Light It Up! Recap

facebook_lightitupThis past Thursday evening, December 14, over 200 members of the CBS community gathered in Koret Hall for Light It Up! : A Hanukkah Celebration. Together, we marked the third night of Hanukkah with a rollicking party. Our Beth Sholom margaritas and burrito bar were hits with the adults, and the many activity stations – face painting, cookie decorating, multiple craft tables, and more – were busy all night!

Light It Up's centerpiece, as always, was our communal candle lighting. Many families and individuals brought their favorite hanukkiot (Hanukkah menorahs) from home and, led by Rabbi Glazer and Jewish songster Jonathan Bayer, recited the Hanukkah blessings as we brightened the evening.

Following the candle lighting, our Troupe de Beth Sholom players performed a Hanukkah play, Miss Menorah & The Maccabees. With a beautiful set (created by Pam Seaman, one of our amazing CBS Family Preschool teachers), a terrific cast of Beth Sholom staff and parents from the community, and a show-stopping, electric sweater, Miss Menorah was a smash. All the children in attendance were riveted, and the parents chuckled and guffawed. After the play, Adam Lowy, a father in our CBS Family Preschool community, hopped on stage with Jonathan Bayer for an energetic, old school rap fest. When Adam encouraged the kids to show him how well they could jump, Light It Up! became a floor-shaking rager.

Todah rabbah (a hearty thank you) to: Rabbi Glazer and Jonathan Bayer for emceeing the evening; all of the Troupe de Beth Sholom players (Katherine Barboni, Ben Chinn, Rabbi Glazer, Kim Hegg, Beth Jones, Dale Kleisley, Vered Levinson, and Dan Rubinsky); Adam Lowy for raising the roof; Jason Jungreis, Adi Barak Marino, Rajeev Chopra, and Veronica Holman for volunteering to bartend; Ashley Polselli, Joan Gelfand, Liza Monge, and Ariel Bronstein for staffing the food tables; Anne Mccomas, Pam Seaman, and Janet Carignani for helping at the dreidel making and the cookie decorating tables; preschool teacher Pam Seaman for creating the impressive Miss Menorah set; Natalia Baba and Veda Gujiral who did all the face painting; and all of the CBS staff and leadership for creating such an amazing party! On the staff front, special thanks is due Executive Chef Jane Sykes for preparing so much delicious food, Operations & Event Manager Kim Hegg for dramatically transforming Koret Hall into a magical, purple-and-blue-bathed space, and CBS Family Preschool Director and Assistant Director Katherine Barboni and Dale Kleisley for doing so much of the heavy-lifting and orchestrating the two main attractions, the play and musical performance. Thank you all so much!

Below, we've posted a selection of photos taken during the celebration. If you missed it, we hope you'll join us next year.

Pizza In The Hut Recap

Last Tuesday evening, CBS Family Preschool and Shabbat School families joined the rest of the Beth Sholom community in Koret Hall and the CBS sukkah on Eva Gunther Plaza for our annual Pizza in The Hut Sukkot community dinner.

Guests of all ages recited the Sukkot blessings and practiced shaking the lulav with Rabbi Glazer, and the many smaller attendees decorated harvest gourds, created bead and pipecleaner artworks, and had their faces painted and their limbs adorned with henna art. Wine, whiskey, water, and other beverages (not beginning with "w") complimented the various pizzas served, one of which was a fabulous Yukon gold potato pizza from the ever-popular Arizmendi Bakery. It was a wonderful family affair, with great energy and so many smiles. Thanks to all who came out to celebrate Sukkot under the s'chach!

Here, we've posted a selection of photographs taken during the festivities. You can also view more on our Facebook page.

Light It Up! Recap

facebook_lightitupgitta-joelle_lightituphanukkah_december2016Last Thursday evening, members of the CBS community came together in Koret Hall for Light It Up! : A Hanukkah Celebration. Because so many in our community will be traveling during Hanukkah this year (which runs December 24 – January 1), we threw a pre-holiday party. We didn't want to miss the chance to celebrate together!

While the many kids in attendance came for the face painting, cookie decorating, games, music, and dancing, the adults seemed most excited about the latkes, Krispy Kreme sufganiyot, and "adult" beverages. The warmth and energy of Light It Up! was impossible to resist, though, and the evening's entertainment was as much of a treat as the seasonal comfort foods and good drinks.

Following our daily evening minyan service, which took place alongside the happy chaos of the party, Rabbi Glazer introduced the group hanukkiot lighting. Shortly thereafter, up-and-coming Jewish rock stars Talya and the Latkes played two songs for an enthusiastic crowd. Just a few licks into their cover of The Maccabeats' hit "Candlelight," and the dance floor filled. Fans of all ages smiled broadly. Even babies crawled toward the music, pumping their little fists. (Don't believe us? Check out the photographs below!)

Following Talya and the Latkes were father-son DJ duo, Don and Saul Marks, who provided tunes that kept the dance floor hopping for the rest of the party.

Todah rabbah (a hearty thank you) to: Rabbi Glazer for emceeing the evening; Kaleil and Ilan Jacob and Talya Glazer (Talya and the Latkes), and Don and Saul Marks for providing good tunes; Adi Barak, Dov Schnaider, and Lael Sturm for volunteering to bartend; CBS Family Preschool teachers Anne McComas, Bat-el Saad, and Devin Patrick for helping at the dreidel making and the cookie decorating tables; preschool teacher Pam Seaman for making the amazing hanukkiah for our Pin The Flame On The Menorah game; Lowell High School students who did all the face painting; and all of the CBS staff and leadership for creating such a good party! On the staff front, special thanks is due Executive Chef Jane Sykes for preparing from-scratch sweet potato latkes and other delicious eats, Operations & Event Manager Kim Hegg for creatively lighting Koret Hall to transform it into a Hanukkah spectacular, and CBS Family Preschool Assistant Director Dale Kleisley for helping set up so much of the space. Thank you all so much!

Below, we've posted a selection of photos taken during the celebration. If you missed it, we hope you'll join us next year.
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Pizza In The Hut (Sukkot Community Dinner)

facebook_shalom_pizzainthehut_cbssukkah_evaguntherplaza_october2016Yesterday evening, over 100 members of the CBS community gathered in the CBS sukkah on Eva Gunther Plaza for our annual Sukkot community dinner. This year, we dubbed it Pizza in The Hut, and guests recited the Sukkot blessing, shook the lulav, got decorated in henna art, noshed on delicious vegetarian pizza from Arizmendi Bakery, and generally had a grand 'ol time. Here, we've posted a selection of photographs taken during the festivities, from the opening minutes to the day's last light (as it reflected off our rooftop solar panels).

If you missed last night's sukkah celebration, we invite you to join us for our upcoming Simchat Torah Block Party, this coming Monday, October 24, at 7 p.m.

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Lola Schnaider's Bat Mitzvah

LolaShalom! My name is Lola Schnaider, and I am a 7th grader at the Brandeis School of San Francisco! I enjoy dancing, playing sports, photography, and listening to lots of music. I love to travel and be out in nature with my friends and family. In a few short days, I will be called to the Torah as a bat mitzvah. To me, becoming a bat mitzvah means accepting my responsibilities as the newest member of the Jewish community, and figuring out my Jewish identity.

I will be reading from Parashat Naso, which is found in the fourth book of the Torah, Bamidbar. Several topics come up in my parsha including rules pertaining to contact with lepers, adultery, the nazarite vow, and the sacred, threefold Priestly blessing.

The topic that interests me the most is that of the sotah, which translates as "gone astray." Sotah is a ritual test that occurs when a husband suspects his wife of adultery. The wife must drink a mixture of clay and dirt from the floor of the Tabernacle, to prove her innocence or guilt. In my drash, I will offer a feminist perspective on the topic of sotah, as it relates and compares to our lives today. I am honored to be having my bat mitzvah at Congregation Beth Sholom, and I am thrilled to have my family and friends by my side.

I hope to see you all there!

CBS To Be Featured in Synagogues 360

Synagogues360In conjunction with the Beit Hatfutsot Museum (The Museum of the Jewish People) in Tel Aviv, Israel, photographer Louis Davidson is creating Synagogues 360, a photographic exhibit of historic and exceptional synagogues around the world. Mr. Davidson and the Beit Hatfutsot Museum have decided to feature the CBS campus because of our home's outstanding contemporary architecture.

On Friday, May 27, Mr. Davidson will visit CBS to shoot interior and exterior photographs. The Synagogues 360 project is an entirely supported by the museum, and its sole purpose is the photographic preservation of Jewish heritage for posterity.

Keep your eyes peeled on the Synagogues 360 website for CBS in the near future!

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.

"Current Dilemmas In Exhibiting Art In Israel"

This past Thursday evening, the Achshav Yisrael committee of CBS presented its third program, "Current Dilemmas In Exhibiting Art In Israel," in Koret Hall.

Dr. Noam Gal, the Horace and Grace Goldsmith Curator of Photography and the Head of the Noel and Harriette Levine Photography Department at the Israel Museum (in Jerusalem, Israel), provided an enthusiastic group of congregants and members of the general community with an engaging and occasionally provocative survey of some of his recent curatorial efforts for the museum.

In addition to his Bachelor’s degree in Visual Communication (Bezalel Academy of Art and Design) and Master's in Cultural Studies (The Hebrew University), Dr. Gal received a doctorate in Comparative Literature from Yale University. Perhaps he was drawn to comparative literature because of his special affinity for documentary photography, which is a highly narrative art form and one plainly informed by and connected to other spheres of human activity, including history, politics, philosophy, and science -- just consider the prominent social role of contemporary photojournalism.

Yet, although documentary photography is among the most obviously socially-oriented mediums, Dr. Gal insisted that "all art is necessarily political" because of what we, the viewers, bring to it. We're all political animals -- even those of us who like to claim otherwise! -- and we automatically bring our experience and ideologies to bear on any artwork we view. When an audience member asked if politics could be "taken out" of art (a question that resonates especially in the context of contemporary Israel society), Dr. Gal replied that it would be "blasphemous" to do so. All art is part of our visual culture, he insisted, and should therefore be considered through the lens of critical cultural theory.

Dr. Gal is dedicated to educating the public -- especially younger audiences -- about photography's political and social significance, and his curatorial choices reflect this commitment. For example, in order to enhance the resonance of artifacts and artworks in the permanent collection of the Israel Museum, Dr. Gal made what could be described as a series of curatorial interventions. A particularly compelling instance of such an intervention was his installation of four photographs from the turn of the 20th century, two by Russian-born Israeli photographer Yaakov Ben Dov (1882-1968) and two by Khalil Raad (1854–1957), known as "Palestine's first Arab photographer." These four photos were hung nearby iconic Israeli painter Reuven Rubin's "First Fruits" (1923). "First Fruits" famously depicts Israel's "new kind of Jew" -- in Rubin's words, "the halutzim with their bronzed faces and open shirts." Ben Dov's photographs of Jewish pioneers engaged in agricultural activities in Palestine ("Planting young citrus trees" and "Youngsters carrying saplings," circa 1910) echo Rubin's early Zionist imagery, whereas Raad's photos of Palestine's Arabs ("Olive harvest" and "Picking oranges," 1910) highlight another, soon-to-be-competing national narrative that was taking root in the land.

Following the screening and lecture, some of the guests gathered in a small group for an intimate discussion of the photography and ideas presented by Dr. Gal.

CBS gives a hearty todah rabbah to Dr. Gal for his time and insight, the Achshav Yisrael committee for its work on this program, and congregant Gary Sokol for greasing the wheels that made last night's program possible! Thanks, too, to the Israel Museum for letting us borrow Dr. Gal, and for donating copies of the Israel Museum magazine for program guests to take home.

Check out some photos from the program below.

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ABOUT ACHSHAV YISRAEL: Achshav Yisrael’s mission is to provide quality programming about Israel to Congregation Beth Sholom and the broader community. Achshav Yisrael programs are open to all age groups and will occur on a regular basis. We intend to create a safe space at CBS for community exploration of Israel.

Achshav Yisrael Steering Committee Members: Eileen Auerbach, Alex Bernstein, Becky Buckwald, Sandra Cohen, Betsy Eckstein, Eva-Lynne Leibman, Ephraim Margolin, Lucia Sommers

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"Current Dilemmas In Exhibiting Art In Israel"

Buy your tickets for Achshav Yisrael's third event!

Web_Noam "Current Dilemmas In Exhibiting Art In Israel," will take place on Thursday, January 21, 7 - 9 p.m. in Koret Hall.

The Israel Museum is the largest cultural institution in Israel and is ranked among the world’s leading art and archaeology museums. In 2010, the Museum completed a major renovation of its 20-acre campus in Jerusalem, opening new galleries and public spaces. Three years later, the Museum appointed Dr. Noam Gal as the Horace and Grace Goldsmith Curator of Photography and the Head of the Noel and Harriette Levine Photography Department at the Museum.

The international photography collection that Dr. Gal oversees is considered one of the best in the world — it includes rare and unique masterpieces and represents all modes of photography, from the medium's formative years to contemporary projects. The Department is also renowned for its dedication to the promotion and encouragement of contemporary Israeli photographers.

Congregation Beth Sholom (CBS) invites you to learn from Dr. Gal about the state of photography and video in Israeli art, the growing international recognition of contemporary Israeli photographers, some of the challenges inherent in navigating public opinion as a curator of contemporary art in Israel, and his vision regarding the relationship between education and photography. Dr. Gal's talk will be accompanied by images and will be followed by a conversation with the audience.

Snacks and refreshments will be served. Tickets are $10 per person and are available for purchase at: https://www.universe.com/cbsachshavyisraelphoto

AchshavYisraelLogo ABOUT ACHSHAV YISRAEL: Achshav Yisrael’s mission is to provide quality programming about Israel to Congregation Beth Sholom and the broader community. Achshav Yisrael programs are open to all age groups and will occur on a regular basis. We intend to create a safe space at CBS for community exploration of Israel.

Achshav Yisrael Steering Committee Members: Eileen Auerbach, Alex Bernstein, Becky Buckwald, Sandra Cohen, Betsy Eckstein, Eva-Lynne Leibman, Ephraim Margolin, Lucia Sommers

CBS Community Hanukkah Celebration

CandleLighting6_CBSCommunityHanukkahCelebration_December2015Yesterday evening, around 150 members of the CBS community came together in Koret Hall to light hanukkiot and mark the fifth night of Hanukkah.

Of course, a lot of folks came for the latkes, sufganiyot, and wine. Yum!

Special thanks to CBS Executive Chef Jane Sykes for preparing from-scratch sweet potato latkes, cranberry applesauce, and traditional applesauce (and Chef’s Assistant Helen Leibman for cooking all the "regular" latkes), CBS Kashrut Supervisor Debra Surkin Perloff for trekking to Daly City to pick-up the sufganiyot from Krispy Kreme, Rabbi Glazer and Music Director Jonathan Bayer for providing good tunes, and Facilities Manager Jason Zimmerman and his team for managing the audio and setting up all the tables! Thanks, too, to Danielle Hurwitz, Program Director of Camp Ramah in Northern California, who was on hand with an information table and made herself available to answer any questions that parents or prospective campers had about this new and exciting Jewish summer camp.

Below, we've posted a selection of photos taken during the celebration.
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CBS Family Preschool Hanukkah Party

CandleLighting4_CBSFamilyPreschoolHanukkahLunch_December2015The CBS Family Preschool Hanukkah Party took place yesterday morning in Koret Hall, and we snapped a handful of photos of the event to share with you.

Before the meal, several preschool classes presented short performances, the first of which involved a parade of heroic-looking Mini Maccabees brandishing shields. This zealous lot marched around Koret Hall, flexing their muscles and (quietly!) singing “The Maccabees." Apparently, these little revolutionaries — actually the PreK Hey class — sung louder and more vigorously during their rehearsal, but their spirit was still on amble display. The Dalet class also performed Hanukkah songs before preschoolers, parents, teachers, and CBS staff all enjoyed a delicious lunch of latkes, chili, salad, fruit, and oh-so-many desserts! The Alef-Bet and Gimmel classes baked some tasty Hanukkah cookies, as well.

Following the meal, several hannukiot were lit as all present recited the blessings. Around that time, someone produced inflatable dreidels…and the party really ramped up!

Special thanks to CBS Executive Chef Jane Sykes for preparing so much tasty food (and Chef’s Assistant Helen Leibman for cooking all the latkes), CBS Kashrut Supervisor Debra Surkin Perloff for obtaining the sufganiyot, Facilities Manager Jason Zimmerman and his team for managing the music and microphones and setting up all the tables, and, last but anything but least, Katherine Friedman Barboni and Dale Kleisley, Director and Assistant Director of Early Childhood Education, respectively, for making all of this possible!

Just below, we've posted a selection of photographs taken during the lunch, and we invite YOU to join us for future community events at Beth Sholom!
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Sukkot Community Dinner Moments

As the sun dipped behind the Pacific yesterday evening, we gathered in the Congregation Beth Sholom sukkah for our annual Sukkot community dinner. Together, we sung, learned, laughed, dined...and then dined some more!

Todah rabah to Jane, our new Executive Chef, whose food was absolutely delicious! (Four-etrog quality!)

Just below, we've posted a selection of photographs taken during last night's festivities, and we invite YOU to join us for future community events at Beth Sholom!
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