Jewish Gateways, an open community, invites all to explore and connect with Jewish traditions.
 
Our “come as you are, no experience necessary” environment encourages wandering and wondering Jews and their families and friends to discover what is personally meaningful. 

Learning and discussing at an adult gathering

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Listening to a story at a family gathering

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Learning the shofar song at
Learning the shofar song at

Rosh Hashanah family service

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Learning and discussing at an adult gathering

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The first night of Hanukkah is Sunday, November 28. Get the candle blessings, holiday songs, stories, and more here.

Light up the night! Enjoy Hanukkah music and candle lighting with Rabbi Bridget and the Jewish Gateways community on Friday, December 3, 6:00pm PT. Bring your menorah! Join here.
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Upcoming Events

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DEATH CAFÉ, ALBANY (Zoom event)

Next session: November 28, 4:00-5:30pm PT, online

Cohosted by Lori Goldwyn and Jim Kirkpatrick


Death Café offers a confidential, safe, and caring environment to discuss death and dying. We welcome participants of any background, religion, culture, or belief. Thoughts, feelings, and experiences are all relevant. There is no pre-formulated agenda. Although this is not a grief support or counseling group, we can certainly discuss grief.

 

Click here for more information and to register.

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EASY, DOCENT-LED HIKE IN REDWOOD PARK, FAMILY AND BEGINNER FRIENDLY

December 4, 9:00am-noon PT

Led by Scott Williams

 

Join us for a walk though lovely redwood groves, led by community member Scott Williams, a passionate and expert hiker. Scott will discuss the Jurassic Forest, flora, fauna, the Regional Park System, and the joys of walking without getting hurt. This will be an easy hike of around 2 miles round trip, geared toward families with children, older adults, and people new to hiking.

Click here for more information and to register.

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JOIN US FOR CANDLELIGHT, MUSIC, AND FRIENDLY FACES

Shabbat candle lighting

Resumes Friday, December 3, 6:00 pm PT, online

Set up your candles, wine or juice, and challah, and join the Jewish Gateways community online for singing, candle lighting, and blessings! All are welcome, adults or children, Jewish or not. The words to the songs and blessings will be visible as we sing them.

Join via Zoom here

Get a Taste of Rabbi Bridget Wynne's Teachings

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Making Room for Our Fears, Opening Our Hearts
Sermon for Rosh Hashanah 2020 • 5781

Do you remember, many long months ago, the Great Toilet Paper Panic of 2020? In case it’s hard to think back that far, I’ll share a few highlights. Some folks responded with unusual solutions, ranging from creative to desperate to illegal. A Los Angeles restaurant started selling “emergency taco kits” that included several pounds of meat, rice, beans, and, crucially, four rolls of toilet paper. There were fights in store aisles over the precious rolls. Police even caught one person transporting nearly 18,000 pounds of the stuff in a stolen 18-wheeler.

 

Then there were the ordinary folks, rushing to Costco, scouring the internet, perhaps considering a columnist’s suggestion that when children find the afikoman – a hidden piece of matzah – at the Passover seder, rather than the usual small prize, we give them something far more valuable – a roll of toilet paper. 

 

Ironically, panic buying helps cause the shortages people fear. But it’s understandable. We’re frightened. We are aware of the truth we usually push away, except in times of illness, or other crises – that life is uncertain, we don’t know what the future will bring. We want to feel secure, protected. We want to regain a sense of control. 

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The Power of Vulnerability
Sermon for Yom Kippur 2020 • 5781

In my first position as a rabbi, one of my responsibilities was to organize a group of synagogue members to help those who were ill or facing other crises. We had a few meetings and set up a communication system. Then, we ran into a problem we hadn’t expected: hardly anyone was willing to accept help. A committee member would call a family in which someone was ill and offer to bring food, or help with rides, and almost every time the response was something along the lines of, “Thank you, but we’re OK.”

I dug deeper to try to understand what was going on. Here’s what I discovered. Many people were embarrassed to have others see them not at their best, or to say that they couldn’t manage things on their own. They were afraid of feeling indebted – if they accepted help, what would they have to do in return? Needing help from others seemed to be an admission of failure.

This shouldn’t have been such a surprise. We live in a culture in which we are taught to be self-sufficient, and to strive for perfection. We like to prevent or fix vulnerability. 

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