Library Minyan of Temple Beth Am
Dec 2019-Jan 2020
 The Minyan Monthly
Message from the Rosh
Shalom Chaverim,
I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday, with time to relax and enjoy family and friends. The news in the Library Minyan is that the we have survived "joyful flexibility" and are back in the Dorff Nelson Chapel each and every Shabbat. And we have a new shulchan on which to place the Torah and from which the shaliach tsibur leads davening. Teri Cohan Link, along with Carl Sunshine and Bob Roosth (and with input from Rabbi Chaim Tureff of Pressman Academy), worked with the cabinet maker to create the beautiful design and practical features of the Torah Table. It is a great addition to our Shabbat service and we thank Teri, Carl and Bob for their work on behalf of our community.
A special word of thanks to Bill Seligman who organized our High Holiday services. Bill works to include many of our Minyaners in the various parts of the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services, and strives to bring in diverse voices to lead davening and to bring us words of Torah and inspiration through drashot. Over the many hours we were in shul, we hope you found meaning and had the opportunity for reflection. And we are grateful for Bill's hard work.
We have made a transition in coordination of Shabbat and holiday drashot. For the past twelve years, Alisa Shudofsky has organized drashot each Shabbat and for Sukkot, Pesach and Shavuot. That may be a record of service within the Library Minyan! We thank Alisa for this outstanding contribution to our community. And she has passed the baton to Rachel Rubin Green and Zwi Reznik. Please volunteer to give a drash. You can reach Rachel and Zwi at
As noted elsewhere in the Minyan Monthly, there are upcoming learning opportunities at the Library Minyan, organized by A.J. Happel, and there will also be social events later in the winter, organized by Michelle Wolf, Deborah Blum and Diane Herman. So please note the calendar. And while you are marking special days on your calendar, please hold the date of Saturday January 25. On that Shabbat, the Library Minyan will celebrate, with Abe and Annette Berman, Abe's 100th birthday!
And a final word of thanks to all the members of the Library Minyan who contributed to dedicating a Parsha Panel in the new Ganzberg Sanctuary. All who contributed by a certain date were acknowledged in Kol Ha'Am, and they are listed right here in the Minyan Monthly.
See you in shul,
—Melissa Berenbaum
We're Children and Supporters of Immigrants
Cheryl and I have been members of Temple Beth Am’s Library Minyan since the early 1980s, although we came from very different backgrounds. For me, the path to the egalitarian minyan was a long way from a Young Israel in Cleveland, Ohio. For Cheryl, the Minyan offered the opportunity to embrace a level of observance that hadn’t been part of her childhood. We have each experienced our own sense of being “outside.” In many ways, that sensibility is central to how we see the world.

Sam: Like many of us in this minyan, my parents were immigrants, coming to the United States in 1947 and living through terror and hardship. The history of TBA members is full of first, second and third generation Americans. I moved from the Mid-West, and after law school, settled in Los Angeles and started a practice with a focus on Immigration Law. In my 40 years of practice I have represented people from every continent except Antarctica. Recently I represented a number of refugees and asylees from Syria. Just before I started to write this article, I spoke to a young lady who was allowed to enter the United States from Iraq because her two brothers had assisted the US military during the Gulf War and invasion of Iraq. She was very excited to be ready to apply for citizenship, and I encouraged her to study US Civics and Government in preparation for the Naturalization Examination.
Cheryl: I began attending the Library Minyan when I started as a rabbinic student, a course of study that initially baffled my parents. Both of them were raised in relatively observant homes, but my father had rebelled against religious observance in the process of separating from his family. My mother’s Jewish identity and practices was shaped by her father’s profound ambivalence about his own Orthodox German-Jewish identity. He became a stranger in the land of his birth and was forced to give up his home and educational aspirations. He moved to Palestine (where my mother was born), and experienced further violence, and was an enemy alien upon his arrival to the U.S. This sense of otherness and separation were at the heart of my mother’s Jewish identity.
Both of us: The experiences of our parents and grandparents have left us deeply aware of the plight of the stranger. Our families have been “strangers.” For us, the call to care for the “other” comes from this very experience. ואהבתם את הגר כי גרים הייתם בארץ מצרים : Love the stranger, for you were strangers in Egypt (Deut. 10:19). This commandment to “love” calls upon us, as loving often does, to do what is difficult and even selfless. As children of immigrants and refugees ourselves, we understand this “love” to be not only a personal call but also a Jewish call of responsibility. Our responsibility as Jews and our experience as children of immigrants demands that we do no less for others than was done for our families and for other families in the Beth Am community. 
—Cheryl Goldstein & Sam Jason
Education Committee Update
There will be an Education Committee meeting on Shabbat, January 11, 2020 at 1 pm, after kiddush. We will meet to exchange ideas for future programming and to elect a new Committee chairperson.
Everyone can look forward to a January 18 post-kiddush Talk on “America's Jewish Women: a History from Colonial times to Today” by Dr. Pamela Nadell, author of the book by the same name. Dr. Nadell is Professor and Chair of Women's and Gender History at American University, and Director of the university’s Jewish Studies Program. She is the past President of the Association of Jewish Studies.
Many thanks to those who consented to share their expertise with us this past year: the three docents (Hannah Kramer, Zwi Reznik and Rachel Rubin Green), the Medical Decisions Panelists (Janet Morris, Diane Roosth, Elliot Dorff and Dr. Judy Cowan), the residents of Neve Shalom (Samah Salaime and Lihi Joffe) and all those who presented at TBA events which the Library Minyan co-sponsored.
Events for 2020 are already being planned. Please join the Education Committee to help bring these to fruition and to initiate more!
— AJ Happel, Education Committee Chair
Social Action Past
On Saturday night, November 16, the TBA ballroom was busy with home-grown and guest talent as well as a silent auction. The proceeds went to help fund One LA-IAF, a social advocacy group within which Temple Beth Am is a member institution.
Plenty of noshes were there for the munching, and the auction had a wide variety of items and services to bid on. Joel Grossman MC’d the event with his reliable wit and comic timing. Alexandra Goldman sang two original songs. Marlisse Bachrah and Mara Roshal duetted on two popular songs. Comedian Ahamed Weinberg offered up a standup routine.
The entertainment concluded with the KAILA (Klezmer Arts Institute of Los Angeles) Band led by Gustavo Bulgach. The end result was a contribution to One LA of about $1700 to help with their budget this fiscal year. For more information about how you can get involved with One LA, contact Henry Morgen <>
— Henry Morgan
Ritual Report
Library Minyan members, like active and knowledgeable Jews everywhere, know that (despite the presence of Hanukah, however you spell it!) Kislev is part of the long quiet season, ritually speaking, from Cheshvan until the beginning of Adar. And so, the Ritual Committee will use this time to focus on the issues and concerns important to the Library Minyan community. 

Individual members often come to me and say “why don’t we _____”, or “can I add _________to the service?” Some of those questions are not particularly significant in their impact on the community, or come within the parameters that the Minyan has established and so can be answered without input from the kahal — such as “can I do a full repetition of the musaf Amidah?” Others, though, in keeping with the Minyan’s longstanding traditions, need to be vetted either on the halakhic level or with the community as a whole, or both — such as our discussion a few years ago about birkat cohanim (which, for the record, I’d love to revisit).

So, consider this an open invitation to everyone: if there is something on your mind that would involve a change to the service, please send an email to In our next edition, I’ll share the list of topics that were raised by multiple people, and the schedule for the Ritual Committee meetings at which they will be discussed. 
— Bill Seligman, Ritual Chair
Upcoming Events
Dec 14
Co-sponsored Kiddush honoring Grob Family aliyah
Jan 18 Torah Club, History Talk & Extended Kiddush
Jan 25 Abe Berman's 100th Birthday
Feb 15 Annual Meeting & Kiddush
Feb 15 DPL Havdalah & Game Night
Look down this page for Dec. & Jan. Social Action programs.
Help Produce an Accurate Census
From March through July 2020, the constitutionally required census will be taking place throughout the United States. For the first time, most people will be completing their census form online. However, some people don’t have access to a computer or aren’t comfortable filling out forms online. For their sake, Census Action Kiosks (CAKs) are being established throughout LA County at suitable sites, including religious institutions. Temple Beth Am will be hosting such a site beginning the week of March 2 — and volunteers are needed to act as friendly helpers to TBA members and other Angelenos. 

The TBA Census Kiosk will be open two days a week in the late afternoon-early evening. The precise days and times will be set soon. Some of you have already put your names forward, but there’s room for more helpers. Please contact Gabe Kramer, TBA’s liason for the Census project, at, or Susan Laemmle, They're working under Tyson Roberts, TBA's Social Action Chair.
Climate Tidbits
Larry Herman writes: Diane and I have bought reusable mesh bags to use when shopping for produce. We also have a good supply of large shopping bags of various sizes which we always use. Thus we've come close to eliminating plastic bags from our lives. 
One bane of our use of home delivery (mainly Amazon) is the amount of packaging. While we recycle the boxes and filler, surely there must be a better way. Often there is an option to consolidate shipments. We should also probably avoid making one-off purchases and do more self-consolidation. 
Please send your Climate Tidbits — things you have adopted, or are just trying out in response to the Climate Emergency — to 

Social & Hospitality Committee Report
The DPL committee has had a busy Fall, with two successful events. For Sukkot we tried a new format asking Minyan members who live near TBA to host potluck lunches in their sukkot. Many thanks to hosts Fran & Joel Grossman, Susan Laemmle & John Antigonas, and Melissa Patack & Michael Berenbaum.
In October we had our annual Friday Night Shabbat Dinner potluck. Thanks to hosts Jerry Krautman & Jackie Weiss, Barry & Kathy Rosenblatt, Mark & Dale Bodenstein, and Diane & Larry Herman. 
Set your calendars for our second annual Havdalah and Game Night on February 15. 
 —Diane Herman, Social & Hospitality Committee Chair
Social Action Upcoming#SA 
For other ways to engage in Social Action, here are some more events coming up:
Sunday, December 8, 12-4pm at B’nai David Judea: Assemble survival kits for later distribution to people experiencing homelessness with “The Giving Spirit”. Contact Dianne Shershow for more information.
Thursday, December 12, 7:30-10:30pm at Brentwood Presbyterian Church: Complete the kits for “The Giving Spirit”.
Sunday, December 15, 9:30am-1:00pm: Meet at Brentwood Presbyterian Church to load bags and distribute the kits for “The Giving Spirit”.
Sunday, December 15, 11am-2pm at two The People Concern locations: Throw a Holiday party. Contact <HERE> for more information.
Thursday, December 19, 7:30pm and Sunday, December 22, 8am: Assemble & distribute holiday food baskets for needy families with One Voice in Santa Monica. Contact <> for more information.
January 20: Many opportunities to be engaged in honor of MLK Day of Service. In particular we’re engaged with Big Sunday from 10am-1pm sorting donated clothes. You can drop clothes off at TBA in the bin ahead of time starting December 15. Contact Susie Pretsky for more information.
— Henry Morgan
Contributors to Parsha Panel V'zot Habracha
John Antignas &
  Rabbi Susan Laemmle
Michael & Melissa Berenbaum
Abe & Annette Berman
Rabbi Gordon & Dina Bernat Kunin
Bob & Sandra Braun
Mayer & Sandy Brenner
Phil & Miriam Cantor
David Cohen & Alisa Shudofsky
Russell Cohen
Howard Fredman &
  Essia Cartoon Fredman
Jonathan Friedman
Norm Garr
Nina Golden & Jason Rosenbaum
Norm Green & Rachel Rubin Green
Susan Grinel & Larry Rubin
Joel & Fran Grossman
A.J. Happel
Avi Havivi & Deborah Schmidt
Mark Hess & Miriam Prum Hess
Herbert & Carol Kleinman
Marshall & Hannah Kramer
Jerry Krautman & Jackie Weiss
Dan & Jennifer Low
Avrum & Fredda Lowenstein
Bob & Fran Malina
Lou & Judy Miller
Arthur & Susan Mishler
Henry Morgen &
  Suzanne Weiss Morgen
Rick Muller
Avi & Wanda Peretz
Rabbi Joel & Freddi Rembaum
Debbie Rich
Bob & Diane Roosth
Barry & Kathy Rosenblatt
Mark Shapiro & Paula Pearlman
Norm & Irene Saiger
Dianne Shershow
Rachel Sisk
Steve & Marnie Steiglitz
Joel & Susan Stern
Carl & Tova Sunshine
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