The Arts

For Reconstructionists, Judaism is more than religion; Judaism is the entire cultural legacy of the Jewish people. Religion is central; Jewish spiritual insights and religious teachings give meaning and purpose to our lives. Yet our creativity as expressed through art, music and drama, languages and literature, and our relationship with the land of Israel itself are also integral parts of Jewish culture. Each of these aspects provides a gateway into the Jewish experience that can enrich and inspire us. At Bet Am Shalom, our congregants find and share many kinds of artistic expression some of which are described below.
 

The Bet Art Shalom Gallery

The Bet Art Shalom Gallery showcases works by and for members of our congregation and their families, which are visual art, photography, or documentary in nature, in a curated exhibit format.  All shows have some educational component and serve a higher purpose than merely showing pictures on the walls.  Our committee provides the context, if it is not intrinsic in the work, for each show.  It is our goal to offer two to three shows each year to the Bet Am Shalom community.  The Gallery is located on the lower level of BAS, accessible by stairs, elevator, or during the holidays, by the outside doors in the rear of the building.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shirat Ha-am ("Song of the People")

The Bet Am Shalom choir takes its name from "Shirat Ha-Yam", the "Song of the Sea" in the Book of Exodus. The choir is conducted by Cantor Schiller and  annually presents a musical "D'rasha" as part of a regular Shabbat Service. They also perform during the High Holy Day services. To be part of the group, contact Cantor Schiller at betamshalom@betamshalom.org.

shirat ha-am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theater

The Bet Am Shalom Theater Project has done a variety of shows utilizing the many talents of our members.

At the Table (2014)  An orginal play written by Vincent Park with orignial music by Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller and Richard Woodrow. Done in one act, the performance was staged around dinner tables. Cast members sat with, fed, and entertained audience members at their tables in addition to delivering performances from a platform and in the round.

 

 

 

 

 

Deja Vu (2009)  An original play in two acts written by congregant Vincent Park with original music by Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller and Richard Woodrow. There was a cast of 32 players and musicians, with 15 or more technical hands.

Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (2003)  Co-directed by R. Vincent Park and Richard Woodrow. Musical direction by Richard Woodrow. Choral direction by Benjie Ellen Schiller and Richard Woodrow. The production included 24 BAS performers, 3 BAS musicians, and a support team of 10.


Teen Theater - the "Bet Amateurs" - A Social Action Chevra

Theater, by, for and with teens. Since 2001 Bet Am Shalom teenagers, with the enthusiastic assistance of many BAS families, have written, produced, directed and starred in numerous theater productions. The shows range from original scripts, like the comedies Talmudic Vaudeville, Samsonator and Shtick, to serious drama, like Anne Frank: A Meditation and classics like Spoon River Anthology and musicals like Little Shop of Horrors, the Wizard of Oz and Cinderella.

The BAS TEEN THEATER donates the proceeds from their shows to a variety of charities. They have raised thousands of dollars.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purimspiel

Purimspiels have long been a tradition at Bet Am Shalom. Congregants write, produce and perform a satirical musical comedy during breaks from the reading of the megillah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community Quilt

A magnificent wall hanging (measuring 5' x 8') that congregants crafted to commemorate Bet Am Shalom's 50th anniversary and celebrate the dedication of the new sanctuary in 2006. Under the expert artistic guidance of Caren Sacks, master quilter, David Fine, graphic designer, and Suzi Eisman, committee chair, a quilt was designed and created with the theme of "Mah Tovu" (how lovely are your tents, O Jacob...). More than 80 families created their own squares with personal messages that were incorporated into the overall design. The quilt was presented to the community on June 14, 2010 and now hangs on the wall to the right of the Simcha Room for all to enjoy.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Musical Performances

On occasions or at community celebrations, the congregation's musicians share their talents with us. One such group, the "Moody Jews" are pictured here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selected Jewish Shorts

Several times each year, members read aloud in English short stories by Jewish writers. Ranging from drama to comedy to fantasy, the stories are drawn from a rich heritage, including Yiddish, American Jewish, and Israeli writers old and new.
 

Writers Chug (workshop for writers)

Members of the Bet Am Shalom writers group present their short stories usually in May and June. Click on the title below to read some examples of past original works. 

River of Money by Simon Aronin

Fanny by Cynthia Ehrenkrantz

Christmas Fish by Ruth Handel

After the Guns Fell Silent by Sid Hecker

Shul in the Woods by Gloria Lazar

Battleground by Ben Nightingale

Yellow Stars by Robert Reitter

In the House of the Lord by Ruth Seldin

Samson and Me by Barbara Weinreb

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