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 >> Giving

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 

 L’ shalom, 



Posted by: meredith

Tagged in: Giving

We have all witnessed the moment.

Every Shabbat, at some point in our service, the bar/bat mitzvah family is called to the front of the sanctuary, where the eldest member of the family is handed the Torah and then in turn, passes it on, physically, to the next generation of family, and so on, until the Torah is placed in the embrace of the child. 

This ritual is a powerful and poignant reminder of how our people have transmitted our values and essence through the years to enable the Jewish people to survive to this day. 

Rodef Sholom is the place where we build and sustain Jews. We have the opportunity to ensure that the synagogue is here and prospering for the next generation, and our success depends on the ability to connect people to one another and to Torah. Participation in the Rodef Sholom Legacy Circle is a way for each of us to help sustain our traditions and sacred community for our children. 

Each year, we celebrate the commitment made by families who have included the synagogue in their estate plans and joined the circle to sustain the vitality of our congregation. This year our celebration was a beautiful Sunday afternoon reception in April, hosted by Cindy and Craig Morris in their lovely Kentfield home to honor the Legacy Circle members. 

Guest speaker Assemblyman Marc Levine spoke to circle members about the Jewish perspective on California state politics and gave a “new insider” view of issues and personalities at the State Capitol. 

Sid Sall, a member of our planned giving committee, arranged for Ms. Nancy Romano, owner of Wine Appellations, to pour Italian varietals at the reception, and also brought select bottles from his own collection to share at the afternoon celebration. Rodef Referral member Ellen Silverman donated individual gift boxes from Kopper’s Chocolates that were given to Circle members at the party. 

This year we are pleased to welcome five new families into our Legacy Circle of 145 members who have made a commitment to the future of our Kehila Kedosha, our holy community. 

Anonymous (2)
Ruben Arquilevich & Vivien Braly
Lawrence & Barbara Babow
John & Susan Barnes
Michael Barnett & Judith Bloomberg
Frank & Lee Battat
Jay Bellin
Jeffry & Diane Bernstein
Ted & Sharon Block
David & Rosalind Bloom
Leonard & Patricia Blumin
Richard & Dorothy Breiner
David & Suzanne Broad
Martin & Farron Brotman
Martin & Geraldine Brownstein
John Conte Jr.
Stephen & Rhonda Daniels
George Dirkes & Gail Stern
Marc & Marci Dollinger
George Fernbacher
Mark & Carole Friedlander
Stacy & Frank Friedman
Abe & Suzanne Froman
Mitchell & Antoinette Golbus
Deborah Grant
Claudette Greenblat
Fred & Joanne Greene
Bruce & Jacquie Gribens
Stephen & Leslie Isaacs
Manny & Doreen Ishtam
Ralph & Christine Jacobson
Michael Kamler & Patricia Shiu
Martin & Beth Katz
Bill Kay
Loren & Rachel Kertz
Martin Konopken & Richard Schneider
Robert & Karen Kustel
Timothy & Diana Lang
Elliot & Barbara Lefferts
Michael Lezak & Noa Kushner
Chris & Rebecca Lien
Jay & Jan Luxenberg
Wayne Malen
Paul McLaughlin & Elizabeth Share
Barbara Merino
Hilda Namm
Bruce & Gail Napell
Thomas Neylan & Mary De May
Russell & Joan Pratt
Marc & Kimberly Press
David & Mary Rabb
Michael & Alissa Ralston
Gary & Joyce Rifkind
Leonard & Elssy Rifkind
Frederick & Catherine Ross-Perry
Esther Rubin
Eleanor Sade
Sidney Sall & Deborah Gray
Steven & Joanne Saxe
Jay & Harriet Schnitzer
Gary & Julie Shemano
Mervyn Shenson & Charlotte Levy
Joanne Sobel
Raoul Stepakoff & Cindy Ostroff
Olga Thein
Jack & Sybil Waxman
Richard & Betty Jo Waxman
Jon & Pamela Welner
Barbara Wilkes
Ian Wilson

Rosh Hashanah begins the evening of Wednesday, September 4 this year – only two days after Labor Day! 

Last year, the Women of Rodef Sholom started a new minhag (custom) -- sending honey for Rosh Hashanah! You can get kosher 100% pure clover honey sent to your family and friends for only $10.00 per jar. 

Sending a personalized jar of honey:

  • Lets someone know you're thinking of them at Rosh Hashanah and wishing them a sweet New Year.
  • Gives a loved one a much-needed and useful gift (as compared to a greeting card!)
  • Supports Women of Rodef Sholom

Ordering is easy:  

  1. Go to
  2. If this is your first time, please be sure to click the link for NEW customers
  3. Follow step-by-step instructions
  4. Be sure Women of Rodef Sholom Honey Store is displayed. 

For more information or help placing an order, please contact Abra Berkson at 415.250.5005 or

Rodef Sholom is proud to be 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. 

Todah rabah to these Mill Street meal-bringers for May, June and July: 

Lee Angress
Claudia Belshaw
Cynthia Boyd
Marlene Braverman
Sue Broad
Marci Dollinger
Debbie Dorosin
Judy Einbinder
Lisa Soll Epstein
Shirley Fischer
Carole Friedlander
Bobbie Garber
Jan Goldberg
Joanne Greene
Zem Joaquin
Leslie Laskin-Reese
Amy Lester
Bob Levine
Nancy Levinson
Sue Levinson
Leslie Lipman
Susan Machtinger
Shira Marin
Alice Miller
Gerri Miller
Jackie Moskowitz
Terri Nevins
Cindy Ostroff
Joyce Pavlovsky
Sue Pearlstein
Bob Pedrin
Julie Schapf
Joyce Scheer-Blum
Karen Scofield
Roz Seiden
Carole Sheft
Joyce Siegel
Shelley Siegan
Carol Solomon
Gilda Turitz
Cyndi Weingard 

Thanks to a number of congregants, our congregation contributed over $1,700 to Marin County’s Gun Buy Back program. The full text of his letter (with the complete breakdown of the weapons and ammunition they collected) is available (contact Meredith at  but here is the highlight:  856 firearms, including two semi-automatic assault rifles, and over 4,000 rounds of ammunition were surrendered. 

As Mr. Berberian put it: 

I personally believe the removal of these []firearms from the homes in our community and our neighboring communities means there are [] fewer chances that a firearm will be the cause of an accidental death due to the negligent handling by an adult or child; or be available to someone despondent and suicidal; or be in a home and stolen during a burglary then subsequently appear in a criminal enterprise; or be available during an explosive domestic violence incident; or be available to an emotionally or mentally challenged individual at a time of crisis. 

Todah rabah to all who contributed!

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