Best Place to Worship
Temple Beth Abraham
No place of worship is for everyone. Orthodox Jews, for example, would likely frown on Rabbi Mark Bloom's rock 'n' roll big band at Temple Beth Abraham, a thriving synagogue in Oakland's Grand Lake area. But for conservative or reform Jews seeking a vibrant, family-friendly community, we can think of no better place than TBA, as member's lovingly call it, especially for those who prefer a modern outlook on Judaism's ancient tenets. Last year, TBA celebrated its 100th anniversary in the East Bay. And it remains an intergenerational hotspot for community-building, repairing the world, doing good deeds, and practicing other old-school Jewish values — not just in prayer books — but in real life. Congregants may get a call from the rabbi himself, asking them to form a "havurah'" of Jewish friends to meet a few times a year, nosh on bagels, and get to know each other. At holiday time, anyone without a place to eat is hooked up with a family that has room at its table. And if a congregant gets sick, there's a group of volunteers who drive the patients to doctors appointments, pick up their friends from the airport, and prepare home-cooked meals for their families.