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February/March President's Column by Amy Gerstein: Celebrating 150 Years With the Union for Reform Judaism
I had the great joy of attending the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) 150th celebration in Washington, D.C. during the middle of December. It was powerful, moving, touching and inspiring. Celebrating Shabbat with nearly a thousand fellow Reform Jews from all over the country, Canada and Israel was breathtaking. We were led in discussion, song and prayer by many of our Reform movement’s incredible leaders — including Beth Am’s own Amy Asin and Daryl Messinger. 


Support Israel
Libeinu bamizrach — our hearts are in the East. On October 7, what should have been a day of rejoicing and delight in Torah was turned to one of darkness and tragedy as we received the terrible news of terror and devastation in Israel. Our hearts ache for the loss of life, the pain and suffering, and the uncertainty cast over Israel. Hundreds of Israelis have been killed, with thousands wounded, thousands of rockets have bombarded Israel, and an unknown number of civilians and soldiers are being held hostage. Learn how you can help.


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.

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!


Caregivers Sh'ma Groups
Are you caring for an elder or spouse or loved one? If you feel overwhelmed, you are not alone. You can take part in a Sh’ma Group — not therapy, but a safe and friendly virtual space for sharing stories. This group format has proved successful here at Beth Am, helping us to start meaningful, supportive conversations. You will have guidelines for suggested topics and respectful interaction. You can easily form or join a group; the leadership duties are minimal and help from clergy is continually available. 


Crisis in Ukraine
During these trying times, our friends in Ukraine need us more than ever before. Many have had to flee their homes with nothing more than what they can carry. Others are still in Kyiv, Poltava and Odessa to fight for their freedom and  democracy. Innocent people are suffering. At this point, Beth Am is evaluating the needs of our Ukrainian friends and is providing funds for special projects. Find out how you can help.


February/March Clergy Column by Rabbi Heath Watenmaker: Why Are There Two Adars?
If you look closely at your Hebrew calendars, you may notice that this year, we have two Adars. In the Hebrew calendar, this year is a leap year1, and, instead of adding just one day every four years like we do in our secular solar calendar, in the Hebrew calendar, we add a full month seven times in nineteen years. Trust me, somehow, the math works out. But why?


Celebrate Purim 2024 With Beth Am
Get your costumes and groggers ready for Purim, the holiday of joy and laughter! We'll have opportunities for people of all ages to hear the Megillah and celebrate the triumph of Esther and Mordechai over the wicked Haman. Click through to find a schedule of Beth Am Purim celebrations.

Help Beth Am Thrive

February Fund in Focus: Include at Beth Am
February is "Focus on Inclusion" Month, and Beth Am is honoring it with a variety of programs to educate and inspire action around inclusion in our community and in the world. Here in our congregation, we have made strides in providing access to our Youth Education programs for students who have special needs, developing customized approaches to learning and community engagement that fit each child.


New Beth Am Fund Created to Support Youth and Young Adults 
Founded with a generous bequest from former long-time Beth Am members, community activists and philanthropists Joan (z”l) and Lewis (z”l) Platt, The Ann and Arnold Redmund Scholarship Fund for Membership and Education is named in memory of Joan’s parents. This new fund will support families seeking financial assistance for Youth Education as well as our reduced rate membership program for young adults.

Does your employer have a matching gift program? You may be able to double or even triple your contributions to Beth Am! Many Bay Area companies will match charitable donations dollar-for-dollar, or even 2:1 during certain limited promotions. While some companies exclude religious usage, Beth Am has vital non-religious expenses, such as facility maintenance and security, that these monies can be directed to.


Beth Am's February Tzedakah Box: Hand in Hand
Hand in Hand is transforming Arab-Jewish relations in Israel through the power of shared living. When people live and learn together every day, they cannot be enemies. Hand in Hand’s six schools and communities have formed a resilient shared society of Jews and Arabs across Israel. Hand in Hand sees the impact of their work in students, alumni, families, communities, government officials and in the media. 

Pursue Justice Update
Calling all warriors for democracy. Your Pursue Justice and Reproductive Rights team will be very active in 2024. We have three actions to tell you about. Please join us. If you haven’t already, please sign up on our mailing list to get additional information.


Mitzvah Opportunity
Congregation Beth Am and The Orchard are collecting diapers and formula (unopened) to donate to  Ayudando Latinos A Soñar (ALAS), a wonderful organization in Half Moon Bay that works directly with individuals and families on the San Mateo Coast. ALAS is dedicated to working for social wellness through multicultural practices, mental health care, individualized and collective support related to education, immigration processes and work, as well as advocating for the wellbeing of the whole community. Diapers can be a significant expense for many families, and ALAS's diaper distribution is a way to help families on the margins. Please consider bring any diapers, and unopened wipes or baby formula for donation. Thank you!


Adult Education Opportunities: Come Learn Something New!
Our schedule of learning opportunities continues. Please visit the Adult Education webpage for full class descriptions and registration information.

Parent Wisdom Circle
All parents of PreK-5th Graders are welcome to drop into any session of Parent Wisdom Circle. We start our morning with coffee, bagels and schmoozing, then discuss parenting challenges, and share resources and ideas with each other. Parent Wisdom Circle is facilitated by Melissa Kelley, LMFT, a Beth Am member and parent. Click on a month below for more information:

Tue, July 23 2024 17 Tammuz 5784