Archived Q&A and Reviews
Re: Sunday School for ''Cultural'' Jews?
Kol Hadash is the place for you. It is a small congregation for secular, humanistic Judaism. They have a Sunday school. Most meetings take place at the Albany Community Center. Check them out on line. Also, you can participate for free for a while to check them out. culturally Jewish atheist
There is a gem of a Sunday School for ''Cultural'' Jews who want to give their kids a sense of Jewish history, culture, and values, in a secular setting. I think it could be just what you are looking for. It is part of Kol Hadash, a congregation that is part of the national society for humanistic Judaism. Our children (7 and 11) have been going for a few years and are having a very positive experience. The teachers are really excellent and really make it interactive and get the kids engaged. I think the best testament is that my kids don't resist going which is saying a lot. It also has a terrific non-traditional Bar/Bat Mitvah program. Instead of focusing on learning Hebrew and reading from the Torah, the kids, with the guidance of the teacher, research an area related to Judaism that is also of interest to them and that becomes the centerpiece of their presentation. The school also only meets twice a month on Sunday mornings (from 9:30-11:30) which is significantly less of a time commitment than traditional schools. The School (along with the general congregation) meets at the Albany Community Center on Marin Avenue in Albany. Please feel free to email me if you would like to get more information or have questions. I'd be happy to talk to you (or anyone else who is interested). Kol Hadash also has a good web site that you can check out - and it has info on the Sunday School. It's www. kolhadash.org. The school is small right now but I think it's mostly because most people don't know about it. Karen
Re: Seeking spiritual community
well, you described Kol Hadash, which is a secular humanist congregation that meets in Albany. They offer monthly shabbats, have a sunday school for kids K through bar/bat mitzvah. My kids attended the Sunday school and enjoyed it. The school focuses on Jewish history and culture and ethics. www.kolhadash.org.
Re: Joining a synagogue on low-budget
In response to both joining a synagogue and wanting a ''religious'' framework for kids, Kol Hadash is a Humanistic Jewish community that meets in Albany. It offers secular Jews a nontheistic philosophy that integrates Jewish identity and culture. Kol Hadash has a Sunday School that meets twice a month where kids learn about the holidays, history, culture, and ethics--all within a secular framework. Currently, classes are for kindergarten through bar/bat mitzvah. Many of the families are interfaith. There are monthly shabbats, and family shabbats. For more information, go to www.kolhadash.org. If you are interested in the Sunday School, you can visit now before the semester ends. Classes will start again in September. Contact SundaySchool[AT]kolhadash.org
I recently attended Purim service/potluck/party at Kol Hadash at the Albany Community Center. It is the only Humanist Synagogue in the Bay Area and draws congregants from miles away. It was news to me that there are Jewish services for atheists but apparently that's what Humanistic Judaism is. I also went to one of their regular Havdalah dinners at a private home (that is seeing out the Sabbath). Nice people. Good diversity of ages and types of people. Certainly not ''yuppies''. See their web site: www.kolhadash.org Lindy
Hi, To those looking for synagogues - I must tell you about Kol Hadash, which is a small community, based in Albany, on the edge of North Berkeley. It is a very small congregation, with a lot of families who were not raised as particularly observant Jews, but who still want to teach their children about Jewish ethics, culture, and traditions.
The school in particular may fit your needs - the classes are very small, interactive, and engaging, with teachers who are very experienced and knowledgeable. I think that they really allow kids to explore Judaism on their own terms.
I think that there are a couple more classes this year - you should contact them if you want your kid(s) to come and sit in on a class.
Here's info from their website:
Northern California Community for Humanistic Judaism
Kol Hadash is a New Voice for Jews and their families who care about their Jewish heritage but want to celebrate it in a community based on humanistic rather than theistic beliefs. If you are looking for what it means to be Jewish, or what it means to be in a family with Jewish roots, we offer answers that are quite different from those found in traditional congregations.
We celebrate Jewish identity, history, and culture within a nontheistic secular framework.
http://www.kolhadash.org/ Kol Hadash P.O. Box 1471 El Cerrito, CA 94530 Phone: 510-428-1492 Fax: 510-236-8936 Email: KolHadash[AT]aol.com
Kol Hadash member
I came from an Eastern European background as well and altho we were always very culturally Jewish, I didn't feel connected to the Religious aspect of Judiasm. Having a child, I wanted to connect to that Jewish part of me. We joined Kol Hadash, a Humanistic Jewish Society. They are all about Jewish traditions and values in a non-religious setting. Several of the families that I know of are from mixed religious upbringing. They have a Sunday School, Shabbot Services, celebrate the holidays etc. The only thing is that they don't ''do Yiddish'' (which I would prefer) but include more Hebrew in their Sunday School and some of the Services. It started off and relatively speaking is still a small group, with mostly older families however lately, many new families with children have been joining. Check them out at www.kolhadash.org You can also get a free newsletter. You can email me if you would like more info. Good Luck Betty
I also wanted to give my son more of an understanding of his Jewish heritage. Although I went to Hebrew school for a year or two as a kid, that was the only formal connection I ever had to anything even remotely Jewish outside my family. I never felt that I fit in to ''regular'' synagogues - not Jewish enough. Last year, I found (and joined) Kol Hadash. You can look at their website (www.kolhadash.org) for an idea of what the community is like, or sign up to get the newsletter. You'll get a really good sense of what the people are like; I was hooked straight off. Everyone has been super nice to me and to my son, and it's been one of the most welcoming experiences I could have imagined. Kathleen