Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1
Torah Study (Library) 9:15 am
Torah Study (Library)
Sep 1 @ 9:15 am – 10:15 am
 
Shabbat Morning Service BM of Alexandra Greenberg (MMS) 10:30 am
Enter the High Holy Days with Selichot & The Jewish Women’s Theatre 6:30 pm
Enter the High Holy Days with Selichot & The Jewish Women’s Theatre
Sep 1 @ 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
6:30 pm – Havdalah in Martin Meyer Reception 7:00 pm – Performance by Jewish Women’s Theatre in Martin Meyer Sanctuary 8:15 pm – Selichot Service About Jewish Women’s Theatre In the fall of 2008, Jewish … Continued
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4
Mahjong (R57) 1:30 pm
Mahjong (R57)
Sep 4 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
 
5
Young Adult Food Pantry Volunteering 6:00 pm
Young Adult Food Pantry Volunteering
Sep 5 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Join members of the Young Adult Community at Congregation Emanu-El for an evening volunteering with the SF Marin Food Pantry. Volunteers will help sort and package produce for families in the greater San Francisco community. … Continued
6
Cooking for Congregants – September 6, 2018 9:00 am
Cooking for Congregants – September 6, 2018
Sep 6 @ 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
7
First Friday Under Five (MMS) 5:30 pm
First Friday Under Five (MMS)
Sep 7 @ 5:30 pm – 6:00 pm
 
Classic Shabbat Service (MS) 6:00 pm
Classic Shabbat Service (MS)
Sep 7 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
 
Simchat Shabbat Dinner 2018-09-07 6:15 pm
Simchat Shabbat Dinner 2018-09-07
Sep 7 @ 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- $20.00, Children ages 3-10- $10.00, Non-member Adults- $24.00.Event Signup
9
Elul Mikvah 2018: The Tribe for Women & Women’s Group 9:00 am
Elul Mikvah 2018: The Tribe for Women & Women’s Group
Sep 9 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Join Rabbi Mintz, Rabbi Fenves and women from Congregation Emanu-El’s Women’s Group and The Tribe for Women for a morning of spiritual exploration and preparation for the High Holy Days at Baker Beach. Bring your … Continued
2018 ERH Family Service Ushering 5:00 pm
2018 ERH Family Service Ushering
Sep 9 @ 5:00 pm – 5:45 pm
Every year for the High Holy Day services, we need temple ushers who extend a warm welcome, hand out prayer books, help congregants with seating, and answer general questions. Enrich your High Holy Day experience … Continued
Family Service, (MMS) 5:00 pm
Family Service, (MMS)
Sep 9 @ 5:00 pm
One hour worship led in a participative, educational style by clergy. New this year: Open to the community.  Appropriate for children under age 5, accompanied by at least one parent. No One Pass or ticket required.
Classic Service, (Main) 6:00 pm
Classic Service, (Main)
Sep 9 @ 6:00 pm
Led by Rabbis Carla Fenves and Jason Rodich.  Sermon by Senior Rabbi Beth Singer. Music:  Cantor Arik Luck, the Emanu-El Choir, and organist.
Contemporary Service, (Main) 8:30 pm
Contemporary Service, (Main)
Sep 9 @ 8:30 pm
Led by Senior Rabbi Jonathan Singer and Rabbi Ryan Bauer.  Sermon by Senior Rabbi Beth Singer. Music: Cantor Marsha Attie and her accompanists.
10
Rosh Hashanah – Office Closed
Classic Service, Main Sanctuary 9:00 am
Classic Service, Main Sanctuary
Sep 10 @ 9:00 am
Led by Senior Rabbi Jonathan Singer and Rabbi Sydney Mintz.  Sermon by Rabbi Ryan Bauer. Music:  Cantor Arik Luck, the Emanu-El Choir, and organist.
Service for families with children ages 5 and under (MMS) 10:00 am
Service for families with children ages 5 and under (MMS)
Sep 10 @ 10:00 am
Service for families with children ages 5 and under, Martin Meyer Sanctuary Led by clergy with music by Cantor Marsha Attie and her accompanists. No One Pass or ticket required.
Contemporary Service (Main) 11:45 am
Contemporary Service (Main)
Sep 10 @ 11:45 am
Led by Senior Rabbi Beth Singer and Rabbi Carla Fenves. Sermon by Rabbi Jason Rodich. Music: Cantor Marsha Attie and her accompanists.
Service for families with children ages 5-10, (Main) 2:30 pm
Service for families with children ages 5-10, (Main)
Sep 10 @ 2:30 pm
Led by Emanu-El clergy with Cantor Arik Luck and musician Jonathan Ferris. No One Pass or ticket required.
Community Service led by our teens (Main) 3:30 pm
Community Service led by our teens (Main)
Sep 10 @ 3:30 pm
Come and be inspired by the music, communal singing, Torah readings and commentaries created and led by our teens. With Cantor Marsha Attie and accompanists. No One Pass or ticket required.
Tashlich (Baker Beach) 5:00 pm
Tashlich (Baker Beach)
Sep 10 @ 5:00 pm
As instructed by the Prophet Micah, we gather to throw breadcrumbs into the water on Rosh Hashanah afternoon. This ceremony is called Tashlich and represents a symbolic casting away of the transgressions of the past … Continued
11
Worship (RRC) 9:30 am
Worship (RRC)
Sep 11 @ 9:30 am
A quiet, meditative acoustic service led by Senior Rabbi Jonathan Singer, Rabbi Ryan Bauer, and Cantor Arik Luck.
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Cooking for Congregants – September 13, 2018 9:00 am
Cooking for Congregants – September 13, 2018
Sep 13 @ 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
14
Bagels and Bagies (MMR) 9:30 am
Bagels and Bagies (MMR)
Sep 14 @ 9:30 am – 11:00 am
 
Camp Reunion Community Dinner and Late Shabbat 6:15 pm
Camp Reunion Community Dinner and Late Shabbat
Sep 14 @ 6:15 pm – 8:00 pm
We want to invite all Jewish young adults from around the Bay Area to come together for intimate dinners – between 8 and 10 people – at some of the best spots in the Inner … Continued
Young Adult Late Shabbat (MMS) 8:30 pm
Young Adult Late Shabbat (MMS)
Sep 14 @ 8:30 pm – 9:45 pm
 
16
The Tribe for Men: Mikvah in the Ocean at Dawn 2018 5:00 am
The Tribe for Men: Mikvah in the Ocean at Dawn 2018
Sep 16 @ 5:00 am – 7:00 am
The High Holy Days are a time where we open ourselves up and look deep inside our souls to examine who we have been and who we want to be. Have we accomplished all we … Continued
17
Mazel Tots (MMR) 9:30 am
Mazel Tots (MMR)
Sep 17 @ 9:30 am – 11:00 am
 
Scrabble (R57) 11:00 am
Scrabble (R57)
Sep 17 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
 
18
Kol Nidre – Office closes at 1:00 pm 1:00 pm
Kol Nidre – Office closes at 1:00 pm
Sep 18 @ 1:00 pm – 5:30 pm
 
Family Service (MMS) 5:00 pm
Family Service (MMS)
Sep 18 @ 5:00 pm
One hour worship, led in a participative, educational style by clergy. New this year: Open to the community.  Appropriate for children under age 5, accompanied by at least one parent. No One Pass or ticket required.
Classic Service (Main) 6:00 pm
Classic Service (Main)
Sep 18 @ 6:00 pm
Led by Senior Rabbi Beth Singer and Rabbi Carla Fenves.  Sermon by Senior Rabbi Jonathan Singer. Music:  Cantor Arik Luck, the Emanu-El Choir, and organist.
HHD 2018 KN Sr. Transp 6:00 pm
HHD 2018 KN Sr. Transp
Sep 18 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Transportation Assistance for Seniors in San Francisco on High Holy Days In partnership with the Jewish Community Federation, Congregation Emanu-El is again offering to subsidize half of the cost of transportation for elderly and disabled … Continued
Contemporary Service (Main) 8:30 pm
Contemporary Service (Main)
Sep 18 @ 8:30 pm
Led by Rabbis Sydney Mintz and Jason Rodich. Sermon by Senior Rabbi Jonathan Singer. Music: Cantor Marsha Attie and her accompanists.
19
Yom Kippur – Office Closed
Classic Service (Main) 9:00 am
Classic Service (Main)
Sep 19 @ 9:00 am
Led by Senior Rabbi Jonathan Singer and Rabbi Jason Rodich. Sermon by Rabbi Sydney Mintz. Music:  Cantor Arik Luck, the Emanu-El Choir, and organist.
Service for families with children ages 5 and under (MMS) 10:00 am
Service for families with children ages 5 and under (MMS)
Sep 19 @ 10:00 am
Led by clergy with music by Cantor Marsha Attie and her accompanists. No One Pass or ticket required.
Taste of Tauber Study Session (GH) 10:00 am
Taste of Tauber Study Session (GH)
Sep 19 @ 10:00 am
Emanu-El Scholar Rabbi Lawrence Kushner on Malicious talk: Maimonides on the laws governing speech No One Pass or ticket required.
Study Session (GH) 11:30 am
Study Session (GH)
Sep 19 @ 11:30 am
Learn with Tad Taube Emanu-El Scholar Rabbi Stephen Pearce: What Is Your Story? Muriel Ruykeser advised, “The world is not made of atoms. It is made of stories.” Accounts from our formative years, called “charter … Continued
Contemporary Service (Main) 11:45 am
Contemporary Service (Main)
Sep 19 @ 11:45 am
Led by Senior Rabbi Beth Singer and Rabbi Ryan Bauer. Sermon by Rabbi Carla Fenves. Music: Cantor Marsha Attie and her accompanists.
Youth Experiencing Homelessness in San Francisco (GH) 2:00 pm
Youth Experiencing Homelessness in San Francisco (GH)
Sep 19 @ 2:00 pm
Youth Experiencing Homelessness in San Francisco (GH)
DATE: Yom Kippur, Wednesday, September 19, 2018 TIME: 2:00-3:30 pm (immediately following Contemporary Services) LOCATION: Guild Hall *childcare available* Join us for a special conversation about youth experiencing homelessness in San Francisco. Hear directly from youth in this … Continued
Reflection and Renewal in the Redwoods: Prayer, Meditation and Music with Rabbi Sydney Mintz (Front Gate) 2:15 pm
Reflection and Renewal in the Redwoods: Prayer, Meditation and Music with Rabbi Sydney Mintz (Front Gate)
Sep 19 @ 2:15 pm
Participants will meet at the front gate of the temple at 2:15 pm to walk to the Presidio and return in time for the 3:30 pm Community Service led by our teens. No One Pass … Continued
Afternoon Service (MMS) 2:30 pm
Afternoon Service (MMS)
Sep 19 @ 2:30 pm
Led by Rabbi Jonathan Singer.  Music by Cantor Arik Luck. No One Pass or ticket required.
Community Service led by our teens (Main) 3:30 pm
Community Service led by our teens (Main)
Sep 19 @ 3:30 pm
Come and be inspired by the music, communal singing, Torah readings, and commentaries created and led by our teen.  With Cantor Marsha Attie and accompanists. No One Pass or ticket required.
Guided Meditation (GH) – note: latecomers will not be admitted 4:00 pm
Guided Meditation (GH) – note: latecomers will not be admitted
Sep 19 @ 4:00 pm
Led by Rabbi Ryan Bauer. Note: Latecomers will not be admitted No One Pass or ticket required.  
Healing Service (RRC) 4:00 pm
Healing Service (RRC)
Sep 19 @ 4:00 pm
Led by Senior Rabbi Beth Singer. No One Pass or ticket required.
Classic Yizkor and Neilah Services (Main) 5:30 pm
Classic Yizkor and Neilah Services (Main)
Sep 19 @ 5:30 pm
Led by Senior Rabbis Beth and Jonathan Singer. Sermon by Rabbi Ryan Bauer. Music: Cantor Arik Luck, the Emanu-El Choir, and organist.
Contemporary Yizkor and Neilah Services (MMS) 5:30 pm
Contemporary Yizkor and Neilah Services (MMS)
Sep 19 @ 5:30 pm
Led by Rabbis Carla Fenves and Jason Rodich. Sermon by Rabbi Sydney Mintz. Music: Cantor Marsha Attie and her accompanists. Space is extremely limited. Tickets or One Passes are required. Courtyard Havdalah and Break the … Continued
30’s and 40’s Break the Fast 6:30 pm
30’s and 40’s Break the Fast
Sep 19 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Come join the Emanu-El 30s and 40s community for our annual break-the-fast as we mark the end of Yom Kippur. Whether or not you fast or go to services, come and connect with your community … Continued
Young Adult Break the Fast 7:00 pm
Young Adult Break the Fast
Sep 19 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Come join the Young Adult Community for a break-the-fast meal as we mark the end of Yom Kippur. Whether or not you fast or go to services, come and connect with your community as we … Continued
Young Adult Break the Fast 7:30 pm
Young Adult Break the Fast
Sep 19 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Come join the Young Adult Community for a break-the-fast meal as we mark the end of Yom Kippur. Whether or not you fast or go to services, come and connect with your community as we … Continued
23
Sukkot Celebration Service & Dinner 2018 5:00 pm
Sukkot Celebration Service & Dinner 2018
Sep 23 @ 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Celebrate Sukkot at Temple Emanu-El with a festive outdoor service in the courtyard at 5:00 pm on Sunday, September 23, followed by Mediterranean dinner.Please feel free to bring your own bottle of wine.Reservations are required … Continued
24
Service for First Day of Sukkot 9:00 am
Service for First Day of Sukkot
Sep 24 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Join us on the first morning of Sukkot for the joyous festival service. Freshly brewed coffee will be served at 9:00 am for the service in the chapel, where Hallel will be sung by the Cantor! Afterwards, we will have the traditional … Continued
25
Mahjong (chap) 6:00 pm
Mahjong (chap)
Sep 25 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
 
Sukkot Dinner 2018: The Tribe for Women & Women’s Group 6:30 pm
Sukkot Dinner 2018: The Tribe for Women & Women’s Group
Sep 25 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Come join us for our annual Women's Group and Tribe for Women dinner in the sukkah for a night of women, discussion, and wine. We will be outside so remember to dress warmly! Please register, and … Continued
26
Tribe for Men: Sukkot Steak + Wine Celebration in the Sukkah 7:00 pm
Tribe for Men: Sukkot Steak + Wine Celebration in the Sukkah
Sep 26 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Tribe for Men: Sukkot Steak + Wine Celebration in the Sukkah @ Sukkah in the Temple Courtyard
Kick off the New Year together with other Tribe dads, as we have the first ever Sukkot steak and wine celebration in the temple Sukkah. Register now!Event Signup
27
Drinks, Dinner, and Music in the Sukkah 7:00 pm
Drinks, Dinner, and Music in the Sukkah
Sep 27 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Event Signup
Sukkot is Zman Simchatenu – Season of our Joy 7:00 pm
Sukkot is Zman Simchatenu – Season of our Joy
Sep 27 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Join us for an Boomers/Empty Nester's/Men's Group dinner in the sukkah – Middle eastern fare, wine, stories and music with Cantor Barak and the Rabbis Singer!Event Signup
28
Bagels and Bagies (MMR) 9:30 am
Bagels and Bagies (MMR)
Sep 28 @ 9:30 am – 11:00 am
 
LifeStream Shabbat Gathering 7:15 pm
LifeStream Shabbat Gathering
Sep 28 @ 7:15 pm – 9:00 pm
LifeStream Shabbat Gathering ticket for September 28Event Signup
29
Torah Study (Library) 9:15 am
Torah Study (Library)
Sep 29 @ 9:15 am – 10:15 am
 
Torah Study with Rabbi Kushner (R55) 9:15 am
Torah Study with Rabbi Kushner (R55)
Sep 29 @ 9:15 am – 10:15 am
 
Young Families Sukkot Celebration 2018 10:00 am
Young Families Sukkot Celebration 2018
Sep 29 @ 10:00 am – 11:15 am
We invite families with children under age 5 for a Shabbat morning service in the sukkah at Rabbi Carla Fenves and Cantor David Frommer's home. Please join us at 10:00 AM on Saturday, September 29 … Continued
Shabbat Morning Service BM of Andrew Eidelhoch (MMS) 10:30 am
Shabbat Morning Service BM of Andrew Eidelhoch (MMS) 10:30 am
Shabbat Morning Service BM of Caleb Darsky (Main) 10:30 am
Shabbat Morning Service BM of Caleb Darsky (Main)
Sep 29 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
 
Shake your Lulav, 2018 3:00 pm
Shake your Lulav, 2018
Sep 29 @ 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Join the Young Adult Community at Emanu-El at our 4th annual Shake your Lulov Sukkot program! We are changing locations this year and have booked a private space at Spark Social SF to celebrate together … Continued
Shake your Lulav, 2018 3:00 pm
Shake your Lulav, 2018
Sep 29 @ 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Join the Young Adult Community at Emanu-El at our 4th annual Shake your Lulov Sukkot program! We are changing locations this year and have booked a private space at Spark Social SF to celebrate together … Continued
30
Hebrew Decoding Fall 2018 9:30 am
Hebrew Decoding Fall 2018
Sep 30 @ 9:30 am – 11:15 am
Hebrew Decoding The Alef-Bet With Cantor Marsha AttieSunday, September 30, 9:30 – 11:15 amAND Sunday, October 7, 9:30 – 11:15 am This crash course is designed for those who want to learn how to read Hebrew … Continued
Simchat Torah Dinner & Celebration 2018 5:00 pm
Simchat Torah Dinner & Celebration 2018
Sep 30 @ 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Join us as we mark the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings and the beginning of a new cycle! This joyful and festive occasion includes dinner, dancing and singing with the Torah … Continued
Yizkor Service (Chapel) and Anat Hoffman lecture 8:30 pm
Yizkor Service (Chapel) and Anat Hoffman lecture
Sep 30 @ 8:30 pm – 9:20 pm
Yizkor Service (Chapel) and Anat Hoffman lecture
Have you experienced the loss of someone you love? Join us to honor and remember them at our beautiful Yizkor service with Rabbi Beth Singer and Cantor Marsha Attie. Then join us at 9:30 am in … Continued
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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.”

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