Kol Kehilla
December 2019
The Newsletter of Kehilla Community Synagogue
From the left: Jay Koch, Rabbi David Cooper, and Don Stone -
from the Sukkah Building Team, in Kehilla's Sukkah!
Dear Friends,
Welcome to the December issue
of  Kol Kehilla , our monthly newsletter. 
Monday December 23rd – The Second Night
by Rabbi Dev Noily 

This year’s Kehilla Hanukkah party will include our usual fabulous puppet show for the littlest Kehillians, latkes, candle lighting and joyful celebration. And we’ll also have the chance to hear from an amazing leader in our Bay Area community, Zahra Billoo. I met Zahra, a brilliant Muslim civil rights lawyer and the Executive Director of  CAIR-SF , a couple of years ago when we spoke together on a panel. Each of us had been called upon to represent our people’s experiences and fears of rising Islamophobia (Zahra) and rising antisemitism (me) in the post-Obama era. I learned a lot from Zahra that evening, and I’ve continued to learn from her and to be inspired by her leadership and integrity in the time since.

Executively Speaking: Completing a Crucial Step Towards Physical Sanctuary
by Michael Saxe-Taller, Executive Director

Kehilla first declared itself a Sanctuary congregation in the 1980s. In November 2016, the Kehilla Board passed a  resolution to reaffirm our commitment to being a Sanctuary congregation , and a year and half later, voted to approve the offering of physical sanctuary in our building to a refugee or immigrant in danger of deportation.

Kehilla’s Sanctuary Task Force and Immigration Committee have been working diligently ever since to prepare our congregation and our building to be able to offer temporary housing...

by Rabbi Burt Jacobson

You’re probably aware that the name of our congregation, Kehilla Community Synagogue, means “Community-Community-Community!” (Kehilla is Hebrew and Synagogue derives from a Greek word for community.) Because Kehilla has focused so intently on tikkun olam and spirituality, you may be wondering why the name of our congregation highlights the value of community. In fact, it goes back to something that I disliked about synagogues in the 1950s and 1960s.

Every year new members join the Board of Trustees, starting in July. The process involves attending a board meeting, and a conversation with board members, as well as the executive director. Once nominations have been finalized, the congregation votes on the candidates prior to the community-wide meeting in May. Sometimes – as is the case now – a member leaves the board mid-term and we can fill the position immediately. 

Board service is rewarding and a wonderful way to deepen your engagement in the Kehilla community. Here we would like to address some myths about board service. Please do not hesitate to come to a meeting or to call one of us with any questions or to learn more.

The presentation of “Electrify Everything” at Kehilla on February 11 will be one step. For urban dwellers the main sources of greenhouse gases are the gas we use to heat our homes and water, our transportation and the electricity we use for power in our homes. This presentation by volunteers from 350 Bay Area will address these areas and what we can do personally (beyond LEDs and recycling) to make a real difference. We’ll look at our non-fossil fuel choices for our homes and businesses to help us get to where we want to be—100% clean, renewable power throughout our buildings and between our destinations.

Economic Justice Committee Report Back: Schools & Communities First  Ballot
& Tiny House Village

Kehilla’s Economic Justice Committee has focused on criminal justice and affordable housing issues throughout the past year, while closely watching the progress of a ballot measure to reform California property taxes on large businesses. After important revisions to this measure, now known as “Schools & Communities First,” Kehilla has joined a broad coalition to endorse the revised initiative and gather signatures to place it on the ballot. Key goals of this measure...

by Lea Delson

On Saturday evening, November 9, congregants from four Oakland faith communities joined together at the Harvest Dinner for fellowship and a wonderful potluck vegetarian feast, held at the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California (ICCNC). The Faith Trio is an alliance of Kehilla with ICCNC and with Montclair Presbyterian Church, and this year we were joined by some members of Temple Sinai in Oakland. Blessings by spiritual leaders framed the evening, along with presentations on the topic of building relationships between communities. This is the 14th year that Kehilla has participated in a Harvest Dinner with the Faith Trio congregations...

Potluck Dinner and Kabbalat CHAI Shabbat! New Member Welcome & Special Guest, Rabbi Tirzah Firestone
Friday, December 6, 6:30-9:30pm

6:30pm: Veggie/Parve Potluck Shabbat Dinner + New Member Welcome  in the Social Hall
7:30pm:   Kabbalat Shabbat services  in the Sanctuary, with Hazzan Shulamit, Debbie Fier, Julie Nesnansky and a special teaching from R. Tirzah Firestone.

Join us for a song-filled and soulful evening of Shabbat music and prayer. Kiddush follows the service. Please bring something veggie/parve to share that serves 8-10 people for the potluck dinner, labeled with ingredients, or if you’re only attending the service, something for the kiddush afterwards– many thanks!
Hanukkah Party with Zahra Billoo &
Holiday Crafts Fair to Benefit Immigrants!
Monday, December 23

Music with Jen and Alon and Puppet Friends for our youngsters and young at heart!

Chanukah Candle lighting and Potluck Dinner – Latkes provided! (in the Social Hall)

Zahra Billoo, special guest from CAIR (in the Sanctuary)

POC/JOC Hanukkah Party
Sunday, December 22, 4:30-6:30pm
POC/JOC adults, children and their white parents, partners and siblings welcome to join. Please bring your favorite hanukkiah to light the first candle in a community of love! Register here to bring a potluck item.
Questions to Ruthie Levin at  ruthie@kehillasynagogue.org
Jews On Ohlone Land: Mauna Kea Report Back & Fundraiser
Thursday, December 5, 7-9pm

Indigenous protectors are encamped on Mauna Kea in Hawai’i, guarding that sacred site from being desecrated by the building of a giant telescope. Alex Tan arrived on Mauna Kea on Yom Kippur, offering prayer and joining in sacred ceremony with the elders there. As part of his offering, Alex sounded a shofar (which had been imbued with the prayers of the Kehilla community on Rosh Hashana) and offered the shofar as a gift to the protectors of the Mauna. Alex will share stories from his visit, and will update us on the struggle and how we can support it. Local guests from Hawai’i are also being invited– we’ll post updates here!

Kabbalat CHAI Shabbat!
Special Guest, Rabbi Tirzah Firestone
Friday, December 6, 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm

6:30 pm Veggie/Parve Potluck Shabbat Dinner in the Social Hall + New Member Welcome.

7:30 pm Kabbalat Shabbat services in the Sanctuary, with Hazzan Shulamit, Debbie Fier, Julie Nesnansky and a special teaching from R. Tirzah Firestone, who’s leading a workshop on Saturday afternoon: “Wounds into Wisdom: Ancestral Healing and Social Action.”

Please bring something veggie/dairy/fish to share that serves 8-10 people for the potluck dinner, labeled with ingredients, or if you’re only attending the service, something for the kiddush afterwards– many thanks! Learn more here.
Tot Shabbat
Saturdays, December 7 & 19 , 10:30-11:15am
Join us for Tot Shabbat with Jen Miriam and Alon Altman with their Puppet Friends. Geared towards babies and children up to age 5 with their grownups! Join us for songs, prayers, friends, puppets, and stories and end with challah and grape juice. Bring a snack to share if you’d like. Learn more here.
Workshop ‘Wounds into Wisdom: Ancestral Healing & Social Action’
Saturday, December 7, 2-6pm in the Fireside Room

With Rabbi Tirzah Firestone. How can healing our families' traumas transform our organizing, movement building, and lives, in these turbulent times? This experiential workshop draws from neuroscience, Jungian psychology, and Jewish wisdom, and it includes meditation, storytelling, and discussion -- it is for activists,
change-makers and healers. Learn more here.
Book Discussion Group:
Monday, December 9, 7-9pm
December's book: On Division by Goldie Goldbloom
All Kehilla members are welcome to join us for our customary meetings on the second Monday of the month at 7pm. Learn more here. For more information about the Book Group, contact Terry at mcglynnmandel@gmail.com.
Kehilla Sings!
Upcoming dates: 
(taking a break in January)
Wednesday, Feb 19
Wednesday, March 25
Wednesday, April 22

A monthly gathering with Hazzan Shulamit to circle round and sing together!  Special focus on High Holy Day preparation in August and September. We’ll nourish our bodies, minds, and spirits with nigunuim (wordless melodies), new tunes for ancient prayers, and songs to take out into the streets. Join us for a delicious time of tuning into our souls and to one another. Everyone’s welcome! Donations accepted at the door $5-15 (for gatherings at Kehilla).
Follow this link for posted music for shabbat, protests, and more!
Join Jewish Youth for Community Action (JYCA)!
Thursday, December 12, 7-9pm

JYCA’s introductory program, the Leadership Group in Training, is beginning at the end of January! In this program, youth participate in workshops on issues such as race, class, gender, anti-Semitism and youth empowerment. They participate in two weekend-long Shabbaton retreats, attend political events, build deep connections with peers, laugh, sing, lead, and contribute to creating a radically inclusive Jewish youth community!

On Thursday December 12th from 7-9 PM, teens are invited to join current JYCA youth for an informational session. This is a great way for new potential JYCAns to learn about JYCA, get a feel for our program and see if it’s the right space for them. We hope to see you there!

Please feel free to email Rachel Gelman at jyca.rachel@gmail.com with any questions.
Liturgically Traditional, Radically Inclusive Kabbalat Shabbat
Friday, December 13, 6-7:30pm
A more traditional davenning style of Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma’ariv, the Shabbat evening service: songful and in Hebrew, following the full liturgy. Please bring veggie finger food to share. Cosponsored by Kehilla and Glitter Kehilla. Learn more here.
Reminder to visit the High Holy Days Art Show
December is your last chance – up through the month!

This year’s exhibit, with its wide variety of art media, is creative, beautiful and thought-provoking. In the Fireside Room.

Join us as at Shabbat morning services as some incredible humans become B’nei Mitzvah! Some of us may feel a little hesitant about coming to a Shabbat service when a young person we do not know personally is becoming B’nei Mitzvah. Please be assured that having Kehilla community members present brings immense joy and liveliness to the service, which is greatly appreciated by the family and their young person. The following Shabbat morning services will include the following young people becoming B’nei Mitzvah:

In this 6-week beit midrash, you’ll learn ancient Jewish texts in their original language, explore Talmud study as a spiritual practice, and co-create a supportive, queer-normative community of study. All you need to begin is your alef-bet (Hebrew alphabet) and to be able to commit to all six sessions. Whether you’re a newbie or an expert, we invite you to join us. We’ve saved you a seat.

Tikkun Ha-Nefesh (Repair of the Soul) Healing Racism, Unpacking White Privilege – Affinity Group
Sundays, December 15, 10am-12pm
This group is part of the community’s larger project of addressing racism and de-centering whiteness within and beyond our congregation. It is an outgrowth of Kehilla’s affinity group for those who identify as white or as benefitting from white privilege. This will be a safe space in which to engage in the emotional and spiritual journey of healing and repairing the soul around these critical issues. You do not have to participate in the larger affinity group in order to attend these sessions, and you are welcome to come to as many or as few sessions as will facilitate your healing journey. Learn more here.
Morning Meditation Sit
Wednesdays at 7:50am
Please note there will be NO meditation on Dec. 25 or Jan 1!
With Rabbi Dev. In the Fireside Room (Enter through the Patio entrance on Fairview). Doors open at 7:50 a.m., short teaching at 7:55 a.m., silent sit from 8:00 – 8:30, mourner’s kaddish and announcements at 8:30.
Essentials of Judaism
Third Tuesdays of the month, 7-9pm
Join Rabbi Dev for a deep dive into some of the juiciest parts of Jewish practice and life. This monthly class is required for Conversion and Adult B’nei Mitzvah Students and is open to all. Learn more here.
Immigration Committee Meeting
Wednesday, January 15th, 6-8:30pm
We will show the film Waking Dream by local filmmaker Theo Rigby ( more info here ) and will give updates on Immigration Committee activities. Bring a veggie potluck dish to share. In the Social Hall. This meeting is open to all who are interested in Kehilla’s immigration justice work. If you have any questions, email immigrationcommitteechairs@kehillasynagogue.org .
Want to be a Friend of the Economic Justice Committee?

The Economic Justice Committee would like to keep you informed about our work and be able to invite you to join us for our actions.

Consider adding your name to the new email group, "Friends of the EJC." We will email you once or twice a month with updates on the work of the Committee. We'd love to keep you posted about what we are doing.

Email Karen at karenrachels@gmail.com. Thanks!
December 25 through January 1: Kehilla Administrative Offices Closed for Winter Holiday

Kehilla staff will be working outside the building for most of this week and the office will be closed. It will reopen 9am on Thursday, January 2, and return to normal business hours then.
Please note Kehilla school will not meet on 12/26 OR 1/2, and morning meditation will not meet on 12/25 or 1/1.
Holiday Craft Fair to Benefit Immigrants
Thursday, December 19, 3-6pm &
Monday, December 23rd, 4-8pm

Two opportunities to enjoy this Holiday Craft Fair! Many beautiful, small, handmade gift items, perfect for the holidays. All proceeds will go to meet the urgent needs of immigrant and refugee families supported by Kehilla sponsors, hosts and accompaniment teams (such as legal and housing costs).
To donate crafts to be sold, contact:  carolrothman@gmail.com  to arrange drop off/pickup as soon as possible, and/or bring to box in Kehilla office during open hours.

Learn more here ( December 19 ) and here ( December 23 ).
Norah Needs You
Norah is an expert joke-teller, modern-dancer, ice cream-licker, and loving big sister. She's been diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Fanconi Anemia (FA), and will need a bone marrow transplant - none of Norah's family members are a match for her. Joining the registry is simple and could save Norah’s life. Join the registry!

Teens and Adults, let’s do this, one aliyah at a time 🙂 Join us for Shabbat morning services and share your skills and love of leynen with our community. If you’re interested but have never chanted torah before, or if it’s been a long time and you expect to need significant support, please contact Hazzan Shulamit first– shulamit@kehillasynagogue.org .
Living Room Conversation with Kehilla's Faith Trio - 2nd Round
Saturday, January 11, 2:30-4:30pm
The Faith Trio - Kehilla, Montclair Presbyterian Church, Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California is having the 2nd round of Living Room Conversation. We sit in mixed groups of 6, agree to fully listen as each person shares their thoughts and feelings in this round: Religious Freedom and Non Discrimination.

If you are experiencing abuse in an intimate relationship,
please be in touch with one of our clergy members (Rabbi Dev, Hazzan Shulamit, Rabbi Gray, Rabbi David or Rabbi Burt), or with one of these organizations:
www.thehotline.org - National Domestic Violence Hotline 1−800−799−7233
www.shalom-bayit.org   - Shalom Bayit (East Bay) 866-SHALOM-7 /
or (510) 845-SAFE
www.thehotline.org/help/for-abusive-partners/ - National Domestic Violence Hotline (for abusive partners)
Donate Supplies to Help
People Experiencing Homelessness
Please help Tayla Husbands-Hankin support our homeless population by donating tents, blankets, tarps & socks! A large box is located by the sanctuary door at Kehilla. Please fill it with listed items only. Talya will pick up the items periodically and deliver them to people who need them.Questions? Contact Jeanne Finberg, jeanne.finberg@gmail.com. Thank you!
Thank You for Your Generosity   
So many of you give to Kehilla - you give money, you give time, you give love and community in a wide variety of ways.

Due to technical difficulties, we will post our thank yous from November in the next issue of the Kol Kehilla! Thank you to all of you who helped and donated, and we look forward to thanking you by name next month :)
Kehilla Community Synagogue | 1300 Grand Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94610 | 510-547-2424 www.KehillaSynagogue.org