Growing up in a conversative Jewish household, I came to dread the High Holidays. Yom Kippur meant hour upon hour of services in impenetrable Hebrew standing in an uncomfortable suit, hunger gnawing all the while. Rosh Hashanah was only better in the sense that there was no fasting, but then stretched across two days rather than one. I had little care for the significance of the days, and even the fact that it usually meant missing a few days of school was little consolation when measured against the discomfort and boredom. In discussions with others who were raised in conservative or traditional Judaism, I learned that I was not alone in this opinion.
As an adult, I have a greater appreciation for the meaning behind these days, but little interest in subjecting myself or my own children to what I mostly remember as torment.
However, the High Holidays as celebrated by Tri-Valley Cultural Jews bear little resemblance to my prior experience. The focus is on the meaning of the days, but expressed in contemporary terms that are both more relatable to secular Jews of all ages and surprisingly enjoyable. The key rituals remain — the blowing of the shofar, Tashlich, the round challah — but they are framed in a modern and meaningful way.
So today, rather than dreading the High Holidays, I find myself looking forward to them, more fully able to appreciate their significance and the opportunity to celebrate with the TVCJ community.
A Livermore Area Recreation and Parks District Ranger will join us again this year for an exciting program about native trees and the animals that depend on them. In addition, to honor greening efforts in the Bay Area, children will take home pre-planted native oak tree seedlings, and receive instruction on their care and feeding and when and where to plant them. Following these activities will be a yummy pot-luck lunch, accompanied by music and singing. Please bring a dish to share. Since we have members who are dairy- and/or gluten-free, please bring a card with your dish that lists the ingredients. In keeping with this holiday tradition, you are encouraged to include one or more of the following ingredients: Dates, Figs, Oranges, Almonds,Raisins, Olives, Carob.
Date: February 9
Time: 10:15 – 1:00
Venue: Bothwell Arts Center. 2466 8th Street, Livermore
Cost: $10 per non-member adult
We celebrated Lag B’omer this year with a potluck brunch and games. The weather broke just enough for us to hold our traditional watermelon toss. Thank you to Karen and Joy for help with planning and set-up of the event and to Ira for taking photos.
TVCJ’s annual community seder will be held at the Bothwell Arts Center, 2466 8th Street in Livermore on Saturday, April 20 at 5 p.m. Reservations are required. To reserve a space and receive a potluck assignment, please call (510) 888-1404 or e-mail Reservations@EastBayCulturalJews.org by April 15. Food need not be kosher for Passover. There is a requested donation of $25/adult non-member of TVCJ. Children are welcome. Our secular seder, replete with songs of resistance and hope, uses an English-language progressive Secular haggadah highlighting the power of community and the value of freedom. The hour-long ceremony, followed by a potluck dinner, is family-friendly (but not child-centered).
LARPD Ranger Amy will lead the group on a hike along the Arroyo del Valle. We will look for the plants and animals that call this area home. We are sure to find lots of cool bugs and other creatures along the way! We plan to walk rain or shine so please dress appropriately and wear comfortable shoes. Please bring a potluck dish to share. We have members that are dairy-free and gluten-free so please indicate on an index card your ingredients. Potluck at Noon.
When: Sunday, January 27th, 2019, 10:30am – 12:30pmWhere: Sycamore Grove Park Parking Lot, 1051 Wetmore Rd, Livermore, CA 94550
Cost: FREE for members and children, $10.00 per non-member adult
Join the Tri-Valley Cultural Jews to celebrate Hanukkah on Saturday, December 8, 2018 from 6:00 – 8:00pm, with an evening of latkes, lights, music and yummy food. Bring your menorah and food to share as we gather to light our candles together, sing traditional holiday songs, and eat the freshly fried latkes pouring from the kitchen. We blend traditional celebrations with new.
Our celebration this year will be at a member’s house in Castro Valley. To RSVP and get directions call (510) 282-4261.
Please join Tri-Valley Cultural Jews on Sunday, September 23rd from 10:30 – 12:30 for our annual Sukkot celebration and our first day of Jewish Culture School. We will build a sukkah and enjoy a potluck brunch to celebrate our harvest holiday. There will be activities for children and adults. Please bring a dish to share (we have members with allergies, so please label ingredients), a branch for the roof of the sukkah, and a piece of fruit or gourd to hang. If you have one, also bring your hammer and/or power drill so you can pitch in and help build our sukkah! This event will take place at the Pepper Home… 6448 Owl Way in Livermore. To RSVP, please call 650-296-5295.
Join Tri-Valley Cultural Jews for a secular, humanistic observance of Yom Kippur. We will be holding a Kol Nidre service on Tues Sept 18, 2018 at 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Bothwell Arts Center, 2466 8th Street, Livermore CA. This will be a program of readings in English, with discussion and music. Suggested donation $10 for non-member adults. For more information: (925) 485-1049.
Join Tri-Valley Cultural Jews in celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish New Year, on September 9 from 4:30 – 8:30pm at the Bothwell Arts Center in Livermore. We will start with Tashlich (4:30), which is a walk to the nearby creek to symbolically wash away our misdeeds of the past year. Then we will have a potluck back at the Bothwell Center (5:30) followed by a secular humanistic Rosh Hashanah observance (7:00-8:00). This is a child friendly but not child-centered event. Free to members; $10 per non-member adult.