What is Shabbat?

JewCurious – An Intro to Judaism
with Lisa Strongin, Olivia Kurz, and Jeffrey Kessler
Wednesday, March 10  |  6:30 – 8:30pm  |  by donation
Co-sponsored by Moishe House Oakland – Rockridge

Entering Shabbat, our palace in time.
The ritual of Shabbat is a gift to slow down, to stop doing, and enjoy simply being. We will share in the spirit of Shabbat, diving into the deeper meanings of the traditional prayers and practices, with blessings and beautiful shabbat melodies. We will support you in bringing the peace and joy of Shabbat into your own home, becoming comfortable with the flow of prayers and rituals at Chochmat HaLev and any Friday night Shabbat service.

Are you Jew Curious? So are we! Whether you have questions about rituals and observances, ethical principles, prayer practices, connection to the creative force that animates all life, or whatever, let’s explore answers in community!

“Judaism is the rarest of phenomena: a faith based on asking questions” (R. Jonathan Sachs, z’l). This is especially true within a Jewish Renewal community like Chochmat HaLev. A Renewal community seeks to breathe new life into our ancestral traditions, imbuing them with renewed relevance for us in our time.

Who is this for? Folks new to Jewish tradition or experiencing a renewed interest in their roots; people looking for spiritual nurture or returning to Judaism after a bad or dull experience; anyone who wants to engage in this tradition from an inclusive, progressive, celebratory, and soulful perspective.

JewCurious is our new series designed to help you dive into Jewish practice. Stay tuned for two upcoming classes Prayer Practice in the Four Worlds of Judaism and Torah – The Mystical and Practical Connection of Past, Present, and Future. And there will be more to come! We will continually shape our curriculum based on participants’ interests and questions. 

Lisa Strongin – My return to Judaism began my first year in San Francisco, when I wandered into Congregation Beth Sholom for HHD and heard R. Saul White (z”l) inspire his congregation to fully embrace what it meant to be a Jew. Further exploration led to me to read, debate and discover just how deep and soulful Judaism can be. I have served as lay leader and educator in a variety of Jewish contexts and always learn something more from the adults and children as we wrestle with text and tradition.

Jeffrey Kessler is President of the Chochmat Board of Directors and has been a spiritual seeker all his life. Coming from an interfaith background, his exploration of various spiritual traditions and psycho-physical systems has always been with an eye to ‘what is the common’ to all. As a life-long seeker of truth, he understands that the process of teaching effectively requires intentional exploration of what is still unknown in the landscape of the self. Jeffrey is a longtime practitioner and teacher of meditation, Tai-Chi, Chi Gung, and Mussar. His gentle presence is a foundational bedrock at Chochmat.

Olivia Kurz – After a long period of alienation from Judaism, Olivia has spent the past three and a half years uncovering and nurturing her connection to her Jewish roots, traditions, culture, and spirituality. She is a resident of Moishe House Oakland-Rockridge, where she organizes community events for the East Bay Jewish crowd in their 20s and 30s and beyond. She is grateful for her queer, diaspora-loving, justice-seeking community, from which she has learned so much, from Yiddish songs to queer Talmud and text study, from ritual practice to Jewish dance. She also works in the field of ecology and conservation and is passionate about earth-based Jewish traditions.


Mar 10 2021


6:30 pm
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