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Yom Kippur Afternoon Study Sessions

Past Sessions
Wednesday, October 5, 2022 10 Tishrei 5783 - 2:45 PM - 3:45 PM - 2 Sessions In Person; 2 Sessions On Zoom
Wednesday, October 5, 2022 10 Tishrei 5783 - 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM - 2 Sessions In Person; 2 Sessions On Zoom

1 Afternoon of Learning. 2 Sessions. 8 Discussions

As is our custom on Yom Kippur afternoon, Beth Am members will be offering learning sessions on a variety of Jewish topics. Enrich your Yom Kippur observance by learning something new!

Below is the menu of study session options for both Session I (1:30-2:30 PM) and Session II (2:45-3:45 PM). To register to receive a complete menu of options that includes Zoom access information, please register using the form at the bottom of the page.

There will be in-person study sessions at Beth Am for those who are planning to stay at Beth Am through the afternoon. You are also welcome to bring a laptop or phone with you in order to participate in the other study sessions that are being offered via Zoom. Video recordings of sessions held via Zoom will become available in our Video Archive Gallery.

*COVID Policies: Vaccination is required to attend in person for everyone over age 5. Mask policies will follow Santa Clara County guidelines. Currently, masks are recommended for any indoor participation.

(Click on a session title below to get to the complete session description.)

1:30 - 2:30 PM:

2:45 - 3:45 PM

1:30 — 2:30 PM

From Anxiety to Agency: Turn Worry into Hope, Get Energized, and Discover Ways to Have Positive Impact in Helping Repair the World
Zoom session, 1:30-2:30 PM
Judaism commands us to perform tikkun olam, to repair the world through charity, kindness and political action. We are all worried today about climate change, racism, abortion rights, gun violence, and LGBTQ rights. We can learn successful strategies to move from anxiety to agency for social justice by focusing on voting rights and the curative powers of nonpartisan action. Find out about the many groups at Beth Am and in the community that are actively working to heal our world.

Felisa Ihly is a member of Beth Am’s Pursue Justice Committee, the Beth Am Women Board, and is a long-time social justice advocate. Nancy Federman is a member of Beth Am's Pursue Justice Committee and a lifelong activist for democracy. Nancy Cavillones is a member of Beth Am's Pursue Justice Committee and a nascent community organizer. Diane Rolfe is the founder of Beth Am's Pursue Justice Committee and in 20 years of action has registered 25,000 voters in Santa Clara County. Louise Stirpe-Gill is a licensed psychologist, an active member of Beth Am's Chevra Kadisha burial society, and prayer leader of the Thursday Morning Minyan. Chris Witzel is a member of Beth Am's Pursue Justice Committee and is the Secretary and a founding member of the non-partisan National Voter Corps. Tracey Barrett is a new member of Pursue Justice; she is passionate about preserving the right for each citizen to vote.

Direct from Ukraine: Live Conversation with Poltava and Odessa Jewish Leaders
Zoom and In-person session, Beit Kehillah, 1:30-2:30 PM
Elena Izmailowa, chairperson of Shir Ha-Yam of Odessa, and Eugenia Noshenko, spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Am in Poltava, will speak about living in Ukraine.  Audience members will have an opportunity to ask questions in real time via live Zoom. In addition, a short video presentation will illustrate the vibrancy of Jewish progressive life in Ukraine before and during this war.

Eugenia Noshenko was born in Poltava, where she graduated from high school, college and university. Her husband was wounded at the front and is recovering. Their daughter, who is 20, now lives in Israel and serves in the Israeli army. She is chairperson of Congregation Bet Am Poltava, where during this difficult period, we support each other, and “I am glad we don’t give up.” Elena Izmailowa is chairwoman of the progressive community Shirat ha-Yam in Odessa. She came to the community at age13, and grew up within its embrace. She has journeyed from being a volunteer to becoming a professional community organizer. Before the war, she coordinated the work of the community and created educational and creative projects for all ages. Now she coordinates volunteer initiatives in the community, and organizes support for those who stayed in Odessa. Alla Anderson’s journey began in Zhmerynka, Ukraine. She was educated as a lawyer in Vinnytsia and studied computer programming in Israel. Alla fell in love with Daniel Anderson in Israel, where they married. When war in Ukraine began, Alla and her 17-year-old son moved with Daniel to Israel. The family has settled in Israel with Daniel’s parents.  Alla serves as a translator for Beth Am’s (Los Altos Hills) Poltava/Odessa Committee. Karen Lawrence is an active volunteer community organizer for Palo Alto Emergency Services Volunteers (Block Preparedness Coordinator) and Midtown Residence Association. She served as a group facilitator for Kara (grief support organization). Karen is a long-time member of the Congregation Beth Am (Los Altos Hills) Poltava/Odessa Committee. She recently retired from Stanford University, and is now an Emerita Staff member at Stanford. Cherie Half is chair of Congregation Beth Am’s (Los Altos Hills) Poltava/Odessa Committee, a member North American Board of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, a past-president of Women of Reform - Pacific District, a past-boardmember Congregation Beth Am, and past-president of Beth Am Women.

Eli, Eli, May These Things Never End: A Reckoning for an Earth at Risk
Zoom session, 1:30-2:30 PM
Themes from our Yom Kippur liturgy and traditions inform our role and responsibilities in preserving the Earth and in addressing the impending calamity of global climate change. Using Yom Kippur rituals and teaching of our tradition, we will explore such fundamental questions as: What is our responsibility for protecting the Earth? How do we maintain hope in a time of uncertainty? Where do we go from here?

Cantor Kay Greenwald is Cantor Emerita of Beth Am and Director of Placement for the American Conference of Cantors. Loree Farrar is a past president of Beth Am and currently a URJ Board Member. Tim Taich is a member of Beth Am’s Dayenu Circle leadership team.

The Kids and Teens Will Be All Right
In-person session, Outdoor Chapel, 1:30-2:30 PM
As we all know, there is a mental health crisis affecting our children and adolescents. We will study how our sacred texts and evidenced-based research can guide us to raise healthy and resilient kids and teens.

Denise Pope, PhD, is a senior lecturer at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education and co-founder of Challenge Success, a school reform non-profit that provides schools and families with strategies to promote well-being and engagement with learning in order to transform the student experience into one where all kids can create their own paths to success. Sara Schnell, LCSW, has over 30 years of experience working with children, adolescents and families. She is currently the middle school counselor at Synapse School in Menlo Park, and is the parent of a high school age teen. Pamela Shames, PhD, has been a licensed psychologist in private practice for more than 30 years, working with adults, adolescents, children and couples. She is chair of Beth Am’s Garden Committee, was a member of the senior rabbi search team, and the high holidays and Reimagine Education Committees.

2:45 — 3:45 PM

I Remember When: The Enduring Meaning of Our Recent Travels to Israel
In-person session, Room Gimmel (lower campus), 2:45 - 3:45 PM
During this interactive discussion, we will discuss our trips to Israel and how we were all influenced by them.  Let’s leave our politics at the polls and talk about what we felt, saw and experienced – and how these travels influence who we are today.  

Josh Markowitz is an Emergency Physician who has helped lead multiple teen and adult March of the Living trips to Poland and Israel, and recently went with his family for their first trip to Israel on the Beth Am family trip. Rob Peterson was not raised Jewish and didn’t even meet a Jewish person until he was around 16 years old. However, he’s met many since then, all of them incredibly welcoming, and is committed to working with his wife and family to raise his two boys in the Jewish faith. Rob and his family also traveled to Israel this summer on the Beth Am family trip.  

Together Forever:  How Jewish Death Rituals Enhance Our Life's Journeys
Zoom session, 2:45 - 3:45 PM
As the Shomer Collective teaches: “Yom Kippur brings us in touch with our own mortality: asking who will live, who will die; wearing white akin to the burial shrouds, refraining from food, drink, and pleasurable activities. Service as part of a Chevra Kadisha (holy burial society) also brings us face to face with death.” In addition to being a traditional part of Jewish ritual, the services of the Chevra Kadisha can be palliative/comfort care to help escort the dead to their final resting place while comforting and aiding the family and friends of the deceased through the pain of the mourner’s journey.  

Louise Stirpe-Gill and Joan Karlin are active members of Beth Am’s Chevra Kadisha burial society and leaders of the Thursday Morning Healing Minyan.

Jewish Thoughts on Abortion Rights
In-person session, Social Hall Patio, 2:45 - 3:45 PM
This past June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that protected the right to abortion under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.  This elimination of a right that was guaranteed for nearly 50 years prompts many questions. What is Jewish thinking about abortion, and why are abortion rights important? Join us to learn about and discuss Jewish thoughts and actions concerning abortion.

Margo Horn has been a Beth Am member since 2013. She teaches U.S. women’s history and the history of medicine at Stanford University. Wynne Segal Dubovoy, a lifelong supporter of reproductive rights, has dedicated the last decade to fundraising for access, and now is a major gifts officer for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte. Darlene Feldstein began her Jewish journey with a question about abortion, leading to her conversion and a life of Jewish community involvement and activism.

Tales of Tikkun: The Power of Stories in a Wounded World
Zoom and In-person session, Conference Room, 2:45 - 3:45 PM
We live in a world that is both broken and beautiful. Lately it feels like the brokenness too often overwhelms the beauty. We navigate conflict and rupture on an increasingly regular basis — globally, nationally, locally, even within our own families — and the wounds flowing from this division are many and deep. Tikkun means the healing of what is wounded, the mending of what is shattered; stories have the power to teach and transport. We’ll put these two things together by reading and discussing a few “tales of tikkun” from the Jewish tradition, selected from Jewish folklore, Midrash and the mystical tradition, and contemporary fiction. (No pre-reading necessary, we’ll read aloud together.)

Loren Ford has been part of the Beth Am community since 2014. He is the chair of the Beth Am Library Committee, leader of the Slow Torah study group, and a member of the Beth Am Board of Directors; he spends a lot of time thinking about healing in his day job as a psychotherapist.

Learn more about High Holy Days 2022 with Beth Am.


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Sun, June 4 2023 15 Sivan 5783