Post-Thanksgiving note

Dancers, I hope your Thanksgiving was a good one. Thanks to all who registered, we are out of the woods. I believe you can still register but have to telephone at this point, rather than do it online.
Our coming dates are
Dec. 4 and 18
Jan 8 and 22
Feb. 5 and 19
March 4 and 18

Carpool events: (if you want to be on the carpooling email list reply and let me know. That list is copied to all, not hidden.)
Cafe Shalom in San Francisco is Dec. 14
These dances are usually good for beginners: AN AFTERNOON OF Pre -1985 “NOSTALGIA” ISRAELI FOLK DANCES
Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019 1:30-5:30 PM
Askenaz Dance Center-Berkeley $10.00 (Under 18 yr. old FREE)
-Potluck snacks and drinks.
Oldies includes dances through 1984
-Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center
1317 San Pablo Avenue @ Gilman St., Berkeley
Led by: Allen King

I’m resending some videos of dances we have worked on. I’m also trying to get an mp3 of this gorgeous Ladino version of HaShoshanah Porachat, or The Rose:

Here’s a video of a new intermediate/advanced dance that has been requested– Aneni… it seems very popular. It’s good for wafting and swooping around, which is fun to do on occasion. It means “Answer me”

The last advanced dance we did was this one, Mamriim (They’re taking off)

And before that, Arba Onot (4 Seasons)

We reviewed a staple dance, Or Chadash

Links I’ve sent before, to a range of dances including beginners’ are here

Rosh Chodesh Moon Mavens

Y’all come to our Rosh Chodesh event on Friday, November 29 (day after Thanksgiving) at 7:30pm. The moon mavens are leading services beginning with our Birkat HaLevana song and the prayer/poem for the new month. (We’ll have copies for the whole congregation.)

Adon Olam will be sung to the tune of Blue Moon … so you might want to listen to a YouTube rendition by Billie Holliday.
We’ll also switch the Yahrzeit board lights to reflect the new month of Kislev.

If you come, please bring a treat (parve or dairy) for the oneg afterwards.

Feel free to invite your friends … everyone is welcome!

Thanks between holidays

With the High Holidays completed, I thank those who were instrumental in creating a welcoming, inclusive atmosphere of traditional services both at the Friedman Center and in the Beth Ami Sanctuary. Thanks above all go to Lee Feinstein, Chair of Religious Practices; to Rabbi Miller; to David Ackerman, the new Chazzan, and to you, those who chose to daven with us throughout the holy days. There are many more, whose specific contribution may have gone unnoticed by you and me, who made Congregation Beth Ami the heartfelt and meaningful place to be for so many.
Please respond to the online survey that will be (has been) sent to your “Inbox” soon so that we know what was most valuable to you.

On October 13, the Celia Gurevitch Library was re-dedicated and re-opened in a wonderful ceremony. The Gurevitch family and the Batzdorffs were honored for creating and making our Library an outstanding resource to the North Bay Jewish Community. Tamar Landau and Karen Herskovic, and other committee members, have done a beautiful job refurbishing and re-establishing the space. Thank you! The Library is open Monday – Thursday 10:00AM – 5:00PM; Friday 10:00AM – 2:00PM. Stop by and take a new look.

And finally, your Board of Directors has unanimously adopted the Policy Against Harassment created by United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ). Here’s an excerpt:

Whether they be professional staff or lay leaders, the need to relate to one another in an appropriate manner is essential to creating a viable, thriving community of congregations that promotes, nurtures and fosters a vibrant Conservative Jewish movement grounded in the teachings of the Torah.

Here’s the link to the full document:

Take care,
Carolyn Metz, President

Thanksgiving Wishes November, 2019

There’s a definite chill in the air and a joy that the long anticipated first seasonal rain will fall to quench the parched soil and the dried vegetation. There’s a musical sound to the falling rain that I never heard living east of the Rockies. Rain plays a significant role in our faith; its onset, timing and quantity places life in the balance. What a happy coincidence that this season’s rain finally arrived the day before the Thanksgiving holiday. Along with everything else, we really do have a significant reason to celebrate.

Thanksgiving marks the transition from the final close of the harvest time to the onset of winter: Chanukah in our Jewish community and in our general community, the Christmas season and the turn of the secular year.

It’s a time to come together with family and friends; even traveling across county – perhaps continents – so as to reconnect. In so many ways it’s a celebration of all those essential elements that make life worth living, and the “festive meal” brings it all together around the family table.

Here at Congregation Beth Ami we are offering a chance to “extend the celebration” over next weekend, (December 5th – 7th). Beth Hamon serves as an artist-and-educator in residence as well as a cantorial soloist in synagogues, community centers, and coffee houses across the country. She was also selected as one of the top five “New voices in Jewish Music” by Forward Magazine. A number of our own members got to hear her in person when she participated in a local women’s retreat. They were so impressed with her talent that they floated the idea of bringing her in to Beth Ami over a weekend. We are so pleased that we will be able to offer Beth to our community as our “Singer/Scholar in Residence.”

On Thursday evening, December 5th at 7:00pm, Beth will be offering a workshop and jam session to our Sonoma County Jewish musicians. There is no charge for this workshop. Anyone wishing to participate should call the office (707) 360-3000 and speak to Elizabeth.

Friday evening, starting at 6:00pm, Beth and I will lead a musical Kabalat Shabbat Service, followed by dinner and a program. Dinner reservations are required by December 4th and the charge is $15.00 per person. To learn some of Beth’s melodies click here.
Saturday morning, during our Kiddush Pot Luck, following services, Beth will offer a teaching for us.

The weekend caps off with a Havdallah Cafe, Saturday evening, December 7th at 7:00pm, which we are sponsoring with our sister congregation Ner Shalom. A $15.00 donation is requested and $25.00 for limited preferred seating. There will be refreshments on hand for purchase. Tickets to the Havdalah Cafe available online.

My family and I join in wishing you much joy in this Thanksgiving Season. May you always have much for which to be grateful in the years ahead.

With warmest regards,


Nursery School Trike-a-Thon

We at the Nursery School are thrilled to be preparing for our Second Annual Trike-a-Thon! This exciting Nursery School fundraiser was an absolute blast last year! We raised just over $4,000 for our Jill Tager Scholarship Fund and this year we have a $5,000 goal! The children will all bring their bikes and trikes Friday, November 15th to hit the track.

They are collecting flat donations as well as per lap donations for each lap they ride around the course. All are invited to come and cheer the riders on. There will be two rounds, from 10–10:30 a.m. and from 11-11:30 a.m. If you would like to sponsor our riders and help us raise funds for the Nursery School, donations can be made on the Beth Ami Website by clicking Nursery School Fund in the Giving section on the website (, or checks can be brought in or mailed to the Beth Ami Nursery School Office. All donations are greatly appreciated. This is a fun way to come out and show support for our wonderful school. There will be upbeat DJ-ed music and party blowers for people cheering on the riders. We could always use more people to help count laps if you’d like to volunteer to help us out. If you are interested in volunteering your time to help out at the event, please e-mail me,

The Nursery School is also still offering tours and currently has a few open spots. We enroll all year long while space is available. If you know anyone with preschool age children you think would like to join our community, they can call the office 707-360-3030 any time to schedule a tour and hear more about our wonderful program.

Social Action Committee Fall News

Toda Raba to the Beth Ami family and friends who filled the Redwood Empire Food Bank bins to overflowing during the holidays . Once again we have demonstrated our commitment to Tikun Olam. We need to remember that hunger never takes a holiday, so please continue to bring healthy food to the shul on a regular basis.

As the weather is changing, days getting shorter and nightly temperatures dropping we can begin to look through our closets for lightly used warm clothing and accessories. Hats, gloves, warm socks, jackets, sweats and sleeping bags are always needed. The SAC hasn’t decided where to donate the clothes yet but the bins will be in the foyer of the shul by the time you read this article. If anyone has a suggestion where to donate, please let us know. We also continue to collect toiletries. Always needed: feminine products, socks.
Thanks again for everyones’ support.

The next dinner at The Palms is scheduled for Wednesday, November 20 th. The dinner will have a different menu. Jerry Newman has offered to cook Texas style brisket . A nice early Thanksgiving meal. Thanks Jerry!
The SAC is very excited about the Shabbat weekend with Beth Hamon on December 5-7. Some of us saw Beth at the women’s retreat and really loved her singing and ability to create community. We will support the Adult Education and ad hoc committee during the weekend.

We are also finalizing our plans to sponsor the Shabbat dinner and speaker on Friday, January 3. More details to follow.
Busy time and all is good.
Upcoming dates
The Palms: November 20 th. 4:30- 6:00
Redwood Empire Food Bank: December 18th. 5:00-7:00.
Interested in joining us? Call Elizabeth at the office 360-3000 or Lyla 526-7438
B’ shalom, Lyla

Kurdish Israeli folk dance

For our October 16 class we will learn Debka Kurdit. Kurdish Jewish Israelis have a special festival called Saharane held during Sukkot in Jerusalem. 13,000 people have attended in past years; the Kurdish community in Israel numbers approximately 200,000. Most came to Israel in the general expulsion of Jews from Islamic and Arab countries after 1948.

Here is a nice video of Kurdish jewish Israelis doing a traditional dance:

And here is the dance choreographed by famed choreographer Moshiko:

Coming dance dates are October 16 and 30, November 20, December 4 and 18

Cheshvan and beyond

We’ll celebrate Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan 5780 with a lunch and a movie! Slice of Life (6970 McKinley Street, Sebastopol) is a vegetarian restaurant near the Rialto Theater where “Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas” is playing at 1pm on Tuesday, October 29. Go to the JCC website to buy tickets, then join us at Slice of Life at 11:30am to start the festivities. Need a ride or want to carpool? Contact Patty Bernstein at

Mark your calendars for November 11 at 11am to plan the November 29th Friday night service which the Moon Mavens will help lead.

Our Rosh Chodesh Tebet celebration will be on December 26 during Chanukah at 7pm at Judy Gunnar’s home … bring Chanukiah and candles and a parve/dairy snack to share. We’ll send you Judy address when you RSVP.

The theme of our Rosh Chodesh Shevat gathering on Monday, January 27th at 7pm will be “Recycling: What the Heck Do I Do With All This Stuff?” Can you recycle your receipts from CVS? How about receipts from Safeway? What do you do with the bubble wrap from Amazon Prime? Come find out tonight!

Questions … call 546-6043 or email Patty Bernstein at

Rosh Hashanah 5780

Dear Friends, At this time when our Divine Creator examines the world and the deeds of humanity, we gather to examine our lives and our unique personal histories. All of this in the hope that we can gain wisdom from the past and look forward and work towards a brighter future.

Our prayers in our Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Machzor (Prayer book) reflect this joyous-somber time. They provide us a way to focus our own thoughts in seeking T’shuvah (repentance) and reconciliation.

Our Beth Ami President Carolyn Metz, Administrator Judy Gunnar, Office Manager Elizabeth Jarlsberg and I, along with our Board and Lay Leadership wish you much health, happiness and prosperity in the coming year. May we all continue to merit and perceive the blessings that we sometimes overlook and come closer to a time when compassion and kindness will motivate the hearts of people throughout the word.

With warmest wishes,
Mordecai Miller
Rabbi, Congregation Beth Ami,
Santa Rosa, CA 95405