Talks & workshops


International Human Rights Day. Evening of multifaith discussion exploring how faith-based communities can make a difference in global issues, with remarks by American Jewish World Service president Ruth Messinger and Havdallah service led by Peninsula Temple Beth El Rabbi Callie Shulman. At Congregational Church of San Mateo, 225 Tilton Ave., San Mateo. 7 p.m. Free, but RSVP requested at [email protected] or (415) 593-3280.


“How Can We Deal Graciously with Our Children’s Grandparents?” Dawn Kepler conducts workshop on how to broach non-Jewish grandparents’ concerns about raising your children Jewish. Sponsored by Lehrhaus Judaica. At Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland. 9:30 a.m. Free. (510) 845-6420

“Understanding the Psalms.” U.C. Berkeley professor Robert Alter discusses Book of Psalms and leads a study of selected texts. At Jewish Community Library, 1835 Ellis St., S.F. 2 p.m. Free.

“Help with Your Family Tree: Brainstorming with the Mavens.” Bring genealogy questions for one-on-one guidance with experts. At Jewish Community Library, 1825 Ellis St., S.F. 12 p.m. Free, but registration encouraged.

“Origins: Roots of Jewish and Christian Thought.” Rabbi Mychal Copeland, director of Interfaith Family Bay Area, and Kristi Copeland, a scholar of early Christianity, explore the roots of the two religions, as well as their impact on present-day issues. At Or Shalom Jewish Community, 625 Brotherhood Way, S.F. 4 p.m. Free.

Menorah workshop. Children will make their own menorahs with the help of building professionals and receive Hanukkah treats and a work apron to take home. At Home Depot, 6280 Hembree Lane, Windsor. 1 p.m. Free. Sponsored by Sonoma County Chabad Jewish Center. RSVP requested to [email protected]

“Climbing the Sacred Ladder.” Seminar by spiritual instructor Shulamit Sofia on reducing stress and finding “love, joy, peace and purpose.” At Peninsula JCC, 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City. 1 p.m. $25.


“Not Your Grandma’s Latkes.” Learn to make brisket, applesauce, latkes and other Hanukkah foods with Community Table executive chef Michele Pfeifer. At JCCSF, 3200 California St., S.F. 6:30 to 9 p.m. $85-$95. (415) 292-1200 or

Middle East discussion group. Member-led, informal roundtable discussion about current events in the Middle East. At Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., S.F. 5:30 p.m. Free, but registration required.


“I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen.” Presentation by journalist Sylvie Simmons based on her biography of the Jewish singer and songwriter. At Jewish Community Library, 1835 Ellis St., S.F. 7 p.m. Free.

“Talking About Israel: Jews and Christians.” Yehuda Kurtzer of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America and the Rev. Judy Yates Siker of the San Francisco Seminary discuss Jewish and Christian perspectives on Israel and the meaning of Zionism. At JCCSF, 3200 California St., S.F. 7 p.m. $15.

“LOL—Lots of Latkes!” Learn new latke recipes for Hanukkah with the Jewish Women’s Circle. At Chabad of Contra Costa, 1671 Newell Ave., Walnut Creek. 7:30 p.m. $10 suggested donation. RSVP to [email protected]


“Laughter and Tears: Jewish American Sensibilities in Literature and Comedy.” University of San Francisco professor Alan Goldberg discusses the roots of and connections between Jewish American literature and comedy. Part of Contra Costa Jewish Book and Arts Festival. At Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living, 4000 Camino Tassajara, Danville. 2 p.m. $5.


Michael Kaye photo/jewish learningworks

From the heart of the shtetl. You’ll laugh, cry and nod quietly in unconscious agreement as a number of extremely talented Jewish storytellers pour out their souls at “Stories from the Shtetl,” a series of performances where true-life stories and the lessons learned from them are shared. The lineup includes activist and author Barbara Rhine, teacher Fred Werner, storytelling regular Joshua Safran and event founder Michael Kaye. Wine reception to follow.

7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18 at Jewish Community Library, 1835 Ellis St., S.F. Free, donations welcome.