Temple Beth Abraham


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Archived Q&A and Reviews

Website for Temple Beth Abraham: www.tbaoakland.org
See also: Gan Avraham Preschool
October 2005

I am looking into religious school for my daughter who will be starting Kindergarten in the fall. I am wondering about the programs at Temple Beth Abraham and Temple Sinai. My husband and I are both Jewsih and would feel comfortable in a Reform or Conservative Temple. We are looking for a committed, lively, and educational school with a group of parents who will become a nice community for us. Oakland Mom

I'm a congregant at Temple Beth Abraham, with two daughters in the Hebrew school -- one in 4th and one in 6th, and they have both been in since kindergarten.

The best way to investigate would be to come see a service. If you go to TBA's website, www.tbaoakland.org, you can see our calendar, which actually lists upcoming bar and bat mitzvahs. Seeing what these students can do as the culmination of their education might help you decide. On the first Saturday of the month we also have our children's services (one for preschool- grade 1, the other for grades 2-5) which give you a flavor of the curriculum in terms of prayers and the service.

I think we have a very warm and lovely community that embraces people from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences. We have been very happy there. (When we joined almost 10 years ago, I was not Jewish, but over the years as we became more involved, I chose to convert to Judaism.) Our rabbi is very personable and involved with the Hebrew school -- he leads singing and prayer regularly, and comes into the classroom often to answer questions and talk to the children.

We have a new director who has made some wonderful improvements and I'm sure would be happy to talk to you about the school. Her contact information is on the website.

I suggest you do the same with Sinai -- visit the services, including children's services, a bar or bat mitzvah, talk to the school director. Your personal reaction to both places will be as helpful as information from third parties! Happy at TBA

June 2005

Jewish religious school at Temple Beth Abraham
I am interested in sending my son and daughter to Temple Beth Abraham for religious school and joining the Temple. Does anyone have any experience with the religious school and Temple? Thanks. Kathy

Both of my kids went to Temple Beth Abraham many years ago and we loved the school. Some of the same teachers are still there although the Director is different.It's a very good program and they have an excellent understanding of child development and what's appropriate for kids at that age level. Also, the Rabbi that is there now is supposed to be wonderful. I've only heard really good things about him. (We now live in Contra Costa County so we are no longer affiliated with that synagogue). Judy
I don't know about the religious school specifically, but the Rabbi at Beth Abraham is terrific. His name is Mark Bloom and he is young and energetic and a wonderful public speaker. He has two young children and has done a lot to revitalize the synagogue, especially for young families. He officiated at our wedding and was great. I think they have a rock and roll Shabbat service once a month that is supposed to be lots of fun. Miranda
We are fairly new to the TBA community and have used the religious school and attend services. The rabbi is wonderful - insightful and feeling - and the community seems nice, friendly. There seem to be a wide range of activities that span the age and interest spectrum as well. It's a nice even sweet temple. Anon
We've been members at TBA for years and are increasingly more happy with the Hebrew school as the years go by. We just hired a new director who is a long time teacher there and she has already made some very positive changes. My older daughter's Hebrew improved leaps and bounds this year (fifth grade), as did her confidence in reading and chanting prayers. Best of all, the kids have a wonderful relationship with the Rabbi, who leads prayers and music at least once a week with all the students, and he has done a lot to not only help educate but really build a community among the students. Alice
July 2002

Re: Looking for a Good Rabbi

We just got back from vacation so I only just started reading the ''Looking for a Good Rabbi'' posts. I feel compelled to mention our wonderful Rabbi Mark Bloom at Oakland's Temple Beth Abraham. He is the most ''child-friendly'' rabbi I have ever met (and I've met many over the years.) My three-year-old son adores him, and so do the many many other children at the pre-school.

Rabbi Mark has a special talent for establishing a rappoire with young children and teenagers that is remarkable. He is repectful of children, really listens to them, and is truly interested in what they have to say. He's a wonderful teacher.

In the eleven months since he's been at Beth Abraham, he's instituted joyful, musical ''Tot Shabbats'' that are eagerly anticipated by all family members, started a youth group for teenagers that kids have chosen to join without being forced by their parents, and in general, has energized our community with love and ruach . We had a standing room only ''Rock and Roll Purim'' this past Spring with a fabulous band of talented musical congregants, led by our guitar playing rabbi.

For adults there have been weekly Torah study groups, ''Sunday school,'' and a number of speakers and educational events. Our community retreat last Fall was such a success, we're doing it again in November. People are still talking about the beauty of Shabbat in the woods, and the campfire singing that continued until midnight (again, led by our guitar playing rock and roll rabbi.)

He has a lovely family - a two-year-old son, and another child on the way. His wife is terrific.

We are having many special Friday nights this summer. Please check out the Beth Abraham web site for more info (www.tbaoakland.org) and come visit on a Friday night or Saturday morning. Kids are always welcome, and free childcare is available on Saturday mornings. Lunch on Saturday in the social hall after services is a great time to meet the Rabbi and the community.

My family joined about 18 months ago, and I cannot begin to tell you how much being part of the TBA community and getting to know Rabbi Bloom and his family has enriched our lives (although I think I've just given you an idea.) I feel lucky that we're there. It's the kind of synagogue & community I wish I'd experienced when I was a child and teeneger, and that's high praise.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the synagogue. Sally