Jews' Next Dor

Congregation Beth David's Young Adult Group for Jewish 20 & 30 Somethings

Author Archive

Breaking News: Tom Lantos has died

Posted by Oyster on February 11, 2008

Tom Lantos rally

Tom Lantos, z”l. Baruch Dayan Emet.

Tom Lantos, z”l, the Bay Area Congressman (D – San Mateo), Holocaust survivor, and humanitarian, has died today. Presumably from complications surrounding his recently announced diagnosis of esophageal cancer. He was 80.

G-d has taken a hero from the Jewish people. May his memory be for a blessing.

Oy Bay will keep you posted as news unfolds about upcoming commemorations and mourning. Anyone who has information about his Hebew name is asked to leave a comment with that information.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

I can’t take this rejection!!!

Posted by Oyster on January 29, 2008

Awesome hagbah

Cross-posted to Oy Bay.
I wrote this very heart-felt (over-felt?) letter to my dear CBDYAG googlegroup, only to be turned down & rejected. I can’t handle this kind of rejection! So, to my spurned lover, I will post it online, for the whole frickin’ world to see. Ha! Take that, you soulless email server!

Greetings, and salutations!!!Allow myself to introduce… myself.

My name is Oyster. You won’t find my namesake on any CBD buffet. But

you will find lotsa CBDYAG / YAGaggites in the buffet line.

If you want to learn vital secrets about how to:

1) stay awake during services

2) learn secret passages in the shul

3) get to the front of the buffet line

4) find the Kiddush Club table

5) tell a regular apart from a B’nai Mitzvah day-tripper

6) shock and appall the Jewocracy by studying Torah without someone

tweaking your ear (gasp!)

7) discern top-notch lox from run-of-the-mill lox

8) tell an awesome hagbah (see above) from the “go to the JCC some more” hagbah

9) amass an impressive collection of pink kippahs

10) learn where the various couches are (nuff said)

then, look no further than your friendly neighborhood shell-fish blogger.

Yalla bye,


Posted in CBDYAG, Congregation Beth David | 6 Comments »

Feeling Lucky: Sergey Brin at my Silicon Valley Synagogue

Posted by Oyster on October 18, 2007

A googley-eyed Oyster spots Sergey Brin & Anne Wojcicki at his shul.

Cross-posted from Oy Bay!

The Shabbat before last, I found myself walking into shul (minding my own bidness). I noticed that the parking lot was fuller than usual, and my suspicions of some sort of b’nai mizvah was confirmed when I saw that the sanctuary was full. Having danced my pants off with the Torah just a day before with the Mission Minyan, I was sure that the khagim had finally come to a close. So that wasn’t it. It was the friends and family of the b’nai mitzvah kid. Whomever it was.

As I whipped out my chumash and started following along the Torah reading, I soon figured out that it was a Bat Mitzvah. I didn’t happen to know the girl or her family. I was expecting some friends of mine to show up, so I started periodically looking back from my second-row perch towards the back corner of the sanctuary, where a late-arriving guest or two might sit down.

In the threshold of the doorway to the back corner, I saw a young couple standing. Both were dressed nicely for the occasion, with the guy wearing a suit (or at least a blazer). He had close-cropped brown hair on his head, and a goatee. The lady had brown-blonde hair, shoulder length, and smart stylish glasses.

I did a double-take. I recognized that woman! She looks just like Anne Wojcicki…

Am I looking at Anne & Sergey Brin?!? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Congregation Beth David, J Bay Area Blogs, Young Adults | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Alas! We are Forsaken! Today is Tisha B’Av

Posted by Oyster on July 24, 2007

Francesco Hayez Destruction Temple Jerusalem cbdyag

Please follow this link to my thoughts this Tisha B’Av.

An easy fast to all.

Posted in Holidays, Torah | Leave a Comment »

Got Torah?

Posted by Oyster on May 24, 2007

Torah Study

What: Young Adult Torah Study
When: Saturday, May 26th, ~1:30 PM
Where: Congregation Beth David

Informally for a few months now, me and my chevruta have been studying Torah after services at my shul. We usually focus on the weekly Torah portion, and sometimes we mix in readings for special occasions (like ‘The Book of Ruth‘). We encourage our friends to join us, and we do a mix of chevruta study (in pairs) and group discussion.

So why study Torah? Many more brilliant minds than I have given excellent reasons, but here goes: It deepens your understanding of the Jewish people. It’s your intellectual heritage. It sharpens your reasoning and arguing skills. It’s social. As David Ben-Gurion said, “For thousands of years, we have guarded the Torah, and for thousands of years, the Torah has guarded us.” Nuff said.

All are invited to come and join us. We do this every Shabbat, but we’re now extending an invitation to the wider young adult Jewish community to join in. We’re gonna hold it once a month with a guest instructor ( a rabbi, scholar, or other learned Jew ) and invite everyone to come. If you are hard-core, you can join us every week. 🙂

Cross-posted at Oy Bay.

Posted in CBDYAG, Events, Holidays, Torah, Young Adults | 1 Comment »

JTA: Stanford’s Eisen to give Conservative Movement some much-needed backbone

Posted by Oyster on May 2, 2007

Eisen RA convention

Picture of Eisen leading Havdallah at the Conservative Movement’s Rabbinical Assembly meeting. In analogy to the fact that he is not a rabbi, he is not really holding a kiddush cup.

Cross-posted at Oy Bay!.

I just read an article from the JTA covering (former?) Stanford professor and Kol Emeth Yid, Arnold Eisen.

Some choice quotations:

He suggested the movement has “largely dropped the ball” by allowing pluralism — the notion of competing views of halacha, or Jewish law, coexisting harmoniously — to become its core message. … “Let’s be mature about this,” Eisen said. “Agreeing to disagree is not enough to keep a movement going.”

This is something that I struggle with as a Conservative Jew trying to understand what our Movement actually believes. More often than not, I get references and books from Conservative rabbis, rather than straight answers. Some tell me that we believe in Torah m’Sinai. Others say that Moses kinda-sorta existed in some historiographic sense, whatever that means. What the “modern critical analysis” crowd in the halls of JTS teach rabbis is not the same as what rabbis teach their Conservative congregations. I have yet to hear a Conservative rabbi give a drash explaining how the Torah was actually written by “D”, “Q”, “T”, “N”, “P”, “X”, and sometimes “Y”. Yet that is what “critical scholarship” teaches them in our yeshiva. Having some theological cohesion would be nice.

Some have argued publicly that a gap between the more observant practices of Conservative clergy and less observant laypeople challenges the accuracy of the movement’s self-description as “halachic.”

The joke that “a Conservative synagogue is one with an orthodox rabbi and a reform congregation” is kinda true. We make vociferous claims to our movement being halakhic, but one sees very little emphasis on observance from the majority of the membership of any given Conservative kehillah. And I’d hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but its this lack of observance of the Halakah that we claim to uphold that is the real problem with the Conservative Movement, not homosexual ordination or egalitarianism. Those issues are important, but they aren’t what is causing the rot at its core. Those who want a halakhic community usually defect to Orthodox communities, which brings me to this:

Above all, the movement must intensely engage its congregants in a way that rivals what is frequently found in Orthodox communities. There is a hunger for that, Eisen said, and the Conservative movement must provide it. “If we can’t win on that count,” Eisen said, “we can’t win.”

I think its very true. Though I’d be hard pressed to explain what “engage its congregants” means, precisely. I’ll give an example. I’ve been organizing, with my chevruta, an after-oneg parasha / Torah study at my shul for a few months now, and our numbers are increasing. We mix in classical commentators, and modern critical analysis. All young adults. Now, this spontaneous and voluntary desire to study Torah amongst young adults in the Conservative movement would be enough to give most liberal rabbis convulsions of ecstacy. Yet there has been very little interest shown in our Torah study meetings by the leadership of our shul.

In summary, I hope that, by virtue of his drive and his intellect, that Eisen is able to breathe some much needed vitality into the Conservative Movement, and not let us slip from “doldrums” to moribund.

Posted in CBDYAG, Community, Congregation Beth David, Young Adults | 1 Comment »

Who’s your Blog-Daddy? Vote Oy Bay for “Best New Blog”!

Posted by Oyster on April 26, 2007

This was cross-posted at Oy Bay. Just as Jewlicious is Oy Bay’s blog-parent, Oy Bay is CBDYAG’s blog-daddy. 🙂

Vote now for Oy Bay as “Best New Blog”!JIB badge nominee

Well, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again! Oy Bay, the young new upstart blog in the J-blogosphere, the social project aimed at bringing young Jews together in the Bay Area, the vibrant, independent media voice for the Jewish Bay Area, is slugging it out at the 2007 Jewish and Israeli Blog Awards.

We need your help!

The first round of voting ends this Sunday. We really need a rush of people to vote for us to help us make it to the finals. You’ve been enjoying our personal, local commentary for almost a year now, and all of us at Oy Bay have enjoyed every minute of it! All that we’re asking of you is to spend a few seconds and help us win some recognition of all the hard work we’ve been putting in to this project. Vote now, and please spread the word!

Posted in CBDYAG | 13 Comments »

CBDYAG Gets Jewlicious

Posted by Oyster on April 15, 2007

Oy Bay JTB3 participants

Cross-posted on Oy Bay!.

By ChallahBackGirl and Oyster

On March 9th a group of young adults, mostly CBDYAGniks, from Northern California drove down to a unique gathering in Southern California. Their bus trip down was a joint project between Sonoma Hillel and But not many know the back-story of how this journey south began. As Oyster was getting off his El Al flight, he ran into his friend David, Sonoma Hillel Executive Director, and compared notes from their Birthright trips. In discussing their future plans they both realized they planned to attend the Jewlicious Festival 3.0. As the festivities grew near, David and Oyster coordinated with Rabbi Yonah, Jewlicious Festival Director, on how to get as many people from Nor-Cal to attend the festival. They also worked with Rabbi Yonah to find out about other Nor-Cal people coming down like a group of students from Reno.

The day started early for everyone, especially Oyster who got a 3 AM call from the Reno clan saying that they were stuck in traffic and couldn’t make it in time to the bus (they unfortunately drove separately down to the Festival). By 5 AM Oyster had picked up the majority of the south-bay folks. We swung by Izzy’s for a much needed coffee and breakfast as well as picking up nosh for the bus. Then we met with others at the Palo Alto JCC, and promptly boarded the waiting bus.

Once on board with the Sonoma contingent, many people went right to sleep, or back to sleep. It was 6 AM! Oyster, on the other hand, was so excited that he quickly went to work talking to anyone who was still awake, snapping pictures of the bus passengers and the scenic California countryside. Before we knew it, we were at our destination: the Long Beach JCC!

The festival itself is hard to fit into a one-liner. You had over 450 young Jewish adults from 18 to 26 there from all over the place. Oklahoma, Los Angeles, Jerusalem, Las Vegas, New York and, of course, the Bay Area and Reno. The participants (and workshop facilitators) were also from all over the denominational map. Hasidic, Conservative, Modern Orthodox, Reform, and unaffiliated participants all mingled and had a great time together. Throw in two night’s worth of Jewish comedians, musicians, and spoken-word artists, a spiritual observance of Shabbat, plus engaging guest-lecturers, and lots of kosher food, and you had a winning combination. It was a huge celebration of “Jewnity” from all walks of Jewish life.

“I use singing to mobilize. I use politics to mobilize. I use coffee to mobilize.” declared J.J. Keki, of the Ugandan Mirembe Kawomera (’Delicious Peace’) coffee co-op. He spoke, sang, danced, prayed, and performed with us at the Jewlicious Festival all weekend. We were very impressed by the project that he’s the director of; one that brings together Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Ugandans (Yes, Jewish!) to produce fair-trade coffee, and peace, in the form of economic cooperation.

Saturday and Sunday evening were filled with performances by Exodus (Eddie Fox), Eric “Smooth-E” Schwartz, Rav Shmuel and Bloodsugars, DJ Eric Rosen, Makkabees, missFlag, My Second Surprise, ( whose debut video won the Israeli Video Awards) Golem, Soulico from Israel, local band Shankbone staring Rabbi Yonah, and Grammy nominated, J.J. Keki kept us clapping and dancing.

By the end of the Festival’s second concert on Sunday night, a very tired but happy crowd of CBDYAG’ers and Sonoma Hillel students got on-board our charter bus to speed back to the Bay Area overnight. Even before some participants arrived home, phone numbers, Facebook accounts and photos were being shared and exchanged. “I had a great time and met interesting people. I enjoyed the bus rides both ways with the great folks from Sonoma. The performances and other programs were fun to watch and participate in.” said Sodabrew reflecting on the weekend. This one-of-a-kind event for Jewish youth left an impression, and many were already excitedly talking about returning next year.

Learn more about it from the festival website. We had a few journalist join us, see what they had to say in the Jewish Journal of LA, the J. Weekly and Chronicle. Not to mention the Jewlicious bloggers we’re posting during the event. Here’s pictures, and Oyster has a few things to say as well as pictures from our journey south.

Posted in CBDYAG, Community, Events, Young Adults | 3 Comments »

%d bloggers like this: