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Committees

Volunteering at Beth Am is a great way to strengthen our community and to enhance your own experience as a Beth Am member. There are many opportunities for participation and leadership. You can join one or more of the groups described below or just volunteer occasionally by being a greeter at services, assisting the office staff or helping out at potlucks and special events. If you are interested in getting involved in any of our committees, please contact the listed contact in the logged-in-only accessible section at the bottom of this page, or call (650) 493-4661.

Administration Committees
Civic Engagement / Social Justice
Community Committees
Learning Committee
Worship Committees

Administration:

Communications Committee works with the Communications Coordinator and is responsible for the overall design and function of all Beth Am communications vehicles, electronic and printed. Committee members review and advise on strategy, as well as participate in development and execution of all channels of communication.

Development Committee works with the Director of Development and in cooperation with the Board of Directors to secure financial resources for our congregation by exploring and implementing fundraising vehicles to ensure the financial stability of our congregation. The Development Committee strategizes on the timing and messaging of all fundraising pursuits, and works with the Director of Development to manage and implement campaigns and solicitations. The committee works with staff and Board members to identify, cultivate and steward donors on an ongoing basis. The Development Committee works in concert with other fundraising committees, such as Planned Giving and Special Event committees, and is the clearinghouse for all Beth Am fundraising activities, including the From Strength to Strength campaign.

Finance Committee ensures the congregation's financial position is reviewed and monitored on a regular basis and is in compliance with predetermined policies and guidelines. This goal is accomplished by reviewing financial statements compared to budget, providing guidance on setting the annual operating budget for Board approval, monitoring cash reserve investments, and revisiting policies that may require updating, such as our investment policy. The committee is comprised of approximately 12 members, representing varying backgrounds and interests, including past treasurers, past and current Board members, attorneys, financial professionals and CPAs, but the committee is open to any congregant who is interested, regardless of career background. The committee typically meets two times per year, with a slightly heavier workload in the spring when the annual budget is completed.

House Committee oversees the building and grounds of the congregation. The committee prepares and monitors the yearly capital budget and reports to the Board.

Legacy Giving Committee works with the Director of Development and in cooperation with the Development Committee and the Board of Directors to secure financial resources for our congregation by promoting and encouraging planned giving among our membership. Planned gifts include bequests, charitable remainder trusts, gifts of life insurance and non-cash gifts. 

Membership/Community Committee builds a strong sense of community at Beth Am by: 1) reaching out to prospective members from the community, 2) warmly welcoming new members and helping them find their place at Beth Am, and 3) helping build an inclusive community at Beth Am in which members feel involved and valued. Committee activities include: the Beth Am Ambassador Program (greeters and docents); events for prospective and new members; helping to create personal connections for new members; organizing opportunities for fellowship at potluck dinners and holiday events; Sukkot Open Homes; and Seder Matching. Opportunities for serving on this committee range from taking on a leadership role in planning and organizing events and activities, to helping with mailings, phone calls, food shopping and set-up for events. The full committee meets three to four times per year. Let us know if you are interested in helping with any of these activities, or if you would like to serve as a greeter at services or a docent to prospective or new members.

Planned Giving Committee works with the Director of Development and in cooperation with the Development Committee and the Board of Directors. The Committee works as part of our overall fundraising effort to secure financial resources for our congregation by promoting and encouraging planned giving among our membership. Planned Gifts include bequests, charitable remainder trusts, gifts of life insurance and non-cash gifts.

Civic Engagement / Social Justice:

Home & Hope: Beth Am partners with this local non-profit organization in providing week-long hosting opportunities in our synagogue for homeless families on the road to long-term self-sufficiency.

Habitat for Humanity: As part of Habitat for Humanity’s “All Faiths House,” Beth Am collaborates with area churches and mosques in striving to put deserving families in affordable homes. Build dates occur throughout the year. 

Chicken Soupers: Prepare, package and deliver meals to homebound members of our Peninsula community who suffer from chronic illnesses or physical disabilities. The group meets approximately one Sunday each month. 

Ecumenical Hunger Program (EHP): For more than two decades, Beth Am volunteers have helped sort, package and distribute food for families through EHP in East Palo Alto. Throughout the year, we also collect and give toys and clothing to members of EHP who are in need. 

LifeMoves Soup Kitchen: Beth Am families serve a monthly breakfast at First Step for Families, a temporary shelter for families in San Mateo. The shelter is run by LifeMoves, one of the area's leading non-profits fighting homelessness and poverty. 

High School High Holy Day Food Drive: Beth Am high schoolers organize an annual High Holy Day Food Drive. Teens pass out paper grocery bags on Rosh Hashanah, to be returned on Yom Kippur, filled by congregants with canned and packaged food. 

Gun Violence Prevention: This new Beth Am initiative is addressing the problem of gun violence in our communities and beyond through education and advocacy, in partnership with other organizations. 

Initiative Against Human Trafficking: The Beth Am initiative against human trafficking strives to educate our community about the scourge of human trafficking and ways we might work together to combat it. Please join us to learn about what we can do individually and as a community to combat the injustices of human trafficking. 

The Pursue Justice, VOTE! Project: Encourages all Beth Am members to learn about and become involved in the civic engagement and social justice issues that affect our congregation, our community, our state and our nation and to take action to create change. 

Equal Start: Creating access to high-quality early learning for all California children from birth to five years of age. Equal Start is especially focused on addressing the needs of underserved areas in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. 

Tzedakah Box: Judaism commands us to give to those who are in need. At Congregation Beth Am, we strive to fulfill that mitzvah. Each month, funds are collected through the Tzedakah Box Project to go to a charitable cause that serves the needy.

Community:

Beth Am Women (BAW) is the women's organization of Congregation Beth Am. Also known as Sisterhood, BAW provides opportunities for women to get together and have fun, to learn and to make new friends while also fulfilling its commitment to provide financial support to Beth Am and the greater community, both locally and globally. All of our events are planned with these goals in mind, and there are plenty of volunteer opportunities for getting involved with developing, planning and implementing the varied activities. Beth Am Women membership is open to all the women of Beth Am.

Beth Am Men is not your grandfather’s Brotherhood. From building the synagogue’s community Sukkah every autumn to raising tzedakah at our poker tournaments; from skiing together in Lake Tahoe to softball games or guys night out, we are open to any ideas, so long as you’re willing to help make it happen. Join us and enjoy the brotherhood of a friendly group of guys.

The Orchard, a young adult community, is a dynamic community of young adults in their 20's and 30's. Group activities include Shabbat evening meals, monthly salon nights encompassing Jewish learning and socializing, pub nights and social action projects. The young adult community is open to members of the congregation as well as the general Bay Area Jewish community. All are welcome -- singles, couples, LGBTQ.

Israel Awareness Committee works to educate the Beth Am Community about the crucial role played by the State of Israel in the survival of the Jewish religion and culture, as a spiritual center, an American ally and as a permanent refuge for Jews subject to persecution. We offer an open, honest, respectful and safe environment for all members to learn and share ideas, focusing on support for Israel that transcends political differences. We offer regular opportunities for congregants to hear from expert speakers, learn about the many dimensions of Israeli society, and enjoy the rich culture of Israel.

Poltava Committee enables our progressive sister congregation, Congregation Beth Am in Poltava, Ukraine, to reach out to young Jewish families to help them rediscover their Judaism. The Poltava Committee meets regularly to plan fundraisers, such as home-cooked Shabbat dinners after services, arts & craft fairs and "Poltava Parties" at member homes.

Interfaith Outreach Committee supports interfaith couples and families on their Jewish journeys. We aim to make Beth Am a welcoming and comfortable place for interfaith families, and to help them deepen their learning and understanding of Judaism, participate in the life of the congregation, and make thoughtful Jewish choices in their lives.

Caring Committee volunteers fulfill the Jewish obligation to create a "Covenantal Community" by reaching out to those in need through personal notes, meals and congregant to congregant peer support. Because needs are sporadic, we do not hold regular meetings, but call on volunteers as needed.

Gesharim is a congregant-led initiative to sustain individuals and families facing the end of life. With guidance from Torah and our sages, the Beth Am community offers learning, access to resources and personal support in all stages of this significant life cycle event. With Rabbi Marder and the Beth Am program team, Gesharim strives to provide Jewish teachings about death, access to compassionate care, support for families in crisis and spiritual nourishment for all concerned in the dying process. Gesharim is a branch of the Beth Am Caring Committee as well as Tikvah, a program which connects congregant volunteers with members who are in any kind of personal or family crisis.

INCLUDE Beth Am has the vision to create and sustain a warm, vibrant and inclusive Reform Jewish community in which every individual feels -- and is regarded -- as an essential part of the community. INCLUDE Beth Am aims to build and maintain inclusion and accessibility for all people at Beth Am. We welcome and embrace those of any age or circumstance. The committee is co-chaired by Leah Strauss and Steve Bauman, Melissa Kelley is the Board Representative and Rabbi Miriam is the Program Team liaison.

Yad l'Yad (Friendly Visitors) provides volunteer congregants with both practical and traditional guidance for visiting those who are ill or could benefit from a visit. The committee also serves as a source of volunteers for connecting isolated Beth Am members with the congregation through assignments from the clergy and Caring Committee. Meetings occur approximately four times per year.

Learning:

The Library Committee maintains and improves Beth Am's Library collection, which at present consists of over 9,000 books, VCRs, DVDs and tapes. The Library Committee also provides support to our part-time librarian, Diane Rauchwerger. Diane staffs the Library during Sunday Program and some weekday afternoons. When Beth Am invites speakers during the year, Diane and members of the Library Committee provide a tabletop display of books on the speaker's subject. Committee members also help organize new books and tapes and add them to our catalog. The Library Committee meets monthly with Diane. There is also a Library Materials Acquisition Sub-committee which meets monthly to review books the Library receives as donations, read recommendations for new books and approve the purchase of these new books.

Worship:

High Holy Days Committee is tasked with planning for the High Holy Days. Beth Am gathers for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Committee members support our clergy by calling congregants to invite them to accept honors for the High Holy Day services and by helping to staff the tables outside the venue, welcoming congregants and visitors during the High Holy Days, handing out prayerbooks and answering questions. Members may also assist with ushering during the High Holy Days services, help worshipers in need of wheelchairs or other special assistance, and help ensure that member participation runs smoothly during the services. Most of the High Holy Days Committee’s work is coordinated via e-mail and phone contact.

Shabbat Committee focuses on ways to enhance the experience of Shabbat throughout our membership by 1) educating the congregation about Shabbat, 2) enhancing the Shabbat experience and hospitality already in place at Beth Am, 3) encouraging our members to enhance their Shabbat experiences at home, and 4) giving members the tools and inspiration to observe Shabbat. The Shabbat Committee consists of members who care about deepening their own experience of Shabbat and helping others to discover how special Shabbat can be.

Sat, October 31 2020 13 Cheshvan 5781