Sh'ma Group Conversation Materials | Congregation Beth Am

Sh'ma Group Conversation Materials

Sh'ma Group Conversation Materials


We've developed this resource as an entry-point for new Sh'ma Groups. We suggest using this guide for your first meeting, which includes an opportunity to discuss your group's structure and conversation curriculum options. ASK BIG QUESTIONS Materials

Form deeper relationships through a structured conversation process, using materials from Ask Big Questions (, an organization that has trained thousands of people to convene dynamic, thought provoking and meaningful conversations. Their discussion guides and handouts are designed for everyone, no matter your experience level. “Big questions” are concerned with topics that matter to all of us, regardless of our gender, sexual orientation, or personal and political beliefs. Through these conversations, we can understand each other, better understand ourselves, and make the world a better place.

  1. Where Do You Feel at Home? Facilitator Guide
  2. What Have You Learned So Far? Facilitator Guide
  3. When Do You Say No? Facilitator Guide
  4. What Are You Thankful For? Facilitator Guide
  5. What Do You Choose to Ignore? Facilitator Guide
  6. How Do We Connect? Facilitator Guide
  7. For Whom Are We Responsible? Facilitator Guide
  8. What Advantages Do You Have? Facilitator Guide
  9. How Does Technology Change Us? Facilitator Guide
  10. How Do We Love? Facilitator Guide
  11. How Do We Disagree? Facilitator Guide
  12. How Do You Recharge? Facilitator Guide


In the ancient Jewish text Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers), a group of rabbinic scholars in Israel at the beginning of the Common Era fashioned a roadmap to living a moral life. The sages highlighted specific behaviors that would help to put a person on the moral path in life, offering ethical guidance and insight into Jewish tradition and scripture. A millennia and a half later, Ben Franklin created his own plan for a moral life. He identified 13 virtues as the framework for self-improvement and started his mutual-improvement club as a support group to keep him and his peers on track. These materials pair Ben Franklin's virtues with corresponding selections from Pirkei Avot. The toolkits below — created by 92Y, the Union for Reform Judaism and Central Synagogue ­— provide a side-by-side comparison of two great traditions. Download the full toolkit or one for each individual virtue. Use the readings, questions and outline provided to facilitate a unique and powerful dialogue about Jewish and American values. Additional resources available at

  1. Temperance Guide
  2. Silence Guide
  3. Order Guide
  4. Resolve Guide
  5. Frugality Guide
  6. Industry Guide
  7. Sincerity Guide
  8. Justice Guide
  9. Moderation Guide
  10. Cleanliness Guide
  11. Chastity Guide
  12. Tranquility Guide
  13. Humility Guide



Congregation Beth Am
  • 26790 Arastradero Rd., Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
  • (650) 493-4661 Contact Us

We strive to live as a holy community whose study and practice of Judaism inspires and challenges us to "do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God" (Micah 6:8).