Tag Archives: San Francisco Bay Area

do you have a purple scarf?

Thursday, October 20, 2011 is Spirit Day! Millions of Americans wear purple on Spirit Day as a sign of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth and to speak out against bullying.  Spirit Day was started in 2010 by teenager Brittany McMillan as a response to the young people who had taken their own lives. Observed annually on October 20, individuals, schools, organizations, corporations, media professionals and celebrities wear purple, which symbolizes spirit on the rainbow flag.   Getting involved is easy -- participants are asked to simply "go purple" on October 20 as we work to create a world in which LGBT teens are celebrated and accepted for who they are.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 is Spirit Day! Please wear just a touch of purple to support young people dealing with bullying tomorrow. Sure, it is a bit weird to randomly wear purple as an adult... but, as Dr. Seuss famously said, “life’s a little weird…”. Please go with it by finding an old purple scarf or hat and put it on… By wearing purple tomorrow you are telling young people in our communities that you are a safe person to speak with about their experiences with bullying…

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Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Jewish Bay Area


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Will you join me and pledge to go purple in support of LGBT youth?

I Support #SpiritDay

Last fall, a young person named Brittany McMillan wanted to do something about the LGBT teens who died by suicide. So she put a call out via a social network for people to wear purple on October 20th in support of LGBT teens and called it spirit day. She thought that only a few hundred at most would wear purple. She never imagined that thousands would respond by wearing purple. But her idea went viral quickly. The cast of Glee dressed up in purple as well as a few of the hosts on The View. Even Anderson Cooper and Dr. Phil got in the purple spirit of spirit day. It was inspiring to see a young person have so much impact.

This year, Brittany is asking the world again to dress in purple. She hopes that the LGBT teens who walk into their classrooms on October 20 to see their teachers and classmates wearing purple will give them a feeling of hope. Again, this year I’m joining Brittany on spirit day by wearing purple. It is such an easy way to help bring hope to young people in our San Francisco Bay Area community. I hope that you also choose to pledge to go purple on October 20 too. Then I hope you will put a call out to your synagogue, school, organization or company to observe Spirit Day as well. Do me a favor, email me at work {lisaf} or tag me on facebook with pictures of you dressed in purple so I can continue to create a poster of how our Jewish community dresses up to support LGBT causes.

Together, we can show LGBT teens that they are supported. By pledging to wear purple on October 20, LGBT teens can find you, remember who you are and if they ever need someone to trust in coming out they know you can be a safe advocate and friend to connect with.

What is Spirit Day? How can you celebrate LGBT Teens in your Jewish community? Learn more.

During a gathering at the San Francisco Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM) LGBT Advocate, Jessica Trubowitch, with Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) speaks with another proud LGBT San Francisco Jewish leader, Rebecca Prozan!

During a gathering at the San Francisco Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM) LGBT Advocate, Jessica Trubowitch, with Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) speaks with another proud LGBT San Francisco Jewish leader, Rebecca Prozan!

Me with another proud 2010 Spirit Day supporter, LGBT Jewish leader, Jamie Wolfe at the San Francisco Contemporary Jewish Museum!

Me with another proud 2010 Spirit Day supporter, LGBT Jewish leader, Jamie Wolfe at the San Francisco Contemporary Jewish Museum!


Posted by on October 10, 2011 in Jewish Bay Area, LGBT Alliance


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where is harel skaat staying when he visits san francisco?

After overhearing the music of Harel Skaat flooding through my office wall all afternoon my colleague in the office next door poked his head into my office to tell me, “his music is great…” I smiled and asked if he would join me at his concert in Palo Alto (details) but before he responded he paused giving me a rare and almost-shy-smile. He then quickly asked, “do you know if he or his boyfriend need a nice place to stay in the Castro while they are in town? I have a place in the Castro…”

So of course, I wanted to see why such a fine gentleman would be so courteous to offer up his home to a couple of strangers. That is when I learned that the boyfriend of Harel Skaat is the Israeli model, Idan Roll. I stopped wondering and just responded with a smirk….

Idan Roll and Harel Skaat

I don’t know where Idan and Harel are staying (or if they are coming to the Bay Area together) but I do know that all before the age of 30, Harel Skaat has become one of the leading and most sought-after male-vocalists in Israel. His Yemenite and Iraqi Jewish roots formed his distinctive sound within a particular genre of pop music and his work in the music industry has received all possible Israeli accolades. He has also received attention in the New York Times (story) not only for his musical talents but his attention to fashion too. Sadly, Harel’s visit to the Bay will be short this time with limited performances but you can keep track of the whereabouts of this gay israeli musical icon on his website (link).

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Posted by on August 22, 2011 in Jewish Bay Area


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although we live with hope we still plan on walking next year too

Margee and Kate walking with the Jewish Community Team

This summer marks thirty years of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and according to the SF Chronicle, more than 28,840 San Franciscans have been diagnosed with AIDS, and it has claimed the lives of more than 19,000 San Franciscans.

The walk itself was gorgeous as thousands of people hiked the 6.2 mile route under a ironic mix of both sunny and overcast skies.

Although our local community is strong and learning how to thrive and live within this epidemic we still need to walk to raise awareness, walk to celebrate those who live with the disease, walk to remember those whom we have lost and walk to find a cure.

This summer our Jewish Community AIDS Walk Team, organized by the San Francisco based Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, was just one of the nearly 1,000 teams that helped raise over $3 million for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

Keep walking.

Together our Jewish Community team was able to raise over $3,000. Our collective donation will be dispersed by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation as grants to strengthen HIV prevention efforts as well as for advocacy, medical care, housing and social services programs for people living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS.

Jewish community leader, Bevan Dufty always attends the San Francisco AIDS Walk.

Thank you to those who were able to show up this year and spend a wonderful day in the sun for a good cause! I received a commitment from the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund to help organize our Jewish community to walk together again in 2012 (details) so save the date to join us again.

In the meantime, take a look at more of our photos on facebook and take a look at our video of the great time we had together:


Posted by on July 25, 2011 in Jewish Bay Area


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finding the community that works for you

san francisco is the home of the third largest metropolitan jewish community in north america and within this number are approximately 36,000 lgbt queer self-identified jews. i get asked a lot about how to find “the” queer jewish community. meaning to many that are asking, “where is the community? you know, the one that distinctly pulses with fabulous people sort of like me?”

i don’t have a definitive answer but it seems folks generally want to know where to physically find the queer jews that they want to hang-out with, to date, to fall in love with, to have a family with, to network with, to simply know who and where they are…  so far, in my relatively short time in the bay area, it seems that the community is made up several intersecting times. each time seeming to intersect within a microcosm of a few respected and connected people. these people also seem to make the time to show-up, often bravely alone, at events or activities that seem to share similar themes and values to them.

so this is one of the reasons why i am constantly populating our queer jewish community calendar with ways that queer jewish folks (and their family and friends) can get involved and get connected to the community.  so take a look and match your interests with the events listed (film festivals, israel travel, active-activism like the aids walk, family camping weekends, foodie conferences, art exhibitions…) and find the community of queer jews that works for you.


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Have you started to celebrate LGBT Pride month yet? Here is my top ten moments that I look forward to each year in San Francisco.

Since I was a teenager I have made San Francisco Pride month an annual rite of passage that I won’t skip for anything. Here are my top 10 annual favorite Pride moments that I can hardly wait to enjoy again this year:
  1. Not being the only person in the audience falling in love with each amazing performance at Fresh Meat Festival of transgender and queer performance…  (don’t miss this!)Fresh Meat Productions creates, presents and tours transgender and queer performance, dance and media arts.
  2. Seeing as many films made by my Jewish queer friends as possible at Frameline… ( we have a few more comp tickets let me know if you want one)One of my favorite colleagues at Pride with her Rabbi
  3. Submerging my entire body in sunscreen and still getting a suntan at Civic Center at our Jewish Pride booth… (keep me company at our booth!)Our annual Jewish community booth
  4. Giving my aunts, uncles and parents huge hugs when I run into them randomly having their own fun at Pride without me even asking them to be there to support me…my amazing family enjoying Pride together
  5. Standing on stage to introduce an Israeli LGBT Film or Gay Jewish Director and feeling awe-struck by the beautiful people in the crowd there to see another incredible LGBT film…me doing what i love to do - organizing loudly at pride
  6. Waving hello to the thousands of participants of the annual Trans March from the windows above where they are marching at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav during our Annual Kabbalat Shabbat Pride ServiceTrans Marchers
  7. Enjoying what always seems to be the very best day of San Francisco weather with clear blue sunny skies amongst the thousands of rowdy hot hipsters at the Dyke Rally and Marchdyke march and rally is always an incredible people watching experience at the very least!
  8. Letting everything hang-out and dancing in the streets at the best street party of the year with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on Pink Saturday…Pink Saturday in the Castro
  9. Being overwhelmed and overbooked by the sheer amount of options to celebrate Pride Jewishly!Rabbi's Marching in the 2009 Pride Parade
  10. Taking the morning off work to just catch-up on sleep the day after the Frameline closing night film and party…  Seeing everyone at the Castro Theatre, Victoria or Roxie during Frameline each year is the best!

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Sandor Elix Katz is a Jewish Gay Foodie that wants to read to you.

Are you into discussing underground food movements? Do you love pickling? Are you looking for an opportunity to meet someone else who understands the beauty of fermentation? From May 13 – 22 a fabulously Jewish and proudly Gay Foodie is on his book tour making a dozen Bay Area appearances. Check him out

Sandor Ellix Katz was almost destined to become a fermentation revivalist.  Katz is the author of two popular fermentation and food politic manifestos, “Wild Fermentation” and “The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved,” and he has spent the last two decades farming, fermenting, teaching and writing.

Sandor Ellix Katz was almost destined to become a fermentation revivalist. Katz is the author of two popular fermentation and food politic manifestos, “Wild Fermentation” and “The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved,” and he has spent the last two decades farming, fermenting, teaching and writing.


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Summer of Stein is heating up

Gertrude Stein z”l, was a local Bay Area Jewish woman who later made a home in Paris with her love, Alice B. Toklas. Today she is thought of as a brilliantly complex lesbian cultural icon. The San Francisco Yerba Buena neighborhood is celebrating the life of Gertrude Stein and her influence on modern art, literature, and culture with exhibitions this summer at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM), along with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Litquake and the Queer Cultural Center’s National Queer Arts Festival.

I have spent a bit of time selecting a few interesting operas, poetry readings, family art days, films salons, lectures, and presentations perfect for the LGBT Jew (or the fan of LGBT Jews) to participate in what promises to be a spectacular ‘Summer of Stein’. You can take a look at my selection here.

illustrated portrait of Gertrude Stein by Ward Schumaker

This illustrated portrait of Gertrude Stein was created around 1990 by Ward Schumaker an artist, living and working in San Francisco. It was published in a limited edition by Yolla Bolly Press. I understand that it is to be included in San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum exhibition (May 12 - September 6).


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Shalom! Sasha T. Goldberg! Shalom!

Sasha T. Goldberg is Keshet's San Francisco Bay Area Director

Sasha T. Goldberg is Keshet's San Francisco Bay Area Director

Keshet’s San Francisco Bay Area office opens today with Sasha T. Goldberg, an experienced Jewish scholar, educator and community organizer as the Director. Nationally, Keshet offers support, training, and resources to create a Jewish community that welcomes and affirms GLBT Jews.

As many of you may already know, Sasha has been working with Nehirim since 2007 and left her position as Nehirim’s Associate Director and Director of Student Programming with NUJLS right before Passover this year. She holds a Master’s Degree in Judaism from Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union, and has taught nationally on the intersections of Judaism and various cultural, social, sexual, and religious identities. Prior to joining Nehirim, she taught grades K-12 in religious schools, led Jewish teen retreats, and worked with a wide variety of Jewish organizations in the Bay Area.

Keshet’s SF Bay Area office will build upon the successes of Jewish Mosaic’s Bay Area office and Karen Lee Erlichman’s four years representing Jewish Mosaic in the region (Jewish Mosaic and Keshet merged, effective July 1, 2010 and Karen left her position in mid-April 2010 to broaden her career opportunities with her private practice).

Of course, I look forward to celebrating the opening of Keshet’s Bay Area office today alongside our local LGBT Jewish professionals collective, Kol Tzedek. Please join me in welcoming my dear friend and colleague, Sasha T. Goldberg ( to her new position!


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Ronald P. Wilmot Scholarship for Jewish kids of LGBT Parents in the San Francisco Bay Area

Ronald P.Wilmot z”l, a gay real estate magnate and active member of Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, established a scholarship fund at the San Francisco based Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund specifically for the sons and daughters of queer parents before he succumbed to AIDS in 1997 at the age of 46. Although he had no children of his own, according to an article in the J. News Weekly, his friends said he was very concerned that smart kids in alternative families have less access to higher education than their traditionally raised peers.

Ronald P. WilmotThe Ronald P. Wilmot Scholarship is intended for Jewish students from the Federation Service Area (San Francisco, Sonoma and Marin Counties as well as the areas north of Sunnyvale on the Peninsula) to supplement student and family contributions, as well as other financial aid, grants and awards. The scholarship is based on a combination of need and merit. The application deadline for this scholarship is generally listed in the late spring so please help spread the word that this unique scholarship exists in our community.

Questions? Students off to attend undergraduate or graduate programs at accredited, non-profit colleges or universities in the San Francisco Bay Area with LGBT identified parents should apply. For questions including how to receive additional information regarding the scholarship program contact Federation’s College Scholarship Program Manager at 415-512-6264.


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