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.

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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.

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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

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!

B’Shalom,
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)
  • Meet Rebecca Goodman

    CBS is pleased to introduce our new Director of Youth Education, Rebecca Goodman. Rebecca has been involved as a Jewish educator and administrator in the Bay Area for many years, most recently serving as the Director of Education overseeing the joint religious school program of Congregations Beth Israel Judea and B’nai Emunah. Her passion for Jewish learning and experience in forging connections with the communities she has served make her supremely qualified to lead our Shabbat School program – we are thrilled to welcome her to our sacred community of learning.

    Today, we’re sharing an introductory note from Rebecca.

    * * * * *

    Goodman_PlaceHolder The Director of Youth Education may be a new position at Congregation Beth Sholom, but I have dedicated the past two decades to educating Jewish youth. After falling in love with Judaism as a child at Congregation Beth Jacob in Redwood City, I attended Jewish summer camps, traveled to Israel, was a madricha and President of my United Synagogue Youth chapter. Although I took a detour from my Jewish path to study engineering in college, I remained connected to the Jewish community by teaching religious school. After a couple years, I realized that my passion was much stronger for helping Jewish youth connect to their Jewish heritage than it was to ensuring that the next bridge or building would remain standing regardless of the pressure put upon it.

    I graduated from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion with a master’s degree in Jewish Education and a master’s degree in Jewish Communal Service. I earned the title “Reform Jewish Educator” in 2007. This title is granted to those who fulfill “extremely stringent academic requirements in the areas of education, educational administration, and Judaic studies plus a supervised educational internship.” I have worked for the Bureau of Jewish Education in Los Angeles, served as Director of Contra Costa Midrasha, and as Director of Education at Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo and Congregation Beth Israel Judea in San Francisco.

    I am excited to become a part of the CBS community and to meet you. My hope is that everyone has a good time in Shabbat School – and that they develop a strong Jewish identity and a love of Jewish learning that they will feed throughout their lives, starting here at CBS.

    I look forward to sharing with you my vision for the Shabbat School and Hebrew programs in the coming weeks and months. In my first few days, we've finalized the registration forms, the calendar, and the fees for the coming year. Next, I will reach out to last year's faculty and madrichim so that I can meet them and finalize our staff for the fall. The most important thing I need from you is your completed registration form so that we can plan accordingly and make sure we have the right number of teachers, madrichim, and supplies for our students.

    I already know that the faculty is fantastic, the members that I've had the opportunity to meet are wonderful, and the staff is dedicated, warm, and helpful. I am very excited to join the team and meet you. If you find yourself near CBS on a Tuesday or Thursday, please take a moment and stop by my office to introduce yourself.

    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!