This coming Tuesday we will be meeting at Congregation Beth Israel, for the third (and last) field trip of the semester and attend part of the services for Simchat Torah (aka the “Rejoicing of the Torah”).
Congregation Beth Israel is located at 1630 Bancroft Way in Berkeley.
Directions are available here: http://cbiberkeley.org/directions/
As it is the case for the two other congregations we visited previously, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life holds a collection of Congregation Beth Israel records (description available here).
Berkeley’s Congregation Beth Israel is a Modern-Orthodox congregation. Its original membership was drawn from the First Hebrew Congregation of Berkeley, a congregation that had been meeting at various locations since 1909. In 1924, under the name of the Berkeley Hebrew Center, the congregation erected a building to house “all the Jewish activities.” These activities included the California Alliance of Jewish Women and several Jewish student groups, such as the Menorah Society of the University of California. By the late 1950s, the synagogue served largely social functions. In 1959-1960, young observant Jews re-established Sabbath services and a Hebrew school. In 1961, the congregation selected its first full-time rabbi and changed the name of the synagogue to Beth Israel.
The collection contains correspondence; minutes (1909-1930); bulletins; membership lists; financial records; programs; photographs; newspaper clippings, a handwritten minute book (1940-1943); and a history of the early years of the First Hebrew Congregation and the Berkeley Hebrew Center, which was excerpted from San Francisco’s Emanu-El newspaper.
I plan to be on site at 9:15 (which is when services start), and expect all students to be no late than 9:45. Action will start just then. As we discussed in regards to our previous field trips, you are free to leave according to your class schedule.
The schedule of services is available here: http://cbiberkeley.org/community/dafhashavuah/
At this point, I believe that you should know how to collect information about the Simchat Torah festival (we also encountered this festival, as well as Sukkot, early in the semester, via prints by B. Picart)… right?
Be ready to see a lot of action. The liturgy for this Festival includes the “hakafot” – dance processionals with the Torah scrolls…