Purimpalooza 5778 Recap

The CBS campus was packed this past Thursday afternoon and evening, as Beth Sholom community members of all ages donned costumes and imbibed good spirits during our annual Purimpalooza: Community Purim Carnival & Spiel To Support CBS Educational Programs. It’s a mitzvah to act the fool on Purim, so we tipped back our cups, ate dessert before dinner, grogged as we bounced, and generally went happy-wild together in costumed bliss.

Beloved Bay Area Jewish educator and entertainer Mimi Greisman put on a Purim puppet show that was a huge hit with our youngest community members, and the live entertainment by youth band Planet 17 (Elai Levinson, Alana Moore, Noa Resnikoff, and Hannah Urisman), the hip hop dance troupe Presidio Panther Dance Team (featuring Talya Glazer), and DJ Don Marks were hits with our all-ages audience. As one long-time congregant remarked, "It’s such a delight to see so many kids and young families reveling in this holiday." Indeed, it was!

The main attraction of this year’s Purim celebration was Flashback 5728, the original CBS Purim spiel musical featuring a script, cast, and crew of community members (a full list of participants is included at the end of this post) as well as a lot of classic 60s songs. This year, as last, the spiel was produced and directed by our talented all-star volunteer, Tracy Swedlow. Queen Vashti (aka, Caitlin Ahrens, pictured at the top of this post) blew the crowd away with a powerful, Janis Joplin-like rendition of "Piece of My Heart," but that was just one of many spiel highlights!

Special thanks to the many volunteers — from our Beth Sholom Madrichim to the United Synagogue Youth (USY) teens to CBS elder statesmen (and women!) — who staffed carnival games, ran the food counter, bartended, and helped Executive Chef Jane Sykes in the kitchen! Thanks, also, to Camp Ramah Norcal and Grand Bakery for participating in and contributing to our Purim fun. Thanks to the CBS Family Preschool and Shabbat School parents who did heavy lifting on behalf of CBS education, successfully soliciting so many great prizes for this year’s Purimpalooza raffle and silent auction, and also to those who helped the Beth Sholom staff plan the event. (See the full list of community volunteers at the end of this post.)

Another round of Persian fist pounds to the five volunteer bakers – Allen Levy, Betty Newman, Debra Surkin Perloff, Rosemary Rothstein, and Maralyn Tabatsky – who made hundreds of hamantaschen using Eva-Lynne Leibman's delicious recipe for the festivities. We all enjoyed the fruit pastries of their labors!

Finally, Purimpalooza wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the entire Beth Sholom staff, including all of our CBS Family Preschool teachers and everyone in the main office! Thanks for taking the organizational lead and working tirelessly to make the special day possible.

Todah rabbah (thank you very much)!

Check out some photos from the festivities below.

Community volunteers: Laura Albers, Osher Almog & Kira Gaber, Astrid Altschul, Thomas Bettles, Chelseaa & Dan Bush, Ben Chinn, Elin Cohen, Shana Cohen, David Coupar & Ashley Polselli, Wendy Cown, Ari Dalfen, Jesse Fink, Ellen Ginsberg, Amanda & Andrew Gold, Denise Goldstein, Steven Goode, Andrea Gough, Melissa Hansen, Henry Hollander, Veronica Holman, Sara Horwitz, Jason Jungreis, Nathalie Kaplan, Leo Kessler, Michali Kolnick, Andrea Korsunsky, Viki Lam, Carla Lieberman, Robyn Lipsky, Don & Gabi Marks, Mellissa Miller, Arlo Novicoff, Dawne Bear Novicoff, Liz Noteware, Pam Polselli, Crissy Ponciano, Carolyn & Pankaj Prasad, Kristen Rice, Dan & Anna Rubinsky, Josh Seeherman & Rebecca Brown, CJ & Maya Suchovsky, Nate Teitelbaum

Donors to raffle and silent auction: Maura & Ari Feingold, MacKenzie & Tam Huynh, Stacy & Steve Jenson, Kenyette Jones, Derek & Melissa Miller, Ashley Polselli, Dan & Anna Rubinsky, and Lu & Norman Zilber

Flashback 5728 Cast & Crew: Caitlin Ahrens, Linda Bernstein, Max Billick, Asher Chinn, Ben Chinn, Ernie Ernstrom, Talya Glazer, Scott Horwitz, Steve Miller, Debra Surkin Perloff, Max Schleicher, Aaron Seeman, Tracy Swedlow, Elyssa Wortzman, Daniel Zilberman, and Josh Zilberman

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.




Purimpalooza Recap

Facebook_Purimpalooza23_March2017The CBS community filled our campus on Sunday, donning costumes and good spirits for Purimpalooza: Community Purim Carnival & Spiel To Support CBS Educational Programs. We gamed, gambled, bounced, danced, ate, drank, grogged, and spieled together, toasting a temporarily inverted world.

Unquestionably, the highlight of this year's Purim celebration was Long Live The Spiel, the Purim spiel produced and directed by congregant and all-star volunteer, Tracy Swedlow. Featuring an all-congregant crew and cast (a full list of participants is included at the end of this post), the spiel adapted music and lyrics from the hit musical Les Misérables to tell the story of Esther, Mordecai, and the loathsome Haman.

Special thanks to the many volunteers — from United Synagogue Youth (USY) teens to CBS elder statesmen (and women!) — who staffed carnival games, ran the food counter, bartended, and helped Executive Chef Jane Sykes in the kitchen! Thanks, too, to the CBS Family Preschool parents and Shabbat School parents who hustled on behalf of CBS education by successfully soliciting so many great prizes for the Purimpalooza raffles and silent auction, and also to those who helped the CBS staff plan the event. (See the full list of community volunteers at the end of this post.)

Upside down Purim high-fives to all of the megillah readers – Pat Ackerman, Adam Hertz, Scott Horwitz, David Malman, Marshall Schwartz, and Rabbi Glazer – and their benevolent vizier, Owen Leibman, who organized and read, as well.

Persian fist pounds to the seven volunteer bakers – Karen Benjamin, Marsha Glantz, Ruth Jaffe, Eva-Lynne Leibman, Allen Levy, Sharyn Loeb, and Debra Surkin Perloff – who made 400 hamantaschen for the weekend festivities. We enjoyed the fruit pastries of their labors!

Finally, Purimpalooza wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the entire CBS staff, but Katherine Friedman Barboni, Dale Kleisley, Kim Hegg, and Jane Sykes deserve a special shout-out for taking the organizational lead and working tirelessly to make the special day possible.

Todah rabbah (thank you very much)!

Check out some photos from the day below and see even more on our CBS Facebook page.

Facebook_Purimpalooza1_March2017 Facebook_Purimpalooza10_March2017 Facebook_Purimpalooza4_March2017 Facebook_Purimpalooza5_March2017 Facebook_Purimpalooza6_March2017 Facebook_Purimpalooza8_March2017 Facebook_Purimpalooza12_March2017 Facebook_Purimpalooza14_March2017 Facebook_Purimpalooza13_March2017 Facebook_Purimpalooza18_March2017 Facebook_Purimpalooza19_March2017 Facebook_Purimpalooza20_March2017 Facebook_Purimpalooza24_March2017 Facebook_Purimpalooza26_March2017 Facebook_Purimpalooza27_March2017 Facebook_Purimpalooza31_March2017 Facebook_Purimpalooza32_March2017 Facebook_Purimpalooza35_March2017 Facebook_Purimpalooza36_March2017 Community volunteers: Gillian Adams, Osher Almog, Kathryn Bair, Daniela Bernstein, Chelseaa Bush, Daniel Bush, Asher Butnik, Janet Carignani, Rajeev Chopra, Wendy Cown, Sonia Daccarett, Andrew Dawson, Susan Dawson, Kira Gaber, Eli Ganz, David Goldenberg, Sam Goldenberg, Jackie Holman, Veronica Holman, Sara Horwitz, Ovid Jacob, Noah Keith, Leo Kessler, Miles Kessler, Viki Lam, Vered Levinson, Jason Levy, Carla Lieberman, Mia Mandler, Adi Barak Marino, Melissa Miller, Liza Monge, Devin Patrick, Kristen Rice, Anna Rubinsky, Dan Rubinsky, Bat-El Saad, Mo Safdie, Jennifer Sand, Eric Steuer, Tracy Swedlow, Jordan Toledo, Bret Wadleigh, Rick Wolfgram, Hsieyun Yang, Nicole Ziman, and Sasha Ziman

Donors to raffle and silent auction: Kathryn Bair, Katherine Friedman Barboni, Rebecca Brown, Rhoda Draws, Ari Feingold, Maura Feingold, Stacy Jenson, Steve Jenson, Dale Kleisley, Eva-Lynne Leibman, Anne McComas, Debbie Patrick, Devin Patrick, Jim Patrick, Bat-El Saad, Pam Seaman, Josh Seeherman, Tracy Swedlow, Jane Sykes, Robyn Sribhen White, Lucille Zilber, and Norm Zilber

Long Live The Spiel Cast & Crew: Caitlin Ahrens, Emilia Alroy, Iris Alroy, Babalou, Linda Bernstein, Marion Bernstein, Max Billick, Asher Chinn, Ben Chinn, Sonia Daccarett, Rabbi Billy Dreskin, Dick Gentschel, Rabbi Glazer, Talya Glazer, Katherine Hollander, Scott Horwitz, Ilan Jacob, Ovid Jacob, Sidney Keith, Steve Miller, Irv Rothstein, Rosey Rothstein, Marcia Sohn, Norman Sohn, Tracy Swedlow, Elyssa Wortzman, Daniel Zilberman, Mark Zilberman

Introducing David Agam, CBS Youth Advisor

FacebookDavidAgamCBS is pleased to introduce our new Youth Advisor, David Agam.

David recently wrote an open letter to our USY, Kadima, and Shabbat School families. We’re sharing it here so that the CBS community at large can have an opportunity to learn a bit more about David.


Shalom, CBS community!

I am honored and privileged to begin working with your children as the Youth Group Advisor for USY and Kadima. I have been working at CBS as a teacher for years. I’ve always felt a sense of community and belonging here, and I am committed to seeing this congregation thrive. I look forward to meeting you, your children, and family, or getting to know you even better than I already do in the coming months. I am excited by the potential and opportunity our young members have to grow and learn from one another.

In this globally tumultuous time, it is especially important to remember that, particularly in the U.S., our Jewish identity persists through the generations particularly when our youth derive a sense of meaning and purpose from their Jewish experiences, when they develop a strong connection with Jewish roots, values, and ideals. I passionately urge your children to join Kadima or USY, to help see that the future of not just our congregation and the Bay Area Jewish community remains vital, but so that our Jewish practice and peoplehood remain solid and steady in the coming decades and beyond.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or ideas at cbsyouth@bethsholomsf.org.

See you soon!

Letter To Our SFUSY & Kadima Teens

SFUSY_May16Shalom, SFUSY and Kadima!

Welcome back! I hope you all had great summers, and I can’t wait to hear all about them. Whether you were at Camps Ramah, Newman, or Tawonga, on USY on Wheels or USY Pilgrimage, or hanging out in San Francisco, the fun doesn’t end when school starts again!

My name is David Herrera; I am the Youth Advisor for San Francisco USY and Kadima at Congregation Beth Sholom. During the year ahead, we have a number of incredible opportunities for you to continue the camp and summer program fun by connecting with other Jewish teens concerned with social action, Israel awareness, leadership skills, religious education, or simply watching a sports game. Whatever your passion, we have something for you.

The SFUSY Chapter Board has worked hard this summer to create a great year of really fun events for SFUSY. Likewise, our Kadima Vice President, Eli Ganz, has worked to plan some awesome events for the Kadima-niks this year.

Our events start up in September, but be sure to save all of the dates below! SFUSY events are for teens in Grades 9 – 12; Kadima is for kids in Grades 6 – 8. Check out our calendar below, save the dates, and drop in on an event!

For more information about SFUSY and Kadima send me an email, give me a call, visit the New Frontier USY Region’s website, or join our Facebook group.

It’s going to be a great year, everyone!

David Herrera
Youth Director, SFUSY and Kadima

SFUSY & Kadima Chapter Calendar

September 2016:

  • 9/18: SFUSY Goes to Urban Putt! (SFUSY, Grades 9 – 12)
  • 9/25: New Frontier Regional Kadima Day at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, 11:30am-5:30pm, $45 per child (Kadima, Grades 6 – 8)

  • October 2016:

  • 10/3, 4, 12: Launch Kadima 5777; High Holy Day youth programming at CBS on Rosh Hashanah Days 1 & 2 and Yom Kippur, $50 per child includes cost of one year Kadima membership (Kadima, Grades 6 – 8)
  • 10/24: Simchat Torah Celebration with CBS (SFUSY, Grades 9 – 12)

  • November 2016:

  • 11/6: Peninsula Kadima @ Dave and Busters; an inter-chapter event with Kadima chapters from San Francisco, San Jose, Saratoga, Palo Alto, Foster City, and Redwood City at Dave and Busters in San Jose. 3pm-5pm, Congregation Sinai, San Jose (Grade 8 ONLY)
  • 11/18-20: New Frontier Regional Fall Kinnus; the first regional convention of the year for USY hosted at Camp Newman (SFUSY, Grades 9 – 12)

  • December 2016:

  • 12/4: SFUSY Event ( Grades 9 – 12)
  • 12/11: Kadima Event (Grades 6 – 8)
  • 12/25-29: USY International Convention; five days of programs and events for one thousand Jewish teens from all over the US and Canada, and parts of South America, Europe, and Israel aimed at building connections to Judaism, social action/justice, global Jewry, and new friends. Hosted in Dallas, TX. (SFUSY, Grades 9 – 12)

  • January 2017:

  • 1/15: New Frontier Regional Mini-Mission Mitzvah; a Regional USY day spent volunteering in one city in our beautiful New Frontier Region. Projects change every year, but past days have been spent sorting food at a food bank, building bikes and games for under-privileged youth, planting trees and picking up trash in local parks, and so much more! (SFUSY, Grades 9 – 12)

  • February 2017:

  • 2/5: SFUSY Israel Celebration (Grades 8 – 12)
  • 2/10-12: New Frontier Regional Winter Shabbaton; a regional convention hosted by Sacramento USY at Mosaic Law Congregation (SFUSY, Grades 9 – 12, Grade 8 also invited)
  • 2/26: Kadima Event (Grades 6 – 7, Grade 5 also invited)

  • March 2017:

  • 3/5: SFUSY Day of (Social) Action (Grades 8 – 12)
  • 3/31-4/2: New Frontier Regional Kadima Konvention; a regional convention for Kadima! CBS will be hosting middle schoolers from all over Northern California and Reno, NV in this weekend long Kadima event!
    (Grades 6 – 7)

  • April 2017:

  • 4/23: SFUSY Event (Grades 8 – 12)
  • 4/30: Final Kadima Event of the Year (Grades 5 – 7)

  • May 2017:

  • 5/19-21: New Frontier Regional May Convention; the final convention of the year for USY. Hosted in Santa Rosa at the Flamingo Resort. (SFUSY, Grades 8 – 12)
  • Report From New Frontier USY Convention

    David Herrera, our CBS Youth Advisor, sent the following report following the Annual New Frontier United Synagogue Youth Convention.


    SFUSY_May16Over Memorial Day weekend, nine San Francisco United Synagogue Youth (SFUSY) teens headed up to Santa Rosa for New Frontier USY's annual May Convention. We spent the weekend with 100 other USYers from all over Northern California and Reno, Nevada, learning with and challenging each other. From davening Shacharit to questioning the future of Jewish practice in a technology-driven world, our SFUSY teens displayed the freethinking and discipline that they have worked so hard to develop and build on this year.

    The May Convention is the most important convention of the year for our chapter and the region at large. Each year, the USYers of New Frontier elect the Regional Executive Board for the coming year. This year, we are so proud to congratulate SFUSYer India Jeremy, the 2016-2017 New Frontier USY Executive/Programming Vice President! We know that India will serve the region well in her new role, continuing to display the genuine commitment that has compelled her SFUSY service of the past two years. Mazel tov, India! We also say goodbye this year to Josh Horwitz, a graduating member of SFUSY and the outgoing 2015-2016 New Frontier USY Religion/Education Vice President. Josh has made his chapter and region proud this year with his hard work and dedication. All of SFUSY wishes you well in college next year, Josh! Never forget where you've come from!

    Lastly, SFUSY is incredibly proud to present Congregation Beth Sholom with the four Regional Awards won by SFUSY this year: Highest Number of Registrants for USY On Wheels 2016 Summer Program; Best Social Action/Tikkun Olam Program, 2015-2016; Best Israel Program, 2015-2016; and Chapter of Excellence, 2015-2016. Thank you to everyone who has helped SFUSY this year; we would not have these awards without you.

    May Convention marks the end of the 2015-2016 year for San Francisco USY and Kadima. We will take a break for summer, and begin our 2016-2017 year in September! Be on the look out for invitations and updates following summer break!

    Want more information on SFUSY and Kadima? Email our Chapter Advisor and Teen Educator, David Herrera!

    Keep up with SFUSY throughout the year on Facebook and Instagram. Click the links and hit follow!

    Have fun this summer, SFUSY! See you in September!

    CBS USYers Head To May Convention!

    MissionMitzvah_USY_Jan2016Memorial Day Weekend is a big weekend for our CBS United Synagogue Youth (USY) teens!

    Friday, May 27 - Saturday, May 29, nine SFUSY teens will head up to Santa Rosa for the annual New Frontier USY Regional May Convention! Together with over 100 other Jewish teens from all over Northern California (and Reno, Nevada), our teens will engage with Judaism in a hands-on, minds-open way, discover ways to reanimate ourselves and our connection to this ancient tradition at the Charles Shultz Museum, and build strong connections to the world and people around us. We cannot wait to bring back what we learn to our CBS community!

    We also wish a massive b'chatzlacha to India Jeremy, SFUSY Executive/Programming Vice President as she runs for New Frontier Regional Executive/Programming Vice President! Good luck India, the SFUSY family is all rooting for you!

    This is the final regional convention of the USY year as well as the final event for SFUSY and Kadima before we break for summer. SFUSY and Kadima wish to thank everyone who has made this year possible. There are simply too many to name individually, but we are grateful to you nonetheless.

    To another great year starting up in August 2016!

    Megillah Gras In Pictures

    The CBS community filled our campus yesterday afternoon and evening, turning out en masse for Megillah Gras: Community Purim Fundraiser To Benefit CBS Education. We played, danced, ate, drank, and grogged together into the night, toasting a temporarily inverted world. The shared enthusiasm and warmth of the event was palpable; our hearts are full.

    Special thanks to the many volunteers -- from United Synagogue Youth (USY) teens to CBS elder statesmen (and women!) -- who staffed carnival games, ran the food counter, bartended, and helped Executive Chef Jane Sykes in the kitchen! Thanks, too, to the CBS Family Preschool parents and Shabbat School parents who hustled on behalf of CBS education by successfully soliciting so many great prizes for the Megillah Gras raffles and silent auction, and also to those who helped the CBS staff plan the event. Todah rabbah (thank you very much)!

    Megillah Gras wouldn't have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the entire CBS staff, of course, but Dale Kleisley, Assistant Director of Early Childhood Education, deserves a special shout-out for leading the Purim charge! Kol HaKavod, Dale!

    Check out some photos from the program below.

    Megillah Gras!

    Mark your calendars for the one Purim party you don't want to miss!

    MegillahGras_Poster Megillah Gras:
    Community Purim Fundraiser
    To Benefit CBS Education

    Wednesday, March 23
    4:30 - 9:30 p.m.
    Koret Hall, CBS campus

    It's time to celebrate a world turned upside down, people! It's Megillah Gras time!

    Join the CBS community on March 23 to revel in the joy and craziness of Purim. There will be carnival games, a bounce house, a dance-off, delicious food prepared by CBS Executive Chef Jane Sykes, two raffles with amazing prizes, a silent auction, an interactive megillah reading, lots of alcohol (of course), and more!

    It's going to be an absolute blast...and it's for a great cause! All proceeds from the fundraiser will be used to support and enhance CBS youth education programming: the CBS Family Preschool, Shabbat School, and USY teen activities.

    We look forward to seeing you (or Esther or Donald Trump or Chewbacca) there! The megillah reading will begin shortly after 7 p.m.

    General admission is free, but you will need to purchase $1 "activity tickets" to exchange for games, food, and drinks. Activity tickets will be available for sale the day of the event only. Raffle tickets are available for pre-sale via Universe -- click through to purchase them now! -- as well as during Megillah Gras.

    Carnival games (Skee Ball, Slap Shot Hockey, Hamantaschen Toss, Tip the Clown, Mini Golf, Bounce House, Jug Tumble, Fishing Hole) = 1 ticket per play
    Mixed drinks = 9 tickets
    Beer/wine = 6 tickets
    Non-alcoholic beverages = 2 tickets
    Ice cream = 4 tickets
    Falafel w/ the works = 6 tickets
    Potato Knish = 3 tickets
    Boureka = 2 tickets
    Bag of popcorn = 3 tickets
    Homemade Hamantaschen = 3 tickets for 2; 2 tickets for 1

    General raffle tickets are $18/1 or $54/4.
    Prizes available: A pair of San Francisco Opera tickets ($214 value); a pair of San Francisco Giants AT&T Park box seats (for mutually agreed-upon game); 4 passes to the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM) guest passes ($48 value); a 1-year membership to the CJM ($75 value); a pair of San Francisco Ballet Repertory Season tickets ($200 value); house cleaning voucher - 2 cleaners for 2 hours (courtesy of Jewish Family & Children's Services); $250 Sports Basement gift certificate; all the fixings for an Italian dinner for 4 courtesy of Trader Joe's ($50 value); California Academy of Sciences tickets ($35 value each); 2 Good Shab-Box! Shabbat dinners to go; a $25 Shubert's Bakery gift certificate; a $25 Cole Hardware gift certificate; 2 passes (for up to 5 guests) to the Bay Area Discovery Museums; an original artwork by CBS community member Helen Leibman; 2 tickets to the San Francisco Zoo ($38 value); Salvestrin Winery complimentary legacy tasting (for up to 4 guests; $100 value)

    Jackpot raffle tickets are $100/1 and $250/3.
    Prizes available: 2 1-week, all-inclusive (except airfare) vacations in Cabo San Jose, Mexico; a five course small plate food and wine pairing at Sapphire Hill in Healdsburg for up to 10 guests in private room ($450 value)


    Prizes available: a 1-week, all-inclusive (except airfare) vacation in Cabo San Jose, Mexico; one made-to-order Eva-Lynne Liebman challah design ($100 value); a ceramic nature platter made by our Preschool PreK students; 8-10 hours of babysitting (up to 2 nights) by one of our USY leaders (a $150 value); a collaborative artwork on canvas, also created by our Preschool PreK students; a $150 gift certificate to Miss Tilly's Ballet & Theater Arts; a 2-hour Creative Canopy sewing birthday party package for 4 children ($185 value)

    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!


    USY Ocean Beach Cleanup

    SFUSY 2015 Beach CleanupThis Veterans Day, CBS Youth Advisor David Herrera and eight SFUSY teens spent the school holiday morning collecting litter at Ocean Beach.

    Good stewardship and citizenship are universal values, but our Jewish texts teach us to prioritize sh’mirat ha'teva, meaning protecting or taking care of the Earth.

    According to Jewish tradition, a critical part of humankind’s purpose is to take care of the world in which we live. In B'reshit, the first chapter of Genesis, it is written that G-d created man to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:26)

    "Dominion" can be interpreted in different ways, but most Jewish sages explain that along with the gift of human intelligence, which gives us the power to lord over all other species, comes the responsibility to preserve the Earth’s resources. In other words, we Jews are called upon to choose thoughtful stewardship over domination.

    So, yeah, that's a rather formal way of saying, "Hooo yeah! Kol hakavod to David and the USY crew!"

    Introducing David Herrera, CBS Youth Advisor

    HerreraCBS is pleased to introduce our new Youth Advisor, David Herrera.

    David recently wrote an open letter to our USY, Kadima, and Shabbat School families. We're sharing it here so that the CBS community at large can have an opportunity to learn a bit more about David.


    Dear CBS families of 5th - 12th grade students,

    Hello! My name is David Herrera, and I’m happy to introduce myself to you as CBS’ new Youth Advisor.

    In addition to my work with the CBS USY and Kadima community, I will also be the Teen Educator for CBS’ Shabbat School program. In each of these roles, I will work closely with Michael Lederman, CBS Director of Congregational Learning.

    My primary focus will be supporting the growing SFUSY chapter for CBS teens in 8th - 12th grade and building up our Kadima chapter for youth in 5th - 7th grades. I will engage USY and Kadima participants in opportunities to grow as individuals, Jews, and global citizens. SFUSY has an established slate of fun and exciting events that we will continue, so be sure to keep an eye on your emails and phones for upcoming event announcements!

    Many of the CBS teens and I already know each other from our mutual participation in USY regional events (as participants and staff, respectively). On the other hand, I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting most of you! With that in mind, I thought I’d provide you with a little background on me, just to get the ball rolling.

    I was raised in a Conservative Jewish congregation in Modesto, CA. Once I became old enough, I began participating in USY chapter and regional events. During my first year of USY participation, when I was a freshman, I took on the role of Religion/Education Vice President for the Modesto USY Chapter. Gradually, I moved up the ranks from Rel/Ed VP to President of the Modesto chapter, serving in this capacity for three terms. During the last of these terms, I also served our region (the incredible New Frontier!) as Executive/Programming Vice President.

    Since my graduation from USY, I’ve never been far from our region in spirit. During the 2013-2014 academic year, I headed to Israel on the Nativ College Leadership Program, an invaluable experience that I encourage all high school juniors and seniors to look into — it’s also a part of the continuing USY experience that the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism offers. Following Nativ, I studied for a year in England before moving back home this past summer and taking a position as Regional Staff for New Frontier. All the while, in both Israel and England, I remained connected with New Frontier, often getting calls and emails from USYers in all levels of regional leadership; I was always happy to offer my advice and support.

    Outside of USY, I have experience working with Jewish youth and teens as a religious school teacher, b’nai mitzvah tutor, Ramah camp counselor, and chapter advisor. (Ramah chapter advisor or USY chapter advisor? If the latter, we should drop it as it really isn’t “outside of USY.”)

    I’m very excited to begin my work with the CBS kids. If you have any questions or concerns as the year progresses, or if you just want to say ‘hi,' my contact information is below. I usually work from home, but I am available most hours of the day. Please be aware that I am shomer shabbat, meaning that I do not check my phone, email, etc. on Shabbat or any of the chaggim.

    I can’t wait to meet you all and your kids!

    David Herrera
    SFUSY and Kadima Chapter Advisor

    David Herrera