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January/February President's Column by Jay Hirsh: When the Jewish World is Just A Click Away
Just like most every other aspect of my life, my Jewish experience has been transformed by the seemingly unlimited and mostly free access I have to information on every aspect of Judaism available 24/7 on my laptop or smartphone. And, during these shorter days of wintertime, I often find myself spending more time immersing myself in Jewish topics ranging from exploring genealogy to listening to educational podcasts to watching Israeli cooking videos — sometimes all within the same hour!

Know a Beth Am Member Who Would Enjoy Some Regular Friendly Contact from Co-Members?
Yad l'Yad is an established Beth Am group of lay-trained members who commit to regular contact with other members in support and friendship. We are concerned about the increased risk of isolation during this unprecedented time in our lives, and would like to offer our outreach. If you or someone you know would like to explore having a Yad l’Yad friendly visitor (primarily virtual visits at this time), contact us at yadlyad@betham.org.

February Is "Focus on Inclusion Month"
These past two years of COVID have made all of us aware of what it feels like to be isolated, overwhelmed and to feel despair. Many of our congregants, young and old, with disabilities and marginalized identities have been living this reality for their entire lives. We have much to learn from each other about resilience and the power of community. Learn more and please join us for February Jewish Inclusion Month programming.

Tikvah Peer Support
This program offers one-to-one emotional support for our members who are facing a life challenge. Trained volunteers meet with members who are struggling with COVID-related challenges, job loss, bereavement, illness, divorce, a child in trouble or other difficult situations. The program matches congregants in need with a volunteer who is trained to provide compassionate support in times of crisis. All contacts are strictly confidential and may extend over several months. (The Tikvah Program is a lay support program and does not replace professional counseling.)


 

Supporting Our Israeli Reform Synagogue Partnership: Congregation Beth Am has partnered with with Kehilat Mevasseret Zion (KMZ), one of over 50 congregations of the Israel Movement for Reform & Progressive of Judaism (IMPJ).

Beth Am Family Trip to Israel | Summer 2022
Join Beth Am's Cantor Jaime Shpall & Marcel Bergmann for a 12-day Taste of Israel Family Trip (operated by Da’at Tours). Trip Dates: June 15—26, 2022

Join a Beth Am Virtual Sh'ma Group
Sh’ma Groups are small, intimate, regularly-scheduled gatherings of people who want to have fun, make new friends, learn and celebrate their Judaism. And now, you can join a group that will meet over Zoom!

Download the Beth Am App
If you’re not using the Beth Am app, you’re missing out! Access your account, the membership directory and more – all from your smartphone. Available for download for iOS and Android.

Worship

January/February Clergy Column by Rabbi Jeremy S. Morrison: Our Teen Program Is Thriving
Last year, as an element of the strategic priority that we titled, Our Future is Here: Youth Education, we stated two of our goals for Beth Am Youth Education. Through a dedicated collaboration between the clergy and education teams, along with the support of our Education Committees led by Debbie Mukamal, I realize... that I’m beginning to see the fruits of our efforts.

Help Beth Am Thrive

January 2022 Fund in Focus: The Aptekar Family Endowment Fund for Film
Thanks to the Aptekar Fund, even a global pandemic cannot stop our community from enjoying films together! This fund has supported streamed films and discussions viewed from home and will support in-person film experiences again soon.

Builders Circle Profile: Cherie and Fred Half
Cherie and Fred Half have proven that with hard work and dedication, two Halfs add up to much more than one! Together they have built a family, nurtured Jewish communities near and far, and been role models for the impactful “can-do” attitude that makes good things happen. Says Fred, “The support of Beth Am was tremendous. We are surrounded by amazing people here.” When asked about their decision to plan a legacy gift to Beth Am, the Halfs agree that above all their driving motivation is “building connections all the time!” “We have been blessed to be a part of this community, and want to make sure it continues well into the future.”

What Will Your Legacy Be?
When you give thought to your estate plans, naturally you will prioritize caring for your family and other loved ones first and foremost. Frequently the second step is considering the other ways you want your values to carry on, such as through the charitable organizations that have been meaningful in your life and who do work that is important to you. Legacy gifts come in all sizes and multiple forms, including wills, retirement funds, real estate, or through your Donor Advised Fund.

Justice

Beth Am's January Tzedakah Box supports the Jewish Family and Services (JFS) of Silicon Valley and it's Refugee Resettlement Program. The crisis in Afghanistan is no longer front and center in the media, yet the Afghans who escaped still feel the impact. JFS continues to welcome these new refugees to our community.

Facing Our Truths:  Small Group Conversations on Race
Beth Am’s Racial Equity and Justice (REJ) committee will be convening discussion groups starting in January of 2022. The 6-session curriculum will cover a set of topics focused on diversity, equity and inclusion including: white fragility, white supremacy, school to prison pipeline, the role of Jews and the Jewish community in challenging racism and other forms of oppression.

Adult / Youth Education

Adult Education Opportunities
There are numerous learning opportunities for adults at Beth Am, from drop-in classes to more formal courses. Many of our offerings are free and open to the general public; others have a fee or are meant specifically for Beth Am members. Beth Am’s learning opportunities are designed to build relationships, helping us connect more deeply with our history, with the traditions of the Jewish people and with one another. Check out what's coming up!

 

Register for Winter Semester Hebrew Classes for Adults
Whether you are a beginner or nearly fluent, we have a Hebrew class for you! All classes will be held on Zoom this semester. Please contact Orna if you need help determining which level is right for you. For scholarship requests, please email Rachel Tasch.

Wed, January 19 2022 17 Sh'vat 5782