Location for ALL SERVICES Except 2nd Day of Rosh Hashanah: The Pacific School of Religion, 1798 Scenic Ave, Berkeley (conveniently located 7 blocks from the downtown central Berkeley stop of BART, one block north of U.C. Berkeley campus). (2nd Day of Rosh Hashanah at 951 Cragmont Ave. Berkeley).
Beyt Tikkun's services are filled with spiritual highs, joyous moments, psychological and intellectual sophistication. They are a wonderful way to meet new people, become a part of a welcoming community, and connect to the richness of the Jewish tradition, its music, its history, its constantly evolving theology and new rituals.
High Holidays in the Trump years, and after the extreme anti-Semitism we saw at Charlottesville Virginia in August, with Trump giving the fascists support and praise from the White House, must address the reality we Jews are facing. Beyt Tikkun Synagogue Without Walls is the synagogue that organized a nonviolent "No to Racism and anti-Semitism-Yes to Love and Justice" demonstration and prayerful interfaith gathering August 26th the day before the right-wing extremists with their message of racism and anti-Semitism came to Berkeley. Our belief is that liberals and progressives should focus less on what we are against and more on the picture of the world we are for-a world of love and justice, or as our rabbi puts it, The Caring Society-Caring for Each Other and Caring for the Earth. And that will be an important part of our focus on High Holidays-- how to be most effective in challenging the haters. One part of our answer is to develop more fully our vision of the world we are actually for, not just what we are against, and thinking together about what that could look like! The High Holiday liturgy does that very thing-praying for a unity of all people around goals of healing and transforming our world (tikkun olam).
These holy days are meant to be the time each year Jews focus on the ways we as individuals and we as a society have "missed the mark," gone astray from that which is most holy and ethically coherent in us, and how to return to our highest selves. We call this process "teshuva" (return, or answering the call of the holy spiritual force of the universe, aka God). That this transformation, both on the individual and the societal level, is always possible is what it means to believe in God as Yud Hey Vav Hey--the Force of Healing and Transformation, the Force that makes possible transcending all the messages of despair and cynicism so that we can become agents of the tikkun-ing (healing, repair and transformation) of ourselves and our world.
One beautiful message we take from the Hasidic tradition: Rosh Hashanah is a time for dancing, celebration and joy precisely because this transformation is possible, no matter how dark things may look at the moment!!! When Nazis and right-wing extremists are marching through the streets of American cities, this is a moment to support some Jewish institution-and we hope that you'll choose to make that Beyt Tikkun, either by joining, coming to our High Holiday services, or by making a tax-deductible contribution to our work!
Our services on High Holidays are NOT only about healing our deeply troubled society. We'll also be celebrating --with awe and radical amazement -- the grandeur of the universe. Rosh Hashanah is meant to be a birthday party for the earth. That's another reason the Hasidim say one must be joyous on Rosh Hashanah! So we will sing, dance, meditate, have guided visualizations, go outside in the beautiful setting of Pacific School of Religion and there ask Earth for forgiveness for the way humanity has betrayed our obligation to take care of her, and in many other ways celebrate this new beginning that the High Holidays are meant to offer us and all humanity!! All humanity-nonJews often get quite a bit out of attending our services.
We will also be using the period from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur to take a serious look at where we are on our own path of inner psycho-spiritual growth and make plans for how to advance toward more fully being the beautiful embodiment of the God-energy of the universe that each of us already is (partially). And we encourage each of us to say in Beyt Tikkun's meditation mantra: "I am part of the Unity of All Being, a manifestation of God's love one earth." Really getting that is part of the High Holiday process.
Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun and author of Jewish Renewal: A Path to Healing and Transformation, with Cornel West the book Jews and Blacks: Let the Healing Begin, The Left Hand of God: Taking Back our Country from the Religious Right, and Embracing Israel and Palestine: A strategy for Middle East Peace, will be leading services with Cat Zavis (who will bring new insights into the relationship between Sarah and Hagar, the mothers respectively of the Jewish people and the Islamic people), poet Abby Caplin , musician Ami Goodman and the small Beyt Tikkun band. We'll have an amazing Jewish "spoken word poet" Simon Mont sharing some of his High Holiday-relevant work, plus a talk about "A Kabbalistic View of Health Care Transformation" from Beyt Tikkun member Martha Sonnenberg, M.D. And we've invited a leader of Black Lives Matters to talk with us as well for Yom Kippur afternoon.
In addition to holding both a Friday night Shabbat celebration at the Rabbi's house and Torah study once a month, we come together to celebrate all of the major Jewish holidays with community celebrations on Chanukah and a communal seder on Passover, and enjoy cultural and educational outings. Memberships are offered at a sliding fee scale, so no one is excluded.
Wednesday, September 20, Rosh Hashanah Eve
Thursday September 21, 1st day of Rosh Hashanah
Friday, September 22. 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah (if you sign up for one other Rosh Hashanah service, the 2nd day, at 951 Cragmont Ave, is free)
Friday September 29th, Kol Nidrey (eve of Yom Kippur)
Saturday, September 30th: Yom Kippur (including Torah reading, Yizkor memorial service for our departed relatives--including my younger sister who passed this year and anyone in your life whom you wish to remember), Isaiah's fiery Haftorah, the late afternoon reading of the Book of Jonah at 5:45 p.m., and the concluding service ne'ilah followed by a vegetarian pot-luck break-the-fast meal at 8 p.m.)
With Nazis and right-wing extremists marching through the streets of our country and giving equal focus in their racism to hatred of Jews along with hatred of African Americans, this is a moment when we all have an obligation to find some Jewish institution to support whose ideals you can back-with membership, participation (in our case, at High Holidays), and/or with tax-deductible contributions.
Membershipin Beyt Tikkun costs 1% of your annual household or family income, but not less than $400 for a couple and $300 for a single person. And of course, if you really really really can't afford that, but feel deeply aligned with us, then just tell us what you can afford--because our bottom line is not money but solidarity! Just tell us your annual income and we'll work together to find an amount you can afford. Call Chris at 510 644 1200. On the other hand, as a community that is without big donors, we'd deeply appreciate your making a tax-deductible contribution even if you are unable to be with us this year for services.
If you are not ready to join as a member, for non-members there is a sliding fee scale. Since we follow the Jewish law about not dealing with money on the Sabbath, this is the only time in the year when we make an appeal for your financial help to Beyt Tikkun Synagogue-Without-Walls. You can send a tax-deductible donation check to Beyt Tikkun, 951 Cragmont Ave, Berkeley, Ca. 94708. Or give your credit card info to Chris at 510 644 1200.
QUESTIONS: If you have read through the links on this website and have questions that are not answered, email Chris.firstname.lastname@example.org or call Chris at 510 644 1200.
WHERE: The Pacific School of Religion: 1798 Scenic Ave. Berkeley, CA (except 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah which will be held at 951 Cragmont Ave, Berkeley).
TICKETS: Anyone who really wants to pray with us will be able to come at a price they can afford. We have a sliding fee scale according to your household income. Our fees are far lower than most Bay Area synagogues.
Services will be under the leadership of Rabbi Michael Lerner.
Rabbi Michael Lerner is a founder and editor of Tikkun Magazine, chair of the interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives, rabbi of Beyt Tikkun synagogue in Berkeley and author of eleven books, including: Jewish Renewal, The Politics of Meaning, Jews and Blacks (with Cornel West), The Left Hand of God: Taking back our Country from the Religous Right, and Embracing Israel/Palestine: A Strategy for Middle East Peace.
Cat Zavis, a lawyer, mediator, and trainer of empathic communication, is the Executive Director of the Network of Spiritual Progressives.
Ami Goodman, MD has led services for many Bay Area synagogues and will be co-leading High Holidays with Rabbi Lerner at Beyt Tikkun this year.
Abby Caplin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician whose passion is to counsel and help people heal and live empowered lives.
Simon Mont is an organizer and artist based out of Oakland. Simon juggles many interests. Their mornings are spent at the Sustainable Economies Law Center where he helps social change organizations become embodiments of the justice and liberation they seek to create in the world. Their afternoons are spent as the managing editor of Tikkun Magazine. Their evenings are split between IfNotNow, reading, writing, praying, a community house, and their beloved.
Registration is required. Click here to register now.
This year we are repenting for the damage being done to our environment, to refugees, and to human and civil rights by the Trump administration, the Congress, the Right-wing media and those who give these blind support. Why should we repent for them when it isn't us who are doing these things? Because on High Holidays we take collective responsibility for each of the communities of which we are part , including the US, Canada or other Western societies of which we are citizens, and including Israel for which as Jews and Americans (our tax dollars directly and indirectly helping finance the Occupation of the West Bank). And the triumph of these forces in the U.S. is in part a product of the many failures of liberal and progressive movements (read our analysis of the Psychopathology of the 2016 Election and our New Strategy for Progressives and also our Path to a World of Love and Justice) to treat those who do not yet support our worldview with the respect that every human being deserves, allowing our totally righteous attack on racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, antiSemitism and xenophobia take the form of assuming that everyone who wasn't on our side must be an embodiment of these sicknesses of the soul.
This year we not only have to repent that the Occupation of the West Bank, after 50 years, continues and without any likelihood of it being ended. And this year we also have to repent for the Israeli government's decision to not allow men and women to pray together at the Temple Wall in Jerusalem and to not honor any but orthodox conversions to Judaism (thus dissing all of the conversions and marriages performed by Reform, Reconstructionist, Renewal and Conservative rabbis in the U.S. or Israel). It is a shonda (disgrace) that this country continues to call itself The Jewish State when it tramples so solidly on Jewish values. Yet, we know that it is not anger but compassion that will change any of this, so we repent with love in our hearts.
Part of our service will be grieving for all the damage being done to the earth, and on Yom Kippur we will do a special ceremony asking the earth for forgiveness and re-affirming our commitment to protect her.