Membership at Temple Isaiah
Song credit: “Kehilla Kedosha” by Dan Nicols. Hear more at http://www.dannicholsmusic.com
We are an inclusive community welcoming people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to worship in our sanctuary, study with us and celebrate Jewish holidays and life cycle rituals. Temple Isaiah’s membership includes a high percentage of interfaith families who find a warm home here. Our clergy and members meet people where they are when they enter our midst, and guide everyone toward learning and Jewish growth at the appropriate, individual pace. Many non-Jewish members of Jewish partners at Temple Isaiah often choose active participation in Temple life without conversion while others choose to embrace Judaism. As a Reform congregation we welcome and recognize as Jewish the children of Jewish mothers or Jewish fathers whose families have chosen a Jewish life and affiliation.
Temple Isaiah has a diverse and dynamic clergy team. Senior Rabbi Judy Shanks and Assistant Rabbi Jay LeVine provide spiritual leadership, creative vision, pastoral care and life-long Jewish scholarship and learning for our community. Cantor Leigh Korn inspires and enriches us through his teaching, choral conducting and music. Our vibrant youth and teen programs thrive under the direction of Rabbi Alissa Miller. Rabbi Nicki Greninger directs the exciting programs of our JQuest program (Religious/Hebrew School). Our clergy team works collaboratively with staff and lay leadership to create the Jewish neighborhood we call Temple Isaiah.
“Loved the Shabbatarama service on Friday evening-a fun & loving community! I was very impressed by the positive energy & beautiful synagogue.”
Temple Isaiah offers an abundance of life-long engagement opportunities including; Ganeinu, our free, weekly, Jewish playgroup for kids ages 0-2, Gan Ilan our thriving pre-school for kids ages 2-5, Tot Shabbats for kids ages 5 and under twice a month, an award-winning youth education program for K-7th grade students called JQuest directed by our dedicated rabbi educator, our popular youth group programs keeping teens involved and inspired under the guidance of a dedicated youth rabbi, Camp Kefli for K-6th graders for two weeks each August, a full-time Cantor weaving music into the fabric of our programs and services, including a youth and adult band and choirs for all ages, weekly Friday night and Saturday Shabbat services, including Shabbatarama for families and Shabbats in the Park, High Holy Day, festival and other services throughout the Jewish calendar, one of the largest Jewish libraries in the east bay, a gift shop, an active sisterhood and brotherhood, support groups and classes including a commitment to mental health, annual retreats, life-cycle events, Israel trips and Israel and World Jewry programs, adult education opportunities, Havurot program, weekly yoga and meditation, Mussar study groups and services, leadership development, a Freebirds social group for empty nesters, WISE ones seniors group, a caring community of volunteers committed to helping those in need, as well as social action and social justice in our local community and so much more.
Programs for Kids & Teens
Early Childhood Education
Ganeinu Jewish Playgroup is a parent participation group that meets Friday mornings with a facilitator. Join us for the opportunity to play, sing, explore Jewish traditions and celebrate Shabbat.
Gan Ilan Preschool serves children ages 2-6 years old, and is open to the community, with priority to members of Temple Isaiah. Gan Ilan offers an integrated family experience that connects the child, family and preschool to the Temple Isaiah community. Our program encourages imagination and curiosity and is rich in opportunities for exploration and discovery, while emphasizing the beauties of the Jewish tradition. Through music, art, holiday celebrations and classroom rituals, we share with our children and their families the joys of Jewish life.
JQuest: Kindergarten-7th Grade
We seek to give children and their families a living experience of Jewish traditions, while also providing a foundation in Torah, Hebrew, history, and prayer. Our teachers instill in our students a love of the Jewish tradition and the study of Torah, along with an openness to the questioning that Judaism encourages. We believe these goals are best accomplished through educational experiences that touch the whole person: body, heart, mind, and soul.
Noar Night Teen School: 8th-12th Grade
Noar Night, our Wednesday night teen education program, is a safe space for self discovery, and an opportunity for our teens to build community. Teens develop a dynamic, relevant, and personalized Jewish identity as they explore the intersection of Jewish tradition and contemporary issues.
Youth Groups & Camp Kefli
Temple Isaiah is proud to have a thriving youth department. We have East Bay’s largest youth groups: Simcha for 5-6 grade, Anachnu for 7-8 grade and LAFTY for 9-12 grade, and a two-week day camp in August. Our programs include a wide variety of social and adventure-oriented activities that foster leadership, develop deeper connections between peers, and compliment classroom learning at Temple Isaiah.
Programs for Adults
Adult Learning & Social Opportunities: We offer a wide variety of programs and classes that cater to the diverse interests of adults in our community. Some of these programs include:
Jewish Book Group, Talmud Study, Shabbat Torah Study, Jewish Documentary Film Series, Intro to Judaism Class, Hebrew Classes, Adult B’nai Mitzvah, Scholars-in-Residence, Support Groups, Social Programs, Women’s Retreat, Men’s Retreat, Family Retreat, programs for Empty Nesters, Seniors, Social Action volunteer opportunities and more!
We also have two very active auxiliary groups. Women of Isaiah & Anshei (Men of) Isaiah provide excellent social, educational and leadership opportunities within the congregation. To find out more about what each of these groups is accomplishing visit their websites:
Women of Isaiah: http://www.temple-isaiah.org/women-isaiah/
Anshei (Men of) Isaiah: http://www.temple-isaiah.org/anshei-isaiah/
The Ted Cotler Memorial Library, serving adults and children, is the largest Jewish library in the east bay. For more information visit http://www.temple-isaiah.org/about-us/library
Values in Action - ViA Isaiah: The prophetic voice of Isaiah, after whom our congregation is named, continues to speak to us with a mandate to lend a helping hand to the needy, feed the hungry, house the homeless and advocate for those who do not have a voice. Many volunteer opportunities are made available through our programs so that our members may do their part in the work of Tikkun–repair of our imperfect world. For more information visit http://www.temple-isaiah.org/viaisaiah
Caring Community: Our members are not alone at their joyous moments, or at their times of struggle. Our Angel Network of fellow congregants reaches out with comfort and care. Our clergy offer crisis intervention and pastoral visits to hospitals and homes. Monthly support groups brings together those in need of healing the spirit through prayer and conversation.
Worship and Holiday Experiences
We join together as a community each Shabbat and on holidays to take time for personal reflection and challenge ourselves with contemporary messages of Torah through our Rabbis’ sermons. The style of music at services embraces our desire to maintain connection with traditional melodies and our need to explore new music as a means for greater connection with the liturgy and, in turn, with God.
We offer several different Friday night Shabbat experiences: meditative services, interactive “Shabbatarama” family services, Tot Shabbat, services accompanied by our Mizmor Adult Band, and more. Each service is preceded, and/or followed by a community-wide Oneg celebration. On Shabbat mornings, we worship together, often welcoming our children as B’nai Mitzvah.
Our Music Programs
We place great emphasis on the importance of music in the life of a Jewish community. Temple Isaiah boasts five volunteer musical ensembles: an Adult Choir, a Teen Choir, a Junior Choir, an Adult Worship Band, and a Kid’s Klezmer Band. We are also a center of Jewish culture, sponsoring concerts throughout the year. Recent guest artists have included Billy Jonas, Noam Katz, Peter and Ellen Allard, Rick Recht, Danny Maseng, and Julie Silver, as well as cantorial concerts featuring talent from the Reform cantorate.
Lifecycle Events at Temple Isaiah
From birth to death, Jewish tradition provides prayer and ritual to help us move through life’s transitions with joy, learning, community, dignity and healing. With the help of our clergy, our members plan and celebrate with special attention to each family’s needs, including sensitivity to interfaith issues and questions. Our members celebrate birth, bar/bat mitzvah, confirmation, weddings, special anniversaries and other unique moments in life, using traditional Jewish rituals enhanced by contemporary innovations. When death comes, we provide the comfort and dignity of the Jewish way of burial and mourning: a time to mourn and a way to heal.
Want to speak with someone about membership? Contact our Temple office at (925) 283-8575.
To contact a member of our clergy team call us or send an email to: