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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Dear Friends, 

I am still beaming from the beautiful Chai Celebration a couple of weeks ago and am extremely grateful to all of you not only for making the weekend so meaningful for me and my family, but I am grateful to you for these past 18 years. It is a true privilege to me to be your rabbi- to be welcomed into your lives and homes and life’s holiest moments, and to share this holy journey with you and your families. I feel so blessed and honored. 

I was so moved by the outpouring of love and support. Many of you saw the many cards written by our religious school students, by your children and mine. They are so profound and reflect their genuine love of Judaism, or learning Torah, and of prayer. One child reflected in his letter to me, “I love learning Hebrew. Now I know what’s in the Torah! I like that,” he said. Another child wrote, “I love being Jewish and learning all about our history.” And many wrote prayers in Hebrew, expressing, “It’s so good to be free, not like our ancestors.” What these, and many more sentiments showed me is that our children feel very much a part of our community, and feel strongly linked to the chain of the Jewish people. That is powerful! 

But perhaps the biggest surprise of my 18th, Chai celebration was the exquisite Tribute Book. What a sweet surprise and incredible gift! It is absolutely beautiful and I am touched beyond words. Your messages truly are a blessing to me and I am tremendously grateful for your warm and loving sentiments, your precious pictures, and your generosity. 

 And so I say to you, thank you -- todah rabah. Thank you for the honor of being your rabbi. Thank you for choosing to link your lives with this holy community. And thank you for enabling me to be part of your lives and for your sacred trust. These are precious gifts and blessing to me and to this community that is Congregation Rodef Sholom. 

I am deeply grateful and honored. 

Rabbi Stacy Friedman

P.S. There is a link to the lovely photos that Norm Levin took on Saturday night on the front page of our website, www.rodefsholom.org. Check them out!


The Bay Area Jewish Healing Center is holding an Azkarah Memorial Service of Healing at Rodef Sholom. We will start with a discussion and arts-based exploration of the losses in our lives at 10 am, followed by the service at 11 am. You are invited to attend either or both parts of the program. Rabbi Natan Fenner of the BAJHC and Cantor David Margules will be leading the service.

The program is designed to offer comfort and support to people who have suffered personal losses. The Azkarah gives us an opportunity to honor our loved ones and acknowledge our losses, as we also affirm life in the context of community. The service is free and open to the public; friends and family members are welcome.

If you are unable to attend but would like to add the name of a loved one to those read at the service, please call Bay Area Jewish Healing Center at 750.3435 or contact cbartky@ioaging.org. RSVP’s are appreciated but not required.

This Azkarah Service is part of “Grief and Growing: NextSteps for Mourners”, a program alliance between Bay Area Jewish Healing Center and Sinai Memorial Chapel. The Azkarah services are co-sponsored throughout the year by Congregation Sherith Israel, Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, Congregation Emanu-El and the Northern California Board of Rabbis.

This service is provided, in part, by the gracious tzedakah of Sinai Memorial Chapel and The Bernard Osher Jewish Philanthropies Foundation.   We thank them for their vision in the face of loss.


Sunday, May 15, 4 pm, Rodef Sholom Sanctuary

Please join us on Sunday, May 15, at 4 pm in our sanctuary as we celebrate Israel's 63rd birthday with a wide variety of Israeli music presented by the Red Hot Chachkas--including our own congregant, Michael Arrow, the Chachkas' percussionist.

Our director of education, Irene Resnikoff, will also be teaching about Israel, and Cantor David Margules will make a guest appearance with the band! Come and sing along to some of Israel's most famous melodies, from Yerushalim Shel Zahav to Lu Y'hi, as well as other songs by Naomi Shemer and a host of Israeli composers.

This concert is free and open to the public.  Everyone is welcome.  RSVP to Pete at pete@rodefsholom.org or 479.3441.


Make a contribution in honor of Rabbi Stacy Friedman (see sponsorship levels at www.rodefsholom.org and the invitation to be sent this month) and be included in the tribute book.  Both words and photos welcome.  The tribute books will be available at the Saturday, May 21 event.

The tribute book message deadline is April 22. To find out more about message sizes and specs, visit www.rodefsholom.org and follow the links to the Chai Celebration on the front page.  If you have any questions, contact Moji at moji@rodefsholom.org or 479.3441.


Study & Torah

Torah with Soul
Shabbat mornings, 9:15 am*, Inner Conference Room
Rabbi Lezak will be offering soul-lifting Torah in a safe space for learners of all levels and ages, along with a nosh.

*Note: on the 3rd Saturday of the month, April 16, weather permitting, Torah with Soul will become Torah on the Trails, leaving the parking lot promptly at 8:30 am for a good hike and some good learning. If it’s raining, we’ll meet in the ICR at our normal time.

Tot Shabbat
1st and 3rd Saturdays, April 2 and 16, 9:30 – 10:15 am
Jonathan Bayer, the rock star for the pre-school crowd, will be using movement and song to introduce young children to Shabbat morning services. Come with your child or grandchild and learn developmentally appropriate Jewish rituals and prayers that you can take home. Hear an interactive story and experience Shabbat in a new way, whether you are new to Jewish prayer or ready to help Jonathan lead! No RSVP necessary. Everyone welcome!

New! 4th Friday Sweet Oneg
Every 4th Friday of the month, following services, chairs and tables will be available for you to linger and visit with your fellow congregants.

Exploring the World of Judaism
Sundays, April 3 and 24, 9:30 – 11:30 am

April 3 Can Your Values Live On?: How to impart your ethics to your children with Ellen Kahn, JD.

April 24 To God’s Ears: Reflections and music from the Cantors’ Concert at the Vatican with our own Cantor David Margules

There is no fee for Rodef Sholom congregants and reservations are not necessary; small donation suggested for non-congregants. Refreshments will be served. Meet in the Osher Marin JCC Lounge. Visit www.rodefsholom.org/ewj for schedule updates and to access our online audio archives with recordings of past sessions. If you would like to receive weekly email reminders with descriptions of each talk and brief bios of the speakers, please send your name and email address to sknazan@gmail.com.

New! Lay-led Morning Minyan
Tuesdays at 7 am (ongoing except for April 19 - come to 10:30 am Passover services instead)
Join fellow congregants in trying a new experiment, taking turns leading services on Tuesday mornings.  Open to everyone, we hope to be able to make space for you to come, ask questions, and try out some new things.  Please join us.

The Study of Torah Cantillation with Cantor David Margules
Tuesdays at 11 am (ongoing)
Unlock the mysteries of Torah cantillation by joining Cantor David Margules on Tuesday mornings in our Sanctuary.   Learn to decipher trope symbols and to translate them into the haunting, ancient melodies of our ancestors!  The current session runs through May 10.   Classes are 45 minutes to an hour in length. If you have questions or would like to sign up, contact david@rodefsholom.org.

Social Action

More than Mitzvah Day! What are you doing?
Sign up for a Tzedek Circle:
  Remember to sign up for earth-related projects, email earth@rodefsholom.org; food-related projects, email food@rodefsholom.org; shelter-related projects, email shelter@rodefsholom.org; and justice-related projects, email justice@rodefsholom.org.

In the bin for April:  Bring diapers, wipes and baby formula! Thank you to everyone who donated used books in March – we collected over two barrels’ worth.  This month, we are collecting diapers, baby wipes and formula for clients of the Canal Alliance. Please bring some for the bins the next time you visit the synagogue!

We need help in feeding the homeless in our community!
The Family Shelter and the Mill Street Emergency Shelter in San Rafael need our help more than ever, as the number of residents has grown.   Congregation Rodef Sholom provides dinner twice a month to these organizations.   If you can provide a main dish, salad, or dessert--either once a month or even every few months, at a time to suit your schedule—or if you are interested in knowing more, please contact Moji at 479.3441 or moji@rodefsholom.org.

Jewish Family and Children’s Services Food Pantry
Hard as it is to believe, even in Marin County, there are people who can't put food on the table.   The JFCS barrel in the lobby collects food for Jewish Family and Children’s Services food pantry program.  We stock our pantry through the goodness of individuals in the Jewish community.   Every time you go shopping, especially with your children, pick up some non-perishable items such as peanut butter, dried lentils or tuna and drop them off at the lobby.  It is a wonderful opportunity to incorporate a mitzvah into your weekly routine.

A few important reminders:

•Please check expiration dates before donating!
•Only unopened packages, boxes, and jars, please!
•Others items such as books or clothing can be accepted at JFCS, but not in the barrels!
•Lastly, please look carefully when disposing of your garbage in our lobby, and avoid accidentally placing it in the food barrels!

Creating community

The Mitzvah Kitchen
Chef Jeff Kirshbaum bakes challah and cooks “Mitzvah” meals every Thursday for congregants facing times of need or celebrating a simcha. Volunteers are needed to help deliver these challot and meals. If you can deliver a meal, please contact Pete in advance, at 479.3441 or pete@rodefsholom.org; If you can deliver challah before the end of Shabbat, just come by the kitchen on Thursday afternoon after 2 pm or any time on Friday to pick them up.

Mitzvah Kitchen News--Join Rodef Sholom's New Artisan Bread Club!

סְעָד לִבְּךָ פַּת־לֶחֶם/ Satisfy your heart with a loaf of bread - Judges 19:5

Chef Jeff Kirshbaum and his Mitzvah Kitchen team have been churning out 60+ challot and 18 hot meals for our congregants in deepest need weekly for close to five years now. You've tasted his challot. You know the man's got skills. Well we've got good news.  Chef Jeff's got a new convection oven.  And he wants to put it to good use.   Starting in mid-March, you can subscribe to the Mitzvah Kitchen's new Artisan Bread Club.   Sign up, and every Thursday afternoon, a fresh hand-baked loaf of artisan bread will be waiting for you at the temple.   And if you're smart, you'll pick up a challah for your shabbes table at the same time. 

All Mitzvah Kitchen subscription money goes to support youth programming at Rodef Sholom (Subscription rates--$4/challah and $5/artisan loaf per week). Treat your tummy right. Contact Gigi at 479.3441 or gigi@rodefsholom.org to subscribe.

New! – Softball team (co-ed) forming at Rodef Sholom
Get out your mitt, warm up that swing, and step up to the plate! We are looking for softball players, men or women, to join our forming team.  We will play against Kol Shofar and other Jewish teams being formed around Marin.  Our first game is scheduled for April 10, but will be cancelled unless five more people sign up! Players should have their own gear and some basic experience. If you are interested, please contact congregant Matt Elkins at matt_elkins@comcast.net.

Men’s Spiritual Journey Group 2nd Monday of each month (April 11), 7:30 pm, Sanctuary
Come join this group, which has discussed such things in the past as life journeys/bios, religious backgrounds, differing relationships to God, Torah portions, roles as Jewish fathers, husbands or men, tzedakah, and our roles in Jewish or secular organizations. This group meets monthly. For more information, contact Rabbi Michael Lezak at 479.3441 or mlezak@rodefsholom.org.

The Lunch Bunch
Last Tuesday of each month (April 26), 12 noon
Join senior congregants for a wonderful monthly lunch to try a new restaurant, eat some exotic food and make new friends. In the past, the Lunch Bunch has been to restaurants such as Lanna Thai, Four Points Sheraton, La Toscana, San Rafael Joe's, and many others. Members of the group help to choose the restaurant and look for new places to discover.   To join this fun event, call Pete at 479.3441.

Job Connections Network
Our Job Connection Network allows congregants to support each other during these difficult economic times.  If you have an employment opportunity available--even a temporary one--please consider a Rodef Sholom congregant and let us know; If you are looking for employment, also let us know, and we will do our best to help you. Contact Moji at 479.3441 or moji@rodefsholom.org.  If you are looking for other employment services, contact Jewish Vocational Services at 391.3600; and Norma Barnes, Coordinator of Marin Professionals, a program of the Employment Development Department, at 415.507.2114 or norma.barnes@edd.ca.gov.

Lefferts Jewish Community Library
Stop by the Lefferts Jewish Community Library on Sundays from 10 am – 1 pm to borrow books, magazines, and DVDs on Jewish themes. We have a growing collection of new books and classics, as well as a children’s section. For more information, call 444.8159 or email lefferts.library@gmail.com.

The Gift Shop
Come browse our wide selection of Judaica and enrich your Jewish home. The Gift Shop is located in the lobby of the Osher Marin JCC, next door to Mangia Nosh café.

New regular Gift Shop hours:

• Monday and Tuesday:  10:00 am - 3:00 pm • Wednesday: 10:00 am - 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm
• Thursday: 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
• Friday: 11:00 am - 1:30 pm
• Most Sundays: 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

The gift shop is operated by the Women of Rodef Sholom and a large percentage of the profit from the store supports Rodef Sholom camperships--please shop here! For more information, please call 444.8098.

Candelabra Rental
Create a sensation with WRS candelabras at your next simcha. Call the CRS office and reserve your candelabra.  Special candles are available for purchase at the WRS Gift Shop at the JCC.   Candelabras rent for $18.


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accessiblecongragationslogoThrough the efforts of our Kulanu/ Inclusion of Those with Disabilities Committee, Rodef Sholom has been acknowleded as an accessible congregation by the National Organization on Disability.