Library Minyan of Temple Beth Am
January 2018
 The Minyan Monthly
The Rosh's Corner
As 2018 begins and my time as Rosh nears its end, I want to take a few moments of your time to reflect.
2017 brought with it many challenges. No matter your political affiliation, there was a constant tension in the air. Add to that the myriad of natural disasters of biblical proportions, the continuing destruction in Syria and elsewhere, turbulence, violence and conflict throughout the world, the rise in xenophobia and Anti-Semitism in the U.S. and Europe –  the magnitude of challenges becomes dizzying. By comparison, our perennial discourse regarding holiday planning or the shul’s construction plans seem (almost) insignificant.
But we persevered. We fed and clothed the homeless in L.A. through the leadership of Dianne Shershow and our partnership with The Giving Spirit. We collected and distributed furniture and supplies to refugees resettled in Southern California with TBA’s Refugee Task force co-led by the minyan’s own Kathy Rosenblatt. We extended invitations to those displaced by local fires. We comforted those among us who lost loved ones. We celebrated births, b’nei mitzvah and weddings. We gathered weekly for Shabbat, celebrated holidays and grew as a community. We became more inclusive and less divisive even in light of huge political differences. We became more welcoming to newcomers. We prepared mishloach manot for the kahal on Purim and distributed an untold number of lollipops to our Adon Olam kids choir. We even came up with a plan, which all TBA constituencies agreed to, for use of the chapel during the shul’s scheduled construction.
So this is the time when I look back and acknowledge that, despite the many mistakes I have made while Rosh, despite all of the challenges we have faced, this community and this minyan have grown ever stronger. It could not have done so without the extraordinary leadership of some very special people. The minyan owes a debt of gratitude to the following people who stepped up to chair committees: Mayer Brenner, ritual chair; Susan Laemmle, communications chair, Miriam Prum Hess and Dianne Herman, social and hospitality chairs, Anital Happel, education chair, Jonathan Friedman, finance chair, Allan Kolkin, gabbai chair, Jerry Krautman and Jackie Weiss, membership chairs, Ilana Grinblatt, youth and children chair. We also welcome the following new(ish) members to the steering committee who recently stepped up to finish out a term for a predecessor who was unable to complete their term: Bill Seligman, ritual chair, Melissa Berenbaum, youth and children chair, and Norm Green, finance chair.
In addition to the list of chairs, I want to personally thank every single member of our community who contributed in any way: the gabbaim who make sure services run week in and week out; all of our leyners, daveners and drashers, without whom we literally could not hold services; Batya Ordin, who is always ready with a meal train, a word of comfort, solace or help when we need it (even as she overcame her own illness); Bob Roosth, who does all things email and website related without complaint; Alisa Shudofsky (drashot), Sharon Grob (greeters), Henry Morgan (Mishna study), the Malinas (haftorot), Paul Miller (leyning), Dale Bodenstein (treasurer), Essia Cartoon-Fredman (Ohel Patuach), Stan Goldstein (megillot readings), Michelle Wolf and Deborah Blum (Diaspora Pot Luck), Fran Grossman (simcha coordinator), Carl Sunshine (kiddush coordinator) and every person and family who davens in the Library Minyan. You are our strength and the reason why the Library Minyan continues to be such a strong, consistent and rooted part of the TBA and greater Los Angeles Jewish community.
It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve as your Rosh.
— Sandra Lepson

Giving — and Gaining — with The Giving Spirit 
The Giving Spirit is an organization approximately 12 years old. It is run completely by volunteers recruited through multi-denominational faith groups, word of mouth, and social media. It assembles and distributes "survival kits" to LA's homeless population twice a year.  As often happens when one "gives,” one also "receives" — in ways intangible but at least as valuable.
I would like to share what I have gained through participating in Giving Spirit activities in order to encourage others in our community to access these intangible benefits. In the process, they will help human beings with their desperate needs of survival on the streets of Los Angeles.
I’ve learned that it’s as important to treat people with RESPECT and GENEROSITY OF SPIRIT as to give them physical objects. To LOOK at them directly. To offer to engage in conversation and LISTEN to what they might want to say, or simply sit in the silent presence of each other. Through The Giving Spirit we are distributing acknowledgment of "mutual humanity" as well as objects of physical need.
Furthermore, I’ve found that the assembly of the "survival kits" that The Giving Spirit distributes establishes a sense of community among the volunteers — who are working as quickly and efficiently as possible; combining ideas, skills, and abilities for the greatest effect. I learned about the planning and preparation of The Giving Spirit's leaders before the kits were ready to be assembled. I have been impressed by the humility of these leaders, who are far more eager to know about their helpers than to "brag" about what they, themselves, know and do.
The next distribution of The Giving Spirit will be this spring. To learn more about what they do and how you can participate, check out You may also ask Dianne Shershow for more information — or contact me to learn more about my personal experiences. Stay tuned for the next announcement of The Giving Spirit's activities in The Minyan Monthly.
— Miriam Cantor
Leadership Transition Announcement
Pursuant to the Library Minyan’s governing charter, Library Minyan leadership serves two-year terms.  The Rosh Minyan’s term transitions on Tu B’Shvat during even years. Therefore, it will soon be time for a new Rosh. The steering committee is scheduled to meet later this month to elect a new Rosh. Pursuant to the Charter, the Rosh must be nominated by a committee chair and must have previously served or currently be serving on the steering committee. The newly elected Rosh will begin his or her term on Wednesday, January 31, 2018.

Some of the other committee chairs are also at the end of their terms. If you are interested in serving on a committee or as a committee chair, please reach out to the current chair of the committee on which you would like to serve. Contact information can be found at
— Sandra Lepson
DPL Committee Note
2018’s first DPL event may help you fulfill a secular-New Year’s resolution to get out and meet more people from the Library Minyan. But even if this is not one of your secular-New Year’s resolutions, or if Rosh Hashanah is enough for you, 2018 is here and so are the new DPL events for the year!
The first one is coming up on January 26 and will be a number of Shabbat Dinners in Geographically Dispersed Homes (thus exemplifying the DPL idea of TBA being the center and our homes being lands in the Diaspora).
We are still accepting hosts, so if you are interested please email Michelle Wolf,
You should have received the announcement email that went out on New Year's Day. You can read it here. There you will find the link to a sign-up form. 
Best wishes for a happy secular-New Year from the DPL Committee!
— Michelle Wolf & Deborah Blum
Assembling Food Paks for Survival Kits
Upcoming Events
Jan 13 Abe Berman's Haftarah & Birthday Kiddush
Jan 26 DPL Shabbat Dinners
Jan 27 Torah Club in the Library Minyan
Feb 10 Elishai Shapiro's Bar Mitzvah
Mishna study 9:20
Tefillot begin 9:45
Temple Beth Am
Dorff-Nelson Chapel
1039 S. La Cienega Blvd, 90035
The Library Minyan of Temple Beth Am, 1039 S. La Cienega Blvd 90035