Weekly Newsletter
January 13, 2022
400 Missouri St, SF CA 94107
Rabbi Katie's Blog Post About the Omicron Surge

When I spoke to you this past Yom Kippur about the feeling of being like the Talmudic Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai sent “back to the cave” with Delta, I had no idea what was in store for us just a few months later. 

The past few weeks, for the first time in the pandemic, I have been hearing about many of our own community members and their families who are testing positive for COVID. Thank God to this point I am not hearing of anyone falling seriously ill.  But to those of you who are grappling with COVID in your households, please let me or our Chesed Committee know if you find yourselves in need – whether it’s a trip to the grocery store or moral support: Rabbi@orshalom.org.

This current surge makes me thankful for so much, including the wisdom that has led Or Shalom to greet the pandemic cautiously. At this time, we have moved almost all of our programs back to an online format with the exception of lifecycle events such as our B'nai Mitzvah services. 

We hope that soon we can emerge again to gather in person for services and more, but meanwhile, I encourage you to stay connected by showing up for some of our regular online gatherings like kvetch, kvell, and kandicraft, our Thursday morning study sessions, a Friday evening service, or our upcoming Tu B’Shvat online seder with the Southside Collaborative.

Thanks so much for all who have participated generously to Or Shalom's Annual Fund Drive. For those who have not yet participated, this week is your last chance! Please consider making a personally meaningful contribution--big or small--so that we can reach 100% participation! Donations of all sizes can be made here.
flowering tree
Tu B’Shvat Seder Online with the Southside Jewish Collaborative
Sunday, January 16, 4:00 pm

Join us for an engaging Zoom gathering to celebrate the birthday of the trees with hands-on ritual and discussion ranging from the mystical to the environmental. 

For the fullest experience, please have the following at the ready:
  • Red and white grape juice or wine 
  • Fruits or nuts that have inedible shells (ex. walnuts, oranges)
  • Fruits that have a pit (ex. apricots, olives, cherries)
  • Fruits or nuts that are wholly edible (ex. figs, berries)
Tu B’Shvat and Climate Change: An Interactive Experience
Monday, January 17, 4:00 pm
on Zoom

Join Interfaith Power and Light, the Jewish Earth Alliance, and the Edlavitch DCJCC, for a very special Tu B’Shvat Seder where we’ll celebrate the holiday through the lens of the Jewish responsibility to be stewards of this planet. We will tackle the issue of methane gas use and why it’s environmentally harmful, we’ll eat some holiday treats and explore their symbolism, we’ll get inspired through music and song, and together, we’ll take direct action to fight climate change. Register here (click the ticket icon to receive the link.)
Climate Fest logo
The Big Bold Jewish Climate Fest
continues online through jan. 14

The 2022 Big Bold Jewish Climate Fest is centered around investing in solutions – expressing our values through personal, professional, communal, organizational and societal investments – and shifting away from systems, practices and ways of thinking that perpetuate climate destruction and inequity. This year’s Festival is full of practical and informative workshops on how each of us can take action for our climate. Register and then click on a session title for the links. There are still several sessions to come, including:

Thursday, Jan. 13, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM PST

Friday, Jan. 14, 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM PST
Lunch & Learn with Rabbi Katie - ONLINE ONLY
Thursday, January 20, 2022, 1:00 pm

Due to the current COVID surge, we are moving our program to an online only format. In lieu of making lunches, we are suggesting that participants make a donation to the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. Thank you for understanding this shift, and stay well!

1:00-2:00 pm - Learning with Rabbi Katie on Zoom; password RABBIKATIE.
Say hello to Emily Rosenberg - Interim Administrative Coordinator

We are blessed to welcome Emily Rosenberg as Or Shalom's Interim Administrative Coordinator! Emily is handling communications, logistics, and various day-to-day tasks as we move towards our longer-term hire of an Executive Director. You can reach Emily at emily@orshalom.org. She is also monitoring admin@orshalom.org as well as our phone. We thank you in advance for your patience with any administrative hiccups as we move through this time of transition.

Below are some words of introduction from Emily:

I'm a 3rd generation Chicagoan, who moved to San Francisco 25 years ago. My Jewish identity was formed at summer camp in Wisconsin and at seders, shabbat dinners, and sukkah building at home. My political awakening vis-a-vis Israel came while living and working in a Jewish-Palestinian village (Neve Shalom/Wahat al Salaam) during the First Intifada. My work experience has been broad, including as a peace educator with the American Friends Service Committee, leading delegations to Israel and Palestine and facilitating workshops on alternatives to violence for youth; as a peacekeeper in Sri Lanka with Nonviolent Peaceforce; as a grantmaker with the San Francisco Foundation; and, currently, as a global health researcher and lecturer. I'm an athlete, a tree hugger, a bread baker, a photographer, and a dog whisperer.
January B'nai Mitzvah

We will welcome two more new adult members of our community this month! Services will be conducted in person at the Unitarian Universalist Center, 1187 Franklin Street. Come celebrate with these teens and their families (if you are vaccinated and healthy). Advance registration is required.

January 22: Bar Mitzvah of Asher Barolette
January 29: Bat Mitzvah of Belle Donald
Women's Circle 
January 23, 2022 2:00-4:00pm
on Zoom

The Women’s Circle is excited to welcome you to our first gathering of the year on Sunday, January 23, 2022 from 2-4 pm (on Zoom, until further notice). The theme this month is, “Introduce your Mother”. We hope you can share a story and a picture or photo. RSVP HERE for the Zoom info. We look forward to seeing you!

Please note: The Women’s Circle will have a monthly gathering on the 4th Sunday of each month from 2-4pm! Mark your calendars! Also, in lieu of the Women’s Passover Seder on April 9th (due to Covid), we are contemplating a few ideas for a Freedom gathering. More soon.
Teen Hub #4 
January 26, 2022 6:30-7:30pm
on Zoom

Join Ben and Or Shalom’s group of inquisitive teens for their monthly learning program about Jewish ethics and philosophy. Please email Ben if interested, and you will receive the link.
Or Shalom is Hiring!

We are looking for an Executive Director who will help Or Shalom grow and evolve. We are very excited about this new position and expect the Executive Director to play a critical role in contributing to and implementing Or Shalom's new Strategic Plan, now in development. If you know someone who may be interested in this opportunity, click HERE or let us know at jobs@orshalom.org.
Tenderloin Tent Drive
Please contribute and share!

Our partner, Faith in Action Bay Area, along with the Coalition on Homelessness and St. James Infirmary, is raising funds to provide tents for unhoused people in the Tenderloin while remaining committed to permanent housing for all those unhoused. A donation of just $40 provides one tent for an unhoused resident to shelter in place, and a little bit of security and privacy from the streets. Find out more about the drive and contribute here!
Protect Wildlife for Tu B'Shvat
Write Your Members of Congress

Tu B'Shvat, called by some the Jewish Earth Day, is a time to appreciate and commit to caring for creation. Wildlife is becoming extinct at an alarming rate. Use this sample letter from Jewish Earth Alliance to call on Congress to pass bi-partisan legislation to insure dedicated funding for state wildlife action plans.
Lighting the Way to Tikkun Olam One Person At a Time: Sanctuary Spotlight

For over a year, Or Shalom has supported Maria and her family, who are undocumented residents of San Francisco struggling to survive in this expensive city. If you would like to help Maria and her family and have these used items to donate--a potty, size 5-year-old clothing, child size 6 or 7 shoes, and toys or books for a 2-1/2 year old boy--please contact sanctuary@orshalom.org.

We highlight below a few of the unheralded ways Or Shalom members have helped them this past year:
  • Or Shalom member Kate Swanson has used her monthly cafeteria stipend through UC to buy groceries for the family every two weeks, providing much-needed food security.
  • When Maria's landlord recently threatened her family with illegal eviction, OS members Stacey Leyton and Alexx Campbell stepped in to draft, sign, and translate a letter to the landlord from Maria's friends at Or Shalom. For now, the threats have stopped and the family is much relieved.
Teen Hub Interview #5:
William Axelrod interviews Judy Olasov

Or Shalom teens have been connecting with senior members of our community--and recording some important institutional history for posterity--with online interviews.

William Axelrod recently interviewed founding member Judy Olasov. You can see their lively and informative conversation here.

Previous interviews are always available on the Or Shalom YouTube page.
Come gather from March 23–27, 2022 for B’Yachad: Reconstructing Judaism Together. During Convention, we will be together both in person and virtually to learn from and with experts, scholars, and lay leaders. We will engage in conversations, ask questions, and listen. We will pray together, sing together, dance together, and celebrate all that we do every day in our communities to reconstruct Judaism. Register here.
We gratefully acknowledge contributions from our community:

  • Judith and Michael McCullough, in honor of Rabbi Katie
  • Stephen Gerard and Trudy Lionel, in memory of Paulette Mansfield
  • David Greene and Wendy Thurm, in memory of Irwin Greene and Judah Roseman
  • Paula Levine, in honor of the Chesed Committee
  • The Johnson-Potter family, in memory of Natalie Potter
  • Benjamin Gerard, in honor of Stephen Gerard
  • Corey Weinstein, in memory of Florence Weinstein
  • Claudia & Alan Silverman, in honor of the Bravo! Silverman Fund
  • Betsy Strausberg, in honor of Lillian Markind
The community extends it sympathy to Bryna Rifkind on the death of her cousin, Carol Rifkind Gelber, and to Robin Roth on the death of her friend David Gershan.
On the anniversary of their deaths, we remember:
Ben Fine, James Robert Ganz. Pierre Jeremy Barolette, Paulette Mansfield, Percy Goldstein, Craig Garcia, Julian Wager, Charlotte Fine, Zachary Clark Ruchames, Esther Rubinstein, Steve Wilson, Ann Zorn, Menachem Steinberg, Dave Pleaner, Garrett DiAloia, Rosita Alarcon, Paula Marks, Ida C. Hirschberg
This Week's Parsha
The parsha for this week is Beshalah (Exodus 13:17−17:16)
Our mailing address has changed!
Please send all mail to:
Or Shalom Jewish Community
400 Missouri St
San Francisco, CA 94107
To reach Or Shalom by phone, please call: (415)469-5542
Or Shalom Clergy and Staff
Matt Rudoff, Board President
Emily Rosenberg, Interim Administrative Coordinator
Ben Rozio, Youth/Family Program Coordinator