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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Jewish Gateways

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Volunteering Oportunities

Nonprofit Overview

Mission: Think of all the Jews – plus their family members, and spiritual seekers – who want to connect with Jewish life and community, or explore Jewish identity, but cannot find a comfortable way to do so. They may not know much about Judaism. They may fear being judged, bored, or told what to do. They may not have found groups, activities, and personal connections that work for them. Jewish Gateways welcomes all those who want to explore Jewish life at their own pace, in an open environment. We help them discover Jewish choices that are right for them and find or make their place within the broader Jewish community.

Geographic areas served: San Francisco Bay Area

Community Stories

68 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

11

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

After moving back to the East Bay, Jewish Gateways has provided me with immeasurable resources and guidance in finding Jewish culture and events in the area. Rabbi Bridget Wynne is exceptionally kind and welcoming. I strongly encourage anyone who is interested in Judaism, on any level, to contact this great organization. There is something at Jewish Gateways for everyone. I really look forward to further involvement. Check them out!

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

I want to take a moment to thank Rabbi Bridgit for her help in making my Seder dinner affordable. I'm a State employee who lives from paycheck to paycheck. Aware of my current financial situation she was able to place me at a Seder dinner and service which I could afford.I really enjoyed my experience at Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley.Having grown up as a reform Jew, I've attended a couple of Chabod Seders which I've enjoyed,but I'm glad to have had an opportunity to attend one at a conservative Temple this time. Once again I want to thank Rabbi Bridgit for a wonderfull Passover experience. I think she's a great resource in helping to expose one to the Greater Jewish community in the Bay Area. Mazol Tov. Jonathan S.

10

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I am a Jewish mom of an African American daughter. This monthly gathering is a perfect introduction to Judiasm for her. Everybody is very friendly and warm. My daughter likes the music, games, puppets, bubbles, stickers and food. I feel fortunate to have this special way of teaching my daughter about a part of my culture.

11

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wonderful to have a Purim event geared to my 18-month-old daughter. It was a circle of about 15 adorable kids and their parents and a great songleader singing, playing with puppets, and more. I look forward to their Pesach event. Lately when we mention Purim to my daughter she says "Purim!" then "Mimi!" who was the songleader at this event!

14

Client Served

Rating: 4

I'm a Jewish guy married to a nonJew. Every now and then I get the urge to hang out with other Jewish people and revisit my heritage. I found Rabbi Bridget wonderful to talk to. She gave me suggestions for other activities I could do. Also, I spent a shabbat evening with a group at the facility (a house, really) in El Cerrito. I've been too busy with other things to go recently, but I definitely enjoyed my contact and will hope to go there again.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

Absolutely wonderful. Jewish Gateways provided a wonderful safe space for me, a non-practicing Jewish person and my non-Jewish husband to learn about Judaism and how to incorporate it better into our lives as a couple and as future parents.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

Most participants were either unaffiliated (twice-a-year Jews) or non-Jews, each with their own personal story as to why they were attracted to learning and possibly becoming more involved with Jewish community. At each gathering Rabbi Bridget Wynne created a warm atmosphere. As I happen to have a fair background in Jewish studies and Jewish community, I was impressed how, in less than an hour, she could present some very sophisticated Jewish thoughts and insights so clearly and succinctly and to engage engage everyone on some personal level! Her creativity, enthusiasm and openess made for many joyful and heart-felt evenings.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

I finally found a place where I feel comfortable learning and asking questions about Jewish culture. Rabbi Bridget Wynne really makes you feel welcome and special. It’s a relief to know I have a special place to go to meet people and learn.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

GOING TO JEWISH GATEWAYS HAS BEEN REALLY FUN. I LEARNED ABOUT JUDAISM. I HAD FUN SETTING THE SHABBAT TABLE. I WISH I COULD HAVE COOKED THE DINNER.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been to several events and have enjoyed them all. There is always food and interesting discussion. In addition, there are always new people to meet and speak with. I would highly recommend this group to others. There is a warm setting and frequently new friendships are started.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended a holiday dinner. The registration process was easy, the location was convenient to BART, and everyone was welcome.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was introduced to the organization by a former employee of mine who knew it needed fundraising help and thought I might be able to do that. I first met with Rabbi Wynne at a face-to-face meeting at which we talked for about two hours. I was impressed by the degree of her dedication and her willingness to put everything she had into this work. As we talked I realized that the organization has serious financial needs and doesn't yet have the tools to address this. However, they do have the basic attributes to be able to deal with this effectively. We met again and I outlined what they could do to begin establishing a donor base in order to build a financial base. We talked a lot on the phone and in person and I became convinced that this was an organization and a person well worth investing my time in. Though the rabbi was willing to pay me for my expertise I did not feel it was necessary, and I decided to work with her on a voluntary basis. The first result I saw is that the rabbi understands what I'm saying and acts on it. Even though I have not yet been able to attend the organization's events I have learned a lot more about the Jewish community than I ever knew before. I feel that if the organization and its programs were replicated it could have a major effect on Judaism, playing an important and pivotal role in bringing people into and back into Judaism.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

It helps people get to know Judaism better and go to shul also it's a great way to meet people over a Shabbas dinner.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a Jewish woman that was a Fulbright in this area at UC Berkeley between 1991 and 1995, in that moment I didn’t have a special contact with Rabbi Bridget and Jewish Gateways, I just met them about 2 years ago, and I have felt its cozy ambiance, the desire of Rabbi Bridget to help everyone to connect in many senses: finding more about our Jewish heritage, meeting other people in the area of the same background, adapting and becoming a member of a bigger synagogue, finding a place to celebrate with other members of the community Jewish holidays, etc.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter and I are hybrids, multiracial jews. I'm of Russian Jewish, African-American, and Latino roots and my daughter is all of that plus Filipina (her mom, my wife is Filipina). When I learned about Jewish Gateways, I was thrilled to see that this organization was created for folks who are converting or returning or just trying to see where they fit in as multiracial Jews. Rabbi Bridget provides a comforting and festive atmosphere and resources for discovering our niche in the Jewish mosaic. The timing of her event for Rosh Hashanah was perfect so I decided to take my daughter to Jewish Gateways. The highlight was storytelling time by the Sukkah. My daughter loved that and I felt at home among the other families there. We have three synagogues that we may affiliate with but I think Jewish Gateways provided a comforting framework that acknowledged my needs as a multiracial Jew. My daughter could also see the varied blend of Jewish kids present as well.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

The first time I stepped into Jewish Gateway's home in El Cerrito, I knew it would be a warm and welcoming place for our family. It wasn't just that Rabbi Bridget led a sweet and meaningful service, it was the whole experience- the homey space we gathered in, the warm smiles from all the people there, the beautiful music the cantor played... I felt so grateful to have this place to retreat to- a place that didn't expect our family to conform to any particular religious dogma, a place that opened itself to anyone who needed a safe place to start a search. In short, Rabbi Bridget's big heart touches everything and everyone around her.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've experienced Jewish Gateways as someone who many years ago found my way back into Judaism. My participation has been as a friend of the organization and sometimes a volunteer. The Shabbat dinners are warm and inviting and the discussions always have substance and depth with people finding themselves able to say things about Judaism and their relationship to it that they've never been able to tell anyone before.

11

Board Member

Rating: 5

Rabbi Bridget and Jewish Gateways are a terrific resource for those responsible for member recruitment at our synagogues. The people who inquire about our communities already know something about us and are more likely to be great match because Rabbi Bridget has taken the time to get to know them and us. Bridget is also a great teacher and willing to meet everyone wherever they are in their Jewish learning, experience, and comfort level. She's very open and honest in her communication and has offered terrific, concrete ideas about making our synagogue more user-friendly. Rabbi Bridget's warm smile and calm demeanor could even make that greatest of Jewish neurotics, Woody Allen, relax! She is such a giver - of time, attention, and joy. I highly recommend her and Jewish Gateways for any and every type of award.

12

Client Served

Rating: 5

Jewish Gateways was an incredibly transformative force in my life. I was born Jewish, but had no Jewish religious upbringing at all. I was always interested in knowing more about my heritage but had no idea where to start. Rabbi Bridget was really interested in hearing what I was looking for rather than telling me what she felt I should be looking for. Based on that, she was able to direct me to various activities at two different temples - torah study, services, and a social group - all of which I am still involved in today. My life feels so enriched by all of these experiences, and without Jewish Gateways I never would have found them.

3

Client Served

Rating: 4

I enjoyed the event very much. The rabbi was very warm and set a safe environment for everyone there. The event was very widely publicized; it was my friend Kate who found an announcement in Oakland.