At its heart, the Passover story is about a journey: from slavery to freedom, from degradation to redemption, from subjugation to sovereignty, from a collection of tribes to a nation.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks suggests that "the journey" is a central metaphor of Jewish life.  We've been on the move since Abraham left Ur.  It's nearly a century since my grandparents, like so many "wandering Jews" before and since, embarked on the journeys of their lives.


As they sailed through the Statue of Liberty's harbor of hopes and dreams, they did not know what awaited them here in the new world, where the streets, they imagined, were  paved with gold.  Leaving behind the pain and sadness they would forever equate with the land of their birth, they, like the tribes of Israel, whose journey we celebrate each Passover, chose the unseen wilderness over an all-too-familiar Egypt.


My parents' generation had had enough of wandering - it was stability they sought.  Still recovering from the Holocaust, the Jewish world I was born into was all about continuity.  Each demographic survey accompanied the whispered oath to not grant Hitler any posthumous victories.


For the generation that followed, Hitler and Stalin were a distant memory.  Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman says the "Age of Continuity" gave way to the "Age of Fractured Identity."  Continuity for its own sake?  For what purpose, to what end?


At Jewish LearningWorks we've been spending a great deal of time with young families, including families who have not joined synagogues and have not sent their children to Jewish schools.  Continuity does not seem to drive them to engage in Jewish life and learning. Something else does.


Many seek community. They desire to be part of something larger than themselves, and to be in relationship with others with common interests.


Some seek meaning - a deeper sense of purpose.


And they seek the opportunity for their children to learn what it means to be a Jew, part of the Jewish people.


What these families have in common, with each other and with the rest of us, is that they (and we) are all on a journey.  The Age of Continuity has given way to the Age of Exploration.  Spiritually and intellectually, our people are, once again, on the move.


During Passover we commemorate a COLLECTIVE journey.  We escaped slavery, crossed the Red Sea, wandered in the desert, and eventually entered the land together.


This is, in essence, what many young families seek - to embark on their Jewish journeys along with others.  They want to own their journey, on their terms.  And, it may look quite different than the journeys of those who came before them. 

Our task as Jewish educators is to empower them to continue their Jewish journeys - equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to make the journey their own.


The discontinuity the demographers see is real and it may appear as if the Jewish people are headed for oblivion.  I know that feeling - each year at our Seder table, we arrive at the banks of the Red Sea, the Egyptian Army in hot pursuit.  And we feel what the children of Israel must have surely felt - destruction was imminent.  And then, the Sea parts, and we realize that what seemed like disaster is, instead, another step in our Jewish journey.


David Waksberg
Jewish LearningWorks



A Conference on Inclusion and Disabilities
in our Jewish Community

Sunday May 3, 2015
8:30am - 4:30pm
Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Community Day School 
800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City

For anyone interested in participating in the work of creating a more inclusive community.  The day will include workshops, "Ted Talks", affinity group discussions and entertainment.

Registration in Advance - $18
Registration at the Door - $36

Download the Library's Program Catalog!
For a printed copy, call 415.567.3327 x703

There are tons of events happening at the library every month - Book Clubs, Film Classes, Programs for kids, Speakers and more!  See the event listings on the right or visit the Library's event calendar for more details or check out their recent newsletter.


In the latest installment of his monthly column in the J Weekly, Library director Howard Freedman discusses Robert Alter's Strong As Death Is Love, Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg's 
Bewilderments: Reflections on the Book of Numbers, and The JPS Bible Commentary: Song of Songs, three excellent new biblical resources. 

If you have kids and if you live in Marin or in the South Peninsula now is the time to be 
in touch with Kesher!

 Our Kesher Family Concierge will get you connected to everything Jewish 
for families in your area.

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is a difficult process. During this weekend, people with similar experiences get together to learn to live with their loss in a safe, beautiful and nurturing environment.


We offer:

- Opportunities to talk with each other, family members, and - friends about loss, death and grief

- Discussion groups and workshops facilitated by grief specialists

- Time for yourself while counselors take care of your kids

- Shabbat under the open sky and Jewish rituals for honoring and remembering those who have died

- Wrap-up on Sunday with a healing service at Camp Newman


Regain your strength with the love and support of the Jewish community.


For more information or to register, visit or call 415.750.3436


Jewish LearningWorks


We extend Jewish learning by reaching more learners. By enhancing the quality, quantity, and diversity of educational offerings, informing diverse learners about educational opportunities that meet their needs, and helping educators and learners overcome barriers, such as learning styles, to create a more inclusive and welcoming learning community.



APRIL 2015 / 5775
12:30PM - 1:30PM
In Partnership With 
Peninsula JCC

Connect  mind, body, heart and spirit in this gentle, Iyengar-based yoga series rooted in Jewish mystical teachings.

Yoga & Jewish Wisdom Teacher Training 

Sunday, April 12 
Sunday May 3
9:00AM - 4:00PM
In Partnership with
Peninsula JCC
Hosted by Julie Emden,
this closed program is for certified yoga instructors.
Sunday, April 12
2:00PM - 3:00PM
This Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, incongruously told in the form of a comic strip, is a haunting story within a story, of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his aging father's history. 

Holocaust - Is that Wallpaper paste? with Mumin Shakirov & Radio Liberty
Sunday, April 12
2:00PM - 4:30PM
Premier of the documentary film Holocaust - Is That Wallpaper Paste? followed by a discussion with Mumin Shakirov, director of the film and a journalist with Radio Liberty.
Monday, April 13
7:00PM - 8:30PM
Adam Rovner's book In the Shadow of Zion recovers the history of six alternative visions of a Jewish national home outside the biblical land of Israel. 
Sunday, April 19
10:30AM - 11:30AM
Especially appropriate for pre-K - 1st graders and their families.

Monday, April 20
7:00PM - 8:30PM
An exploration of how changes in technology, increased access to secular education, and greater opportunities in social and political realms created challenges and opportunities for 19th and 20th century Jews.

Tuesday, April 21
10:30AM - 11:30AM
A session from our 4-part webinar series on innovative change in part-time Jewish education.

with Scholar in Residence Ruti Regan of Jewish Theological Seminary
Friday, April 24 -
Saturday, April 25 
7:30PM - 12:00PM
Congregation Sha'ar Zahav 
Full lineup of events throughout the day.

Sunday, April 26
11:00AM - 12:00PM

Celebrate Yom Ha'atzma'ut with puppet storytelling, dancing, crafts and more.

Sunday, April 26
1:00PM - 2:30PM
Survival in Paradise is Manfred Wolf's moving memoir of growing up in the West Indies in the aftermath of World War II. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015 3:00PM - 6:00PM
A professional development workshop for educators.
Thursday, April 30
7:00PM - 8:30PM
Monologist Josh Kornbluth developed his successful theater piece Sea of Reeds to answer the questions of why a lifelong atheist (himself) would decide to get bar-mitzvahed in Israel at the age of 52, and what playing the oboe has to do with the Book of Exodus.
Sunday, May 03
8:30AM - 4:30PM

Learn actionable steps to make inclusion a reality!

This event is for everyone interested in participating in the work of creating a more inclusive community: Rabbis, Educators, Adminstrators, parents and beyond!

Sunday, May 03
11:00AM - 2:00PM

Sunday, May 03

2:00PM - 3:00PM
In this multimedia presentation, Ellie Shapiro shares what is new in the Old Country-and why it matters.

One Bay One Book:

The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis 
with Theda Firschein 

Monday, May 04
7:30PM - 9:00PM
Book discussion of The Betrayers with Theda Firschein.
Thursday, May 07
7:00PM - 8:30PM
Khazones, the rich cantorial tradition of Ashkenazi Jews, played a large role in the lives of American Jews. Jeremiah's presentation will include examples from classic recordings, as well as his own performances.
Friday, May 08 3:00PM - Sunday, May 10 1:00PM
Experience personal, family and spiritual growth in an inclusive, caring Jewish environment.

Sunday, May 10
10:45AM - 12:00PM
Book discussion of The Betrayers with Theda Firschein.


Sunday, May 17

4:00PM - 6:00PM 
Film screening followed by a Q+A with the film-maker



Like us on Facebook