Adult Education

EACH YEAR the congregation creates new adult education programs. Beth Ami is also home to a long-standing book discussion group, as well as a thriving Israeli Dance program. Other areas that have been explored through workshops, classes and guest lecturers are Hebrew language, History, Philosophy, Yiddish, Bible Study, Art, Jewish living and even Jewish cooking. Please check our synagogue bulletin, the Shofar for specific courses and programs being offered and/or our online calendar.

Adult Education classes

MoonglowOne Bay, One Book Beth Ami will again participate in the One Bay, One Book program that selects a book for Jews in the Bay Area to read and then offers groups for readers to discuss the book. Moonglow, by Oakland author Michael Chabon is the 2017 selection. Moonglow has accumulated numerous commendations including the Wall Street Journal’s “Best Novel of the Year,” a New York Magazine “Best Book of the Year,” and many other awards. The story is a fictionally embellished account of the author’s visit to his terminally ill grandfather who shared recollections and told stories the younger man had never heard before.
The book is available at Copperfields and other book stores as well as on line. Beth Ami will have several copies of the book for loan in early May. The Sonoma County Library also has several copies. Please call the office to reserve a copy on a first call, first borrow basis. It is also available on Kindle and in an audio CD.
Two discussions of the book will be held on June 6 at Beth Ami. Suzanne Batzdorff will lead the 10 a.m. session and Linda Emblen will lead the 7:30 group.
Chabon will participate in a SF forum and discussion about Moonglow. Anyone interested in more details or attending please call Linda Emblen at 707-544-4532

Film: 50 Children The HBO feature film 50 Children will be shown at Beth Ami Sunday, June 4 at 2 p.m. Steven Pressman, the film’s producer, will be attend and present about the film. The film tells the story of how 50 children were saved from the Nazi Shoah and were sent to live in England. This group was saved by the efforts of one man and separate from the Kindertransport. Esther Pilch was kind enough to acquire the film for presentation at Beth Ami.

Midrash Class with Rabbi Mordecai Miller: Wednesday evenings 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. (Rabbi’s Study)
where we examine the original text of the Midrash Rabba (the Great Midrash) on Genesis as well as an 18th Century commentary called “Eitz Yoseph”. These provide original insights into the Biblical text. Discussion is encouraged. Bi-weekly schedule: March 29th is the next class; because of Pesach the following class is April 19th and then every two weeks.

Doorway to Davening with Rabbi Miller: Thursday evenings 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. (Rabbi’s Study). Next Doorways to Davening Class held Thursday April 13th and then every two weeks (April 27th), biweekly schedule to follow.

Parsha of the week class and discussion with Rabbi Miller meeting Tuesday mornings from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Class will be cancelled on those Tuesdays which are actual Yom Tovim. i.e. April 11th and 18th.

Important: If you are interested in attending , please be sure to call Rabbi Miller at 707-889-6905 or email to make sure that the class is being held that evening. There is no charge for these courses.

Adult B’nai Mitzvah

Many of us have experienced our children going through their years of B’nai Mitzvah training, and we appreciate the amount of learning that is involved. We would like to share that experience. We are adults, and thus we bring a lifetime of experience to the rigor of learning Jewish skills. Doing so in a group can be a powerful means to explore our Jewish selves, and to form strong bonds within our community. Applying the discipline to learn Hebrew, study Torah, engage with our fellow students, and to see how it all fits into our 21st century lives is valuable to us as individuals, and to our synagogue as a vital Jewish institution.

And ultimately, participating in an adult B’nai Mitzvah group can allow us to wrestle with the central questions of being Jewish in the modern age. Does an understanding of Jewish ritual and ceremonial law bring us to an understanding of who we are, and the nature of humanity? Is the practice of Judaism essential to being Jewish? What, in fact, does it mean to be Jewish? Is the process of learning Hebrew and studying Torah still a path to understanding and growth?

Becoming a B’nai Mitzvah requires a significant commitment of time and effort, as well as a commitment to a group of peers. But with that commitment comes value and growth, for the individuals involved, and for Beth Ami as a community. If you want to explore this possibility, please contact the office and put your name on the list. It can be an exciting adventure.