Feast features cornucopia of learning opportunities

To help Bay Area Jews navigate this smorgasbord, a menu of the week's offerings, "The Guide to Jewish Learning Opportunities," is being distributed with this issue of the Jewish Bulletin of Northern California.

Among the appetizers are a number of Tu B'Shevat seders, tree plantings and ecological outings to be held throughout the four counties served by the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation.

Main courses include more than 20 Lunch-and-Learn sessions with local Jewish scholars. These will take place in offices, synagogues and Jewish Community Centers. Most lectures are by invitation only. However, a number are designed for specific groups, including Jewish community workers, Russian-speaking residents and the general public.

Participants include Rabbi Henry Shreibman, head of schools at Brandeis Hillel Day School; Professor Stephen Dobbs, former head of the Marin Community Foundation; Professor Lori Zoloff-Dorfman, director of the Jewish studies program at San Francisco State University; Rabbi Helen Cohn of Congregation Emanu-El, Robert Sherman, executive director of the BJE; Wayne Feinstein, executive vice president of the S.F.-based JCF; Susan Morris of the Western Jewish History Center at the Judah L. Magnes; and Lisa Malik, former religious school principal at Congregation Beth Sholom.

The Feast is also presenting some a la carte choices such as a lecture by Noam Zion, author of "A Different Night: The Family Participation Haggadah." A talk with the Israeli author is sponsored by the BJE's Jewish Community Library; call for details at (415) 751-6983, ext. 106.

Of course, the Feast will culminate with a treat — a community Tu B'Shevat celebration at the Strybing Arboretum and Botanical Society at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. The event is in cooperation with Strybing Arboretum and Botanical Society.

Holiday-oriented songs, activities and games are on the day's menu. Kits, created by the BJE staff, will be distributed to assist families in making their own celebrations.

Each kit contains a booklet filled with prayers, songs, activities and instructions for conducting a Tu B'Shevat seder. Also included are seed packets for planting and a snack of nuts and berries.

Funded by the Fleishhacker Foundation, the Tu B'Shevat celebration is free. However, reservations are required. Call (415) 751-6983, ext. 203.