Hello Moon Mavens! The month of Elul begins Saturday and Sunday (August 11 and 12) … just in time for us to celebrate the ending of one year and prepare ourselves to enter a new year.
Our Community knows the harm of Fires. Hamas terrorists are starting fires in Israel to destroy nature preserves and farms. For over 130 days, Israelis in southern Israel have faced not only massive rocket barrages from Gaza, but now also thousands of kites and balloons laden with explosives to start fires. Hamas states “Our goal is to burn Jews and the land of Israel.” Please help.
So far, over 1,000 separate fires have scorched over 30,000 dunams (7,400 acres), destroying huge portions of nature reservations, killing animals and wildlife in the area, and decimating the farming crops of Israelis throughout the south.
You can help the Israeli farmers who have lost their land and their crops! The fires greatly impacted their livelihood.
Help us support the families of southern Israel as they seek to rebuild their communities and repair their land. Join us in making the desert bloom again! 100% of your donation will be divided among the farmers and families most impacted by this form of terrorism. Thank you in advance for your urgently needed help!
Fight EcoTerrorists! Help Jewish Victims of Hamas Arson
To me, the game of hunting for the Kosher Symbol has become a real life sport. One thing I’ve learned is how to read labels on foods. The art of label reading is an education in itself. I laugh (laugh) at the serving portions listed in that tiny print in the Nutrition Facts section (…really? 9 chips per serving, HAH! ). I am not amused at the tiny, tinier, and tiniest print one must be able to read on those labels.
But, I digress. We are discussing the art of finding Kosher Symbols. This takes practice, good vision, helpful friends, and the phone number of your local Rabbi. We who look, have been fooled by many creative symbols which aren’t Kosher Symbols. On the food package there are many different symbols that need interpretation. For example, you might find symbols for…vegan, vegetarian, Halal, allergen (i.e., gluten), irradiation, organic, heart check, corporation logos, to name a few. I have discovered that some manufacturers don’t want their packages to have big bold, prominent displays of their kosher symbol (I mean really, does it have to be tinier than the registered trade mark symbol?) I also remind myself, that just because it was once kosher (or is that a hopeful memory) doesn’t mean it is still kosher. Yes, life does change, and so does manufacturing practices, locations and ingredients; alas, make no assumptions on this hunt. Is the brand always consistent, really? Nothing is 100%. Remember, just because one product by that brand is kosher doesn’t mean all the products by that brand are kosher. Now, if you wish to review what are the Kosher Symbols and what do the various symbols mean there are many websites that are good resources, or you could read the back page of the Food and Potluck Guideline (available on the CBA website or you could ask at the office). Remember, life is uncertain, so you really might want to eat dessert first. And for those of us who partake in the hunt for Kosher Symbols, it might as well become a game, it makes it more enjoyable and amusing.
Jeffrey & Janet Stein-Larson
This has been a very difficult year for Sonoma County. The fires have had a huge emotional, financial, and physical toll on our Beth Ami community and the larger community. We have tried to address some of these needs in our efforts to make for a better world. Thanks to our members Susan Miller, Cheryle Miller, Karen Herskovic, Ellen Mundell, Carol Swanson, Tish Levee, Judi Hyman, Bobbie Rosenthal, Lyla Nathan, Lenore Holloway, and Judy Gunnar. You all have done a remarkable job.
Here is a list of highlights from this year.
We began serving dinner to the residents of The Palms every other month. The Palms is subsidized HUD housing that serves previously homeless veterans and Catholic Charities clients. Our last dinner was in June. We served over 60 people. It was a huge success.Great thanks to Bernard and Maria Soltes for providing the most delicious hot pasta entree.
We continue to provide food for Jewish Family and Children Services. Thanks to everyone who fill our bins with healthy food. Because of the fires there is greater need at the pantry.We are now going to the food bank twice a month to get needed staples for JFCS clients. Their clients truly appreciate the extra fresh produce and dairy products.
Our monthly Wednesday mornings at The Redwood Empire Food Bank haven’t been very successful this year. However, their needs have increased due to the fires. We are hoping to change the time to afternoons and early evening to increase attendance. We perhaps could go out for a simple meal afterward. More information to follow.
We collected many warm items for the winter clothing drive. We did not partner with Shomrei Torah this year as many of their members lost their homes. Most of the clothes were given to the homeless.
We also collected many toiletries and gave out bags to those in need. Thanks to all Beth Ami members and nursery school families for your generosity.
We had a nine-month series called Community Conversations. We learned and practiced techniques in listening. We made new friends and we had very meaningful conversations. The last meetings dealt primarily with the issues that arose from the fires. We are thinking about another series, possibly on Older and Growing.
We hosted speakers from The Palms to discuss the many problems that homeless veterans encounter in our county.
We participated in the Gay Pride this year. Everyone loved the colorful parasols.
We are always looking for people to join the committee.
We also appreciate any help that you can provide on an occasional basis. Our next dinner at The Palms is Wednesday, August 15.
Again, Todah Rabah to the Beth Ami Kehilla. You all help repair the world (Tikun Olam).
We have a new logo for our Religious School! Lev Simcha translates Joyous Heart! Thanks, Leanne.
Please welcome our new usy advisor, Jeremy Lipsin.
This year we also have a new Youth Commissioner—welcome Laura Alexander!
Lev Simcha Religious School will be on Tuesday afternoons from 4–6 p.m. Parents are encouraged to join us the first half hour in the Sanctuary for songs and prayers with Rabbi Miller.
Welcome Back Apple Festival for parents & kids on Tuesday, August 28th from 4–6 p.m.
Join our Family Friendly Shabbat
3rd Friday of each month with Rabbi Miller and Lisa Iskin. Nursery School Families are coming for a (bring your own) picnic dinner on the lawn at 5:30 p.m. The interactive Shabbat begins at 6:30 p.m.
After that the new session starts.
While I was in Wisconsin, I went to a folk dance festival with an Israeli dance class. They taught a few new dances and reviewed a couple of old ones… one was the Russian march,
Kulanu B’Mitsad, which I think some remember, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaPSfcR23hk
and a really adorable 1995 dance that I’m going to teach because it’s a sweet song… El Elohay Shamaim. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEEf10XvsiU
The new dances, which I see they do in the east bay, are
Ma Asita B’Chayim https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ffzo9Oz-2Wx41ApoFe08fg8dcMhgjpqJ/view
Linshom Kitzat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8EmM5af5pw&feature=youtu.be
Bevo Yomi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oerNiluW0-w&feature=youtu.be
Have a good summer,
Dear Beth Ami, Outrage competes with disgust as we read about our country’s current policy to forcibly separate children from their families..
I’m forwarding this message from Danny Grossman, CEO of the San Francisco Community Jewish Federation, to keep you appraised of our own Bay Area Community’s organized response. In addition, you may wish to take advantage of Danny’s enumeration of various
ways we can participate personally.
As members of the Jewish Community, we can feel a special measure of horror at a policy and rhetoric that brings back memories of our own tragic experience in Europe of the thirties and forties.
Chazak v’ematz – Be strong and of good courage!
Dear community members,
Like many of you, we at the Federation are deeply concerned about splitting up families as they seek asylum in the United States. This contradicts the Jewish values of respect and fair treatment for all human beings, and is in opposition to the ethos of Torah and Jewish tradition. Therefore, we stand in opposition of separating children from their parents as they search for a safe haven or escape persecution.
On the eve of World Refugee Day, we are reminded that compassion toward others is a highly regarded and practiced trait in our community. As a people committed to tikkun olam (repairing the world) and hachnasat orchim (welcoming the stranger), we are obligated to speak up for those who may be mistreated.
One of our Federation’s priorities is helping the most vulnerable among us. As Jews, we are compelled to do all we can to promote our collective responsibility to condemn this trauma-inducing policy.
To ease the sense of helplessness, we stand in solidarity to effect change. There are many ways you can take action. For example, you can:
Add your voice for immediate action to end this practice by completing the form on the Jewish Community Relations Council’s Action Alert.
Participate in an Interfaith Vigil at Grace Cathedral this Thursday, June 21, at 6:15 pm, co-hosted by the San Francisco Interfaith Council and other faith partners.
Consider making a contribution directly or recommending a grant from your Federation Donor Advised Fund to organizations involved in addressing the issue, such as:
RAICES Family Reunification and Bond Fund, raising funds to pay the full amount of an immigration bond so that parents can be released from custody and reunite with their families.
Anti-Defamation League, striving to stop the defamation of the Jewish people, and to secure justice and fair treatment to all; they are calling to immediately reverse the policy.
Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, working around the world to protect refugees who have been forced to flee their homelands because of who they are, including ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities.
American Civil Liberties Union, seeking a nationwide injunction against separating children from families and was working on the issue prior to the latest news.
Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund
The question remains, however, “When do we get the chance to ‘examine’ our lives?!” Given all our responsibilities – social, work or family related – it’s hard to find the time to engage in this kind of reflection. Comes Shabbat and, if we’re willing or able to follow the commandment, we have a day in which to reflect on our lives and on life in general.
One issue that confronts us as humans, as Americans, and as Jews is the issue of class discrimination. Our Torah states in Exodus 23:9, “Do not oppress a stranger; you yourselves know how it feels to be strangers, because you were strangers in Egypt.” In fact, more than ten times the Bible points out how important it is not to oppress the stranger and protect their rights in the eyes of the law. In essence, the Torah is telling us to be sure to avoid any discrimination on the basis of class – essentially to make sure that we should eliminate treating people as “strangers”!
We are all painfully aware of those members of our community who have been made to suffer in various ways – from shunning to taunting to physical abuse. They have been denied employment and equal housing opportunity. True, much has been done in States to address these issues. Nevertheless, there seems to be a prevailing mood among some groups regarding the issue of Gay Rights to turn back the clock.
Given the times in which we are currently living, I feel a special need for our congregation to support our Gay community. In this way I believe we come closer to achieve the inner Peace that Shabbat brings into our lives.
With blessings of Shalom,
Rabbi Mordecai Miller