Groups and Committees
Open Tent Committee – George Mayer, Chair
The Open Tent program began in January 2020. I am blessed to work closely with Doris Jacobson, who staffs the Open Tent program, and a very active committee. The mission of Open Tent is to enrich and deepen the connections between people within the Temple Beth El community and to show potential members living in San Pedro, Palos Verdes, the South Bay, and Long Beach what makes TBE such a special place. Since our beginning, we have initiated a TBE census, grown the Communication Committee, rebooted the TBE MENsch Club, initiated a Neighborhood Connections program, and partnered with the Engagement, Outreach, Communications, and Social Action committees to organize our first ever Festival TBE, brought PJ Library to the Temple, and are in the process of creating a video. Open Tent will continue to deepen connections within the congregation and reach out to those who might like to experience the many aspects of TBE.
Membership Engagement Committee – Linda Herman, Vice President
It has been my pleasure to be involved with our temple community for many years and in many different capacities. I presently serve as Chair of our Membership Engagement Committee. Our goals are to personally welcome new members when they first join. Coupled with this is a strong commitment to encourage member involvement in various temple programs. We will continue with Shabbat Around the Table in the new year, and once we can physically get together, we will continue to facilitate other programs that will enhance relationships between our congregants over the long term.
Community Outreach Committee – Gail Burch, Vice President
My name is Gail Burch and I am the Vice President of Community Outreach. The goal of “Outreach” is to grow the congregation. To do this we are trying to not only meet people outside of our own network but provide interesting reasons for them to join. In an effort to attract families and the unaffiliated, our outreach organization is relying on cultural, social, and religious programs. Our outreach community is seeking ways to extend a hand to groups that have historically felt unwelcomed in the Jewish community, such as the LGBTQ community as well as multiracial Jews.
Communications Committee – Sharyl Holtzman, Chair
The role of the Communications Committee is unique in that we interact with all the facets of TBE – clergy, staff, Open Tent, Community Outreach, Sisterhood, MENsch Club, Education, Cultural Affairs, the Board, and all other committees to help strengthen and elevate our messaging in a unified way. We work behind the scenes in publicity, the Kol Beit El bulletin, social media, and website. Our effort is twofold – we like to say it is our job to engage and inform our community, and new friends we hope to meet. We are always working on new designs and presentations for our services, programming, and events so that they mirror the warmth and spirit of TBE. We actively engage in coalition building and networking with community partners and businesses, other Jewish organizations, and publications. We welcome volunteers who might like to do special articles, help post on Facebook and Instagram, do research projects, organize photos, or use your graphic design talents. For me, this a wonderful place to be where I can contribute, with my background as a communications and events specialist, and help get the word out on how amazing TBE is.
Cultural Arts Committee – Georgia Freedman-Harvey, Chair
As the cultural arts chair, I work closely with Cantor Davidson to present programs and events that relate to the intersection of art and Judaism. This year, for example, we started an Artist Beit Midrash to study Jewish texts with Rabbi and Cantor, looking at the rich history art has played in Jewish life from ancient days to the present. The second cohort of the Artist Beit Midrash will resume after the High Holidays. In addition we are looking at ways to bring more cultural offerings to the temple membership. The current Cultural Arts Committee members are Georgia Freedman-Harvey, Ellen Cantor, and Cantor Davidson.
Sisterhood Membership – Dina Dreizler, Sisterhood President
TBE Sisterhood is a women’s group dedicated to supporting Judaism, friendship, and growth between its members. In cooperation with TBE we have social, religious, and educational activities and programs for members and the Congregation. The VP of Membership oversees and conducts the membership drive and membership dinner. To join and support Sisterhood contact the VP of Membership or any member of the Sisterhood Board.
Sisterhood Book Club – Esther Schoem, Chair
We are a group of women who like to read. Each year we choose a group of books that we would like to discuss together. We would meet once a month before the virus, at a member’s home and have a bite to eat, catch up with our friends, then get down to discussing a book. Now we meet virtually on Zoom on the fourth Thursday of the month.
MENsch Club – Jaime Lowenstein, Chair
As the Chair of the newly ‘rebooted” MENsch Club, I am proud to have an active and creative committee dedicated to creating a community of Jewish men. The MENsch Club is based on 4 pillars – service to TBE, social action programs within our community, mentorship, and sharing good times and experiences together as a strong community on zoom and, in the future, in person. Among our areas of service to TBE is presenting a gift to all of our B’nai Mitzvot youth. The MENsch Club “threw out the first pitch” at our launch event in September. We were joined by 3 members of Team Israel’s baseball team. They were interviewed by our own Robin Dreizler. The MENsch Club recognizes that each of our members has a unique story – a story that we can learn from and one that inspires us. At each program, we invite a MENsch Club member to share his journey.
Board of Education – Dani Paquin, Vice President
As the VP of Education, I lead an amazing team of parent and congregant volunteers in providing support for our staff and Torah School families. We not only plan and execute fun Jewish family-oriented activities and special events, we also manage the Torah School budget, fundraisers, and help wherever needed. We are passionate about a strong community and relationships between students, families, staff, and the larger temple community.
Social Action Committee – Susan Brooks, Chair
The Temple Beth El Social Action committee coordinates hands on projects, education programs centered on Jewish values and advocacy around legislative issues in partnership with the Religious Action Center at the URJ. Some examples of our programs are providing Lunches with Love for the unhoused in San Pedro, meals and companionship for Family Promise, speakers, and discussions around social justice issues like racism, and sending delegates to the L’Taken Teen justice seminar and the Sacramento lobby day with RAC.
Religious Living Committee – Rabbi Cassi Kail, Chair
The Religious Living Committee works with the rabbi in making Jewish practices accessible and meaningful. There are opportunities to discuss Jewish traditions and to brainstorm ways to meet the congregation’s needs. We discuss religious practices during services, and outside of them, from the timing of services to the kashrut of the temple’s kitchen.
Adult Education Committee – Rabbi Cassi Kail, Chair
The Adult Education Committee works with the rabbi to come up with a variety of different adult education programs, such as the Taus Lecture series. The committee is also responsible for promoting education classes.
Youth Committee – Cantor Ilan Davidson, Chair
From our Half Pint Havurah to our Youth and Teen choirs; from Yaldei Shalom to SPeTY, our junior and senior youth groups, our youth committee under the supervision of Cantor Ilan Davidson helps to guide and support all of Temple Beth El’s youth programs. Meeting regularly with parents and our Youth Professionals, our Youth Committee strives to support Jewish programming for our inclusive, community conscious, justice driven, and social outlets for our children from preschool through high school.
Adult Choir – Cantor Ilan Davidson, Chair
If you love to sing, then our Adult Choir is the place for you. Add your voice to the beauty and sanctity of our High Holy Days and other programs, when scheduled, throughout the year, expressing your love for Judaism and prayer, through your raised voices in song.