Congregation Beth Ami
The History of Congregation
CONGREGATION BETH AMI was incorporated as the religious
congregation of the Santa Rosa Jewish Community Center
in 1943. The institution sought to embody and promote
the totality of Jewish life in Santa Rosa. Jews were
a small minority of the overall population and Beth
Ami was indeed the center of their Jewish
lives. They would come together to worship at the Synagogue,
share lifes joys and sorrows, entertain each other
and work, play and relax there. We are fortunate to
still have many of these old-timers as members.
then, the community has grown. In 1962, we acquired
the present campus property and in 1963, dedicated the
Synagogue building. For many years the small, but committed
membership stretched to the limit to keep the Synagogue
alive. At times a rabbi was affordable. At other times,
our members served the needs of their neighbors. Sonoma
County began to boom at the end of the 70s and
early 80s. The local Jewish population and membership
at Beth Ami kept pace. The Nursery School was begun
in 1978. The Religious School grew, and in 1985 the
new classroom wing was dedicated. Inspired by the growth
of the congregation and concerned for its future, Benny,
Rosemary and Joe Friedman donated the Friedman Center
Through celebration, learning, prayer and community,
we seek to enrich our lives, transform our hearts, help
heal the world and sustain our Jewish heritage.
A vibrant, growing campus for Jewish living where the
joys of Jewish values and rituals are made accessible
and relevant to the everyday lives of our members. A
flourishing, prospering congregation enjoying the wholehearted
support, commitment and involvement of all our members.
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- Teshuvah: We value the opportunity, through careful
attention to our lives, to make every moment meaningful
and to increasingly avoid harmful acts.
- Tzedakah: We value the opportunity to use our wealth
and resources to benefit other people.
- Gemilut Chesed: We value the opportunity to perform
acts of loving kindness through speech and deed.
- Talmud Torah: We value the insight and inspiration
we get through the study of our sacred texts and our
- Mishpacha: We value the strength that our congregants
derive from forming relationships with each other
and sharing in each others joys and sorrows.
- Hagim and Simchot: We value the opportunities to
mark together the passage of time, the changes of
seasons, the continuing story of our people and the
cycles of our own lives.
- Tikkun Olam: We rejoice in the role we play in helping
to make the world an ever better place.
- Kvod Habriyot: We value our responsibility
as Gods stewards to protect and preserve all
life on Earth.
- Eretz and Am Yisrael: We value our participation
in the unfolding history of our people, rich in culture,
diverse in practice and bound through time by the
Hebrew language. We are inspired by the challenge
of creating a Jewish state that strives to express
the truest values of our people and provides refuge
for all Jews.
- Kehillah Kadosha: We are humbled and heartened that
through the concrete expression of all our values
we can indeed create a community in which holiness
can be expressed and brought into the world.
The purpose of this organization is to foster the growth
and fuller expression of Jewish life in our community
- Nurturing Jewish culture, heritage and family life.
- Providing intellectual stimulation and ongoing Jewish
- Integrating Jewish law and ritual into modern life.
- Seeking spiritual and religious experiences.
- Developing a sense of community by working together
- Accepting and integrating non-Jewish partners.
- Meeting social, recreational and human needs of
people in all life stages.
- Developing commitment to extended Jewish community
- Developing Jewish social conscience as a stimulus
to social and political action.
- Developing positive relations with the general community.
- Providing and maintaining facilities and programs
to accomplish these aims.
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Committees at Congregation Beth
A synagogue is a community. It is an institution that
provides diverse services and fulfills diverse functions for
its members. It is a beit midrash (a school for adult
and youth education), and a beit Knesset (a house of
assembly). It is a social center for events and celebrations,
and it is a social service center, for life cycle events,
counseling, and care. It is a cultural center and it
is a youth center. It is a communitys spiritual
The mechanism that is vital to the fulfillment of these
functions, and the synagogues mission, is the
network of committees that helps the organization do
its work. There are 12 committees established at Beth
Ami that are answerable to the Board, and help implement
its directives. Members of committees learn skills that
help support the synagogues activities, and build
bonds of friendship by working with others to achieve
results. The time, energy, talent, and enthusiasm that
members bring to their committee work are a priceless
contribution to the health of their Jewish community.
A brief description of the committees and their roles
In conjunction with the Rabbi, determine the schedule and other details pertaining to the religious services and practices at Beth Ami. Encourage and develop higher levels of participation and skill in all matters of religious observance at the synagogue and in the home. Assist the Rabbi in implementing decisions of halacha and liturgy.
Chair Betty Boyd
Sub committee: Music Committee
Explores and discusses the advisability and possibility of adding choral and instrumental music to services. Organizes and schedules solos and ensembles. Attempts to enhance services, both by the beauty of talented performances and by educating and encouraging participation by congregants during services.
Chair: Patrice LePera
Sub Committee: Cemetary Committee
Supervises arrangements for membersﾒ needs.
Chair: Bob Raful
Subcommittee: Kitchen Committee
Encourages the use of the synagogue kitchen by and for congregants. Ensures that all users of the committee are familiar with synagogue policies regarding Kashrut, safety, hygiene and security. Seeks to establish a vibrant culinary community and provide rich and varied feasts for onegs, Kiddush luncheons, and other synagogue events.
Co-Chairs: Jeffrey and Janet Stein-Larson
Adult and Family Education and Programming
Creates and implements new classes and programs that encourage participation in Jewish learning.. Develops the schedules, engages the instructors, produces the publicity, and assumes all responsibility for the creation of new programs. Advises the Board and Staff on matters of program generation and execution.
Chair: Eric Uriarte
Subcommittee: Nursery School
Works with the Nursery School director to develop, implement, and support school programs and activities.
Chair: Chelsie Uriarte
Subcommittee: Religious School
Works with the Religious School Director to develop and support Religious School programs and activities
Chair: Laura Alexander
Subcommittee: Youth Activities Committee
Works with Youth Advisors to support youth programs and activities
Chair: Julie Simkovitz
Subcommittee: Chavurah Committee
Actively engages congregants (who wish to be included) in existing Chaverot, and creates new Chaverot as members request. Communicates guidelines for choosing a Chavurah. Reviews existing guidelines for membership and programming, and makes suggestions as appropriate.
Chair: Jane Meyer
Welcomes new members to the synagogue, and acquaints them with various aspects of synagogue programs. Encourages unaffiliated Jews to consider joining the synagogue. Seeks out inactive members to renew their interest and participation in synagogue life. Interviews members who have recently left the synagogue, and discusses their comments with the Board. Advises the Board on policies that may impact the attraction and retention of members.
Chair: Esther Baruch
Subcommittee: Welcoming Committee
May supplement the Board as greeters at Shabbat services. May provide a table with information for visitors to our synagogue. Assures that visitors are noticed, introduced, and made to feel at home. Follows up, where possible, with visitors.
Co-Chairs: Mark Rosen, Mieneke Drake
Subcommittee :Chesed Committee
Supervises the well being synagogue members in times of need and difficulty. May visit the sick, visit the physically and socially challenged, and may assist and comfort in times
of bereavement, family illness, or other need.
Chair: Joslyn Metzger
Fund Raising, Development, and Special Events
Responsible for organizing and coordinating activities to generate revenue for operation and endowment, consistent with the values of the synagogue. Supervises the Gift Shop.
Chair: Mark Sutter
Israel Affairs Committee
The Israel Affairs Committee has a CLEAR mission to:
Communicate with the community regarding Israel-related and Masorti issues,
Learn more about current affairs related to Israel, including the Masorti movement,
Educate the community about Israel, including the Masorti movement,
Act positively to provide a love of the Jewish State and
React in response to political anti-Semitism.
Chair: Eli Cohen
Building and Grounds
Responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of synagogue-owned buildings and grounds, Advises the Board on matters of insurance coverage, renovations, repairs, possible economies in utility usage, and long term capital improvements. Supervises renovations and construction projects.
Chair: Richard Kahn
Develops programs to further the commitment to the entire extended Jewish Community, and to Israel. Organizes social and political action consistent with our Jewish values. Develops positive relations with the general community
Chair: Lyla Nathan
Subcommittee: North Bay Sponsoring Committee:Core Team
Chairs: Ellen Mundell, Barbara Tomin
Establishes policies for employment at CBA: provides leadership in hiring and terminating employees, including Rabbi and Executive Director; establishes vehicles and timetables for annual reviews of all employees; creates and updates employee handbook.
Chair: Juli Sherer
Subcommittee: Rabbinic Search committee
Find a Part Time Rabbi, to begin Aug 1 2012
Chair: Barbara McGee
Leadership Development/ Board Operations
Develops and administers training programs for synagogue leadership roles. Supervises Board Trainings for new Board members. Monitors compliance with current By-Laws, and recommends By-Laws changes when appropriate. Functions as the parliamentarian at Board meetings. Acts as the Nominating Committee for elections.
Chair: Alan Krubiner
Supervises the synagogue web page. Makes suggestions for web page changes, and supervises their implementation. Develops, as appropriate, suggestions for on line resources and on line learning. Supervises the Cyber Shul and the Shofar. Develops and maintains communications with members. Is responsible for publicity for CBA events, both to the Sonoma County Jewish Community, and the General Community.
Chair: Leanne Schy
Oversees the operation of the library. Encourages appropriate use of the library. Supervises the use of library supplies and materials, including computer and on-line sources. Supervises the recruiting and training of volunteer staff. Advises the Board on all issues relating to the library.
Chair: Susanne Batzdorff
Subcommittee: Web maintenance
Chair: Gabor Por
Board of Directors
Executive Committee 2011-2012
President, Arnold Drake
Vice President, Administration, Juli Scherer
Vice President, Facilities, Stan Feingold
Vice President, Ways and Means, Mark Sutter
Vice President, Youth and Education, Erik Uriarte
Secretary, Betty Boyd
Treasurer, Barbara McGee
© 2010 Congregation Beth Ami