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January/February President's Column by Jay Hirsh — Moving Together From Darkness to Light
I just received the Beth Am yahrzeit reminder for my father, Ellis Hirsh, of blessed memory. It has been 15 years since he passed away, just shy of his 70th birthday. This moment reminds me of how the Beth Am community cared for me at a time of overwhelming grief, and how I came to see the temple as more than a place to teach my children about their Judaism.

Crisis in Ukraine
Our hearts are breaking as we learn of the difficult and aggressive situation unfolding in Ukraine. We are concerned about the military action and the resulting loss of life, as Ukraine’s fragile democracy is threatened. As we know, historically, in such circumstances the Jewish community becomes a target, and we are fearful of such an outcome in the coming days. Here’s what you can do...

Member Spotlight: Cathy & Steve Lazarus
In their 30+ years of membership at Beth Am, Steve and Cathy Lazarus have cultivated strong connections in the Beth Am community. And though their day-to-day participation looks different, they are each inspired by a core principle that they love about Beth Am: “The values that people gain through a religious affiliation contribute to a civil society. Beth Am does that.” Whether that’s through making our worship and educational programs accessible, or simply through finding like-minded fellow members with whom to take action in the world, Cathy and Steve appreciate that Beth Am brings good people together.

 


Community Circles: Building community and friendships through shared interests.
Beth Am Community Circles are your place to connect more intentionally with other members around a shared interest or life stage. Community Circles are affinity groups open to members of Congregation Beth Am and coordinated by congregants. Help start the group you are looking for!

Beth Am Welcomes Pati Ortiz, Our New Interim Executive Director
Beth Am welcomes Pati Ortiz, of Mountain View-based Venture Leadership Collective (VLC), who joins the Beth Am staff as Interim Executive Director. Pati's work at Beth Am will also include an organizational assessment to help us prepare for hiring and transitioning to a new permanent Executive Director. 

 


Enjoy Shabbat Dinners in Member Homes
Enjoy delicious food in congregants' homes AND help support our sister Congregations in Ukraine, Congregation Beth Am of Poltava and Shirat Ha-Yam of Odessa. Sign up for one of four upcoming dinners!

 

Chevra Kadisha Candle Project
One of the three important tasks of Congregation Beth Am’s Chevra Kadisha (Jewish burial society) is to support those in our community who are mourning the death of a loved one. Recently the Chevra Kadisha partnered with our youth programs to find a new way to reach out to those marking a first yahrzeit, a first anniversary of death.

 

Help Beth Am Thrive

January 2023 Fund in Focus: The Aptekar Family Endowment Fund for Film
Thanks to the Aptekar Fund, even a global pandemic couldn’t stop our community from enjoying films together! We streamed and discussed a variety of wonderful films remotely for two years, taking great enjoyment and connection when we needed it most. But now we are happy to be back to our in-person film experiences again.

Justice

Beth Am's January Tzedakah Box supports “Tzedek Centers,” established in 2016 to strive to promote democracy, equality and solidarity in Israeli society. Running eight hubs around the country, Tzedek Centers engage in community organizing, professional field work and activist training. They envision opening centers in every city in Israel — centers that will be a home to any gender, ethnic group or socioeconomic status. At a time when hope feels hard to come by, their work for a better future is a true inspiration.

Pursue Justice Update
In 2023, Pursue Justice will focus on dark money, turning out the youth vote, reproductive rights and other issues that impact our ability to have our voice and vote count. Stay tuned for upcoming actions and ways to get involved!

 

January/February Dayenu Circle Sustainability Tip
With Tu Bishvat coming, let’s honor one of the best carbon sinks we have: the world’s trees. Did you know that according to National Geographic, every day in 2010 we flushed 27,000 trees down the toilet? 12 years later, the numbers must be so much higher!


 

Education

Adult Education Opportunities: This Winter
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!

Sun, February 5 2023 14 Sh'vat 5783