Archived Q&A and Reviews
Re: Child-friendly services and rabbis
I'm not Jewish, but a friend of mine invited me to attend a service at her wonderful synagogue, which was extremely child-friendly, at least for our 8 year olds. There was child care. It's very progressive and not very traditional. The whole Shabbat service was inspiring, with lots and lots of music, singing, good sermon, and even some dancing. It's called Chochmat Halev and here's the web site: http://www.chochmat.org/ Lauren
I attend a wonderful, very liberal congregation in Berkeley, Chochmant HaLev. There are Family Shabbats the second Friday of each month, absolutely awesome adult (but child friendly) service filled with music and dancing on the first and third Fridays, and a host of other really interesting offerings. There is a weekly (or bi-weekly, for the younger children) school program and ultimately Bar and Bat Mitzvah preparation. (Since my son is only seven, we haven't gotten that far yet.) The congregation is very diverse (ethnically, age wise, family make up, religious backgrounds, etc.), which is one of my favorite things about it. NC
Chochmat HaLev in Berkeley (2215 Prince) has fabulously child friendly services. The kids love it. First and third Shabbat at 7:30 has a great band, lots of dancing and childcare which the kids can come and go from. The kids often sit on cushions in the front. The 2nd Friday at 6:30 is a service for families with young children. Very sweet and spiritual. They are affiliated with Jewish Arts, Culture School which has a wonderful program for young kids. You can also inquire about conversion classes. The website is: Chochmat.org or there is a link at JoyfulJew.com. The Rabbis are very,very child friendly!
Re: Radical church or synagogue
My family goes to Chochmat HaLev (translation: Wisdom of the Heart) in Berkeley on Prince St. It's a ''Center for Jewish Spirituality'', as opposed to a synagogue. I find it radical in it's approach because the Rabbi (Avram Davis) consistently puts out a message of compassion and the importance of community-- two very important concepts, especially in current times. they have clebratory Kabbalat Shabbat services twice a month on Friday nights and lots of other community activities in between. Oh, and the music is FANTASTIC!! I definitely encourage you to check it out, and feel free to call me if you'd like to ask more questions . I have lots to say about this wonderful community. i was not raised or born jewish, but I LOVE this community and there are MANY interfaith and diverse families there. Check them out at joyfuljew.org
Good luck, Rachel
My partner and I belong to a ''Center for Jewish Spirituality'' called Chochmat HaLev (meaning: Wisdom of the Heart), on Prince St. in Berkeley. It is a wonderful place, and full of interfiath couples (ourselves included). they offer classes and Several different ''flavors'' of Shabbat services including an awesom Kabbalat (celebratory) Shabbat, a family Shabbat (lots of kids, shorter) and a more traditional service 1x a month. Check them out at joyfuljew.org. There is no membership requirement or anything, but we really supported the teaching and were anxious to support the organization. Go see for yourself, but beware, you will feel joy when you go! rachel
Chochmat HaLev, on Prince Street in Berkeley between Telegraph and Shattuck, http://www.chochmat.org/, affiliated with the Jewish Arts, Culture and Torah school, has been very welcoming to our interfaith family and our 15 year old who belatedly decided he wanted to have a Bar Mitzvah. They have children's services once or twice a month, and children of all ages (even noisy ones) are welcome at the regular adult services as well. Chochmat has classes, meditation, shabbat dinners.
Another mom from an interfaith family
Re: Looking for a spiritual community with music & dance
I suspect you will get this suggestion from many others. I have never gone to Chochmat Halev (I'm Christian), but just tonight I saw many people streaming in and I could hear the music as I walked down the street. My friends who do go there love it! Chochmat Halev is, I think, a Jewish spirituality center. It's on Prince Street, just east of Shattuck (near La Pena), in Berkeley. Elizabeth