Library Minyan of Temple Beth Am
January 2017
 The Minyan Monthly
The Rosh's Corner
I had an unusual experience recently. I’m not much of a Facebook poster, but I recently shared something on my timeline that had been shared by a friend. It seemed innocuous enough as it “advertised” (whether actually, aspirationally, or comically) a “Freedom Concert” featuring some of the musical gedolim of our time, from Bruce Sprinsteen to Bruno Mars, to take place on Inauguration Day. The post had pictures of doves and a rainbow and the Statue of Liberty, and looked a bit like the cover of a children’s book.

What happened next astounded me. I was called “PATHETIC” (yes, in all caps) and accused of being divisive and of “hurting this country” by someone I’ve known for fifteen years. And then, all hell broke loose. People whom I call friends both on and off Facebook began shouting at each other in print. The topic of the conversation may have been whether or not the incoming president elect is worthy of his new job, but the tenor of the conversation was one of wrath and hatred.
This incident  has me thinking. Why are people who are usually very careful about their words losing it publicly? Has the rhetoric of this election pulled off the band-aids of both “political correctness” and civility? Have people somehow become less tolerant of everything? And if so, why? Do people feel the need to shout to be heard? Do they feel so disrespected that they have nothing left to do but shout?
And, importantly, how does this new level of agitation affect us and our community? Will we be a safe haven from the whirlwind or part of the storm? Or, will we be able to forge a new path that balances our passions, respect for one another and need to be heard?
Wishing you a reflective Tevet and a peaceful 2017.
— Sandra Lepson

The Library Minyan's Global Village
They say it takes a village to raise a child. They, whoever they are, could not be more correct, but I think that the village has changed. The internet is full of blogs about parenting, and social media seems to be a platform for opinions about everything from which toys will get your child into ivy league schools to which type of diapers to use. It's overwhelming. No matter what you think, someone agrees with you and someone thinks you are a terrible parent. When my son Eliezer starts making noise or melting down while I'm out running errands, about half the people look pointedly away, stare coldly, or comment about my life and choices. The other half either ignore me politely, give an encouraging smile, or sometimes offer a few words of encouragement. 
Shabbat has become much more important to me as a time not only to focus on spending time with family and friends, but as a chance to get a small break from the chaotic voices shouting at each other on the internet. The Library Minyan at TBA has been especially amazing during Shabbat because even when Eliezer starts to fuss and make noise, I still feel welcome. I can just be with my family in a comfortable spiritual space. Members of the community often offer to help out and give him a change of scenery (or at least of the person holding him) for awhile, giving me and a my husband Nathan a chance to focus on the prayers and a much needed break.
I am grateful to the Library Minyan for being a supportive part of my metaphorical village as Nathan and I raise our child. 
— Lindsay Roller

A Memorable Day with the Giving Spirit
At The Giving Spirit orientation, we are told that the items we give are important — but our time and personal attention are also valuable since many homeless people like to interact with volunteers in conversation. When we found Ron, (pictured with Dianne and Sandra just above) his nose was buried in a book. He told us that he'd gone to college at the University of Illinois in Champagne and had played basketball there. Ron is one of those people who has almost nothing, but is grateful for everything.  When we left, he went back to his book.
We also met two women who found shelter with and near each other. They asked us for blessings, something that we Conservative Jews aren't very comfortable with. We said and sang a Mi Sheberach and recited the Priestly Blessings while holding their hands in a circle. 
These are the kind of moments that make such volunteering great. We definitely get more than we give, and we feel ever more grateful for what we have.
— Meyer Shwarzstein
A Musical Back Story
A number of people expressed positive reactions to my rendition of the middle two paragraphs of the Musaf Kedushah in the December 17 Shabbat service. The melody comes from a very famous Israeli song, Naamah, composed by the well-known songwriter, Avraham Bar-Oz. The song was first performed by Ester Ofarim, and it won second place in the 1961 Israeli Song Festival. It later received a second surge of popularity when it was recorded by Ofra Haza.
Coincidentally, 1961 was the year my family arrived in Israel, but it wasn’t until two decades later that I acquired an album of early Ester Ofarim songs and first heard the song Naamah. There is also a beautiful couples dance set to the song that is often played at Israeli-dance “nostalgia” events. 
The original song is set in a vineyard at sundown. A young woman approaches, unaware of the songwriter’s watchful presence nearby. “Where are you going?” he asks. “Where do you wander by yourself? Where does your path lead? — tell me, Naamah. I have a small secret, (but alas) I wander alone and it is only the wind to whom I shall reveal it.”
Those interested in learning the melody can find the Ofra Haza version on Youtube. Special thanks go to Joel Stern for introducing the melody to the Minyan two weeks ago and encouraging me to use it again.
—   Lida Baker
January 15 Israeli Music Program 
Israeli culture is reflected through its music. On Sunday,15 January at 11 am, Professor Mark Kligman will lecture on the Music of Israel and how it connects to Israeli life.
He begins with the patriotic style of the early state, and continues through Israeli Rock and Muzika Mizrachit (Middle Eastern music) of today. 

This is a free lecture, and all are encouraged to attend.

— Anita Happel
Help Choose the Book for March 18 Discussion
The Education Committee is planning a book discussion for March 18 after kiddush, and requests your input on what book to read.

Candidates suggested so far are: People of the Books by Adam Kirschner, The Jews of Harlem  by Jeffrey Gurock, and Yehudah Halevi by Hillel Halkin.
Please indicate which of these you would prefer, or suggest another non-fiction book by writing to

—   Carl Sunshine
Upcoming Events 
Jan. 15 — Mark Kligman teaching about Israeli Music at 11 am
Jan. 21 — LA Zimriyah Chorale featuring Cantor Hillary Chorny at TBA at 8 pm
Jan. 28 — Torah Club on Rosh Chodesh
Feb. 10-12 — Rabbi Ed Feld as Colker-Klein/Shapiro Scholar-in-Residence
Feb. 18 — Jeremy Grinblatt's Bar Mitzvah
March 18 — Book Discussion after Kiddush

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