Social Action News

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.
July 20th
August 17th
September 21st
October 19th
November 16th

Vacation date changes

Lots of people are on vacation around July 4th. Instead of the July 11 class, I scheduled a make-up class August 1. That means Israeli dance on July 25, August 1 and August 8. Yep, three weeks in a row! All 7 p.m. to 9:30 in room 3 of the Person Center wing of Finley Rec Center. I will be back for these dates.
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,
and a really adorable 1995 dance that I’m going to teach because it’s a sweet song… El Elohay Shamaim.

The new dances, which I see they do in the east bay, are
Ma Asita B’Chayim
Linshom Kitzat
Bevo Yomi

Have a good summer,

Menachem Av

Our next Rosh Chodesh gathering will be on Thursday, July 12 at Congregation Beth Ami. We’ve had a bit of a break in our monthly gatherings for several reasons. Now, we’d like to get back on track. The new Jewish month is Menacham Av (Av the Comforter). The rabbis named this month Menachem Av because the Shabbat after Tisha B’Av begins seven weeks of special haftarot in which prophets offer the mourning Israelites words of consolation.
We all sustained a great loss when Barbara Boren left us on June 12. May her memory be for a blessing! I’m hoping that we can talk about the Jewish rituals associated with mourning, and specifically how Jewish women mourn. I have some exercises we might engage in … as well as our regular Rosh Chodesh rituals and songs.
Please join us on Thursday, July 12 in the Multipurpose Room at Congregation Beth Ami at 7pm (Rabbi Miller will lead a brief Mincha prayer service at 7pm that will include the Mourner’s Kaddish).
Bring a snack to share, a memory of Barbara (if you like) and ideas for rituals/traditions that Jewish women might observe when mourning.
Questions? Contact Patty Bernstein,, 546-6043.
As always … all Jewish women are welcome regardless of affiliation (or not).
Please join us!

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!
Mordecai Miller

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.

Danny Grossman
Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund

Sonoma County Pride Parade

Sonoma County Pride Parade, Santa Rosa, CA – June 2, 2018. “The unexamined life isn’t worth living.” So said the ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates. Despite its age, the validity of this quote hasn’t tarnished.

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.

So this coming Shabbat morning, June 2nd, I invite our Beth Ami community to march in this year’s Parade. I’ve also made the decision, with the full support our Beth Ami president Henry Cohn as well as our Religious Practices Committee, to hold a Shabbat Shacharit Service at Cancer Survivors’ (Fremont) Park for those who would benefit from participating. We plan to start at 10:00 a.m. Siddurim (Prayer books), taleisim and kippot will be provided for anyone who needs one. I anticipate that the service will conclude at 11:00 a.m., which is the time when participants are asked to gather.

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

Social Action in Action

Another successful dinner at The Palms on Wednesday, March 25th. Thanks to everyone who helped by serving and preparing the food.  The residents really enjoyed and appreciated the meal.   We had plenty of help and food.  The chili is a huge success as well as the homemade desserts.   Our next dinner is June 13th. We are still working on a summer menu. If you are interested in participating in any way please contact our administrator Judy Gunnar, @ 360-3000 or Lyla Nathan @ 526-7438.
Great job everyone! See you soon,  lyla

USY’s Spring Activities

USY EVENT Sunday MAY 6th. We had a successful event this past weekend! The Earth/Israel event could not have been so amazing without the USY kids who helped set it up this morning and helped run some of the booths! Here is their draft schedule for May 6th. Please put it on your calendar and support their last activity for this year!!!!

Attached is a picture of the Bedouin Tent that USY kids created together Saturday Night!

DRAFT Schedule:

10:30: Meet at CBA with breakfast snacks (50 Minute Drive)

(carpool drive are Barb McGee, Laura Alexander, Judy Gunnar)

12:00pm: Arrive at North Salmon Creek

12:00 – 1:00: Lunch

1:00 – 1:30: Mini Beach Cleanup

1:30 – 2:30: Amazing Beach Races

2:30 – 3:00: Snack Break

3:00 – 3:15: USY Elections for 2018-2019

3:15 – 3:45: Free time or senior send off

3:45 – 4:00: Pack Up

5:00: Arrive back at CBA

Judy Kupfer
Director of Youth Education at Congregation Beth Ami, Santa Rosa

Photos from the Israel Independence Day celebration

A Musical Celebration of 70 years of Israel’s Independence. Sunday, April 22.

The concert starts at 11:00 and is preceded at 10:30 with a moving Memorial for Israel’s fallen.

The event, featuring Israeli musicians Noa Levy and Achi Ben Shalom, is free and open to all who love Israel, due to the generosity of the Beth Ami Israel Committee, the Sonoma County Israel Committee and is supported by the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund. Surprise performance by the local Hadassah chapter.  Bring the youngsters to attend an “Israel Faire” in the courtyard from 10:30- 12:30 with a petting zoo, face painting, and more, sponsored by the Nursery School.