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 >> Teens

Educational research tells us that three elements make a successful educational experience:  socialization, recreation and education. What children continually retain is how they learned, how they were treated and the friendships they created. The building of a community is what makes children feel like they belong.

Here are some of the ways we intend to make religious school more innovative and stimulating:

  • Social gatherings, outside of school hours, twice a year for all K-6 graders
  • Informal electives for 4th-6th graders designed to reinforce social connections and Jewish cultural learning
  • Build a youth group for 7th and 8th graders
  • Ongoing CRuSTY and NFTY social and social action events for high school age youth
  • Midrasha (8th – 12th grade) electives designed to foster adolescent spiritual, intellectual and social development
  • Leadership development for post-b’nai mitzvah students

In addition, we will tap the immersive, transformational nature of Jewish sleep-away camp by collaborating with Camp Newman and bring that synergy regularly to Rodef Sholom. Our plan is to offer temple sleepovers for 4th – 6th grades and encourage 4th – 12th graders to participate in Camp Newman and NFTY weekends throughout the year.

Finally, it is our goal, contingent upon funding, to launch a camp-style program in March 2012 for this year’s 3rd and 4th graders and their families with an expansive Shabbat retreat with inspirational song leader Dan Nichols.  It will have all the accoutrements camp delivers such as great music, nature, family, food and spiritual exploration; all in the context of an evolving, sacred and holy community.  

Our purpose is to connect kids to each other, to Jewish time, traditions and wisdom, build a strong youth community and teach kids Jewish pride through creative experiences both inside and outside of the classroom.

We want to encourage you to sit down together as a family to discuss the possibility of sending your child to Israel this summer.  Bring your questions to our class meeting on October 11th. We, your Rodef Sholom clergy and staff, are here to help you on every level to try to make this trip a reality for your child.  Please call Rabbi Michael Lezak or Claire Mikowski if you have any questions at 479.3441.

This year 25 7th to 12th graders took the challenge and made a huge difference in the lives of 400 little Jews. You, too, can be one of those fabulous teens. 

Why should you?   Here are some really good reasons:

•Be a mentor to a little kid
•Build your leadership skills
•Add to your job and college resume
•Get letters of recommendation from your supervisors, and
•Most importantly, do a mitzvah and pass on your Judaism to the next generation! 

If you are interested, contact Claire Mikowski at or 479.3441.

Congregation Rodef Sholom is many things to many people, but for me one of the most important things we are is a caring community. We care about each other in a way that is a model for congregations around the country. Through our mitzvah kitchen, Nichum and Chevra Kadisha programs our congregants support each other through the most difficult times and celebrate with each other during times of joy. And through our Tzedek Circles projects we reach out and care about those in the larger community. 

It’s important to look back and see what this support really means in real numbers and how many lives have been affected.

Every week our own Chef Jeff Kirshbaum and his group of volunteers make meals for up to 18 congregants in need and bake up dozens of delicious challahs. From June 2010 – June 2011 we fed 557 congregants with meals from this amazing program and you delivered hundreds of challahs to fellow congregants.

Through our Nichum/Caring program you delivered meals to over 560 congregants in time of need. These meals are a lifeline for those who are healing or mourning or celebrating the birth of a new baby. 

And what did we do for the world beyond Rodef Sholom? Through our Tzedek Circles projects we touched people’s lives throughout the county and beyond.

Through our In The Bin program we collected:

  • 3000 lbs of food for the Marin Community Food Bank during High Holy Days
  • 3 barrels of school supplies for Venetia Valley and the Canal Community Alliance
  • 4 barrels of toys for the Fire Dept Holiday Toy Drive
  • Over a hundred blankets, socks and jackets for the unsheltered in our community
  • 2 barrels or hundreds of bottles of soaps, shampoos and other personal hygiene items for the unsheltered in our community
  • 2 barrels of macaroni and cheese (our groggers!) for the JFCS food pantry at Purim
  • 3 barrels of books for the Marin Global Book Exchange
  • 3 barrels of baby items for the Canal Alliance including diapers and wipes
  • 2 barrels of kid’s sports equipment for the Canal Alliance. 


Tzedek Circles projects


  • You fed 1400 people through our Meals for the Homeless program
  • You cooked and delivered 200 meals to people homebound through illness throughout Marin volunteering for Meals of Marin



  • 60 of you helped to clean up various Marin County parks



  • 20 of you went to New Orleans to help with rebuilding
  • Hundreds of you fed and hosted 40 homeless men in our Social Hall all winter
  • Many religious school parents and children hosted dozens of homeless guests at our mitzvah lunches and dinners throughout the school year



  • Many of you walked around Lake Merritt to raise awareness about the genocide in Darfur
  • Many of you lobbied and continue to lobby for more permanent shelter beds in Marin 


What a tremedous year it has been! We should be so proud – I know I am. 

Moji Javid
Director of Community Connections

CRuSTY’s Chocolate Seder

Posted by: meredith

On Thursday, April 21, 2011, our teen youth group, CRuSTY (Congregation Rodef Sholom Temple Youth) hosted our first Chocolate Seder! As a new youth group, CRuSTY has hosted many events, but this one was by far our best. With chocolate eggs, chocolate matzos, chocolate milk, and altered Haggadot in place of hard-boiled eggs, bland matzos, wine, and traditional Haggadot, the 35 people who attended said the prayers like any regular Seder (but it was much more entertaining!) We laughed, sang, searched for the Afikomen, all while keeping up a customary Seder – well, something close to customary. Keep a lookout for more events soon, that will be guaranteed be fun for everyone! For more information on our youth group or events, email our CRuSTY youth group advisor, Alissa Robinow, at!

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