Bldg and flag

A Building Update

The flooding over the last few days has hit 290 Dolores hard. A heroic crew of volunteers bucketed about 4' of water from our boiler room. We are keeping an eye on upcoming storms and staying ahead of any new issues. However, for the next week, the building is without heat and elevator. Please keep an eye out for updates on upcoming events. Friday night Shabbat will be on Zoom only and Beit Sefer is cancelled this Saturday.

Link of the week: Tirtza and Barry Pearl volunteered at a gun buyback program to take guns off the streets. Read Tirtza's personal story in the SF Chronicle as to why she advocates to end gun violence.

Contact to sponsor a Shabbat

Friday Night Services:

January 6th at 7:30 pm.

On Zoom Only

Led by Cantor Bernstein, Martin Tannenbaum and Gabby Powell

Register Here for Zoom Service

Meeting ID: 886 7131 3838

Saturday Morning Service:

January 7th at 10:00 am.

Hybrid: On Zoom and In-Person.

Join Phil Charney at his b'mitzvah as he celebrates this great milestone. All are invited! Location of b'mitzvah TBD (to be determined).

Join the Zoom Meeting. Meeting ID: 365 434 855 and Passcode: 068575.

To join by phone for either service, dial +1 669 900 9128 or find your local number.

Community: Let's Get Together

Drash Workshop

Monday, January 9th, 7pm on Zoom only

Have you wanted to try giving a Shabbat drash? Or maybe you're not so new to the practice but want a refresher. Learn how to write and present a beautiful Torah teaching from Maggid Eli Ramer and Rabbi Mychal Copeland with our drash coordinator Kay Magilavy.

Register for the Meeting: Zoom Link

Saying Kaddish For a Difficult Relationship

Monday, January 23rd, 7pm on Zoom only

One of the prayers in Siddur Sha'ar Zahav reads, “Your memory is blessed in anger and in love,” acknowledging that not all of our losses bring positive memories. For those who were abusive, do we say Kaddish or Yizkor for them? Might we say something else at those ritual moments to mark the loss? You're invited to a discussion with Rabbi Copeland and Shalom Bayit's Liana Thomason to explore these questions in community.

Register for the Meeting: Zoom meeting

Gender-neutral Hebrew Chanting

 Friday, January 27, 9-9:45am on Zoom

Want to start your day and transition into Shabbat by connecting with yourself, others, and the Divine with morning chanting? Do you have a hard time with the male language in our liturgy? Join Rabbi Copeland in a chanting practice that uses entirely gender-neutral names for the Divine. All prayers will be in transliteration or English, so come with any level of Hebrew, even if it's totally new to you.

Register here: Zoom meeting

Immigration Journal

Join other members of the SZ community to tell stories of immigrants/refugees who have shaped your life in preparation of Immigration Shabbat on February 10th. The Social Action Committee is collecting stories for this year's journal. (You can see the journal from last year here.) Everyone is welcome. Story wrap-up is February 5. Avoid the last-minute rush: Here is the link to tell your story.

L'Havin: Understanding Israel and Its Neighbors is a Sha'ar Zahav working group that provides our members and community friends with support, knowledge, and dialogue skills that deepen our relationship with the land and peoples of Israel and Palestine, and to advance understanding and healing within our Jewish community. We hold a range of narratives and relate differently to the ideas and realities of Israel, Palestine, and the Israeli-Arab conflict, yet are united in our desire to advance peace and justice.

To start, L’Havin is holding Zoom calls on the fourth Monday of each month, and we invite anyone who is interested to join us! You do not need to come with any previous knowledge of the topics we may discuss or with any set viewpoints. In fact, we encourage all to come with open ears and a learner’s mindset. Please contact if you’re curious.

Music in the Mishkan

January 8th concert postponed

Long-time member, Randall Weiss, and The Bridge Players present the 23rd season of Music in the Mishkan on April 2, April 16 and May 21 - mark your calendars! All concerts begin at 4:00 p.m. Don't miss these beautiful concerts in our lovely sanctuary! 

Order your tickets today!

Learn With Us!

Exploring Midrash 

Taught by Rabbi Yoel Kahn 

Thursday evenings, 7-8:30pm 

January 19 - February 23 (6 sessions) on Zoom only 

A midrash is “a story about a story in the Torah” (or the Tanakh). One of the oldest forms of Jewish commentary, midrash moves beyond the “literal” of any to bring imaginative and creative interpretations. While midrash often “fills in the blanks” in a narrative or offers the “backstory” to the text, it also is a path for the ancient commentators to complicate, nuance or even question the Biblical story. In this series, we will encounter a variety of classic midrashic texts, as taught by the rabbis of old, as well as exploring how these texts in turn are woven into Kabbalah, poetry and modern Jewish commentaries - including a session on the great modern midrashic interpreter, Avivah Zornberg. 

Rabbi Yoel Kahn, Ph.D, was the Rabbi of Congregation Sha’ar Zahav from 1985-1996.

Register for class here 

Hebrew Classes on Zoom

Introductory Hebrew 

Tuesday, January 10 - March 14, 7-8pm on Zoom

Would you like to be able to decode Hebrew, so that you can follow along in the prayer book? Have you always wondered how the Hebrew language works? It is never too late to start! Taught by Michael Lederman.

Continuing Hebrew

Thursday, January 12 - March 16, 7-8pm on Zoom

A continuation of our beginning Hebrew class, this course is for students who have already learned the Hebrew alphabet and know some basic vocabulary. Taught by Michael Lederman.

Register for both classes here

Judaism 101

Mondays, January 9- April 3

(excluding Jan. 16th and Feb. 20th)

6:30-8:30pm on Zoom

Taught by Sue Bojdak, Director of Education

Judaism 101 is an introduction to Judaism for people who are new or returning to Judaism and are looking for a starting point to dive into Jewish learning and/or Jewish practice.  Anyone from any background is welcome.  We will be covering everything from Torah to Israel, spirituality to ethics, through a queer-positive, progressive, inclusive Jewish lens with plenty of room for questions.  Our learning will be interactive and communal; come ready to be in the learning with us. If you have questions, please contact Sue Bojdak.

Register for the class here

Journey to Judaism: A Discussion Group

Facilitated by Ora Prochovnick, Rose Katz and James Carlson

Six Mondays (the last Monday of each month), starting January 30th, 7pm-8:30pm

This discussion group will explore issues that arise for people who are considering, are in the process of, or have only recently completed, converting to Judaism. We also welcome those who have a Jewish parent (or parents), but were raised with little or no Jewish experience and are interested in exploring their connection to Judaism. This group is not an introduction to Judaism course, but rather a place to ask questions and discuss issues with others who are also on this journey. Class sessions will alternate meeting in person with meeting on Zoom. Hybrid access will not be available for the in-person sessions. For further information, click here.

To register, please contact Executive Director Susie Idzik

Recurring Gatherings and Meetings

Theater & Movies Chavurah: Jojo Rabbit

Tonight! Wednesday, January 4th

6:00 pm on Zoom

The movie follows a 10-year-old boy, Johannes Betzler, an idealistic and misguided Hitler Youth during WWII. He lives with his mother, Rosie, and is often visited by an imaginary friend — a cartoonish version of Adolf Hitler. It’s a dark satire directed by Taika David Cohen, known professionally as Take Waititi — an Academy-award New Zealand filmmaker and actor (who also appears in the film). There are many options to stream it: Apple TV, Amazon, YouTube, DirectTV and Sling among them - each for $3.99.

Join the Meeting: Zoom meeting

Social Action Committee

Monday, January 9th

6:00 pm on Zoom

On fair elections, welcoming the stranger, secure housing and food, ending gun violence, and more! At our next meeting we will focus on planning for Immigration Shabbat and discussing what kind of social activism we wish to pursue in the year ahead. Want to join us? Come to our next meeting or contact Nancy Wecker or Geri Kahn

Join the Meeting: Zoom link

Racial Equity Committee


Tuesday, January 10

6:00-8:00pm on Zoom

The Racial Equity Committee is back to meeting regularly! Subsequent meetings will be held on the the second Tuesday of the month at 6:00. Come help assure that SZ is always a place of welcome, inclusion and equity for all.

Join the Meeting: Zoom link

Kaf-Lamed Monthly Gathering

Don't go to Shabbat alone!

January 20, 7:30pm

Join Sha'ar Zahav's young adult group (The Kaf Lameds) for a monthly gathering at Shabbat Services in person! Perfect for those who've ever felt intimidated to go to Shabbat in person services alone. Or perfect for those who just want a few buddies to join on Friday night services! This is a monthly gathering, where we'll do "Shabbat Together" the 3rd Friday of each month. Contact Emily Ornelas-Dorian.

Book Group Discussion:

The Aleppo Codex: The True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the Pursuit of an Ancient Bible

by Matti Friedman

Tuesday, February 7, 7:00 - 8:00 pm on Zoom

The Aleppo Codex is the true-life thriller of what happened to the 10th-century Aleppo Codex, the oldest annotated Hebrew Bible, after it left its burnt-out sanctuary in Syria in the 1950s on its way to Israel. It's a story of intrigue, political upheavals, and a controversial courtroom trial. It's also a story of what happened to the once thriving Syrian Jewish community, many of whom went to Israel as well.  For more info, email Ami Zusman.

Join the Meeting: Zoom Link

Art Group: Drop-in

Weekly on Tuesdays

on Zoom only


Drop in for a joyful hour and a half of free art-making and connection. Everyone is welcome! Starting January 12th, the Art Group will be meeting on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month at 7-8pm. Contact Paisha Rochlin or Barbara Cymrot.

Join the Meeting: Zoom link

Climate Action Committee

2nd Monday of the Month   

5:00-6:30pm on Zoom

The CAC gathers monthly to support and educate ourselves and our community on climate issues, including climate grief, policy advocacy, and personal and community strategies to address the urgent crises of climate change and climate justice. 

Contact Deborah Levy.

Join the Meeting: Zoom link

Disability and Accessibility Committee

If you identify as disabled, are exploring that identity, or have a loved one with a disability and are interested in joining the Disability and Accessibility Committee, please reach out to Eliana Smithstein for more information. If you are interested in learning more about disability and how you can become a better ally, stay tuned for educational events to come!

Remember When

1st Wednesday of the Month


Hitch a ride on the wayback wagon for a trip down memory lane. Let’s reminisce about the 40’s thru the 70’s together! Different topics each month. We will gather on the first Wednesday of every month. Email Marv Lehrman.

Join the Meeting: Zoom link

Weekly Torah Study Group

Weekly on Wednesday


Join the Meeting: Zoom link

Mussar Group

Bi-weekly on Thursdays 7:00-8:00pm

Mussar is a very practical and flexible spiritual discipline to help you balance soul-traits (Middah/Middot) such as Humility, Loving-Kindness, Generosity, and Silence. Drop-ins are always welcome! Contact Mark Pressler.

Join the Meeting: Zoom link

Meditation Chavurah

1st and 3rd Saturday of the month


Everyone is welcome. And you will not regret it! A typical session includes a short and longer silent sit, with chanting, movement, and a short teaching. The group meets on the first and third Saturday of every month.

Join the Meeting: Zoom link

Hiking Chavurah

3rd Saturday of the month until 2023, 9:50 am

We hike on the second Saturday of the month

Join other Sha’ar Zahavniks on monthly urban hikes – mostly in SF but we sometimes venture farther afield. This is a great way to get to know other SZ members while exploring the city and beyond. The hikes usually last about two hours. Email Karen Schiller and Ellen Murland

12-Step Meetings by and for SZ Members

Weekly on Sundays On Zoom


The meeting will be run in the usual 12-step format but will also feature some thoughts and reflections from members bringing Judaism into their 12-step practice. Contact Erika Katske.

For Sha'ar Zahav Members Only. Register Here to Attend.

Weekday Morning Prayer

Weekly on Tuesdays


Songs and prayers to set our hearts and minds! This service takes place every Tuesday morning, and is led by community lay leaders and Cantor Bernstein. Contact Cantor Bernstein.

Join the Meeting: Zoom link

Birthdays this week!

Desmond Bernstein 1/5

Nathan Robinson 1/6

Jodi Bando 1/6

Naomi Rosenmoss 1/7

Robin Shanholtz 1/7

Danya Rubenstein-Markiewicz 1/8

Amy Schustack 1/8

Marius Greenspan 1/9

Amalia Cymrot-Wu 1/9

While we strive for all our events to be mixed-access, this is not always possible. Some events are only in-person, and some are Zoom only. If you have any questions about a particular event, please contact the office, or the contact listed for the event.

Returning to 290 Dolores
Attending In-Person Events and Services

Starting at the end of April, our policy is as follows.
  • Shabbat Service: Masking during the service is required. Following the service, you may remove your mask to enjoy oneg.
  • For all other events, masking is optional. Children 2-5 will be required to mask. We welcome you to keep wearing masks if you choose.
  • Proof of vaccination is required, including a booster shot.
  • Please remember: Sha’ar Zahav is a scent-free environment. Keeping our synagogue safe for those with scent and chemical sensitivities is part of our commitment to accessibility. Questions/concerns? Email us, the Accessibility Committee.
Updated Registration Policy
Registration: Registration will no longer be required for most in-person services and events. If you have a key card, please let yourself in. If you do not, you will be asked to sign in and show proof of vaccination. Key cards are available to all members. Please reach out to get yours.
Click here for information about our vaccination policy
Thank You to Our Grantors
Programs at Sha’ar Zahav are supported by the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, the Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus Initiative for Immigrant and Refugee Justice of the Religious Action Center, San Francisco Humanities, and the National Center to Encourage Judaism.
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