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Facing Our Truths: Small Group Discussions on Race

Beth Am’s Racial Justice and Equity Initiative will be convening several small groups of 5-10 participants to meet for a series of 6 sessions about how we face our truths about race, privilege, power and the biases that we all hold. Groups will be facilitated by trained congregants. The sessions are based on wonderful materials prepared by clergy and staff from Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles, CA and Temple Isaiah in Lexington, MA.  Session topics will be:

  • Introduction and Overview: Developing a Sense of Trust in the Group,  Establishing Relationships
  • White Fragility
  • Racism and White Supremacy — A Human Construct
  • Post-Slavery Incarceration as a Means of Control
  • Looking within Our Jewish Community
  • How Are We Responsible/Accountable?

Please sign up for the group that best fits your schedule and needs:

Diane's Group
Tuesdays, 2:00 PM, Beth Am Conference Room or by Zoom
May 31, June 7, June 21, June 28, July 5, July 12
Registration for this group is now closed.

Facilitated by Diane Frankle. Diane is co-founder of a new nonprofit Building Bridges Together, offering interfaith dialogue programs to Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith communities across the United States, is a recovering Silicon Valley corporate lawyer and serves on her college alma mater’s Board of Trustees, where she co-chairs the Board’s Racial Equity Task Force; she has been a member of Congregation Beth Am since 1987. Sign up for Diane’s group.

Irene's Group
Mondays, 7:00 PM, Zoom 
June 6, June 20, July 11, July 25, August 8, August 22
Registration for this group is now closed.

Facilitated by Irene Lefton. Irene is a longtime Beth Am member and a professional facilitator who cares deeply about facing our truths in this evolving world.  Join us for deep conversation about this important topic and share our experiences so we all grow together! Sign up for Irene’s group.

Donnovan's Group
Tuesdays, 7:00 PM, Zoom
June 7, June 21, July 5, July 19, August 2, August 23
Registration for this group is now closed.

Donnovan (along with his wife, Aly) has been a Beth Am Member since 2001. He is an educator and coach for college students about all things health and well-being. He identifies as Filipino-American and is a Jew By Choice, having become Jewish in 1999 (You can see him talk about the process in this video: He has raised three daughters at Beth Am: Isaiah (19), Micah Mei (Of Blessed Memory) and Avishai (15).

Schwartzs' Group
Wednesdays, 2:00 PM, Schwartzs’ Backyard (Los Altos) 
This group has been cancelled.

Facilitated by Marvin and Ellen Schwartz. Marvin grew up in the Jim Crow South and joined Beth Am in 1976. He is a retired physician, and has been married to Ellen for 54 years. Ellen was born in Richmond, Va. She is a past-president of Beth Am Women and an aquatic specialist. She and Marvin have four grown children who were raised at Beth Am.

Emily's Group
Sundays, 10:00 AM, Beth Am Campus (Outside)
June 12, June 26, July 10, July 24, July 31, August 21
Registration for this group is now closed.

Facilitated by Emily Nagaonkar. Emily is a member of the Beth Am Board of Directors and the Director of Health and Social Services at Avenidas Rose Kleiner Center. She and her husband Harsh are active members of Beth Am’s young adults community, the Orchard. Originally from the metro-Detroit area, she has been in the Bay Area for nine years. Emily is looking forward to delving into challenging, important issues with the Beth Am community.

Sat, June 25 2022 26 Sivan 5782