FESTIVALS

The JCC offers festivals throughout the year, including the Jewbilee day of learning in January, the Silicon Valley Jewish Music Festival in June, and the Menorahs & Miracles Hanukkah celebration at the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose in December.

Jewbilee

Sunday, January 28, from 1:00-6:30pm

Jewbilee is an annual celebration of Jewish learning. The afternoon is divided into sessions, with many classes, workshops and performances happening simultaneously during each session. You choose what you want to do.

Hundreds of participants, and more than 35 teachers, artists, educators, speakers, and performers focusing on this year’s theme: ReJEWvenation.

The learning at Jewbilee 2018 is dedicated to Dianne Portnoy (z”l), who dedicated so much to Jewbilee.

Tickets

Tickets are now available!

Food

Food is included in the ticket price. Kosher snacks will be available throughout the event at various stations throughout the building. The event will end with a mixer where a light kosher dinner of sushi and other foods will be available, as well as beer and wine and live music!

Childcare

The JCC’s Childcare Department will offer childcare during Jewbilee. Space is limited, and reservations are required.

  • Infants 6 weeks to 15 months old: $8.50 per hour for Full Center Members and $11 per hour for Social Members and non-members
  • Children 16 months to 12 years old: $6 per hour for Full Center Members and $8.50 per hour for Social Members and non-members

The Jewbilee Ideal

The Jewbilee ideal is that the entire Jewish community can come together for a day under one roof, despite our many differences, and celebrate being Jewish and what that means to each of us. Through a diverse program lineup–including rabbis from all denominations, professors from various Bay Area colleges and universities, students, teachers, artists, cooks and performers–our goal is to present a diversity of Jewish beliefs, political orientations, cultures and experiences. Jewbilee is a day to try on a different Jewish hat; a new idea, a new practice, a new conversation.

Our 2018 Keynote Speaker is Erin Schrode. She will participate in a moderated discussion with Michael Krasny of KQED about how her activism and Judaism intertwine.

Michael Krasny Ph.D., is host of KQED’s award-winning Forum, a news and public affairs program that concentrates on the arts, culture, health, business, and technology. Forum is one of KQED’s most-popular shows and one of the nation’s most-listened-to locally produced public radio talk show. Before coming to KQED Public Radio in 1993, Dr. Krasny hosted a night-time talk program for KGO Radio and co-anchored the weekly KGO television show Nightfocus. He hosted Bay TV’s Take Issue, a nightly news analysis show, programs for KQED Public Television, KRON television, and NPR, and did news commentary for KTVU television. He has also served as host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation. (https://www.kqed.org/radio/about/staff/michael-krasny.jsp)

Erin Schrode is a citizen activist, social entrepreneur and writer. This leading voice on sustainability, social impact, and millennials and vocal advocate for environmental action, public health, and equal justice just ran an unprecedented campaign for US Congress in California. Since co-founding Turning Green in 2005, she has developed eco education and action platforms to inspire, educate, and mobilize millions of students and the global public with this non-profit and beyond.

This social entrepreneur and community organizer champions civic leadership, conscious living, and environmental stewardship worldwide, launching a youth education project in Haiti, writing curriculum for an eco center for Palestinian, Israeli, and Jordanian students, developing recycling infrastructure in Ghana, and telling the stories of Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees in the Mediterranean and Native Americans at Standing Rock while working in solidarity on the ground. Currently, Ms. Schrode is leading #ChefsForPuertoRico with Chef José Andrés, as COO of the largest feeding program in Puerto Rico, having served over 3 million meals to those in need since Hurricane Maria. From her hometown in Marin County, California to New York University to seventy nations, this bold innovator is on a lifelong journey to inspire and mobilize people to discover and activate passion for social impact and policy change — that ensures a just, safe, thriving world for future generations. (www.erinschrode.com)

January 2018 Schedule of Classes

There is a 10-minute passing period between each learning session.

1:00pm Doors Open
1:30pm Opening Keynote
2:40-3:35pm First Learning Session
3:50-4:45pm Second Learning Session
5:00-5:55pm Third Learning Session
6:00pm Jewbilee Mixer!

Here is a list of the 2018 Presenters

(Please note this is a partial list and is subject to change)

There is a 15-minute passing period between each learning session.

  • 1:00pm  Doors open
  • 1:30pm  Opening Keynote with KQED’s Michael Krasny and Jewish activist Erin Schrode
  • 2:40-3:35pm  First Learning Session
  • 3:50-4:45pm  Second Learning Session
  • 5:00-5:55pm  Third Learning Session
  • 6:00pm  Jewbilee Mixer! (drinks and light dinner)
Keynote (1:30-2:30pm)
A Moderated Discussion between Michael Krasny and Erin Schrode

Erin Schrode, born and raised in Marin, CA, has accomplished a lot by the young age of 26. She founded the nonprofit Turning Green in 2005, developed a youth education program in Haiti, volunteered at numerous natural disaster sites, and at the age of 25 she ran for US Congress in California’s District 2. It was during this political campaign that Erin began receiving an immeasurable amount of anti-semitic messages, and rather than causing her to shy away from her Judaism, this experience strengthened her Jewish connection. Radio host Michael Krasny will be talking to Erin about how her life as an activist has intertwined with her Jewish journey, and what they think about the Jewish future.

Session 1 (2:40-3:35pm)
The Future of Jewish Families

How important is it for you to marry Jewish? How many of you experienced a change in your relationship with Judaism through interfaith relationships? Zvi Weiss of Yavneh Day School, Rabbi Samantha Kahn of Interfaith Family, and Rabbi Menachem Levine of Congregation Am Echad will all be discussing the future of Jewish families, and specifically what impact interfaith marriages might be having. This is not a debate, but rather an exploration of different points of view. This panel will be moderated by Tova Birenbaum of the Oshman Family JCC.

Rotem Malach – Walking a Tight Rope: Human Rights and Social Justice

In this seminar, we will explore the Supreme Court’s role in defending human rights and reshaping Israel’s Democratic yet Jewish identity. We explore how the 1992 Constitutional Revolution passed particular legislation, otherwise known as the two “basic laws”, which highly impacts the courts ability to preside over matters pertaining to civil liberties. Former revolutionary head of the Supreme Court, Aharon Barak, led particular court opinions on a multitude of cases that drastically changed how the country acts in accordance to a wide variety of issues. Among them include rights to equality, freedom of employment, freedom of speech, persona civil liberties for marriage and property ownership, amongst others. The court’s ability to strike down legislation passed by the Knesset that does not embody the values present in the two “basic laws” has effectively closed many open ended questions and solved many matters of injustice. However, due to Israel’s delicate position in a region with the most dangerous neighbors, the court had to settle to find middle ground on the more complex issues. In this seminar, we will explore the Supreme Court decisions that revolutionized the country, as well as some contemporary topics that have yet to be fully resolved. Participants will ponder the question “how does Israel maintain both its Jewish and Democratic identity”?

Nechama Tamler and Tzippi Zach – “Prayer of the Secular”: An Oxymoron?

Contemporary Israeli rock music connects to Jewish tradition in surprising and delightful ways. Regarded by leading writers as the new carriers of the re-Judaization of Israeli culture, many musicians offer new interpretations of ancient Jewish texts. One of the outstanding examples of this trend is Kobi Oz. During our session we will listen to Oz’s wonderful Prayer of the Secular, hear what he thinks about Jewish pluralism in Israel, and explore two Talmudic stories about Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai, referenced in the song’s lyrics. Join us as we learn about this remarkable ReJEWvenation going on in today’s Israeli cultural scene.

PJ Schwartz – Why Be Jewish?

We often are able to articulate the varied degrees of what Judaism means to us, and we are able to even identify how Judaism plays a role in one’s life. What is lacking is the answer to the why. 21st century Judaism is one in which every element of our Jewish identity is a choice, and that choice is a blessing. The why of being Jewish, then, is about the feelings that are evoked because we choose to embrace our Jewish identity, regardless of what that identity may look like. Together, we will explore our own why and grapple with the age-old question of Why Be Jewish?

Rabbi Josh Berkenwald – What is a Bar/Bat Mitzvah?

Participants will discover the origin of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, learn why it occurs at 12 for girls and 13 for boys, and find out what it has meant from ancient times to the present using sources from Jewish tradition and popular culture.

Rabbi Marvin Schwab – Renewing Our Vision Of Our Forefather Jacob

Jacob is often seen as the schemer who stole his brother’s birthright, fooled his father, cheated his uncle, and makes demands of God. Yet, he is also the father of the twelve tribes of Israel as he himself is transformed by his struggles along the path of life. Pursued by a brother sworn to kill him, he still manages to have vision of a stairway reaching from the earth all the way to heaven. Ultimately he has an other worldly wrestling match and is embraced by his brother. We will warp time and space to bring these events in Jacobs life renew our understanding of what is means to be the Children of Israel.

Rabbi Ilana Baird – Adult Interactive Tu B’Shvat Seder (in Russian)

Join us for a Tu B’Shvat Celebration in Russian, with fruit and wine to celebrate the New Year of the Trees. Learn about this holiday through Jewish texts, songs, and traditional foods.

Yosef Rosen, PhD – The Letters of Creativity: Abraham and the Creative Process in Sefer Yetsirah (Lehrhaus Judaica)

Description pending.

Professor Fred Astren – The Meaning of the Golden Age of Jews in Spain (Lehrhaus Judaica)

Jews and Muslims often reflect on the Golden Age of the Jews of Spain. It is described as a time when religious tolerance and inter-community cultural exchange thrived under the Muslim rulers of medieval Spain. Alternatively, the idea of the Golden Age of the Jews of Spain has been used and misused —championed and challenged — in a wide variety of forums. Come to learn how a Jewish historian analyzes this idea by taking it apart, comparing it to other periods of Jewish history, weighing its different elements, and looking at its proponents.

Rabbis Philip and Shoshana Ohriner – Envisioning Ma’alot Farms: A Journey to More Sustainable Living

Join Rabbis Philip and Shoshana Ohriner in an exploration of permaculture principles and their intersection with Jewish values and learn how these principles stand as the foundation for the building of Ma’alot Farms, a self-sustaining ecosystem in the Los Gatos hills.

Ilana Mantell – Project Zug, Powered by Machon Hadar

Picture it: Jenny, a secular Jew in Los Angeles, has a weekly online learning session with Orli, a
religious Israeli who lives on a kibbutz. In addition to getting to know each other, they are
studying Jewish philosophy, in a course entitled “What God, Prophecy, and Free Will Meant in
the Past – and What They Can Mean To Us.” The complexity and beauty of the Jewish people
open before them as they learn the texts together.
Project Zug seeks to connect Jews like Jenny and Orli through weekly one-to-one paired
(hevruta) learning. Project Zug pairs each participant with an appropriate hevruta partner, and
creates courses which serve as the curriculum. We strive to connect participants across
boundaries, pairing Israelis and Americans, secular and religious, etc.
Learning partners meet online, weekly. (Some courses are 4 weeks, others are 10 weeks.)
Together, they explore questions which are designed to promote meaningful conversation,
creating real connections to both Judaism and a new person from a different background. With
26 courses, we are expanding the definition of “Jewish learning”  by offering topics including: the spirituality of Leonard Cohen’s music, architecture in the Bible, mindfulness and mysticism, Jewish history, a food tour of the Bible, Jewish parenting, and a range of other courses. Each course includes videos of excellent teachers providing background and context, as well as written hand-outs that ignite real conversations between learning partners about how these ideas influence our everyday lives. Our diversity of topics makes sure there is a course for everyone.
This workshop will offer more information about Project Zug – what it’s about, who does it, and
how to use it.

Rabbi Leslie Alexander – The Nourishing Power of Learning

This session will explore, wonderful, very personal, Jewish texts abut learning, strength and connection.  Often rejuvenation comes through discovering ideas, values, passions and convictions. Judaism has always believed that spending time learning is the most powerful way to open our lives to newness and meaning, because when we choose to learn we take more control of our lives. Then, it’s not just someone else’s opinion or knowledge that counts, but we ourselves take in and evaluate information, gain meaning, joy and yes, power. In Judaism, learning is a portal to strength, depth and connection with God.
This session with Rabbi Alexander  is an introduction to The Melton Program, an opportunity for deep and meaningful learning and discussion which will begin this Spring.

 

Session 2 (3:50-4:45pm)
Rabbi Laurie Matzkin – Kabbalah of the Month – Secrets of Sh’vat

Join Rabbi Laurie Matzkin for an exploration of the themes of the current Jewish month and how its unique energies can help focus our intentions and relationships. ​We will also explore Tu b’Shvat as a framework for mindfulness and meditation. ​This​ ​class​ ​will integrate​ ​Jewish learning with group discussion,​ ​self-reflection,​ ​journaling, and a mindful​ eating​ exercise.​ ​

Shir Kochavi – Bringing Jewish art to America and to the Bay Area: formation of the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

In this presentation, we will be looking at the formation of what is known today as one of the biggest Jewish art collections in the US. A collection of works of art and Jewish ritual objects brough from Jewish communities around the world that formed the basis to what we know today as the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

Talila Golan – Nature Clock and Seasonal Timing

Learn about different mechanisms by which living organisms can sense the change of season and time their growth and reproduction for optimal continuation of the species. We will walk down to the creek to observe the seasonal display of the Los Gatos local nature. Please note that this group will be returning later than 4:45 and will not have much of a break before the next session.

Maha Elganaidi and Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan – Revealing Texts: A Muslim and a Jew, Their Sacred Texts, Looking at Jerusalem/Al-Quds (Lehrhaus Judaica)

“The culture of a people is an ensemble of texts….” Clifford Geertz
We hear: “It’s in the Bible,” or “The Scripture says,” or “According to the Koran,” or “The Lord said.” Do we ask ourselves, “What do we know and how do we know it?” Do we demand, “Show us where is it written and how is it interpreted?” It’s really hard to find what people are talking about in sacred texts, especially when it comes to critical issues. That is why we are producing “Revealing Texts: What Do Islamic and Jewish Texts Say About Jerusalem / Al-Quds?” Let us learn together.

Yosef Rosen, PhD – The Letters of Meditation: Shiviti Plaques as a Jewish Devotional Artform (Lehrhaus Judaica)

Description pending.

Professor Fred Astren – Rebirth after Catastrophe: The First Centuries of Ashkenazi Jewish Achievement in Poland-Lithuania (Lehrhaus Judaica)

Ashkenazi Jewry originated in the Middle Ages in Northern France and Germany, but by the fourteenth century suffered greatly as a result of the Crusades, and especially from massacre and slaughter following the Black Death in 1348. Two hundred years later Ashkenazi Jews were enjoying a period of security and achievement in the new environment of early modern Poland-Lithuania. By the seventeenth century, Ashkenazi Jews constituted the largest Jewish community in the world. What historical processes favored this unexpected migration and cultural florescence? Can we gauge how much Ashkenazi Jews and Judaism changed or remained the same during these processes? Is there historical support for saying that Jews and Judaism in Poland-Lithuania in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were exceptional or unique? Come learn about an important period of Jewish history that is often passed over in favor of earlier and later time periods.

Rabbi Jeremy Morrison, PhD – ”It is a Tree of Life to Those who Grasp It” (Prov. 3:18): The Centrality of Myth and Metaphor in the Evolution of our Religious Selves. (Lehrhaus Judaica)

Description pending.

Abra Greenspan – Devotions of the Heart: Women’s Prayer Voice (Lehrhaus Judaica)

“Now Hannah was praying in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice could not be heard.” (1 Samuel 1:13) Women have continued to pray in distinctive ways throughout Jewish history. The taking of challah, lighting the Shabbat candles, the birth of a child, the death of a soldier-son, marriage, divorce, in prosperity and adversity, these are some of the moments in a woman’s life that call out for prayer. In this session, we will explore a sampling of prayers and devotions written by and for women from medieval times through today and what we know about the women and men who wrote them. Selections will include tkhines written in Yiddish, German poems by Fanny Neuda, prayers from the Italian Jewish and Ladino traditions as well as contemporary Hebrew and English works.

Hillel SV – Building a Resilient Jewish Community on Campus

Panelists will address the challenges and adversity facing students on the college campus and how Hillel and the Jewish community can work to engage, empower, and confront these challenges and become a stronger community.
Panelists: Sarita Bronstein (Executive Director), Mitch Reitman (Assistant Director), Ben Blechman (Program and Engagement Associate), Daniel Piaskowski (Israel Fellow)

Luba Perlov – Pushka Decorating (This session continues through session 3)

We will decorate pushkas (charity coin boxes) while discussing the topic of  “What is the ultimate redemption, why we need Moshiach (the messiah), and how do we each fit in?”

Session 3 (5:00-5:55pm)
Rabbi Laurie Matzkin – Root to Rise: A Standing Yoga Sequence in Honor of Tu b’Shvat (Makom Yoga)

You may think of tree pose as the obvious yoga connection to this holiday, but there is so much more! Explore how every yoga pose (asana) builds from a foundation and lifts through to a full extension, just as a tree grows from roots to budding branches. This yoga class is suitable for all levels, including beginners and first-timers (experienced yogis will enjoy as well). Rabbi Matzkin founded Makom Yoga, bringing together Jewish text and mindful movement, and leads Pre-Shabbat Yoga classes on Fridays at 1:15 in APJCC Studio B.

Tamar Forman – Israel for REEL (created and developed by the [email protected])

This session takes us on a journey through the Eurovision song contest. Eurovision is the most watched reality song competition in the world. Every year since 1973 Israel has participated in this contest. The songs that represent Israel provide a unique opportunity to explore historical events, internal struggles, political intrigue national moods, all in a fun and interactive way.

IsraAID (Sarith Honigstein and Majeda Kardosh) – From Rescue to Reconstruction: Global Humanitarian Aid from Israel

IsraAID is a leading humanitarian non-governmental organization, committed to providing life-saving emergency relief and durable solutions for populations affected by natural disasters, epidemics and post-conflict situations. Since its inception in 2001, IsraAID has become synonymous with a rapid response to humanitarian crises. Its medical teams, search & rescue units, post trauma experts, community specialists and other professionals have led international responses in natural disasters and civil strife around the world. After the initial emergency period, IsraAID shifts to long-term programs, all to accompany communities and governments as they strive to build a better tomorrow. As of 2017, IsraAID has responded to crises in 41 countries and has on-going programs in 14 countries.

Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan – Resilience and Renewal: The Radical Mission of the Mishna to Recreate the Jewish People (Lehrhaus Judaica)

Resilience is the process of adapting in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, and threats. Resilience is not complying with the schemes and desires of tyrants and bullies. The opening words of Pirke Avot and Berakhot, both texts found in the Mishnah, are crucial examples of resilience and renewal.

Jianhu Shifu and Rabbi Hugh Seid-Valencia – Why bad things happen to good people: Zen Buddhist and Jewish perspectives

How do we account for the bad things that befall us given our desire to believe in a fair and just world? In this dialogue, we will explore Zen Buddhist and Jewish perspectives on this fundamental spiritual question, along with how we might find resources to cope when bad things do happen. Jianhu Shifu is the Abbot of Chung Tai Zen Center of Sunnyvale. and Rabbi Hugh is the Director of Community Engagement at the APJCC.

Rabbi Shaya Bernstein – The relevance of 18th century Kabbalah in 2018

A study of profound kabbalistic thought and their practical ramifications.

Taly Shemi and Roni Gerson – Art Exhibition Tour

Nature, beauty and materials in the mixed media art. Roni and Taly will talk about the process of making their mix media artwork, about the materials that they use and about their subject matter.

Mixer (6:00-6:30pm)

Discuss what you learned during the day with your fellow participants over drinks and a light dinner! Sushi and other food will as well as beer and wine will be available. Enjoy while listening to live music by Hot Kugel (Suska Varda and Mordecai)!

We would like to give a special thanks to Lehrhaus Judaica for providing Jewbilee with so many of their educators from all over the Bay Area, and for giving our participants a taste of what they offer.

 

Here is a list of the 2018 Jewbilee Presenters.

(Please note this is a partial list and is subject to change.)

 

Fred Astren

Fred Astren, Professor and Chair of the Department of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University and member of the Faculty in Middle East and Islamic Studies, received his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley, where he also earned a master’s degree in Arabic. Among Professor Astren’s publications are: Karaite Past and Jewish History (2004); Judaism and Islam: Boundaries, Communication, and Interaction (Editor, with B. H. Hary and J. L. Hayes). His areas of research include minority/sectarian history in the Mediterranean Middle Ages, with special focus on Jewish history under Islam, Islamization, Jewish-Muslim relations, and the Karaite Jewish sect. (Brought by Lehrhaus Judaica)

Rabbi Josh Berkenwald

Rabbi Josh Berkenwald joined Congregation Sinai in San Jose, California, in July 2007. He is proud to be the spiritual leader of a diverse congregation that embraces people of all ages and backgrounds who seek meaningful ways to be Jewish. In addition to serving Congregation Sinai, Rabbi Berkenwald sits on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley. Rabbi Berkenwald received his ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York City in 2007. He earned his B.A. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia in 1997, which included a year of study in Jerusalem. Rabbi Berkenwald was born in Atlanta, Georgia, grew up in Mercer Island, Washington, and has also lived in Vancouver, Canada.

Rabbi Shaya Bernstein

Rabbi Shaya Bernstein serves as the Chabad Rabbi at San Jose State University and of Downtown San Jose. Originally from Toronto, Ontario, Rabbi Bernstein studied in various Jewish Schools for over a decade, including Israel and New Haven, CT, where he mentored younger students. In 2014 he received rabbinical ordination while studying at YOEC in Los Angeles.
Rabbi Bernstein has volunteered for fledging Jewish communities around the globe, from Germany to the Caribbean Islands and many cities in between. Rabbi Shaya and his wife Brochy strive to create an environment where Jews can be proud, knowledgeable and committed to their Judaism.

Ben Blechman

Ben Blechman, Program and Engagement Coordinator at Hillel of Silicon Valley, graduated from Temple University in 2015 with a degree in Media Studies and Production. While in college, he interned for the ABC affiliate in Medford, Oregon and with production company Endgame Entertainment in Beverly Hills, CA. Ben spent the 2016-17 school year living in Netanya, Israel as a MASA Israel Teaching Fellow where he taught English to elementary school children. He enjoys long walks on the beach and shakshuka.

Sarita Bronstein

Sarita Bronstein is a passionate leader profoundly committed to Israel advocacy and the promulgation of Jewish life. She has been active in the Mid-Peninsula Jewish Community for over twenty years. Sarita served as an Executive Officer on the Board of Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School and Kehillah Jewish High School. She was a founder of the Gideon Hausner’s Middle School, Kehillah Jewish High School, and Shalhevet (Teens Program to Poland & Israel). A Wexner Heritage Foundation Alumni, she holds a B.A. degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Mass Communications and Public Relations, with the specific purpose of serving Israel. She was the College and Career Center’s Coordinator at Gunn High School. Sarita served as the Director of the Israel Travel Initiative and Israel @ 60 Mission at the Israel Center of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco. Sarita was fully responsible for initiating and establishing the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces new chapter in the San Francisco Bay area. Sarita was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. Sarita has two children, Zachary and Rebecca.

Doug Brook

Doug Brook is a longtime synagogue instructor and b’nai mitzvah trainer, who has taught locally at Congregations Sinai and Beth David, and at the APJCC. He was artistic director of Theatre Chevruta at the APJCC, directing all performances in its five years. When he’s not Torah reading, he’s in the rear pew plotting his next monthly humor column for Southern Jewish Life magazine. In theatre, he is Executive Director of Silicon Valley Shakespeare, Vice President of the international Alliance of Jewish Theatre, directs various plays and musicals, and gave the award-winning performance of Tevye you saw at WVLO in 2013. His latest play The Hood of Sherwood –- not one of his more Jewish plays -– will receive its world premiere this summer at SVS.  An Alabama native, he is a product of Alpha Epsilon Pi, Camp Ramah in New England, AZA, USY… you get the idea. With undergraduate and graduate degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, by day he is a technical writing manager, and in lieu of sleep is a student in the Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Maha Elgenaidi

Maha Elgenaidi is the founder of Islamic Networks Group (ING) and author of training handbooks on outreach for American Muslims as well as training seminars for public institutions on developing cultural competency with the American Muslim community. She received an M.A. in religious studies from Stanford University and B.A in political science and economics from the American University in Cairo. She has taught classes on Islam in the modern world at Santa Clara University, Stanford University, and the University of California at Santa Cruz, and has been recognized with numerous awards, including the “Civil Rights Leadership Award” from the California Association of Human Relations Organizations and “Citizen of the Year Award” from the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. (Brought by Lehrhaus Judaica)

Tamar Forman

Tamar Forman is new to California. Born and raised in Israel, she is trained as an informal Jewish educator and has worked for twenty years as a guide and educator for groups visiting Israel as well as a teacher in various synagogues, schools, and other educational frameworks. Tamar is a graduate of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem’s Anthropology and Jewish Studies departments, as well as a ceramic artist. She weaves into her teaching a passion for Jewish Studies, clay, feminism and social activism. She has drawn upon her education background, training in art therapy and art skills to teach and design programs at Jerusalem’s cancer society support center, and at the Jerusalem Rehabilitation pre-school—a school for children with special needs. Tamar is married to Rabbi Michael Schwartz; they are the parents of Yami (15), Yarden (13), Zohar (10) and David (4).

Talila Golan

Talila Golan Ph.D., Plant Biologist, Naturalist and Hiking Guide. Born and raised in Israel, Talila got her B.Sc. in Life Sciences at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and served as a lieutenant on the Israeli Navy. Following service she moved to United States to continue my studies for PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Upon completing her PhD, Talila moved to California for postdoctoral research on photosynthesis in the University of California, Berkeley. Following the birth of her daughters Talila paused her academic career to focus on parenting and to increase her knowledge of the local Bay Area natural history. Five years ago Talila opened East Bay LORe, a business dedicated to bring the knowledge of the Bay Area natural history to schools and to the general public.

Abra Greenspan

Abra Greenspan, RJE, joined Lehrhaus Judaica in August 2012. She is also the Director of Learning at Congregation Etz Chayim in Palo Alto. Abra has worked in Jewish education for over 30 years, including 12 years as the Director of Youth Education at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco. She holds a BA in religious studies, an MA in Japanese language and literature from Stanford University, and an MS in Jewish education from Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago. She received her Reform Jewish Educator Credential in July 2011. (Brought by Lehrhaus Judaica)

Sarith Honigstein

Sarith Honigstein is the Sr. Director of Operations for IsraAID US. Sarith is a seasoned marketing and programs professional with 15 years of work experience for technology companies and nonprofit organizations. She holds a BA in International Relations from Hebrew University, Jerusalem and a MSc in Marketing from Baruch College, New York. Originally from Germany, Sarith lived in the UK and Israel before relocating to the Bay Area in 2012. Before joining IsraAID in early 2017, Sarith set up and ran a community outreach program for Jewish families in the Bay Area as well as consulted for various local non-profits on marketing and outreach.

Venerable Jian Hu

Venerable Jian Hu is the Abbot of Chung Tai Zen Center of Sunnyvale. He is a graduate from California Institute of Technology and earned his doctorate in Artificial Neural Networks from UC San Diego. He renounced the secular life and was ordained at Chung Tai Chan Monastery in Taiwan in 1994. In 2004, Jian Hu Shifu established the Zen Center of Sunnyvale in Silicon Valley. Under his leadership the Zen Center became well known locally, and demands for its programs increased rapidly. Besides offering Zen Buddhism classes and retreats, the Zen Center also hosts a variety of programs advocating vegetarianism, sustainable living, and interfaith dialogue.

Rabbi Samantha Kahn

Rabbi Samantha Kahn is the director of InterfaithFamily/Bay Area. For the past six years, Rabbi Samantha Kahn served as the Assistant Rabbi of Congregation Emanu El, in Houston, TX, where she was nicknamed the ‘Chief Engagement Officer’ for her warm presence and ability to create meaningful connections. Born into the vibrant Jewish community of Miami, Florida, Rabbi Kahn is truly a product of Jewish communal institutions and deeply values the multitude of organizations which exist to enrich our community. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Florida, majoring in Political Science and Religion, and earned rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. There she also received a Master of Arts in Jewish Nonprofit Management, Masters of Hebrew Letters and a Certificate in Jewish Communal Service. She is a devoted mother and wife who’s most content when seeing her husband and children giggling.

Majeda Kardosh

Majeda Kardosh is a registered nurse, with a Master degree in nursing science. She worked as a lecturer and head of fundamental division of the first year nursing students, in Tel Aviv university. In 2015, she volunteered with IsraAid, as a medical team on the shore of Lesbos-Greece. Since then, she’s been sharing my personal experience with others.

Shir Kochavi

Shir Kochavi is assistant curator at the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life in UC Berkeley. Last year, while working as Cultural Arts Director at the APJCC, she completed her PhD in Jewish cultural history at the University of Leeds, UK. Past Bay Area work experience includes: the Peninsula JCC and the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Before moving to the Bay Area from Israel, Shir worked as a provenance researcher at The Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victim’s Assets, an Israeli government-led organization. As part of this project, she worked with several museums and research institutions locally and around the world including the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Rav Menachem Levine

Rav Menachem Levine moved to the Bay Area in 2007 to become the rabbi of Congregation Am Echad in San Jose. A native of Miami Beach, Rav Levine spent over a decade studying in advanced yeshivas, including Beth Medrosh Govoha of Lakewood, NJ, and and Mir-Yerushalayim, the largest yeshiva in the world. In addition to his rabbinic ordination, Rav Levine is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania Law School and a member of the New Jersey Bar. Under Rav Levine’s leadership, Am Echad has nearly tripled in membership, including many individuals who did not grow up Orthodox. Rav Levine is passionate about Torah study, the importance of character development and living a full Jewish life. Rav Levine spearheaded the San Jose Community Eruv, which was recently completed and is the largest Eruv in Northern California. As rabbinical adviser to Chevra Kaddishah of the South Bay, he takes an active interest in assuring Jewish burial and ritual practices to Jews of all backgrounds. Rav Levine lectures frequently, and has nearly 200 classes available online, most notably the popular 2000 Years of Jewish History. He has founded or served on the board of many local and national non-profit organizations and foundations. He and his wife, Rachelli, are the proud (and busy) parents of 8 children.

Rotem Malach

Rotem Malach, both a licensed attorney and a teacher, currently works as the central emissary in North America for the World Zionist Organization’s Department of Diaspora Activities.
Prior experience:
Founder and Board Member of LSD, Lets Start Davening, an alternative grass roots community in Berlin, Germany.
High school teacher and educator.
Education Consultant at “Tlalim” group.
Co-developed an alternative evaluation plan for the national Civics Exam in Israel.
Award winner “Teacher of the state of Israel”.
Author of “The Democratic Citizen”, a civics textbook used in Israeli schools.
Pioneer and mentor at “Teach for Israel”, an educational project whose goal is to encourage talented youth and to have them integrated as teachers in the Israeli school system.

Ilana Mantell

Ilana Mantell spent two years learning Talmud at Mechon Hadar. Now, she directs many of
Hadar’s strategic partnerships around the country, and is enjoying Project Zug’s course about the poetry of the psalms.

Rabbi Jeremy Morrison

Rabbi Jeremy Morrison is the Executive Director of Lehrhaus Judaica. Before beginning his tenure at Lehrhaus, Jeremy served as Associate Rabbi of Temple Israel of Boston for 15 years. Among other leadership roles at Temple Israel, Jeremy was the founding director of the Riverway Project, a nationally a nationally recognized outreach and engagement initiative for adults in their 20s and 30s, and he served as the synagogue’s Director of Education. In 2017, He completed his PhD in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. Jeremy lives in North Berkeley with his wife, Molly, and their two children, Ezekiel and Poppy. (Brought by Lehrhaus Judaica)

Rabbi Philip Ohriner

Rabbi Philip Ohriner is the Spiritual Leader of Congregation Beth David in Saratoga, CA where he has served for the past 8 years. Rabbi Ohriner is stepping down from the pulpit this summer to join his wife, Rabbi Shoshana Ohriner, and their three children, Ari, Eli, and Kobi, in envisioning and cultivating Ma’alot Farms, a self-sustaining ecosystem in the Los Gatos Hills.

Luba Ahuva Perlov

Luba Ahuva Perlov moved to San Jose with her husband and children, to be involved in Jewish outreach. She is also a talented artist, illustrator, journalist, and author of the bestseller “Let It Stay Between Us”. Her new book “Diary of a Dreamer” is currently being prepared for publishing.

Daniel Piaskowski

Daniel Piaskowski, our Israel Fellow, holds a B.A in International Relations, Political Science and Communication from The Open University. While studying, Daniel interned at Member of Parliament’s office the Israeli Knesset. He also participated at The Open University Debate Club and Model UN Club. In addition, Daniel worked as a project manager at a New-Media and marketing agency. As a hobby, Daniel has been radio broadcasting and voice acting for more than 4 years. While serving in the IDF Daniel served as a team commander at the Artillery Forces and lead over 30 soldiers.

Mitch Reitman

Mitch Reitman, Assistant Director of Hillel of Silicon Valley, is responsible for programming, fundraising, and administrative tasks here at Hillel of Silicon Valley. Mitch’s career spans over 30 years as a Jewish communal professional, development officer and non-profit administrator. Mitch has worked in Jewish Community Federations, as an Executive Director at several Bay Area synagogues, as well as Regional Executive Director of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and USY. Later, Mitch worked as Development Director for several notable non-profits in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mitch holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from San Diego State University, and Master’s Degrees in Social Work from the University of Maryland and in Jewish Studies from Baltimore Hebrew University. He lives in Foster City with his wife, Lisa. Together, they have two grown sons, Jeremy and Adam and a new grandson, Jordan.

Yosef Rosen

Yosef Rosen is an historian and teacher of Jewish creativity. His classes weave together the imaginative and social dimensions of Jewish creative genres—Kabbalah, Talmud, philosophy, and poetry—and invite students to discover their own genres of intellectual creativity. He has a PhD in Jewish Studies from UC Berkeley, where he completed a dissertation on representations of spiritual community in the Zohar. Before moving to the Bay seven years ago, Yosef spent many years in traditional and innovative yeshivot in both Israel and America. In his spare time he wanders the woodlands of Northern California and celebrates the hills of the Bay on his bike. (Brought by Lehrhaus Judaica)

Rabbi Marvin Schwab

Rabbi Marvin Schwab received his undergraduate degree is in Zoology with the equivalent of a minor in Chemistry from UCLA. He was certified as a Medical Technologist by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists and the state of California. He was ordained as a rabbi by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati after attending campuses located in Jerusalem, Israel (where he lived for one year), Los Angeles, California, and Cincinnati, Ohio. He holds a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters, and in June of 2010 was granted a honorary Doctor of Divinity by HUC-JIR in Los Angeles. Rabbi Schwab is the Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth Shalom, a Reform Jewish congregation, in Santa Fe which he served from August 1, 2001 to July 30, 2014. He is a founder of the Interfaith Leadership Alliance (ILA) of Santa Fe, and has served as its President and Treasurer. The ILA is the founding and sponsoring organization of the Community Closet which provides clothes free of charge to the those in need. It also is the founding agency of the Santa Fe Interfaith Homeless Shelter on whose board Rabbi Schwab also served. Rabbi Schwab is a past president of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis, the western region of the Central Conference of Reform Rabbis. He has been active in social issues, having served on the board of the Santa Fe Food Depot, and advocating on behalf of living wage legislation, repeal of the death penalty, the rights of domestic partners and a woman’s right to choose. The Santa Fe Human Rights Alliance has presented him with an award as a Treasure of Santa Fe.

Taly Shemy

Taly Shemy was born and raised in Israel on a farm based, collective community settlement (kibbutz). When she was a child, her parents would take their family on nature walks and point out and identify birds. As an adult she feels drawn to the subject of local birds and other wildlife, their lives and their environments. As many of the local birds here in Northern California are very similar to those which can be found in Israel, she finds that after so many years away from her homeland, her art reflects the connection between her two homes. The local birds and other wildlife are the focal point of her collages. Just as birds gather pieces for their nests, she gathers paper pieces from fashion catalogues, old books, music notes, maps, wallpaper sample books and scrap paper to create a habitat for the animals. Their natural surrounding is translated in her work into abstract forms that are created from colors and papers. I use acrylic paint and pencils, charcoals and markers to add drawing and marks on the wood. She is a graduate of Beit Berel College, School of Art in Israel. Along with her husband she raises 3 daughters and works and teaches in her Sunnyvale-based studio.

Rabbi PJ Schwartz

Rabbi PJ Schwartz was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati, OH in June 2013. He currently is Rabbi Educator at Congregation Shir Hadash. He oversees the formal and informal youth education programs, as well as partners with Rabbi Aron and Cantor Felder- Levy in leading worship services, officiating life-cycle events, visiting members for pastoral care, and providing staff leadership. Prior to his tenure at Congregation Shir Hadash, Rabbi Schwartz served as Assistant Rabbi of Temple Israel in Westport, CT. In addition to his ordination, Rabbi Schwartz holds a Masters in Educational Administration with a Specialization in Jewish Education as well as a Certificate in Jewish Education Specializing in Adolescents and Emerging Adults.

Peretz Wolf-Prusan

Peretz Wolf-Prusan is the Chief Program Officer and a Senior Educator at Lehrhaus Judaica. At Lehrhaus since 2010, he is engaged in community education for the Bay Area, focusing on conferences, retreats, tours, the Bay Area Community Talmud Circle, and Lehrhaus Philosophy Circle, and adjunct faculty for the JFCS Holocaust Center.

Nechama Tamler

Nechama Tamler teaches (and learns from) adults in a variety of settings. Currently, she facilitates private study groups in the Peninsula with a curriculum she co-designed with Tzippi Zach, Traditional Texts Meet Israeli Pop Culture. Formerly, she was a faculty member of the Florence Melton Adult Mini School at the JCC of Greater San Jose and the JCC in Palo Alto. She created and led professional development for synagogue school teachers sponsored by Jewish Learning Works (formerly BJE). Nechama has taught at the Feast of Jewish Learning, Limmud Bay Area and Bible By The Bay. She was on the staff of the JCF of San Francisco and Jewish Learning Works for over 20 years.

Tzippi Zach

Tzippi Zach, a native Israeli, develops innovative programs in Judaism and contemporary Israeli culture as well as ways to create and strengthen the connections between the Israeli and the Jewish communities in the Silicon Valley. Currently she facilitates private study groups, with a new curriculum she co-designed: Traditional Texts Meet Israeli Pop Culture. The program looks at contemporary pop culture productions–music, poetry, film, and TV– as a prism into current trends in Israeli Jewish-secular society. She also co-facilitates the “Gvanim” leadership program at OFJCC.

Thank You To Our 2018 Sponsors

Jewbilee Jewish Day of Learning is made possible, in part, by the Corporate Alliance sponsorships of Belmont Village Senior Living, Family Matters In-Home Care, and  Los Gatos Memorial Park & Darling-Fischer. The APJCC is proud to be a part of the Initiative on Jewish Peoplehood, co-funded by the Koret Foundation and the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture, and supported further by the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley and other generous supporters.