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

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Tags >> High Holy Days

On coming home

Posted by: meredith

by Sue Lifschiz, September 28, 2012

A year ago, just before the High Holidays, Jule and I moved from our home in San Rafael where we had lived for 48 years to Oakmont--a senior community in Santa Rosa. At a newcomers' event we met another Jewish couple, and they invited us to attend High Holiday services with them at their synagogue in Santa Rosa. Anxious to establish connections in our new community, we accepted. The services were OK, but something was definitely missing, and I didn't identify exactly what that something was until last week when we returned to Rodef Sholom. 

Even though Rodef Sholom is only an hour's drive from our new home, at our age driving is becoming more of a challenge, especially at night. So we drove down early on Erev Rosh Hashanah and stayed overnight at a nearby hotel so we wouldn't have to drive home late at night and back early the next morning. 

By the end of services on Yom Kippur, I was simply overwhelmed by my sense of comfort and belonging. We had joined Rodef Sholom shortly after our daughter Jan was born in 1964, and she was named in the synagogue. Both our girls were confirmed at Rodef Sholom, and Jill was married by Rabbi Barenbaum. Rabbi Stacy Friedman blessed the memories of my parents as we laid them to rest. Certainly we weren't as involved in Temple life as we could have been. Like many others, I suppose, our level of activity seemed to vary with our needs at the various stages of our lives. 

This year, before, during and after services, we reconnected with so many old and dear friends. We caught up on the news of their families, their travels, and yes, even their illnesses. We saw how, like us, they had aged but had mellowed. It felt so good to see them. Reuniting with so many lifelong friends, I was struck by what a major role Rodef Sholom has indeed played in our lives. Not only socially, but in other ways as well. We saw so many families where Jule had provided orthodontic treatment for the children. 

 We recognize the huge extent to which those contacts made at Rodef Sholom are responsible for the success of his practice. On Rodef Sholom's website it is stated. "Our congregants know the value of community." Sitting there among those who have been a part of our lives for so many years, I dramatically understood the full meaning of Rodef Sholom as community. Coming back to Rodef Sholom was truly coming home.

We are again offering the opportunity for congregants to phone in and listen to our High Holy Day services. To listen to any of the worship services being held at the Civic Center, please call 1.888.296.6500, and enter guest code 937763#, during the hours of the service.

10 Days. 10 Questions. Sign up by Rosh Hashanah.

 Last year, some of you participated in this ground-breaking High Holy Days project. Here is how it works this year:

Answer one question per day in your own secret online 10Q space.  Make your answers serious. Silly. Salacious. However you like.  It's your 10Q. When you're finished, hit the magic button and your answers get sent to the secure online 10Q vault for safekeeping. One year later, the vault will open and your answers will land back in your email inbox for private reflection. Want to keep them secret? Perfect.  Want to share them, either anonymously or with attribution, with the wider 10Q community? You can do that too. 

 Curious? Go to and learn more and sign up.

From ancient tradition, the month of Elul is a time of rethinking, study and self-examination. As Rabbi Arthur wrote in Seasons of Our Joy

Elul is thirty days long, and Yom Kippur is the tenth day of Tishri. So there are 40 days from the first day of Elul to Yom Kippur. These 40 days became identified with the 40 days of repentance Moses spent on Mount Sinai. Moses had come down from Sinai with the Ten Commandments only to find the people worshipping the golden calf. He destroyed the calf and punished the people, and then returned to Sinai to fast and pray for 40 days. These ended—presumably on Yom Kippur—with God’s act of forgiveness and reconciliation in handing down the second set of tablets with the Ten Commandments. And so Israel’s first collective sin was covered by the first atonement. By identifying this period of Moses’ 40 days on the mountain with the period before Yom Kippur, the community encouraged itself to spend these 40 days as Moses did—in prayerful study and in trying to hear God’s word and turn their lives around, so that God could again extend a full forgiveness. 

As part of our spiritual preparation during Elul, our clergy will be teaching at 6:15 pm Friday night Shabbat Services on the following dates and topics:

  • August 24: Rabbi Michael Lezak will be teaching on Three Ways to Make it Real in 5773;
  • August 31:  Cantor David Margules will take us through some of the traditional holiday prayers, highlighting both the musical and spiritual embellishments of the liturgy accompanied by our adult choir and our musicians; and
  • September 7:  Rabbi Stacy Friedman will be teaching on Is Real Change Possible? Tshuvah and the High Holy Days


Sisterhood has made it easy for us to let our friends and family know that we are thinking of  them - send a lovely honey jar, with your personal Rosh Hashanah greeting! The process is extremely easy. The cost is only $10/jar! 

Go to to order your honey.  Make the Jewish new year greeting, L'Shanah Tovah u' Metukah (a good and sweet year) a reality for your loved ones.

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