Zoe & Hana Jaeger Skigen's B'not Mitzvah

Facebook_HanaZoeSkigenShalom. Our names are Zoe and Hana Jaeger Skigen. We are twelve-year-old twins and we just finished Grade 7 at the Synergy School in San Francisco's Mission District, where we also live.

This Shabbat, June 17, we will become b’not mitzvah. We have spent our entire lives doing meaningful things together and the process of preparing to become b’not mitzvah has been one of the highlights. We have been members of Beth Sholom since we were born; we attended "Mommy and Me" and Tot Shabbat programs in addition to the CBS Family Preschool and Shabbat School (religious school). Beth Sholom is literally a "house of peace" for us and our second Jewish home. We are still best friends with the children we met at Beth Sholom from our infancy.

In this week’s parsha, Parashat Shelach Lecha, we learn that Moses sends twelve spies to the land of Canaan as authorized by God. When they return, they bring back incredible things, like enormous grapes, as well as seemingly bad news. Ten of the spies report that the people of the land are unconquerable – that Canaan is filled with giants. Many of the Israelite people panic and want to return to Egypt. As a havruta (learning in pairs), we had lengthy conversations about how and why such conflicting perspectives could emerge about the same land. The process has been both intellectually and spiritually moving for both of us.

I (Zoe) enjoy playing trumpet in a city-wide orchestra and school band. I like all things musical and especially like to teach myself to play new instruments. I am active member of the Gay/Straight Alliance at school and I play on the school basketball team. In my free time, I make videos, arrange music, and I am passionate about tikkun olam and activism. In the summers, I enjoy going to Habonim Dror Camp Gilboa. For my mitzvah project, I taught formerly-imprisoned, mentally ill adults cooking classes.

I (Hana) am on the student council at school, in the school choir, and play on the school futsal, basketball, and cross country teams. I am a proud feminist and activist and I am also a member of the Gay/Straight Alliance. I also have a deep affinity for animals and am an avid reader. I play ukulele and in my free time I enjoy writing songs. For my mitzvah project, I performed a concert at the Jewish Home for the Aged. This is particularly meaningful to me because this is where my great grandmother, Bea, lived and died. Camp Gilboa is a special place in the summer for me as well.

We want to thank our mother and father for supporting us and gently pushing us through the process of becoming b’not mitzvah. We also want to thank our Baba and Savta and our Bubbie, Susan Jaeger, for helping us to develop our Jewish identity. A special thank you to Noa Bar, our tutor, and to Rabbi Glazer for teaching us how to stick with such a large task and the importance of Torah. Most importantly, we would like to thank each other. Having a twin sister always makes life a little easier and we always feel a little safer in the world knowing we have each other.

We are so elated to together share this life cycle event along with our friends and family who are traveling from near and far to witness this simcha!

Kadima Konvention Recap

Facebook_GroupPhoto2_KadimaKonvention_MarchApril2017CBS is proud to have hosted Kadima Konvention 2017 this past weekend (March 31 – April 2, 2017). The Kadima Konvention is a regional gathering for children in Kadima, the middle school arm of United Synagogue Youth (USY), the youth organization of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ). Kids in Grades 6 and 7 from all over Northern California were invited to participate in a special weekend filled with fun activities, learning, Social Action/Tikkun Olam, and much more. CBS Youth Advisor David Agam, pictured above with some of the San Francisco Kadima-niks who attended, provided the following report.


In under 48 hours, our San Francisco Kadima-niks warmly welcomed their peers from all over the region, and bonded with them and with one another through team-building, play, prayer, film, food, games, lectures, intellectual conversation, contests, song, and, yes, even a little sleep.

A whopping 14 San Francisco Kadima-niks participated in the Konvention, representing over one third of the total participant body! On behalf of USY and CBS, I would like to thank the Kadima-nik families for bringing their kids to us and for allowing our event to take off the way it did. This San Francisco group is vibrant, diverse, and passionate; it plainly knows how to learn, grow, and have fun through living Jewishly together. I am so privileged to be a part of it.

Who made this wonderful Shabbaton possible?

· The Congregation Beth Sholom staff and community at large, including our indispensable host families;
· the USY Regional Executive Teen Board;
· the ever tireless New Frontier Regional Coordinator, Sarah Milller;
· USY/Kadima chapter advisors from all over the region;
· and, of course, the San Francisco USY/Kadima families.

I look forward to more such successful events through Kadima and USY with your children.


Check out some Havdalah pictures and a group photo that includes many of the Konvention participants.

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New Frontier USY Mini-Mission-Mitzvah

MissionMitzvah_USY_Jan2016Sunday, January 17, was the annual New Frontier USY Mini-Mission-Mitzvah, a day dedicated to United Synagogue Youth (USY) teens making a difference for local community service organizations. This year, New Frontier USY focused their efforts in San Francisco, and a dozen of our CBS USYers hosted other teens from ten USY outposts in the region for an enjoyable and meaningful Sunday of service.MissionMitzvah3_USY_Jan2016

At the end of the day, they returned to CBS for Ma'ariv services with Rabbi Glazer and Lior Ben-Hur in the Gronowski Family Chapel, followed by dinner and music with Lior in Koret Hall.

CBS gives a hearty "Kol HaKavod!" to our CBS teens for hosting the Mini-Mission-Mitzvah and exhibiting such menschlichkeit (inspiring humanity)! Todah rabbah, too, to David Herrera, our fearless CBS Youth Advisor, for leading the community service charge!

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