Can you join us this Saturday for Beyt Tikkun Torah study (the portion that includes “the ten commandments”) and for our Tu B’shvat seder followed by a veggie pot-luck? Please let know so that we can buy the right amount of food for the seder and supplement for the pot-luck! The only admission charge is to bring a main course vegetarian dish for the pot-luck– something you’d feel honored if someone else served to you! And if you can’t, come anyway and bring your friends. The event takes place at the Friends Meeting House on the NE corner of Vine and Walnut in Berkeley at 2151 Vine St.

The exciting news is that the extraordinary commentator on Torah, Dr. Mark Kirschbaum, will be visiting and teaching us both in the Torah study and in the Tu B’shvat seder, along with Rabbi Lerner. Kirschbaum’s Torah commentary appear weekly onTikkun Daily; theyare a rare blend of contemporary (mostly European continental) philosophy and wisdom from the Hasidic masters of Torah commentary.

Tu B’Shvat (the New Year of the Trees) is one of our very special Beyt Tikkun annual events done in a way that is unique to our community. You can certainly bring friends or others whom you’ve wished to introduce to Beyt Tikkun–the only cost is bringing a main course veggie dish, and letting us know by Friday what you are bringing so that we can figure out what we need to make to supplement what our community members and guests are contributing.

It also happens to be the Shabbat at which we read about the revelation at Sinai and the Ten Speech Acts (later described as Ten Commandments, though that is not a Jewish formulation of them). We’ll study them as well with Mark Kirschbaum and me!

So here’s the plan:

Tu B’Shvat Seder and Torah Study

Saturday February 11, 2012

10:00 am through 3:00 pm

2151 Vine Street, Berkeley

This is the Jewish environmental celebration.We start with the normal Torah Study, but there is nothing normal about it– it’s Yitro, the reading that includes the revelation of the ten Speech Acts on Mt. Sinai. That part will go from 10:00 am until about noon. Then we have the Seder with the fruit of the season as we celebrate the grandeur and mystery of creation. This will go until approximately 1:30 pm. Then, from about 1:30 pm until approximately 3:00 pm we will have a veggie pot-luck Shabbat meal, including singing and shmoozing with Rabbi Lerner.By the way, I’ll turn 69 on February 7th, and so far, I’m going strong.

By the way again, this Saturday, Feb. 4, we’ll also have a Torah study–at 951 Cragmont ave, Berkeley at 10 a.m. and read about the splitting of the Reed sea and the reaction of the Jewish people. It’s followed by a veggie pot-luck, of course.

Is it too much to hope that you’ve read my book Embracing Israel/Palestine? I’ve had fabulous responses to it from those who have actually read it, and I think it makes it so much easier for spiritual people like us to have a way to think about the Middle East without all the anger, blaming, and judgment that typically accompanies such discussions. And share it with others, please– perhaps invite a few friends to do a study group or to read and discuss it together!

Finally, if you are still subscribing to Tikkun magazine or are currently up-to-date on your membership in the Network of Spiritual Progressives (both separate from Beyt Tikkun), you should have received your magazine in the mail (or if not, it will come any day now, else call our office at 510 644 1200 to complain–the only way we know if our systems are working). In it, you’ll find a great set of articles on Restorative Justice, and I particularly want to urge you to read the article on “A New Vision of Justice” by Beyt Tikkun’s own Peter Gabel, the article by Jorge Ferrer on “The Future of World Religion,” and the article by Svi Shapiro on Educating for Wisdom. I’d love to have your feedback on my editorials as well, so READ IT. If you dont yet get the magazine, you can get it as part of joining the Network of Spiritual Progressives at, or simply by subscribing at

Love and blessings to you,


P.S. If you really really really can’t come for Tu B’Shvat, maybe you could come to another Shabbat? How about going to our web site and telling me which Shabbat you could join? I really do want to see you.

P.P.S. Kid’s Shabbat for the 2-6 year old set. Elana Auerbach has graciously taken the lead in creating this event for our children, and if we get ten children whose families are committed to bringing this on the 2nd Friday night of each month from 6-6:30 we will be doing this ongoingly. The first one is scheduled for Friday night, February 10th at 6 p.m. 1636 Bonita Ave. apt.#2. All 2-6 year olds welcome. I’ll be there to help lead this!!!

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