Our Story And Mission

Our Story And Mission

The AriYael Jewish Healing Center was formed to honor the memory of two special people who died in 2016. Ari Mazer, 26, son of Marc Mazer and Susan Talon-Mazer, and Yael Goldblatt, 63, late wife of Rabbi Dan Goldblatt, both died from rare forms of cancer. Ari, who had just begun a promising career as an engineer, was the unofficial counselor for his circle of friends and was a skilled listener and wise beyond his years. Yael was a beloved psychologist who served individuals and couples with love, compassion and deep understanding of the human psyche. The AriYael Jewish Healing Center seeks to provide a warm, welcoming home in the spirit of Ari and Yael.

The AriYael Healing Center was created to be an essential support for individuals and families responding to illness, loss and all life transitions.

It is a non-profit corporation tasked with the vision to bring a wide array of healing programs, support groups and classes to the East Bay Jewish community.

Some of the many ways we seek to provide this include:

  • Caregiver Support Groups
  • Cancer Support Groups
  • Grief Support Groups
  • Interfaith Couples Support
  • Spiritual Direction

We strive for diversity across the globe

Our Vision

The AriYael Jewish Healing Center will offer individuals, couples and groups opportunities to experience and explore diverse modalities of Jewish spirituality, community, learning and healing. Our center of operation is the Greater East Bay Jewish community as well as those who are partners, allies or in the process of choosing Judaism.

The AriYael Jewish Healing Center offers a renewal and reimagination of Jewish rite of passage rituals.

It sees itself as a creative spiritual laboratory for the development of new Jewish rituals. It will be a sacred space to explore new dimensions of experiential and embodied Jewish spiritual practice. The AriYael Jewish Healing Center will have a strong Jewish educational component for adults, children and families focused on the rich tradition of healing practices in Judaism.

In addition to facilitated programs and workshops honoring life transitions, the AriYael Jewish Healing Center will teach and offer groups for Interfaith Couples Support, Renewal of Vows, Sacred Intimacy, Jewish Parenting, and an array of grief support and end of life programs.

The AriYael Jewish Healing Center plans to partner with traditional Jewish synagogues and institutions as well as many of the most innovative Bay Area institutions. We aim to provide an aesthetic, warm, welcoming home to develop healing edge programs for the best that contemporary Judaism has to offer.


Rabbi Dan Goldblatt

“You know you have loved someone when you have glimpsed in them that which is too beautiful to die.”
– Dr. Gabriel Marcel

I have been privileged to serve as rabbi of Beth Chaim Congregation in Danville, CA since 1993. I have a passion for facilitating the sacred and continue to explore ways to enhance the richness of rituals that bring meaning to all of life’s transitions. I am honored to have studied with and been ordained by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”tl, and have been a leader of both ALEPH: the Alliance for Jewish Renewal and OHALAH: Rabbis and Cantors for the Renewal of Judaism.

When Yael, my wife of 38 years, died in 2016, I was devastated. As a way of turning her memory into blessing, I co-founded the AriYael Jewish Healing Center with my dear friends, Marc Mazer and Susan Talon Mazer who had lost their beloved son, Ari, earlier that year. Working through my grief has allowed me to greatly deepen my ability to help others do end of life work, grief work, and greatly expand my lived experience of healing. I am a trained Spiritual Director and Mikveh Guide and am honored to serve on the Board of Wilderness Torah which is doing the joyful work of renewing earth-based Judaism. My work with my beloved, Zoe Francesca, has taught me a great deal about the healing power of love, sacred intimacy and radical honesty.

Susan Talon-Mazer

“This is grief’s most piercing message: there is no way around–the only way is through.”
– Joanne Cacciatore, Bearing the Unbearable.

When my 23 year-old son Ari was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, our lives exploded into a million pieces and an abyss of fear. As a hospice and palliative care nurse for almost 30 years, I knew the precise impact of his diagnosis. I was now personally living what professionally I had witnessed. When Ari died, two and half years later, the grief felt unbearable. I sought help through numerous grief retreats, seminars, workshops, parent loss support groups and individual grief therapy. Ultimately I became a Certified Bereavement (™) Care counselor through the Center for Loss and Trauma in partnership with the MISS Foundation and the Elisabeth Kbbler-Ross Family Trust. I have learned that you do not ever “get over grief,” but with hard work you can learn how to carry it. I have also learned the tremendous healing power of a supportive community. This is what we seek to share in the AriYael Healing Center.

Zoë Francesca Goldblatt

“I was the ocean before I was waved. I am the ocean as I am waved. And I will be the ocean after I am waved, but the only time there is a “me” to know this is now.”

– Rabbi Rami Shapiro

I am an intuitive, arts-based Activity Therapist, End of Life Doula and Intimacy Coach with a focus on spiritual and soul connection. Working with people on a soul level gives meaning and purpose to my life. I began my career in the healing arts in 2009 as a hospice volunteer bringing my background in music, art and creative writing to enhance communication with the dying. From 2012 to the present, I have specialized in working with people living with dementia, brain injury and mental illness, helping them find acceptance, peace and resolution through connection with the arts and nature, as a solo practitioner with Z*O*E Activity Therapies. In 2022 I graduated from the Somatica Institute where I learned coaching skills for relationships, sex and intimacy to further serve adults in any stage of physical health or relationship status. I am married to Rabbi Dan Goldblatt.

Marc Mazer

“The best I can hope for is to provide a safe space for others walking a similar path… making connections with people, listening to them…this is the healing path.”

I am one of the co-founders of AriYael Jewish Healing Center. I have been active in the Contra Costa County Jewish community by serving on various boards including that of Beth Chaim Congregation, the Contra Costa Jewish Community Center, and various other boards involving the East Bay Jewish Federation. As an “almost retired” attorney with over 45 years of experience, including the representation of non-profit organizations, I will be directly involved with running the business end of the healing center. The journey taken with my son, Ari, while he was being treated for cancer and leading up to his death, has given me a profound need to share that experience with others. I believe that the healing process is not necessarily defined by accepted western medicine, but may also include the simplicity of providing others with a safe space in which to share their experiences. Thus, my involvement will also include ensuring that all who seek our help will be provided with that “safe” place for healing.

Dr. David Goldblatt

I was a private practice Neuroradiologist for more than 30 years. I retired at the beginning of Covid. I am completing a 3-year program in Jewish Spiritual Direction (Hashpa’ah). This primarily involves deep listening. My main interests are in the spiritual aspects of healing with a particular concentration in End of Life care. I am a devoted Grandfather of two amazing boys. My beloved wife Cooky and I are looking towards our next adventure. We are so proud to be involved with the AriYael Healing Center.

Cooky Goldblatt

I worked for years as an advertising and marketing executive and as a foundational member of the Austin, Texas Jewish community. With roles on the architecture and building committees for two schools and a synagogue at the Dell Jewish Community campus, I have always felt that to truly be a community member requires service.

Now, I am honored to serve the AriYael Jewish Healing Center, melding my lived experience with my desire to help repair the world. As a musician and visual artist, I hope to bring light and beauty to this healing community.

Our Testimonials

We generate results for our customers

Please Read Our Testimonials From Our Fellow People!

“Thank you for encouraging me to participate in the grief group. I really was hesitant at first and went to the first session thinking “I’ll just listen and not say anything.” I didn’t realize how much I was really was wanting to share my thoughts in a safe space without any judgement.

Your questions were all thought provoking and generally brought a lot of bottled up emotions to the surface. Your questions were probing and you allowed each of us time to process our thoughts. It was helpful to me to hear fellow participants’ issues and responses.

A lot of tears were shed each week but somehow I left each session smiling and with new insights and understanding. I so appreciate how you really listened to each of us and offered helpful suggestions which were appropriate to each individual situation. I appreciated the fact that this was a small group and that we could sit in a circle facing each other.

I liked how each session began with music and a quiet time to shift gears from the busy day. Zoe’s white board lists that we could take photos of were also helpful. The story of taking the shattered pieces and filling them in with gold was a beautiful moment that especially touched me. I loved bringing in pictures of our husbands and talking about them on the last session. My only negative was that the grief group was too short!”


I’d like to thank Rabbi Dan and Zoe for the following:

  1. Creating a safe space for my feelings. The warmth and understanding that you both emit allowed me to feel feelings that were once frightening;
  2. Encouraging me to create a future with M. and without M.; how to bring him along but not have him in the forefront;
  3. The questions at the beginning and throughout each session enabled my mind to spread, to think, to question my past actions, thoughts and feelings. .Therefore I became aware of which worked for me and which did not, which I would carry forward and which I would attempt to leave behind.
  4. Sadness is becoming bearable because I realize it doesn’t usurp me… wow what a relief.
  5. Lastly, thank you for bringing together a group of women whom I can trust, be comfortable with, and honest with… oh, and laugh with!

Thank you for making me think. And question. And for a lot more than that.”


Rabbi Dan and Zoe provided a safe, non-judgmental, and supportive space for each individual where we were at in our own unique grief journey. They created safe boundaries allowing each person to fully express and be heard – uncensored and not rushed to finish a thought.

The topics were poignant, thought provoking, stirred up emotions at times and felt uncomfortable at times. Topics were real and they were ones humans tend to avoid in daily conversation. Important to face these things head on.

I love the bonding that took place so organically. I now feel a deep connection to each member of the group. It’s a “club we didn’t want to join”, yet feel like we’re all in this together – and only those like us that have walked in our shoes can fully relate to our journey… I now have a sense of a “new family”.

We have a new support system with each other and with Dan/Zoe. Love the rituals, song, symbols that were integrated into each session. Starting each session with a quiet meditation was a great transition away from the noise of the day.

“Spouse or Partner Loss” Winter of 2022.

Grief Group Participant

“The story of Moses and the broken Torah, taking the shattered pieces of our lives and filling them with gold, considering saying kaddish for our future life and dreams and plans that will never be, secondary losses, all resonated with me.”


“Dear Zoe, I can’t thank you enough for everything you did to make my husband’s service such a wonderful experience. Really, it was perfect! You struck just the right tone, kept everything flowing so smoothly, spoke so movingly about my husband, made sure everyone felt included — I could go on and on. Everyone has told me how impressed they were with how you created such a beautiful container where all that love could be expressed. I want you to know that last night’s service filled me with joy. Thank you.”

2022 Memorial service on Zoom with 80 attendees

“Creating a sacred, private space with others who are grieving was a way to find empowerment in ‘intentional grieving.’ Prior to this class, I was open to experience my grief, but it was much more of a passive experience, as opposed to actively engaging in grief, i.e., confronting the specifics of loss, remembering and enjoying the legacy of my loved one’s life, and finding ways to foster a continuing relationship with my mother.”

2022 Participant in Parent Loss Grief Support Group

“Dear Rabbi Dan and Zoe, Thank you so much for all your love and support throughout this year.  I’ve felt in some ways like I’ve had a “grief nightlight” with the guidance you both shared in our class.  The meditations and processing suggestions you shared, not to mention the bond formed with everyone in the class, has lit up this grief path and made it easier for me to walk.”

2022 Participant in Parent Loss Grief Support Group

“This class helped me build “grief muscles”.  I feel stronger in my ability to process loss and feel more equipped to guide myself through stages of grief as other losses arise.”

2022 Participant in Parent Loss Grief Support Group

“Group sharing was extremely helpful to foster personal perspective on my own situation. Additionally, the hearts of the group members are so open and loving, whatever pain, guilt or heaviness that exists in my own grieving heart was lightened by my fellow members’ empathy and support. The music was also really calming and centering.”

2022 Participant in Parent Loss Grief Support Group

“This group allowed me to understand how to work through the hurt and abandonment I felt from my loss to actually being able to appreciate my loved one and grieve him. It gave me tools to process his loss and to better understand myself, validate myself, and process feelings about the story of his loss. I am forever grateful for these tools. I absolutely plan on continuing the work on my own. I have plans to work on familial relationships and continue to utilize the tools to move forward on my grief journey.”

2022 Participant in Parent Loss Grief Support Group

“Keeping the group small and intimate was paramount to its success.  Each one of us, I believe, was able to feel safe and vulnerable enough to share and process our feelings.  It truly felt like a sisterhood. The support from one another was immeasurable.  The weekly topics lead by Dan and Zoe always felt valuable and were approached so delicately, safely and therapeutically.  The tools were practical and useful.”

2022 Participant in Parent Loss Grief Support Group

“I literally recommend this group to anyone who has experienced loss.  I can’t imagine someone NOT benefiting from this group.”

2022 Participant in Parent Loss Grief Support Group

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