Bernice and Sid moved to the South Bay from La Jolla/San Diego in 2005 to be closer to their daughter here and their son in Novato. They joined Temple Emanuel. Sid had served on the Board of Jewish Education in San Diego, and at one point in time, filled in as Acting Executive Director for his synagogue there. Upon moving here, Sid immediately looked to meet Jewish people who wanted to have mentally stimulating conversations, which he found in the weekly Current Events discussion groups for seniors at APJCC.
The Current Events discussion groups are facilitated by a volunteer leader in the group, who selects weekly topics related each to local, national, and international levels of discussion. The leader also maintains “neutrality.” Everyone gets a chance to speak without shouting or putting down others. While most of the participants have liberal views, Sid says there are a few staunch conservatives in the mix every week, too.
In 2007, Sid had the opportunity to become the volunteer leader of the Current Events discussion group, which he has now been doing for the past 10 years. “I really like the exciting and mentally stimulating conversation we have every week,” he says. Sid thirsts for thought-provoking, adult conversation. At the Current Events discussion group meetings, the participants are roughly half Jewish and half non-Jewish, which adds another stimulating aspect to the discussions.
Bernice and Sid are both originally from the Boston area, where they felt there was a larger sense of Jewish community beyond that of the individual synagogues in the Jewish neighborhoods of Brookline, Brighton, and Newton. For example, Sid warmly recalls while growing up he attended a community-wide school for Jewish learning after public day school, rather than going to anyone synagogue’s religious school. Bernice and Sid did not find that same larger sense of Jewish community when they first moved here just after the “Willow Glen dispersion” occurred with Jews moving to Los Gatos, Saratoga, and beyond.
Looking back over the last 10+ years, Bernice and Sid have watched and felt the APJCC evolve into the vital core of Jewish community in the South Bay.
“There is such a wide variety of programs and activities at APJCC,” Sid says. “Besides the Current Events discussion group, there are the performances at the APJCC by the San Jose Opera Guild, Grandpals Shabbats with the preschoolers, entertainment following the monthly Kabbalat Shabbat lunches for seniors, and a movie discussion group – all of which gives Bernice and me the chance to meet people with similar interests and expand our social interaction.”
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