Shamash Residency

JCC East Bay Shamash Residency

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the JCC East Bay’s Shamash Residency. This is a unique opportunity for a local rabbi, Jewish scholar, or Jewish educator to work with the JCC community. During the 3-4 month intensive residency, a new rabbi or scholar will explore Jewish values, culture, and tradition with our staff, teachers, and community members.

Through the rotating residency, the JCC community will have the opportunity to learn from and with a diverse group of inspiring rabbis and scholars. As a pluralistic space that serves both Jews and the broader community, a Jewish community center can offer multiple perspectives on Jewish life and ideas. Over time, JCC staff, parents, children, and adults of all ages will enjoy a variety of approaches and interpretations to holidays and Jewish thought. Our intention is to develop a cohort of rabbis and scholars that reflect the diversity of the East Bay community.

The Shamash Residency fosters meaningful collaboration between Jewish educators, our staff members, and our vibrant community. Selected scholars will participate in the design of community holiday programs, contribute to a monthly blog, and offer Jewish learning for over 80 staff working throughout Oakland and Berkeley.

Current & Upcoming Shamash Residents

Tamar Zaken: March-May, 2018

Tamar is an educator, organizer, and community worker who lives in the East Bay. She spent over a decade directing Jewish Service Learning programs at Memizrach Shemesh, a beit midrash (study center) for social change inspired by the commentaries and writings of Mizrachi and Sephardic Jews, based in Jerusalem. She graduated from the Joint Program at Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and received a MSW from Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University in New York. She has two daughters, Lilah and Amina, and is married to Asher. In her spare time, Tamar translates Sephardic Rabbinic texts to expose English speaking audiences to their inspiring message of inclusion and justice.

Yosef Rosen: June-September, 2018

Yosef is a teacher of Jewish creativity and a DJ of contemplative dance. His classes and workshops weave together the imaginative and social dimensions of Jewish creative genres—Kabbalah, Talmud, philosophy, and poetry—as an invitation for participants to discover their own genre of Jewish creativity. He has a PhD in Jewish Studies from UC Berkeley, where he completed a dissertation on kabbalistic models of spiritual community. Before moving to the Bay eight years ago, Yosef spent many years in Jewish seminaries in both Israel and America. When not in the classroom or the dance-floor, Yosef can be found zipping through the Berkeley hills on his bike.



The JCC East Bay is deeply grateful to the Laszlo N. Tauber Family Foundation for their generous grant to pilot the Shamash Residency

To inquire about future residency openings, email: