Past Small Groups


Leader: Karen Fisher
About: This group will meet near UCLA and is limited to 7 enthusiasts! We will chat, enjoy some wine/snacks and learn to play the very fun game of canasta. We will be playing indoors, so everyone must be fully vaccinated. Please bring your favorite wine/snack and we’ll provide the rest.

Who can join: Anyone
Dates and times: January 17, 24, 31, February 7, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Location: TBD
Length of Group: 4 sessions
Minimum Group Size: 3
Maximum Group Size: 7
Skill level: Beginner
Cost: TBD 


Leader: Marcia Albert
About: This world is full of uncertainty, conflict, and constant change.
Although we cannot control so much of the chaos and terror we learn about from the media, we are able to recalibrate our striving for an overall sense of well-being and contentment.
As individuals we can learn and apply certain components that may ensure a life filled with a sense of optimism and purpose. Social science and medical science have uncovered key principles that enable us to think and feel differently when striving to help ourselves and those in need in our community. Together, over the course of our four meetings, we will explore and discuss the following elements that our essential to our humanity:
emotional intelligence and mindset; resiliency; an appreciation for our
fragility and sense of life purpose; and everyday well-being. An essential aspect of this program is to focus on the important connections and applications between these components and Judaism.
Participants will be encouraged to share their experiences and reflections about these topics. Articles will be distributed to participants before each meeting.

Dates and Times: 4-session on Thursdays at 4 pm on 4/28, 5/12, 6/2, and 6/16
Location: The Sales Center

Every picture tells a story

Leader: Robert Freedman
About: Once a month we will talk about and exchange photographs of travel experiences. Each meeting a member of the group will show a selection of photographs they or their family took of a specific destination and provide a narrative.  After, open discussion of positive past travel experiences and potential future experiences.

Who can join: Anyone
Dates and times: One weekday evening a month starting the second week of December. Days and times to be determined based on groups availability.
Location: In person or on Zoom
Length of Group: 6 months
Minimum Group Size: 6
Maximum Group Size: 8
Skill level: N/A
Cost: None

Gardening for fun

Leader: Harriet Shaham
About: Have you been curious about growing your own food, beautifying your landscape and/or creating a drought-tolerant garden. Learn from a Los Angeles County Master Gardener the best way to get started.

Who can join: 16+
Dates and times: Saturday afternoons from 3:30 pm – 5 pm
Length of group: 4 sessions
Location: Home of Harriet Shaham
Minimum Group Size: 3
Maximum Group Size: 10
Skill level: All levels
Cost: None

Israel in the 21st century

Leader: Michael Goldstein
About:  Israel today is quite different from the Israel envisioned by its founders and the Israel we learned about as we were growing up.  This group will give us the opportunity to explore and discuss the key factors that have changed Israeli society and Israel’s place in the world over the past several years and how Israel is likely to change in the future.
This group is for congregants who are concerned about Israel and want an opportunity to discuss Israel’s present situation and possible future in an open, fact based, and non-conflictual setting.
The first session will focus on the discussion of Catch 67 by Micah Goodman. Please be sure to read this book before attending the first session on December 14.

Who can join: Anyone
Dates and times: December 14, January 18, February 15, March 15, April 19, and May 17 from 7 pm – 8:30 pm;
Location: The home of Michael Goldstein
Length of Group: 5-6 sessions
Minimum Group Size: 6
Maximum Group Size: 15
Skill level: N/A
Cost: None

Jewish holiday crafts

Leader: Rebecca Jensen
About: We will get together to do Jewish holiday crafts a few times a year. This group is for recent graduates of Temple Isaiah Preschool to stay connected with each other, Temple Isaiah, and the Jewish holidays.

Who can join: Recent graduates of Temple Isaiah Preschool and their families
Dates and times: We will pick 3 to 5 Sunday afternoons throughout the year, 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Location: The Jensen’s backyard or Rancho Park
Length of group: 6 months
Minimum Group Size: 4 kids
Maximum Group Size: 18 kids
Skill level: Beginner
Cost: $20/kid requested donation for supplies

Secrets of Hollywood food stylist

Leader: Nancy Goodman Iland
About: As one of the top Food Stylists in Hollywood I would like to share my knowledge and stories from my 30 years in this creative industry and cook together to make some fabulous meals.
Each week we will make a meal that I made from one of the shows that I worked on. I will give you hot tips on how to make food look fabulous and delicious. I will assign you a part of the meal to cook and once the food is all cooked we will all assemble the plates and then enjoy the fruits of our labor!
* Let me know if you have any food allergies, and we will try to accommodate if possible.

Who can join: All Ages
Dates and times: TBD
Length of group: 3
Location: Temple Isaiah Kitchen
Minimum Group Size: 4
Maximum Group Size: 10
Skill level: intermediate
Cost: $10 – $20 per week depending on the menu

Whole food eating

Leader: Harriet Shaham
About: Have you heard about all the benefits of going vegan, but were afraid/unsure how to start? Let me tell you my story and lead you in some cooking demonstrations. We’ll cover breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts (yes, there ARE desserts)!

Who can join?: 16+
Dates and Times: Sundays 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.  (Hoping to start on March 6)
Length of group: 4 sessions
Location: Home of Harriet Shaham
Minimum Group Size: 3
Maximum Group Size: 10
Skills level: All levels
Cost: None

Running group

Leader: Anthony Grey
About: A group for current and aspiring runners.  Meet once a week for a group run with no pressure, perhaps trying out some different Westside locations.  Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just thinking about getting started, this group will be a place to come together, log some miles, and have fun in the process. If you’re training for something, we can help with that too!  Weekly meetings can include both active and social components (a run followed by discussion over coffee, for example).

Who can join? 18+
Dates and Times: Sunday mornings, time determined by group (Hoping to begin on March 6)
Length of group: 8 sessions
Location: Various Westside locations
Minimum Group Size: 3
Maximum Group Size: 18
Skills level: All levels
Cost: None

Crochet sunday for parents and their Tweens/Teens

Leader: Beth Mohammed
About: Join us to learn to crochet, learn new crochet patterns, and to make new fun crochet projects in this parent/teen group. This group is for parents and their tweens/teens who would like to share this hobby together. I taught my 15-year-old daughter to crochet and it helped us bond while we explored new projects together as a new pandemic pastime. She has now far surpassed me in skill and has moved on to amazing projects including clothing, blankets and adorable stuffed animals.
We are looking to host a group of parents and their tweens or teens to learn the basics and to make some fun projects. At each meeting, we will learn a new project and get started while we schmooze. We will all work on our projects independently between meetings and share our progress (or challenges) at the next meeting.

Who can join: Parent/teen pairs
Dates and times: First meeting is Sunday December 12. From there we would like to meet for 90 minutes about every 3 weeks (being flexible around the December school breaks). We will set the dates at the first meeting with the group.
Location: In person, rotating among member homes.
Length of group: 5 months
Minimum Group Size: 2 parent/teen pairs
Maximum Group Size: 6 parent/teen pairs
Skill level: All levels. Beginners are welcome! We can teach newbies and learn from pros.
Cost: Practice yarn will be provided, but crochet hooks and project yarn must be purchased by members on their own. We will provide suggested crochet hook sizes and yarn brands before the first meeting.

Dodger hot stove

Leader: Paul Goodwin
About: If you love the Dodgers, if you follow the players and report on Twitter, if you have Dodger Talk on your podcast list, if you still can’t say “Astro” without cursing, if you revere Koufax and Scully and Kershaw and Betts, then this is the small group for you.
This is a group for hard-core LA Dodger fans. We will meet over the winter to talk about all things Dodgers and then go to a game or two together in the spring.
At the first meeting, we can discuss ideas for future sessions, including taking the Stadium tour, watching clips from past games (1+4 and 4+1 anyone?), talking about the coming season, nominating our own LA Dodger all-star team, etc. Dodger dogs, peanuts Roger style, beer to be served.  And if you have a sombrero, throw it to the sky!

Who can join: Anyone
Dates and times: Sunday nights, starting December 11 – future dates can be discussed at the first meeting. 7 pm – 8:30 pm
Location: Private Home
Length of Group: 4 meetings, with the last being at a game we all attend together
Minimum Group Size: 5
Maximum Group Size: 12
Skill level: N/A
Cost: $50-$100 depending on ticket costs

Ethnic Eating

Leader: Dean Schenker
About: LA is home to scores of communities from around the globe – and they all bring their home cuisines to our metropolis. I propose we go outside our West LA comfort zone and taste some of these; Koreatown and Monterey Park come to mind, but I am open to other suggestions.

Who can join: Anyone
Dates and times: Beginning in January; Exact dates and times to be agreed upon by the group.
Location: Various restaurants
Minimum Group Size: 4
Maximum Group Size: 14
Skill level: N/A
Cost: Price of food you order

Explore historic and unique Los Angeles via metro rail

Leader: Stuart Goldurs
About: Explore the historic and unique parts of our wonderful city, Los Angeles, by using the Metro Rail.  Places we will explore will include Exposition Park, Historic Broadway in downtown LA, and Union Station.  Participants must have a tap card with fare on it and be able to walk distances.

Who can join: Anyone
Dates and times: Frist session will be on December 11/ Saturday mornings at 9:30 am starting December. Will meet once or twice a month. Remaining Specific dates to be determined prior to the first session based on the availability of the participants.
Location: Meet at Sepulveda Expo Line Station
Length of Group: 4 months
Minimum Group Size: 3
Maximum Group Size: 13
Cost: Yes

Introduction to Torah 

Leader: Honey Amado
About: An introduction to Torah, to learn about its structure and its broad outline from Creation to the Covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and our Matriarchs, Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel, who helped advance that Covenant, from enslavement in Egypt to our Liberation and the breach of the Golden Calf, from our receipt of the 10 Commandments at Mt. Sinai to our 40-year sojourn in the desert towards the edge of the Promise Land. As we follow the chronology of the Torah, we will pause over some of its famous and not-so-famous stories.
This group will be largely presentation with questions welcomed, but it’s not intended to be a Torah-discussion like our existing Shabbat Torah Study class and Daughters of Torah.

Who can join: Anyone ages 18 to 120
Dates and times: Sunday mornings from 9:45 am – 11 am on the following dates: December 19, January 16, February 13, March 20, April 17 (during Passover), May 15, June 5
Location: Honey Amado’s home
Length of Group: 7 sessions
Minimum Group Size: 5
Maximum Group Size: 10
Skill level: N/A
Cost: None

Isaiah role-playing gamers

Leader: Palvi Mohammed and Derek Lane
About: It’s like a Murder Mystery Party, except with swords or laser guns! The Isaiah Role-playing Gamers group wants you!  Creative thinking, imagination, and/or a penchant for dramatic storytelling are helpful. Slay some dragons. Outthink the evil robot. Drink some adult beverages.
Know what GoT, ST:TOS, WoT, LoTR, and SW are? Then you’re a member of the tribe we wanna know!  Be like Jennifer Lopez, Steven Spielberg, Jason Statham, Drew Barrymore, Stephen Colbert, Ben Affleck, and others. How the heck do you play? RPGs are about creative thinking, improvisation, storytelling, drama and good old fashioned dice rolling to resolve conflicts and reach your goals. Players act as characters in a fictional setting, reacting as their characters would within a story. Success or failure within the game is governed by rules of the game system.

Who can join: 21 years old and older
Dates and times: Initial Meeting (In Person) Saturday, Dec 11th at 11 am (~1 hour). Additional meetings will occur every other weekend on Saturday or Sunday based on members’ availability.
Location: At a private home
Length of group: 4 – 8 sessions with option to extend
Minimum Group Size: 3
Maximum Group Size: 5
Skill level: No experience with RPGs? No problem! This small group is accepting both new and experienced players.

Jewish Genealogy

Leader: Barbara Algaze and Judie Rice
About: This group will be devoted to sharing research experiences, research tools, and results, as well as learning about resources to start your own family tree.  As such, it will be open to all levels of genealogical interest.  We will also discuss various websites to help our research move along, i.e. Facebook, Google Search, FamilySearch, My Heritage, JewishGen and  In addition, we will also be introducing additional resources for genealogical research, such as the Mormon Family History Library, on-line webinars, and local Genealogical Societies.

Who can join: Anyone
Dates and times: 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. The second and fourth Fridays of January, February, and March; January 14, 28, February 11, 25, March 11, 25
Location: Zoom and In Person
Length of Group: 6 sessions
Minimum Group Size: 8
Maximum Group Size: 15
Skill level: N/A
Cost: Yes – for printing forms

Kite Flying

Leader: Matt Hedges
About: Let’s enjoy the outdoors and fly kites with other people. No experience necessary. Everything from regular stunt kits to foil kits to standard shaped kites. BYOK (bring your own kite)! I can help assist in purchasing a kite should you want help.

Who can join: Moms, dads, grandparents, kids of all ages
Dates and times: Weather dependent. Aiming for Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. once a month
Location: Santa Monica beach lifeguard tower 26
Length of group: 4 sessions
Minimum Group Size: 3
Maximum Group Size: 7
Skill level: All levels.
Cost: No cost to participate but you will need to bring your own kite.  You can purchase kites from Amazon and REI.  If you would like recommendations, Matt can help.

Museum Exploration

Leader: Madeline Wolf, Wendy Burke and Jill Fromer
About: Every month or 6 weeks our group explores an LA area museum together, locations to be chosen by the group. Each visit will be planned by 1 or 2 group members so everyone has an opportunity to lead at least one museum adventure. This group is for those curious about the wide variety of museums in the LA area (from the Reagan Library to the new Academy Motion Picture Museum) and would like to explore them in the shared experience of a group.

Who can join: Adults age 18 to 120
Dates and times: Saturdays at Noon; Group will be once every 4-6 weeks. Dates and frequency will be decided by the group.
Location: Various Museums
Length of group: 6 months
Minimum Group Size: 3
Maximum Group Size: 15
Skill level: Beginner
Cost: Museum entrance fee

Mellow Mahjong

Leader: Karen Hedges
About: Have you and your friends been talking about wanting to learn and play mahjong but don’t know how to get started?  Let me bring mahjong to you! My instruction is mellow and designed for social groups who want to play just for fun.
I enjoy playing mahjong with my friends. And, I enjoy teaching mahjong. So, I’d like to teach your group of friends.  Mahjong is fun, social, and good for the soul.

Who can join: Anyone interested in learning, laughing, and playing.
Dates and times: This is up to you- when do you usually meet and hang out?  Let’s do it then!
Location: This small group will meet in your home, with your friends. (Location may move depending on group need)
Length of group: 4 sessions, once a week
Minimum Group Size: 4
Maximum Group Size: 12
Skill level: Beginner
Cost: None