Oy Bay!

"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

About Us

What is Oy Bay? Oy Bay is a blog dedicated to news, groups, events, and goings-on for young Jews in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. It is meant not just to be a communal listing as other sites currently are used, but also as a forum for discussions on events and issues pertinent to you. So, this is meant as a two-way thing. A dialogue. So start commenting! 🙂

Why did Oyster start Oy Bay? I started to notice ( in my post-college search for things to do Jewishly with my fellow tribespeople of about my own age ) that there were a good deal of things going on (much more than at first glance), but that no one knew of all of them. It seemed that due to Jewish life in the Bay Area being very unaffiliated and diffuse, the word wasn’t getting out very well about some of these events, and that inter-Federation politics on the other hand was preventing useful cross-posting of activities. So, hence the need for an all-inclusive listing in a format that would be accessible and familiar with our web-savvy generation (X’ers or millenials), with the ability to form community out of the open discussions that can take place around any posting.We are currently looking for contributing writers, especially from around San Francisco and Oakland. Please write to oyster [at] oy-bay.org for more information (be sure to put README in the subject line!).

Oyster is the founder and editor-in-chief of Oy Bay! He has lived in the Bay Area his entire life, and has always been active in the Jewish community. In high school he was the regional vice-president for cultural, religious, and Zionist programming for BBYO, and in college at UC Berkeley was for a time the chair of the Israel Action Committee. He helped start the Jewish Students For Peace pro-Israel Zionist student network during the worst times of the second intifada. Currently, he works as a Jewish educator at his synagogue, programs events for 20-something Jews, and stays involved in the Jewish blogosphere. He currently is studying Yiddish, Krav Maga, and hopes one day to be a learned Jew.

Shiduri Portrait largeShiduri graduated from UC Berkeley in 2006 with an Interdisciplinary Studies degree focused on Middle East / Near East Studies, Peace and Conflict Studies, and folklore. Her senior thesis explored the role of the conceptual Jew as a pernicious, demonic outsider in anti-semitic folklore.She has worked as the head factchecker and research assistant for Sandy Tolan’s The Lemon Tree (Bloomsbury Press USA 2006) — a book which explores both the Israeli and the Palestinian narrative of the ongoing conflict.

She has taught Hebrew and religious studies at Temple Israel of Alameda since 2002, and is now a preschool teaching assistant. Shiduri writes on Judaism, folk-lore, local Antisemitism, Zionism, Israel, Torah, and just about anything else that would make one say, “Oy Bay!” -)

Lilya Portrait ALilyAmongThorns has an experience that mirrors many Jewish Russian Americans in the Bay Area. She was born in Moscow, Russia, lived in Netanya, Israel, then bounced through Massachusetts and New Jersey before staking out a home in California. She was very involved in BBYO in the South Bay, and cut her journalistic teeth at her high school newspaper, gaining awards along the way. She’s worked as an editor and journalist for De Anza’s La Voz student paper, once again unable to shake her award-winning tendencies, and also busied herself as a Senator in the De Anza Associated Student Body (consolidating political and media power, as any good Jewish girl should). And her Jewish credentials post-high school are just as impressive, having been an active member of the De Anza Jews, Israelis & Friends (JIF) club, and having served as a Koret Intern for the Hillel of Silicon Valley.

She currently is dazzling the loyal Oy Bay audience and reporting live on the Arab-Israeli conflict from… Berkeley. :-p

Laura Rheinheimer portraitJ-Lifer is a proud graduate of San Jose State University and a former staff writer for the Spartan Daily. When she’s not an intrepid reporter in the field, she likes late-night golf and blogging! J-Lifer was a freelance reporter for several South Bay publications and Jewish newspapers, and currently is working for the one of the most prestigious Jewish publications in the world, the Oy Bay Jerusaelm Bureau Jerusalem Post [You see where writing for Oy Bay will take you? -Ed.]. In addition to Oy Bay, she blogs for campusj.com and maintains her own blog, www.thejlife.blogspot.com. J-Lifer likes to report on local news and events, and anything relating to Jews or diabetics.

LchaimLover portraitLChaimLover is originally from Boston, MA. Having recently graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.A. in English, her life goal is to write the Great American Novel. In the mean time, she is content with being actively involved at Hillel of Silicon Valley, Chabad of Sunnyvale, JSN, and SVYAD among other fine Jewish organizations in the Bay Area. Having moved 92 times (no joke) and lived in 14 states, she feels she has a pretty decent grasp on the many facets of American Culture.

ChallahBackGirl About UsChallahBackGirl is one of the Jewiest Jewesses I’ve ever met. She’s one of the leaders of my shul’s young adult group, and writes about such on their brand-spankin’-new blog. I’ve known her since high school, and can say with utmost authority that she’s totally tubular. She’s had the writing bug since then, and previously wrote for and served as editor-in-chief of the Leviathan, the Jewish student journal of UC Santa Cruz.

And she’d really dig it if you “Challah’ed back” at her at a CBDYAG event! -)

KosherSheik About UsI’ve known the KosherSheik since high school, when we served together on the Bay Area regional board of our Jewish youth group. He’s a hilarious fun-loving guy, with a sharp mind and an unparalleled patriotism for Calfornia, NorCal, the Yay Area, and San Francisco (HaShem help you if you say ‘Frisco’ or ‘Cali’ in his presence!). Oh yeah, and he’s kosher. REALLY kosher.

The KosherSheik is as San Franciscan as they come. Born and raised in the City, his life has pretty much been confined to SF. As an alumnus of Lawton School (SF), Abraham Lincoln High School (SF), and San Francisco State University (obviously SF), this guy lives and breathes SF.

This Mexican-Moroccan Sephardic Jew-Sultan was a regional newsletter editor of BBYO his junior year of high school and then went on to become the regional president of BBYO his senior year of high school. He was the founding president of the first and only chapter of a Jewish college fraternity in the city of San Francisco (Alpha Epsilon Pi) at infamous San Francisco State University.The Sheik loves: SAN FRANCISCO, the bay area, coffee, food, locals, the Giants, the 49ers, the Warriors, the Sharks, Israel, Morocco, Mexico and a variety of other things.

28 Responses to “About Us”

  1. Hey! I think your blog is pretty cool! Wanted to know if you would be interested in reviewing Craig Taubman’s new CD on your blog. Craig performs quite a bit in the Northern California area. I can send you MP3 samples as well.

    Here is one our most recent reviews! It’s hysterical!


    I look forward to talking to you soon!


  2. Oyster said

    Don’t worry, we’re busy downloading his mp3s as we speak. 🙂

  3. I just found your site and would like to post an event we are holding. Thanks

    Tuesday, November 7, 2006
    6:30-8:00 PM
    Laugh the night away at our comedy clinic facilitated by comic Mick Laugs who will lead volunteers and residents in an interactive improvisation and performance art workshop. Lisa Geduldig, comic and founder of the Kung Pao Kosher Comedy Troupe will also be on hand to add to the comedy.

    A little about us:
    GENERATIONS — a group formed to enable younger generations to interact with and learn from the residents of the Jewish Home-has planned a variety of events this coming year to attract singles and couples from 25-45 years of age. By volunteering at and attending Generations-sponsored events and activities, members have the opportunity to meet new people-both the young and the young at heart-and to connect and socialize with contemporaries. For those who are not able to make the on-going commitment to volunteer, participating in Generations’ events throughout the year is an easy and rewarding way to stay involved.

    THE JEWISH HOME OF SAN FRANCISCO – is a non-profit charitable organization providing high quality care and services to older adults in a home-like environment that emphasizes comfort, community and compassion.

    Event is Free of Charge and held at the Jewish Home, 302 Silver Ave., San Francisco. Plenty of free parking and convenient for public transportation. E-mail Carole Burns at cburns@jhsf.org.

  4. DWishR said

    I think you need to update laura’s bio. She’s not exactly a super-duper senior anywhere these days (that I kno). Plus she’s living in Israel!

  5. Oyster said

    Hey DWishR, long time, no talk. How have you been?

    Hehe, good point. I’ll update that post-haste. And there’s a nice pic of you and half of J-Lifer on your homepage! 🙂

  6. Tsvi Epstein said


    I found you now for the first time looking for info on the new Izzy’s kosher deli in Sunnyvale. You have a lot of important South Peninsula places on your map, but are missing a few.

    A) The Albertsons on Grant rd in Los Altos (next to foothill exp) has the biggest kosher section of any in the Bay Area
    B) The South Peninsula Hebrew Day School (on map) is also home to Bar Yochai Sephardi Synagogue.
    C) The original Izzy’s Pizza on California in Palo Alto is still there and Kosher and not on your map.
    D) Not far from Izzy’s on California is Moly Stones–which maybe offers the biggest kosher selection of any market in the Bay Area.
    E) Of course all Trader Joes around have much kosher offerings, including chicken and humus.

    We actually live now in Portland OR. Strangely, the Albertsons here in the SW part of town has the best kosher offerings of any market between Los Angeles and Seattle…a deli, bakery, meat, fish.

    Kol Tuv,


  7. Oyster said

    Hi Tzvi,

    Whoa, how embarrassing! How could that have slipped my attention? Thanks for pointing that out.

    I also added Mollie Stone’s & Trader Joe’s. I might have missed a TJ here or there, so definitely double-check me.

    The Albertsons in Los Altos & Saratoga have been added.

    Bar Yochai is now on the map!

    Thanks again for the sharp eye.

  8. Ilya said

    Shorts Guide to Israel

    Join us for an informative cinematic journey into the heart of modern Israel. These three new shorts capture the indelible beauty and struggle of everyday life in the Holy Land. From director Evegny Ruman’s moody tale of a Russian immigrant in Israel barely coping with fatherhood (Nes) to a young cleaning lady’s struggle for a better life (Veronica), these tales promise to challenge and enlighten.

    Thursday, July 12, 7:00pm
    $6 members, $8 general public

  9. Ilya said

    Steal a Pencil for Me

    Steal a Pencil for Me is a compelling documentary by Academy Award® nominee Michèle Ohayon about the power of love and the ability of humankind to rise above unimaginable suffering. The year is 1943 and Holland is under total Nazi occupation. In Amsterdam, Jack, an unassuming accountant, first meets Ina at a birthday party. The 20 year old beauty instantly steals his heart, but Jack’s pursuit of love will be complicated. He is poor and already married to Manja, a flirtatious and mercurial spouse. When the Jews are deported, the husband, wife, and lover find themselves at the same concentration camp, actually living in the same barracks.
    Co-Sponsored by the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.

    Sunday, August 23, 7:00pm
    $6 members, $8 general public

  10. Ilya said

    New to DVD!: Film and Interactive

    Discussion Series
    Did you miss a movie while it was playing in the theater and would love a second chance to view it with a friendly group? Films to be shown are: The Good Shepard, Jonestown: The Life and Death of the Peoples Temple, Letters from Iwo Jima, Triad Election, Inland Empire, Lives of Others, The Host, The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Away from Her (All subject to change).

    All screenings followed by a lively group discussion facilitated by George Porter.
    Co-Sponsor: Berkeley Adult School

    Wednesdays, 7:00pm, July 4 – September 26
    Suggested donation: $2-$5

    • For more information or to register call 510-848-0237 x110 or info@jcceastbay.org

  11. Oyster said

    Hey Ilya,

    These posts are a bit off-topic. This page is meant for comments on the writers of Oy Bay. If you want us to pimp your events, just drop us an email.

  12. hineini said

    Just thought you should know that you listed Holy Land Cafe in Berkeley as kosher – It is NOT kosher (or wasn’t as of a few months ago when I left the area). Only the Oakland location is kosher 🙂

  13. Oyster said

    Oh, there you are! :-p

    Thanks for the tip. We’ll alert all the Yidd’n.

  14. isaiah said

    Shalom Oyster,

    I’m working with Ilya at the JCC of the East Bay. We apologize for posting our events on this page. Could you alert me of your email so I can send you the information about our art’s and culture programming.

    Thanks very much,


  15. Leiberlife said

    What events are happening for Simchat Torah??

    I imagine there is something quite fun somewhere!

  16. Oyster said


    I’d check out the crazy Simchat Torah antics of the Mission Minyan. The safe money’s there! 🙂

  17. Jeff said

    Hey guys,

    Very nice blog! I wanted to make you aware of an interesting play about the life of Zero Mostel that is playing at New Conservatory Theatre Center (NCTC) in San Francisco. It’s entertaining and enlightening and you should check it out. Jim Brochu is an amazing actor and story teller and his performance as Zero Mostel in Zero Hour is truly amazing.

    Limited Engagement
    Zero Hour with Jim Brochu as Zero Mostel
    Nov. 7 – 25th


  18. My name is Robert Amiram Grant. I am an Oleh Chadash from London. I made aliyah in August 2006 with my wife and children.
    I am a therapist and master trainer, expert in trauma relief. I specialise in a world famous trauma relief therapy, which is called Thought Field Therapy (TFT) and I am licensed to train therapists in my field. TFT was made the national therapy of choice by the Medical Chief of Staff of Kosovo, during the Kosovo war. I was personally trained by the creator of TFT.

    I am also qualified in a number of other therapies such as Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and TAT amongst others. I am trained to give seminars to groups of people who have suffered trauma giving them the basic tools to deal with the immediate symptoms of their trauma and to cope with life afterwards. The results are immediately measurably beneficial. I am a great supporter of Israel, and made aliyah despite Israel being in the midst of the Lebanon war.

    When I read stories of 17 year old children in Sderot unable to sleep unless they sleep in their parents’ bedroom, one of my goals in coming to Israel was to share the trauma relief skills I have been blessed with, with those suffering from terror and war. I would also like to train community leaders, teachers and parents to use the basics of these skills.

    If anyone can help me to organise a free seminar and to offer my services to those who need them please contact me on:

    + 972 (0)54 214 9124

  19. boyo said

    This is a great site. Thanks for the link.

  20. […] second Jewlicious conference in Long Beach, and returned the following year with a blog of his own (Oy-Bay, devoted to young Jewish life in the Bay Area), a bus of Bay Area Jewliciousers, and an ambitious idea to transform the future of Jewish […]

  21. Dear Sirs,
    … I have compiled a Science and Torah Research project, with the size and dimensions of:
    approx. 1400 hand-written pages,
    which is approx. 1800 textual/ text-pages, and, it is 50 megabytes in size, which are almost all PDF-files.
    Could you please let me know what the price(s) are to publish/ print-up such a work … my cellphone number in Jerusalem is again: 050-815-6013.
    Thank you for your time.
    Simcha Koretz

  22. kopjik said

    KOPJIK INTERNATIONAL Edition is a brand new international Yiddish web-site
    with about the same intentions as OY-BAY just at an international level.

    אַרטיקלען זייַנען שטענדיק ברוכים הבאים
    just write

    Try it – and enjoy!

  23. VERY nice site — I was immediately impressed by the writer’s differentiation between hacking and cracking as well as the baby teeth conundrum. Thank you all for amply filling a need.

  24. I am interested in One of your graphics.

    It is in the The Spirit of the Holiday article.
    The lulave etrog etc.
    I need it for hi resolution printing.
    If you can help me in this regard, please email:

    Thank you,


  25. Jonathan P. Roth said

    To Whom it May Concern.

    I saw the blog entry on the SJSU Tunnel of Oppression, and thought you
    would be interested in this correspondence with Caz Salamanca, the
    Acting Director of MOSAIC. I am the head of the SJSU chapter of
    Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.

    Jonathan Roth

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Jonathan Roth
    Date: Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 1:31 PM
    Subject: MOSAIC meeting
    To: Caz Salamanca , Cathy Busalacchi

    Dear Caz:

    I am writing to follow up on our meeting about the choosing of
    exhibits for the upcoming Tunnel of Oppression. As I indicated to you,
    I have two areas of concern.

    The first regards veterans. While there is, of course, a wide range
    of political and social views among veterans, including those
    returning from recent military service, it is important to be aware of
    elements of military culture and be sensitive and tolerant to the
    veteran community (which is considered a “diverse group at SJSU). For
    example, the flag is an important symbol in military culture, and
    disrespect toward the flag, and indeed toward the United States as a
    nation (as opposed to the politics of a particular administration) can
    be upsetting to veterans. Ideas of honor, patriotism and duty are
    important and should be respected. If you have any questions about
    this please do not hesitate to ask. By the way, I note that in your
    literature you mention “injustice veteranos” and I am curious to know
    to what this refers.

    We also discussed the issue of including an exhibit on Palestine. You
    should note that displays that question the legitimacy of Israel as a
    state are not an issue of “oppression” but are a political statement,
    and are naturally offensive to Israeli, and many Jewish (and
    non-Jewish), students, staff and faculty. You indicated that the main
    criterion for including exhibits was allowing a variety of voices to
    be heard. As the purported oppression in Palestine has been addressed
    several times in the past (I would be interested in knowing how many),
    clearly other exhibits should be given priority. Since there are so
    many other examples of egregious oppression around the world, if
    MOSAIC puts on another Palestine exhibit, it might well seem as if
    Israel and Jews are being singled out for negative treatment. This
    could well be taken as a question of bias or as part of a political
    agenda. I ask you to be sensitive to this concern.

    While the exhibits themselves are put together by students, since they
    are being chosen by staff and put on by a branch of the university,
    your choices can, and will be, seen as reflecting the policy of San
    Jose State University and the State of California, both of which you
    represent as a staff member, manager and employee.

    Thank you for your kind consideration in this matter.

    All the best,


  26. Dear Oy Bay,

    I would like to post an invite for upcoming exhibtion ( his is the only place where i could do it ) .

    Memories of Syria
    By Avi Shemi-Shoham.

    After the Spanish Expulsion where Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, Sephardi Jews settled in many Islamic countries bordering the Mediterranean. Syria was one of the destinations for Jews to settle in. For the most part they build their own communities, but often they assumed positions of rabbinic and communal leadership in their new homes. A social distinction remained between the newly arrived Sephardim and the native communities, which took several decades to accept them.
    One of the main cities the Spanish Jews settled in Syria was Aleppo or Haleb. The Aleppo Jews of the Spanish descent has a special custom, not found elsewhere, of lighting an extra candle at Hanukkah ; it is said that this custom was established in gratitude for their acceptance by the local community.
    In 1948 the year Israel was created as a Jewish state, there were still 30,000 Jews in Syria. That same year during the 1948 War, Israel defeated an Arab coalition that included Syria. During those years Jews from all over Arab countries were expelled and forced to leave everything behind. The Jews in Syria were not expelled but at the same time were not allowed to leave Syria. The Syrian government began placing severe restrictions on its Jewish population, which lasted for several decades. After Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six-Day War, restrictions were further tightened.
    Memories of Syria exhibition by Avi Shemi-Shoham brings the memories of Avi’s childhood in the town of Aleppo. In his paintings Avi tells many stories about the Aleppo community customs, about the good and the bad years under the Syrian regime.

    The paintings show a magnificent Jewish community a few hundred years old with scenes depicting the town’s traditions. The paintings illustrate life in a deeply rooted and lively community, in a country whose Jewish inhabitants (population) experienced happiness and wealth, as well as suffering. Legacy, tradition, history are very important for the

    Jewish Syrian community and moreover for the artist where his family stories going with him everywhere through his paintings.
    Avi Shemi was born in Halab (Aleppo) to a poor Jewish family .He immigrated to Israel in 1960. Avi is a member of the Israel artists sculpture association, a chairman of the Bath Yam artists association and a curator and a board member of the Tel Aviv Bible Museum.
    Avi Shemi has worked with numerous publishers to create illustrations for books such as the Israeli Art and Culture Lexicon, as well as a number of Haggadahs. His most recent work is the illustration for the Aleppo Codex which in Hebrew is כֶּתֶר אֲרָם צוֹבָא‎ (Keter Aram Tzova) a medieval bound manuscript of the Hebrew Bible.
    His works are included in numerous collections in Israel and abroad.
    Over the years the center of the Aleppo Jews culture in Tel Aviv collected Avi Shemi’s work and presented them in the center.

    On dispay from Septmber 7- Nove,ber 2, 2012 .

    Opening Artist Reception with a 15-minute Forgotten Refugees screening and update on Jewish refugees from Arab Countries by Mr. Albert Bivas.

    Sunday, September 9
    6:30–8:30 PM
    Schultz Cultural Arts Hall lobby
    At the Oshamna Faily JCC, Palo Alto ,CA
    Reception is free; enjoy hors d’oeuvres

  27. Looking for young jewish. Bright. And beautiful.

  28. yaacov Abitbol said

    hey everyone I’m Yaacov Abitbol 31 year old french Moroccan. I am moving to the bay area first week of April. Looking for a Sephardic shul and get involved in Jewish events to meet jews around my age.Feel free to add me on FB. ciao!

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