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

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.

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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.