East Bay Church of Religious Science
4130 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 510-420-1003, EBCRS.org
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.