The Kitchen San Francisco

The Kitchen San Francisco

Kushner flew to see Brous and Nussbaum for advice, and when she returned to San Francisco, it was to a group of people intrigued by her ideas. She tried a few experiments in her congregation in Marin County but soon branched out on her own to work in San Francisco, “where the people were that I thought I was going to serve.”
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The Kitchen San Francisco

Because The Kitchen doesn’t have a daily minyan, making the Jewish experience available sometimes means referring members to another congregation. “If they ended up wanting to join that place, I would think of it as a huge victory,” Kushner said. Rabbis in the area seem to feel that The Kitchen’s existence is a boon, not a drain on membership. “One of the reasons I think The Kitchen is a bright light is that the old structures really don’t seem to be holding up in terms of reaching assimilated Jews,” said Rabbi Camille Shira Angel of Sha’ar Zahav, a Reform synagogue also located in San Francisco’s Mission district. “I think there are enough Jews whose needs aren’t yet getting met as Jews to go around.”
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The Kitchen San Francisco

Rabbi Noa Kushner opened a recent Shabbat evening service at San Francisco’s The Kitchen with a quote from Abraham Joshua Heschel: “It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society,” she read. “It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid.”
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The Kitchen San Francisco

Marilyn Heiss is a native New Yorker and has lived in San Francisco since 1986. An Emmy-award-winning editor, she has worked in the TV/Video/Film industry for over 30 years. Marilyn found her way back to Jewish practice through yoga, and has a deep appreciation for Torah study and ritual. A participant in the initial meditation practice periods at Makor Or, the meditation center founded by Rabbi Alan Lew z”l & Zoketsu Norman Fischer, she served as its program director from 2003–2005. In addition to her work withTthe Kitchen, she trains b’nai mitzvah students all over the Bay Area and teaches Torah and Jewish studies in a variety of Jewish environments.
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The Kitchen San Francisco

The demographics are important: “Whatever the community form is,” said Nussbaum of independent religious communities, “whatever the institutions are that are built, they have to fit the vibe and the culture and the flavor” of their place. In San Francisco, an element of that flavor is residents’ investment in the city, the idea of “reclaiming your neighborhood to make it work for you and your family,” Hochman said. The Kitchen offers a Jewish slant on that idea.
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The Kitchen San Francisco

Marilyn Heiss, Ritual MavenMarilyn Heiss is a native New Yorker and has lived in San Francisco since 1986. An Emmy-award-winning editor, she has worked in the TV/Video/Film industry for over 30 years. Marilyn found her way back to Jewish practice through yoga, and has a deep appreciation for Torah study and ritual. A participant in the initial meditation practice periods at Makor Or, the meditation center founded by Rabbi Alan Lew z”l & Zoketsu Norman Fischer, she served as its program director from 2003–2005. In addition to her work withTthe Kitchen, she trains b’nai mitzvah students all over the Bay Area and teaches Torah and Jewish studies in a variety of Jewish environments.Email Marilyn.
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The Kitchen San Francisco

Alright, San Francisco, you officially win at ridiculous real estate. This studio is so tiny that it has a combo kitchen and bathroom. The icing on the cake? The landlord is asking $2000 per month.
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The Kitchen San Francisco

In a recent study, the City by the Bay just snagged the top spot for most expensive rent in the entire world. Rent costs more per square foot in San Francisco, New York, and Boston than in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, or London. That same study also claimed that a single person needs 420 square feet to live comfortably, which is at least twice the size of this tiny studio.
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Today, The Kitchen has 183 member households, with most members in their 30s and 40s. Many come to The Kitchen at transitional life moments, when they get married or have children. Jessie Elliott and her wife joined The Kitchen about six months into its existence, having realized they wanted a community in which they could pass Judaism down to their children. The Kitchen “was funky and interesting and contemporary,” Elliott said. “One thing that Noa does really well is the education piece, and making the education that she’s offering really interesting and relevant, something to think about and integrate into your daily life, and make you a better person.” Roughly 150 people show up for services on Shabbat and about half that for Shabbat dinner with food supplied from local restaurants. The Kitchen rents space in a Quaker school in the city’s Mission district for its services and dinner.
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Mimi Greisman, Camp Kitchen EducatorMimi has been a Jewish early childhood and family educator for more than 30 years. She has enjoyed working in a wide variety of settings creating quality Jewish programs for families with young children. Mimi has a Masters degree in education and is well known throughout the Bay Area. She plays guitar, sings, and has developed three children’s music CD’s. Mimi has three grown children, five grandchildren and her husband is Irving Greisman, the founder of Irving’s Premium Challah. Mimi is just delighted to be part of The Kitchen and to run Camp Kitchen.
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The Bike Kitchen teaches people of all ages and backgrounds how to repair bicycles. The Bike Kitchen promotes personal development and provides leadership opportunities. Operating as a cooperative shop, we provide affordable ways to acquire and maintain a bike, encourage re-use and recycling, and work with community groups to get more people on bicycles.
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The new edition of the game was created in response to user feedback, just as startups improve their products based on user input. That similarity is intentional, said Yoav Schlesinger, the Kitchen’s executive director, not just because the organization is based in the startup-heavy Bay Area but “because we think it’s on point. It’s all about rolling things out quickly, getting customer feedback, meeting the needs of the market, making changes based on the feedback you get. It’s a conscious effort on our part.” The “product,” as Schlesinger put it, is Torah, the same product Judaism has offered all along. But The Kitchen, like a handful of kindred communities established in the past decade, is “trying to innovate around how we deliver that to people.”
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Mimi has been a Jewish early childhood and family educator for more than 30 years. She has enjoyed working in a wide variety of settings creating quality Jewish programs for families with young children. Mimi has a Masters degree in education and is well known throughout the Bay Area. She plays guitar, sings, and has developed three children’s music CD’s. Mimi has three grown children, five grandchildren and her husband is Irving Greisman, the founder of Irving’s Premium Challah. Mimi is just delighted to be part of The Kitchen and to run Camp Kitchen.
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Last year, The Kitchen sought advice from design firm IDEO, a consulting firm that advises organizations on design and branding, about how to articulate its mission and refine its approach going forward. Now Kushner is in a round of fundraising to finance future Kitchen initiatives, including a Shabbat pop-up store that would sell white tablecloths, Judaica, and Shabbat reading material, and a food truck that could give rabbinic advice to passersby on anything from cooking to whom to marry. The idea, Schlesinger said, is “that, once upon a time, if you lived in a small, tight-knit Jewish community, there were people to call when you had a question, when you had a problem.” Just because Jews may no longer live in tight-knit communities doesn’t mean those questions no longer exist or that they should go unanswered.
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The Kitchen is a religious community, deeply grounded in serious exploration of Jewish tradition, text, and ritual. We are creating a spiritually engaging community of seekers at all levels of Jewish knowledge and experience.
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The Kitchen does not welcome people only because we aspire to be tolerant, accessible, or inclusive. We welcome people because we ARE those people. There are no insiders or outsiders, there are no others here. We are all others and we are all members of modern families. We begin from a place of yes: Every question and request is met with a sense of possibility, optimism and embrace.
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At The Kitchen we combine elements of the unexpected, secular, and beautiful in the exploration of Jewish life. We insist that Jewish practice be relevant, a tool for greater investment in the world. At the same time, we practice irreverent reverence—looking for the places where the every-day draws attention to the divine, and the mundane emphasizes what’s holy.
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We believe in pursuing justice in our lives and our communities. The Kitchen is committed to working toward the prevention of hunger, violence, homelessness, disease, ignorance, abuse, and oppression among all people.