Welcome to Kehilla’s second year of Mishpacha (family) Groups! These are small groups (up to 9 people) that bring folks together – online and/or in person – to build connection, community and focus leading into and through the High Holy Days. Each group is organized around a theme or activity. With High Holy Days mostly online again this year, we’re excited to keep building community in new and creative ways. Last year, people loved their Mishpacha groups! And this year, we’ll be able to do even more with them as vaccinations increase and COVID rates keep going down. Please help make our High Holy Days a true gathering of our community in these changing times.

Most groups will meet between the beginning of Elul (August 9th) and Simchat Torah (September 28th). See the full descriptions of each group below.

Register for a Mishpacha Group Here

Registration Deadline: Monday, August 2

Mishpacha group registration is limited to current Kehilla members

Questions? Please email Maggie Grabmeier (she/her) at maggie@kehillasynagogue.org.


Mishpacha Group Descriptions


Art-Making Through Adversity

Hosted by Tamar Raine

How do we keep on doing our art in spite of disability or medical issues getting worse. Online until safe to meet in person. In the Past I helped organize young people from the Internet to meet in person. That was in the late 1980s. I also mentored many teen and college age girls with cerebral palsy in the 1990s.

Meetings on Zoom | Once or twice per month

Berkeley Neighborhood Mishpacha Group

Hosted by Norma Mark

Would you like to get to know your Kehilla neighbors in Central, South and West Berkeley? Establish friendships with nearby Kehilla folks for easily arranging a walk, a picnic, a date for the Jewish Film Festival? Have trusted Kehilla neighbors in case of emergencies (earthquake, anyone?), for meals during health or life events challenges, for general handholding? My vision is to share a potluck dinner with getting-to-know-you schmoozing or organized discussions in a member’s home on a rotating basis approximately once a month on a Friday or Sunday night. Eight to 12 people would be ideal and new participants would be welcome. I’m excited to get to know you or to deepen our existing connection.

In-person, Friday or Sunday nights once a month ~ to continue after High Holy Days if desired.

Torah Study

Hosted by Tadish Durbin

This is actually a continuation of an existing Mishpacha group from last year, which is still going! If anyone wants to join, we’d be glad to have them.

Hybrid of in-person and Zoom meetings, weekly

Prepare for High Holy Days

Hosted by Ruth Minka & Jane Hoberman

Preparation for High Holy Days through a mix of meditative practice, playful activities, reflections on the past year, liturgy and connection.  We welcome ideas and activities planned by group members.

Hybrid of in-person and Zoom meetings, weekly ~ afternoons or evening TBD


Hosted by Tree Gelb Stuber

We’ll talk about nature, our spirituality (or lack thereof), sing niggunim (wordless music), and whatever else comes up.

In-person, mostly weekly, Sunday mornings at the Albany Bulb or Berkeley Marina


Hosted by Ruthie Levin

In-person, every 2 to 3 weeks

Singing, Poetry, and Discussion of High Holy Day Themes

Hosted by Jamie McGrath

A hybrid of in-person and Zoom meetings, dates flexible

[FULL] Hiking – with Dogs!

Hosted by Pamela Waxman

Open to people with or without dogs, but must like being around dogs! Dogs bring their own rhythms to our lives. They help us to get out of the house and encounter the world, if we let them. Let’s let them! This group is open to people with or without dogs, but you should enjoy being around dogs and watching them explore the world. Some dogs will be off leash. If you are bringing a dog, it should be comfortable meeting and interacting with on- and off-leash dogs and other people. This group will meet mostly in the East Bay Regional Parks in the Oakland Hills, where dogs are allowed to be off-leash but must be under voice control. Participants should be able to comfortably walk + talk for 3 miles/1 hr, though the individual hikes may be shorter. Some hikes include hills, both up and down.

In-person, meets in the morning, weekly

Books, Music, Walking, Cooking

Hosted by Helayne Waldman

In-person, monthly

[FULL] Jewish Rituals with Schmoozing and Snacks

Hosted by Betty/Bracha and Don Stone

Newish to Kehilla? Want to make Jewish rituals? Schmooze, snack and explore together how the Jewish calendar helps us focus. Since this will take place in a older congregant’s home, the leaders have required that individuals that select this group be fully vaccinated. If you are a new or newer Kehilla congregant who is not or cannot be vaccinated and are looking for ways to connect, we’d love to do just that! Please reach out to Elle at elle@kehillasynagogue.org.

In-person, every other Tuesday evening after dinner at our house

Community Support in Preparing for High Holy Days

Hosted by Barbara Cohen

A group to support each other through preparing for the HHD, especially in light of the remote services.We will meet in person to share our preparations, talk about how the year has been for us and share our grief, our joy, our contentment, and our discontent.

In-person, Sunday evenings

Exchanging Personal Stories

Hosted by Yochanan/Eric Bergman

An opportunity to share stories, be listened to compassionately, and feel more connected with others. For instance, stories related to COVID, Kehilla, political issues, etc. People will be invited to tell stories in small groups of three or four for a few minutes per person and then in large groups invited to say what they appreciate having heard or what they’d like more time to focus on.

Hybrid of in-person and Zoom meetings, once every two weeks or once a month