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Gather 'Round the BONFIRE!

Dear Beth Jacob congregant,

Were you one of the 89 families who came to the Bonfire! last Sunday? Tasted the s'mores? Took Mark Zitter's quizzes? Visited with the Rabbis' families? Met some veteran and some new shul members--'Up Close and Personal'? We don't even want to know what was in your mug!

We've heard that you had great fun. Here's a sample quote: "Just a quick note to say how wonderful the Bonfire was last night...I go to ALOT of programs and Zoom events, etc. This was really creative, entertaining and fun! Thank you for all the effort you put into it as it was very much worth it. Looking forward to the Sparks!"

Sorry if you didn't make it to the Opening event, but we don't want you to miss out on the fun, so here is a link to the recording--enjoy! 

Helpful hint: when playing Rabbi Dardik's tour, you might want to lower the volume, and read the subtitles. Unfortunately, the sound of the wind in the background interferes with the voice.

And in case you have not registered for the Bonfire! Sparks events, here is your chance!


Sparks of the Bonfire events (remote or in-person, COVID permitting):

  • Color-me-Mine, July 11th

    • Your 5-year-old and older children will find their inner Bezalel decorating a ceramic piece inspired by Judaica. (Supplies will be delivered in advance.)

Click here to let us know if we can expect you

  • Fireside Chat: From a Pot of GooThe Present and Future Wonders of 3D Printing, August 8th

    • Maybe you're still not sure what 3D printing is, or maybe you're sick of hearing so much about 3D printing. Maybe you've already bought yourself a pair of 3D-printed shoes.  Whatever your background in this topic, there's something for you at this event!  Join us for an interactive conversation with our community's expert in 3D printing.

Click here to let us know if we can expect you

  • End-of-Summer Field Day, August 15th

    • Finish off this bonfire season with one last s’more. Join us for a day of fun, games and more. The summer wrap-up event you will not want to miss!!!

Click here to let us know if we can expect you




Children at the Gan volunteer to

taste the marshmallows for the

Bonfire Provisions Boxes

As always, contact us with any questions.


                       Joanne Jagoda                                   Mila Wichter
                           Co-Chair                                              Co-Chair
                      (510)414-8930                                      (650)255-2895



Meet more members of the Bonfire Team!

Kirsten Barrere
A long-time member of Temple Sinai, I timidly began attending services at Beth Jacob after six months of Torah Study with Rabbi Dardik at his Monday night sessions.  He assured me that if I came to services, I would be welcome, no matter where on the path of observance I stood.
Even though it wasn’t a custom I grew up with, I liked that at Beth Jacob all women sit by themselves so not having a husband didn’t make me different during services.
My best shul involvement, other than services, is around food… for it in the old days when congregants prepared the Shabbat Kiddush on Thursday evenings and hosting a monthly Open Shabbat Table.

Meira Albert
Meira requires no introduction to the Beth Jacob community. Here's what Rabbi Albert wrote about her and their family: 
In the summer of 2014, we packed up our creaky New York City apartment and took a leap of faith across the country to Oakland, where we've had the great honor of being the Rebetzin and Rabbi of Beth Jacob ever since. No longer the "new kids on the block," our four children were born in this remarkable community (including one who was delivered by community member Leslie Wilkof!). We've shared in some of life's joys and challenges with our Beth Jacob family, and have tried to bring our authentic selves to the community - whether that's been by discussing issues like fertility and domestic violence (Meira), or talking too much about coffee and music (Gershon). Throughout, as much as we've tried to give, we've only received more back in return - which is just one of many reasons we are privileged to call Beth Jacob our extended family and spiritual home. 

Richard Tash
I've been a member of Beth Jacob for 12 years and in that time have made many close and wonderful friends and memories.  I was raised in LA but also lived in Indiana and the Caribbean.  I am a retired health actuary and am currently raising my 7 year old grandchild, Mya.  I have two other daughters, Joanna in NY and Elizabeth in Indiana.  When not volunteering and schlepping Mya to different activities, I enjoy being active by hiking, riding my bicycle, cooking, taking care of the house and other things that come up.  I believe that being involved in volunteer work allows me to make new contacts and form relationships with friends.

Hank and Tzippi Hanig
Tzippi and Hank are ex-pats from New York – she in 1967 and he in 1973. Tzippi moved west to go to UC Berkeley for an advanced degree, and Hank moved west due to a job relocation. Hank became a member of Beth Jacob about 2001; Tzippi joined when she and Hank got married in 2019 (via JDate!).
Before retirement, Hank was an electronics engineer working in telecommunications, and Tzippi was an elementary grade reading specialist. Since retirement Hank has focused on woodworking, volunteering at Lindsay Wildlife Experience, and assisting with the BJC Gala Auction and Limmud conferences. Tzippi has been learning Hebrew through Duolingo and a Hadassah zoom class and participating in the reading assignments for two different book clubs. Tzippi enjoys learning new dance steps online and teaching her 5-year-old granddaughter to read. Together, they walk daily and do online exercise video classes. They would like to travel more, once the COVID restrictions lift.
We appreciate the opportunity to be involved in this Bonfire series of events and look forward to Shabbat services and other occasions celebrated in person in the BJC shul. (Alevei) ! הלוואי

Deborah Sosebee
My attention to detail, efficiency and grammatical minutiae (to the chagrin of some people) often serve as the entry point to volunteer opportunities within my community. With a four-year tenure as BJC President and various stints on boards of local institutions in the rear-view mirror, I continue to be involved behind the scenes at Beth Jacob. Mother of three grown children and grandmother to two toddlers in Israel, I enjoy cooking and baking, crossword puzzles, Hebrew lessons, jigsaw puzzles, playing piano (not particularly well), Ken Ken, Bananagrams and an occasional sip of bourbon.

Maxim Shusteff
I was born in the former Soviet Union, emigrated to the US at age 10, and grew up in the Northeast.  Having minimal access to Jewish practice and education as a kid, I was hungry to learn more as I entered adulthood, so finding the perfect "opt in" community at Beth Jacob when I moved to the Bay Area in 2007 was a thrill!  The community's warmth and generosity have guided me on his Jewish journey, and have inspired my first steps into communal service. When not at shul, I do research at Lawrence Livermore National Lab, which fits well with my love for just about any geeky and scientific subject.  My Bay-Area-native wife and I live in Piedmont with our four children, who remind me constantly that even though I might know a thing or two about science, I still have plenty to learn about humans.

Lilly Krenn
I have been married to my college sweetheart, Chris, for 26 years, and we are the proud parents of Hannah (18), a senior at College Prep, and Joe (15), a freshman in Production Design at Oakland School for the Arts. I am so grateful to have spent a week wilderness canoe-camping (and bonfire building) in the Lake Temagami region of Northern Ontario the summer before the pandemic began. I have learned so much since arriving at Beth Jacob almost three years ago and am super-grateful to Rabbi Albert, Deborah Sosebee and Maxim Shusteff for their patient guidance. Making community connections always brings me joy - like that time when I got in touch with an Orthodox Jew working for a hot tub company, who now cares for our mikvahs!

Tue, August 3 2021 25 Av 5781