Elul Events 2021

The month of Elul has arrived! Elul is the Hebrew month preceding the High Holy Days, and during this time we will be preparing ourselves spiritually for the days ahead, creating a sense of sanctuary in our lives. I hope you will find many Elul opportunities below to help you prepare for the days of awe.
-Rabbi Mychal Copeland

Playing with the Psalms: A Spiritual Practice for Elul
Sue Bojdak, facilitator
August 23rd, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
How can reciting the Psalms make us ready for the High Holidays? Let’s find out! We will play with the Psalms through chant, contemplative reading, & creative expression, exploring and imagining our way into this traditional practice. Bring an open heart plus writing, drawing, or other art materials.

Writes of Passage: An Elul Journaling Workshop
Maggid Elias Ramer, facilitator
August 25th, 7:00-8:30 pm.
In this season we’re invited to review the year we’re completing, as part of our teshuva, our return – to what my dear friend spells – Godd.
Our tradition teaches that “Song of Songs” in the Bible is a love poem about Godd’s love for us, and coming back to that love will be the focus of our writing time together.
Please bring your preferred tools for writing, and know that you don’t have to believe in God, Godd, Goddess, Goddix (a word I thought I made up for about 10 minutes, till i found it online) in any formal or defined way. We will be deepening into our own lives and writing about what we want to return to as we journey toward the new year.

Is This the Fast I Desire?
Sponsored by the Social Action Committee
August 27, 10:00, a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (San Francisco-Marin Food Bank at the Cow Palace)
& September 13, 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. (Berkeley Food Pantry)
Registration info below.
“This is the fast I desire: To unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of the yoke to let the oppressed go free; to break off every yoke. It is to share your bread with the hungry,” (Isaiah 58: 3-7).
The Social Action Committee continues our yearly High Holy Day ritual of FEEDING THE HUNGRY.
The Torah and Jewish tradition are explicit in commanding that we feed the hungry. “If there is a needy person among you, one of your kin in any of your settlements in the land that your God יְהֹוָה is giving you, do not harden your heart and shut your hand against your needy kin. Rather, you must open your hand and lend whatever is sufficient to meet the need.” Deuteronomy 15:7-8.
Join the Social Action Committee at Bay Area food banks during this time of Elul and Yom Kippur. We have arranged for two shifts at the Food Banks where we can volunteer together. Sign up for one or both. Teenagers over the age of 13 are welcome to join.
Shift 1: We will be working outside at the Cow Palace, pre-packing groceries for distribution. Please review the details here. To sign up, you must first register with the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank as a volunteer. After you have registered, please contact Tirtza Pearl to let her know you registered. She will then add you to the Sha’ar Zahav team. Masks are required.
Shift 2: Meet us at the Berkeley Food Pantry located at1600 Sacramento Street (parking lot available for use). We will be working from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m., helping to sort and bag groceries. We will be in a well ventilated work space but please also bring a mask. Please sign up with Shawn Matloob by September 9, 2021.

Being Jewish and White: An Exploration
Claudia Bernard, facilitator
August 30th, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
For those of us who identify as white and Jewish, what does it mean to be both the beneficiary of white supremacy and the victim of it?
How do we hold both the trauma of our own historic persecution – as Jews and as queer folks – as well as the myriad privileges and power afforded by our whiteness in a society where power and privilege are racialized?
How do we take an unflinching look at the legacy of slavery in this country, and work with the idea that we – who had nothing to do with creating it – nonetheless benefit from and uphold it?


Join me for a workshop that begins to explore these dualities. We’ll use MLK’s statement, “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality,” as a guidepost for our exploration. We’ll use experiential exercises, and both small and large group discussion in search of the unarmed truth, and practice it all with unconditional love.
This workshop is intended for those who identify as white. CSZ has recently created an affinity group for those who identify as Jews of Color. The purpose of limiting attendance is to allow white folks to do this sometimes uncomfortable exploration without harming POC and to do so in service of making us better able to work to dismantle the racism within our community and in society at large.

Sha’ar Zahav Beyond the Binary
Moderated by Martin Rawlings-Fein with panelists Sophia De Anda, Bari June Gregory, and Franco Martinez.
September 2nd, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
In Jewish tradition, there is a wide range of gender identities discussed in the Mishna, Talmud, and Midrash, and our secular understanding of NB identities has expanded in recent years. This Elul discussion with nonbinary members will illuminate identities and intersections beyond the binary.

You Don’t Have To Be Miserable: Finding Accessible Alternatives to Yom Kippur tradition
Eliana Smithstein, facilitator
Sponsored by the Disability and Accessibility Committee and Hineni Caring Community
September 14th, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Grab a sandwich, put your feet up, it’s Yom Kippur! It’s time for an event for the many who can’t fast, stand for long periods, or stay in services for hours on end. Don’t be miserable – join us as we explore and combat the feelings of shame and isolation that can come with being unable to participate fully in these Yom Kippur traditions. We’ll explore the history and reasoning behind some of these inaccessible traditions, workshop alternative traditions we can be proud of (including creating our own blessing), and build community and support around completing the mitzvah of Shmirat HaGuf – taking care of our bodies.