Rodef Sholom: A Reform Jewish Congregation in Marin County, California

Kol Yisrael arevim ba’zeh/All Jews are responsible for one another.
Congregation Rodef Sholom stands as one with Israel
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All of our membership commitment renewal packages, along with religious school registration forms, have been mailed to every congregational household, and are due now. Should you happen to lose track of any forms, there are links to both on the front page of our website, www.rodefsholom.org. Your support is greatly appreciated! 

Religious School registration is now due!
Religious School registration information has gone out to everyone who was enrolled last year and is now due. Don't forget, you can also register online (click on the Member Log in button on the front page of our website to start). 

2013-2014 Religious School opening days

  • baseCamp Family Learning: September 20
  • Sunday School: September 22
  • Tuesday School: September 24
  • Gesher Tuesday (7th grade): September 24
  • Midrasha (8th through 12th): September 24
  • Gesher Shabbat (7th grade): October 5
  • Kol HaMishpacha Family Learning: October 6
  • Monday Hebrew School (Mill Valley only): October 7 
  • Thursday Hebrew School: October 10 

Please contact Michael Kamler, our executive director, with any questions or concerns you may have at 479.3441 or michaelk@rodefsholom.org.


When I talk to others about our community, I am particularly proud of how we take care of each other, as well as others outside of our Rodef Sholom community. This past year is no exception. Together as a community, we have accomplished a lot, all the while reflecting during the first phase of the visioning process about who we are and where we want to go. 

I will highlight just a few of our accomplishments, as this list is by no means complete.

  • We took care of each other!
    • Our congregants delivered over 1,200 challahs
    • Our congregants personally prepared and delivered over 350 meals through our Nichum program
    • The Mitzvah Kitchen prepared and congregants delivered over 600 meals (Thank you Chef Jeff and the Kirshbaum family for leading this extraordinary mitzvah)
    • Our congregants provided countless rides to Shabbat services and other programs for each other
  • We took care of others!
    • We provided meals and shelter for over 40 men for 22 weeks through partnership with the REST program (Rotating Emergency Shelter Team)
    • We are one of only a handful of Reform synagogues who have a Chevra Kadisha (literally “holy society”) -- trained congregants who perform Tahara, referred to as the ultimate kindness (the ritual cleansing of the deceased body) and Shmira (the guarding of the body from death to burial)
  • We taught our children!
    • We taught 430 religious school students, including 75 in our teen Midrasha program
    • We rolled out baseCamp as an alternative religious education
    • We started our religious education scouting to learn about the most innovative learning opportunities to better engage our children to become life learners.
    • We are one of only a handful of Reform synagogues to send over 100 children to a URJ camp.
    • We hired a youth director, Brandon Brown, who has grown our youth group and is inspiring new connections
  • We joined the conversation!
    • Almost 400 of us joined in one of the 22 community conversations held in congregants’ homes where we discussed our strengths, challenges, and dreams
    • Over 100 congregants gathered in May to hear the Summary Report of our conversations. 

We continue to strengthen our community and our accomplishments. Whether you provided funds, sweat equity, or encouragement, we all worked together as the Rodef Sholom community to accomplish our goals. Thank you. 

During 5774, I look forward to working with our clergy, our board, and you to continue to make our community even stronger. Remember, we build our community one congregant at a time and so I encourage you all to reach out and invite a congregant to your home for a Shabbat afternoon tea or coffee. If you don’t know where to begin, just ask me at president@rodefsholom.org. 

 L’ shalom, 

 Bruce


Welcome to the newest members, Hali Croner, Brad Lakritz, Rachel Mercer, David Silverberg, and Bill Strull, who will be serving three-year terms, starting with fiscal year 2013-2014. A grateful todah rabah and yasher koach to our members who have completed their terms, Loren Kertz, Jon Kimball and Elizabeth Share. 

Here is your complete 2013-2014 board roster:
Bruce Gribens, President
Ethan Schulman, 1st Vice President
Susan Barnes, 2nd Vice President
David Mandelbrot, Treasurer
Laurie Kimball, Secretary
Jay Bellin
Hali Croner
Julie Fingersh
Morris Flaum
Jeanette Kadesh
Marty Konopken
Brad Lakritz
Wayne Malen
Rachel Mercer
David Silverberg
Joe Spero
Bill Strull

Judi Sheppard, President, WRS
Debbie Toizer, School Board Co-President
Susan Blum, School Board, Co-President


President’s Message – Thank you! 

As my term draws to a close as the 27th President of Congregation Rodef Sholom, I want to say Thank You to you, the congregation, for the honor of representing you and leading our sacred community. When I say “honor” it has never been lost on me how important the work is that our synagogue does for our congregation and community. Whether it is educating our children, celebrating Shabbat, visiting the sick, consoling the bereaved, celebrating a simcha, or providing lifelong learning, all of this work takes the time, talent and resources of us all, and I am grateful to be able to say that we came through for one another in a big way. 

Last year, the board set long-term goals of updating our Strategic Vision and finding ways to increase the number of congregants engaging with the synagogue. Toward that end, we have begun our Strategic Visioning process with Cindy Ostroff leading our effort. We are well underway to forming our leadership team for this effort and will be having 20 house meetings in the fall. Key to this visioning process will be your active participation; I hope you will make attending one of these meetings a priority so that you can help shape our future. 

The board also set many short-term goals for the year including updating our bylaws, conducting a financial audit and increasing our fundraising so that we can support the many programs and services upon which our congregants rely. We are in the final stages of editing the bylaws and will be submitting them to you for a vote when those changes are completed. We have completed updates to our accounting books to bring them into compliance with GAAP Standards (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and will soon be able to have an audit for the first time in many years. And, thanks to your generosity and commitment, we have received gifts to help underwrite music, scholars in residence, Shabbat dinners, adult education and more. 

Our clergy lead us with their hearts and souls and work tirelessly to lift our holy community. Our incredible staff, led by our Executive Director Michael Kamler, builds daily the foundation upon which all our work stands. I offer my heartfelt thanks to each of you for making the last two years so powerful and constructive. You are our angels; getting everything done and making it look easy. 

I have been truly blessed to work with a talented board of directors, all of whom are dedicated to our synagogue. Join me in thanking retiring board members Mary DeMay, Marci Dollinger, Vivien Braly, Farron Brotman, and Ronna Voorsanger and extending thanks to all those who will continue serving in the coming year. Special thanks to my Executive Committee (Bruce Gribens, Elizabeth Share, Susan Barnes, Jay Bellin, and Joe Spero). 

I am happy to report that at our June Board meeting we announced the election of four new board members: Laurie Kimball, Marty Konopken, Alan Baer and Jeanette Kadesh. In addition, the board elected the following officers for next year: 

President:  Bruce Gribens
1st VP:  Elizabeth Share
2nd VP:  Susan Barnes
Secretary:  Morris Flaum
Treasurer:  Ethan Shulman 

Again, my thanks to all for the honor of serving and for your incredible support. Ours is an amazing community. Thank you for caring so beautifully for our congregation, our community and one another. 

Kol HaKavod!
Marc Press, President
Board of Directors


Notice of correction

Posted by: meredith

It has come to our attention that in our printed acknowledgement of the many who donated to the congregation in honor of Cantor David Margules' 25th anniversary of service to the cantorate, we neglected to include the spouses of the Board of Directors. We apologize for this oversight and any embarrassment we may have caused.


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