosh Hashanah Day 1 and Yom Kippur. Renew Our Days is open to all ticket holders, but space is limited and advance registration is required. (Details about Renew Our Days can be found here.)

YOUTH & FAMILY PROGRAMMING
Age-specific children’s programming is offered for ages newborn – Grade 8. This year, we're introducing Kadima Klub, a unique program specifically designed for Grades 6 – 8. Our ever-popular Family Service (for families with children ages newborn – Kindergarten) and Days of AWEsomeness programming (ages newborn – Grade 5) provides an opportunity for your little ones to connect with the rituals, music, and stories of the High Holy Days in a warm and fun context. (Full descriptions of our children's programming is available here.)

If you have any questions, please contact us via email or call 415.940.7092.

Nonmembers, please scroll to the bottom of this post to place your ticket orders online. Alternatively, you can download the ticket order form and drop off at Beth Sholom.

CBS members, please click here to reserve your tickets and/or purchase guest tickets via EventBrite. (Please note that online purchase is only possible after you renew your CBS membership; the CBS office will supply you with the online access code upon request. If you do not already have an EventBrite account, you will be walked through the steps of creating one at "checkout.")

5778 HIGH HOLY DAY SEASON SERVICES & PROGRAMS
Below, we provide you with a comprehensive overview of our service and program times for the 5778 High Holy Day season. Details about some of the special services are provided in other posts on the CBS blog, as well as all CBS calendar listings.

SelichotSELICHOT
Saturday, September 16
9 p.m.Selichot study w/ Moshav (for young adults)
10 p.m. — Communal Selichot Beit Midrash
11:30 p.m. – 1 a.m. (next morning)Hardly Strictly Selichot
   (featuring Yehuda Solomon, Hazzan Avyatar Alfassi
   of Anshey Sfard, Rabbi Glazer, and other friends)

HIGH HOLY DAYS
Sunday, September 17
4:15 - 5:45 p.m.Aviva Chernick's Renew Our Days
   Song Workshop


high-holy-daysWednesday, September 20
6:15 - 8:30 p.m. — Erev Rosh Hashanah service

Thursday, September 21
8:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Rosh Hashanah Day 1 Sanctuary Service
10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Rosh Hashanah Day 1 Koret Hall Service
10 a.m. — Rosh Hashanah Family Service
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.Aviva Chernick’s Renew Our Days service
10 a.m. — Rosh Hashanah Family Service
4:30 p.m.Mincha minyan
at Ocean Beach 5 – 7 p.m.Ctrl + Alt + Del: Tashlique at Ocean Beach (w/ Reboot)

Friday, September 22
8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Rosh Hashanah Day 2 Sanctuary Service

KolNidreFriday, September 29
6 – 9 p.m.Kol Nidre Sanctuary Service –
   Mincha (6:05 p.m.); Kol Nidre (6:15 p.m.)
6:30 – 9 p.m.Kol Nidre Koret Hall Service

Saturday, September 30
8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. — Yom Kippur Sanctuary Service
   (Yizkor, ~11 a.m.)
10 a.m. — Yom Kippur Family Service
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. — Yom Kippur Koret Hall Service
   (Yizkor, ~11:30 a.m.)
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.Aviva Chernick’s Renew Our Days service
   (Yizkor, ~12 p.m.)

2 – 4 p.m. — Special Afternoon Teachings w/ Ephraim Margolin, Henry Hollander, & Michael Loebs
2 – 4:45 p.m. — Open Meditation in Makom Shalom
4:45 – 7:30 p.m.Mincha, Ne’ila, Ma’ariv, & Havdalah
7:35 p.m.Break-the-Fast

SUKKOT
Thursday, October 5
9 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Sukkot Day 1 Service
12 – 1 p.m.Kiddush Lunch & Learn 1: Kohelet Chapters 1–6 (in CBS sukkah)
6 p.m.Mincha & Ma'ariv minyan

Friday, October 6
9 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Sukkot Day 2 Service
12 – 1 p.m.Kiddush Lunch & Learn 2: Kohelet Chapters 7–12 (in CBS sukkah)
HoshanaRabbah2 6:30 p.m.Mincha & Ma'ariv minyan

Wednesday, October 11
7 – 9:30 a.m.Hoshana Rabbah Service
9:30 a.m.Kiddush in CBS sukkah
6 p.m.Mincha & Ma'ariv minyan

SHEMINI ATZERET & SIMCHAT TORAH
Thursday, October 12
9 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Shemini Atzeret Service, w/ Yizkor
12 p.m.Kiddush
6 p.m.Mincha & Ma'ariv minyan
7:30 – 9:30 p.m. — Simchat Torah Hakafot, featuring Veretski Pass

Friday, October 13
9 – 10 a.m. — Simchat Torah Service
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.Kiddush (concurrent w/ service)

Pizza In The Hut (Sukkot Community Dinner)

facebook_shalom_pizzainthehut_cbssukkah_evaguntherplaza_october2016Yesterday evening, over 100 members of the CBS community gathered in the CBS sukkah on Eva Gunther Plaza for our annual Sukkot community dinner. This year, we dubbed it Pizza in The Hut, and guests recited the Sukkot blessing, shook the lulav, got decorated in henna art, noshed on delicious vegetarian pizza from Arizmendi Bakery, and generally had a grand 'ol time. Here, we've posted a selection of photographs taken during the festivities, from the opening minutes to the day's last light (as it reflected off our rooftop solar panels).

If you missed last night's sukkah celebration, we invite you to join us for our upcoming Simchat Torah Block Party, this coming Monday, October 24, at 7 p.m.

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Max Billick's Bar Mitzvah

facebook_maxbillickMy name is Max Billick, I’m a seventh-grader at The Brandeis School of San Francisco. I’m interested in politics, history, constitutional law, world languages, Talmud, and cooking.

This Shabbat – on the fourth day of Sukkot Chol HaMoed – I will be called to the Torah as a bar mitzvah. On the occasion of my bar mitzvah, I will be recognized as a member of this community and brought into the covenant.

On Shabbat Chol HaMoed Sukkot we will be reading from Parashat Ki Tissa. In the parsha, G-d commands Moses to conduct a census. After the census, G-d gives two tablets to Moses on which Moses inscribes the Ten Commandments. Meanwhile, the Israelites decide to make a golden calf. G-d is displeased about this but Moses is able to convince G-d to not forsake the covenant. When Moses saw this for himself, he was enraged and broke the tablets. He pleaded with G-d again not to forsake the covenant, and again carved tablets that he inscribed the Ten Commandments upon.

I want to thank my tutor Noa Bar, for helping me prepare for my bar mitzvah, and Rabbi Glazer for his invaluable help in preparing my d’var Torah.

VeZot Ha'Berachah -- Deuteronomy 33:1 – 34:12

facebook_coverdesign_vezothaberachahPlease note that Parashat VeZot Ha'Berachah is read during the Simchat Torah service, which will take place on Tuesday, October 25. This Saturday, October 22, is Shabbat Sukkot, during which we read a selection from Parashat Ki Tissa.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) once remarked: "Zion is in ruins, Jerusalem lies in the dust. All week there is only hope of redemption. But when the Sabbath is entering the world, man is touched by a moment of actual redemption; as if for a moment the spirit of the Messiah moved over the face of the earth."

How is this redemption achieved? For Heschel, redemption takes place through time, not space. "Quality time" is what matters in our lives, and it is through the Jewish calendar that we "do Jewish," embodying Jewish life and identity.

It is precisely through the appointed times (or moadim) on the Jewish calendar that we are best able to define our Jewish lives. We do so by abiding in the sukkah and taking hold of the four species, as well as by participating in the thrice annual pilgrimage festivals to the Jerusalem Temple during Passover, the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot), and Booths (Sukkot).

And when we "Rejoice in the Torah" during Simchat Torah, we simultaneously conclude and begin anew the annual Torah-reading cycle. Firstly, we read the Torah section of Parashat VeZot Ha'Berachah, recounting the Mosaic blessing bestowed upon each of the twelve tribes of Israel before his death. Echoing Jacob's blessings to his twelve sons five generations earlier, Moses empowers each tribe with its individual role within the Israelite community.

What VeZot Ha'Berachah then relates is how Moses ascended Mount Nebo to its summit, taking a peek at the Promised Land without ever entering into it. Moses’ burial place to this day remains unknown and the Torah concludes by attesting that "never again did there arose a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom G-d knew face to face...and in all the mighty hand and the great, awesome things which Moses did before the eyes of all Israel."

As we conclude the annual reading of the Torah, it is important to remember that every moment is a sacred encounter in the making when we truly value the sacral power of time.

- Rabbi Aubrey Glazer

Artwork note: This week's artwork includes the symbols and colors of the two tribes of Israel that we know survive today (i.e., the tribes that became Jews). The colors and symbols are drawn from Bamidbar Rabbah, part of our rabbinic literature (midrashim). The stones of the choshen, or priestly breastplate, are depicted in white, black, and red here, and represent the Tribe of Levi. The lion depicted on a sky blue ground represents the Tribe of Judah. Illustration by Christopher Orev Reiger.

VaYelekh -- Deuteronomy 31:1 – 30

facebook_coverdesign_vayelekhA remarkable conversation between two Jewish luminaries took place a few years ago, when neuroscientist Eric Kandel (b. 1929) and survivor-activist Elie Wiesel (1928- 2016) – both Nobel Laureates – reflected on memory and forgetting. Wiesel reminded us that we must never forget, while Kandel taught that the best way to do this is by remaining active, social, and creative into your golden years.

As we struggle moment to moment in our over-programmed lives to continuously remember a present called consciousness, we should heed the words of these luminaries: "Keep the past alive in you, and actively use it to create a better future."

This week’s reading of Parashat VaYelekh reminds us to never forget the exemplary life of Moses, who reaches his 120th year fully active (even in his short-lived retirement!). Among his final acts recounted here, Moses announces the transition in leadership to Joshua and also concludes the writing of the Torah scroll, now entrusted to the Levites for safekeeping in the Ark of the Covenant.

Additionally, he explains that every seven years, during the festival of Sukkot, the entire people of Israel are commanded to "gather" together in the Jerusalem Temple in a rite that comes to be known as the mitzvah of hak’hel. The gathering is a sacred moment of communal assembly, one during which those present hear the king read from the Torah scroll. Yet alongside this injunction to gather and read together, there is the acknowledgement that the Israelites will inevitably turn away from their covenant with the divine. When this turning happens, they will experience an eclipse of the divine face, as it were, even though the words of Torah will never be forgotten.

Judaism is both a day-to-day spiritual practice as well as a legacy project never to be forgotten – our challenge is how to strike the appropriate balance.

- Rabbi Aubrey Glazer

Artwork note: This week's artwork is inspired by Deuteronomy 31:16–17: "And they will forsake Me and violate My covenant which I made with them. And My fury will rage against them on that day, and I will abandon them and hide My face from them..." The image can be interpreted in many different ways, but it was informed by specific and rather literal thinking. Having worked for almost a decade in the neuroscience lab of Paul Greengard, who shared the Nobel Prize with Eric Kandel, I was thinking of the electric thicket of neurons and synapses contained in each of our brains, and how physiological changes to these cells can lead to perceptual deficiencies (e.g., hidden faces). Illustration by Christopher Orev Reiger.

Nitzavim -- Deuteronomy 29:9 – 30:20

facebook_coverdesign_nitzavimLife is a series of choices. And sometimes having to make choices may not serve us well, even if it appears that each choice in the series seems perfectly well suited to serving our concerns. In such cases, philosophers will say we encounter a "dynamic choice" problem. When there are too many choices spread out over time, how do you navigate them all? Too often, we see the results of poor choices include self-destructive or addictive behavior and dangerous environmental ruination.

I suggest that Torah has its own pragmatic dynamic choice theory which shines through in this week's parsha. As Moses makes clear: "It is not in the heavens… neither is it beyond the sea… No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it." (Deuteronomy 30:12-14). Moses is reinforcing the practical nature of Torah and its pragmatic application to a life well lived as he reaches his 120th year.

As Moses gets ready to transition leadership responsibilities to Joshua, he concludes writing the teachings of Torah in an actual scroll, which is then placed for safekeeping in the Ark of the Covenant. This Torah scroll is meant to be read by the king at a gathering in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem every seventh year (during the festival of Sukkot and the first year of the Shmita cycle). The concern for continuity shines through in the pragmatic dynamic choice theory of Torah, lest its song be forgotten by the next generation.

- Rabbi Aubrey Glazer

Artwork note: This week's illustration is inspired by Deuteronomy 30:3: "Then, the Lord, your God, will bring back your exiles, and He will have mercy upon you. He will once again gather you from all the nations, where the Lord, your God, had dispersed you." Our Jewish experience of exile, or galut, fundamentally shapes our national and corporate identity and imagination. Illustration by Christopher Orev Reiger.

Re'eh -- Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17

Facebook_CoverDesign_ReehWhat does it mean to really "see"? To better appreciate "seeing" – for which Parashat Re’eh is named – let us consider the experiential dimension of a quiet state of mind. The practitioner of Zen meditation sometimes experiences an event known as kenshō, literally meaning "seeing nature" and understood as an awakening from our fundamental ignorance. Experiencing kenshō is not the same as achieving Nirvana, but it does grant one a glimpse of the "real" reality.

While Zen practitioners turn to Buddha, Jews turn to Moses, as both seekers are yearning for guidance about how best to "see." Judaism starts with the act of looking back, of seeing what has come before with fresh eyes. In so doing, we can develop new relationships to all texts, even our sacred tomes. Whether or not we succeed depends on how we see ourselves in relation to the text and its sacred inspiration. So when Moses says to the Children of Israel, "See I place before you today a blessing and a curse," they enter an important stage of maturity in their covenantal relationship — that of responsibility.

Seeing the consequences of our actions is a sign of growing responsibility. These are proclaimed on Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal as the Israelites are crossing over into the Holy Land. In establishing a Temple, we made a place where the Divine will dwell in essence and Name. This will become the new central address for sacrifices, and in keeping with the overall theology of Deuteronomy, no offerings can be made to the divine outside this local. Laws of tithing are discussed in detail, including how the tithe is given to the needy in certain years. Here, we encounter one of the first iterations of charity as an obligation devolving upon the Jew to aid those in need with a gift or loan. But all such loans are forgiven on the Sabbatical year and all indentured servants are freed after six years of service.

The theme of seeing concludes Parashat Re'eh. Listing the three pilgrimage festivals of Passover, Pentecosts (Shavuot), and the Feast of Booths (Sukkot) as times when the pilgrim goes to see and be seen before the Divine in the precincts of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, the parsha demonstrates that encountering the Divine in our lives is indeed a "seeing into our nature" with fresh eyes. This "seeing" provides hope for such sacred encounters throughout our lives.

- Rabbi Aubrey Glazer

Artwork note: This week's artwork is an abstract depiction of an advance guard of Israelites marching into the Promised Land. The forms of the soldiers are rendered so as to call to mind territorial maps – provisional, likely-contested borders sketched over the same plot of land. "For you are crossing the Jordan, to come to possess the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you, and you shall possess it and dwell in it." (Deuteronomy 11:31) Illustration by Christopher Orev Reiger.

The High Holy Days At CBS

The "Days of Awe" are almost upon us – again! As another year draws to a close, we look forward to the next. We also look forward to sharing the High Holy Days with you this October!
Facebook_JWeekly_HHDAvertisement No matter how “late” they may seem this year, the High Holy Days are always a good time to reconnect with old friends and to make some new ones. All of our services are conducted with joy, deep feeling, and humor, and they preserve the classic character of the High Holy Days while authentically connecting with contemporary Jews and their friends and family.

With support from cantorial soloist and rabbinic intern, Amanda Russell, and a cast of wonderful lay leaders, Rabbis Aubrey Glazer and Dorothy Richman will lead inspiring services in our acclaimed Sanctuary and Koret Hall. In addition, CBS offers a completely new prayer experience: Renew Our Days: The High Holy Days Unbound, a special, two-part prayer lab occurring on the mornings of Rosh Hashanah Day 1 and Yom Kippur. This a special opportunity to rediscover and reconnect with the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual substance of Jewish liturgy. Led by Aviva Chernick, teacher, hazzan, and frontwoman of Jaffa Road, the celebrated world music group, Renew Our Days is open to all ticket holders, but space is limited & advance R.S.V.P. is required. (Full details on Renew Our Days can be found here.)

Age-specific children’s programming is also provided from Newborn – Grade 5, and we're introducing Launch Kadima 5777, a unique program specifically designed for Grades 6 – 8. (Full descriptions of our children's programming is available here.)

Let’s put chalk to board and write the next chapter together!

Below, we provide you with a comprehensive overview of our service and program times for the 5777 High Holy Days. Details about some of the special services are provided in other posts on the CBS blog, as well as all CBS calendar listings.

If you have any questions, please contact us via email or call 415.940.7092.
Nonmembers, please click here to access the High Holy Days Nonmember Ticket Request Form, which can be printed and mailed to the CBS office or scanned and emailed.

5777 HIGH HOLY DAY SEASON SERVICES & PROGRAMS

SELICHOT
Friday, September 23
6:30 p.m. — "Neo-Carlebach" Kabbalat Shabbat (guest-led by Yehuda Solomon)

Saturday, September 24
9 a.m. — Shabbat morning service (co-led by Yehuda Solomon)
1:30 p.m. — Mincha gedolah minyan (replaces our normal, evening minyan service)
9 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. (next morning) — Hardly Strictly Selichot Unplugged (featuring Yehuda Solomon, Duvid Swirsky, Hazzan Avyatar Alfassi of Anshey Sfard, and other friends)

HIGH HOLY DAYS
high-holy-daysSunday, September 25
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. — Aviva Chernick's Renew Our Days Song Workshop

Sunday, October 2
6:15 - 8:30 p.m. — Erev Rosh Hashanah service

Monday, October 3
8:45 – 9:30 a.m. — Rosh Hashanah Family Service
8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Rosh Hashanah Day 1 Sanctuary Service
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. — Rosh Hashanah Day 1 Koret Hall Service
10 a.m. – 1 p.m. — Aviva Chernick’s Renew Our Days service
4:30 p.m. — Mincha minyan at Ocean Beach (near Fulton, just across from Beach Chalet)
5 – 7 p.m. — Ctrl + Alt + Del: Tashlique at Ocean Beach (w/ Reboot and others)

Tuesday, October 4
8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Rosh Hashanah Day 2 Sanctuary Service

Tuesday, October 11
6:00 – 9 p.m. — Kol Nidre Sanctuary Service – Mincha (6:05 p.m.); Kol Nidre (6:15 p.m.)
6:30 – 9 p.m. — Kol Nidre Koret Hall Service

Tuesday, October 12
8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. — Yom Kippur Sanctuary Service
8:45 - 9:30 a.m. — Yom Kippur Family Service
10 a.m. – 1 p.m. — Aviva Chernick’s Renew Our Days service
12 – 2 p.m. — Yom Kippur Koret Hall Service
2 – 4 p.m. — Open Meditation in Makom Shalom
2 – 4 p.m. — Special Afternoon Teachings w/ Ephraim Margolin, Henry Hollander, Ovid Jacob, & Michael Loebs
4:45 – 7:30 p.m. — Mincha, Ne’ila, Ma’ariv, & Havdalah
7:30 p.m. — Break-the-Fast

SUKKOT
Monday, October 17
9 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Sukkot Day 1 Service
12 – 1 p.m. — Kiddush Lunch & Learn 1: Kohelet Chapters 1–6 (in CBS sukkah)
1 p.m. — Mincha gedolah minyan

Tuesday, October 18
9 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Sukkot Day 2 Service
12 – 1 p.m. — Kiddush Lunch & Learn 2: Kohelet Chapters 7–12 (in CBS sukkah)
1 p.m. — Mincha gedolah minyan

Wednesday, October 19
6:30 p.m. — Community Sukkot Dinner in CBS sukkah (to be followed by dessert at Congregation Chevra Thilim)

Sunday, October 23
8 – 10:30 a.m. — Hoshana Rabbah Service
10:30 a.m. — Kiddush in CBS sukkah

SHEMINI ATZERET & SIMCHAT TORAH
torah_iconMonday, October 24
9 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Shemini Atzeret Service, w/ Yizkor
12 p.m. — Kiddush
6 p.m. — Mincha minyan
7 – 11 p.m. — Erev Simchat Torah Street Party, featuring Veretski Pass

Tuesday, October 25
9 – 10 a.m. — Simchat Torah Service
10 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Kiddush (concurrent w/ service)

Announcing The Gathering Essay Competition

TheGathering1CBS is delighted to announce an exciting cultural and learning opportunity for families in our community!

Playwright Arje Shaw is generously sponsoring an essay writing competition for CBS teenagers (at or around b'nai mitzvah age). Shaw invites teens who are interested in participating to attend his critically-acclaimed play, The Gathering, during its upcoming run at The Live Oak Theatre in Berkeley (July 21 - August 20, 2016).

After watching the play, participants should write an essay (1,000 - 1,500 words) about how practicing remembrance and tolerance can improve the future for all people. This essay should be composed in conversation/collaboration with parents and other family members.

TheGathering2Although The Gathering deals with the Shoah, the teenage essayists will present their compositions to the congregation during Sukkot 5777 (October 17-18, 2016). Why Sukkot instead of, say, Yom HaShoah? Shaw hopes the process of writing the essay will prompt the participating teens to thoughtfully consider their heritage and how best to honor it (l'dor v'dor, from generation to generation), and the mystical tradition of inviting ushpizin, ancestral "guests," into the sukkah to share space with us is pertinent.

Following the public presentation of the essays, Rabbi Glazer will announce which of the entries he and a committee of CBS member judges deems most resonant. Shaw will make a $1,000 donation to CBS in the author's name.

Shaw notes that The Gathering wasn't written just for himself. It is, as he puts it, "an expression of neshamah, a soulful thank you to my parents for all their sacrifices to rebuild their lives in securing a future for their children. We all have had people in our lives who made that happen, and The Gathering is a tribute to them."

We think that Shaw's essay competition will provide some of our CBS teens with their own opportunity to offer such a tribute.

Photo credits: The Gathering production photos by DavidAllenStudio.com

Emor -- Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23

CoverDesign_EmorIn a candid moment, the renowned American scholar of the Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels (b. 1943), once remarked that her research of these early religious texts taught her something interesting:

These ancient stories in religion speak to our desire. But they move us toward hope.

Where might one experience this correlation between desire and hope that really speaks to us about Judaism as a religion? Is it through interpersonal ethics? Familiar customs? Or, on the other hand, through rituals that deepen the human-divine relationship? Holiness calls out to us, but how and when do we hear the call?

The second section of Emor, literally “speaks out” and addresses us in describing the annual callings to holiness: a weekly sabbatical retreat; an annual paschal offering on the 14th of Nisan as well as the seven day cycle of Pesach (Passover) beginning on the 15th of Nisan; the gathering and elevating of the Omer offering from the first barley harvest on the second day of Passover to its culmination in Shavuot; the primal cry of the shofar on the 1st of Tishrei for Rosh Hashanah; followed by a fast day on the 10th of Tishrei; culminating with a seven-day festival for dwelling in booths while dancing with the four species on the 15th of Tishrei and then the after-party of the Eighth day of Assembly marking the pilgrimage route home with Shemini Atzeret.

By contrast, the first section of Emor speaks to laws pertaining to Temple service of the high priest.

All in all, there is something about sacred time that speaks to each of us differently, yet the sacred somehow finds a way to take place in our lives through the Jewish calendar and the synagogue.

- Rabbi Aubrey Glazer

Artwork note: This week's artwork is inspired by the many harsh directives that appear in Parashat Emor, directives that exclude many Israelites (e.g., the deformed, disabled, or sick) from full belonging and that command our ancestors to stone to death various offenders. From Leviticus 24:13-14: "Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and all who heard shall lean their hands on his head. And the entire community shall stone him." Holiness may call out to us, but in the stratified and severe worldview of our ancestors, it has the voice of a potentate. So, again, with the wrestling! Illustration by Christopher Orev Reiger.

Kezayit: Moadim L'sim-wha?

What's this Kezayit thing? Read here.

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MoadimLSimchaSome of our congregants were thrown off last week when Rabbi Glazer enthusiastically greeted them with "Moadim l'simcha!" Many community members looked confused -- "Moadim l'sim-wha?" -- and several asked for an explanation, which Rabbi Glazer happily provided.

In case you're still in the dark, though, we thought we'd share the explanation here. What's up with the greeting?

Literally translated, "moadim l'simcha" means "times for joy," but you can think of it as "happy holidays!" Yet this isn't a greeting that should be used for every Jewish holiday. Technically, it should be reserved for use during Pesach (Passover) and Sukkot; even then, it should only be used during the Chol HaMoed.

Chol HaMoed? Pesach and Sukkot both take place over multiple days. During Pesach in the Diaspora, the third through sixth days of the holiday (second through sixth in Israel), are called Chol HaMoed, which translates as the "weekdays [of] the festival." These days are regarded as the secular (or less holy) part of Pesach. Similarly, during Sukkot, the third through seventh days of the holiday (second through seventh in Israel) are also Chol HaMoed.

During both Pesach and Sukkot, then, it is most appropriate to greet fellow yidden with "Chag sameach!" ("Happy holiday!") during the beginning and end of the holidays (the first, second, seventh, and eighth days of Pesach, and the first, second, and eighth days of Sukkot) and "Moadim l'simcha!" during the intermediate days.

So there you have it! If you really want to show your Hebrew greeting chops, when someone greets you with "Moadim l'simcha!" during Sukkot, you should reply with "Chagim u’zmanim l’sasson!" This is a traditional response to the first greeting, and translates as "Holidays and times for celebration!"

Kezayit (An Olive's Worth): A Proper Purim Greeting

Purim is almost here! It won't be long before we're masked, spieling, ring tossing, and bottoms upping! Mark your calendars for Sunday, March 12, 2017, when our PURIMPALOOZA: Community Purim Carnival & Spiel To Support CBS Educational Programs will take place!

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Invert
According to Wikipedia, Quora, and just about any website we could find, there are three traditional Purim salutations: "Chag Purim Sameach!" ("Happy Purim Festival/Holiday!" in Hebrew); "Freilichin Purim!" ("Happy Purim!" in Yiddish); and "Purim Allegre!" ("Happy Purim!" in Ladino). Indeed, when you've come to CBS Purim carnivals and megillah readings in past years, it's a sure thing you were welcomed with one of those greetings.

The thing of it is, "Chag Purim Sameach!" ain't exactly exact. Although the greeting is widely used and accepted, Purim isn't technically a festival, or chag. The only chagim we observe are the Yom Tovim, the six Biblically-mandated festivals: the first and seventh days of Pesach (Passover), the first day of Shavuot, both days of Rosh Hashanah, the first day of Sukkot, the first day of Shemini Atzeret, and Yom Kippur. In the Diaspora, the redundant, second-day iterations of some of these are also considered Yom Tovim or chagim. Purim is notably absent from the list. Somewhere along the line (l'dor va'dor -- generation to generation), however, the greeting that should be reserved for true chagim was also attached to Hanukkah and Purim.

In a recent discussion with Rabbi Glazer, your CBS Communications Coordinator learned of a more appropriate greeting for Purim, one you might consider using this year. "V’nahafokh hu!" ("We shall invert things!") Rabbi Glazer explained that this greeting, which is drawn from two verses in the megillah (Esther 9:1 and 9:22), is the most incisive option. It speaks to Purim's most significant theme, namely that "everything should be inverted in a cruel and broken world, leaving only compassion and random acts of selfless lovingkindness."

Rabbi Julia Andelman (of the Jewish Theological Seminary) breaks things down further in a 2014 article:

"Purim is a holiday of reversals—written into the megillah itself. Haman creates an elaborate ritual by which the king should honor him, but his enemy Mordechai is honored with that same ritual instead. The gallows Haman builds for Mordechai end up being the instrument of his own death. And the fate of a nation changes from doom to victory in the blink of an eye: 'And so, on the 13th day of the 12th month—that is, the month of Adar—when the king’s demand and decree were to be executed, the very day on which the enemies of the Jews had expected to get them in their power, v’nahafokh hu — the situation was reversed—and the Jews got their enemies in their power instead' (Esther 9:1). Reversals of fortune, narratives doubling back on themselves in opposing incarnations, are to be found everywhere in the Book of Esther; and so the theme of a holiday — v’nahafokh hu — is born. Cross-dressing, inebriation, public parodies of teachers and friends—all of these traditionally questionable or forbidden boundary crossings are sanctioned and even celebrated on this one day of the year when norms are freely reversed."

This year, let's turn things upside down and shake out what's broken or cruel. V’nahafokh hu!

Sukkot Community Dinner Moments

As the sun dipped behind the Pacific yesterday evening, we gathered in the Congregation Beth Sholom sukkah for our annual Sukkot community dinner. Together, we sung, learned, laughed, dined...and then dined some more!

Todah rabah to Jane, our new Executive Chef, whose food was absolutely delicious! (Four-etrog quality!)

Just below, we've posted a selection of photographs taken during last night's festivities, and we invite YOU to join us for future community events at Beth Sholom!
Sukkot5776_1Sukkot5776_2Sukkot5776_9Sukkot5776_8Sukkot5776_6Sukkot5776_7Sukkot5776_3Sukkot5776_4Sukkot5776_5Sukkot5776_10Sukkot5776_14Sukkot5776_11Sukkot5776_13Sukkot5776_15Sukkot5776_16Sukkot5776_17Sukkot5776_12

Simchat Torah Block Party!

Congregation Beth Sholom's Simchat Torah Block Party is a chance for you to shake more than your lulav!

Dance with us in the streets on Monday, October 5!

SimchatTorahBlockParty_5776
It's Sukkot again, and we're eating (or sipping a scotch) in our backyard booths, gazing up at a super blood moon through the s'chach, and contemplating the fragile vitality of the structures, both physical and mental, that we create for ourselves. This rumination is appropriate and completely understandable -- we're still reflective following the Yamim Noraim. But Sukkot is also a joyful holiday, a time to celebrate the harvest and shake your lulav. And, importantly, Sukkot is is a warm-up to one of the year's greatest parties, Simchat Torah.

Simchat Torah, which closely follows Sukkot, translates as "rejoicing with the Torah," and the holiday marks the conclusion of our annual cycle of Torah readings and the beginning of a new cycle. Festivities begin with the evening service, when all of the synagogue's Torah scrolls are removed from the ark and are paraded -- danced, really! -- around the sanctuary in a series of seven hakafot, or circuits. As a Hasidic master once remarked, "On Simchat Torah the Torah scrolls wish to dance, so we become their feet." We dare you to try to be a wallflower! After the hakafot, the party often overflows onto the city streets around the synagogue.

And that's exactly what will happen this coming Monday! Our Simchat Torah Block Party will feature live music by Veretski Pass -- a trio described by Hadassah magazine as a "veritable Old World klezmer supergroup" -- and delicious Israeli food!

We invite you to join us for services in the Grownoski Family Chapel (6 p.m.). The party will follow.

VeZot ha’Berachah -- Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12

193337Rabbi A.J. Heschel (1907-1972) once remarked:

Judaism teaches us to be attached to holiness in time, to be attached to sacred events, to learn how to consecrate sanctuaries that emerge from the magnificent stream of a year. The Sabbaths are our great cathedrals; and our Holy of Holies is a shrine that neither the Romans nor the Germans were able to burn...

Time is what matters in our lives; it is through the Jewish calendar that we embody Jewish life and identity. It is precisely through the appointed time or moadim on the Jewish calendar that we are enabled to define our Jewish lives. Abiding in the sukkah, taking hold of the four species, and the thrice annual pilgrimage festivals to the Jerusalem Temple during Passover, Feast of Weeks, and Booths make a deep impression.

When we “rejoice in the Torah” during Simchat Torah, we simultaneously conclude and begin anew the annual Torah-reading cycle. Firstly, we read the Torah section of Vezot Haberachah, recounting the Mosaic blessing bestowed upon each of the twelve tribes of Israel before Moses' death. Echoing Jacob's blessings to his twelve sons five generations earlier, Moses empowers each tribe with its individual role within the Israelite community. Vezot Haberachah then relates how Moses ascended Mount Nebo to its summit, taking a peek at the Promised Land without ever entering into it. Moses’ burial place to this day remains unknown and the Torah concludes by attesting that:

Never again did there arise a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom G-d knew face to face... and in all the mighty hand and the great, awesome things which Moses did before the eyes of all Israel.

When we truly value the sacral power of time, every moment is a sacred encounter in the making.

- Rabbi Glazer

Image credit: "Moses viewing the Promised Land from Mount Nebo," by Robert Dowling, 1879