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Welcome to Tri-Valley Cultural Jews

We are a Secular Humanistic community serving those who identify with the Jewish People through family, culture and history, rather than through religion. Serving the Greater East Bay with holiday celebrations, opportunities to express your progressive social values, and education for children, adults and families. We are affiliated with the Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations.  Please view the Upcoming Events link for a look at future activities. We look forward to seeing you!

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Secular Rabbi Judith Seid, on the same sex marriage ruling and dayenu.

I performed my first wedding ceremony in 1987, but before I did, I agonized over whether I should perform a ceremony that wasn’t available to everyone.  As it happened, a couple of my gay friends told me – in these exact words – “Don’t be stupid.”  So I performed legal wedding ceremonies between men and women and non-legal wedding ceremonies between people of the same sex.

A couple of times a year, a gay couple (back then both men and women were just called “gay”) would come to me and ask me to perform a “commitment” ceremony.  I would say no. I would tell them I did not perform commitment ceremonies but that I would be happy to perform a wedding ceremony for them.  And I did.  These weddings were not legal, but they were real.

I’m proud that our Secular Humanistic Jewish movement has always supported the right to marry and we were the first Jewish movement to include openly gay clergy members.  I’m proud that the Jewish community is at the forefront of every fight for equality.

While I am sensible that struggles remain, America has come a long way.  It took Black Americans almost 400 years to attain equal legal rights.  It’s not even 40 years from Stonewall, and we’re on our way to equal legal rights for people of all sexual orientations.  We’re not there yet, but we’re on our way.

At our Passover seder, we ask why we say “dayenu” – it would be enough for us – even though we know each thing we are happy for is not everything we need, want or hope for.  We say “dayenu” because it feels good to be on our way.  When we say “dayenu” it means we celebrate each step toward our goals as if  it were enough – and then start out on the next step. It means that if we reject each step because it is not the whole liberation, we will never be able to achieve the whole liberation. It means to sing each verse as if it were the whole song – and then sing the next verse!

So, yes, there’s still inequality, brutality and bigotry.  There’s still progress to be made.  But we’ve made another huge step forward, so let’s celebrate.  Let’s say DAYENU!

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Our next event: Family Shabbat July 24th

Join us for a short secular shabbat ceremony and pizza at the King home in Livermore.
$7 per adult, free for children.  6:00 – 8:00pm
RSVP for more information and the address.

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Join us for our Shavous Celebration – Blintzes and Books

“Blintzes and Books” is our traditional Jewish holiday Shavuot celebration.  The spring holiday is a time for dairy foods and for celebrating Jewish – and world – literature, based on the legend that the holiday commemorates the giving of the 10 commandments, the beginning of Jewish literature.

TVCJ will celebrate the holiday with a potluck brunch and program from 10:30 am to noon on Sunday, May 24 at a member’s home in Pleasanton.  Participants are asked to bring a dairy brunch dish to share and have in mind a book they enjoyed reading in the past year.  Each participant will briefly discuss his or her book recommendation.  Adults and children are welcome, as are contributions of favorite toppings for blintzes.  Suggested donation for non-member adults is $5.

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Join us for our Fall Holiday Events!

Celebrate the holidays in a Secular Humanistic way that that’s authentic both to Jewish culture and to your own beliefs.

Sunday, September 14: Decorate plates for apples and honey (ages 5-13) and learn aboutthe history and customs of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. 10 a.m. at Aran’s Art in Castro Valley. $15/plate for kid’s activity. Reservations requested so we will have enough materials.
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ednesday, September 24: Rosh Hashanah celebrations. 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Livermore. One-hour program of music and readings. Kids welcome. Suggested donation $15/non-member adult.

Saturday, October 4: Yom Kippur observance. 2-5 p.m. at the Bothwell Arts Center in Livermore. Program of music and readings followed by guest speaker Amer Araim discussing the history and politics of the Middle East. A memorial ceremony follows the discussion. Suggested donation $15/non-member adult.

If you decide you belong with us and become a member, your donations will be applied to your membership fees.

For more information and reservations 925 485 1049 or reservations@tri-valleyculturaljews.org.

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Our booth at Castro Valley Pride

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We’ll be at the Castro Valley Pride Festival

Come visit us at our booth at the Castro Valley Pride Festival on Saturday, July 12.  We’ll be there from 12 – 5, and would love to see you there!

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