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
Tags >> Events

The Book of Job - When Bad Things Happen to a Good Person with Rabbi Harold Kushner on Sunday, November 4, 7 pm, JCC 

From one our most trusted spiritual advisors, a thoughtful illuminating guide to the most fascinating of biblical texts and how it can teach us about living in a troubled world.  Rabbi Kushner is well known for his book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People. He has written 13 books and has been chosen by the Roman Catholic Organization as one of fifty people who have made the world a better place in the past half-century. This program is presented free of charge. Osher Marin JCC Hoytt Theater.  RSVP by contacting Alaina Yoakum at or 415.444.8080.

Sunday, November 11, 10 am, JCC Lounge: An Exploration of the Book of Genesis through the History of Art with Rabbi Oren Postrel
Join Rabbi Oren Postrel for a morning of visual and textual explorations of the Book of Genesis. We will look at both artwork and narratives to amplify our familiarity with this richly interpreted book of Torah, from the cosmos of Michelangelo and Carl Sagan, to Ghiberti, Masaccio and the Symbolists. This program is free of charge.  RSVP to Pete at or 479.3441.

Friday, November 16, 8 pm Shabbat services: Kristallnacht observance
The adult choir will join us on a night where we also remember Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, when Jews were attacked throughout Germany and parts of Austria on November 9, 1938. Cantor David Margules, the choir and our musicians will offer the piece, Indifference: the opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference, written by Cantor Mark Saltzman. 

Adult-only dinner
This night, the 8 pm service will be preceded by an adult-only dinner at 6:30 pm. Space is limited, dinner is $20 per person, and RSVPs are due to Pete at or 479.3441 by November 12.

Study & Torah
Torah with Soul

Shabbat mornings, 9:15 am*, Inner Conference Room Join us for soul-lifting Torah for learners of all levels and ages. 

 *Note: on the 3rd Saturday of the month, November 17, 8:30 am, weather permitting, Torah with Soul will become Torah on the Trails with a member of our clergy for a good hike and some good learning. Contact Pete in the office at 479.3441 or for the location of this month’s trailhead. If it’s raining, we’ll meet in the ICR at our normal time. 

Social Action 

In the bin for November – Toys for San Rafael Santa Cop
This month, we are collecting new unwrapped toys for the San Rafael Santa Cop program. Please bring some by for our bins in the lobby the next time you visit the synagogue. 

Volunteers needed to deliver food to shelters
Rodef Sholom has been a part of this program for over twenty years, providing dinners to various shelters in Marin County. Sign up to receive e-mails about the needs each month and provide a part of a dinner to residents of Mill Street Shelter or Carmel Voyager house in San Rafael. To help out, please contact our volunteer coordinators Rachel Mercer at or 479-8554, or Debbie Thal at or 389.1125. 

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!

 Creating Community

Men's Spiritual Journey Group
2nd Monday of each month (November 12) 7:00 pm, Sanctuary
Come join this group, which usually meets on the 2nd Monday of each month, and which has discussed such things in the past as life journeys, religious backgrounds, differing relationships to God, Torah portions, and roles as Jewish fathers, husbands, and men. For more information, please contact Mike Ralston (, Steve Saxe ( or Michael Weinberger (

The Lunch Bunch
Last Tuesday of each month (November 27), 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. 

The Mitzvah Kitchen
Chef Jeff Kirshbaum and his volunteer crew bake challah and cook “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; If you can deliver challah before the end of Shabbat, just come by the lobby on Thursday afternoon after 2 pm or any time on Friday to pick them up. 

Challah Subscriptions
How would you like to take home a mouth-watering loaf of challah, straight from our Mitzvah Kitchen ovens, every Shabbat?  Consider a challah subscription! 

Artisan Bread Club
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 many years now. You've tasted his challot. Now try his weekly artisan creations, such as French country, whole wheat, rye, semolina, rosemary olive, and more, by subscribing 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. Subscription information All Mitzvah Kitchen subscription money goes to support youth education at Rodef Sholom.

Subscription rates for eight weeks: $32 challah, $40/artisan loaf, or a special price of $56/both artisan and challah. Treat your tummy right. Contact Pete at 479.3441 or for more information and to subscribe. 

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 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 507.2114 or

Lefferts Jewish Community Library
Stop by on Sundays, from 10 am - 1 pm, and 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 on the Library, call 444-8159, visit,  or email

Women of Rodef Sholom Gift Shop
Our gift shop has a lovely selection of Judaica merchandise, including tallitot, kippot, spice boxes, mezzuzot, and a variety of books, cards, jewelry, candles, tzedakah boxes, and other items to enrich a Jewish home. We have books and merchandise for all of your new year's needs. Now, if you can't find exactly what you want, you can still support the Gift Shop by shopping online! Just click here! 

Gift Shop hours:


  • Monday - Thursday, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm;
  • Fridays, 11:30 am - 2:00 pm and
  • most Sundays, 10:00 am - 12:30 pm (call first to be sure) 


The Gift Shop is located in the Marin JCC lobby. It is operated by the Women of Rodef Sholom and a large percentage of the profit supports Rodef Sholom camperships - please shop here! For information, please call 444.8098. 

Candelabra Rental
Illuminate your next simcha with a WRS candelabra! Simply call our gift shop in the JCC to reserve one for a modest rental contribution of $18.   Special candles are available for purchase, as well.

A rabbi and his daughter were driving in the car when she asked her father, “What is the holiest day in the Jewish year?” He thought for a moment and responded, “Purim! -- or maybe Shabbat.” “Purim?” Surprised by her father’s answer, she asked for an explanation. In the Torah, Yom Kippur is known as Yom Ha-Kippurim. Rabbi Isaac Luria (18th century) explains that the word Purim is found in the biblical name for Yom Kippur- Yom haki-PURIM, which literally means a day like Purim!

Why and how is Yom Kippur a day like Purim? The rabbis teach us that all holidays and each Shabbat are “half spiritual, half physical.” We spend part of each holy day praying and singing (the spiritual part) and the rest of the day eating a special meal, some challah, and celebrating at home with family or friends (the physical part). Of all the holidays in the Jewish calendar, Purim and Yom Kippur are the only two exceptions. Purim is all physical while Yom Kippur is all spiritual. Yom Kippur is spent fasting, while Purim is spent feasting. On Yom Kippur, we turn completely inward and thwart worldly endeavors, while on Purim, the opposite is true- we celebrate with costumes and loud noise (groggers), we eat and bring food (shalach manot) to friends and family, we give money to the poor. And even the central biblical text of Purim, the Book of Esther, never mentions God!

So how then, can Purim be holier than Yom Kippur? Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov writes that, If one attains holiness through affliction (like we do on Yom Kippur) and another attains holiness through indulgence (like we do on Purim), who is the greater of the two? One who attains holiness through indulgence is greater for it requires an infinitely greater degree of striving and effort.” I believe what he is saying is that holiness that derives from praying, meditating, and fasting is easier, cleaner-cut than finding holiness amidst the chaos of everyday life. Finding holiness while sitting on top of a mountain is often much easier than finding it while paying the bills or sitting in traffic. But ultimately, the is the lesson of Jewish life-- living a spiritual life while living life fully, with all its holy messiness. In this way, the challenge of Purim is greater!! That’s why Yom ha-kiPurim is only “a day like Purim.”

My point is not to diminish Yom Kippur’s importance, but rather, to recognize the importance and centrality of Purim! In essence, Purim and Yom Kippur are two sides of the same coin. They balance each other, and when we celebrate both, we too experience more balance and more holiness as well. I know we will have arrived when as many people attend Purim as do Yom Kippur!

I look forward to seeing you all this year on Purim (remember, Purim is not just for children, but is truly an adult holiday as well).

If you would like to participate in our Purim service and shpiel, let me know at 479.3441 or

Come ready to celebrate, have fun, laugh, and enjoy! Oh and don’t forget your costume!

Rabbi Stacy Friedman

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Rabbi Oren Postrel is back!

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Stand up for REST!

It's time to find a permanent home for the Rotating Winter Shelter - learn more on May 15, 6:30 - 8:30 at Rodef Sholom. Click here.

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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.