CSJO Conference

We are very excited about this year’s conference. While we are unable to meet in person due to the pandemic, we are still able to be together and share in some wonderfully inspiring workshops and other fun activities – all because of the wonders of the virtual world.

Of course. we will begin the weekend with our shabes program and oneg. It will be a chance to see old friends and meet new ones. Saturday will be filled with workshops and some Saturday night fun. We will meet again on Sunday for more inspiring workshops and then our famous talent show. Throughout the weekend, we will set time aside to schmooze, have rousing political discussions, plan to save the world and just relax with some friends.

In honor of our theme, we will have a number of speakers from organizations whose missions speak to us on many levels. Here is just a sample of what to look forward to;

Rebecca Ireland: social justice activist, member of our Tri-Valley Affiliate and youth representative to our Board of Directors
Liv Randall from US Together: Their mission is to “coordinate, organize, and initiate services to refugees and immigrants through education, advocacy, support services, information, referrals, and networking opportunities…”
Rebecca Markert from Freedom From Religion Foundation
Mark Tiborsky from Northern Ohio FreeThought Society
Kevin Bolling from Secular Student Alliance

More information will be coming soon. Registration is currently open!
https://www.tickettailor.com/events/congressofsecularjewishoragnizations/504707

Interfaith Interconnect Religion Chat

Please join Interfaith Interconnect at our virtual Interfaith Interconnect Religion Chat!
Wednesday, April 14, 2021, 5:00–6:15 p.m.
Online via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81203340837
Meeting room opens at 4:45. Program begins at 5:00.

Topic: How does your community provide for those who come in need of forgiveness?
Speakers: Rev. Ellie Kilpatrick, Unitarian Universalist Church, Livermore; and Bishop Roger Persson, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

After the presentations, there will be time for questions, followed by optional participation in break-out groups.

We look forward to having you join us April 14!
Ruth Gasten and Marcia Elchesen
Interfaith Interconnect Leadership Committee

Virtual Passover Seder

The TVCJ annual community Seder will be held virtually on Sunday, March 28, 2021 at 5 p.m via Zoom. Everyone will participate in the comfort of their own home. Our progressive, secular humanistic Seder includes English-language readings highlighting the power of community and the value of freedom, along with songs in English, Yiddish and Hebrew. The hour-long ceremony is followed by optional schmoozing time while your family eats the dinner that you’ve prepared in your home. The event is family-friendly. We will provide a shopping list for your seder plate, suggested recipes, and the Passover Haggadah. We ask non-member adults to give a donation of $10 if you are able to support our programming.

If you have any questions or if you would like to be put on the evite list for this event, please email culturaljews@gmail.com

Why I chose Jewish Secularism and Joined Tri-Valley Cultural Jews

by Joy Randel

I was eight years old.  My family, uncle, aunt and cousins sat at my grandmother’s dining room table set with her plates and bowls made of green Depression glass. Food sat on beautiful platters in the middle of the table.  But we couldn’t eat it yet. It was another one of those Jewish holidays where we had to read from the thick prayer book written in Hebrew with Yiddish supplements until midnight before we could eat. My grandfather had passed away when I was one years old but we felt his presence.  My grandmother took over the reading of the prayer book and kept a kosher kitchen.  My mother had grown up in this home full of tradition and culture.  My father sat impatiently while awaiting his meal, helping my brother and me sneak food.  Other than those little tidbits, we just had to sit there hungry, listening to grown-ups recite words we couldn’t understand.  Not a great motivator for us to be really into the religious part of Judaism. 

My father’s parents were both Jewish, but he was raised with a Christmas tree and celebrated Christian holidays.  His mother thought it was easier to do what everybody else did around them.  I decided that I enjoyed the culture and traditions of Judaism, but I chose not to practice it as a religion.

My husband was raised Protestant and is also not religious.  When we had our daughter, we decided that we would raise her as Jewish and teach her Jewish culture and traditions.  When we moved to the Tri-Valley, I attended a local festival where Tri-Valley Cultural Jews had a booth.  I learned that Tri-Valley Cultural Jews is a secular organization where my daughter could learn about Jewish culture, history and traditions without being religious.   Our daughter attended Jewish Culture School where she learned about Jewish holidays, Jews from Around the World and cooked traditional Jewish recipes.  She also participated in community service projects, learned about Jews during the Black Plague, and researched Jewish authors and read their books as part of her preparation for her Bat Mitzvah.  She had a beautiful Tri-Valley Cultural Jews Bat Mitzvah that celebrated her coming of age in accordance with Jewish tradition.  We continue to be part of the Tri-Valley Cultural Jews as our daughter goes off to college because we enjoy the feeling of community that it provides.  

Tri-Valley Cultural Jews Virtual Tu B’Shvat

Tu B’Shvat has become a “Jewish Earth Day” when we focus on the environment. This year will be a virtual Tu B’Shvat event on Zoom. We will be have Leah Morrison speak to us about her journey making a zero-waste household, and give us tips. In addition, we will have a short Tu B’Shvat seder. On Tu B’Shvat it is traditional to eat 7 foods native to Israel, so we invite you to make a dish that incorporates one or more of the following: olives, grapes(raisins), figs, dates, citrus, almonds, and carob. Please share with us what you make at the event, and we will collect recipes to distribute. Look for the evite or email culturaljews@gmail.com for the Zoom code.

When: January 24, 10:30 – 12:00
Cost: Free to members. $10 suggested donation per non-member adult

October Havdalah

Our monthly Havdalah will be on October 24 at 7pm.
We will be having our short secular, humanistic observance and then hearing about one of Maya’s Brit Mitzvah projects. If you’d like to participate have a braided candle, glass of wine/juice, and spices.If there is time afterward we can play virtual games on Zoom.

Look for the evite with the zoom code or contact Jamie at Culturaljews@gmail.com for the zoom code.