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September/October President's Column by Amy Gerstein: Let the Sunshine In
Last Rosh Hashanah, deep in the pages of Mishkan Ha’Nefesh — our machzor (High Holy Day prayerbook), I came across a kavanah (intention, reading) from Rabbi Milton Steinberg that has stayed with me all year.

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.

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 #StandWithIsrael.


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!


Registration Is Now Open for the Summer 2024 Beth Am FAMILY Trip to Israel!
Trip Dates: June 12-23, 2024

Next summer, join Rabbi Heath Watenmaker, his wife, Amy, and their family, on a 12-day Beth Am Family Trip to Israel (operated by J2 Adventures)! A trip itinerary and details are now available.


Sign Up for Beth Am's Adult Trip to Greece and Israel — Only a Few Spots Left!
Join Orna Morad and Rabbi Sarah Weissman for an unforgettable trip to Greece and Israel, March 4-18, 2024. Together, we will explore some of the most famous sites in Athens, then travel to the "Jerusalem of Greece," Thessaloniki, to learn more about the Jewish community that once flourished there. We will then make our way to Israel, where we will spend time in Jerusalem, Sde Boker and Tel Aviv. This trip is open to Beth Am members as well as other members of the wider Jewish community. Please contact Orna or Rabbi Sarah for more information.

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. 


September/October Clergy Column by Rabbi Jon Prosnit: Look Up, It's the Moon
If you ever want to play a mean joke on one of your rabbi friends, here’s a way to do it; look up at the sky on a clear new moon summer night, turn to them and say, “Look at the beautiful moon. Doesn’t that mean it’s almost Rosh Hashanah?”

Holidays Continue 5784 | 2023
Sukkot, the most joyous of Jewish holidays, offers us an opportunity to connect with the natural world and give thanks for the autumn harvest. On Simchat Torah, Jews around the world complete the reading of the Torah and begin anew with the first words of Genesis. And on Shemini Atzeret we recite yizkor (memorial) prayers in remembrance of our loved ones.


Help Beth Am Thrive

October Fund in Focus: Beit R'fuah (House of Healing) is Beth Am’s support group for those coping with mental health issues and the family and friends who help and sustain them. We are proud to be celebrating 17 years of commitment to addressing the alienation, stigma and ravages of mental illness in the Jewish community. Beth Am 2023-24 Annual Campaign Needs Each One of Us
Beth Am is committed to being the center of your Jewish life, a place to find meaning and fulfillment, and a safe and loving space for all who seek it. As we embark on our new synagogue year, we must renew our commitment to each other, and to the financial health of our congregation.


Beth Am's October Tzedakah Box: JDC's Emergency Fund
In the wake of events on the ground in Israel, JDC immediately activated their emergency response team and protocols across Israel. They have widespread, existing operations and programs providing support to those in the line of fire, including elderly, people with disabilities, children and families at risk, and other vulnerable populations adversely impacted during this war and in past conflicts.

Beth Am Heat Pump Project Wins SVCE Electric Showcase Award
Last year Beth Am, with the assistance of consultants funded by Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE), completed a major electrification project to replace our gas-powered heating system for the Sanctuary and Social Hall with an efficient electric heat pump. As an added benefit, our new system provides both heating and cooling. We were recently notified that the project won the SVCE Electric Showcase Award for demonstrating leadership and experience in transitioning to electric technologies.



Adult Education Opportunities: Start 5784 Off Right by Learning Something New!
We have an exciting schedule of learning opportunities this fall, including a renewed partnership with New Lehrhaus: The Bay Area Hub for Adult Jewish Learning, our Saxe Family Scholar-in-Residence Weekend, and of course, our “oldies but goodies” classes. Whether you are a talmid chacham (Torah scholar) or new to Judaism, Jewish learning is for you! 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.


Sun, December 10 2023 27 Kislev 5784