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Yom Kippur Afternoon Study Sessions

Past Sessions
Monday, September 25, 2023 10 Tishrei 5784 - 3:15 PM - 4:15 PM - Various Locations: In Person & Zoom
Monday, September 25, 2023 10 Tishrei 5784 - 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM - Various Locations: In Person & Zoom

1 Afternoon of Learning. 2 Sessions. 10 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 (2:00-3:00 PM) and Session II (3:15-4:15 PM). There will be in-person study sessions at Beth Am for those who are planning to stay at Beth Am through the afternoon. All sessions will be held in person with a few to be held via Zoom as well. See below for more information.

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

Session I— 2:00 - 3:00 PM
Climate Change, Sustainability and Tikkun Olam
Connecting Generations Through Listening
Fifty Years After the Yom Kippur War (Zoom only)
Toxic Argument to Healthy Debate
Coming to Terms With the End of Life and Mourning

Session 2 — 3:15 - 4:15 PM
Incremental Changes in Your Kitchen (Zoom accessible)
Forgiving Ourselves as Imperfect Parents
Wise Aging: Looking for Healthy Humor (Zoom accessible)
One Book, One Congregation
On Leadership: Like God on a Good Day

Session One: 2:00 — 3:00 PM

Climate Change, Sustainability and Tikkun Olam
Social Hall Patio, 2:00-3:00 PM
Join us as we explore and connect our individual and community responsibilities to repair the world and help ensure a liveable future.  Engage with thought-provoking Jewish texts and discover tikkun olam actions from the intersection of our Yom Kippur teachings, our Jewish values, and the urgent need to address the climate crisis. Share your own sustainability practices to help others undertake new practices and change behaviors in the coming year that have a positive impact, creating and safeguarding a sustainable future for generations to come.

Irene Lefton is a start-up software advisor and facilitator who cares deeply about Beth Am and sustainability, and is committed to improving our culture, reducing our collective carbon footprint, and engaging youth and elders in climate education by volunteering with Beth Am’s Dayenu Circle. Darlene Feldstein, a former Beth Am Board member with Masters Degrees in Health Education and Instructional Technology, helps lead Beth Am’s Dayenu Circle and is currently focusing on climate education and action to help reduce our community’s carbon footprint, inspire Tikkun Olam, and ensure Democracy via communal political activism.

Connecting Generations Through Listening
Room 15, 2:00-3:00 PM

Parents, grandparents, teachers and others who have teens and young adults in their lives, are warmly invited to this interactive session to explore how we can develop our listening skills, and become warm and dependable allies to teens and young adults. We can be part of a community that listens with love and respect to the thinking of our young people, and supports their leadership. The Shema prayer reminds us to pause, to listen, and to connect with ourselves and others. Listening, and being listened to, can change our lives and the lives of those around us.

Uriela Ben-Yaacov has participated in “Hand in Hand,” a nonprofit organization that supports parenting, for 33 years, and has taught numerous classes and workshops for parents. She is a parent of three adult children and a grandparent of seven, ranging in age from two to seven years old.

Fifty Years After the Yom Kippur War: A Spiritual Encounter with History
Zoom (Meeting ID: 839 4132 8272; Passcode: 981395), 2:00-3:00 PM

As we mark this year’s 50th anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, we have a unique opportunity to explore how the experience and memory of the war mirrors the spiritual themes of the Day of Atonement. Together we will commemorate an unforgettable day in Jewish history, look to the past in order to gain insight into the present, and deepen our personal connections to what this time of remembrance can teach us. 

Shelley Hebert leads the Beth Am Philosophy Minyan, now in its fourth year, and currently serves as co-president of Stanford University's Jewish Alumni Network.

Toxic Argument to Healthy Debate: Jewish Lessons For Constructive Conversations in Challenging Times
Room 16, 2:00-3:00 PM
As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wrote, “In Judaism there is something holy about argument.” Jewish texts can be viewed as written arguments. Members of the Pursue Justice Committee invite you to discuss the Jewish culture of constructive conflict and healthy disagreements. As the 9 Adar project writes, “In our ancient texts, it is called machloket l’shem shemayim (Disagreements for the Sake of Heaven)."

Diane Rolfe is the founder of Beth Am's Pursue Justice Committee in 2004. From 1998 to 2018, she registered 25,000 voters in Santa Clara County with the help of her many volunteers. 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. 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 member of Pursue Justice; she is passionate about preserving the right for each citizen to vote. Janet Iltis is on the Pursue Justice Committee, the Beth Am Women’s Board, was co-facilitator for the Interfaith Bridges Program, and is co-coordinator for B'Yachad, BethAm's 40+Singles Circle. Jennie Shabel is a  member of Pursue Justice. She co-led a session in the Wise Aging class on difficult conversations.

Coming to Terms With the End of Life and Mourning
Library, 2:00-3:00 PM
Yom Kippur has been described as a dress rehearsal for death.  How do we prepare for the final act? How does the Mourner’s Kaddish, often viewed as offering praise to God, even in the face of one’s own loss and grief, actually offer solace?  The traditional interpretation has turned off so many of us, but there may be an alternative interpretation.

Linda Kramer is a member of Beth Am's Chevra Kadisha and Reproductive Justice Committees; she's a retired nurse and an attorney. She is also Deborah Radin's mother. Deborah Radin is a member of Beth Am's Chevra Kadisha and Development Committees, and a member of Beth Am's Board of Directors; she's an attorney & Linda Kramer's daughter.

Session Two: 3:15 — 4:15 PM

Incremental Changes in Your Kitchen Can Have Immediate Impact in Repairing the World 
Library and Zoom (Meeting ID: 895 5883 8657; Passcode: 852013), 3:15-4:15 PM
Judaism commands us to perform tikkun olam, to repair the world. One of the significant actions we can take is adopting a “pro vegetarian bias,” in the words of Rabbi Arthur Green.  What does the Torah say about what we should eat? As the climate changes the world around us, we can make an immediate impact through our food choices. We’ll explore bal tashchikh (not wasting resources), tzaar baalbei chaim (not causing animals unnecessary pain or suffering), and shmirat haguf (guarding your health) to point us in the right direction, with critically beneficial consequences for the environment.

Jacob Tanz has been a member of Congregation Beth Am for over 33 years. He has transformed his retirement to become a Certified Personal Trainer. He is both certified as a Health Coach from the Institute of Integrated Nutrition, and a Retirement Certified Coach, supporting individuals with Retirement, Health and Wellness services. 

Forgiving Ourselves as Imperfect Parents
Room 16, 3:15-4:15 PM

A common theme many therapists hear when talking to parents is a long list of regrets that they think disqualify them from being good parents. Ironically, the longer the list, usually the more hard-working and conscientious the parent. We will study how our sacred texts, along with psychological research into concepts such as “good enough” parenting and self-compassion, can guide us to raise healthy and resilient children without unfair self blame targeted towards ourselves.

Melissa Kelley, LMFT, is a former Research Director at the Stanford Center for the Study of Families, Children and Youth and current therapist in private practice working with children, teens and families. She is a former board member at Beth Am, former chair of the Inclusion Committee, proud Shabbaton alum, and long-time member of Beth Am with her husband, Rob, and adult daughter, Annie.

Wise Aging: Looking for Healthy Humor
Conference Room and Zoom (Meeting ID: 839 4132 8272; Passcode: 981395), 3:15-4:15 PM

“I’m at an age where my back goes out more than I do.” - Phyllis Diller 
“It’s good to be here, but at 98 it’s good to be anywhere.” - George Burns
We get the jokes. On birthdays, on tv, even chatting with friends. We may laugh or cringe. Or do both at once. Even Sarah laughed in Genesis. Which jokes lift our spirits and which ones don’t? What wisdom is offered in Jewish tradition to help us laugh at ourselves in a healthy, life-affirming way?

Rachael Shea took training from the authors of Wise Aging, Living with Joy, Resilience, and Spirit, where she learned to foster group discussion of positive attitudes toward aging. She has led groups at Beth Am and currently facilitates a monthly Wise Aging Forum to which anyone is invited on a drop-in basis.

One Book, One Congregation: Reviewing, Reflecting & Reinventing Your Jewish Year
Social Hall Patio, 3:15-4:15 PM

Curious about Beth Am’s year-long, congregation-wide conversations centered on Abby Pogrebin’s lively and thought-provoking book, My Jewish Year? The book walks readers through the Jewish holidays with fresh eyes, inviting us to dive deeper into both well-known and less popular Jewish celebrations and commemorations. Come to this session with your innovative ideas about coming together periodically to connect with other congregants (in-person and online) to discuss and share insights. In the spirit of Yom Kippur, participants in this session will be prompted to review their own “Jewish Year” just past, for experiences of light, learning, and even lack, before setting personal intentions for the year ahead. You can pick up your copy (subsidized by a generous congregant) of Abby Pogrebin’s book at this study session.

Donnovan Somera Yisrael, Racial Equity and Justice Co-Chair, has spent over 30 years supporting the health and wellness of high school and college students and their families in the Bay Area and beyond, most recently through his role as the Senior Health Educator of Well-Being at Stanford (Vaden Health Center). He and his family have been members of Beth Am for over 20 years. Tina Rosenblum is a mom, wife, student of Torah and Talmud, and is honored to be serving on Beth Am’s Board.

On Leadership: Like God on a Good Day
Room 15, 3:15-4:15 PM
When asked what we want in a leader, our answers are broad.  We use words like compassionate, wise, humble, brave, inspiring, warm... and that's just the start.  The question is, what do we mean when we ask for wisdom?  How can we recognize humility?  What does compassion look like in action?  Where does inspiration come from?  In this study session, we will delve into some of the traits we seek in a leader, and consider what Jewish wisdom has to teach us about leadership.

Loree Farrar, a Beth Am past president and current co-chair of the Senior Rabbi Search Committee, brings many years of experience in human resources and Torah study to this discussion of leadership.

Learn more about High Holy Days 2023 with Beth Am.

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Wed, May 29 2024 21 Iyar 5784