Searching for the right-fit Jewish community

Hello BPN,

We are expecting our first child soon and I'm looking to join a temple or Jewish community to help them connect with their Jewish identity.  We are not religious, and my partner is not Jewish, though I am highly connected to Jewish identity and culture, and would like to find support in passing this along to our child.  Do you have suggestions for a synagogue that might be a good fit?  We are in North Oakland.


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Temple Isaiah - Lafayette, CA

Worth the trip, great community!

I’m kind of in the same boat, my little guy is almost 5 months old and I’m Jewish while my husband isn’t. I would recommend checking out the local JCC. I work for one in SF so perhaps I’m a bit biased but I’ve been thinking about checking out the one in Berkeley soon. 

Without a doubt, Temple Sinai in Oakland.  We are so happy we enrolled our child in the preschool there, which is absolutely full of interfaith families and a very high number of non-Jewish and non-religious families.  It's a wonderful school with caring teachers, and a lovely community.  Honestly, we were just looking for a solid school that worked logistically for our family.  We didn't realize it would quietly forge such a strong sense of Jewish identity and belonging for our child.  We've stayed members of the synagogue because our child loves the place so much, it feels diverse and welcoming, and the two Rabbis are both absolutely fantastic.

You might like Temple Sinai, which is friendly to mixed families and has a range of secular vs. religion-oriented programming.

Look over their website.

We are in a kind of similar boat. There are a few choices but I'm guessing that Temple Sinai will be the most recommended choice. They have a good preschool and that can be a very solid start. Temple Beth Abraham also has a good preschool.

For the pre- preschool times: once baby is crawling, I recommend you + baby attend Friday mornings at Kindergym with the amazing Dawn Margolin. She is a great resource and can point you toward like-minded folks. The Friday morning sessions include blessings and songs with the rabbi. Plus Kindergym is lots of fun for you and baby.

Also you can connect with Dawn Kepler at Building Jewish Bridges which works with interfaith families.

Good luck! Feel free to send a message if you want to chat.


You should check out Temple Sinai in Oakland.  There are many families with one Jewish spouse and one non-Jewish spouse, and it is a thriving, open-minded community.  The rabbis are lovely and supportive of whatever type of Judaism you and your family practice.  We are in a similar situation and have felt welcomed.  Good luck!

I highly recommend Kehilla Community Synagogue. I have gone there on and off since I was a kid. It's in Piedmont. It's a huge range of religious identities, including its fair share of self-identified atheists and agnostics. And great for kids - they have a "tot Shabbat" event every Saturday morning that's a lot of fun. Good luck with your search!

You might consider enrolling your child in Gan Abraham at Beth Abraham---it is a wonderful pre-school that starts at age 2, I believe.  Not sure whether you need to be a member but it is a warm community there.   I had the same situation as you and sent our son to pre-school at Beth-El.   

+1 for temple sinai. Husband comes from an Orthodox Jewish family. Neither of us really believes in God. I’m Asian American. We sent our kid to preschool there bc they have curbside drop off and very convenient and flexible hours. We became members, and though we haven’t really had time to get very involved, my child thrives there. There are lots of opportunities for community building. 

Jewish Gateways is a really great organization and sounds like it fits what you're looking for. It's an open Jewish community that has lots of great programming for kids and families, as well as adults. They're very much oriented towards being accessible to EVERYONE, religious or not, Jewish or not, etc. I grew up super secular and have an interfaith marriage and I've never had the feeling there like I didn't know enough or didn't belong. Rabbi Bridget is fantastic and the events take place mostly in Berkeley. Feel free to message me if you have any questions as I've participated in lots of their programming, but I would definitely encourage you to check it out either way.