Sunday, January 31, 2021

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Immerse yourself in a Jewish learning experience. Jewbilee is divided into sessions, with multiple workshops happening simultaneously during each session, and dozens of speakers and presenters. YOU choose what you want to do.

At this year’s Jewbilee, renew your commitment to improving our world by engaging with a range of community leaders immersed in the work of tikkun olam (social justice) or Chesed (social action). Choose between multiple opportunities to learn, explore and do, and get inspired to take ongoing action. New this year, we’ll have special programs for teens and for young adults. For more information, contact

Jewbilee 2021 will be offered entirely online, via Zoom.

Accessibility information: Closed captioning will be provided for the keynote session, the meditation session, and the Gun Violence Prevention workshop in Session 2.

Jewbilee Schedule (click the arrows to view each section)

Jennie Rosenn headshot

Rabbi Jennie Rosenn is the founder & CEO of Dayenu, a new organization mobilizing the American Jewish community to confront the climate crisis with spiritual audacity and bold political action.

Rabbi Rosenn will share her vast experience of more than two decades leading Jewish non-profit organizations, advocating for social change, and creating dynamic new initiatives at the heart of the Jewish social justice movement. You can read more about her work and her biography here.

The keynote will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Moderator: Diane Fisher, Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Silicon Valley. Read her bio here.

Rabbi Lavey Derby headshotAfter the keynote, take a brief meditation break with Rabbi Lavey Y. Derby of the Peninsula JCC, and a certified Jewish mindfulness meditation teacher from the Institute of Jewish Spirituality,

This meditation is brought to you by Shalem: a partnership of the Peninsula JCC, Embodied Jewish learning, the Oshman Family JCC and Jewish Silicon Valley to promote wellness and well-being infused with Jewish wisdom to help support the entire community of the Peninsula.

Choose one of the following four workshops. All four workshops will occur simultaneously; you choose which one you want to attend. Each workshop will follow the pattern of “Learn, Explore, Do.” You’ll begin with a brief Jewish text study to learn what Jewish tradition says about the topic. This will be followed by a panel discussion with several expert panelists, followed by a Q&A session. Each workshop concludes with specific actions that participants can take.

Criminal Justice Reform in Santa Clara County: Why and How

What’s wrong with our criminal justice system and why are people advocating for change?  How will proposed changes impact you?  How can you support necessary changes?  In order for the Jewish community to effectively advocate for criminal justice reform, it is important for it to be educated on criminal justice more broadly, as well as on what is happening in our county.  Our focus is on planned or implemented local changes to the criminal justice system being championed by Jewish leaders in our community. Jeff Rosen will share the Jewish teachings that inspire his work, as well as the innovative programs he has implemented.  Highly regarded leaders will share their programs created to insure the safety and well-being of all Santa Clara County residents .  Each panelist will provide suggestions for how the community can mobilize to assure the success of these improvements.

Participants (click here for participant bios):
Jeff Rosen, Santa Clara County District Attorney
Alison Brunner, CEO of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley
Susan Ellenberg, Santa Clara county Supervisor
Elisa Koff-Ginsborg, Executive Director of Behavioral Health Contractors’ Association
Moderators: Harriet Wolf and Sharon Roth

Inspiring Change in Israel

Since its creation, Israel has been home to people from many different backgrounds, ethnicities, and religions. Its multicultural character is one of its strengths. Yet one of the challenges Israel faces as a diverse society is to establish equality of opportunity for all Israelis. We’ll begin by learning with Rabbi Michael Lezak from Glide San Francisco about the true meaning of Tikkun Olam and its relevance for today’s society. We will then explore three nonprofit organizations in Israel that are dedicated to repairing the world, focusing specifically on how the Bedouin, Ethiopian, and LGBTQ communities tackle the challenges they face. We’ll learn how we can support and work with those organizations as they work to make our world a better place.

Participants (click here for participant bios):
Rabbi Michael Lezak, GLIDE San Francisco
Matan Yaffe, Co-founder and CEO of Desert Stars 
Genet Dasa, CEO of Olim Beyahad
Liana Meirom Asif , VP, Resource Development and External Relations of Igy
Matan Zamir, Deputy Consul General, Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest

Environmental Action: How You Can Make a Difference

Most of us want to help our damaged environment, but how? This workshop’s focus on sustainability offers a number of ways. We’ll begin with Rabbi Allan Berkowitz‘s introduction to Judaism’s 3500-year-old environmental roots. Then, fast forward to here and now. Three speakers — Rabbi Philip Ohriner of Ma’alot Farms, Bob Levy of Temple Emanu-El, and Rabbi Jennie Rosenn of Dayenu — will talk about their particular focus on environmental action and provide ways for us to engage: in our personal lives, in our synagogues (actual and virtual), and in our community. The speakers will be followed by a Q&A session and a shared activity. Environmental action: Each of us can make a difference.

Participants (click here for participant bios):
Rabbi Allan Berkowitz,
COO, Faith in Action Bay Area
Rabbi Jennie Rosenn,
CEO, Dayenu
Rabbi Philip Ohriner
, Ma’alot Farms
Bob Levy,
Temple Emanu-El
Moderator: Michal  Strutin

Inequality of Opportunity: The 2 Silicon Valleys

Which Silicon Valley do you live in? The Silicon Valley of wealth and opportunity, or the Silicon Valley where only 35% of 4th graders are reading at grade level? Education defines our lives and is the key to upward mobility and thriving communities, but not all children in our area receive equal opportunities when it comes to education.

This workshop will help us to re-imagine a more just and equitable future. We will begin with Rabbi Faith Joy Dantowitz from Congregation Emeth, who will discuss what Judaism says about the essential dignity of every person and how our Jewish values teach us to respond proactively. Then, through the lens of our panel representing diverse educational organizations, we will discuss how inequity in education is detrimental to the advancement of life right here in Silicon Valley.

Together we will find tangible ways to serve meaningfully through acts of Chesed, Tzedakah, and Tzedek.

Participants (click here for participant bios):
Rabbi Faith Joy Dantowitz, Congregation Emeth
Rachel Wright, Senior Director of Community Development at Sacred Heart Community Service
Sheryl Lewis, former Executive Board of the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley 
Jillian Axelrod, Americorps Member at City Year
Moderators: Julia Cinnamon, Sherri Stein and Hadas Weissberg

We’ll take a short break between sessions, and resume at 4:00pm.

Choose one of the following three workshops. All three workshops will occur simultaneously; you choose which one you want to attend. Each workshop will follow the pattern of “Learn, Explore, Do.” You’ll begin with a brief Jewish text study to learn what Jewish tradition says about the topic. This will be followed by a panel discussion with several expert panelists, followed by a Q&A session. Each workshop concludes with specific actions that participants can take.

Gun Violence Prevention Through a Jewish Lens

Moms Demand Action is a grassroots movement of Americans working to support communities disproportionately affected by gun violence, and fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence and can help keep our families safe. In this workshop, you will hear a poignant story from Clare Senchyna, a survivor of gun violence. We will provide an overview of Jewish perspectives on violence using sources from Torah, Talmud, and more recent Rabbinical sources. We will offer statistics and information about the current gun violence problem in America, with a focus on how Black and Brown communities are disproportionately affected, and we will provide examples of both the successes of Moms Demand Action and ways that you can take action and get involved.

Participants (click here for participant bios):
Jessica Blitchok, Deputy Chapter Leader – CA, Moms Demand Action
Sharon Genkin, CA State Community Outreach Lead for Moms Demand Action
Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, Vice Chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus

Welcoming the Stranger: Helping Refugees through Tzedek, Chesed, and Tzedakah

The Jewish poet Emma Lazarus immortalized the sentiment of sanctuary with her words engraved on the Statue of Liberty, a sentiment that aligns with the Torah’s exhortation to help the stranger “because we were strangers in the land of Egypt”. No less than 36 times, Moses compels us in the Torah to internalize empathy for the stranger. Join us to learn about refugee resettlement nationally and locally.  In recent years our US refugee admission has dropped dramatically and the need and our capacity are so much greater. We will learn about HIAS’ history, work in “welcoming the stranger” and refugee advocacy. You will meet a panel of newly arrived refugees who will share their experience in being resettled, and Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley (JFS) leaders will speak about refugee resettlement at JFS, how things have shifted in recent years, during the pandemic and the opportunities moving forward. You will learn how you can make a difference in “welcoming the stranger” through volunteering, donating and advocacy. We invite all to participate.

Participants (click here for participant bios):
Melanie Nezer, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs of HIAS
Mindy Berkowitz, Executive Director of JFS
Zoya Lazer, Director of Refugee and Career Services, JFS
Jean Claude Banyingela, newly arrived refugee from Zambia
Daniel Atsbha Hailu, newly arrived refugee from Ethiopia
Fatema Faramarz, newly arrived refugee from Afghanistan
Moderator: Linda Levenson

Dismantling Racism: How About Reparations?

The idea of giving Black people reparations for slavery dates back to right after the Civil War (think 40 acres and a mule). For decades, it’s mostly been an idea debated outside the mainstream of American political thought. But now, in the midst of America’s current racial reckoning, reparations are being explored with new meaning. Join us to learn why groups of professors, clergy, and community members believe in this idea and what they are doing to put it into practice.

Participants (click here for participant bios):

Rabbi Dana Magat, Temple Emanu-El
Dr. Scott Myers-Lipton, Professor of Sociology at San José State University

Steve Pinkston, a retired high school teacher, coach and administrator.

Michael Saxe-Taller, Kehilla Synagogue’s Executive Director

Moderators: Ruth Saldivar, Dorothy Dorsay and Iris Bendahan

We’ll take a short break between sessions, and resume at 5:40pm.

At the end of the afternoon we will come together to reflect on what we learned. Let’s allow ourselves to slow down and digest the experience of the day! We will break into small groups to discuss our learning and consider making personal commitments to the ongoing work of social justice in our community.

Group Facilitators: Rabbi Hugh Seid Valencia, Rabbi Laurie Matzkin, Diane Fisher and Bonnie Slavitt

Unsheltered in Place: Youth Homelessness and Jewish Action in the Bay Area

Join Moishe House Silicon Valley and Repair the World to discuss the modern civil rights issue of homelessness in the Bay Area. We’ll explore the dual impacts of racism and COVID on homeless youth, and local organizations that are working in our community to make change. We’ll also use text study to learn about Jewish thinking on shelter and community support. At the end of the training, participants will have the opportunity to sign up for a shift supporting the Tiny House Village in Oakland, California.

For young adults ages 22-35. This session is FREE. Register here to get the Zoom link.

Facilitator: Hannah Trumbull, City Coordinator, Repair the World Bay Area. Read her bio.

“Tikkun Olam” – Teens for Action with IAC Eitanim

Can YOU make Social Justice go viral, with just a few sentences or images?

In modern Jewish circles, Tikkun Olam (world repair) has become synonymous with the notion of social action and the pursuit of social justice. We will begin our session with Vered Gani Katzir, and an introduction to Tikkun Olam, focusing on three values: L’dor v’dor (from generation to generation), Reut (friendship) and Vehadarta P’nai Zaken (honoring the elderly). We will continue with Yoram Zarfaty and Zurit Weiss, IAC Eitanim Mentors, and Adi Hayun Perez leading us to combine innovation with social action, in the virtual and actual world.

For ages 11-16 years old. This session is FREE. Register here to get the Zoom link.

Presenters (click here for presenters’ bios):
Vered Gani Katsir, teacher
Yoram Zarfaty, software engineer
Zurit Weiss, logistics director
Adi Hayun Perez, Regional Director of the IAC in the Bay Area


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Thank You To Our 2021 Jewbilee Sponsors

Jewbilee Day of Learning is made possible by the following sponsors: Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest SF, Dianne Portnoy Endowment for Jewish Life & Learning, Los Gatos Memorial Park, Darling Fischer Family Mortuaries, and Bonnie Slavitt. The APJCC is proud to be a part of the Koret Initiative on Jewish Peoplehood, and is supported further by the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture.

To become a sponsor, please contact

Jewbilee 2021 sponsor logos

Thank You To Our Jewbilee 2021 Organizers

Jewbilee 2021 is organized by the Addison-Penzak JCC together with Congregation Beth David, Congregation Emeth, Congregation Shir Hadash, Congregation Sinai, Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest SF, the Israeli American Council (IAC), Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley, Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley, Moishe House Silicon Valley, Moms Demand Action, NAMI Santa Clara County, PJ Library, Repair the World, Shalem Institute, and Temple Emanu-El. 

Partners include Behavioral Health Contractors’ Association (BHCA), City Year, Dayenu, Desert Stars, Faith in Action Bay Area, Glide, HIAS, Igy, The Law Foundation of Silicon Valley,  Ma’alot Farm, Olim Beyahad, Sacred Heart Community Service and Power Through Protest: a series of programs from the Peninsula JCC, JCC East Bay, the Los Gatos JCC, and the Osher Marin JCC.

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logos of Jewbilee partners






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