Letter from the President

David Goodwin

I was born in downtown Los Angeles (not many people can say that!), grew up in the San Fernando Valley, and moved to the Bay Area when I was 18. My wife Stella Goodwin and I settled in the East Bay after I graduated from law school and we have lived in Oakland ever since. For many years, I was a partner at Covington & Burling LLP, where I represent large businesses in disputes with their insurance carriers. I took “senior status” in 2022 though I am still working part time. My wife is a librarian at the Oakland Public Library. My older daughter Charlotte lives in Paris with her husband Jérôme and our two grandchildren, and my younger daughter Sophie and her husband Nick live in San Francisco where she works for the San Francisco schools as a speech pathologist. I attended both UC Berkeley and Stanford (for law school) as well as Oxford University.

We joined TBA in 2008 and immediately felt at home with the community and culture of the congregation. We joined for many reasons, but here are three: First, there is Rabbi Bloom. TBA has nearly 500 families and the Rabbi knows all of us. He can be serious (about antisemitism, world events, our local community, and of course, death or illness) and he is learned. He also can be funny and is a talented musician. Plus, the children in our congregation adore and respect him. 

Second, I realized the very first time I attended services at TBA that the best word to describe the congregation is heimish. We are unpretentious and strive to be a warm welcoming community for all. Temple Beth Abraham has been at home in Oakland since 1908, and our roots here are deep and strong. 

Third, the Congregation represents many different backgrounds and cultures, families of all shapes and sizes and types, and we love and value what all of them bring to our community. We are diverse, in age (where we are evenly balanced among young, mid-life, and elderly), in background, in race, in sexual orientation, and in our knowledge of Judaism. Many of our congregants lead services, read Torah or Haftarah, or help with prayers, whereas others choose to watch. Some members are very observant, others less so. Some have lived in Oakland for decades, others recently arrived. All are very welcome.

I have had the honor of serving as President of Temple Beth Abraham since May 2020, a month most of us would like to forget! Fortunately, Temple Beth Abraham has emerged from the pandemic better than ever. We have more members now than we had in March 2020. We have well-attended religious services (with streaming on Zoom for those unable to attend in person), a thriving Gan and Bet Sefer, terrific facilities (including a gorgeous main sanctuary), a balanced budget, and no debt.

All of our members (and visitors) are welcome at our Morning Minyan, our Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat, and our Saturday morning services. We pride ourselves on being warm, participatory and egalitarian. Our community loves to welcome visitors and our educators love to teach – if you want to learn to chant Torah, how to celebrate Shabbat at home with your children or even have a question about Jewish practice, just ask