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Like the rest of the country, Jewish LearningWorks is deeply divided, each side unable to understand the other.  This division is, of course, between the baseball fans and the non-baseball fans.  Though the gulf may appear un-bridgeable, we find the common humanity in all of us.
Giants fans began this season with high hopes.  Our team made important acquisitions, filled some holes. Moreover, it's an even year - we won the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014 (Yeah, " we won."  Like, religion, baseball is a team sport - I'm all in with the Jewish people and I'm all in with the Giants.).  
The season started out well.  At the All-Star Break, we had the best record in baseball.
Then, the bottom fell out.  As good as the first half was, that's how bad the second half went.  It appeared the season would be lost.  The team rallied in the last week and just barely crawled into the playoffs.  
First - a do or die game in New York against the Mets.  It's a pitchers' duel, 0-0.    In the 9 th inning, Conor Gillaspie comes to bat with two runners on and two out.
A highly regarded college player; the Giants drafted Gillaspie with great expectations.  He flamed out, bounced around for the next few years and never made it at the big league level.  By last winter, he was out of baseball - another prospect who never lived up to his promise.
This year, Gillaspie signed a minor league contract with the Giants - one final shot at making it.  Gillaspie reflected on his career and his attitude - "I did some soul-searching," he said.  He was a cocky over-achiever when he came up as a rookie.  The game humbled him and he was determined to approach it and his teammates differently.
Humility ( Anavah in Hebrew) is considered a foundational middah (virtue).  We tend to think of humility as diminishment - the person with low self-esteem who never speaks up. In contrast, Jewish tradition aligns humility with balance - lose the arrogance that places us above others (and thus, unable to learn from them) as well as excessive humbleness that places us below others (and thus, unable to use our power to repair the world).  " No more than my space, no less than my place ," says Alan Morinis of The Mussar Institute.  
The arrogant Gillaspie would not have properly prepared for the moment and likely would've struck out.  An overly humble Gillaspie wouldn't have swung, and would have missed his opportunity.  Properly balanced with Anavah , Gillaspie was ready for the moment, swung at a hanging slider, and knocked it over the fence for a three run homer - winning the game for the Giants.
We've all been on Gillaspie's journey.  Who among us has not experienced failure, disappointment, missteps, regret?  Indeed, we experience them EVERY YEAR.  Our tradition affords us the means to reflect, recalibrate, and overcome them. Now's the time.
Yonatan Sredni, an Israeli who grew up here (and attended South Peninsula Hebrew Day School) writes a weekly blog on the Torah portion .  I was taken with this week's entry:
...the headline from the NY Times is telling, " Conor Gillaspie's Winning Homer Culminated a Journey of Soul-Searching" .   After all, what is this period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur all about? The headline for this time of year should be:  "Yom Kippur Culminates a Journey of Soul-Searching for all Jews."

Conor Gillaspie was a ballplayer who had lost his way. But, he never gave up. He worked hard, he had people who believed in him and encouraged him, and when given the opportunity to do something great, he delivered (big time!).
We may not be major league baseball players, but we have lost our way over the past year . Regardless of our deeds over the course of the last year, during this period God gives us a chance to step into the batter's box on the biggest day of the year, Yom Kippur.
And unlike in baseball, God doesn't throw us any curveballs, he gives us pitches we can handle, all we need to do is swing the bat as hard as we can and make sincere contact (he'll do the rest).
So, what are we waiting for? Batter up!

David Waksberg
CEO Jewish LearningWorks
Yom Kippur Resources 

  Resources for Educators and Families
Visit our onli ne resource portal  for a printable, sensory-
friendly activity booklet for kids, guide to ritual observance, useful links, activities and crafts on Pinterest and more!
Embodied Jewish Learning

Embodying the High Holidays Teleseminar - It's Not Too Late!

Purchase the Sept 14th recording here!

Discover new ways to embody  Wholeness (Shlemut), Essence (Etzem), 
and  Compassion (Rachamim ).
Photo courtesy of the Peninsula Jewish Community Center
INCLUDE Special Needs

Becker Mini-Grants
Jewish LearningWorks is pleased to announce the recipients of the inaugural round of the Newton and Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust Mini-Grants.

These 2-to-1 matching grants of up to $1,000 are designed to support synagogues creating meaningful and relevant learning experiences for adults, with an emphasis on reaching younger adults with children still at home.
The synagogues receiving grants in this round are:
  • Congregation Shir Hadash (Los Gatos) for Experiencing Jewish Culture, looking at the Jewish experience through the lens of the Arts, language, and food.
  • Congregation Ner Shalom (Cotati) for Chant and Hike Up the Mountain of Revelation, led by Rabbi Shefa Gold.
  • Or Shalom Jewish Community (San Francisco) for Enchanted Journey with Piyut, built around exploring Jewish sacred song.
  • Congregation Beth Chaim (Danville) for Songs of Our Heartsparallel learning program for religious school parents.
The deadline for applications for the next round of grants is October 31st, 2016.

Embodied Jewish Learning
Sacred Dance Circles for Women in Berkeley
Sunday, October 9th
7:15 - 9:30pm

Presented by: Julie Emden & Aliza Rothman

Women Wage Peace
March of Hope
Sunday, October 16th
11:00am - 1:00pm
Golden Gate Bridge, SF

Presented by Women Wage Peace of San Francisco Bay Area

Jewish Community Library
Artist's Reception for Haiku and Prayers

Thursday, October 20th
7:00 - 8:30pm
Jewish Community Library, SF

Presented by Sonia Melnikova-Raich

Israel Education Initiative
Talking Israel: With Our Friends, Our Kids, Ourselves
Sunday, October 23rd
10:00 - 11:30am
Congregation Etz Chayim, Palo Alto

Presented by: Congregation Etz Chayim and Jewish LearningWorks

Jewish Community Library
Sharing the Work: A Presentation by Myra Strober
Thursday, October 27th
7:00 - 8:30pm 
Jewish Community Library, SF

Presented by Jewish Community Library

INCLUDE Special Needs
INCLUDE Beth Am Welcomes Steve Silberman 

S unday, October 30th
9:00 - 11:00am
Congregation Beth Am, Los Altos Hills

Presented by INCLUDE Beth Am, Jewish LearningWorks, and Books Inc. Palo Alto

For Families with Young Children

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