Small Groups List

Small Groups List & Descriptions

Explore Temple Isaiah Small Groups by clicking on the titles below. Learn what the group is about, who is leading the group, when and where they will meet, and more.

Stay tuned for new groups coming soon! Click here if you want to be alerted when new groups begin.

Leader: Zachary Brown

About: Did you know that playing games creates more happiness? Playing games triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals, and the interactive nature of game playing leads to more connections. Join this once a month gathering at Temple Isaiah to play all sorts of fun board games.

Minimum group size: 4

Maximum group size: Any

Age Range: 14-100

Level of activity difficulty: Beginner

Location: Temple Isaiah

When: Once a month, 2-4 hours

Leader: Deena Goodman

About: Get together with others with an affinity surrounding Bourbon, Whiskey and good conversation.  Together we can learn more about these spirits while tasting them. This groups has been successfully meeting since December 2021 and is looking for a few more members to join in the fun.

Who can join: Adults ages 40s – 60s.

Dates and times: Sunday afternoons (time to be determined by group), every 4 – 8 weeks, 90 minutes

Length of group: 6 months

Location: Private backyard

Minimum Group Size: 6

Maximum Group Size: 18

Skill level: All levels

Cost: Shared cost of spirits

Leader: Diane Gross and Cindy Mori

About: Parents of children for the college classes of 2024, 2025 and 2026 are invited to come together to create and assemble care packages to send to our children for the Jewish holidays and during exams.  Also, this will be a time for us to connect to discuss the joys and challenges of parenting a college student.  

Who can join: Parents of first, second and third -year college students.

Dates and times: Will meet in November. Date and time TBD

Location: Sales Community Center

Length of group: November 2022-May 2023

Minimum Group Size: 3

Maximum Group Size: 18

Skill level: N/A

Cost: None

Leader: David Feldheim

About: This Small Group will establish a forum for Isaiahans with Cleveland Roots to share memories of all things Cleveland, i.e., restaurants; sports; entertainment; neighborhoods; whatever puts a smile on your face.

Location: Restaurants over lunch

Dates and times: Frequency of meetings will be established at first organizational meeting.

Leader: Bruce Wolfowitz

About: Modified Fast Pitch, competitive Softball League with representative synagogues from the westside of Los Angeles. Season runs from January to June, typically 14 games played exclusively on Sunday mornings (8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. start times) at fields located in within 10 miles of Isaiah. (Also: there is a weekly pick up game at Cheviot Park, across the street from Isaiah, that is a great opportunity to play with some of the team members.)

Minimum group size: 10

Maximum group size: 15

Age Range: 18+

Location: Cheviot Hills Park, Baldwin Hills Park, some Valley games

Cost: Your blood, sweat and tears. (About $150 a season, plus uniform costs)

Dates and times: Sundays, January to June, 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. start times

Length of Group: 14 Games plus Playoffs

Leader: Mark Lipis

About: As part of our on-going effort to expand the Small Group program at Temple Isaiah, we are testing the interest of a hiking group. These will not be killer hikes but typically one-to-three-hour hikes in and around the “wilds” of Los Angeles. Optional breakfast or lunch after. At this point we just want to see how much interest there is.
The specifics will depend on the group itself although these are the starting thoughts:
Please reach out to Mark at [email protected] to ask questions, make suggestions or just express interest.

Age: 18 +

Dates and times: Probably Sunday morning, although we have “clearance” to do Saturday morning instead

Location: Most hikes likely in the Santa Monica Mountains although special hikes can be added

This group plans to reconvene in 2024

Leader: James Finney-Conlon

About: This group is for Isaians looking to meet community members from other faiths and learn about their practices and deepen our relationship as ambassadors of Judaism in an ongoing effort to spread education and understanding of the Jewish people, build bridges and stomp out hate. We will be visiting with Buddhists, Moslems, unitarians, Hindus and others.

Who can join: Temple members of all ages

Dates and times: TBD

Length of group: One session a month for six months

Location: Different settings and houses of worship

Minimum group size: 6

Maximum group size: 20

Sill level: Beginner

Cost: None

Leader: Connie Sommer

About: When we think of LA, we think of film and TV, but this is also a city with a vast, rich literary life. This Small Group will be going to check out that scene! We will be attending author readings and talks at various local bookshops and performance venues. If time permits, we will also grab coffee and a bite to eat afterwards to discuss. Some events are free, and some may have a fee. We will aim to meet at least once a month. If you are a writer or a lover of books, join us!

About: With rampant antisemitism and hate on the rise, Kulanu will empower us to address these issues using a whole-of-society approach through self-driven programming, expanded incident reporting, and community mobilization. ADL’s Kulanu Program is national in scope, but local in our focus, guiding us to forge formative relationships in our community through collaboration and bridge building between our synagogue and our neighbors.

In the wake of the horrific events that have been happening in Israel, we also grapple with societal ills – including systemic hated and bias afflicting Jews and so many others targeted for their beliefs and identities. This work is important now more than ever before and underscores the need for synagogues in action.

Through Kulanu, we will develop and launch initiatives about combatting antisemitism and hate focusing on three key areas: advocacy, community engagement, or education. ADL partners with us by offering our working group access to ADL experts through monthly webinars and workshops, as well as ADL content, resources and tools on an online portal. We will invite all our members to several exclusive ADL briefings and programs during the year for Kulanu congregations. Additionally, as part of Kulanu we look forward to learning from and with a wide variety of North American congregations across the continent also focused on this work. We look forward to making a difference in the fight against antisemitism and hate here at Temple Isaiah and in Los Angeles.

Length of Group: 8 Months, meeting about once a month

Location: Temple, homes, bars

Minimum Group Size: 4

Maximum Group Size: 15

Leader: Susan Bartholomew

About: A congenial group that enjoys drinking and learning more about beer!  Format and activities will depend on the group’s knowledge and desires. Possibilities include visiting local beer bars and breweries, attending local beer festivals, and sharing special beers.  The goal is to have fun and learn about beer styles!

Who can join: 21 years and older

Dates and times: Monthly; TBD

Location: TBD

Length of Group: 4-6 sessions

Minimum Group Size: 5

Maximum Group Size: 12

Skill level: N/A

Cost: Variable

Leader: Joshua Cohen

About: Men’s Movie Club is a gathering space for Temple Isaiah Men to connect & laugh together while enjoying deli, Chinese food, or any cuisine of the group’s choosing. Our common thread? Our love of and appreciation for great comedies of the 20th and 21st centuries. The first year we delved into Mel Brooks. In the second year we’ll focus primarily on the artistry of Billy Crystal, though in future years our plan is to widen our scope to other directors and visionaries. Ideally we’ll have guest speakers (anyone have a connection to Billy?) to offer insights into the respective masterpieces we’ll be enjoying. Join us for the Men’s Movie Club!

Who can join: Men ages 21 – 100

Dates and times: 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm; (All dates are tentative and subject to change) October 18, November 8, December 6, January 10, February 21, March 20 , and April 17

Length of group: 7 sessions

Location: At the Temple or backyards / movie rooms

Minimum group size: 5

Maximum group size: 15

Sill level: Beginner

Cost: share meal costs

Leaders: Ann Weinman and Rona Berns

About: For anyone who was born, grew up, or who lived a substantial length of time in Chicago. We’ll discuss where were you born/lived, gone to school, did for the summer, favorite places/restaurants, watch Chicago sports teams you rooted for, whether you ever encountered antisemitism, and any other issues folks want to discuss.

Time: Frequency of meetings will be established at first organizational meeting.

Locations: Various homes and restaurants.

Leader: Harriet Shaham
About: Do you want to feel GREAT?!? For me, I dropped down to my ideal weight, got off all prescription medications, eliminated preexisting medical conditions and felt my energy levels grow. There is a large growing community of people switching over to the plant-based lifestyle and reaping the rewards. Come to my home, once a month to learn, not just why I switched and the evidence based medical materials behind this movement, but how you can incorporate this into your life!Minimum group size: 5Maximum group size: 15Level of activity difficulty: BeginnerLocation: my homeWill there be a cost? NoDates your group will meet: Second Sunday at 5 PMTime(s) your group will meet: 5-6 PMLength of Group: 4 meetings

Leader: Shelley Hoffman

About: The group will play games of Scrabble and/or Shanghai. Instructions provided for newbies.

Minimum group size: 4

Maximum group size: 16

Age Range: any

Location: Shelley’s home and others

Cost: None

Dates and times your group will meet: First Tuesday evening of the month 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

How often will the group meet: once a month

Leader: Samuel Behar (Tempe Isaiah Teen)

About: Teens teaching you how to use your device and help troubleshoot problems you might have run into along the way. We can help you become more safe, organized and advanced at navigating the vast online. No experience necessary – best rates in town!

Maximum group size: 0

Age Range: Teens can join to help teach, and anyone can join to learn

Location: Temple Isaiah

Cost: None!

Dates and Times: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., September 10, October 1, October 15, November 5, November 19, December 3 or 10

Leader: Honey Amado

About: Judaism is an ancient religion. For 4,000 years, we have faced issues inherent to the human experience, independent of time and place. Over these millennia, we have developed an extensive body of text on ethical issues, beginning with the Torah, and including the Prophets, the rabbinic teachings of the Talmud, the sages of the Middle Ages, responsa, and modern ethicists. This class will introduce some of our text on truth and misinformation, economic inequity, abortion and homosexuality, all relevant to our modern times. After all, as said in Ecclesiastes (Kohelet), in our Hebrew Bible, “[t]here is nothing new under the sun.”

When: One Sunday morning a month, for five months, starting in January

Dates: January 14, February 18, March 10, April 14, May 5

Time:  9:45 a.m. – 11:20 a.m.: Light breakfast: 9:45 a.m. – 10:00 a.m., Presentation: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., Questions: 11:00 a.m. – 11:20 a.m.

Where: Home of Honey Amado

Class size: Class is limited to 15 people

Leader: Jeff Winikow

About: A group for people to cook separately but eat communally. Each session will focus on a single cookbook with all participants making one or more recipes from this common cookbook. We will gather to enjoy our meal, discuss the cookbook and enjoy each other’s company.
Most people are aware of book clubs; a cookbook club is similar in that we will focus on a single book but different in that we will actually create a comprehensive dinner, in pot luck fashion, where we can truly get a sense of the cookbook beyond a collection of recipes.
This is a group for individuals.  If a couple wishes to join, they must join separately.
Participants must be fully vaccinated, but it is expected that people will be unmasked at the dinner table.  Dinners may be indoors or outdoors, depending on the weather. 
I want to select books that do not require culinary acumen.  I want to eliminate self-consciousness about cooking skill or presentation.  I am aiming to select interesting cookbooks for home cooks

Who can join: Anyone

Dates and times: Once a month on Saturday nights from 7 pm – 9 pm; Meeting once every 4-6 weeks.

Location: Group members’ homes – indoors and outdoors

Length of Group: 4 session

Minimum Group Size: 6

Maximum Group Size: 10

Skill level: N/A

Cost: Yes – for food purchased for your recipe

Leader: Robbie Diamond
Description: This group is for people who love trying new restaurants and meeting new people. This is for singles and couples who like good food and good company. We will meet once a month and discover together new dining experiences.

Who can join: Anyone

Dates and Times: 6:30 pm on February 8, March 8, May 10, June 7 (no April meeting because of Passover) Length of Group: 4 sessions

Location: Various locations

Minimum Group Size: 6

Maximum Group Size: 10

Skills Level: n/a

Cost: Cost of your meal

Leader: Amy Phillips and Linda Glaser

About: Do you have a treasured piece of jewelry that tells a wonderful story? Have you shared that story with your children or grandchildren? Your friends? Probably not! We want to provide an opportunity to deepen our connections through jewelry!
Jewelry is so much more than ornamental. It can hold a special memory of a person or place. Or play homage to a moment in time and history.
We invite you to bring a piece of jewelry for an intimate evening of story sharing based on that family heirloom.  After everyone has shared, you will compose your story on lovely stationery.
We will explore 4 general themes: family treasure, travel treasure, childhood treasure, handmade treasure. We could do an optional 5th month with the theme future heirloom.
Please Note: Due to covid, no food or drink will be served in the Sales Center during the evening. Please feel free to eat prior to or after our gathering. Thank you for understanding.

Who can join: Anyone

Dates and times: TBD

Location: Sales Community Center

Length of Group: 4 months

Minimum Group Size: 8

Maximum Group Size: 15

Skill level: N/A

Cost: None

Leader: Marica Albert, Phd

About: Last year I was motivated to create a small contentment learning group. The group was inspiring, and participants shared their thoughts and feelings on their current challenges in life. I invite you to join me as we think and explore this body of knowledge.
As I continue to study and reflect on the construct of happiness, I am challenging us to think how we might reframe the challenges and difficulties of life as an opportunity to focus more about our well-being? At this time of the Jewish year we can think and plan to make our lives more fulfilling as well as make an impact in our community and world.
In spite of us living in a world that continues to be full of chaos and uncertainty, I challenge us to believe we are capable of thinking about the essential components that contribute to our well-being and happiness. Social science, philosophy, and medical science have uncovered key principles that may enable us to think and feel differently when striving to help ourselves live happier lives.
Together over the course of our four meetings we will explore and discuss the following elements that our essential to our humanity: simple routines that will add to everyday well-being; mindful, daily practices to strengthen our relationships; and an appreciation for our fragility and sense of life purpose. 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 Thursdays, November 2, November 16, November 30 and December 14, 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Location: Temple Isaiah Joan and Ephraim Sales Community Center

Leader: Jason Spitz

About: Let’s start an informal rock band at Temple Isaiah! This casual group will get together and jam on popular rock, pop, and folk tunes from the 1960s through today. All skill levels are welcome, from campfire strummers to virtuosos. Whether you want to sing or play guitar, drums, keyboard, tambourine, or any other instrument, come and join the band! We plan to culminate with an intimate performance for friends and family at Temple.

Dates and times: Starting on June 18, once a month, two hour window the group will choose together

Length of group: 4 sessions to start

Location: At private homes in backyards and on decks

Minimum Group Size: 4

Maximum Group Size: 12

Skill level: All levels, including beginner

Leader: Michele Bollinger
Description: The Roots and Wings program was launched in 2008 by Rabbi Zoe Klein Miles and Temple Isaiah members. Each year, temple members have mentored local high school students as they prepare for their transition to college. The program creates a collaborative partnership between the temple and local public school(s) through purpose driven dialogue, empowerment and relationship building.

Roots & Wings at University Charter High School The Roots & Wings team joins 11th and 12th grade students at University Charter High School in the classroom twice per month. Each mentor works with a group of 3-5 students for the academic year, and sometimes beyond graduation. Many of the students who participate in the program will be the first in their families to attend college. Our goal is to help the students prepare for their transition to college. The program focuses on practical support and skill building in areas such as: writing college essays, completing applications, researching/applying for scholarships, thinking about living with a roommate, practicing creating social connections in college, and preparing to live independently. The program has been extraordinarily rewarding for both students and mentors.

Minimum group size: 8

Maximum group size: 15

Location: University High School

Dates and times: Every other Friday during the school year, 9:30 am – 12 noon

Length of Group: Approximately 19 sessions


Temple Isaiah’s peer-led Small Groups will provide a variety of new pathways to connect our members to one another and the larger Isaiah community around shared interests. These small groups will have a limited time commitment, with a specific start and end date.


A Small Group consists of 3 – 18 people gathering together around shared interests. Group leaders will be fellow Isaians who will receive support and training to facilitate positive group dynamics. Small Groups will be time limited, with a start date and an end date. The frequency, dates and location of meetings will be determined by the group. At the last scheduled meeting, the group can either end or renew. Small Groups are an opportunity to try something new and connect with members of the community.