Shalom from Social Action

The Social Action Committee recently met and prepared bags for the homeless and those in need. We have been doing this project for over a year and have found it to be a very worthwhile and satisfying experience. People on the receiving end have been very thankful and most responses have been positive. I want to thank the congregation for participating by bringing hygiene items and by taking some bags and distributing them. I also want to thank the members of SAC for donating so many wonderful items. The members are: Susan Miller, Cheryl Miller, Lenore Holloway, Judi Hyman, Tish Levy, Bobbie Rosenthal, Ellen Mundell, Karen Herskovic, and Lyla Nathan.social action making bags

The bags have a new and very necessary item this time, they are very sturdy ponchos, so important this year. These ponchos were personally given to us by Billy Friedman. A warm thank you to you and your family for your continued generosity
helping those less fortunate in our community.

As always we continue to provide food for the pantry at JFCS. Thanks to the whole congregation for keeping the bin in the foyer full of healthy food products. They always need low sodium and non gluten foods. Peanut butter, tuna , non refrigerated milk are always needed. Please keep up the great work you do.

We will have our next volunteering at the Redwood Empire Food Bank on Wednesday, March 1, at 10:00-12:00, Hope you can make it.
Once again, thanks to everyone for making Beth Ami a giving and caring community.
Lyla Nathan

Rosh Chodesh Shevat

Rosh Chodesh Shevat falls on Saturday, January 28! We’ll celebrate with havdallah (we’ll supply) and desserts (you bring, please) as well as our regular rituals for welcoming the new moon. It will all begin at 6:30 p.m. at Congregation Beth Ami.

All Jewish women are welcome … no matter whether you’re affiliated with a congregation or not! We’d love to have you join us. No RSVP needed … but if you need a ride, let me know and we’ll try to put you in touch with someone nearby.

Save the Dates: 
Rosh Chodesh Adar: Sunday, February 26 @ 11:30am
Pizza and a Movie … we’ll lunch at Mary’s Pizza Shack and select a movie to watch at Summerfield Cinemas
flexible timing depending on the movies showing, etc.
Rosh Chodesh Nissan: Monday, March 27 at 7pm @ Congregation Beth Ami
Passover foods and recipes
Discussion of narrow places and what to leave behind
Favorite Passover readings
Meaning of the Omer
Looking forward to sharing the joy of Rosh Chodesh with you all in 2017.
Patty Bernstein

Rockin Shabbat

Rockin Shabbat with Mia Cohen May 19th 2017
Mia Cohen is serving the B’nai Israel Jewish Center as the Rabbinic Associate. She grew up in Nashville, TN and did her undergraduate work in Asheville, North Carolina at Warren Wilson College. She has ordination as a Jewish Spiritual Director through the Aleph Alliance for Jewish Renewal and has been a Talmidah Chachamah, student of Jewish Wisdom for more than 15 years. Mia has led numerous retreats, kids & family programs, Shabbat & Holiday services, and interfaith events. She is a facilitator of life cycle ceremonies, a Yoga teacher, Herbalist, and a Doula.mia picture 2015
5:30 p.m – Family Kabbalat Shabbat
6:00 p.m. – Community Dinner
7:00 p.m. – Rockin Shabbat

Dinner $8.00 adults, $5.00 youth
RS/NS families free with RSVP by January 25

Rosh Chodesh Tevet

Save the date for our Rosh Chodesh women’s Chanukah gathering which also celebrates the new month of Tevet. We’ll gather at Judy Gunnar’s home on Thursday, December 29 at 7pm for “White Elephant” gift exchange and wine-tasting. Bring cheese, crackers, 7 candles and a chanukiah!

Social Action Committee

The Social Action Committee has a mission to help create a more peaceful, giving and welcoming community.  In past years we have facilitated many activities that have revolved  around conversation and community building. We believe that conversation leads to greater understanding  of each other and  to stronger relationships.

These have been difficult times for many in our community. The election has caused fear and nervousness among many and the turmoil with the firing of Leah has caused pain to our kehilla. We were very heartened by the general meeting led by Henry Cohn. He created a mood of warmth and openness. He made sure that no-one was hurt in the process of sharing concerns and questions.

We at SAC think this kind of conversation might be beneficial to the community to discuss our fears and concern around the new US administration. We think people are looking for a safe place to talk. We are aware that there are differences in the Jewish Community regarding the new administration, especially around perceived support of Israel. We think it is important to look at different sides and create discourse that is inclusive and safe. We talked about the possibility of monthly meetings. We are hopeful to begin these conversations in the new year.

We decided to “kick off” these  discussions  by joining the Women’s March  in Santa Rosa on Jan. 21. The following information was written by Tish.

Please read and consider joining us.  Thanks.

Shalom to all,    Lyla

The Washington Women’s March is Coming to Sonoma County

A huge march of women, men, children, and families is planned in Washington, DC, on January 21st. Satellite marches and rallies are being planned across the country—including one right here in Santa Rosa.

Beth Ami’s Social Action Committee voted at the Dec. 14th meeting to participate in this march, and to engage Jewish women of Sonoma County, and their allies to do so as well. This is an opportunity for us to come together and to support women, minorities, and immigrants. There will be opportunities to learn more about engagement and activities at a local level. Although the march takes place in downtown Santa Rosa at noon on Shabbat, we felt that the urgency of the situation requires as many of us as possible to attend. The march’s FaceBook site is Sonoma County Stands Together for Women. As of the 15th of December, over 600 people have signed up to go and 1200 have expressed an interest.

Donate Israeli Products to Food Pantry – Dec. 19 and everyday

israction-day-beth-amiDecember 19th is IsrAction Day at CBA

Buy packaged Israeli foods at your local supermarket and drop them off at Congregation Beth Ami in the Social Action barrels

We donate them to local charities and Homeless Shelters

Photograph your participation in IsrAction Day 2016 and send it with details to IsrActionDay@standwithus.com

Sponsored by Congregation Beth Ami Israel Committee and StandWithUs

IsrAction Day is an International grassroots campaign with three main goals: standing up for Israel, combatting BDS and supporting our local communities. This is achieved through the purchase of Israeli goods in local supermarkets and their donation to the needy in local communities around the world.

The campaign will be taking place during the Chanukah/ Christmas season, a perfect time for tzedakah, giving back to your community and outreach to those more needy in our hometowns.

The campaign is originally the brainchild of Sussex Friends of Israel and Northwest Friends of Israel, two UK-based pro-Israel groups, which quickly won the support of London’s Jewish Chronicle and Jewish communal organizations across Britain.

Congregation Beth Ami and StandWithUs is proud to be joining forces for IsrAction Day 2016!

Don’t forget to take pictures or videos purchasing your items and/or donating and sending

Israel Fire Emergency Fund

For the past several days, hundreds of fires have raged across Israel’s north and in the Jerusalem hills. Damage has been widespread and some 180 people are reported injured, mainly due to smoke inhalation. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced, and many hundreds have been left homeless.

In Haifa, Israel’s third largest city and San Francisco’s sister city, at least 60,000 residents have been evacuated and 2,000 buildings have been damaged, with a large number of those rendered uninhabitable. There are an estimated 1,600 Haifa residents now homeless.

Additionally, Israel’s Parks Authority reports that about 32,000 acres of natural forest land have burned. Overall, close to 2,500 firefighters have fought an unprecedented 480 blazes across Israel over a 5-day period.

Our Federation is working with our partners on the ground in Israel to assess and begin to meet urgent and emerging needs. If you would like to donate to the Jewish Federations of North America’s Israel Fire Emergency Fund, you can do so here.

If there is a silver lining to this tragedy, it is that all Israelis —- Jews and Arabs alike —- have come together to combat the fires and provide assistance to those affected (which includes Israelis of all backgrounds). The outpouring of solidarity and help for Israelis has crossed every category of ethnicity and religion. This is the Israel we know and love, and the one that we work every day to strengthen.

In solidarity,
Danny Grossman
CEO
Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund

Hello and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

On Thursday, December 1, we’ll celebrate the new month of Kislev by attending the Jewish Music Series at SSU’s Schroeder Hall. The program begins at  6:30pm … free admission and the parking fee is waived! 6:30pm

                                    “Convergence: Spirituals From The Shtel. Davening From The Delta.”

 

Be sure to reserve your seats now!  You may reserve up to 4 seats.
and scroll down to the December 1st performance.

 

Let me know if you want to car-pool … we’ll see what we can arrange.
Looking forward to seeing you there!
        Patty Bernstein

 

PS … Save the date for our Rosh Chodesh women’s Chanukah gathering which also celebrates the new month of Tevet. We’ll gather at Judy Gunnar’s home on Thursday, December 29 at 7pm for “White Elephant” gift exchange and wine-tasting. Bring cheese, crackers, 7 candles and a chanukiah!

Rainbow Shabbat

Almost one year ago, during Sukkot, the Congregation celebrated the Sukkah of Shalom. It was an evening devoted to outreach to the LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, and Intersex) Community; the Gay Community for simplicity purposes. It was an opportunity for members like myself who is Gay and members with Lesbian or Gay children to share experiences about growing up Gay in the Jewish Community. The discussion that followed was meaningful and the follow-up questions were thoughtful.
An outgrowth of the Sukkah of Shalom was the formation of the Keshet (Rainbow) Committee. Arnold Drake and I co-chair the committee. The first event the committee organized is participation in the Sonoma County Gay Pride Parade in Guerneville. About 25 Beth Ami Members and Friends joined in the festivities.

At the Sukkah of Shalom, I spoke about the need for Beth Ami to Come Out. Our community is accepting, open and welcoming to members of the Gay community. However, a newcomer, especially someone who is Gay or Lesbian would not know that. There is nothing overt to make a newcomer aware of that.

Coming Out for an individual or for an organization is an evolutionary process. I can speak from first-hand experience. It doesn’t generally happen overnight and is something that occurs deliberately and with much thought.

The next event in Beth Ami’s evolution is that we will be celebrating a Rainbow Shabbat on Saturday, December 3. We remain committed to a conservative service with some modifications. We will supplement the traditional service with readings that are gender neutral and speak more to the Gay and Lesbian Community. We plan to introduce some contemporary songs.

I am pleased to announce that Reb Irwin Keller from Congregation Ner Shalom has agreed to deliver the Devar Torah. Reb Irwin authored Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Ordinance which was passed into law in 1989; he later served as staff attorney and executive director of the AIDS Legal Referral Panel of the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014 he retired after 21 years as a comedian-actor-singer-writer with the acclaimed Kinsey Sicks, known as America’s Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet. His interest in making Jewish experience welcoming for everyone (including himself) has at times resulted in his wearing a skirt to shul.

Following services, we will have our usual potluck lunch including some Rainbow Sherbet for dessert. There will be more singing and the opportunity to continue any discussions of interest.

The Rainbow Shabbat is directed towards to the Gay Community, but ultimately the desire is for Beth Ami to be open to everyone who walks through our doors and make them feel welcome. Our diversity makes us a stronger community.
I hope that you will join us for all or part of this Rainbow Shabbat.

-Henry Cohn, Past President of Congregtion Beth Ami