Library Minyan of Temple Beth Am
December 2017
 The Minyan Monthly
Reflections of a New Gabbai
I’ve traveled down many a road at Temple Beth Am, since 1955. The latest: Library Minyan Gabbi.
After almost ten years of sitting on the sidelines — and in many cases, not liking what I see — I thought it was time to join the ranks of those who can effectively make a difference.
At times, I find our services to be relatively “stale.”  Week-after-week, you see the same faces in the same roles. Why does one person lead P’sukei D’Zimra 39 times a year (non-scientific guess), even if very ably, when there is so much talent among us?
I’m very proud of my debut as Gabbi in November, when most of the participants either debuted in their roles or filled a slot you rarely see them in.
In addition, there was a “theme” to the Torah service as the seven aliyoat were given to couples.
When someone asked you that day, “how were services?,” you could at least have something new to talk about!
Whenever possible, I’d like to make my Sabbaths something even more special, for example by inviting guest speakers outside our “comfort zone” to challenge us in our daily pursuits.
Of course, there are mountains to climb and rivers to cross. You’ve heard the expression: “Two Jews; three opinions!” If you are referring to the Library Minyan, you can make that “ten opinions!”
Even on my first day, I was being bombarded by requests and suggestions, almost all of which I could not accommodate because the program was pretty well set, as it should be. I hadn't wanted to find myself in a situation that so many before me have faced: last-minute begging to accept any honor.
Each Gabbi only “works” about eight times a year, so fermenting a style takes time. So far, the feedback has been great, and I hope to mushroom that enthusiasm to make Sabbath and Holiday mornings something to “write home about.”
— Norm Garr

Another Interesting Education Committee Offering
Remembering Rohatyn was recently published under a pseudonym by Donia Shwarzstein. To celebrate and build upon that publication, on December 16 a post-kiddush discussion will be held at TBA featuring Rabbi Michael Berenbaum, Donia Shwarzstein and Meyer Shwarzstein.
While many stories have been written about people and families, few books have encaptured the history of a town.
Donia Shwarzstein was the lone survivor of her home town of Rohatyn. When she discovered the existence of a Yizkor book from her town, she acquired the rights to have it translated and released in English.  This translation was a means to accomplish a lifelong goal — to repay the Jews of Rohatyn who saved her life.
An early online version of the translation reached a group of Jews who had a connection to the town and then, in turn, have developed a community. In fact, two members of this community have moved to Rohatyn to rebuild the cemeteries and catalog the Jewish history. Remembering Rohatyn is not just a printed version of the translation. It includes biographies of the contributors to the Yizkor book and additional memoirs from survivors who revisited Rohatyn in the late 1990's.
Plan to stay on after Kiddush on December 16 — the Shabbat during Hanukah — to take advantage of this special, interesting program.
— Anita Happel 
Get into The Giving Spirit
The Giving Spirit assembles and delivers survival kits for the homeless during the winter holiday season. B'nai David-Judea has supported this project for many years while warmly inviting TBA members to join in. 
The project has three stages during the week of December 10-17, so find the date and time that works for you. They are:
Sun. Dec. 10, 12-4pm at BDJ: assemble items for kits
Thurs. Dec. 14, 7:30-10pm at Brentwood Presbyterian Church: organize kits
Sun. Dec. 17, 10:30am-2 pm at BPC again, load and distribute kits
RSVP to abiecohen@yahoo .com &
— Dianne Shershow,
The Latest from the Diaspora Potluck Committee
Our next event will be potluck Shabbat Dinners in various homes of Library Minyan members. All are encouraged to attend. It is a good way to get to know new people, and a fun time to visit with folks you may know already, but in a new context.
A formal sign-up sheet will go out in late December or early January, but for now, here are the details:
Date: Friday January 26, 2018 (Please note date change from January 18.)
Time: 6:30 - 9:00 pm  approximately
What to bring: a food item to share — kosher, parve
If you're interested in being a host, or want to sign up to attend, please email Michelle Wolf at or Deborah Blum at Or wait for the sign-up sheet arriving in the next few weeks in your inbox.
We hope everyone has a wonderful, joyous Hanukah, and we look forward to a fun event in January of 2018.
— Deborah & Michelle, DPL co-chairs

Upcoming Events
Dec 10-17 The Giving Spirit events this week
Dec 16 Donia Shwarzstein speaks about Rohatyn after Kiddush
Dec 30 Eitan Feldman Bar Mitzvah
Jan 26 DPL Shabbat Dinners  
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