• East Bay Minyan is on hiatus. (After nearly six years, you might say we're resting for shmita)! Email us for more info or if you'd like to host an EB Minyan event.

About

East Bay Minyan is an independent Jewish community that offers spirited, traditional davening (and other celebrations) and builds community among Jews of varied backgrounds and observance levels. We strive to create an inclusive Jewish environment that accommodates both Orthodox and egalitarian practice and in which diverse participants make Shabbat together, celebrate and appreciate variations in Jewish observance, welcome guests to one another’s Shabbat tables, and create a warm, participatory, inclusive community.

The things we value inform what we do:

  • Tradition: Jewish observance, ritual, and liturgy are compelling and beautiful (and required, to those who are shomeir mitzvot). We grow more and develop richer Jewish identities when we engage with the fullness of our tradition.
  • Spirited Davening: Davening can be powerful, soulful, peaceful, and beautiful. Raising our voices together in spirited prayer and song speaks to our hearts, moves us, and brings us closer to the divine.
  • Inclusiveness: Our bond as Jews is stronger than our differences in observance, and diverse backgrounds should not prevent us from living and celebrating as a single community.
  • Diversity: We want a community that is welcoming and accessible to all Jews, regardless of observance, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or financial circumstance. We have no dues; our members are the people who show up and create our community.
  • Community: Life is more fulfilling and meaningful when we live in the embrace of community, closely connected to the people around us.
  • Creative Engagement: By keeping our tradition accessible and compelling, we encourage joyful connections to Jewish life and to one another.

History

San Francisco is such a schlep!

After years of weekly pilgrimages across the Bay to Mission Minyan, Roger Studley, Greg Newmark, and a couple other friends decided that if San Francisco could do it then we could too. So we set out to form an inclusive, spirited, traditional Friday night minyan in the East Bay.

But of course, being Jewish, we didn’t agree on everything. So we chose two locations and decided to alternate between Oakland and Berkeley. Our first meeting was May 1, 2009 in the “coffee room” of the College Avenue Presbyterian Church in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood, For four months, on first Fridays, we alternated between CAPC and JCC of the East Bay in north Berkeley. We then compromised on a more central location with better access to public transportation, a building in downtown Berkeley owned by the Judah L. Magnes Jewish Museum. Two months later, the Magnes sold the building, and we settled in for a long stretch at the JCC. Recently (Jan 2011), however, we have been trying out a new Berkeley location, Finnish Brotherhood Hall, inside the Berkeley eruv. And we have added a regular third Friday minyan in the Lake Merritt district of Oakland.

In East Bay Minyan’s first two years, we have met every month (usually on the first Friday) for Shabbat davening and dinners, typically attended by about 40 people, and added a third Friday meeting in Oakland. We have gathered for dinners in our sukkah, Chanukah candle-lighting and sufganiyot making, Lag Ba’Omer bonfires, a baseball game, a Tu B’Av picnic, and more. We have co-sponsored the East Bay’s Community-Wide Tikkun Leyl Shavuot and the “Everything is God” forum of new Jewish authors at Congregation Beth Sholom in San Francisco. Hundreds of people have attended our events!