Rosh Chodesh Shevat

All Jewish women are invited to welcome the new month of Shevat at Congregation Beth Ami at 7pm on Wednesday, January 17. We’ll begin the evening with snacks and rituals, then move to a very special activity: Guided Imagery through which you can release old vows or beliefs that hold you back.

Michele Baime will lead us in a session she’s titled “Explore a Path to Freedom from Deep Rooted Issues and Allow Yourself to Blossom” to allow you to silently let go of whatever issue you choose to address. When we reach deep into the root of an issue and release the blocks that keep us from moving forward, we can open our hearts and souls, allowing our entire being to blossom.

This is very special and personal work. It is a process that will be done in silence. You will not be asked to share your personal process. There will be time allowed for anyone who has questions or does wish to share their experience.

Michele Baime is a trained Journey Method Practitioner who has been assisting people in their personal healing process for over 16 years. She has been facilitating guided imagery sessions for the past 9 years.

Please bring a dairy or pareve snack or beverage to share … and join us for this special evening.

Is anyone driving from Oakmont? One or more of our group could use a ride. Thanks.

Learn about and help fight the New Anti-Semitism

Help those Jewish organizations on the front line, our first responders, putting out the fires of intolerance and hatred. Join Congregation Beth Ami to welcome speakers sharing with us their contributions to fighting the New anti-Semitism.  We have already scheduled two organizations to share with us how they are fighting for us.  Save these dates on Sundays at 2:00 pm, March 11 with Stand with Us, March 25 with JIMENA, April 8 with ADL, and May 13 with Amcha Initiative.  We also expect to bring in speakers from CAMERA on May 27.

Social Action Goes to the Movies

The Social Action Committee is a co sponsor of the Social Action film series at Shomrei Torah. This year the theme is Democracy is NOT a Spectator Sport. We encourage everyone to support the series. The films and panel discussions are always pertinent and very informative.

The Bail Trap: American Ransom will screen on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 7 pm at Congregation Shomrei Torah, 2600 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa.  There will be a panel discussion following the film, and an opportunity to  learn about relevant pending legislation in CA, SB 10, the California Money Bail Reform Act.
 
The program is open to the public and free (donations appreciated). This is the second film in the 2018 Social Action Goes to the Movies series. This year’s theme is Democracy is NOT a Spectator Sport. Public response to the first film program was very enthusiastic and parking is limited, so we encourage carpools.

Please refer to Series 2018 flyer for details. All events will be at 7 pm at Congregation Shomrei Torah, 2600 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. Free and open to the public.

February 24 “The Bail Trap” The inability to pay bail is one of the main causes of America’s mass incarceration system yet something most Americans know little about. The money bail system is broken: private companies achieve exorbitant profits by exploiting people (primarily of color) in poor communities. Many low-income Americans sit in jails for days, months, and even years, accused, but not convicted of minor misdemeanors, simply because they can’t afford to pay excessively high bail. Find out about the devastation caused by money bail and how we can fix the system.

March 17 “Fix It” This documentary reaches across the political and ideological divide to look at how our dysfunctional health care system damages our economy, suffocates businesses, discourages physicians, and negatively impacts the nation’s health, while remaining unaffordible for a third of our citizens. Learn about the advantages and challenges of a single payer health care system and how California can lead the nation by creating one.

Dates for dancing

Dancers, Here are the dates for Israeli dancing. please notice that they are not regular in terms of every other week, so write it down… These are the dates that appear online for Israeli Folk Dance – 84531
https://econnect.ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/Activities/ActivitiesAdvSearch.asp

Classes left in this session:

Wednesday 02-07-2018 7:00PM – 9:30PM Rm 5 (Auditorium) – -Finley Person Senior Wing
Wednesday 02-21-2018 7:00PM – 9:30PM Rm 5 (Auditorium) – -Finley Person Senior Wing

NEW INFO FOR AFTER FEBRUARY:
Use barcode to register.
Israeli Folk Dance – 86522

Link to this page  https://econnect.ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/Activities/ActivitiesAdvSearch.asp#top

Ages: 18 Yrs. and over

Fees:
Resident $33.00
– nr $43.00

Description:
Increase your fitness level, gain confidence and coordination, and expand your social circle with a fun dance class! We offer a variety of dance classes that may include Bollywood, or Flamenco. For Bellydance, see ‘Belly Dance’. For Zumba, see Aerobics/Fitness.

Spots Available: 30

Registration Date:  02-01-2018 12:00AM
please call 707-543-3737 if you can’t register online after Feb. 1
Last Updated:
01-25-2018 1:18PM

Meets:
Wednesday03-07-20187:00PM – 9:30PMRm 5 (Auditorium) – -Finley Person Senior Wing
Wednesday03-21-20187:00PM – 9:30PMRm 5 (Auditorium) – -Finley Person Senior Wing
Wednesday04-11-20187:00PM – 9:30PMRm 5 (Auditorium) – -Finley Person Senior Wing
Wednesday04-25-20187:00PM – 9:30PMRm 5 (Auditorium) – -Finley Person Senior Wing
Wednesday05-09-20187:00PM – 9:30PMRm 3 (Fitness/Dance) – -Finley Person Senior Wing
Wednesday05-23-20187:00PM – 9:30PMRm 5 (Auditorium) – -Finley Person Senior Wing
Wednesday06-06-20187:00PM – 9:30PMRm 5 (Auditorium) – -Finley Person Senior Wing
Wednesday06-20-20187:00PM – 9:30PMRm 5 (Auditorium) – -Finley Person Senior Wing
Wednesday07-11-20187:00PM – 9:30PMRm 5 (Auditorium) – -Finley Person Senior Wing
Wednesday07-25-20187:00PM – 9:30PMRm 5 (Auditorium) – -Finley Person Senior Wing
Wednesday08-08-20187:00PM – 9:30PMRm 5 (Auditorium) – -Finley Person Senior Wing

Thanks all–
Leanne

Israeli dance session Dec. 13

It is time to register for a new session, Dec 13 to Feb 21. The cost is $17 for residents, $27 for non-residents. There are six classes. You can come to class and register later, it’s okay. If you need to pay on a drop-in basis you can let me know, there are some ways we can deal with a small amount of that.

Please note that they have moved us to the big auditorium room at the end of the hall because there is another group in room 3.

To register:
The barcode number for the class is 84531 , which is found in the pdf catalog on page 29:  https://srcity.org/DocumentCenter/View/16484
The general web page for activities is https://srcity.org/1194/Browse-the-Activity-Guide and that pagehas a link to the
most important part:
online registration system  https://econnect.ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/Start/start.asp where you enter the barcode 84531 which takes you to a page with a ADD button that puts the class in your shopping cart.

Let me know if this doesn’t work!
See you December 13, 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Also, the second Saturday San Francisco Israeli dance is on December 9. I’ll be sending out a carpooling email. If you are not on the carpooling email list and want to be, please let me know.

Leanne

Chanukah Sameach

It certainly feels like a lifetime passed since the High Holy Days, and Sukkot (where did Shemini Atzaret and Simchat Torah go?) We all feel like this is a changed and unsettled world since the wildfires started October 8th. All of us were affected, some more then others. What can we do, where can we help? We all want to do something, even those who were affected the most. One thing everyone can do is listen. We all have a story to share, and there are those who need to tell their story. What better time it is to be listening then by sharing meals. And let’s do this with food that brings on the good memories.

So, let’s talk Jewish comfort food. Whatever your idea of comfort food is, now is the time to share. It can be as simple or as complex as you want. Think bagels with lox and cream cheese, or how about mac & cheese, or sweet kugel, or chicken soup with matzah balls. Or how about dishes like eggs with onions & lox, potato knishes, shakshuka, cheese blintzes, matzoh brei, latkes, hamantaschen, rugelach and challah. Don’t worry if the food seems out of season. It’s the comfort of memories associated with this dish that you are making and sharing with others. And if your friends are helping with the making and the eating, what a wonderful time it is to be talking and listening and sharing…enjoy!
Hanukah is coming

Since my creativity button has disappeared for a while, here is a slightly modified article reprinted from the December 2016 Shofar.
Hanukah is coming. The first candle is lit on sundown of December 12th. Truly this minor holiday can be full of fun and comfort. We have eight days to celebrate with lighting menorahs, parties, and special foods.

To help celebrate the miracle of lights we like, no…be honest…we love, to fry foods in oil. Potato latkes abound at our tables along with their cousin latkes—pancakes; parsnip, sweet potato, green (with zucchini), french onion (with caramelized onions), colorful veggies (with carrots, red bell peppers and zucchini), and even coconut. We also have Torzelli (deep fried curly endive), Tostones (fried plantains) and beer battered pumpkin rings. And for desserts we have Sufganiyot (jelly donuts), Bimuelos (honey drizzled fritters) and more.
We also celebrate with food made from cheese and dairy products to remember the apocryphal Book of Judith, the widow who single handedly killed the Assyrian leader, Holofernes, whose army surrounded her village Bethula during the time of the Maccabean revolt. Her tools were cheeses to make him thirsty, wine to make him drunk and a powerful blow using his sword. Think cheese latkes or grilled cheese on latkes and Mozzarella in Carrozza to help celebrate.

All of this information and recipes are available from the Recipes for Hanukkah by MJL Staff ( https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/hanukkah-foods ).

Mmm…enjoy—Hanukkah Sameach!

Predictions and Hopes

It is three weeks since the fires began. They have had a devastating effect on our Beth Ami community and our larger community of Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino counties.

Like most, I awaken every morning to the realization that I haven’t been dreaming and that the fires did really occur. Everywhere you go, people are talking about their experiences, or someone else’s, with the fires. It is on everyone’s mind. People are open, vulnerable , warm and full of compassion. There is a wonderful sense of community here at Beth Ami and in the community at large. People are looking for ways to help. I hope that, as time passes, we will continue to access this open-hearted empathy we now feel.
Santa Rosa will not be the same for many years: people will refer to before the fire and after the fire. Santa Rosa will rebuild and I hope there will emerge a more compassionate vision of how to make our community a better place for all those who live here. There needs to be safe housing for all economic strata in our community.

We had a huge housing shortage before the fires and a very serious homeless problem. Now things will be more dire. There no doubt will be families that will have difficulties finding housing. The homeless numbers will likely grow as working class people, who live paycheck to paycheck, may not have full employment because the economy may slow.

Many of us are looking for ways to give energy and funds to the fire victims. I suggest that we think first of the most needy when we give. Food banks and pantries will always need food. The homeless will still have huge needs. People will be looking for extra work. The gratondaylabor.org is an organization that is working to provide much needed support to workers and their families affected by the wildfires. Some lost everything and many other were temporarily displaced. There are so many people suffering emotionally and financially.

We are a very giving community. We believe in Tikun Olam. Let us continue to help those in need and keep an open heart.

Please note that we are collecting warm coats in the lobby.

What is a Mensch?

We are so fortunate to have our Beth Ami Community in these challenging times! There are so many admirable volunteers who share their time and talents with our children, families, and congregants. Thank you for being such amazing examples. You are showing us how to be and raise a Mensch.
What is is mensch? Someone who possesses the traits of decency, wisdom, kindness, honesty, trustworthiness, respect, benevolence, compassion, and altruism.
In actuality, however, these are not rare personality traits. They have to be taught and modeled. Here are some to to focus on and to teach our kids:
Kavod (Respect)
Kids should be taught to extend kavod to all people who touch their lives, not just mom and dad. Say “Kol hakavod” when a child, or an adult, does something well. Be open to situations where children of differing abilities are brought together. Model behavior that teaches children to be accepting and thus give kavod/respect to everyone.
Tzedakah
This Jewish value implies a basic responsibility to do justice (tzedek) by sharing our resources with the community. Although it may require gentle nudges to get kids into the philanthropic spirit, encouraging them to put a small portion of their allowance in the tzedakah box on Shabbat or donating a few gently-used toys to those in need.
Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World)
This mitzvah reflects the reciprocal relationship which God established with human beings: it is our obligation to take care of the earth, and in turn, it takes care of us. Picking up trash at the playground, planting and watering flowers, and helping to care for household pets, all build a sense of environmental importance in kids.
Gratitude
Gratefulness is a fundamental Jewish value. True gratitude, however, encompasses more than obligatory thanks; it entails Hakarat Hatov, Hakarat Hatov is bigger than gratitude, it’s recognition for the things we have and the people we sometimes take for granted. Pointing out these to children by making comments like “Sara is such a good friend to save you a seat at lunchtime” or “it was so kind of Grandpa to help build your model airplane,” we help our children recognize and appreciate the intangible gifts bestowed upon them by others.
Gemilut Hasadim (Acts of Lovingkindness)
For us doing good deeds is not just a nice thing to do, it is what we do. Children may exhibit lovingkindness by sharing toys, cheering on a friend at little league, or inviting a lonely classmate to join the four-square game at recess. We can encourage gemilut hasadim in our kids by setting a climate of helpfulness at home, praising unsolicited lovingkindness on our child’s part, and modeling this behavior ourselves.
Slicha (Saying I’m Sorry)
We are human and make mistakes. It’s powerful to be able to recognize and self reflect. Children’s genuine apologies are often spontaneous. They may be a smile, a hug or an offering to share a toy. Having a conversation may be easier than insisting on an apology. A simple “I’m sorry” doesn’t show a willingness to changing our behavior.

Back in the Person Center

The Finley/Person Community Center is returning to normal activity, and our next Israeli dance will be back in room 3 of the Person Center. I am not sure what the break in scheduling will do to registration, but do check the webpage and register for the next group of classes.

Web page:  https://srcity.org/1194/Browse-the-Activity-Guide
pdf of catalog:  https://srcity.org/DocumentCenter/View/16484  we are on page 29

Dancing With Nature

Moving to California felt like moving to a new country. One impression that has struck me deeply is the sense that there is a certain “untamed” quality about living here. Between the majestic beauty of the mountains, the wild and dangerous coastline and the mysterious vastness of the Pacific Ocean, mother nature has a strong hold over our lives. Maybe that’s why our state has such a pro-active population when it comes to preserving this rugged beauty. Day by day we’re engaged in what might be termed a dance with nature: trying to appreciate this precious partner, to enjoy the beauty of her paces and not step on her toes.

At the same time we live with ever-present threat of the next big one and in recent weeks found ourselves facing the destructive forces of fire driven by strong winds. I’ve since learned that the bone dry conditions of late summer inevitably spark over a thousand fires over California. Under usual conditions we might be inconvenienced when some fire in some remote area gets too close to a highway. It’s a whole different story when the wildfire enters a densely populated area.

I recently traveled through one area affected, I found myself becoming emotional seeing the charred trees, the utter destruction of buildings left with nothing but rubble and twisted metal, and the random way in which the fire selected its victims.
There were two reasons I became emotional. One was the picture of a literal holocaust (the word itself refers to complete burning up by fire). The second was the recognition of the incredible valor of the fire fighters and everyone involved in securing lives in those early horrifying minutes and subsequently attacking one of the largest conflagrations in California history. Just thinking of the combined forces of eleven thousand firefighters attacking the overwhelming forces of wind and flame on dry vegetation and buildings was humbling.

I’m still amazed at the ability and speed in which such a huge number of people were organized sparing thousands of lives. I’m deeply moved by all those families and individuals who lost their homes and all their possessions—many of them family heirlooms and priceless memories—the stories of terror and bravery; the compassion showed to neighbors by people for whom every second counted in attempting their own escape and ultimately, the lives that were lost.

The 911 dispatchers were the unsung heroes fielding hundreds of calls from people screaming for help; telling them that help was on the way; hearing from the firefighters that the flames were making it impossible to break through and staying on the phone until the line became silent.
Is it possible not to be emotional? These are times when the partnership of the dance tragically becomes a need to overcome and take control. Clearly, there’s something to be learned from every experience. These are moments that bring out the extremes of human nature as well. It’s important to reflect on the overwhelming number of acts of compassion and bravery that overshadowed those who choose to profit from the misery of others.

We really are privileged to live in a great state and as we look ahead to the future, may our dances be celebrations filled with tears of joy.