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Yom Kippur Retreat, 2017 4:00 pm
Yom Kippur Retreat, 2017
Sep 29 @ 4:00 pm – Oct 1 @ 12:00 pm
Yom Kippur Retreat Friday, September 29, 2017 through Sunday, October 1, 2017 Join Rabbi Carla Fenves, Rabbinical Student Rena Singer and Monica Pevzner from our community engagement team for an informal Yom Kippur retreat in … Continued
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Brown Bag October 2017 12:00 pm
Brown Bag October 2017
Oct 4 @ 12:00 pm – 2:01 pm
Join Congregation Rabbi Lawrence Kushner for this Brown Bag Wednesday. On the first Wednesday of each month, bring your brown bag lunch to the temple library for engaging spiritual and cultural discussions.  Noon – 1:00 … Continued
Limonata and Learning, October 2017 4:00 pm
Limonata and Learning, October 2017
Oct 4 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Join a member of our clergy for a special learning opportunity, Limonata and Learning, offered exclusively for our congregants in Marin. We will meet for happy hour at Book Passage in Corte Madera while discussing … Continued
Sukkot Celebration Dinner October 4, 2017 6:00 pm
Sukkot Celebration Dinner October 4, 2017
Oct 4 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Celebrate Sukkot at Temple Emanu-El with a festive outdoor service in the courtyard at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, October 4th, followed by Mediterranean dinner.Please feel free to bring your own bottle of wine.Reservations are required … Continued
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Sukkot Festival Service & breakfast 8:00 am
Sukkot Festival Service & breakfast
Oct 5 @ 8:00 am – 10:15 am
Join us on the first morning of Sukkot for the festival service. Freshly brewed coffee will be served at 8:00 am, followed by the service in the chapel. You are invited to stay for a … Continued
Sukkot Festival Service & breakfast 8:30 am
Sukkot Festival Service & breakfast
Oct 5 @ 8:30 am – 10:15 am
Breakfast at 8:30 am, Sukkot service at 9:15 am in the chapel. 
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Bagels and Babies (MMR) 9:30 am
Bagels and Babies (MMR)
Oct 6 @ 9:30 am – 11:00 am
 
First Friday Under Five Shabbat Service (MMS) 5:30 pm
First Friday Under Five Shabbat Service (MMS)
Oct 6 @ 5:30 pm – 6:00 pm
This evening we also have a Sukkot/Baby Blessing at Emanu-El during the 5:30 pm Service.  
Pre-Oneg (Foyer) 5:30 pm
Pre-Oneg (Foyer)
Oct 6 @ 5:30 pm – 6:00 pm
 
Classic Shabbat Service (Main) 6:00 pm
Classic Shabbat Service (Main)
Oct 6 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Classic Shabbat Service (Main)
Roslyn Barak, Senior Cantor, Emerita will lead this evening's Classic Shabbat service.
Simchat Shabbat Dinner 10-6-17 6:15 pm
Simchat Shabbat Dinner 10-6-17
Oct 6 @ 6:15 pm – 8:30 pm
Monthly festive community Shabbat Dinner with children.First Friday of the month, 6:15 p.m in Guild Hall. Thai food will be provided.Adult Members- $18.00, Children ages 3-10- $7.50, Non-member Adults- $22.00.Event Signup
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Mah Jongg (Rinder Chapel) 6:00 pm
Mah Jongg (Rinder Chapel)
Oct 10 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
 
Sukkot Dinner 2017: The Tribe for Women & Women’s Group 7:00 pm
Sukkot Dinner 2017: The Tribe for Women & Women’s Group
Oct 10 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
I Heard it Through the GrapevineCome join us for our annual Women's Group and Tribe for Women dinner in the sukkah for a night of women, gossip* and wine.*Gossip, as in, understanding the Jewish context for … Continued
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Yizkor service breakfast 8:30 am
Yizkor service breakfast
Oct 11 @ 8:30 am – 9:15 am
Breakfast begins at 8:30 amSukkot Yizkor service with Senior Rabbi Beth Singer begins at 9:15 am in the Chapel.
Yizkor service with Rabbi Beth Singer (Chapel) 9:15 am
Yizkor service with Rabbi Beth Singer (Chapel)
Oct 11 @ 9:15 am – 10:15 am
 
Simchat Torah March, Consecration & Dinner October 11, 2017 6:00 pm
Simchat Torah March, Consecration & Dinner October 11, 2017
Oct 11 @ 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
With klezmer music and candy tossed in the air, we will all meet at the Little Sisters of the Poor (at 300 Lake Street) beginning at 6:00 pm. We will march our new Czech Torah … Continued
Simchat Torah March, Consecration & Dinner October 11, 2017 6:00 pm
Simchat Torah March, Consecration & Dinner October 11, 2017
Oct 11 @ 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Simchat Torah March, Consecration & Dinner October 11, 2017 @ San Francisco | California | United States
With klezmer music and candy tossed in the air, we will all meet at the Little Sisters of the Poor (at 300 Lake Street) beginning at 6:00 pm. Holocaust survivor Gloria Hollander Lyon will participate … Continued
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Bagels and Babies (MMR) 9:30 am
Bagels and Babies (MMR)
Oct 13 @ 9:30 am – 11:00 am
 
Helping out Santa Rosa Families 9:30 am
Helping out Santa Rosa Families
Oct 13 @ 9:30 am – 1:30 pm
Congregation Shomrei Torah of Santa Rosa is open to host a day camp from 9am to 3pm Wednesday October 11 through Friday October 13 for children out of school due to the fires, and they need … Continued
Pre-Oneg (MMR) 5:30 pm
Pre-Oneg (MMR)
Oct 13 @ 5:30 pm – 6:00 pm
 
One Shabbat Service with Noam Katz 6:00 pm
One Shabbat Service with Noam Katz
Oct 13 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
One Shabbat Service with Noam Katz
We are honored to feature the music and sounds of composer, Rabbi, storyteller and Jewish educator, Noam Katz at this evening's One Shabbat. Noam inspires Jewish and interfaith communities with his timeless melodies of peace, hope, and unity.
Suivez-nous au bateau ivre! 7:00 pm
Suivez-nous au bateau ivre!
Oct 13 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Suivez-nous au bateau ivre!
Cela fait longtemps que nous nous sommes tous réunis pour parler français! Laissez-nous boire du vin rouge delicieux et mange du bon fromage!Yes, it's been too long since we last shared stories about our lives, … Continued
YA Late Shabbat with Noam Katz 8:30 pm
YA Late Shabbat with Noam Katz
Oct 13 @ 8:30 pm – 9:45 pm
YA Late Shabbat with Noam Katz
Rabbi Noam Katz is one of the most exciting and influential voices in contemporary Jewish music. He has brought his high-flying energy and soulful melodies to Jewish and interfaith audiences across North America, Africa and Israel … Continued
YA Late Shabbat Oneg (Foyer) 9:30 pm
YA Late Shabbat Oneg (Foyer)
Oct 13 @ 9:30 pm – 11:00 pm
 
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Torah Study (Library) 9:15 am
Torah Study (Library)
Oct 14 @ 9:15 am – 10:15 am
 
Torah Study with Rabbi Kushner (R55) 9:15 am
Torah Study with Rabbi Kushner (R55)
Oct 14 @ 9:15 am – 10:15 am
 
Shabbat Morning Service Bar Mitzvah Jonathan Dippery 10:30 am
Shabbat Morning Service Bat Mitzvah Skylar Goldberg 10:30 am
Shabbat Morning Service Bat Mitzvah Skylar Goldberg
Oct 14 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
 
Sing for Camp Newman 6:30 pm
Sing for Camp Newman
Oct 14 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Sing for Camp NewmanWith Noam Katz and Friends So many of us are still in shock after the results of the ongoing fires in the North Bay.  Many of our congregants and friends have been deeply … Continued
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Young Adults Volunteer at Glide Church 9:15 am
Young Adults Volunteer at Glide Church
Oct 15 @ 9:15 am – 11:30 am
OUR VOLUNTEER SLOTS FOR 10/15 ARE FULL. Please email Rachel at RSchonwetter@emanuelsf.org to be put on the waitlist if a spot opens up.Join with other young adults for a volunteer session at Glide Memorial Church. … Continued
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Fall 2017: Islam for Jews 7:00 pm
Fall 2017: Islam for Jews
Oct 17 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Join the fabulous Professor Fred Astren of San Francisco State as he explores Islam with you.Jews and Muslims have a long historical relationship that helped shape major aspects of Jewish identity. In recent history this … Continued
Fall 2017: Talmud with Rabbi Rodich 7:00 pm
Fall 2017: Talmud with Rabbi Rodich
Oct 17 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Dreams in Babylon: Talmud study with Rabbi Rodich  Join Rabbi Rodich for a introductory level study of several texts from the Babylonian Talmud.  The course will begin with an introduction to Talmud and subsequent sessions … Continued
Introduction to Judaism Fall 2017 7:00 pm
Introduction to Judaism Fall 2017
Oct 17 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Join with Emanu-El clergy to learn about the breadth and wonder of Jewish tradition. This class is a pathway for the adult learner who wishes to discover or deepen Jewish knowledge, non-Jews who are marrying … Continued
People of the Book: American Jewish Authors Book Group 7:00 pm
People of the Book: American Jewish Authors Book Group
Oct 17 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
People of the Book – American Jewish Authors Book ClubFree, Monthly Tuesday evening meetings at the Temple, 7:00 – 9:00pm Oct 17; Nov 14; Dec 19; Jan 16; Feb 20; Mar 27; Apr 24 and … Continued
Women in Technology – October 2017 7:00 pm
Women in Technology – October 2017
Oct 17 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Women in Technology - October 2017 @ Private congregant home
How to be a Mensch and Still Succeed: A Conversation about Ethics in the WorkplacePlease join us in getting to know women in the Emanu-El community who work in the technology field. You're invited to … Continued
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At the Rabbi’s Table – October 2017 12:00 pm
At the Rabbi’s Table – October 2017
Oct 18 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
We're continuing a monthly learning session with members of clergy, downtown, each month.Please bring a nosh and join us at 55 -2nd Street.  Event Signup
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Bagels and Babies (MMR) 9:30 am
Bagels and Babies (MMR)
Oct 20 @ 9:30 am – 11:00 am
 
Pre-Oneg (MMR) 5:30 pm
Pre-Oneg (MMR)
Oct 20 @ 5:30 pm – 6:00 pm
 
Yotam Polizer: Guest One Shabbat Service speaker 6:00 pm
Yotam Polizer: Guest One Shabbat Service speaker
Oct 20 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Yotam Polizer: Guest One Shabbat Service speaker
We are incredibly grateful to be able to feature IsraAID Co-CEO, Yotam Polizer, as a guest speaker at this evening's Shabbat service.Born and raised in a small village in Northern Israel, Yotam has been a … Continued
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Torah Study (Library) 9:15 am
Torah Study (Library)
Oct 21 @ 9:15 am – 10:15 am
 
Torah Study with Rabbi Kushner (R55) 9:15 am
Torah Study with Rabbi Kushner (R55)
Oct 21 @ 9:15 am – 10:15 am
 
Shabbat Bar/Bat Mitzvah Nathaniel & Ariella Yanowitch 10:30 am
New Member Havdalah Reception 2017 6:30 pm
New Member Havdalah Reception 2017
Oct 21 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
New Member Havdalah Reception 2017
Welcome to our shul! We warmly welcome you to our New Member Havdalah Reception on Saturday, October 21, at 6:30 pm here at Emanu-El. A synagogue is a place where deep relationships and bonds are made … Continued
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Men’s Group – October 22,17 9:30 am
Men’s Group – October 22,17
Oct 22 @ 9:30 am – 11:30 am
Men's Group - October 22,17
Men of Congregation Emanu-El have a monthly opportunity to socialize and study with a member of the clergy at a private home. This cross-generational group provides a small group experience so important to building community. This … Continued
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Cooking for Congregants – October 26, 2017 9:00 am
Cooking for Congregants – October 26, 2017
Oct 26 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Do you enjoy cooking? Participate in this mitzvah led by congregant and former restaurant owner Gail Laghi, and congregant and chef Sari Swig. Together, up to five volunteers make meals for congregants in need. All … Continued
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Bagels and Babies (MMR) 9:30 am
Bagels and Babies (MMR)
Oct 27 @ 9:30 am – 11:00 am
 
Pre-Oneg (MMR) 5:30 pm
Pre-Oneg (MMR)
Oct 27 @ 5:30 pm – 6:00 pm
 
One Shabbat Service with guest speaker: Prof. Leah Hochman 6:00 pm
One Shabbat Service with guest speaker: Prof. Leah Hochman
Oct 27 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
One Shabbat Service with guest speaker: Prof. Leah Hochman
Charles Michael Endowment Scholar-in-Residence Prof. Leah Hochman will be our guest speaker at this evening's One Shabbat service. Her topic:  Can you Waze it? Going toward the Unknown. What Modern Jews Think 
Dinner with Dr. Leah Hochman 7:30 pm
Dinner with Dr. Leah Hochman
Oct 27 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
This dinner, immediately following the 6:00pm One Shabbat service on Friday, October 27, will give you the unique opportunity to hear more from Dr. Leah Hochman in an intimate setting. You will be able to … Continued
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Torah Study (Library) 9:15 am
Torah Study (Library)
Oct 28 @ 9:15 am – 10:15 am
 
Torah Study with Rabbi Kushner (R55) 9:15 am
Torah Study with Rabbi Kushner (R55)
Oct 28 @ 9:15 am – 10:15 am
 
Shabbat Morning Service (MMS) 10:30 am
Shabbat Morning Service (MMS)
Oct 28 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
 
Shabbat Morning Service Bar Mitzvah Micah Uziel 10:30 am
Shabbat Morning Service Bar Mitzvah Micah Uziel
Oct 28 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
 
Shabbat Morning Service Bat Mitzvah Ella Endler 10:30 am
Shabbat Morning Service Bat Mitzvah Ella Endler
Oct 28 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
 
Jewish Heritage Night with the SF Deltas! 5:00 pm
Jewish Heritage Night with the SF Deltas!
Oct 28 @ 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Jewish Heritage Night with the SF Deltas!
 Go Delta crazy! Join your fellow Congregation Emanu-El congregants for the final game of the 2017 San Francisco Deltas season. The Deltas have provided Emanu-El congregants with FREE tickets!Come cheer on San Francisco's professional soccer … Continued
Young Adults: Food, Faith, and Conflict: Eating Judaism 5:00 pm
Young Adults: Food, Faith, and Conflict: Eating Judaism
Oct 28 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Food, Faith, and Conflict: Eating JudaismSpend shabbat afternoon and celebrate havdalah with Congregation Emanu-El's Young Adult Community and Dr. Leah Hochman, Emanu-El's fall Scholar-in-Residence. Together, over appetizers and wine, Dr. Hochman will discuss Food, Faith, and Conflict: Eating … Continued
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Dr. Leah Hochman Sunday Lecture 9:30 am
Dr. Leah Hochman Sunday Lecture
Oct 29 @ 9:30 am – 11:00 am
Special Sunday Morning lecture with Dr. Leah Hochman: Developing Your Own TheologyDr. Leah Hochman directs the Louchheim School for Judaic Studies at the University of Southern California and is associate professor of Jewish Thought at … Continued
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Side by Side October 2017 Session 9:30 am
Side by Side October 2017 Session
Oct 31 @ 9:30 am – 9:30 am
Side by Side October 2017 Session
When registering below, please indicate that you will not be attending and register your child as your guest. Emanu-El’s Side by Side program introduces our youngest children (18 months to 2.5 years) to a preschool environment with … Continued
Mah Jongg 1:30 pm
Mah Jongg
Oct 31 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
 
Mah Jongg (Rinder Chapel) 6:00 pm
Mah Jongg (Rinder Chapel)
Oct 31 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
 
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Czech Sifrei Torah Scroll

Czech Sifrei Torah Scroll

Our Community’s Czech Scroll

The Czech Scrolls which came to Westminster Synagogue in 1963 were from the two provinces of Moravia and Bohemia, with a few from the Sudetenland. These scrolls are all survivors of the Holocaust / Shoah and are connections to the Jewish community that formerly thrived in that part of Europe. We are hosting scroll #221 of the Memorial Scrolls Trust collection from the city of Ostrava, which in the 1930’s had six thriving synagogues.

Emanu-El Congregant, Anita Josefa Barzman, M.D., arranged for this scroll to come to Emamu-El and personally brought it here from the Memorial Scrolls Trust in London, England. We are thankful for her thoughtfulness and dedication to this project. We look forward to honoring this scroll at this year’s Simchat Torah celebration and it will be open for use by kids and adults for their B’nei Mitzvah.

Memorial Scrolls Trust
Jeffrey Ohrenstein (Chairman of the Memorial Scrolls Trust in London) with Anita Josefa Barzman, M.D (Congregation Emanu-El Member)
Czech Torah Scroll on Loan to Emanu-El San Francisco
This Czech Torah (under the white Torah cover) is currently in our chapel’s ark and will be used by our B’nei Mitzvah students on Saturdays.

This Chech Torah Scroll is on permanent loan to the Congregation Emanu-El San Francisco community. More information about the Memorial Scrolls Trust can be found on their website, here. Look for more updates on this page as our community welcomes this historic scroll.

Czech Scroll Atzei Chaim
Czech Scroll Atzei Chaim

MY JEWISH JOURNEY – RESTORING A LIVING TORAH

By Byron Gordon, Communications/Marketing

“People ask me. Why am I doing this? For me, it has everything to do 
with being Jewish, and being able to connect to Jewish history, and above all, the Torah.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  – Anita Josefa Barzman, M.D.

It’s impossible to know just how you will react when faced with a personal tragedy. After navigating past the raw grief, is it possible to find greater meaning behind what transpired? Might it serve as a catalyst for personal growth—as a human being and as a Jew? If we desire a closer relationship with a force greater than ourselves, including our own Jewish faith, what we learn from personal loss can only serve to help us. For Emanu-El member Anita Barzman, that experience came later in her life, and eventually it ushered in a whole new level of Jewish fulfillment with her unique experience of transporting Czech Torah scroll (MST #221) from the Memorial Scrolls Trust in London all the way to Temple Emanu-El (where it is now housed in our Rinder Chapel).

Born in 1954 on the East Side of Manhattan in the neighborhood of Stuyvesant Town, Barzman was the product of a Communist father, Sol Barzman, whose parents hailed from Belarus and a mother, Bella Prostakov, whose parents were from the Ukraine. Growing up, Anita’s parents would send her to Jewish summer camp and Yiddish school. But these were isolated Jewish moments in young Anita’s life. Neither of her parents were observant Jews. “I think because of my father’s politics, secular Jews like him adhered to other forms of thought,” said Barzman. “Since their passing, I’ve only been able to speculate why they didn’t want to join a shul. But there was such a pervasive feeling of being culturally Jewish living in Manhattan that I knew I was a Jew. In my own quiet way, I would observe Yom Kippur but for the most part, I was sort of lost to my Jewishness.”

Upon graduating from Hunter College High School, Barzman attended Tufts University, outside of Boston. Largely secular at this time of her life, Barzman continued to develop a very strong social justice component to her life. Over the years, her social consciousness led to a split between her inclination to be observant and concerns about some of the domestic policies in Israel. “I know it’s all very complicated. But policies enacted by Israel against its Palestinian neighbors deeply troubled me. I kept wondering. How can I affiliate myself with a synagogue because of my concerns about the State of Israel?”

While at Tufts, Barzman studied drama and English, with thoughts of pursuing a career in theater; however, the wave of modern feminism in the 1970s pulled her more toward women’s health and history. This awakening led Barzman to completely change direction and gravitate to the field of medicine. She attended Columbia University’s post-baccalaureate pre-med program, and in 1981 was admitted to UCSF here in San Francisco. Barzman completed her medical school studies in 1985, and then—because her spiritual journey continued to attract her to the study of human nature—she went on to complete a psychiatry residency in 1989.

Absent any Barzman’s relationship to Judaism remained fairly dormant up to this stage of her life, consisting mainly of attending Passover Seders, lighting Chanukah candles, and observing the yahrzeits of her father and maternal grandmother. Then, on March 22, 2015, her 92-year old mother Bella died. “My mother died in a Methodist nursing home in upstate New York. There was no chaplaincy to help my sister and me with my mother’s dying process. It was another moment of awakening for me.” Barzman contacted a rabbi who knew her mother in upstate New York. The rabbi chanted El Maleh Rachamim (meaning “God full of compassion”) and counseled Barzman. “I was so lost at the time. But I remember the rabbi saying to me that sometimes what people do after the death of a parent is to take something up to study. Being a perennial student, I told myself I had to learn Hebrew and join a Reform congregation.”

Just a couple months later, during Pesach in 2015, Barzman contacted Emanu-El Membership Director Terry Krauss, who encouraged Barzman to attend a Yizkor service. Barzman eventually met with Senior Rabbi Jonathan Singer, and then made the decision to join Emanu-El. She took it upon herself to begin learning Hebrew and also started attending Friday night Shabbat services. “I told Rabbi Jonathan about my previous obstacles in joining a shul. He responded that this was a very big congregation with members who have all different kinds of feelings and ideas. I started regularly observing Shabbat and took Rabbi Kushner’s Hebrew grammar class. Kushner said he was teaching people Hebrew so they can read the Torah. I said to myself, “You mean I can really read the Torah?”

For Barzman, studying the Torah became a serious endeavor in the pursuit of human knowledge. Within a year of joining Congregation Emanu-El, she found her way to shifting her work life from her previous solo private practice of psychiatry, Jungian psychoanalysis, and homeopathy, to joining the staff of HealthRight360/Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinics as their psychiatrist. To actively and explicitly engage in Tikkun Olam by helping underserved and marginalized people coincided with her study of Torah. “I felt I was led to my new work because of this arc of becoming involved in my own Jewishness. Now I’m feeling like every hour I’m doing something meaningful by spending time with these traumatized patients and in so doing am helping to repair our world.”

Coupled with a powerful Hebrew/English software translator recommended by Rabbi Kushner (called Davka), Barzman is now on her third journey through the Torah; she studies Torah every day. She looks forward to eventually becoming Batmitzvah and being able to chant Torah during services. Barzman’s love of Torah parallels her fascination with 20th-century history, an interest that eventually led her to the Memorial Scrolls Trust. In late 2015, Barzman took a trip to England to visit her daughter Arianna who was studying abroad at the University of Sussex. While there, the closest Reform synagogue she could find to attend Shabbat services was Westminster Synagogue, near Hyde Park in London. In viewing the synagogue’s website, she discovered a page devoted to the Czech scrolls; the museum at Westminster houses 1,564 Czech scrolls that had been saved from Nazi destruction in Prague and miraculously found their way.

Excited by this discovery, Barzman scheduled a personal tour of the museum and was guided by Rabbi Ariel Friedlander whose father (also a rabbi) served at Westminster during the 1960s when the scrolls first arrived. The Memorial Scrolls Trust has lent out these surviving scrolls to congregations around the world so they can remain an enduring, living document, a testament to their surviving the Holocaust and serving as a connection back to Europe before the Shoah. Barzman later spoke with the Memorial Scrolls Trustee/Chairman, Jeffrey Ohrenstein to inquire if any of these scrolls had ever come to San Francisco. Other congregations do serve as homes to Czech Torah scrolls (including Beth Shalom), but as it happened, Emanu-El did not have one of these scrolls.

“I wanted Emanu-El to become my Jewish and spiritual home,” said Barzman. “We have three arks at Emanu-El and I felt compelled to bring up the idea of facilitating our congregation becoming home to one of these precious scrolls. I met with Executive David Goldman and Marketing Director Rob Freedman in January 2016. They were very supportive. I said I would be willing to pay the adoption fee and the annual fee for housing the Torah. I wanted to make this happen.”

A few months later, Emanu-El announced a very special trip to Eastern Europe exploring the rebirth of Judaism in such cities as Prague and Warsaw. For Barzman, it was an ideal timeframe. At the trip’s conclusion, she would stop in London and bring home MST #221 to Emanu-El. The scroll came from Ostrava, which is the Easternmost part of the Czech Republic. It was previously a coal-mining city that expanded in the late 19th century. At its height, six synagogues were in Ostrava, prior to their ruination by the Nazis. It is now the third-largest city in the Czech Republic.

There was one last-minute complication that had to be worked out before Barzman could bring Torah MST #221 to Emanu- El. Barzman was informed that the scroll could not be used because it wasn’t officially approved, so a scribe was sought out who eventually was able to restore it. “When I finally got to Westminster synagogue and saw the Torah itself, I had a visceral reaction as if I already knew this Torah. It was very powerful.” Barzman obtained a 40-inch-long duffel bag so the Torah could sit right next to her on the plane back to San Francisco. She made it through customs surprisingly with minimal hassle. “Customs agents were respective of this religious object,” said Barzman.

Barzman arrived back at Emanu-El with the Torah on the morning of Monday, May 15, and Fabian, one of Emanu-El’s custodians, helped her put MST #221 into the ark. When she was about to leave, Fabian asked Barzman if she were a rabbi.

“I wish,” I said to myself. But if I had to do this all over again, I would try to be a rabbi. There’s definitely an overlap with what I do today. It’s no accident that the person who invented psychoanalysis was Jewish. There is just so much wisdom and insight about human nature in the Torah, and in our relationship with the divine. One of my favorite passages is Moses’s conversation with God in the Book of Exodus. When God is going to reveal his presence to Moses and he has to go to the cleft of the rock. And Moses can only see God’s back and not the front. It’s so thrilling when you read it in Hebrew! For me, this is even better than reading Freud or Jung. It’s such an established heritage.”

To be able to bring back a scroll that had escaped Nazi destruction and make it available on loan to Emanu-El was not only an emotional and spiritual peak for Barzman, but it also served as a bridge to her Jewish heritage with its focus on European Jewry and, in particular, the tragedy of the Holocaust. “As Jews of the post-WWII generation, it’s absolutely part of our collective unconscious. As a young woman I had visited Dachau, and on the Eastern Europe trip I visited Auschwitz and Terezin. It’s such a visceral experience. I felt that when I was carrying the Torah back to San Francisco, there was a particular need to take care of it because it was also taking care of me. I hope that its presence in our congregation will bring greater immediacy to it, especially for those who use it for their bar or bat mitzvah who died at Terezin. I would want our kids to feel something about that today.”

For Barzman, connecting back to her ancestors has served as an anchor for her Jewish journey. Growing up in the 1950s with parents who weren’t religious created a spiritual disconnect for her. “I do think my parents’ generation had this feeling of ‘where is God’ or ‘maybe it’s not safe to be Jewish,’” said Barzman. “Something was lost.”

It took many decades of searching and wandering but eventually, Barzman found what she was looking for. “There was a lack in my life, in my health, both mental and spiritual. For most of my life, I’ve been homesick for something but didn’t know exactly what I was homesick for. Often as a young adult, especially on those Friday nights, I felt I should be going out to celebrate. Now, upon reflection, I realize what I was looking for was Shabbat on Friday nights. If I had been experiencing Shabbat for all these years, I wonder if I would have had a better life? Now my life is beautiful. I look forward to Shabbat every week. It’s feeding me. Spiritual health is so important and it’s not something we think about enough of.”

UPCOMING EVENTS

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