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Small Groups

Small Group Celebration
With Rabbi K’vod Wieder, Cantor Natalie Young and author Ron Wolfson      February 12 at 5:00 pm

An opportunity to celebrate our relationships and small group experience. In our oneg time before Shabbat services, we’ll reflect on our topic “The Power of Commitment,” share stories of connection, and celebrate our decision for meaningful relationships to be the heart of our TBESOC community. You do not need to have participated in a small group this year to attend.

Professor Ron Wolfson teaches at American Jewish University in Los Angeles. He is the author of numerous books including The Spirituality of Welcoming, Relational Judaism, The Seven Questions You’ll Be Asked In Heaven, and The Relational Judaism Handbook (which features TBESOC’s Small Group Initiative). Ron is the co-founder of Synagogue 3000, which guides synagogues across the county on best practices.


“The Power of Commitment for Transforming Ourselves and Community” November 2020 - January 2021

Our community prioritizes building meaningful relationships. Our Small Groups program is an opportunity to connect with others socially and make stronger connections in an informal, welcoming environment. Initially, a small group meets four different times around a compelling topic over a three month period. Each group will have the choice to meet online or in person with appropriate social distancing.

Resource booklet now available. Click here or image below.


Meeting Session Topics

Session #1: Committing to Ourselves

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Session #2: Committing to Our Family and Friends

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Session #3: Committing to Our Synagogue Community

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Session #4: Committing to Engaging in the Wide World

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Open-to-Join Special Interest Groups

Hiking Group
Select Sunday mornings, usually about three hours in duration

Are you passionate about hiking? Have you considered going on a hike, but don’t have anybody to go with or are hesitant to take that first step? We have a group for you! Explore the beautiful outdoors and connect with the wider Jewish community on our periodic beginner to low-intermediate level hikes around Orange County. Guided by Mansour Kohanteb, an experienced hiker, the Hiking Group is an ongoing, drop-in opportunity for all ages—and no prior experience is necessary. The trails vary in location, elevation and difficulty so you can pick and choose which hike to join. If you would like to be included in our email group or have any questions, please contact Mansour Kohanteb at or 949-500-5550.

Chai Guys
TBESOC men who gather once or twice a month for drinks and conversation or more adventurous father/son Sunday programs like archery, climbing, woodworking, etc… Feel free to invite friends to events who are not members. To get on our email list, please contact Brad Shapero at


Small Groups- Testimonials

Fellow member Cat shares her personal experience joining Small Groups.

The Gubner Family shares their personal experience with Small Groups.

“The Small Group program has significantly enhanced our relationship with the temple. It has created new layers atop the foundation that we have built at Temple Beth El over the more than fifteen years we have been members. Throughout our family’s life cycle beginning with “Mommy and Me” with our son, to getting used to our current role as seniors, we have found our synagogue to be a comfortable place to be, change and grow.

Perhaps we got lucky, but the people we were paired with in our small group are smart, fun and full of personality. Our members quickly developed a trust with one another, and we openly talk about sensitive subjects as we explore religion, values and life. We don’t always agree, but we respect each other, and we learn from each member by keeping an open mind. Most of all, we have become friends and seeing our group at temple events gives us something more to look forward to―seeing out extended family.”

- Penny and Lonnie Tee


“Our Small Group and the camaraderie with the friends that I have made has significantly enhanced my connection with the  Temple.

After being a member of TBE for over 20 years,  I was joyfully surprised to become not only a part of our Small Group but connect on  a social level with everyone. We have a lot in common, as our kids grew up in the temple and  were in Sunday school, Hebrew school and had Bar and  Bat Mitzvahs within a few years of each other. As a  single mom, I worked and raised my daughter  which left little time to socialize with temple members.  I joined a number of Temple Chavarahs, which did not have any longevity.

When the Small Group initiative started about 4 years ago,  I signed up and requested that I be connected with parents with teenagers.  I was very happy when I met our Small group hosts and members.  We were all at similar stages of parenting teenagers with a lot in common which resulted in many lively conversations.

It’s been my pleasure to be a part of this wonderful group of friends. The learning topics of discussion  are interesting, especially with the different perspectives.  Our group enjoys participating in Temple events together, socializing in non- temple events and  is experiencing empty nest together! Co-incidentally,  six years ago my daughter and I traveled to Israel with several Temple families when the war started,  and one of them is also in our Small Group!

I feel privileged to be part of Temple Beth El Small Groups.”

Evelyn Nash


Sat, October 23 2021 17 Cheshvan 5782