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B'Yachad Opportunities


While we’re physically distancing (to observe the mitzvah of protecting a life), our Temple Beth Am community is creating opportunities for you to connect with each other b’yachad. See below for various opportunities to connect with one another a Beth Am.

Queer Space, with TF Rourke

First Monday of the month  from 6:30-8 PM

Next lounge: Monday, December 7, 2020

Zoom room (Meeting ID: 856 2075 2031)

Queer Space is a drop-in group for anyone who identifies as LGBTQQIA+ and Jewish or Jewish-adjacent. It’s a casual safe space where we can honor and celebrate our multiple identities, where we don’t have to choose between being Jewish/adjacent and being queer. This is an unstructured space that is intended to be social and intergenerational: an opportunity to meet each other, to share experiences, to appreciate how far we’ve come and how far we have to go – especially with respect to the intersection of Judaism and queer identity. All ages welcome.

Contact TF Rourke with questions or email us if you have trouble accessing Zoom.

Beth Am Book Group in the Time of Quarantine, with Sandy Berger

Second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 PM

Zoom room (Meeting ID: 931 1484 2500)

December 8, 2020: Absurdistan, by Gary Shteyngart


"From the critically acclaimed, bestselling author of The Russian Debutante’s Handbook comes the uproarious and poignant story of one very fat man and one very small country[...] Meet Misha Vainberg, aka Snack Daddy, a 325-pound disaster of a human being, son of the 1,238th-richest man in Russia, proud holder of a degree in multicultural studies from Accidental College, USA (don’t even ask), and patriot of no country save the great City of New York. Poor Misha just wants to live in the South Bronx with his hot Latina girlfriend, but after his gangster father murders an Oklahoma businessman in Russia, all hopes of a U.S. visa are lost."

January 12, 2021: What to do About the Solomons, by Bethany Ball


"More than oceans divide the Solomons. And now, it’s a scandal. Prodigal son Marc Solomon, an Israeli ex-Navy commando living in Los Angeles, is falsely accused of money laundering through his California investment firm. As his home is raided, Marc’s wife, Carolyn ―concealing her own dicey past―makes hopeless attempts to hold their family of five together. Not surprisingly, news of Marc’s disgrace makes its way from Santa Monica to a kibbutz on the Jordan River Valley, and the rest of the mortified Solomon clan: Marc’s self-absorbed wannabe movie star sister, Shira; his rich, powerful and fed-up construction magnet father, Yakov; his childhood sweetheart, Maya; and his brother-in-law Guy, a local ranger turned “mad artist.” As the secrets of the community are revealed through various memories and tales, we witness the tenuous bonds that can keep the Solomons together, and the truths and rumors that could ultimately tear them apart."

February 9, 2021: My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Family's Past, a Memoir, by Ariel Sabar


"In a remote corner of the world, forgotten for nearly three thousand years, lived an enclave of Kurdish Jews so isolated that they still spoke Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Mostly illiterate, they were self-made mystics, gifted storytellers, and humble peddlers who dwelt in harmony with their Muslim and Christian neighbors in the mountains of northern Iraq. To these descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel, Yona Sabar was born.

"Yona’s son, Ariel, grew up in Los Angeles, where Yona had become an esteemed professor, dedicating his career to preserving his people’s traditions. Ariel wanted nothing to do with his father’s strange immigrant heritage—until he had a son of his own."

March 9, 2021: Last Train to Istanbul, by Ayşe Kulin



"As the daughter of one of Turkey’s last Ottoman pashas, Selva could win the heart of any man in Ankara. Yet the spirited young beauty only has eyes for Rafael Alfandari, the handsome Jewish son of an esteemed court physician. In defiance of their families, they marry, fleeing to Paris to build a new life.


"But when the Nazis invade France and begin rounding up Jews, the exiled lovers will learn that nothing—not war, not politics, not even religion—can break the bonds of family. For after they learn that Selva is but one of their fellow citizens trapped in France, a handful of brave Turkish diplomats hatch a plan to spirit the Alfandaris and hundreds of innocents, many of whom are Jewish, to safety. Together, they must traverse a war-torn continent, crossing enemy lines and risking everything in a desperate bid for freedom."

May 11, 2021: Apeirogon: A Novel, by Colum McCann


"Bassam Aramin is Palestinian. Rami Elhanan is Israeli. They inhabit a world of conflict that colors every aspect of their lives, from the roads they are allowed to drive on to the schools their children attend to the checkpoints, both physical and emotional, they must negotiate.
"But their lives, however circumscribed, are upended one after the other: first, Rami’s thirteen-year-old daughter, Smadar, becomes the victim of suicide bombers; a decade later, Bassam’s ten-year-old daughter, Abir, is killed by a rubber bullet. Rami and Bassam had been raised to hate one another. And yet, when they learn of each other’s stories, they recognize the loss that connects them. Together they attempt to use their grief as a weapon for peace—and with their one small act, start to permeate what has for generations seemed an impermeable conflict."

June 8, 2021: The Last Watchman of Old Cairo, by Michael David Lukas


"Joseph, a literature student at Berkeley, is the son of a Jewish mother and a Muslim father. One day, a mysterious package arrives on his doorstep, pulling him into a mesmerizing adventure to uncover the centuries-old history that binds the two sides of his family. 
"From the storied Ibn Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo, where generations of his family served as watchmen, to the lives of British twin sisters Agnes and Margaret, who in 1897 leave Cambridge on a mission to rescue sacred texts that have begun to disappear from the synagogue, this tightly woven multigenerational tale illuminates the tensions that have torn communities apart and the unlikely forces that attempt to bridge that divide."

Tue, November 24 2020 8 Kislev 5781