Weekly Newsletter

January 19, 2023

26 Tevet 5783


333 Cortland Ave, SF, CA 94110

Coming Up Soon...

Fri 1/20, 7:00 pm

Shabbat Service

with Rabbi Me'irah

The Brandeis School

Sat 1/21, 7:00 pm

We Are All Storytellers

First Unitarian Universalist

Sold Out!

Tue, 1/24, 7:00 pm

Acquiring a Hebrew Name

Rabbi Me'irah & Reb Ezra

via Zoom

Wed, 1/25, 7:00 pm

Building A Caring Community

with Rabbi Chaya

via Zoom

Fri, 1/27, 7:00 pm

Shabbat Service

with Rabbi Chaya

The Brandeis School

Sat, 1/28, 10:00 am

Shabbat Morning Service

with Torah Chanters

The Brandeis School

Sat, 1/28, 10:00 am

Sing Shalom!

with Jenny Clancy

The Brandeis School

Fri, 2/3, 7:00 pm

Refugee Shabbat

with HIAS

The Brandeis School

Recurring Events

Kvetch & Kvell crafting

2nd + 4th Mondays, 4:00 pm

Zoom link + KVETCH

Torah Study Zoominyan

Thursdays, 10:00 am

Zoom link + THURSDAY

Find a complete calendar at:


Or Shalom Teen, Ananda White, Was Invited to Speak at the 2023 Martin Luther King Day of Remembrance Rally

Monday, January 16 was Martin Luther King Day, a national holiday. Approximately 20 Or Shalomers made up the bulk of the SF Black-Jewish Unity Coalition contingent, marching with our banner from the CalTrain station to Yerba Buena Gardens, where Or Shalom's Ananda White was one of the youth speakers featured at the opening ceremony. The 4 youth speakers each gave powerful and moving presentations on the day's theme of True Peace and Justice.

Read Ananda's full speech here.

This Shabbat:

Friday, January 20, 7:00 pm

The Brandeis School, 655 Brotherhood Way

Join us in person at Brandeis for a Shabbat Service led by Rabbi Me'irah. We will experiment with a mostly singing Shabbat, a taste of more tradition; Close your eyes and enjoy. Come share with us. 

Notes from Rabbi Chaya

Or Shalom has experienced the deaths of two members recently.

Al Sion, zichrono livracha and Beth Abrams, zichrona livracha.

It is a Jewish tradition to say Baruch Dayan HaEmet upon hearing the news of a death. This means Blessed is the True Judge. One can interpret this to mean that only God really understands why someone is taken when they are. However, because this can so easily be interpreted in ways that might not feel so supportive, some of us have felt more connected to the expression: Baruch El Male Rachamim, Blessed is the One who is filled with Compassion.

Read the rest of Rabbi Chaya's blog post here.

School of Jewish-Living Arts (SJLA) News

Dear Members of Or Shalom,

We are excited to be launching SJLA to help you find your own journey into living your life enriched by Jewish values, rituals, and wisdom.

We need to begin charging for adult education because we will offer robust programs and will have additional expenses. We are suggesting a minimum donation of $12 per single class session, or $36 for a class series comprised of three or more sessions. Should you have questions about payment, please contact our Executive Director at amy@orshalom.org.

Additional donations are always welcome! We look forward to your participation in SJLA, which we anticipate will be an important part of your Jewish life.

If payment is an obstacle at this time, please register anyway. We are SO looking forward to learning with all of you. And remember, all are welcome.

Click here to take a peek at the SJLA offerings.

Rabbi Me’irah Iliinsky, 

Director of the School of Jewish-Living Arts


Interim Rabbi, Chaya Gusfield


President, Matt Rudoff


Executive Director, Amy Mallor


Refugee Shabbat Service At Or Shalom

Friday, February 3, 7:00 pm

The Brandeis School, 655 Brotherhood Way

Join us at Brandeis on Friday, February 3 at 7:00 pm, as Or Shalom participates with other synagogues around the country in HIAS’s annual Refugee Shabbat. Or Shalom is inviting our friends at Faith In Action to join us at this special service.

Or Shalom is a member of the “new sanctuary” movement and our February 3 service is a wonderful opportunity to build relationships and find commonality with others. The service will be bi-lingual as much as possible; we’ll have translators on hand to help us with Spanish-English / English-Spanish communication.

If you would like to help carpool our guests to Brandeis from the Faith in Action office at Mission & 16th Street, and take them home after, contact sanctuary@orshalom.org.

We Are All Storytellers

Saturday, January 21, 7:00 pm

First Unitarian Universalist, 1187 Franklin St

Tickets Are Sold Out!

Unfortunately, this event is sold out. But good news: Charlie Varon is hosting a new virtual event Feb 5, "The 5 Most Important Things I've Learned as a Writer." Read more below, in the Social Action section of this newsletter!

The School of Jewish-Living Arts

Hebrew Names with Rabbi Me'irah and Reb Ezra

SJLA Highlights:

We have three SJ-LA highlights for this week! One is our It’s Never Too Late to Acquire a Hebrew Name with Reb Ezra on Zoom, Jan 24, 7:00 pm. Watch the trailer above!

The second is Rabbi Chaya’s four-session series: Building a Caring Community, for Self and Others beginning Wednesday evenings, Jan 25.

The third is that our new Torah Chanters, or Ba’alei Kriah (Masters of the Reading of Torah) as we say in Hebrew, or Leyners as we say in Yiddish, will be making their debut at a Torah Service on Shabbat morning, Jan 28 at Brandeis, 10:00 am. They have been so inspired, that they will also give a word of Torah! Bring a bag lunch to enjoy after services!

The musical phrases by which the Torah is chanted add punctuation and correct emphasis to the words. Come and support our new Ba’alei Kriah, and hear the teaching Moses was instructed to transmit as a sung poem! See you there!


Rabbi Me’irah 

The School of Jewish-Living Arts

View All SJLA Workshops

Social Action Corner

Ner Tamid: "Jews for Justice"

With Special Guest Rabbi Jerry Goldstein

Wednesday, February 1, 7:00 pm

Zoom Link + Password: RIGHTS

Ner Tamid has an ongoing program called "Jews for Justice," where we aim to educate ourselves and discuss matters of racial justice in the United States. On February 1, we welcome special guest speaker, Rabbi Jerrold Goldstein. 

Rabbi Goldstein was integral to a 1964 civil rights demonstration when he was arrested and jailed in St Augustine, Florida. There were 17 rabbis arrested, the largest mass arrest of rabbis in American history (read the joint letter from these rabbis here). He has spoken many, many times throughout the years about this experience, and the struggle for civil rights in our country.

Beyond the Count: Perspectives and Lived Experiences of Jews of Color

Wednesday, February 1, 5:00 pm, via Zoom


Dayenu, the Jewish movement for climate action, is teaming up with the Jews of Color Initiative on February 1 at 5:00 pm PT for a virtual teach-in event about the complex fabric of JoC identities, lived experiences, and perspectives. 

Arya Marvazy, Senior Director of Programs at the Jews of Color Initiative, will present critical research that presents the largest dataset of Jews of color in United States history. He will be joined by Chicago EcoJews co-leader Maetal Gerson and Rav Tiferet Berenbaum of Temple Beth Zion for a panel discussion. JoCI Board Director and Dayenu Advisory Board member Ginna Green will moderate and Dayenu Young People Organizer Sumner Lewis will MC.

Charlie Varon: The 5 Most Important Things I've Learned as a Writer

Sunday, February 5, 10:00 am, via Zoom

Purchase Tickets Here Use code OrShalom for $10 off!

Charlie Varon is hosting a webinar where he'll share 60% of what he knows about writing in 90 minutes, including the 5 most important things & how he learned them, two brief writing prompts, and a demo of how he coaches writers & performers.

QueerCore Talmud: Rearrange with Change!

Sundays, February 5 – March 12, 10:00 am

via Zoom

Learn More and Register

Join Maggid Jhos Singer, Julie Batz, and Rabbi Batshir Torchio for an uplifting, queer-normative, inclusive, and traditionally radical, 6-week, SVARA method, Beit Midrash where we will unpack a core rabbinic teaching on ways to rearrange your life. Not only were the sages contemplating what forces can shift our path for the better, they were also laying down the foundation for some of the central tenets of the High Holy Days (with a few amazing twists!).

Students must be familiar enough with the Hebrew alphabet and vowels to sound out words written in Hebrew, with or without comprehension. 10% discount with code: QCTPARTNER10%

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who has so generously given to the 2022-2023 Annual Chanukah campaign:

Alison Faith Levy & Daniel Plotnick

Allan Pleaner

Amy Mallor

Angelique von Halle

Annette Hess

Barbara Goldstein

Beth Mills

Betsy Strausberg

Bonnie Willdorf

Chad & Kathy Balch

Chana Jacobs

Corey Weinstein

David & Eleanor Louis

David A. Berry & Mary Ann Goldstein

Debbie Benrubi

Deborah Gavrin Frangquist

Elizabeth Isaacs

Gabriella Schultz

Gail & George Rothman

HIlton Obenzinger & Estella Habal

Howard Fallon

Jerel Glassman & Beth H. Mazie

Jody Reiss

Joel Rubinstein & Sylva Sable

Joshua & Gizella Babcock

Judy Vlasov

Julie & Danny Brook

Kirk Schneider & Jurate Raulinaitis

Leslie Roffman & Bob Goodwin

Linda Chafetz

Linda Liebschutz & Joseph Taylor

Madeleine Levin

Margo Freistadt & Lynn Ludlow

Mark & Rina Palchick

Matthew & Motomi Rudoff

Maxwell & Dorie Bernstein

Me'irah Iliinsky

Meryl & James Bennan

Mike Lelivelt & Lillian Markind

Miriam Lewis & Douglas Mandell

Molly Treadway & Alexx Campbell

Norisa Berardi

Pat Skala

Patricia Kalman & David Love

Paula Levine

Phyllis Shulman

Rachelle Resnick

Robin Roth

Robyn A. Talman

Ross Matican

Seraph & Marshall White

Shelley Levine

Stacey Leyton & Pierre Barolette

Steven Chase

Sue Schechter

Suzanne Lifson Salazar & Fred Salazar

Thomas Herz & Saralie Pennington

Wendy Thurm & David Greene

Yeva Johnson

Community Bulletin


We gratefully acknowledge these contributions from our community:

  • Jody Reiss, In Memory of David Gershan.
  • Jurate Raulinaitis & Kirk Schneider, In Memory of Al Sion.
  • Judy Olasov, in Memory of Al Sion.
  • Robin Roth, In Memory of David Gershan
  • Corey Weinstein & Pat Skala, In Memory of Robert Ostrowski.
  • Gloria & Hans Kolbe-Saltzman, in Memory of Rabbi Murray Saltzman.
  • Howard Fallon, in Memory of Julee & Kendra
  • Me'irah Iliinsky, to the School of Jewish-Living Arts
  • Miriam Lewis and Douglas Mandell, to the School of Jewish-Living Arts.


On the anniversary of their deaths, we remember:

Al Sion, Ann Zorn, Ben Fine, Craig Garcia, Dave Pleaner, David Gershan, Dot Mallor, Garrett DiAloia, Hans Sprandel, Ida C. Hirschberg, James Robert Ganz, Julian Wager, Mark Brickman, Menachem Steinberg, Paula Marks, Paulette Mansfield, Percy Goldstein, Pierre Jeremy Barolette, Rosita Alarcon, Steve Wilson, Zachary Clark Ruchames

Rabbi Chaya is here to support our community. Please reach out if:

  • You or someone close to you is experiencing a health challenge and you are looking for support.
  • You have questions or feelings about life/death/God/Judaism/etc.
  • You or someone close to you who is in the hospital would like a visit for companionship, prayer, or witnessing.
  • You are in mourning.
  • You are new to the congregation and want to feel more connected.
  • You aren’t new to the congregation and want to feel more connected.
  • You are struggling with a conflict in your family or work
  • Any other reason! R. Chaya would love to hear from you.

Rabbi Chaya can be reached via email at RabbiChaya@orshalom.org

This Week's Parsha

The parsha for this week is Va'era (Exodus 6:2-9:35)


from Reconstructing Judaism

from Truah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

from American World Jewish Service

Please note our NEW mailing address!

Or Shalom Jewish Community

333 Cortland Ave

San Francisco, CA 94110

To reach Or Shalom by phone, please call: (415) 469-5542

Read our Covid-19 Policy for in person events here

Or Shalom Jewish Community

Matt Rudoff, Board President

Amy Mallor, Executive Director

Rabbi Chaya Gusfield, Interim Rabbi

Naomi Rodriguez-Finer, Communications Specialist

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