MARCH 27-28, 2020
3 NISAN, 5780

Shabbat & Weekday Services:

No services are meeting at CBI at this time.
The Eruv is UP.

Shabbat Services, March 27-28, 2020

Friday night, March 27
5:30 pm Pre-Kabbalat Shabbat Sing w/ Ben Kramarz: Get in the Shabbat spirit with music and song
Or by phone: 669-900-6833, meeting id: 5108435246#
7:00 pm Mincha & Kabbalat Shabbat at home
7:10 pm Candle Lighting

Saturday, March 28
9:15 am Morning Service
Please click here for R. Cohen’s Shabbat Drash
Please click here for R. Cohen’s Source Sheet
6:30 pm Mincha at home
Ma’ariv, Havdalah at home & Shabbat ends after 8:08 pm

Weekday Morning and Evening Services, March 29-April 3, 2020
No services are meeting at CBI at this time.

Sunday: 8:00 am
Weekdays: Given the later sunrise times in the spring, it is advisable to delay Shacharit until Netz (sunrise) rather than keeping to the CBI Shacharit schedule of 6:30 AM.
Sunrise on Friday, March 27 is 7:01 AM, further information available here.
Evenings:  Su-Th 7:10pm

Birkat Ha’Ilanot – Blessing Over Fruit-Bearing Trees
In the month of Nissan, we have an opportunity to fulfill the beautiful mitzvah of Birkat HaIlanot, the blessing over fruit-bearing trees. It is preferable to recite the blessing as soon as one sees a fruit tree in bloom in this season (ideally on a weekday): Baruch atah Adonay Elohaynu melech haolam shelo chasar b’olamo klum u’bara bo b’riyot tovot v’ilanot tovim l’hanot bahem b’nay adam.

Emotional, Tech, Practical & Financial Support:

CBI Supportive WhatsApp Groups:
To join a WhatsApp group sharing positive insights during this time of hardship, please use this link: https://chat.whatsapp.com/C6gYUxkhUoZ1cuMVg7UIl0
To join a WhatsApp group sharing ideas for caring and creative parenting during this time of hardship, please use this link: https://chat.whatsapp.com/EY6NvTZzIykJ3bEBX73iow

Safety in the Home: 
During social distancing, and prolonged time at home, those who live with domestic violence are at increased risk. For anyone feeling unsafe in their homes right now there, here are some helpful resources on coping when stuck at home. https://www.shalomtaskforce.org/single-post/2020/03/17/Staying-Safe-When-Stuck-at-Home

Tech Support:
If you are looking for some tech support to get on Zoom, WhatsApp or FB to stay connected, please let us know and we will direct you to some tech angels. Email office@cbiberkeley.org

Chessed Callers & Errand Angels:
We now have a group of over 40 volunteers that have paired with over 100 community members around the East Bay that may need some extra support during this health crisis. This amazing group will be keeping regular communication with community members as well as assisting with running errands during the shelter-in-place protocol.
It is our hope that all members of our community will remain healthy inside their homes in the coming weeks. As R. Cohen emphasized in a previous message to our community: “At this time IT IS A MITZVAH to ask for support and help as it is a mitzvah not to put yourself and others at risk.”  The Chessed Callers & Errand Angels are here to make that as easy as possible!

Errand Form
Anybody in the community is encouraged both to submit and fulfill errands using the Errand Form located here: https://forms.gle/TpvqP5YmYT8fbqJY8.
If you have multiple errands, such as a grocery request as well as a pharmacy pickup, please submit one form per errand so that we can better organize assignments and timelines.  If you have trouble using the form, you can also send your request to Jana Loeb (janajett@gmail.com – 414-573-3730)

Important Information About Requesting Errands
One note about errands, as with everybody we must be conscious of social distancing and safety for our Errand Angels. We would like to help our angels to make very efficient trips and minimize the number of locations. To that end, when you are submitting errands please keep a few things in mind:

  1. Plan Ahead – things like groceries and Pesach shopping should be requested far in advance so that our Angels can consolidate errands. Also, please try and include everything in your original request to the best of your ability.
  2. Specific store/item requests – we are encouraging Angels to shop at a single store per trip and thus may not be able to get the specific store/brand you are requesting. Have that in mind when making the request and set your expectations accordingly.
  3. Quantities – many stores are either limiting quantities of purchase on some items or certain items (pasta, toilet paper etc.) are proving hard to find. Again, to help with this please submit and consolidate errand requests as early as possible and set your expectation in terms of delivery times.

How to Help Out
First and foremost, please take care of yourself! Stay inside, wash your hands, and listen to official guidelines.
If you would like to help out either as a Chessed Caller or to take on some Errands, you can sign up here: https://forms.gle/SnJfUfdTLoDQAMcu6
Every morning an email goes out with all of the outstanding Errand Requests and any volunteer can claim them. You can always check on the outstanding errands here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1DK2VMVCZ9bHpHCVTwFo4O6QkPUFRvn-QQDyYhny-sDY/edit?usp=sharing

Financial Aid:
We recognize that sheltering-in-place impacts the financial well-being of some of our members as well as some of our beloved Jewish institutions. In the coming weeks and months, the shul’s Tzedakah fund will be used exclusively to aid our community. Please contact R. Cohen if you anticipate financial hardship in the weeks and months to come, we are here to offer support. You can make a donation to help fellow congregants, indicate “communal chessed“.

  • https://www.cbiberkeley.org/connect/giving/ by Paypal, please pick the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund
  • @CBI-Berkeley on Venmo
  • to office@cbiberkeley.org by Zelle
  • by check “Congregation Beth Israel” to 1630 Bancroft Way, Berkeley CA 94703

Hebrew Free Loans. HFL provides interest-free loans to help Jewish individuals in Northern California overcome financial challenges. They are now offering loans to help manage financial difficulties related to COVID-19. https://www.hflasf.org/apply/loans-we-offer/coronavirus-impact/
Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund has set up a COVID-19 Response Fund to enable donors and the community to help meet individual and organizational needs, as well as an up-to-date Jewish community resource guide for all to use.

Daily Practice:
CBI Daily Torah WhatsApp Group w/ R. Cohen
Rabbi Cohen will share a daily video dvar Torah to the CBI Daily Torah Group and CBI FB group.
On Friday, Rabbi Cohen will share a video drasha and a source sheet to print. To join this group, please use this link: https://chat.whatsapp.com/GxGxiHlCAmG9nN6p2TseAd.
CBI FB group can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/169500763063398/

Daily Mishna w/ M. Sutton
8:45-9 am Sunday-Friday

Join us each morning (except for Shabbat) to learn a Mishna together, particularly in lieu of saying kaddish for departed loved ones during this time. We will start with Mishna Berakhot. Please be in touch with M. Sutton if you have a yartzeit this week or in the 11 months of saying kaddish for a loved one (maharatvictoria@gmail.com).

Mindfulness Meditation w/ R. Zac Kamenetz
Sun-Thurs, 7:30-8:15 PM
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.” In this time when there is so much unknown to us, we can develop powerful tools to anchor ourselves into the only thing that truly exists: the present moment. We will learn and practice the basics of mindfulness (paying attention/on purpose/non-judgmentally)   meditation and sit in silent, holy awareness with our community, even while at a distance.

CBI Virtual Events & Classes:

Sunday, March 29 at 10:30 am
Crafting the Seder – Storytelling As A Path Toward Collective Freedom
In this workshop we’ll craft interactive seder objects, inspired by the traditional texts and our own unique perspectives, that connect us to the seder experience, to our own sense of freedom, and to each other.
All ages welcome – adults + kids ages 7 and up will get the most out of this workshop, but younger ones will still enjoy crafting alongside adults!
Materials – we’ll be using colored paper, glue and scissors, but it can be done even just with printer paper and markers/crayons/pen/pencil if that’s what folks have!
Or by phone: 669-900-6833, meeting id: 5108435246#

Sunday, March 29, 7:00-8:00 pm
Seder Song Session: Learn some new tunes for your Seder from our members near and far, past and present: Rhoda Agin, Benjamin Epstein and Jana Jett Loeb.
Or by phone: 669-900-6833, meeting id: 5108435246#

Monday, March 30, 1:30-2:30 pm
Practical Seder Guide for a Very different Seder with R. Cohen
Whether you are on your own or without your usual Seder companions, an opportunity to hear some guiding principles and tips from Rabbi Cohen on conducting the Seder in a very different year, as well as share ideas with each other.
By phone: 669-900-6833, Meeting ID: 5108435246#

Monday, March 30, 8:00 pm
Process Group with Beth Oelberger
Having feelings about not having the seder you envisioned this year? You are not alone. Please join us Monday evening at 8pm in order to process and join together, all are welcome.
All are welcome! Facilitated by Beth Oelberger, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
RSVP requested to maharatvictoria@gmail.com, but no need to RSVP to jon
Or by phone: 669-900-6833, meeting id: 5108435246#

Tuesday, March 24, 7:30-9:00 pm
When Nature Goes Awry: Communal Response to Tragedy with Dr. Deena Aranoff
In this session, we will read selections from Tractate Ta’anit, a Tractate that deals largely with collective response to drought and other natural disasters. How does the Talmud portray the emotional response to natural disaster? How do the liturgical and ceremonial responses address the grief and fear of the community? What is the role of prayer in responding to tragedy? Please join us as we explore rabbinic wisdom as it guides our human response to tragedy.
Or by phone: 669-900-6833, meeting id: 5108435246#

Thursday, March 26, 10-11:30 am
Hashiva Hakaratit with Racheli Perl
Join in learning what has been termed as the contemporary-Hasidic-female movement!  “Hashiva Hakaratit” or the Yemima method is an Israeli spiritual movement that has been growing over the last thirty years, originally taught by Yemima Avital (1929-1999) in Herzelia in the 80’s and 90’s. Her system teaches us how to be connected more to our true essence (“mahut”) and be closer and accepting of ourselves and others.
Or by phone: 669-900-6833, meeting id: 5108435246#

Thursday, April 2, 1:00-2:00 pm
Anxiety and Stress Management During these Crazy Times w/ Bathea James
We will focus on understanding the nature of anxiety and ways to handle excessive anxiety and stress.
RSVP requested to maharatvictoria@gmail.com, please feel free to submit questions in advance for Bathea on RSVP.
Or by phone: 669-900-6833, meeting id: 5108435246#

Thursday, April 2, 8:00 pm 
Seder in Dark Times
Shabbat Hagadol w/ R. Cohen
In Memory of Eli Resnikoff, z”l and Esther Schickman, z”l
Or by phone: 669-900-6833, meeting id: 5108435246#

Pesach Events, Resources, & Guidelines:


We realize that due to the shelter-in-place, many of our homes might be stocked up with Chametz items. All these items can be sold and included in the Sale of Chametz form. To sell this Chametz, fill out the electronic form here.  Alternatively, print out the form here, fill it out, and send a copy/ picture of it to R Cohen.

Maot Chittim is a special rabbinically mandated Pesach contribution over and above one’s normal gifts to tzedakah. The funds enable Jews in need to have the basic requirements for a proper seder.  We will use this year’s contributions to help support individuals and families in our CBI community who have been financially impacted by the Covid19 epidemic.

  • https://www.cbiberkeley.org/connect/giving/ by Paypal, please pick the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund
  • @CBI-Berkeley on Venmo
  • to office@cbiberkeley.org by Zelle
  • by check “Congregation Beth Israel” to 1630 Bancroft Way, Berkeley CA 94703

We are asking different members of our community to write up a Divrey Torah, questions, meditations, activities, to create our very own CBI Haggadah Companion. You can sign up at this link. Take a piece of the Haggadah and write something up to share with the community. Email them to Aryeh Canter (aryehcanter@gmail.com) by April 3!

Thursday, April 2, 8:00 pm
Seder in Dark Times
In Memory of Eli Resnikoff, z”l and Esther Schickman, z”l
Or by phone: 669-900-6833, meeting id: 5108435246#

Wednesday, April 8, 8:00 AM
Siyum for Fast of the First Born
Join Wednesday morning for a siyum as one of our members completes a tractate of Talmud. The siyum also exempts any participating first borns from fasting on Erev Pesach. Since the seudat mitzvah (mitzvah meal) is virtual, bring your own breakfast/snack for the conclusion of the siyum.

Wednesday, April 8, 5:30-7:00 pm
We will sing the songs of the Seder, share words of Torah, and take the chance to wish each other a Chag Kasher VeSame’ach from the comfort of our own homes. All are warmly invited to join us on Zoom for this meaningful and important virtual gathering.
By phone: 669-900-6833 , meeting id: 5108435246

(Pesach Task Force & Errand Angels will be coordinating errand runs to OKF & Afikomen, fill out form Here to be included)

General Announcements:

Medical Supplies Needed for John Muir Hospital: As parents of a nurse (our daughter, Leila, works at John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek), we are especially anxious about the lack of adequate protective supplies available to health care providers. We are publicizing this to the CBI community in the hope that people who have masks and/ or other items that meet the criteria noted below will consider donating them to local nurses and doctors who are in urgent need of them.
There will be a box on my front porch (at 1111 Fresno Avenue in Berkeley) where masks and other items may be left.  (If you have suitable supplies but are unable to drop them off at my home, please let me know so I can try to make arrangements to have them picked up.) I will deliver all donations to my daughter, who will make sure they get to the appropriate persons at John Muir Hospital. Steve Silberblatt
Statement from John Muir Hospital:
To be accepted, donations must be in the original packaging and meet our infection control standards.  At this time we are accepting homemade masks, but no other homemade supplies or food.
Priority Supplies to Donate:

  • Masks (N95, Surgical or Isolation)
  • Gowns (Isolation or Surgical)
  • Face Shields
  • Goggles (Non-vented)
  • Eye Shields
  • Disinfecting wipes (Clorox or Sani-Cloth)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • CAPR / PAPR Machines and Disposables

Open to grades 6-12
Daily Starbucks gift cards with Whatsapp Trivia Group: Your shot at a daily prize is one click away: https://tinyurl.com/vrvpdcj  NO, THIS IS NOT JUST ANOTHER WHATSAPP GROUP!
Every morning I will post a Jewish trivia question (yes, you can google the answer), which can win you an Amazon or Starbucks gift card!

CBI Online Running Club: We’re encouraging CBI members to boost their physical and mental well-being during this crisis by encouraging each other to run or walk. We’re doing this by sharing our progress on the Strava app using the club feature. Here are the steps:
Download the Strava app on your phone and create an account (or log in)
Click the following link to join the CBI club: https://www.strava.com/clubs/595614/
Please note running/walking for exercise is still okay under the Berkeley city directive but please don’t join if you are at risk. Noah Nathan


CBI (Virtual) Bridge Night, Tuesday 3/31 8 pm: Last week was a smashing success – lots of fun all-round! A few highlights:

  • BigAv(raham Burrell) sweeping up the remaining tricks
  • Meena being jumped to 3NT and MAKING IT
  • Lots of making slams but no one bidding them

One thing we have learnt is that our skill level is collectively poor – beginners definitely welcome! We’re hopefully playing again this week again – Tuesday evening at 8pm, hopefully using the BridgeBase platform and Zoom.
Please RSVP to Noah Nathan for the details.

YP online board games and happy hour – 8 pm. Specific board game to be confirmed but will be played online & via Zoom. Email Noah Nathan to RSVP and for the details.