Jewish Life

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Surviving and Remaining Human: A “Near Normal Man”

Charlene Stern, the producer and director of the documentary film Near Normal Man, offers lessons learned from her father’s survival of the Holocaust and his message for the next generation. With decades of details from my father’s life, I’ve learned that the limitless evil that exists in humankind is less...

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Making Space to be Better: The Jewish Practice of Mussar

Professional coach and Mussar educator Barbara Gottesman shares what Jewish tradition knew before modern science. It happens every year at the end of summer. I plan that, this year, I’m going to be ready for the High Holidays. I’m going to be present, assess my life, set goals on how I...

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Elul: The Call of Forgiveness

As a child growing up in a traditional community in Israel, I looked forward this time of the year. Every year when the month of Elul arrived, I would wake up early in the morning to the sound of the shofar (ram’s horn). In traditional Jewish communities, the custom of...

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Why I Unplug

OFJCC Event Services Director Ed Bancroft muses on the benefits of unplugging weekly. Shortly after starting work at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, I was thrilled to learn many core Jewish values align closely with my personal values. Here in the heart of Silicon Valley, life is fast-paced and...

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Come Sing with Me

OFJCC Staff member Amy Shulman describes the best part about joining a community theatre group. The first time my synagogue put on a Purim play, the theme was rock ‘n’ roll. King Achashverosh was dressed like Elvis Presley. All I could think was, “Why am I not on that stage?” I’m not...

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Wonder Woman is my Rabbi: A Fangirl’s Jewish Review

Let me start out with an admission: I am an unabashed fangirl of DC comics’ pantheon of characters. Ever since I secretly watched Batman: The Animated Series in my parents’ basement, I adored every hero (and some of the villains) DC produced. I still occasionally watch Justice League Unlimited as...

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How Can I Stand with the JCC?

One of the most amazing things about serving as Chief Marketing Officer is that I get to hear so much of the good, the bad, and the just plain weird of all that happens at the OFJCC and in our community. Though the call we received last Monday that forced...

Tzachi Flat and J-Campers stick together at Great America amusement park

We’re in This Together

In this week’s Torah portion, Jethro notices his son-in-law Moses dealing with challenges in adjudicating all of the Israelites’ cases by himself. Ever the wise individual, Jethro advises Moses to create a council that will help balance the work for the community. After the council is in place and the society is...

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Mayim Mayim Everywhere!

These long, rainy days have us wondering when it will ever stop. And the moment it does, we run outside to enjoy the brief hours of dry weather before the next onslaught. Certainly we’re grateful for the break from California’s long years of drought. But still, some days it feels...

The "Mona Lisa of the Galilee" portion of the Sepphoris Mosaic in  Zippori, Israel.

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Consciously or unconsciously, visual art influences our perception of God. Classical images shown to us as children, paintings memorized during art history class to fulfill college requirements, and the occasional visit to an art museum increase our exposure to visual depictions of the divine. For the past 2,000 years or...