EACH YEAR the congregation creates new adult education programs, and brings speakers to discuss a wide range of subjects. 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.
WEEKLY ADULT EDUCATION CLASSES
Although we are unable to gather in person at the Beth Ami building, we have continued to provide all kinds of services using “Zoom.” Using this calendar, we welcome you to participate in study and prayer, to whatever degree you wish. You are always welcome to “check it out” and see if the program meets your needs.
1. Rashi Study: Weekday mornings, Sunday – Friday 7:30 – 8:00 a.m. Also streamed on Facebook and recorded on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtMLk4BGrEQZzGVlc2vOFiA
We examine the text of the coming week’s Torah reading using the original Hebrew text and Rashi’s commentary. A full oral translation is always provided and there’s ample opportunity for discussion. Rashi’s exposition often gives a novel understanding of the words in the Torah. This is “pitched” intentionally for the person who is just starting out a path of traditional Jewish learning.
2. Mishnah Class Tuesday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. Discover the Oral Torah. Tradition has it that Moses was given two Torahs: one written: that is, the words in the Scroll of the Torah, and the other oral: passed down by word of mouth through the generations until the year 200 of our current era. At the time, the Romans, who occupied the land of Judea, forbad the study of Torah on pain of death.
Extreme situations called for extreme measures. Rabbi Judah haNasi, the leader of the community at the time, took the revolutionary step of committing what had always been kept strictly oral and committed it to writing. In this way he and the leaders of the people hoped to prevent the Oral Torah from being entirely forgotten. The result: the Mishna exists even today!
3. Midrash Class Wednesday evenings at 8:00 p.m. This is a unusual analysis of the text of the Torah. Every significant word is analyzed thorough a lively discussion on the page. Disagreements are frequent between these scholars. The result: we all turn out a little wiser with a depth of understanding that is a source of joy; sometimes even a smile.
4. TaNaCH class: Thursdays, 2:45 p.m. We read through the text in English and pause to take questions and comments. There’s usually a lively discussion. We have just started the Second Book of Kings. As you might imagine, there’s plenty of intrigue and political struggle as we read about wise and poor leadership.
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.
Want to learn more about Congregation Beth Ami?
A brief description of the committees and their roles follows:
In conjunction with the Rabbi, determines the schedule and other details pertaining to the religious services and practices at Beth Ami. Encourage and develop higher levels of participation and skill in all matters of religious observance at the synagogue and in the home. Assists the Rabbi in implementing decisions of halacha and liturgy. Function of Religious Practices Committee
Chair Lee Feinstein
Sub Committee: Cemetery Committee
Supervises arrangements for members needs.
Subcommittee: Kitchen Committee
Encourages the use of the synagogue kitchen by and for congregants. Ensures that all users of the committee are familiar with synagogue policies regarding Kashrut, safety, hygiene and security. Seeks to establish a vibrant culinary community and provide rich and varied feasts for onegs, Kiddush luncheons, and other synagogue events.
Youth and Education
Creates and implements new classes and programs that encourage participation in Jewish learning.. Develops the schedules, engages the instructors, produces the publicity, and assumes all responsibility for the creation of new programs. Advises the Board and Staff on matters of program generation and execution.
Subcommittee: Nursery School
Works with the Nursery School director to develop, implement, and support school programs and activities.
Subcommittee: Religious School
Works with the Religious School Director to develop and support Religious School programs and activities
Subcommittee: Youth Activities Committee
Works with Youth Advisors to support youth programs and activities
Subcommittee: Adult Education
Works with Rabbi and staff to develop ongoing study courses, lectures and guest speakers
Welcomes new members to the synagogue, and acquaints them with various aspects of synagogue programs. Encourages unaffiliated Jews to consider joining the synagogue. Seeks out inactive members to renew their interest and participation in synagogue life. Interviews members who have recently left the synagogue, and discusses their comments with the Board. Advises the Board on policies that may impact the attraction and retention of members.
Subcommittee: Welcoming Committee
May supplement the Board as greeters at Shabbat services. May provide a table with information for visitors to our synagogue. Assures that visitors are noticed, introduced, and made to feel at home. Follows up, where possible, with visitors.
Actively engages congregants (who wish to be included) in existing Chaverot, and creates new Chaverot as members request. Communicates guidelines for choosing a Chavurah. Reviews existing guidelines for membership and programming, and makes suggestions as appropriate.
Subcommittee: Chesed Committee
Supervises the well being synagogue members in times of need and difficulty. May visit the sick, visit the physically and socially challenged, and may assist and comfort in times of bereavement, family illness, or other need.
Budget and Finance
Oversees and reports on the fiscal health of the congregation. The Committee reviews the monthly balance sheets, profit and loss statement and the department detail reports, reviews the draft budget compiled and prepared by Executive Director and makes recommendations to the board. The budget and finance committee also works with the bookkeeper and CBA office staff on maintaining proper accounting procedure.
Organizes fundraising for capital improvements and their associated finances.
Fund Raising, Development, and Special Events
Responsible for organizing and coordinating activities to generate revenue for operation and endowment, consistent with the values of the synagogue. Supervises the Gift Shop
Fundraising and Special Events Committee
Plans and organizes special events designed for community building and fundraising.
Subcommittee: Gift Shop
Stocks and supervises the gift shop.
Israel Affairs Committee
The Israel Affairs Committee has a CLEAR mission to:
Communicate with the community regarding Israel-related and Masorti issues,
Learn more about current affairs related to Israel, including the Masorti movement,
Educate the community about Israel, including the Masorti movement,
Act positively to provide a love of the Jewish State and
React in response to political anti-Semitism.
Building and Grounds
Responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of synagogue-owned buildings and grounds, Advises the Board on matters of insurance coverage, renovations, repairs, possible economies in utility usage, and long term capital improvements. Supervises renovations and construction projects.
Subcommittee : Aesthetics and Décor
Supervises the décor of the synagogue.
Subcommittee : Security
Supervises security issues for the synagogue.
Develops programs to further the commitment to the entire extended Jewish Community, and to Israel. Organizes social and political action consistent with our Jewish values. Develops positive relations with the general community
Establishes policies for employment at CBA: provides leadership in hiring and terminating employees, including Rabbi and Executive Director; establishes vehicles and timetables for annual reviews of all employees; creates and updates employee handbook.
Leadership Development/ Board Operations
Develops and administers training programs for synagogue leadership roles. Supervises Board Trainings for new Board members. Monitors compliance with current By-Laws, and recommends By-Laws changes when appropriate. Functions as the parliamentarian at Board meetings. Acts as the Nominating Committee for elections.
Supervises the synagogue web page. Makes suggestions for web page changes, and supervises their implementation. Develops, as appropriate, suggestions for on line resources and on line learning. Supervises the Cyber Shul and the Shofar. Assists other committees and organizers in carrying out their publicity for CBA events, both to the Sonoma County Jewish Community, and the General Community.
Subcommittee: Web guru
Oversees the operation of the library. Encourages appropriate use of the library. Supervises the use of library supplies and materials, including computer and on-line sources. Supervises the recruiting and training of volunteer staff. Advises the Board on all issues relating to the library
Friedman Center Board Chair: Bill Friedman
Guides and Checklists for Organizing Events
To help events or programs run smoothly, the office now has a Program and Event Planning Guide.
CBA Program and Event Planning Guide
CBA Publicity Guidelines
CBA Cleanup Guidelines
CBA Equipment Use Guidelines
CBA set-up form
Guidelines for using the kitchen