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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Tags >> Giving

Thank you to Rodef Sholom past president Fred Levin and his wife, Nancy Livingston, who have made a generous commitment of $18,000 to support six Shulchan Shabbat dinners for fiscal year 2011-12. Their gift honors Rabbi Stacy Friedman’s 18th anniversary at Congregation Rodef Sholom.

Shulchan Shabbat (our Shabbat Table) is one of our most important community programs and had been slated for drastic cuts in the coming season. “With this thoughtful gift, we can continue to provide a no barriers, congregation-wide dinner that brings our sacred community together. I am grateful to Fred and Nancy for their dedication and support.” Rabbi Friedman

Did you know?
•300 to 400 people per month attend this important and pioneering community program.
•It costs $27,000 to host nine Shulchan Shabbat dinners
•Shulchan Shabbat is core to our mission

Congregation Rodef Sholom is a sacred Jewish community that is inclusive, welcoming and deeply supportive of those on a transformational Jewish path. We express those Jewish values through educating our children, welcoming the stranger, comforting mourners, feeding the hungry, and honoring life’s most precious and holy moments.

To learn more about Shulchan Shabbat and how you can help, please contact Jane Friedman at jane@rodefsholom.org or 415.479.3441.


Tzedek Circle: Justice
Sunday, April 10, 12 noon

The first annual Bay Area Walk Against Genocide, Lake Merritt, Oakland The Walk activities will be the first Bay Area event to implement California’s historic Genocide Awareness and Prevention resolution. SFBADC launched a new website dedicated to the event, www.walkagainstgenocide.org, where members of the public and the press can find out more about the Walk. The purpose of the walk is to raise awareness about genocide and funds to be divided among American Jewish World Service, Catholic Relief Service and the SF Bay Area Darfur Coalition.

If you are interested in forming a Rodef Sholom team or learning more about this issue, contact congregant Gerri Miller at gerrimiller25@sbcglobal.net or 435.2713.

Tzedek Circle: Food
Meals for the Homeless

We are proud to be one of many faith communities that provide dinner for both the Mill Street Shelter and Voyager Carmel Shelter in San Rafael. Congregants volunteer to bring a part of the dinner to each of the shelters on the following nights. Food can be dropped off any time during the day.

oMill Street – first and third Tuesday of the month. To volunteer, contact Debra Thal at 389.1125 or debrat26@aol.com or Roberta Dossick at 453.0260 or RDossick@tamdistrict.org.

oVoyager Carmel Center – first Tuesday and Wednesday of each month. To volunteer, contact Rachel Mercer at 378.8554 or Rachel.Mercer@alc.com.

Tzedek Circle: Shelter
We need to find a permanent home for the rotating shelter - want to help?
We have now been participating for three years in what was meant to be an emergency stopgap measure - the rotating homeless shelter - and the funding has run out yet again.  If you are interested in working to create a more sustainable and potentially year-round model and find a permanent home for the rotating shelter somewhere in Marin County, contact congregant Alissa Ralston at 472.5852 or lissaralston@gmail.com.

Sign up!
Remember, our Tzedek Circles initiative is our way of doing social justice and social action together at Rodef Sholom. We have four main areas of volunteering - earth, food, justice and shelter - there is something for everyone! 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!


Save the dates for Celebrating Chai --Honoring Rabbi Stacy Friedman's 18 years at Congregation Rodef Sholom inspiring, teaching and guiding our community – look for your invitation in the mail shortly.

Celebrating Chai: May 20 & May 21, 2011

Friday, May 20, Special Shabbat Service* with guests Rabbi Michael Barenbaum and Rabbi Lee Bycel
•6:45 pm pre service oneg
•7:15 pm* service
•Dessert reception following services

*This is a third Friday when we regularly have two services. On this evening we will have only one service.

Saturday, May 21, a wine and hors d'oeuvre reception honoring Rabbi Stacy Friedman at a private residence in Ross. Space is limited; tickets are $90 each. Sponsorship opportunities are available. Visit www.rodefsholom.org for more information.

Benefitting Vibrant Worship at Congregation Rodef Sholom
“With your support, we will bring in visionary teachers and musicians who lift up souls and build sacred community; sanctify pivotal life moments; and create new opportunities for all of us to more deeply connect to Shabbat, Jewish life and Jewish values." --Rabbi Stacy Friedman


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.


When Martin Konopken and Richard Schneider were preparing to be married in August 2008, Rabbi Lezak suggested they buy a tallit for the wedding—and to wear to future services. Neither had any idea that they’d be attending services, but sometimes Rabbi Lezak senses things we hardly know about ourselves. As Marty says, “he planted an idea in our heads that eventually grew into something”.

By 2008 Marty and Rich had been together for 33 years. When the short window of time opened for them to actually marry, they first thought they’d have a civil ceremony. But for Marty, who was raised Jewish, the idea of a Jewish wedding kept gnawing at him. For him, a Jewish wedding was the only “real” kind of wedding. They met with Rabbi Lezak, and in August of 2008 they were married in the sanctuary in a wonderful ceremony attended by many visiting friends and family.

After their wedding, they wanted to maintain their connection to Rodef Sholom but both were still searching for the way that felt right. Marty, though he always identified as Jewish, had largely stepped away from Judaism as a religion for much of his life. He spent many months after the wedding re-educating himself about Judaism. He and Rich attended Purim festivities the following spring as well as a Passover seder and then Friday night services. They were touched by the energy of the community and both began to feel the desire to be more involved.

For Rich, the journey has been a different kind of awakening. As a non-practicing Methodist, he found the taste of Judaism so compelling that he decided to pursue conversion. He met with Rabbi Lezak over the course of the next year, and in May 2010 celebrated becoming Jewish. Most impressively, he also taught himself some Hebrew (having never studied a language!) and continues to study with teacher Sara Navon. Next year he plans to study with Cantor David Margules for his Bar Mitzvah.

Marty, who had earlier maintained his Jewish connection by continuing to study Hebrew, was honored by chanting a Torah portion last year on Yom Kippur. He is now studying trope on Tuesday mornings with Cantor David.

Both Marty and Rich have also become involved in mitzvah projects, delivering challahs and giving rides to other temple members. Rabbi Stacy Friedman has also asked them to consider mentoring others pursuing conversion.

Their involvement in Rodef Sholom has given both Marty and Rich such unexpected richness that the idea of including the temple in their planned giving was an easy one. Both have made IRA designations to the temple and they emphasize how easy the process is. While they fully expect to be enjoying retirement for many years to come, they feel strongly about being part of Rodef Sholom’s future through their planned giving designations.

Marty and Richard’s generosity allows Rodef Sholom to continue its holy work as well as provide for new programs in the future.

Please join Marty and Richard and the more than 125 Legacy Circle members by including Rodef Sholom in your will or trust. Thank you.

To learn more about Planned Giving, contact Jane Friedman at 479.3441 or jane@rodefsholom.org.


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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.