2018 Torah Fundraiser

There may be nothing so central to our existence as a synagogue as our Sifrei Torah - the sacred scrolls from which we read on weekdays, Shabbat, and festivals. Each of our 11 Torahs has been painstakingly hand-written, letter-by-letter, to exacting standards and must be kept kosher.Needed repairs are ongoing and inevitable. This year, in particular, there were unexpected expenses which included parchment repair and re-lettering.

We are asking the congregation to provide funds to pay for the work done this year on our Torahs. The goal is to raise $50,000 and gifts of any amount are appreciated. We've established a number of donor levels and recognition opportunities.

The development team is happy to meet with you to discuss how you and your family can help support CBS now and into the future in this endeavor. Please contact Scott Horwitz for more information.

Shemini – Leviticus 9:1-11:47

Facebook_CoverDesign_SheminiYou are what you eat, so they say. But more importantly, as Jews, we eat only in the context of creation.

In this week’s reading, Shemini, aside from Aaron’s mysterious silence in the face of his sons’ immolation, we are drawn into the distinctions conveyed through our dietary laws. The laws of kashrut are commanded, identifying permissible and forbidden animals for consumption, including: (1) land animals only with a split hoof and that chew their cud; (2) fish with scales and fins; and (3) appropriately listed birds and insects.

As we read in Leviticus 11:1-2, the divine imperative for conscious consumption brings awareness that "you may eat out of all the domestic beasts that are on the earth." This phrase "on the earth" appears seven times in this chapter (11:2, 21, 29, 41, 42, 44, 46) – why? It is a reminder taking us back to the sixth day of Creation, when the Earth was first covered with plants and mobile creatures, and the humans were blessed as stewards of "every animal that creeps on the earth." (Genesis 1:28).

Finally, distinctions relating to ritual readiness are recounted, including the laws relating to the immersion pool known as the mikveh. All these rituals are based on the ancient wisdom of distinction(s); while they continue to evolve, they still have resonance today.

- Rabbi Aubrey Glazer

Artwork note: This week’s illustration is inspired by fire's central and ambivalent role in Shemini. It goes "forth from before the Lord and consume[s] the burnt offering" (Leviticus 9:24) and also "forth from before the Lord and consume[s]...Nadav and Avihu" (Leviticus 10:2). It is difficult to read of the horrible fate of Aaron's sons without considering the English name for the Shoah – "holocaust n 1. a burnt sacrifice: a sacrificial offering wholly consumed by fire 2. a complete or thorough sacrifice or destruction esp. by fire." Illustration by Christopher Orev Reiger.

Introducing Fress


Fress: (frĕs, Yiddish)

  1. To eat heartily, with great

  1. One-of-a-kind, high-quality,
  and delicious kosher foods
  brought right to you.

About Fress

Fress is an exciting new kosher food service. This is the Bay Area – we set the standard for health-conscious food. Every Fress kosher recipe is lovingly prepared with old-world care in our state-of-the-art kosher kitchen, using only the finest ethically-sourced ingredients. Fress is great food that is good for both body and soul.

The Fress food truck will officially launch in 2018, available for catered private events – b’nai mitzvah parties, weddings, you name it! And look for Fress at popular San Francisco events like Outside Lands and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Until then, you can get a taste of our gourmet eats through a series of pop-up events in 2017.

How to Fress Right Now
For the first time ever, and in collaboration with the Parent Association of The Brandeis School of San Francisco, Fress is excited to offer our community our finest selection Kosher for Passover treats – and just in time for your seders! On Thursday, April 6, and Friday, April 7, we will be selling delicious Passover sweets on the Brandeis campus.

Flourish2 Facebook_FressFoodCombo BRANDEIS MENU
Chocolate Brownie Cookies (GF, DF): $18 per dozen (pareve)
Macaroons (GF): $14 per dozen (dairy)
Meringues (GF, DF): $14 per dozen (pareve)
Date Truffles (GF, DF, Vegan): $14 per dozen (pareve)
Flourless Chocolate Cake (GF): $38
     (dairy - only by advance order)
Matzah Bark: $10 per bag (dairy)

Advance orders receive a 10% discount. (Advance sales end at 5 p.m. on April 2. All other sales will occur at the Brandeis campus pop-up.)

For each item purchased, Fress will make a donation to Brandeis!

The Fress pop-up will be in the Brandeis lobby from 7:45 – 9 a.m. on Thursday and Friday, April 6 and 7. On Thursday afternoon, Fress will also be in the lobby from 2:45 – 3:30 p.m.


You could say the Fress food truck is thousands of years in the making. Generations of families have enjoyed kosher meals. Today, we celebrate that same cultural richness, but our full and fast-paced lives make convenience a must...so Fress brings the feast to you.

The Fress team will keep you up to date about the latest menu items and our locations via social media and FourSquare. When you Fress, you’re a part of our mishpacha (family).

Since (Jewish year) 5777, providing food that is practically priced, organically controlled, lovingly prepared, and delivered to you with a side of haimishness (friendliness).

Fress: Revel. Eat.

Fress foods are prepared in our kitchen at Congregation Beth Sholom (CBS) by professional and seasoned staff. The selection of ingredients and the food preparation are strictly overseen by Rabbi Aubrey Glazer, CBS mashgiach, to ensure all foods meet kosher standards.

The Financial Four -- October 11, 2016

Today, the latest edition of The Financial Four, an update from our Interim Director of Finance, Missy Sue Mastel.


Donation_CBSYellowsorcerorsapprentice Dear Friends,

It would be hard for me to believe that we are where we are today but for the fact that I spent the last six weeks bearing witness to the Herculean efforts of your Board, your President, and your synagogue staff. They've created magic. Like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, they have breathed new life into the unexpected, masterfully coordinated a concerted effort to achieve the improbable, and, of course, prepared themselves for the requisite clean-up to come (a heads up that your statements may NOT be perfect for another month or so!). You should be proud of what we have accomplished together.

It would be selfish not to share the good news, so (in order of personally-perceived awesomeness):

1. 23 new members. – Folks, what else is there to say? In a time when every synagogue is losing members, our community has responded to our year-long campaign with a resounding," Yes! We love the programming and the feeling of belonging at Beth Sholom — it meets a spiritual need for us." There are so many people to thank for this — the CBS Family Preschool directors, our Achshav Yisrael Committee, all the Thinking Matters volunteer teachers, Christopher Reiger, and of course, our beloved Rabbi — who greets every idea with "I have a friend/contact who..." Kol Hakavod to all.

2. $748,000 in membership dues (and counting). – You may have received your call from the Board in the last four weeks. Or you may have renewed your membership in March, without so much as a whispered reminder. No matter how or when you renewed, THANK YOU for allowing us to make 102% of our financial membership goals! As Sally Field and more recently, my husband have said, "They like [it]...they really like [it]!" It is an honor to be a part of this synagogue with you. (Special thanks to Steven Dinkelspiel and Beth Jones – nothing works unless there is some plan to the practice.)

3. 10% over projected building contributions. – When we built this incredible place, we knew it was going to take some serious dough to keep it running. And our membership has stepped up to make sure it does. For those of you who question or wonder about the efficacy of the building in today’s virtual world, all you need to do is come this month to see an Americana Jam Band Kabbalat Shabbat or listen to attendees of our Hardly Strictly Selichot Unplugged services kvell about (be proud of) how we were able to co-create programming with and host the Mission Minyan and The Kitchen. In order to congregate, a congregation needs space.

4. Speaking of...how about a grant to open a Kosher/Halal Food Truck? – Okay, I get it, it's not quite what you were expecting, but CBS is one of four finalists for an Earned Income grant from the Jewish Federation to use our already fabulous kitchen and chef to make Jewish food and culture more portable. Not since the exodus from Spain 500 years ago has there been this much excitement about Jews on the move! Thanks to Kim Hegg, Jane Sykes, Eric Silverman, and the coolest Federation ever for going on this vision quest with us. We’ll keep you posted.

Kezayit (An Olive's Worth): A "Jewfish"?

KezayitThe closing section of each CBS HaLuach newsletter features a Jewish-interest news item or curiosity. We generally prioritize the obscure and offbeat, and we welcome suggestions.

What's with the name? A kezayit (literally meaning "like an olive") is a Talmudic unit of measure. Halachically speaking, it is the minimum amount food or drink one can consume in order for a rabbi to be satisfied that you've actually eaten. (And, no, a kezayit's worth won't satisfy your mother! You're a growing boy!) In the context of our newsletter feature, we're using kezayit in a more metaphorical way -- it's a morsel, a tidbit, something light, but tasty, and totally worthy of your consumption.

Today, we thought we'd provide you with a taste of the Kezayit feature...and it's a tasty taste, at that!

The ever-interesting Jewniverse recently posted a short article with the title "How the Jewfish Got Its Name." From the piece:

"There are several theories for how the jewfish (Promicrops itaiara), an Atlantic saltwater grouper..., got its name. It may derive from the Italian giupesce, which means 'bottom fish,' or may have originally been named 'jawfish' for its large mouth. A less flattering theory is that in the 1800s, jewfish were declared inferior and only fit for Jews.

The Maryland-based American Fisheries Society received complaints about the name for decades. It announced in 2001 that the name was deemed 'culturally insensitive' and was changed to Goliath grouper – not for the biblical Philistine Goliath who was slain by David, but because of the fish’s ability to grow up to 700 pounds.

We love Jewniverse, but that's not the full story. Because your Kezayit writer is also a natural history nut, CBS is able to provide you with the scoop on the provenance of the jewfish name!

Jewniverse is correct to assert that the origin of the original name remains unclear, but most historians believe it came about as a result of Jamaican and Cuban Jewish communities eating so much of the fish species. Why did they eat so much of it? It just so happens that the grouper species is both kosher -- it has fins and scales -- and very tasty!

One of the primary sources for this naming account is a 1697 book titled A New Voyage Round the World, by explorer William Dampier. According to Dampier, during an expedition to Jamaica, he encountered Jews who considered Promicrops itaiara to be the best (and largest) kosher fish in that part of the world. Dampier wrote, "The Jew-fish is a very good Fish, and I judge so called by the English, because it hath Scales and Fins, therefore a clean Fish, according to the Levitical Law."

So, although the name jewfish was deemed offensive and changed, it seems clear that it wasn't initially intended to be a pejorative label. In any case, despite the renaming, many fishermen continue to call the species by the more familiar appellation. In time, with the turning of the generations, jewfish will fade from use; for now, though, even Chabad still uses the name.

Finally, we leave you with a fun video of a very excited man in a kayak catching a 550-pound Goliath grouper off Sanibel, Florida.

Image credit: "Jimmy posing with a large jewfish from the Gulf of Mexico off Key West in 1985," via collection of The Florida Keys--Public Libraries (CC BY 2.0)