Skill Building Intensive March 6th

Next Sunday Skill Building Intensive April 3rd. Grades 4th and up come together monthly on a Sunday to hone their Hebrew reading, Torah chanting and T’fillah leading skills. This is another way for our students to succeed­—whether for catch-up if they’ve just joined us or have had to miss class, to develop select skills or to take their skills to the next step Monthly intensives are free for enrolled CBA students and open for enrollment to the greater community, to foster connections for our students with other Jewish kids and to increase access to high-quality Jewish learning. February 7th Join us for our monthly Toolkit Sunday, 10-1 Brush up on your Hebrew reading, whether you need an intro to alef or you’re working on increasing speed and fluency! Free to Religious School students and nearly free for all CBA members (donation gladly accepted), for youth and adults, age 10 and up. Please RSVP and bring a dairy or pareve bag lunch.

Classes are held from 10 AM-1 PM at Congregation Beth Ami. The scheduled meeting times are: 11/8/15, 12/6/15, 1/10/16, 2/7/16, 3/6/16, 4/3/16, 5/1/16

Donation request: Our hungry students have devoured our snack budget! I am gratefully receiving donations of fresh, whole oranges, string cheese and unopened boxes of whole grain crackers. Please let me know if you’d like to sponsor a snack. $10 feeds all our kids for the whole school day! Thanks so much.


Hamantashen 2016 1OVER A THOUSAND! We’re SHOUTING-out big THANK YOUs to our coordinator Ahuva Simon- Sa’ar; to our team of dough & filling contributers: Jo Anne Bressick, Lee Feinstein, Judi Hyman, Tish Levee, Barb McGee, Myrna Morse, Leanne Schy, Ahuva Simon-Sa’ar, Janet & Jeffrey Stein-Larson; and to our bakers Alexandra Abend, Anne Brown, Barb McGee, Myrna Morse, Leanne Schy, Ahuva Simon-Sa’ar, Janet & Jeffrey Stein-Larson, Myra Thomas- Stern, Nancy Tisman. After 4 weeks of assembling and baking, we now have 1161 dairy hamantashen with quite a variety of flavors (including poppyseed, prune, apricot, cherry, chocolate, and more) in the CBA freezer for use during our Purim celebrations (spiel March 19 and 20), services (March 23 and 24) and Shlach Manos (send in your orders). It was a job well done, and will be well appreciated by all! The next part of this project, ENJOYING THEM.
Hag Samaech Purim.  Janet & Jeffrey


At the Contemporary Jewish Museum

What a lovely time we had! Thank you all!!
We went on our our “field trip” on Sunday, April 10 to the Contemporary Jewish Museum < > and lunch at Shangri-La Kosher vegetarian restaurant. It was a wonderful day, and we survived the parking …
We also have another special program: Thursday, May 5 SRJC Planetarium and Lunch at the Culinary Café! Zelda Bettman has made arrangements for us to enjoy a program at Santa Rosa Junior College’s Planetarium. The hour-long program with questions afterward is advertised as a “School Show” but Zelda says it’s really for all ages. They cover the basics of the solar system and focus a lot on the moon! We’ve reserved space for Thursday, May 5 at the 12noon show. (We can carpool or just meet there.) Then join us for lunch at SRJC’s Culinary Cafe. RSVP to Zelda < > or 529-3521 and let her know if you want to attend either or both … and if you want to carpool.
The remaining months’ gatherings are: Iyyar (Monday, May 9 @ 7pm … Israel Theme), Sivan (Tuesday, June 7 @ 6pm … Walk Around a Lake), Tammuz (Tuesday, July 5 @ 7pm … American Jewish Women of Note), Av (Thursday, August 5 @ 7pm … Songfest in the Courtyard), Elul (Sunday, September 5 @ 11am … Potluck and Shofar Blowing; Looking Back and Planning Forward).
We hope you’ll join us!
         Patty Bernstein on behalf of all Moon Mavens


Welcome Leah Frost

Shalom! I’m thrilled to announce that Leah Frost has accepted the position as Beth Ami’s new Executive Director effective January 25, 2016.

Leah will be moving from Davis, California where she has served as Office/Facilities Manager of Congregation Bet Haverim for the past three years. She has over 20 years in the administration field and a high level of expertise in managerial, customer service relations, and interpersonal communication. Leah is a graduate of Sonoma State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Mendocino College with an Associate’s degree in Psychology.

Leah lived for many years in Ukiah. She and her family used to attend Beth Ami back in the 80s with Rabbi Jonathan Slater. So, she already has connections to our Beth Ami community!

I would like to thank Myrna Morse, Chair, and members of the Search Committee, Patty Bernstein, Bonnie Boren, Barb McGee, Andrea Nett, Bob Raful, Mark Rosen and Nancy Sherman for finding such a talented and skilled Executive Director!

I am confident that Leah will be a great addition to the Beth Ami family and all of us on the Board are looking forward to working with her.

Please join me in congratulating Leah and welcoming her back to Beth Ami!

Mark your calendar for Sunday, January 31st for a mid-year membership meeting and when you’ll have the opportunity to meet Leah in person.

Thank you,
Laura Alexander, President

New news from Social Action

Susan Miller has spear-headed the small ziplock bag of snacks and hygiene products for those in need.  As an alternative to giving cash  to people, the SAC is preparing bags that you can take from the synagogue foyer,   The bags will be available this Sunday at the membership meeting.    You can  take one and give it to someone in need.  We will also have a basket in the foyer for you toLyla and bag of goodies drop off any travel size items that you may have: soap, creams, toothpaste, shampoos etc.  We are hoping to make this an on going mitzvah project.
If you like the idea ,  please consider helping.   Thanks so much.
Next week we are going to the Redwood Empire Food Bank.  The date is Wed.
Feb. 3rd.  from 10:00-12:00.  Please consider joining us either in the kitchen preparing food or packing produce.
The Annual Fammy Gala Fundraiser for Jewish Family and Children  Services is being held a the Ritz Carlton  in SF on Saturday  February 27th.  JFCS is a wonderful organization that  provides many useful services in our community. This year our Social Action Committee is being honored, along with other organizations,  for providing food to their pantries.  This a a pretty big deal and it would be terrific if we could fill a table at the Gala.    Congratulations to the dedicated members of the committee, Susan Miller, Cheryle Miller, Roz Edelson, Judi Hyman, Lenore Holloway, Lyla Nathan, Karen Herskovic, Roberta Rosenthal,  Ellen Mundell and Tish Levy.  For more info  please contact Diana Klein at JFCS at 707-303-1500.   Reservations are due by Feb. 5th.  Thanks

Scholars-in-Residence Weekend with StandWithUs huge success

A well attended Scholar-in-Residence weekend started Saturday, January 16. Ms. Johanna Wilder, the Northern California Associate Director of StandWithUs, gave the drash and talk after lunch on the growing anti-Semitic environment on California college campuses and its impact on Jewish students.  The anti-Semitic environment permitted by university administrations is chilling.

Following Havdalah that evening, Dr. Michael Harris spoke on “1948: The War Still Being Fought Today”.  Dr. Mike showed how 70 years later, Israel is still confronted by the same ideologies of hate.  Esther Baruch of our Israel Committee organized the scrumptious light dinner for the attendees.

On Sunday, Max Samarov, Senior Researcher with StandWithUs, shared his investigation into the activities of campus agitators aiming for the destruction of Israel.  His talk revealed startling facts.  StandWithUs is fighting back to return campuses to places where Jewish student can once again feel welcome.

1Mike Harris SiR weekendst Photo (left to right): Israel Committee Chair Eli Cohen, Betty Boyd, SpeakeMax Samarov SiR weekendr and author of the recently published book, “How to Win a Debate with an Israel-Hater,” Dr. Michael Harris, and volunteer Ben Winkler.

2nd photo: StandWithUs Volunteers Stan Roodman and Arlene Rosenbaum, Speaker Johanna Wilder, Northern California Associate Director of StandWithUs, Speaker Max Samarov, Senior Researcher with StandWithUs, Israel Committee Chair Eli Cohen and Betty Boyd.


Beginning dances #2

We’re back in the Friedman Center! We’ll be dancing there at 7 p.m. May 11 and 25. It will be interesting to see what it’s like!

Beginning dances #2: Gadi Bitton, a noted Israeli choreographer, has posted, on You Tube, a collection of Israeli dances for beginners. Actually some of them are not beginning-level easy, but they are basic dances that have been around for a while. You can see my previous post with its videos when you click on Israeli dance

In Erev Ba, the turn that opens into a double Cherkasiyah, or double crossing, shows up in lots of other dances…

Here is Sham Harei Golan, it has a camel step…

Rona gave the name to the step that starts off this dance.. it’s about a father singing about his little girl… unless we do our Spanish/ Arabic version, in which case Rona becomes a lot older and definitely not a relative.

Rosh Chodesh Shevat

Rosh Chodesh Shevat ~ Brunch on January 10 at Congregation Beth Ami. Join other Jewish women to celebrate the new month of Shevat ~ the 11th month of the Jewish year and the 1st Jewish month celebrated in 2016 ~ with ritual, activities, and food!

Our Dairy/Pareve Potluck will take place on Sunday, January 10 at 11am in the Social Hall at Congregation Beth Ami. We’ll ready ourselves for the holiday of Tu B’Shevat, the 15th day of Shevat, which marks the “New Year of the Trees.” Fruits are a big part of Tu B’Shevat … but so are important biblical women including Esther and Tamar (whose names mean myrtle and date palm respectively) and Miriam, Deborah, and Yael whose stories are told on Shabbat Shirah.

Come share with us as the days begin to grow longer and the sun shines a bit brighter, though we still look forward to rain, precious rain.

Questions? Contact Patty Bernstein ( or Bonnie Boren (

At the end of the year

At the end of the secular calender year, we like to take a moment to remember all of the feasts, celebrations and events that involved the Beth Ami Kitchen. If you have been looking at the kitchen calendar by the kitchen door you have seen these events that have happened and how busy we have been in 2015.

Our kitchen use is growing and changing. New to our experiences was our first volunteer catered Second Night Passover Seder and our volunteer caterers for the Friday Night Family Shabbat Dinners and Religious School Shabbat Dinners. A group of volunteers has also been coming in and making bagels for the Potluck Shabbats.

These changes with all of our other events have made us appreciate all of the many special volunteers who are involved in creating and presenting each event, whether big or small. Whether you were involved with the planning, facilitating, shopping, donating, preparing, presenting the food; or you were setting up or cleaning up for an event. Whether you donated money, food, supplies & equipment for kitchen use; or whether you donated your time and labor to be a Mashgiach for one of our events; or to organize, clean, maintain and repair the kitchen and its appliances; we appreciate you one and all.

Thank all of you who have participated in making the CBA Kitchen a happening place!

Beginners’ dances

Starting in January the first half-hour, 7 – 7:30, will be for learning beginning steps and dances. Then from 7:30 to 9:30 we’ll mix various levels of dances, including more beginning dances. December 23, January 6 and 20, we’ll be dancing in the Beth Ami social hall because the Friedman Center is being remodeled. One upside to being in the social hall is that you can bring vegetarian snacks if you wish, but do keep it simple.

We will start beginning dances with Lo Ahavti Dai, which teaches grapevine and Cherkasiya; Harishut, which teaches the Yemenite step and open cross, and Ma Navu which has a sway and pivot. I refuse to teach Zemer Attik, you can pick it up!