Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Help Us Celebrate Our Chai (18th) Year !

Dear Parents and Friends of Alumni,

It has been a while since we have had the pleasure of working with your children and seeing you.  Your children have gone on to high school, and many to college, careers and marriage. 

We have continued our teaching, connecting families and students to their Jewish heritage and communities.  We were told by one former student that we had really changed the way that she viewed the world and what she wanted to do in it. Another said we had helped him learn to think, and to feel more compassion.
More fulfilling lives, expansion of ways of thinking, connection to the wider family of Jewish Community, and an understanding of the way Judeo-Christian traditions influence the world, are all gifts brought to the children through the work we have done with them.

There is a lot of need in the nonprofit community due to the depressed economy. In addition, due to shifts in the community that we founded here in Berkeley, we find our school in urgent need of financial support.

We know our school's work is important to the students we teach, that we make a difference in their lives and that we really love working with them.  It is so fulfilling to have the consistant feedback for 20+ years - "that the Bar or Bat Mitzvah was so important for the family, so meaningful for the family and friends and was more wonderful than anyone expected"- somewhat of a rarity in the religious world.

On this emergency, I am asking for your support to keep our school alive. It means the world to me to continue this work I began about the time my children were born and they are now both in college.  Every donation is very meaningful and tax deductible.

All tzedakah helps to heal the world and comes back to us ten fold! Donations can be sent to Jewish Arts and Culture School at 1743 Oregon, Berkeley, CA  94703.  501 C3 TAX ID # 04-3595200.

Blessings on your heads,

Rabbi Sara Shendelman

Founder and Director
Jewish Arts Culture and Torah School

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Join us for uplifting, musical and spiritual High Holidays!!

Rabbi Sara Shendelman and Rabbi Avram Davis will be leading High Holidays this year in our beautiful space in the

South Berkeley Community Church
1802 Fairview St. 
Berkeley, CA 94703

Service Times:
Erev Rosh Hashana 
Friday, Sept 18th 7:00 pm.
Rosh Hashana 
Saturday, Sept.19th at 10:00 am
Kol Nidrei
Sunday, Sept. 27th, at 6:30 pm
Yom Kippur Day 
Monday, Sept. 28th
Shachrit 10:00 am
Yizkor 4:45pm
Ne'ilah 6:00pm

Please visit our website :

Please RSVP so that we know how many books and chairs to provide. Donations can be made at the website. There will not be a fee for services this year, however, donations are encouraged to help contribute to the energy and finances involved in putting these services together.

If you have questions or would like to volunteer please email our event planner, Aliya, at

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Classes starting Week of Sept 23, 2009

Enroll now for Jewish Arts Culture and Torah School Year 2009/2010!

Weekday classes will begin Wednesday, September 23 at 4:00 PM
The Sunday class will begin Sunday, September 27th at 10:00 AM

The weekday can be changed, or an additional class offered if parents
need a different day.

Please contact Rabbi Sara at
or 510 644 2956

Monday, April 20, 2009

JACTS Director, Rabbi Sara Shendelman

School Director, Rabbi, Cantor Sara Shendelman is one of the best-known Jewish Renewal rabbis in Berkeley, California. She received Cantorial Ordination from Rabbis Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Shlomo Carlebach, the only woman to do so. She received Rabbi S'gan Smicha (rabbinic ordination) from Rabbi Gershon Winkler.

Rabbi Sara Shendelman was a leader in the early days of the Jewish Renewal Movement, from which she was awarded the title of Eshet Hazon (Woman of Vision). Sara has taught, led services, officiated and created ritual for 30 years. She holds an M.A. in Education and Developmental Arts from NYU.

Rabbi Sara Shendelman is the Founder and Director of the Jewish Arts and Culture School (JACTS), established in 1995. At JACTS, students are exposed to different ideologies existing within Judaism so that they can participate and feel comfortable in a variety of Jewish settings. Teachers use art, music, puppets, drama, discussion, dance and text to help students form a loving attachment to Jewish culture, spirituality and history. The curriculum includes Hebrew reading and writing, ritual traditions, Jewish calendar celebrations, Torah and Eastern European stories, Israel, Jewish distinctions, and mitzvot. The student body ranges in age from preschool through post-Bar/Bat Mitzvah and represents a cross-section of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds, religious experience and family orientations. Parents and family members are included in the classroom and at celebrations.

Sara's beautiful singing can be heard on 3 music CDs which she has produced, including "I Did Lift You Up" and "Chasing the Gazelle." Sara's musical talents are shared generously in all her endeavors as rabbi, ordained cantor, professional singer, musician, wedding officiant, teacher and ritual leadership.

Sara’s writings have been cited in numerous books about Jewish culture and spirituality. Her published work includes the book: Traditions: The Complete Book of Prayers, Rituals; Blessings for Every Jewish Home (Hyperion).

Sara previously served as Cantor, Rabbi and Core Faculty for Chochmat HaLev, Wisdom of the Heart Center for Jewish Spirituality in Berkeley. Sara performs a lively and interactive service that introduces the Kabbalat Shabbat service and Friday night rituals through prayer, song, storytelling and more. She designed the program especially for those who are new or returning to Judaism, beginners to Shabbat practice, and families with children of all ages.

Rabbi Sara Shendelman officiates at gay, spiritual, interfaith, Jewish and diversely unique weddings. Providing marriage, spiritual, cultural and religious counseling, inspired lifecycle event cantorial services, rabbinic leadership for High Holiday, Shabbat and Festival services, ritual creation for all occasions, Bar and Bat Mitzvah tutoring, conversion assistance, mentoring, advocating and teaching in a compassionate, joyous, literally harmonious and personal atmosphere. For more information, consult her blog at