Find your interest. Discover a passion. Join us!
Want to get involved? Have questions? Contact the chair of the committee or the office by email or phone (914-946-8851).
Acharei Kiddush: We invite guests or members to share some learning or experiences with us after the Kiddush lunch following Shabbat services.
Adult Bible Study: Sunday morning discussion sessions on books of the Bible chosen by the group each year. No prior knowledge of the text or Hebrew necessary.
BAS Book Club: Jewish-themed book club which meets monthly. All are welcome.
Hebrew Literacy Class: Learn Hebrew so you can help your child with Hebrew homework, recite the Chanukah blessings and read the prayers in the siddur.
Hebrew Reading Group: The group reads contemporary Israeli novels in the original Hebrew. We explore vocabulary, ideas, styles and grammar as they comes up in the reading. Members of the group read at different levels of proficiency and learn from each other.
Libraries: Lending Library (1st floor) contains Judaica fiction, nonfiction, Holocaust; the small room in the rear has biographies, art books, and the Ruth Seldin collection. The Beit Midrash contains the Arthur Kellman collection of books focusing on Reconstructionism. Reference Library (2nd floor) resources include Talmud, Anchor commentaries, Rashi and other medieval commentators, Nehama Lebowitz, etc. Close to 100 haggadot are also available.
Parashah of the Week Study Group: Each Wednesday evening, Rabbi Bronstein leads a tour of the “par’shat hashavua,” the Torah portion of the week. The class looks at plot, themes, language, poetry, theology, history, and of course, commentary (ancient and modern). The Rabbi aims to make the class stimulating for the adept, as well as a worthwhile learning and social experience for novices (including non-Hebrew readers).
Rabbi Lester Bronstein
Summer Study Group: Taking a summer break from the rabbi’s Talmud class, Summer Study has a different focus each year. Past topics have included: Jewish Humor, The Song of Songs, Pirkei Avot, and the book “In Search of Theological Modesty.”
Talmud Weekly Study Group: Each week as we make our way through the Steinsaltz English translation and commentary of the Talmud. Good food for thought, and good company. Drop in any time or become one of our stalwart regulars. No prerequisites other than a love of Jewish learning and an open mind.
Rabbi Lester Bronstein
Yiddish Conversation Circle: We enjoy our Yiddish heritage and deepen and broaden our familiarity with this language.
Community Outreach & Support
BAS Connections: We provide help to members who have become more homebound and need some assistance continuing to connect with programs, services at BAS community.
BAS Pen Pals: Becoming a BAS Pen Pal offers an opportunity to get to know another member through letter writing. Members are invited to reach out to another member of their choice.
Bikur Cholim (caring for the sick): We help support those in our community who are dealing with illness. We offer visits, phone calls, cooked meals and transportation. Please join us in this important mitzvah. Read more
College Connect: We prepare Chanukah and Purim gifts for our college students. We also invite undergraduate and graduate students to join Rabbi Bronstein and a group of their peers for a lively evening of food, conversation and catching up with old and new friends, twice annually.
Coronavirus Congregational Outreach/Support
Meal of Consolation (Se’udat Havra’ah): We support mourners by offering a simple Meal of Consolation upon return from the cemetery. Contact the office to learn how you can be part of this process. (Please see Shiva Support below for more about how we support mourners.)
Refu’at HaNefesh (Healing of Spirit): Serves members of the community (and their families) who are experiencing emotional difficulty. The chevra can provide referrals to providers, procure clergy support, and facilitate contact with congregant peer-supporters who have dealt with or are dealing with a similar situation or condition. Read more
Seder Shidduch: We match members who can extend an invitation to a fellow congregant to join their seder with those who express interest in being invited to one.
Shiva Support: We support fellow congregants in mourning in several ways. Shiva Captains help congregants in the days after a loss by organizing prayerbook delivery, a meal of consolation and/or other support. We also have a shiva minyan class where participants study the customs of shiva and learn how to conduct an evening prayer service in a mourner’s home. Contact the office to help. (Please see Meal of Consolation above for more about how we support mourners.)
Providing and coordinating activities and programs to encourage family engagement in the Bet Am Shalom community. We have educational and social programming, as well as meaningful opportunities to participate in our Shabbat community. Read more
Parent Association for Torah La’am: Our PTA supports our Jewish education programs.
Shorashim: Volunteer for Shorashim (monthly 0-5 years program) to engage member and non-member parents and children in the activities, build connections between participants, and share your love of BAS. Volunteers can help out at one or more of the programs. Guitar and keyboard players are needed for the last 15 minutes of our programs. Read more
Shabbat Kulanu: A multigenerational Friday evening service with potluck dinner.
Tot Shabbat: This kid-friendly service runs for about 30 minutes with lots of singing, dancing, and good fun. For children up to age 5 with a parent (or grandparent).
Young Family Brunch
Shelli and Micah Friedberg
Torah in Action
Afghan Refugee Family Resettlement: We have partnered with Woodlands Community Temple to help resettle a family from Afghanistan.
Susan Van Doren
Blood Drive: Twice a year, together with our neighbor synagogue Kol Ami, Bet Am hosts a a blood drive. Donate blood . . . people can’t live without it!
Holiday Meals at Local Shelters: Members prepare food for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.
Eda and Bernie Kliniger
Interfaith Jewish/Muslim Activities: Bet Am Shalom enjoys partnering with our Muslim neighbors to host joint programs that enable us to learn about one another’s holidays and faith traditions. These community coalition building events are well attended and enjoyed by our youngest to oldest members alike.
Open Arms Shelter: We provide dessert and vegetable dishes twice monthly.
Green Chevra: We work on projects to move the synagogue in a more environmentally responsible direction. Read more
Hunger & Homelessness: Join us and participate in many activities that help make the world a better place. Attend our annual Social Action Concert and enjoy outstanding music while raising money for an important cause. Read more
Kiddush Food Delivery to Shelter: Volunteers deliver leftover food from Kiddush.
Midnight Run: Several times a year, we make a late-night trip to NY City to help feed and clothe the homeless via an organization called Midnight Run. Help us sort clothes and prepare “brown bag dinners” for the men and women, or sign up to actually go on the Run itself.
Mitzvah Knits: We come together to enjoy each other’s company while knitting items to donate.
Social Action Concert: Yearly concert organized by BAS chevra members to benefit underserved communities in our area. Prior performers have included Doug Mishkin, Tom Paxton, Beged Kefet, Moody Jews, Matisyahu, Joel Wenhardt and the All-Stars.
Special Needs Shabbat: We welcome our guests with special needs and provide a communal experience for them.
Tikkun Olam (repair the world): We strive to put Jewish values into action by pursuing Tikkun Olam/Social Action activities in three important ways — education, advocacy and hands-on service. This multifaceted approach ensures that we engage minds, hearts and hands in our efforts to repair the world and that we provide a range of opportunities for our members to learn about and participate in this important work. Currently, we are focusing broadly on hunger/homelessness, immigration, racial justice issues and environmental issues. Read more
Art, Literature & Music
Bet Am Shalom Gallery: We curate exhibits of creative visual works by Bet Am Shalom congregants that are connected by a larger, theoretical theme so as to enrich the life and community engagement of our congregation.
Paula Markowitz Wittlin
Cinematheque: Our very popular Jewish film series, presents the best in thought-provoking cinema and original series, whether on-line or on-site. Following the viewing is a stimulating post-film discussion, sometimes featuring interviews with film directors, producers or actors.
Judaica Craft Show: The BAS Annual Judaica Craft Show, featuring the finest selection of Judaica and jewelry, has been a regional attraction for years and brings hundreds of people to our synagogue. We rely on volunteers to help make the show happen. Visit online show
Selected Jewish Short Stories: Once or twice each year, we present a program of stories with Jewish themes. BAS members volunteer to read these stories aloud, and the audience has a chance to discuss the works.
Shirat Ha’am (Choir): Shirat Ha’am (Voice of the People) is a choir composed of all interested congregants led by our immensely talented Cantor Benjie Schiller. The chorus sings several times a year during regular services; 4-6 rehearsals before each presentation. Read more
Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller
Writers Chug (Original Jewish Short Stories): Congregants give each other support and encouragement as we individually work on original Jewish fiction. In the spring, we have a reading where we present our work to the congregation. All are welcome.
Shabbat & Minyans
Candlighting via Zoom: An opportunity to bring in Shabbat with other members.
Havdalah for Families: Brief Havdalah service followed by food and child-friendly activities.
Homemade Kiddush: Members contribute homemade food to the kiddush.
Meditation Before Tefilah: A guided meditation is provided, as is an opportunity for sharing personal experience in our supportive, safe and welcoming circle.
Rabbi Jonathan Slater
Shabbat Scotch Tasting
Shabbat Morning Service Coordination
Debra Abrahams Weiner
Lulav & Etrog Trip and Market: Representatives from the synagogue travel to the Lower East Side to select quality Lulavim and Etrogim which members can purchase at our onsite market. A representative from the ritual committee is on hand to demonstrate proper usage.
Mishloach Manot (giving of Purim baskets): Congregants may sign up to give communally-prepared traditional and beautiful Purim baskets to each other, our staff, and needy individuals outside our community. The real fun is in the communal baking, packing and delivering!
Gail Bess Abato
Purim Spiel: Each year a capacity crowd of old and young comes to celebrate the fall of Haman. Purim at BAS only gets crazier with each passing year. There are kids’ and adult Megillah readings; the adult reading is punctuated with spiel intermissions. No one is spared the BAS wit! Join us if you like to write, sing or perform!
Sukkah Decorating: Members join together to decorate our sukkah.
Tu B’Shevat Celebration: We celebrate the Jewish New Year of Trees with a day of events for all ages: nature-oriented learning, gardening tips and seed planting, vegetarian lunch, speakers on the environment and a garden tour.
Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day): Each year we gather to commemorate the Shoah with a program of education, music, prayer and the reading of names of congregant family members who perished in the Holocaust.
Yom Kippur Break Fast
Israel Action Fellow congregants and those from other congregations in the area plan ways for us to learn about, and celebrate our connection with, the land of Israel. Read more
Shalom Yisrael (Zahal Shalom): Help us welcome Israeli women to our community who are the first responders to emergencies; many have been injured in the Armed Forces or experienced other life trauma there. Each woman stays with a host family. BAS volunteers drive the guests during their stay on weekdays.
Organization & Administration
BAS FaceBook Community Group
Communications & Marketing
Financial Advisory Committee: This standing committee is specified in the synagogue’s by-laws. The mandate of the FAC is to advise the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee on matters relating to the long-term financial health of the synagogue.
Gardening: We help keep our grounds blooming and beautiful. Join us regularly, or drop in for a special Garden Day in the spring, summer or fall.
Penny Steiner Grossman
Innovation Task Force
Library: Help us acquire and take care of books for the Bet Am library, which is open to all who want to read or do research.
Member Engagement: Membership at BAS is a journey. To maintain a thriving and connected community, our aim is to reach and stay engaged from the moment a person or family expresses interest in joining BAS through the many life cycles of their experience thereafter. By learning about the interests and needs of prospective, new and existing members, we will help connect them to our wide variety of activities and to each other. Led by Ann Crane, three sub-committees working together include Member Recruitment (Loren Napoli, Michael Sittenfeld); Member Integration (Marisa Jackson); and Member Retention (Maxine Sugarman).
Newsletter (Lev La’am): We produce a quarterly newsletter including articles, event announcements and other important congregational information.
Paula Markowitz Wittlin
Program Committee: We design programs you and others will want to attend. We set direction and give focus to each year’s programming for the whole congregation. Everyone is welcome.
Susan Van Doren