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Posts tagged ‘shabbat’

Top ways to celebrate Pride month!

By Lisa Finkelstein, LGBT Director for the Jewish Community Federation
The Jewish Community Federation is proud to celebrate the richness and diversity of the greater San Francisco Bay Area by commemorating Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Month! Each June our LGBT Alliance collects and presents a number of ways our community can participate Jewishly in the festivities of Pride. Here is our list of not-to-be-missed-events this Pride month:
  1. Live Performance!Outrageously popular, artistically outstanding and always delicious, The Fresh Meat Festival is the nation’s premiere transgender and queer performance festival. This year, Fresh Meat celebrates its 10th anniversary with an all-star lineup.Fresh Meat Productions creates, presents and tours transgender and queer performance, dance and media arts.
  2. International Film! Frameline is the oldest and largest GLBT Film Festival in the world. 80,000 people annually attend the 200+ films shown during the last two weeks of San Francisco’s Pride month each June. We are proud to present on Saturday Israeli filmmaker Tomer Heymann’s The Queen Has No Crown
    Ordering online is easy - just browse our website, find a film you want to see and from the film detail page, click the "buy tickets" button in the box with the date and time of the screening you wish to purchase.
  3. Learn Local History! 45 years-ago on a hot summer’s night in 1966 at Turk and Taylor in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco a group of people who identified as gay, trans and/or gender nonconforming fought back against police harassment at Gene Compton’s Cafeteria. This public act of resistance helped define the history of a human rights struggle that is still relevant in our lives today.
    Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria  by Victor Silverman & Susan Stryker
  4. Wander!San Francisco Pride held over “Pride weekend” June 24 to 26, 2011 throughout the Mission, Tenderloin & Castro neighborhoods is said to be “one of the last remaining pride events that can truly be called a rite of passage. With 500 Pride flags waving throughout the city take the time to wander the neighborhoods!

    Pink Triangle symbolically hung over Twin Peaks each June during Pride Month can be seen througout most areas of San Francisco
  5. Volunteer!The LGBT Alliance has a booth this year at Grove and Larkin Streets amongst the festivities. We will be providing information about our Bay Area Jewish community alongside our Pride partners this year Be’chol Lashon and the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Visit our booth during Pride Weekend this year for a chance to win a $250 Gift Card! We still always love volunteers to join us so please sign up for both Saturday and Sunday!
    Our annual Jewish community booth
  6. March!Interested in marching? Camp Newman, Contemporary Jewish Museum, Congregation Temple Sinai, A Wider Bridge and Congregation Sha’ar Zahav will all have a presence in the SF Pride Parade. Invite your friends and family and go march on Pride Sunday.
    Rabbi's Marching in the 2009 Pride Parade
  7. Dance! Dancing in the streets with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on Pink Saturday is a San Francisco favorite for thousands of party-goers! This year, Pink Saturday has gone dry but there are plenty of official options for those who want to relax in an alcohol free atmosphere during the Pink Saturday street party too. In the Castro, visit the Metropolitan Community Church to sing, eat and “Measure your life in love” at a RENTmovie sing-along.Pink Saturday in the Castro
  8. Pray! At Congregation Sha’ar Zahav during our Annual LGBT Alliance sponsored Kabbalat Shabbat Pride Service thousands of participants from the Trans March will hoot and holler as they walk by on Dolores Street. It is the quintessential Jewish San Francisco experience to be able to wave hello to the thousands of marchers while you daven with the first LGBT Reform-Liturgy-based Prayer Book, Siddur Sha’ar Zahav.
    Trans Marchers
  9. Observe Stein! This summer has quickly become thought of as a Spectacular Summer of Stein. Exhibitions on Gertrude Stein and her partner Alice B. Toklas are on view throughout the Yerba Buena Arts District until Sept. 6. Take a look at how these two Jewish Lesbian women raised in the Bay Area became extraordinarily influential Americans of the 20th century! We have LGBT Jewish programs and family activities listed on our events calendar.

    Gertrude Stein Called

Diller Teen Fellows experience their first week in Israel earlier in July

Diller Teen Fellows on ShabbatEach week the International Diller Teen Initiatives San Francisco office creates a report to update the community on how our International Diller Teen Fellows are doing and what they have been up to in Israel. The DTF curriculum has developed into something truly extraordinary. Please read the report below to get a glimpse into how incredible this program is for our current Diller Teen Fellows and hopefully it will bring you some nostalgia as you remember how meaningful your Israel Seminars once were.
The 2010 Israel Summer Seminar began this week with all teens and staff arriving safely and eager to jump in to what was to be, for most, their first visit to Eretz Yisrael.

The first few days proved to be thrilling for all. While in Jerusalem teens visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Yad Vashem, walked through the tunnels underneath the Old City, and went through and heard about how the Temple Mount was constructed and how it has changed and developed throughout the past three thousand years. Undoubtedly visiting the Kotel was a highlight for all and some laid t’fillin and placed prayers in the Wall. One Fellow from Baltimore reported that “The wall’s historical significance filled our hearts with pride for Jewish people and our history.”

A teen from Pittsburgh wrote this beautiful account: “First, as I approached the Kotel, countless Charedim surrounded me, davening, shuckling, even wailing or insistently chanting the Kabbalat Shabbat service. Never before has the power of religion to shape a person’s life been so evident to me, and it was a humbling experience. The second moment occurred around 20 minutes later, after we had left the official Kotel grounds and were standing outside the compound. As I listened to the distant chanting of the Charedim, the Muslim Call to Prayer startled my ears. I mentioned it out loud, clearly moved by this incredible synthesis of prayer. As we had driven to the Kotel by bus, I could see the division of neighborhoods in Jerusalem, at one moment seeing Charedim filling the streets and the next, many Arabs and the Arab Bank. Hearing both prayers at once reminded me how closely all citizens of Israel live, and the importance of finding a way to resolve some of the current conflicts they face.”

Teens from all communities reported that meeting their Israeli counterparts for the first time, face to face, after waiting months to meet them, was amazing and emotional. Ben from Pittsburgh described the encounter: “…the Israelis finally arrived! The reunion was wonderful, complete with hugging and reuniting… We played a game organized by the Israelis to tell everybody what they had been doing for the past few months, then all got back onto the bus to the hotel to change for Shabbat.

Shabbat began soon after the teens arrived in Israel. The Shabbat experience included traditional and alternative services and discussions about the weekly Torah portion. Everyone was very respectful, even though many of them had different opinions about the role that Judaism plays in their lives. A teen from the San Francisco community shared the following: “As part of the service, we told stories with a partner and created a fictional Shabbat in Israel. The way that the activity made us think creatively with a partner was a wonderful way to get into the mindset of the holiday and really hone our focus so we could get the most out of Shabbat in Jerusalem, our first together in Israel.”

‘Twas the BGS Hot-ness!

Young Adults Division - Challah Back!

‘Twas the night of BGS Shabbat dinner, and at a nice Pac Heights pad,
Generous donors were stirring, especially lots of peeps from YAD.
The candles were lit in solidarity with Jewish masses,
And we blessed the wine quick so we could all drain our glasses.

Forty people cozied up around five festive tables,
Wearing pea coats and dresses and sweaters with cables.
And I in my hot Old Navy number, and Mark in his cravat,
All settled down for a feast that was phat.

When out in the crowd there arose such a clatter,
Because Abby Porth from JCRC was speaking on grave matters.
Away to the horrors my mind sped in a tizzy –
Of anti-Semitic text books, anti-Israel ads and the media for shizzy.

What could we do? Whom could we call?
Abby assured us that Fed funds were protecting us all.
Now teachers, now mayors, now city council folks might –
Thanks to JCRC — just get their facts right!

I heard people exclaim as Abby left out of sight,
“How great that we’re contributing our funds to this fight!”
The conversations at tables grew sparkling and warm,
And to grab some chipped cookies, I hit someone’s arm.

When we cleared all the plates and took away the dishes,
I knew in a moment that the night had exceeded my wishes.
The Ben Gurion Society — you really gotta love ‘em –
These mensches mean business when it comes to tikkun olam.

I hope you were there; if not, never fear!
To receive your 2009 campaign pledge, we are always here.
We’re dying to meet you — we might sing Nagila Hava –
Because at our Jan. 11 event, you’ll be learning Krav Maga.

Cocktail parties, peninsula soirées, and a trip up to wineries,
Await should you include Federation in your donation fineries.
Great new friends, fun events and a chance to make proud your Bubbie –
And hey, through BGS, you might even find a wife or a hubbie!

Stephanie Block

Stephanie Block

Stephanie Block
Co-Chair Ben Gurion Society
Young Adults Division Board

Local Takes Active Role in the Community

Young Adults Division - Challah Back!

One of our new regular features at Challah Back is Meet the Board, where you get to “meet” this year’s YAD Board. Find out why so many people get involved in YAD and what inspires them!

As a San Francisco native, I grew up (whether I knew it or not) attending Federation-sponsored events and volunteering at Federation-funded organizations. And having worked at Federation both in the Bay Area and in Israel, I know how important Federation’s work is globally. I consider my involvement on the YAD Board as the most important installment in my history of involvement with Federation. By building a strong young adult community, we ensure a strong future generation of Jewish leaders here in the Bay Area.

My love affair with Federation began all the way back in the summer of 1998. A fresh-faced sophomore at UC Berkeley already waste-deep in Israel-related campus activism, I decided that the Federation’s Israel Center was a perfect place to spend my summer. Through the Kohn Summer Intern Program (a program of the Federation-sponsored Jewish Vocational Services), I spent two months developing Israel-relating programs for use on college campuses. When I graduated from Cal in 2000, I took a full-time campus outreach position at the Israel Center.

All the while, I was also preparing to move to Israel the following year to participate in Project Otzma, a program jointly administered by the Jewish Agency for Israel, United Jewish Communities, and — you guessed it — the SF Federation. It was during my year on Project Otzma that I got to see first-hand the amazing work our Federation does in Israel. I worked in non-profit, grass roots organizations such as Hafuch al HaFuch that use Federation funds to serve the vital needs of Israel’s disadvantaged communities, and with the municipalities SF Federation’s sister communities in the Upper Galilee.

Benny Klafter (right) performing community service with a student group in Kiryat Shmona, Israel.

Benny Klafter (right) performing community service with a student group in Kiryat Shmona, Israel.

Upon my return to the Bay Area, I redoubled my campus outreach efforts on behalf of the Israel Center. It was ultimately only the tantalizing allure of unknown adventure in far-flung, exotic locales (law school in Davis) that succeeded in tearing me away from my work at Federation. Since returning to the city, I’ve continued to devote much time and energy to Federation.

My roll on the board this year is as Shabbat and Holiday Chair. While YAD puts on some amazing social events and offers an array of great volunteer opportunities, some of us in the community want to see more options for the celebration of Shabbats and holidays. Through our periodic YAD Shabbats — hosted by YAD members in their homes — and upcoming holiday events, we hope to add a new and exciting dimension to YAD’s programming.

Benny Klafter

Benny Klafter

The first YAD Community Shabbat of the year will take place Dec. 19. E-mail us if you are interested in attending future Shabbats, or (even better!) in hosting one.

Benny Klafter
Shabbat and Holiday Chair
Young Adults Division Board

BGS Takes Giving to the Next Level


YAD works to develop a culture of philanthropy by offering special recognition to young adults who give more than $1,000 to the Annual Campaign each year. These donors contribute at the Ben Gurion Society (BGS) level and are invited to exclusive BGS member-only events throughout the year, such as wine tasting, elite speakers, Shabbat dinners and more. BGS is critical to YAD because it provides a benchmark of giving that is recognized nationally as a meaningful gift.

There are about 120 BGS donors, and these events are great opportunities for young adults who share a passion for the Federation’s work to get to know each other on a social level. There’s never any solicitation at BGS events.

This year’s kickoff event for BGS members of the 2008 to 2009 campaign year is Friday, Dec. 4, 2008. BGS members will enjoy a Shabbat dinner at a private home in Pacific Heights. Last year’s BGS Shabbat dinner drew about 50 members.

Other planned 2009 events include a hands-on introduction to Krav Maga by an Israeli expert, a cocktail reception, exclusive speakers, cultural events and a Napa Valley wine tasting trip. Also, BGS donors are automatically upgraded to VIP access at the Latke Ball.


Mark Schulman

If you are considering supporting the Federation with a gift of $1000 or more in 2009, please join us for the BGS Shabbat dinner at 6:30 p.m. this Friday. For more information on joining BGS or to RSVP for this event, call Dina Jacobsen at 415.512.6280 or e-mail [ yad AT sfjcf DOT org ].

I hope to see you there!

Mark Schulman
Ben Gurion Society Co-Chair
Young Adults Division Board


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