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April/May President's Column by Amy Gerstein: Always Be Ready
As I write these words at the end of February, there is at least one indication that things are as they should be. Baseball Spring Training is underway. 

I’m not much of a baseball fan myself. But, I did grow up watching the Yankees with my father, so I am a Yankees fan and I also love Spring Training. I like the sense of promise it brings, the notion that everyone has a clean slate, and that at least until Opening Day, every fan of every team can indulge their fondest dreams. Like the first flowers or first robins of spring, the return of baseball demonstrates that even the longest winter does, indeed, end. 

 


Support Israel
We continue to grieve for the families who lost loved ones on October 7th and pray for the immediate return of all the remaining hostages being held in Gaza. As a community, we know that we are not whole; a rise in antisemitism locally and nationally, the threats of an expanded regional war, the constant anxiety and discomfort of going to school or  work. Learn how you can become involved.

 


Shabbat Dinner to Support Ukraine (in a Congregant Home)
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 three 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.

 

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.

Worship

April/May Staff Column by Sarah Lauing Cohen, Director of Learning and Educational Innovation — Tasting Judaism’s Abundant Rewards: The Inspiration and Guide for Beth Am’s Youth Education Programs
Our strong values and ambitious goals have powered our successes in recent years. Parent satisfaction has been steadily increasing since 2020, up to 4.44 out of 5 in Spring 2023. Due to our vibrant tween and teen programming, post-B’nei Mitzvah retention has improved more in the past two years than the previous five. And Youth Education is also a membership pipeline, with newly enrolled families representing almost half of our past year’s new members.


 


Celebrate Passover 2024 With Beth Am
We celebrate Pesach not simply to repeat the tale of our enslavement and liberation, but to find new and personal meaning in that narrative each year. As Passover approaches, it’s time to think about how we’ll prepare for the arrival of the Feast of Freedom! Click through to find a schedule of Beth Am Passover events.

 

Help Beth Am Thrive

April Fund in Focus: Jack and Fay Ruby Camp Fund
If your kid loves camp, you know that they start to look forward to the summer as soon as one summer is over! Jewish summer camp gets our kids outdoors, learning, laughing and engaging in a very special part of their Jewish community. Each summer, the Jack and Fay Ruby Fund at Beth Am helps us provide financial assistance to Beth Am kids who need it.

                     

Builders Circle Profile: Darlene and Steve Feldstein
These days you’ll see Darlene and Steve at Shabbat services, enjoying their longtime “Empty Nesters” Chavurah, and with their Sh’ma Group (out of which sprung the Dayenu Circle for Sustainability). After all, says Steve, “Beth Am is all about the people. People we have known for years or people we are meeting right now.” They love how, together with like-minded other members, Beth Am makes it possible to take action to improve the world around them. Says Darlene, “Beth Am is a place to share our concerns and do something, not just complain about it.” Steve and Darlene believe wholeheartedly that people are healthier when they are in a community. Their legacy gift to Beth Am will help ensure that the opportunities that they have enjoyed and supported at Beth Am are here for future generations too. 

Justice

Beth Am's April Tzedakah Box: Standing Together
Standing Together is a grassroots movement mobilizing Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel in pursuit of peace, equality and social and climate justice. While the minority who benefit from the status quo of occupation and economic inequality seek to keep us divided, we know that we — the majority — have far more in common than that which sets us apart. 


Postcarding Has Started!
Once again Pursue Justice is partnering with The Center for Common Ground/Reclaim Our Vote (CCG/ROV), a non-partisan voting rights organization led by people of color. The Center for Common Ground provides voting information and support to under-represented voters in voter suppression states.

 

Mitzvah Opportunity: Contribute to the JFCS Community Spring Drive
Now through April 30, help families in need prepare their homes and hearts for spring with a donation of cleaning and hygiene products to Jewish Family and Children's Services. There are collection barrels outside the Beth Am Admin Office entrance and in the Sanctuary Foyer.

Education


Beth Am Youth Education Registration Is Now OPEN for the 2024-2025 School Year!
We hope you will join us for another year of exciting Youth Education programming! Our programs build community and identity through deep and dynamic Jewish learning. We offer programs for everyone, from Chavurah (our program for families with children ages 3-5) to Hagigah (our theater education program for 2nd-5th graders) to Teen Nights (our learning program for 8th-12th graders), and much more!


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. LEARN MORE

Tue, April 16 2024 8 Nisan 5784