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,