This history was transcribed from the 40th Anniversary book
In the early years of Marin’s history there were but a handful of Jewish residents. During the 30’s, a Mrs. Dora Levy taught Sunday School to five or six Jewish youngsters in her home on Forbes Avenue in San Rafael. As more families came to the county there was a need for a larger school, so classes were moved to the garden level of the San Anselmo Library.
In 1944, as more and more young people attended Sunday School, a need arose to create a more formal religious school curriculum. Committees were formed which eventually led to the formation of the Marin Jewish Sunday School Association. Headed by Jacob Albert, Rose Capel, Hannah Greenfield and Rose Paul, this association informally affiliated with Sherith Israel in San Francisco in order to get up-to-date curriculum materials and books. At this time Rose Paul became the principal and Mary Golyn was the chairman of the Parents’ Support group. At this point classes were held in the 100F building on Ross Avenue in San Anselmo. Shortly thereafter the Sunday School was housed in Scout Hall on Second and A streets in San Rafael.
During the 40’s many Marin Jews would gather together on Friday evenings for informal Shabbat services. Lay leaders took turns leading the prayers. High holidays and special holidays throughout that year featured visiting rabbis who came to Marin’s “pulpit”. During these years, too, B’nai Brith, Hadassah and the Council of Jewish Women formed in Marin county. Everyone realized there was a need for a community center in Marin and by 1946 a committee was formed to establish the Marin JCC. Abe Blumenfeld was elected its first president.
By 1947 the Jews of Marin raised the funds to purchase a building big enough to house the Marin Jewish Sunday School, the community Shabbat services, and the meetings of the various Jewish organizations including B’nai Brith, Hadassah, and Council of Jewish Women. The first real Jewish “home” in Marin was located on Mission Avenue near Forbes in San Rafael and was ready for occupancy in 1948.
In 1954 Irv Newman was hired to run the program for the JCC. He helped lead services, run the Sunday school and became the lay leader for the Jewish community of Marin.
This arrangement worked well for a number of years but in time families yearned for an actual synagogue in addition to the JCC in Marin. Eight men got together to help found such a temple and we, today, are beholden to their foresight, generosity, and hard work.
Samuel B. Herst
David J. Rosenberg
In January 1956, these gentlemen and their families, along with 56 other Jewish families, became the charter members of Congregation Rodef Sholom, the first Jewish congregation in Marin.
Rabbi Julius A. Liebert, a Marin resident at that time volunteered his services to our fledgling congregation and under his guidance our Jewish traditions were able to continue.
Our first Board of Directors, headed by President Sidney Braverman, had myriad jobs confronting them. There were committees to organize, projects to begin, funds to raise. Giving tirelessly of their time were original board members: Sidney Rudy, Myer Abel, Abe Blumenfeld, Roy Calder, Sam Herst, Steve Liggett, Sam Margoliash (House Committee Chairman), David Rosenberg (Religious Committee Chairman), Rod Rotkin (Publicity Chairman), Aaron Schwartz (Ritual committee Chairman), Larry Goldberg Lewis Aaron, Jerome Leitner (Ways and Means Chairman), and Harold Harris.
Among the Board’s many concerns was the religious direction of our temple. Some wanted a Conservative slant; others preferred Reform. The debate continued for a year.
Our first year saw the founding of the Ladies’ Auxiliary with Elaine (Mrs. David) Rosenberg assuming the presidency, and the start of the Men’s Club under the leadership of Sid Zobel, and later Lawrence Goldberg. From a mere 64 families in January, our numbers increased to 84 in July and 143 by September.
We hired Cantor Louis Roller to assist at services. Our Religious School met weekly in rooms above the Tamalpais Theater in San Anselmo.
Our Rodef Sholom/Jewish Center sanctuary at 1618 Mission Avenue was the site of our Temple’s first Bar Mitzvah—John Gladstein on June 2, and our first wedding: Bobbie Bloom wed Murray Gelleri on August 5. In memory of Murray’s deceased parents, a chuppah was donated to the fledgling temple by Murray’s sister and brother in law, Miriam and Mervyn Cohn.
In November, the board organized a search committee for a permanent rabbi and Sam Herst, Aaron Schwartz, and Sid Rudy set about on that difficult task.
Fund raising was important, too, and our first Fund Fair, under the direction of Sidney Braverman and Roy Michael, took place at the Bermuda Palms Hotel in December. It was a resounding success.
Another year of firsts. We hired our first administrative staff (Della Patnoe and Eleanor Colton), and Elsie Goldman Krinitsky became our music director. Harold Harris and Alice Calder started the first edition of the “Voice” and our Religious School held its first Open House.
On Shavuot, nine youngsters were confirmed by Rabbi Liebert: Barbara Rudy, Douglas Herst, Beverly Schwartz, Jacqueline Moose, Ken Rosenberg, Leslie Getz, Judy Aaron, Cliff Kupperberg and Judy Yaffee.
Shortly thereafter Rabbi Liebert retired and was named Rabbi Emeritus.
Rabbi Morton Hoffman came to us in July. A Reform Rabbi with an Orthodox background, he was able to convince the Board d that ours should be a Reform synagogue. As a result, we joined UAHC (Union of American Hebrew Congregations) and became the reform temple of Marin.
Our High Holiday services, conducted by Rabbi Hoffman, were held at the Fairfax Theater. In December, Rabbi Hoffman started his first first-of–the- month Children’s Services. Our number had grown dramatically…we now had 200 families and over 225 children in our religious school! Our acquisitions began growing too; a new memorial board was in stalled in the front lobby of the Center.
Sisterhood was busy. It held its first Theater Party fundraiser at the Sequoia Theater and enjoyed its first book review by Rabbi Hoffman.
Having joined UAHC in 1957, our synagogue sent five delegates to eth UAHC convention: Sidney Rudy, Sidney Braverman, Sam Herst Rod Rotkin, and David Rosenberg. These men came back form the convention inspired to begin building a permanent sanctuary. The board chose Abe Blumenfeld, Harry Albert and David Cohn to serve on a site committee, assisted by architect Lawrence Halprin. Land was eventually found and bought on North San Pedro Road. Sid Braverman appointed by President Sam Herst to be chairman of the building fund committee and in December a contract was signed with Morrison and McKenzie, a fundraising organization, to help us raise the needed funds to build our Temple. One of the first fund raising parties as held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Alpert in San Rafael.
Despite the hustle and bustle of land acquisition and fund raising, the year was filled with additional events. The first Purim Festival was held on March 8, our second Fund Fair took place on May 19 and 20, and the Men’s Club first Temple Play, “The King and Oi” became an instant hit (the first of many George Goldman Productions).
Our Religious School was growing by leaps and bounds and as a result our classes were now held at Marin Country Day School in Corte Madera. Elsie Krinitsky put her talents to work and formed our first Children’s choir: Judy Rude, Jacky Calder, Ricky Brown David Granish, Michael Kupperberg, Karen Pohoriles, Barbara Colton, Jackie Colton, and Janis Goldbaum.
Ladies’ Auxiliary, under president Lili Guterman, had a fundraising Theatre Party and Fashion Show and raised $2000, while the Men’s Club had its first Chanukah Ball, under the supervision of club president Russ Shatz. Julie Harris was elected to fill a vacancy on the Temple Board and thus became the first official woman board member.
Rosh Hashanah services were held at the Jewish Center but Yom Kippur services, with over 600 in attendance, were held at the Fairfax Theater. Rabbi Hoffman was assisted by Cantor Arthur Lincoln and our volunteer choir: Shirley Berman, Alice Calder and Kathy Fuchs (directed by soloist Elsie Goldman Krinitsky).
This was a BIG FUNDRAISING YEAR! Sid Braverman, Campaign General Chairman, pointed out, “In the short span of 3 ½ years our congregation has grown from a handful of energetic people to more that 225 families! Our initial enrollment of children in Religious School was 140. This month we expect to register over 300. We need the physical facilities to house a sanctuary in which we can worship in quiet dignity and a religious school building to equip ourselves and our children with Jewish culture and education. This is the great challenge of our fund drive. With all of us bending our every effort we will not fail—we must not fail.”
A fundraising booklet was made up; parties and dinners were held to attract potential donors and the synagogue community responded generously. Estimated need at the time was for $350,000 to cover the cost of the land, the sanctuary, multipurpose social hall plus kitchen, classroom and offices. The fundraising goal was $144,000 and by November the Temple had pledges in excess of $170,000.
The fundraising campaign organization was a good one. Serving under Temple president Sam Herst and Campaign Chairman Sid Braverman were: Abe Blumenfeld and Mel Swig, co-chairmen of Special Gifts, assisted by Sidney Rudy and Benjamin Baum; Division Leaders Kurt Rosenthal and Lawrence Goldberg; Captains: Mrs. Myer Able, Dr Martin Brownstein, Mrs. San Goldbaum, Harold Haas, Harold Harris, Dave Rosenberg, Dr Merv Shenson, Dr Jack Siegel and Treasurer, Lewis L Aaron.
Claire Herst headed the Hostess Committee and her vice chairmen were Olga Rudy, Julie Harris, Dorothy Baum, Maxine Cohen, Miriam Cohn, Marilyn Jacobs and Janet Froman. Arrangements Chairman was Lala Smith and her vice chairmen were Inge Rosenthal, Mrs. Julius Selinger, Geri Brownstein, Rose Harris and Eve Black.
It was a stimulating and exciting time for Rodef Sholom. Yet not all our efforts were geared to fundraising. In April the entire Jewish Community was invited to a Passover Seder in the Jewish Center auditorium on Mission Avenue. Rabbi Hoffman and Irv Newman conducted services. Cost was $3.50 per adult and $2.50 per child. Mrs. Sidney Porter served as chairman of the Congregation Seder committee.
In May the first Temple Youth group was formed as well as the first Religious School committee (Joseph Cohen, Isaac Goldstein, Abe Granish, Dr. Manuel Kalman, Harold Lerner, Dr Earl Siegel, Jack Shane, Saul Smith, John Stern and Dr Sam Margoliash). Alan Fibish was hired to direct youth activities and Abe Froman was appointed as our first Sunday School principal. Our Confirmation Class level was raised to tenth grade so we had no youth Confirmation during Shavuot. Instead we held our first Adult confirmation. We also received a new torah… a gift from Congregation Anshey Sfard in San Francisco.
Rabbi Hoffman went to Israel during the summer to be married and Harold Harris led services during that time.
The Men’s club presented George Goldman’s play “Petaluma!” And a Post confirmation group was formed under Rabbi Hoffman’s direction. Members included Cliff Kupperberg, president, Judy Yaffee, secretary-treasurer, and Carol Ensler, public relations.
The year began with a burst of building enthusiasm. An architectural selection committee was formed (Harry Albert, Abe Blumenfeld, Dave Rosenberg Lawrence Halprin, Sam Herst, and Rabbi Hoffman) and they picked Marquis & Stoller from a field of 25.
The Ladies’ Auxiliary held another fashion show event and netted $1000 for the building fund. They also inaugurated a Thrift Shop in downtown San Rafael called BARGAINS UNLIMITED. Managed by Belle Shapiro and under the chairmanship of Miriam Cohn, Maxine Cohen and Lenore Landy the thriving business helped raise money toward furnishing the Temple kitchen.
Our Religious School was flourishing and Joan Bandes was named principal.
The Men’s Club was re-established late in the year by the hard efforts of Jack Siegel and Dave Rosenberg. Morrie Mink took over the helm. Of course there was another George Goldman play, “Keep Off the Grasses”. And Herman Likerman presided of the first Men’s Club barbeque.
This was the year our synagogue library was established with a donation of 200 books. A Library Fund was inaugurated and donations were welcomed.
We began the year with a new Sunday School principal, Penrod Moss. In April Rodef Sholom presented a Passover seder on KRON-TV. Participating in the program were Shelly Silver, Sarah Bandes, Jeff Greenberg, Stuart Sipkin, Lawrence Goldberg, Harold & Elsie Krinitsky, Ruth and Chester Sipkin and Rabbi Hoffman. Featured in the tableaux, which dramatically told the Passover story were Richard Cohen, Justin Fleischman, Jeff Moss, Ruth Peizer, Linda Rubin, David Strauss, Phillip Weil, Deborah Nelson and Penrod Moss.
Groundbreaking ceremonies for the sanctuary were held on the 4th of June. President Dave Rosenberg and past presidents Sidney Braverman, Sidney Rudy and Sam Herst along with Men’s Club president Dr. Morrie Mink and Ladies’ Auxiliary president Miriam Cohn participated. Rabbi Joseph Glazer delivered the invocation and Supervisor Walter Castro delivered greeting from the community. It was a great occasion!
The Temple play, “Too Many Crooks” once again earned kudos for George Goldman and his talented group of actors and behind-the-scene workers.
Finally, on November 12 our Bar Mitzvah celebrants for the year were honored by the State of Israel bonds organization to coincide with Israel’s 13th anniversary. Coordinated by Dr. Myer Abel, the event was held at Sabellas. This marked the first time an Israel Bond event had taken place in Marin.
The mark of another banner year for Rodef Sholom.
Our building was progressing rapidly. The Koch family donated our stained glass windows over the sanctuary and in the following year Mrs. Harry Albert donated the stained glass windows in the foyer in memory of her husband.
Finally our building was completed. The official dedication ceremonies took place on May 4 and 5. On Friday evening, May 4, a distinguished group of civic and religious leaders attended as Building Committee Chairman, Abe Blumenfeld, handed the Temple keys to President David Rosenberg. Rabbi Saul White was the guest speaker for the Sabbath eve service. Lawrence Goldberg, chairman of the Dedication Committee, delivered greetings.
On Saturday morning, May 5, the children of the congregation had a children’s Service of Dedication in conjunction with the Bar Mitzvah of Michael Wellen. That evening a special dedication banquet was held in the social Hall. Chairman of the Banquet was Dr. Mervyn Shenson and his committee included Robert Waxman, Doreen Colvin, Mrs. Harold Lerner, Berry Hiller, Judy Koch, Inge Rosenthal, Miriam Cohn, Ruth Sipkin, Dini Bloom, Dr. Morrie Mink and Lala Smith. Others who worked on the dedication were: Eleanor Colton, invitations; Mrs. Harold Kristal and Ruth Sipkin, decorations; Irving Hamlin, publicity; Dr Bernard Engel, technical; Chester Sipkin, ushers; The Hospitality Committee included Florene Lerner, Mrs. Harold Harris, Edna Braverman, Selma Shenson and Marilyn Lapidus.
Our newly acquired organ, a gift from the Men’s Club, was played by Doris (Mrs. Lawrence) Goldberg, who remained our Temple organist for many years.
June 9 marked the first Confirmation service in our own sanctuary.
Another Temple Play, “Arrow Balmy Bound” rated raves for the Goldman crew.
A few other “firsts”: Chester Sipkin was appointed the first House and Grounds chairman. Roy Calder was named to chair the Community Affairs Committee (which later evolved into the Social Action Committee). Beginning in October, morning services were held each Saturday. 1962 was the year the Ladies’ Auxiliary officially changed its name to Sisterhood.
Our first inter-faith Open House was held on February 10. A most successful event. It brought some 2000 guests from all corners of Marin, anxious to see our beautiful new facilities. Lawrence Landy chaired the event.
In March we held our first congregational Shabbat family dinner at the bargain price of $2.00 per person.
Men’s Club and Sisterhood joined together to sponsor our Anniversary Dance. This April 27 event was held in the Social Hall.
In April, too, we started the Miriam Peizer Blood Bank.
The Men’s Club play was a winner: “Where Does It Hurt?” This was the last play written and directed by George Goldman to be held at Rodef Sholom.
Final kudos for the year: our Temple won an architectural award.
Rodef Sholom was now 8 years old and our membership had grown dramatically! Religious school sessions at Marin Country Day School were divided into split sessions and the need for our own Religious School building was pressing. The board chose Sidney Braverman and Lawrence Landy to hear up a Building Fund campaign in order to raise $190,000 needed to complete the project. A congregational dinner was held, phone calls were made and pledges (to be paid over a three year period) rolled in! Again we met our goal and president Lawrence Goldberg and his campaign committees were justly proud.
Many of our congregants took part in the Building Fund drive. Mrs. Myer Abel was chairman of special Gifts, while Fred Kirschner was team chairman. Edna Braverman headed up the hostess committee ably assisted by Miriam Cohn and Lenore Landy. Division leaders were Martin Brownstein, Bernard Engel, Kurt Rosenthal, Jack Siegel and Robert Slate, Mrs. Earl Siegel was Arrangements chairman and Lewis Aaron served as Treasurer. Team captains were; William Filante, Myron Hersko, Russell Shatz, Alan Fibish, Henry Biggers, Abe Froman, Kenneth Levy, Alice Calder, Marilyn Jacobs, Wilfred Cohen, Robert Levy, Leon Fish, Harold Harris, Leo Sack, MJ Greenberg, Jack Melnick and Chester Sipkin.
It was an exciting time and as the year progressed anticipation of our new school facility grew. But other events were also taking place. February was highlighted by a Purim dance and carnival. In April Chester Sipkin and Joe Friedman, Men’s Club president, installed permanent stage lights in our Social Hall.
A special Shabbat service honoring Sidney Braverman on the occasion of this retirement from the board of directors took place in May.
Our Rusty youth group was formed and the first officers were; Les Sclar, president; Richard Pechner, vice president; Carol Shenson, recording secretary; and Herb Lerner, treasurer, Kurt Hahn was the youth advisor. In November the group held a youth carnival and netted $120. On December 13, a new 7th & 8th grade youth group formed under the leadership of Gordon Littman. Officers were; Nancy Siegel, president; Charles Shenson, vice president; Shelly Hamlin, Secretary; and Matt Silverman, treasurer.
Kicking off the year’s events was our first annual Jewish Musical Festival, which took place in February. David Schneider of the San Francisco Symphony played violin. Organist Doris Goldberg and Elsie Goldman Krinitsky along with Rabbi Hoffman offered an evening of Israeli Yiddish fold songs.
During this year Rabbi Hoffman took a year’s sabbatical leave in Israel and Rabbi R. Elliot Grafman became our interim Rabbi. Many duties fell on Temple president Bob Slate and his board and they responded admirably. Volunteers also pitched in and helped: Zelda Kramer assisted as bookkeeper and check writer, Arnold Solomon served as an Administrative Assistant and Margaret Klebanoff catalogued all the books in the Temple Library.
The Men’s Club presenter “The World of Sholom Aleichem” directed by Jack Aronson.
Our Religious School was taking shape and building progressed throughout the year. Finally, on November 12 our congregants and their families gathered together for a Friday evening Shabbat service of Dedication for our new school Building. Others participating in the program were: Rabbi Grafman, President Robert slate, Building committee Chairman Abe Blumenfeld, and principal Penrod Moss. In addition Rabbi Alexander Schindler, at that time director of education for UAHC, delivered the dedication address. It was a memorable evening for all.
January marked the first of our Progressive Dinners.
Charlotte Levy and Annette Glicksman chaired this very successful event and helped raise $267.97 for the benefit of the Temple.
In March we sponsored a new Boy Scout Troop #6 and involved were: Lee Rubin, chairman; Bob Oster, Martin Ross, Irving Schwartz, Malcolm Cohen and Merv Cohn.
Our Rusty group had re-activated but this year Morrie Mink became advisor to a new group which included: Wendy Mink, Shelly and Jess Hamlin, Sue Cohn, Michael Jacobs, Sue Weitz, Karen Shatkin, the Kirschner boys, Koch boys, Shenson boys, Sue Dienstag, David Froman and Diane Sipkin.
In May the board formed the first Chesed committee and Dr. Gerson Jacobs was named head of this important group.
The Men’s Club revived “Petaluma” and the play was directed by Ken Levy.
Early in the year vandals set a fire and burnt out Blumenfeld Hall. As a result, we were missing two classrooms for our religious school, but Blessed Sacrament Church came to our aid and offered us use of their facilities during the interim. Maury Koch was appointed chairman of the Re-building committee and once again our congregants were asked to contribute toward the rebuilding of the hall! Response was generous; the hall with its classrooms was completed by the fall.
Educator Aaron Lor took over from retiring Penrod Moss as religious school educator and principal. Eleanor Colton celebrated ten years of service to our synagogue as Temple office secretary.
Rodef Sholom received a Chai award for the Israel bonds organization for outstanding participation in the bonds program.
The Men’s Club production of Ken Levy’s “The Fastest Gun in the Vest” starring Rabbi Hoffman, was another smash success.
Another active year for the Temple! Religious school classes were busy. The Temple hummed with sisterhood lunches; youth group meetings, Men’s Club events.
Our new library in Blumenfeld Hall was opened under the direction of Victor Klebanoff.
Sisterhood gifted the Temple with new clocks for each school classroom.
The reinstated Rusty group had a potluck supper attended by 53 hungry youngsters.
Once again there was a Men’s club play, “Confessions of a Jewish Lover”, written and directed by Ken Levy. Another hit!
This marked the year of our first community Passover Seder in which invitations were extended to the churches in our area to join us. Response was overwhelming and the ecumenical Seder was repeated for many years.
Some 334 youngsters were enrolled in our Sunday School and by this time we had budgeted $31,000 a year for education.
Alice Calder was elected to our Board of Directors but resigned at the first board meeting so that her husband could be appointed instead. At that meeting Roy was promptly elected president of the Board.
Sisterhood launched its Israel Bond Bridge Club and Men’s club presented their third Ken Levy production, “Nudnick Never Nu”.
Arnold Solomon received a special commendation for his years of volunteer time at the Temple office and Diane Sipkin took over the presidency of the 35 member Rusty group. Finally, in December, Rabbi Hoffman’s newly written and edited Children’s Service was put into effect under the auspices of the Ritual Committee headed by Mervyn Shenson and his committee: Arnold Schwartz, Gerson Jacobs, Harold Drob, and Martin Brownstein.
Early in the year the Voice noted, “Harold Haas reported that the Temple basketball team had and extremely successful season and was now entering the Temple League finals.” He commended Hal Schepps and Marty Avner for their efforts.
President Roy Calder announced to the congregation that Rabbi Hoffman had accepted a position with the Jewish Agency in Haifa and would be leaving in June. A search committee was formed to find a new Rabbi and Rabbi David Davis, an executive with National Federation of Temple Youth, who had previously held a pulpit in Worcester, Massachusetts, became our new Rabbi in August 1970. Rabbi Hoffman and his wife, Aviva, were hosted at a special farewell dinner chaired by Joe Dienstag and Bill Filante.
In the fall, after Rabbi Davis’ arrival, the Art & Beautification committee was formed with June Lederman and Bob Gottesman as chairmen. The purpose of this group was to raise funds in order to acquire art for the Temple.
In November Rodef Sholom held its first ecumenical Thanksgiving service. It was a well received community prayer service and was repeated for many years.
Another year of firsts!
The first of four annual Exhibit 20 shows (art shows featuring the works of 20 artists and sponsored by 20 different congregant families) took place in March. Under the auspices of the Art & Beautification committee, the event raised sufficient funds to pay for a specially designed Tree of Life, which was mounted on the foyer wall adjacent to the social hall. Two months later the Tree of Life was officially dedicated.
Jules Berger volunteered his services as Temple administrator and his time was unselfishly given to us for a number of years.
This year the Men’s club production was Neil Simon’s comedy, “Plaza Suite”.
In September our synagogue enjoyed its first Selichot service and later in the fall, in conjunction with the Jewish Center and other Jewish community groups, we began our Adventures in Judaism series with Iris Carr as chairman. This was our first joint education program and by obtaining sponsors for this undertaking, we were able to engage top speakers from all over the country for our lecture e series. Over the years we heard such noted speakers as: Eric Erickson, Elie Wiesel, Dennis Prager, Rabbi Eugene Borowitz and Michael Medved.
Sisterhood and Brotherhood teamed together to bring Judaism to the men in San Quentin and brought small gifts to inmates for Chanukah. This began a tradition that continued for many years and included sharing both Chanukah and Passover traditions with the convicts. Rabbi Davis became the Rabbi for the Jewish inmates in San Quentin and congregants were invited to worship at services at this institution, too.
A busy temple! Lectures, meetings, music! In April violinist Renee Froman presented an Evening of Music for the temple. Our Sunday school program was expanded to include orchestra, choir, Hebrew and dance. Our second Exhibit 20 evening of art took place on April 8 and sponsors for this event included the David Ankers, Bonaparts, Martin Brownsteins, Roy Calders, Louis Dessauers, Lee Dorosins, Milton Fleischmans, Jack Friedmans, Robert Gottesman, Maurice Kochs, Sol Langsams, Seymour Ledermans, Leland Mosks, Stanley Narins, Robert Neuhaus, Jerome Porters, Bertrum Rudes, Mervyn Shensons and Earl Sobels.
In June we started a young married group “New Dimensions” for people aged 21 to 35. Founders of the organization were: Beverly and Ken Rosenberg, Judy and Michael Calder, Karen and Dan Gentile and Terry and Marlene Rosenthal.
Men’s club, under president Hal Fenton, established a Rabbinical Scholarship for the Hebrew Union College, while Sisterhood, under president Betty Harris, donated two sofas and a table for the foyer. The Men’s Club play, “What’ll We Do?” was the fourth Ken Levy production and was enthusiastically received.
Many of the confirmands joined Rabbi Davis and his family for the first Congregation confirmation trip to Israel. This exciting program eventually came under the auspices of the Bureau of Jewish Education and has been an ongoing confirmation event ever since.
This was the first year of the Israeli Fair, held in honor of Israel’s 25th anniversary, at the Marin County Fairgrounds on May 27 and 28. Hal Fenton was general chairman of the Fair and Roy Calder, Iris Carr (Sisterhood) and Fred Kirschner (Men’s club) were Temple liaisons along with Joel Wolfson and Mickey Austin. Many of our congregants worked at booths at this event and the entire congregation lent its support.
Sisterhood, under President Iris Carr, launched its first cookbook at $3.95 per copy. Titles “Try it, You’ll Like It”, the book was an instant success and featured hundreds of delicious recipes submitted by a host of Marin “Jewish Mothers”. Editors for this endeavor were Joan Hersko and Janet Kaplan assisted by: Zena Fish, Gail Geiger, Betty Harris, Judy Koch and Selma Shenson. Dave Broad provided artistic touches.
A new social group for seniors in conjunction with the Marin Jewish Community Center was begun.
In December we has the first Israel Bond dinner at Rodef Sholom and used that opportunity to honor on of our original founders Aaron Schwartz.
Our Chai year! We’ve been a congregation for 18 years and to celebrate this “birthday” we held a cocktail dinner event at the Concordia Club in Sam Francisco on April 27. Co-chairmen for this party were Sam Herst and Barbara Rosenberg.
On April 13th we held our fourth annual Exhibit 20 Art evening featuring artists: Scott Berens, Simon Cherpitel, Espenet, Harriet Frances, Ada Garfinkel, Suzanne Gomberg, Carol Herschleb, Ursula Johnson, Walter Kuhlman, June Lederman, Jack Lucey, Gayle Luchessa, Ralph O’Neill, Farhad Moezzi, Barbara Pierce, Paul Romer, Maggie Hazell Rosen, Leah Schwartz, Marty Stoetzel, and Phillis Thelen.
June 9, in honor of our special birthday year, we held our first “Old Fashioned Family Picnic” at Forest Meadows and charges $18 per family for the event. It was a fun affair with box lunches, a baseball game, a musical review, tennis, and a bridge tournament and Bingo, Lee Battat was chairman.
In June, principal Aaron Lor and his family led a congregational trip to Israel. September saw the arrival of our student Rabbi, Andy Baker, who came for one year to assist Rabbi Davis and work directly with our youth.
Sisterhood held a Nostalgia Night Dance and Buffet November 22 in the social Hall. An enjoyable evening, it was chaired by Elaine Rosen, Annette Heller, and Lenore Schilling.
The newly reorganized Men’s club held a family sports night and Spaghetti Buffet featuring 49er Larry Schreiber. Fred Mayer chaired this December 10 event and it received a good turnout.
Another year of fun projects for Rodef Sholom. Our first “Fabulous Flea Market” was held in April and more than 80 different families volunteered their help. Under the chairmanship of Lee Battat and Lenore Schilling, the event raised over $2500.
A delightful Temple picnic took place at Stafford Lake under the chairmanship of Elaine Levy.
In the fall the Men’s Club sponsored the Ken Levy production of “Don’t Say Nothing To Nobody”. Sisterhood held its first Spaghetti Bingo Night.
Early in the year president Fred Kirschner announced to the Temple Rabbi Davis would be leaving December 31. Under the chairmanship of Frank Battat and Iris Carr, a series of coffees were held throughout Marin, in order to canvass all congregants as to the qualities they order to canvass all congregants as to the qualities they would like to see in a future rabbi. From the input gathered, the search committee, headed by Richard Breiner, began reviewing resumes seeking to find qualified candidates. Finally in June, after exhaustive research and interviews, Rabbi Michael Barenbaum was the unanimous choice of the search committee and with board approval, was offered a contract to begin n 1977.
A silent Auction of art works by major Israeli artists, donated by Dr. and Mrs. Leon Kolb, was held on April 25. Under the chairmanship of June Lederman and Bob Gottesman, the Art & Beautification committee used the money raised from this event toward our soon-to-be dedicated Kolb Library and Museum.
On May 2, Eli Wiesel came to Rodef Sholom as the last in our Adventures In Judaism speakers for the year.
In early summer a dinner honoring departing principal Aaron Lor was held at Peacock Gap country Club.
To coincide with the new year we had two new faces: Don Ososke was hired as our year-round cantorial soloist and Beth Kellman became our new school principal. The new “Gates of Prayer” prayer books replaced our former siddurs and our last High Holiday services (double sessions, as always) were held in our sanctuary.
For the first time, we had Hebrew School classes run by Ben Yehudah School (an inter-congregational Hebrew School under the auspices of the Bureau of Jewish Education)
In November we held our first annual Tennis Tournament and over 40 congregants participated in the fun and the awards dinner after.
The Leon Kolb Library-Museum was dedicated on November 19 and congregants joined together to honor the Kolb family for their donations to Rodef Sholom. In preparation for this event, Kathy Sternberg, our librarian spent many hours cataloging all our books.
To honor Rabbi David Davis for his seven years of service to the congregation, a special service and oneg Shabbat was held on Friday, December 18. Margaret Filante, Alice Calder, Hilla Kirschner and Lee Battat were in charge of this very special evening.
Rabbi Barenbaum and his family arrived in San Rafael on January 1 to begin a new year and a new life at Rodef Sholom. January 7 marked the Investiture service, at which time Rabbi Brian Lurie formally introduced Rabbi Barenbaum to Congregation Rodef Sholom. There followed four months of coffees (40 altogether) at which Michael personally met all congregants and listened to their hopes and concerns.
On February 4, at Shabbat services, Rose Rapping was honored for the years she devoted to running the Sisterhood gift shop. Known as the “Candy and Potato Chip Lady” by hundreds of former students, rose manned and stocked the gift shop for many, many years.
For some years Congregation Rodef Sholom had participated in the Ecumenical Association for Housing on which Joyce Rifkind represented the congregation. Through her urging a proposal was made to the Board and in February the board of Directors made a formal commitment to join with Blessed Sacrament Church and Catholic Social Services to build Parnow Friendship House, in land adjacent to the synagogue.
The Temple play, a revised Ken Levy version of “The Fastest Gun in the Vest” was a winner.
Our first high holiday services were held at the Civic Center and for the first time in years everyone found parking spaces and everyone worshipped at one time together. Following Yom Kippur, we enjoyed our first Break-the-fast dinner at the Temple. Hundreds of congregants prepared and baked for this event, under the chairmanship of Mary Rabb, Linda Grant, Hannah Barenbaum and Farron Brotman.
This is the year we got involved in Soviet Jewry and thanks to Rabbi Barenbaum, we began keeping vigil at the soviet Consulate.
Our temple had really grown. We had over 600 members! Our outreach efforts were given a boost with the hiring of Jack Schwartz, who began an extensive Chavurah program.
The Temple adopted a Soviet Jewish family, the Elberts, and congregants began writing letters to them(and for them) in hopes of helping them leave the USSR.
Elsie Krinitsky, our music director, was honored for 20 years of faithful service.
On May 19 we had our first adult B’nai Mitzvah—15 women in all!
Again our high holidays were at the Civic Center; Dan Goltz designed the tabernacle setting. Sid Koalkin built the structure and Dorothy slate did all the necessary sewing. Thanks to Gerson and Marilyn Jacobs and Gerald and Nadine Hill, the alter had a new canopy and reading podium.
Our Men’s Club was restarted again thanks to Julian Klugman and the name was changed to Brotherhood. Ralph Moon was elected president. One of their first events was a barbecue.
In October many congregants came to the Sukkot Family Dinner and the religious school held a special Sukkot Family Day. A Women’s Support Group began as did a new Choral Group.
Brandeis Hillel Day School began meeting in our school building in September and the hustle and bustle was truly exciting.
Rabbi Lee Bycel joined our ranks as assistant rabbi and principal of our religious school. Under the Building and Grounds committee, chaired by Elaine Levy, preliminary refurbishing plans were undertaken.
We took an ice cream booth at the Marin County Fair and under the chairmanship of Linda Grant and Ann Schalit, plus the many congregational ice cream scoopers we helped raise money for Rodef Sholom.
The Brotherhood play, “Working It Out”, was a success thanks to Lew and Sandy Levitan and Joel Wolfson. We began a professional bank, under the auspices of President Martin Brotman, made up of doctors, lawyers, CPA’s and others willing to provide professional help to those in need and unable to pay for services.
This was the year we began our Para-Rabbinic program, under the direction of Rabbi Barenbaum and Alan Teitelbaum. It was the year we dedicated the Children’s Corner of the library to Kathy Sternberg, who served as our temple librarian for many years. Nina Nyman continued in Kathy’s place, staffing the Kolb Library.
Our first annual adult retreat was held at the Greenwood Lodge in Soquel, under the chairmanship of Gerson Jacobs, enthusiastically received and “sold-out”, the event was repeated in ’81.
In April 40 of our congregants joined Michael and Hannah Barenbaum on a trip to Egypt and Israel.
Rusty, the temple youth group, was re-born with Ann Morgenstern as advisor. Charter members under the direction of President Scott Ehrenstein were: Mark Freed, Susan Frielander, Tim Fuson, Even Levy, Lisa Pavlovsky and Susie Battat.
Our new outreach director, Deborah Sloss, started several new programs including Yachad, a group of young adult singles.
Rodef Sholom, along with others in the Marin Jewish community, adopted an Indo-Chinese refugee family: Aunt Vui, Alice 19, Thanh 9 and Ann Thu 7. We helped find housing, clothing, jobs, etc for them.
Rabbi Barenbaum was beginning his fifth year with Rodef Sholom and used this opportunity to invite congregants to coffee at this home to get their input.
Sisterhood formed new interest ”Circles” for bridge, field trips, over 50’s and others under the chairmanship of Marcia Meyers.
As a Temple we adopted Anna Berger, a USSR “refusnik”, and many congregants began writing Anna. In Summer Rabbi Barenbaum visited the Soviet Union and attempted to meet with Anna personally, along with visits to other Russian dissidents.
Brotherhood presented its spring play, “Dear Me, The Sky Is Falling”, and held a successful square dance in the Fall.
In July our Temple board elected its first woman president, Carole Friedlander. Our religious school created a new learning center in Bloomfield Hall.
Over 30 new families joined our boar members for the New Family Shabbat dinner in October.
The groundbreaking ceremony for our Ecumenical Housing project (Parnow Friendship House) took place on November 10. Participating from Rodef Sholom were Fred Kirschner, president of the Board of Directors of Parnow House, Joyce Rifkind, Hattie Ross, Carole Friedlander, and Rabbi Barenbaum. This was a culmination of over five years of planning with representatives of Blessed Sacrament Church and Catholic Social Services.
Much of the Fall was a hubbub of activities with refurbishing construction talking place in the social hall and our Synagogue readying itself for our Chanukah Hamischkan—our 25th Anniversary Celebration. The festivities included a special Shabbat honoring our founders and past presidents on December 18, a Gala dinner Dance on Saturday December 19 and sunder December 20 featured a religious school open house with emphasis on Jewish life and history in Marin. We also had a bike-a-thon. During the late afternoon we had a Chanukah celebration and reception.
Wednesday, December 23 featured a special program honoring and celebrating the music and dance of our community. On Friday we had Chanukah services and announced our essay contest winners. And on Sunday, the 27th, we asked Bay Area congregations to join Rodef Sholom in lighting Chanukah candles at the Soviet consulate in San Francisco not only as a symbol of support for our brothers and sisters in the USSR, but also as an expression of our faith in the brightness of our future and the renewal and rededication of our congregation for the nest 25 years.
We kicked off the year with the first of our annual lecture serried this time titled “The Prophets” given by Rabbis Barenbaum and Bycel. January also marked the date of another progressive dinner under Sisterhood auspices. In addition, there were two special programs for adults on cults and the Dilemma of Jewish Involvement.
Parnow Friendship House was taking shape net door, Joyce Rifkind and Hattie Ross were chosen as board members for this interfaith housing project, representing Rodef Sholom, and went on to serve in that capacity through 1996.
After the devastating rains, floods and mudslides, the Temple community came together to offer assistance to those who suffered loss and Damage.
March was the month for the annual Purim Carnival. Sisterhood members modeled the latest fashions for spring at a successful and festive luncheon. The new adult education program, The Family Life Series, began and the seminars covered such topics as adult sexuality and spiritual consumerism in the 80’s. And the Board of Directors approved the firing of our first official full time Cantor Steven Puzarne.
Dick Breiner called the first meeting of the Long Range Planning Committee. An adult retreat was held at the New Flamingo Resort in Santa Rosa with a Scholar-in Residence Rabbi Walli Kaelter. Forty-nine students were confirmed during Shavuot services.
After 3 years at Rodef Sholom, Rabbi Lee Bycel left us to become assistant Dean at Hebrew Union College in LA. A special Shabbat service was held to honor Lee and Judy. Rabbi Mimi Baitch was chosen as the new assistant rabbi.
June also saw a special tribute by the board of Directors to Harvey Tucker for his 20 years of service to the Temple. There also was a special Shabbat to honor the 15 congregants, who completed a 2-year para-rabbinic course taught by Dr Allan Teitelbaum and Rabbi Barenbaum. Ando our tennis tournament was great!
In July we welcomed Rabbi Baitch and Cantor Steven Puzarne to the Temple and bid farewell to Margaret Oakley, our longtime Temple organist.
Once again, the Temple’s Ice Cream booth at the Marin county Fair was a success.
August, September, October, November saw many programs dealing with education, long range planning and with helping our adopted Soviet refusnik, Anna Berger. Starting with Sukkot, we began to collect canned food for the Marin County Food Bank.
October saw the completion and dedication of Parnow Friendship House. It also marked an important community event in conjunction with the MJCC: a lecture by Simon Weisenthal, held at the Civic Center. In addition, Rodef Sholom and Westminster Presbyterian Church held a weekend exchange with Reverend Doug Hueneke preaching at our Synagogue Friday night and Rabbi Barenbaum preaching at the church on Sunday morning.
Four scholars from Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles gave lectures on torah commentaries during the four Sundays in November.
Finally, during Chanukah services in December, there was a special dedication of the first of four Torah covers, made especially for us by nationally known needle artist, Arthur Peltz.
The social life of the Synagogue began on January 22 with Sisterhood’s annual progressive dinner.
A fabulous community wide Cantorial Concert took place at the Temple in April in Honor of Israel Independence Day and Jewish Music Month.
The Sisterhood cookbook, “Try, You’ll Like It” made its debut in June.
During the course of the year, the Temple engaged in a multitude of social action events: trying to free Anatoly Sharansky from the USSR, rallying at the Soviet consulate on behalf of Soviet Jewry, participating in numerous ecumenical programs on hunger and nuclear freeze concerns.
The Landscape and Beautification Committee along with the Building and Grounds Committee took the first steps in redoing the landscaping around the Synagogue. They engaged Richard Schadt as landscape architect.
David and Carole Rubinger headed up the Temple Tennis tournament in October. David Mandelbrot was elected Rusty president in November. Brotherhood ended up their year holding a gala champagne dinner, “An Evening To Remember”, featuring cabaret entertainer Miriam Dvorim.
January was a busy, busy month for the synagogue. January 10 signaled the opening of our first Winter Institute for Jewish Learning. Friday, January 13–a special Shabbat musical program featuring a brass quintet highlighted a new member Shabbat. January 15th, featured the American debut of Israeli artist, Mary Bikszer, at an afternoon cocktail reception at the Temple. On the 18th, members enjoyed another Progressive dinner under the direction of Gail Glassberg and Ellie Gross. In addition to all this, we had a film discussing the dangers of the radical right, and we once again reached out to the community by helping support a newly-arrived Vietnamese family with money and household goods.
Rusty enjoyed a busy spring with a barbeque at Golden Gate Park, a ski trip, and a trip to see the Golden State Warriors play.
This was the year that Rabbi Barenbaum began his lunchtime study group. It began as a joint effort headed by Michael and Rabbi Peter Rubinstein of Congregation Beth El.
Sisterhood began their interest circles including a book club and bridge club. Patti Blumin, Sheila Rosenthal, Nancy Reich, Carolyn Guerra, Jean Weiss, Enid Harvey, Ellie Gross and Barbara Lukasiewicz modeled in the spring fashion show and luncheon at Deer Park Villa. The group’s fund raising efforts bought 30 new robes for the choir and 8 new silk ficus trees for the social hall. At the Western Federation Temple Sisterhoods, Michael Zwerin was elected Vice-President.
Brotherhood sponsored a terrific barbeque on October 15 in addition to the lox and bagel brunches. As always the group helped usher for services, and raised funds to refurbish the Cantor’s office and help defray the costs of Rabbi Barenbaum college visits. Brotherhood ended the year with a terrific New Year’s Eve dance, their second annual, during which time out-going Brotherhood President, Michael Harris was honored.
As Rabbi Barenbaum and his family left on their six month sabbatical to Israel, the congregation, under the, leadership of Rabbi Mimi Baitch, kicked off the year with a multitude of endeavors.
In January Sisterhood had a sock hop featuring music from the 50’s pizzas and ice cream sundaes. A most successful Sisterhood auction, and Hot Dog Bingo followed this. Sisterhood speakers throughout the year included the savvy shopper, Sally Socolich and Judge Richard Breiner, Sisterhood also sponsored a new program for preschoolers: Cradle Roll. In this program a child is enrolled at birth, receives annual birthday cards, invitations to holiday parties and an invitation to join our religious school at the end of his or her fifth year. Emphasis is placed on parent participation.
We had new member Shabbat and dinner. On January 18th Shlomo Carlebach, the mystic, soul-singing rabbi, joined us in Sabbath prayer and celebration. Other guest Shabbat speakers during the year included Dr Gerald Jampolsky, director of the Center for Attitudinal Healing, Rabbi Gary Tishkoff, and Holocaust scholar Dr Konnilyn Feig.
Brotherhood enjoyed a busy year. On May 17 the Brotherhood held a special Shabbat service honoring Bess and Hoe Dienstag for their many years of service to Rodef Sholom, Doug Kahn, Attorney Ephraim Margolin and Barbara Boxer were among the many guest speakers at Brotherhood’s Lox and Bagel brunches this year, Events during the year included a father-child spaghetti dinner. For their temple gift, the group donated a new sound system for the sanctuary.
The Social Action committee was busy gathering food for the needy, concluding a successful linen drive for the Marin Emergency Shelter, collecting names for a Temple Job Bank and continuing to help aid our adopted Vietnamese family. In addition it sponsored the soviet consulate vigils on the third Tuesday of every month on behalf of soviet Jewry. In September the committee held a special Shabbat service to focus on the plight of Central American refugees and the Sanctuary movement.
The year ended with the Abe and Suzanne Froman Scholar-in-residence Weekend featuring Noam Zion, Senior research fellow at the shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, who spoke on the meaning and significance of Chanukah.
Our January newsletter, the Voice, brought us sad news. “It is with deep regret,” wrote president, ”that both Rabbi Miriam Baitch and Cantor Steven Puzarne would be leaving the congregation mid-year.” As a result of this announcement, Rabbi Barenbaum journeyed East to find replacements and hired both Rabbi Robert Daum and Cantor Rita Glassman, who began their terms at Rodef Sholom in July.
The year was a fulfilling one for our congregation. Under the supervision of coach Max Shapiro and assistants Hal Belmont and Ed Margolin, Rodef Sholom’s basketball team competed in the Jewish Youth Athletic League and ended up in third place with a 7-2 record.
Patti Blumin and Marlene Rosenthal co-chaired the Sisterhood annual Progressive Dinner, which attracted 163 guests. This event, just like the annual spaghetti Bingo, provides much needed funds for the Religious school, college outreach and camperships.
Our speakers this year included Ambassador Abba Eban speaking at the Marin Civic Center and sister Samuel of Dominican College speaking on her eyewitness Account of the situation in El Salvador and the role of Amnesty International.
Purim time included our annual carnival plus a “Hamantashen Hop” Purim dance sponsored by Brotherhood, In addition, Brotherhood has a varied program to offer its members during the year: watching the 49ers, a Kol Shofar softball game, a new member dinner, a luncheon meeting with Rabbi Robert Daum in San Francisco, the father-child Chanukah celebration and the annual Brotherhood service. As in the past, Brotherhood members ushered for our High Holiday services and helped build the Temple Sukkah.
In June, under the auspices of our social Action committee and the Marin Housing Association, Rodef Sholom became the first synagogue in the Bay Area to open its doors to the homeless, providing a place to sleep and a hot meal. Leona Robinson headed up volunteers to run this project.
October signaled another first—our first meeting of the combined executive committees of Rodef Sholom and Kol Shofar to discuss common problems and concerns. This was after we shared combined services for Passover earlier in the year.
Our 30th anniversary was celebrated December 13th with an evening of hors d'oeuvres, wine and cake and dancing to the music of Band of Gold. Co-chairmen for the evening were: Bobbi Baumgarten, Sue Broad, Roy Calder, Sharon Gordon and Harriet Schultz.
This year started off with a bang! A special Shabbat was held on January 16 celebrating the 10th anniversary of Rabbi Barenbaum becoming our spiritual leader. Shortly thereafter the membership voted to extend Michael a lifetime tenured contract.
Sisterhood’s “The Best of Progressing Dinners” took place on January 24th featuring favored recipes from the past and chaired by Marlene Lutzi.
February 20th was Rabbi Robert Daum’s installation. That month began our Institute for Jewish Learning under the direction of Michael Barenbaum and Alan Teitelbaum, “Five Sessions on a Jewish Psychological Perspective” with emphasis on ethics.
March 21st was our first Grand Purim Ball hosted jointly by Rodef Sholom and Kol Shofar.
Al Klugman headed Temple clean-up Day consisting of weeding, pruning, and rototilling and raking the grounds.
April 28 was the Campus Kickoff Party at Casa Carlitas. Over $5,000,000 was raised with $1,000,000 contributed by Barbara Bernard Osher. The following September the Marin county Planning commission approved the use permit for the Marin Jewish Community Campus.
In May we had 39 confirmands and following Confirmation the class held a fund-raising Flea Market.
June was a big month for Rabbi Barenbaum. He gave the opening prayer in the U.S. Congress.
Rita Glassman was officially installed as our Cantor in September, after having served in that role for many months.
Fall Adult Education included the 19-segment Israel TV documentary “Pillar of Fire”.
Jim Paymar of KRON-TV news was guest speaker at Sisterhood’s membership lunch. In October, our 11th annual Sisterhood spaghetti bingo took place.
November highlights included a Children’s Jewish Art series featuring artwork from grades K through sixth.
On December 13 we began our first annual Chanukah Festival of Lights in our Religious School with a larke breakfast and dreidel workshops on the agenda.
Brotherhood, under so-presidents Sid Sall and Gerald Blanton, purchased a new video system for the Temple.
Elsie Krinitsky was honored January 15 at a very special Shabbat for her 30 years as Musical director of Rodef Sholom. A huge group of worshippers attended.
April saw the dedication of a new ark curtain handmade by Ina Golub, a nationally renowned designer of fiber art. That month also marked our Fabulous Flea Market IV, another highly successful fund-raising event, which couldn’t have been done with out scored of volunteers.
June 12 was the date of the groundbreaking for our new Marin Jewish Community Campus.
Sisterhood, under the presidency of Sharon Zwerin, had a banner year beginning with a successful Art Auction on January 23 and a wardrobe accessory demonstration from Neiman Marcus in March. As a civic project, Sisterhood collected 2000 pounds of fruits and vegetables over a five-week period for the needy in Marin.
Michele Zwerin was elected first vice president of Western Federation of Temple Sisterhoods and Patti Blumin was made a director.
Brotherhood held their Purim Ball on March 19 and later in the year held a joint Bagel Breakfast with Sisterhood featuring congresswoman Barbara Boxer as guest speaker.
The synagogue held a Jewish Outreach connection program targeted at interfaith couples and Jews by choice.
On November 9 a special service, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the destruction of 191 synagogues in Germany, was well attended.
Another successful Art Auction and exhibition was held January 21 under the chairmanship of Ilene Genet and Heidi Greenberg. This was followed in February by a Brotherhood Family sports Day held at the Branson school under the direction of Howard Rachelson, Temple youth had a ski trip as a highlight of their activities.
The annual Purim Ball was held March 18 and on the 20th the synagogue enjoyed a Purim Potluck and Megillah reading. March also signaled the first of many in-reach coffees held throughout Marin under the watchful eyes of Patti Blumin and Michelle Zwerin.
A very moving Kristallnacht program took place in April and it should be noted that we has 22 Scholar–in-Residence type programs during that past year.
May 13 marked the Sisterhood Progressive Dinner, and once again there was a huge attendance.
Steve Saxe headed the Social Action committee and involved Temple members prepared and delivered hot meals to the homeless shelter. Many congregants participated in visiting senior citizen residences and found this to be a rewarding experience.
Soviet refusnik, Michael Shteynberg, was finally released from the USSR and was welcomed at Friday night services on July 21. Many congregants had written letters to the Soviet Union of his behalf and were eager to greet him personally.
In August we gathered to dedicate the first Jewish cemetery in Marin county: Sha’arei Sholom, located on a one-acre site in the Mt Tamalpais cemetery in San Rafael.
October witnessed another spaghetti bingo evening and the first of our 7 part Golbus Lecture Series on “Alternatives in Jewish Theology”.
At the November Biennial convention of UAHC, Rodef Sholom’s Sisterhood (and Sharon Zwerin) received the 1989 Irving J. Fain award for social action programming. This was given to Sisterhood for collecting food at the Farmers’ Market to donate to the Marin Food Bank.
December’s Sisterhood brunch featured Rabbi Barenbaum reviewing the book “Billy Bathgate”. The confirmation class held a latke breakfast fundraiser. Temple teens enjoyed a dance at the San Francisco JCC, while the Junior High youth held a bake off with precedes benefiting needy youngsters. Teens also participated in Snow Day at Marine World.
Music was in the air thanks to the Fred and Hills Kirschner newly endowed music fund. On February 9th, during Jewish Music month, we celebrated music of the Sephardic tradition and songs from our Jewish heritage with four guest cantors, including our own Rita Glassman.
March found us busy with the Purim Potluck, Parade and Megillah reading. We also enjoyed meeting with Rabbi Samuel Joseph of HUC, our William Rubin Scholar in Residence, who shared his thoughts o the “Spirituality of Leadership”.
A Passover festival in conjunction with the religious school took place on April 8 and included singing, pottery making, story telling and crafts.
May 6 many Rodef Sholom members joined thousands of fellow Jews at an Independence Day rally in San Francisco demonstrating their solidarity for the mass migrations of soviet Jews. This was the largest such gathering ever in Northern California.
Under the able direction of Mary Haas, congregants helped provide monthly meals for the homeless.
Simchat Torah was celebrated with a family dinner and service.
Michele Zwerin was elected president of the Western region of National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods. Sisterhood had a repeat Spaghetti Bingo evening and in December Rabbi Barenbaum reviewed Brian Courtnay’s “The Power of One” in his annual book review.
Finally, after a long wait and much funding-raising the Marin Jewish Community Campus was finished and operating. The JCC Brandeis Hillel Day School and our own Rodef Sholom were functioning as a unit ant it was truly exciting when Brandeis students returned to their new school campus in December.
The newly built and completed Jewish Community Campus was officially opened on January 1st. There were three days of wonderful events and activities and incredible grand opening for this last third of the campus partners: the JCC. The Marin Jewish Youth inaugurated their teen lounge and the magic of MAJYC flourished in their new surroundings.
The new multi purpose hall of the JCC was the venue for a black tie $100 per person dinner dance called the “Pirates of Pleasure” on January 5th. On Sunday, January 6, there was a community-wide open house featuring Israeli fold dancing, bingo, face painting, fitness clinics, volleyball, and live entertainment by the Motown sound of Pride and Joy.
Our Rodef Sholom gift shop moved to the JCC in March and the program “Name A Brick” began with the aim of raising $150,000 to build permanent playground landscaping, which our congregation would share with the JCC Early Childhood Center and Brandeis Hillel Day School.
Sisterhood held a most successful Art Exhibition and Auction on January 26.
Adult Education centered on interfaith explorations with a five session program “In Search of Understanding: Jews, Christians and Muslims in Dialogue” sponsored by Rodef Sholom, First Presbyterian Church of San Rafael, and the Marin Interfaith council.
Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, professor of Liturgy and History at Hebrew Union college-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, was our William Rubin Scholar in Residence the weekend of March 15. His topic: “The Americanization of Judaism—Looking Toward the 21st Century”.
Dr. David Hartman was the first lecturer under the Claire and Samuel Herst Institute of Jewish Ethics program held on October 12. His topic: “The Ethics of Power”.
This March we started the Scrip program to raise funds by selling scrip to buy food at local supermarkets. Mary Rabb was the first chairman of this undertaking. By the end of September we has sold over $103,000 worth of scrip!
Our 2nd annual Rodef Sholom Family Potluck picnic was held on May 4 at Stafford Lake under the chairmanship of Larry Miller, with over 100 attending!
In April the youth choir, adult choir, our Rabbis, Toni Golbus and Cantor Rita Glassman began the process of making a recording.
Retiring Cantor Rita Glassman was specially honored at the June 14 Shabbat services. This was the occasion of the annual music program sponsored by the Fred and Hilla Kirschner Music Endowment Fund. Friday evening’s service featured music from the German Synagogue while Saturday evening’s concert spotlighted four cantors performing stage music by Jewish composers.
Cantor David Margules joined our community in July and we all welcomed him warmly. We welcomed his wife, Marney, after their wedding in November.
A Temple Caring Committee was formed, under the chairmanship of Joyce Pavlovsky, to offer support and practical help to the members of our Congregation in times of need.
Lefferts Library and Kolb collection at the JCC were formally dedicated on December 8th.
Prior to taking his sabbatical in Israel, Rabbi Barenbaum was honored for serving 15 years at Rodef Sholom. At this special February 14 service, it was noted that the Temple was grown from 350 family members to 950 members during Michael’s tenure.
Spring also ushered in another sisterhood Progressive dinner headed by Shelly Siegan and Marlene Rosenthal.
In March, Dr. Tamara Eskenazi, Professor of Bible at HUC-LA, served as our William Rubin Scholar in Residence. Her topic: Heroes * Humans: Between Laughter and Tears in the bible.
In May, Cantor Margules and our choir, along with choir members of Temple Sinai were invited to sing with the Marin symphony.
May 30 was the date we honored Harvey Tucker for his 30 years as Rodef Sholom’s Chief Household Engineer. A multitude of congregants attended the picnic in Swig Field in Harvey’s honor, at which time he was presented with a scrapbook of good wishes, his own personal parking space in the Temple parking lot, plus a generous check from hundreds of Temple friends. Harriet Michael chaired this special event.
This was the year that the Rodef Sholom-Kol Shofar combined basketball team won the championship of the Jewish Youth Athletic League for the first time, coming into the finals with a 8-1 record!
October 17 was our double Chai (36 year) anniversary celebration at Rodef Sholom. A dinner Dance in the Temple social hall honored all our past presidents. The year was filled with musical programs including a choral Shabbat and string quartet sponsored by the Kirschner endowment Fund and later in the year an operatic Sunday featuring Cantor Margules and other community operatic singers.
In December we ended the year with Rabbi Barenbaum traditional Sisterhood Book Review (Gone to Soldiers) and our special Chanukah service. In addition many of our congregants helped provide services and gifts to the homeless in addition to serving them Christmas meals at the New world College West facility.
January ushered in a new face at Rodef Sholom: Lani Losk was hired as our first Administrative Director.
Those enjoying cultural events were more that pleased on Sunday, January 24th, then they attended a musical afternoon at the MJCC featuring our own Joanna Berman, principal soloist for the San Francisco Ballet, pianist Ori Steinberg, plus Cantor David Margules and the Rodef Sholom choir.
Professor Albert Eisen of Stanford University was the scholar in residence for our annual William Rubin Lecture series discussing “New Directions in American Jewish Life.”
A woodwind quintet and our adult choir played the music of composer and Cantor Emanuel Kirschner at our annual Kirschner musical Shabbat. This special evening, sponsored by the Kirschner family celebrated the compositions of Fred’s grandfather, along with music from Ben Steinberg and Michael Isaacson.
And in past years, we had a two session Passover workshop, one emphasizing the Passover liturgy and traditions and the second concentration on Passover cooking. However, the newest Passover tradition began this year when Sisterhood, under thee able direction of Meredith Cahn, penned a woman’s Haggadah (illustrated by Lisa Jones), and celebrated their first Women’s Seder. More than 60 women attended this special evening, chaired by Pat Burnham.
On June 2 our Lefferts Family Library finally opened on a limited basis. Located on the second floor of the MJCC, the library contains over 500 books from Rodef Sholom as well as the current collection of Brandeis Hillel Day School. In addition to the Leon Kolb Judaica collection, the library houses the Janet Williams children’s Judaica collection. After 16 years of leadership, library committee chair Midge Melnick stepped down and was replaced by new chairman, Margie King.
June 25th was Rabbi Robert Daum’s farewell service, after serving the congregation so well for the past seven years, and many congregants-parents and children-were there to say goodbye and wish him well as he began his full time pursuit of his doctorate in Jewish Studies. Summer saw the arrival of Rabbi Stacy Laveson.
Three of the five member San Francisco Girls Basketball team, which swept the gold medals at the West Regional Maccabi Games were members of Rodef Sholom; Naomi Calder, Amy Garber and Leslie Garber. Coached by our own Tom Garber, the team played in St Louis.
In September the Family Education committee began the first of a series of Shabbat Dinners for families of 2nd & 3rd graders in our religious school, the goal being to expand individual family observance of Shabbat and to help children feel part of the larger Jewish community.
Our High Holidays were a little different this year, for the first time in 30 years Elsie and David Krinitsky were not part of our holiday music service. David Shepard was appointed as choir conductor in Elsie’s place. Many of our congregational family took part in the 62nd UAHC General Assembly held in San Francisco October 21 to 25. In conjunction with the GA, we held a special Cantorial concert at Rodef Sholom on October 21 featuring Cantors Kay Greenwald from Palo Alto, David Goldstein from Buffalo and Lisa Levine from Dallas. This was sponsored by the Harry Harris Music fund.
December was a busy month. Rabbi Barenbaum shared his thoughts on the book “Fierce Attachments” by Vivian Gornick with Sisterhood. Cantor David Margules, ballerina Joanna Berman, harpist Gillian Benet and flutist Laura Gilbert entertained at the Hoytt Theater. And another wonderful Chanukah celebration took place!
The MAYJC (c combines Rodef Sholom-Kol Shofar, JCC and Brandeis-Hillel Day School youth group) began the year with an overnight at the JCC for Senior High School members and the Thursday night drop-in at the JCC for Jr. High Schoolers. This was followed by a ski trip, a college night for high school teens, outreach to senior citizens, Shabbat dinners, horseback riding, picnic, Marin Jewish Film Festival, white water rafting, Sukkot pot luck dinner, dances and a Chanukah celebration.
The confirmation class held a lox and bagel sale, a raffle, and a Trivia night with Howard Rachelson to raise funds for their celebrations.
An active schedule of Adult Education was announced including an introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls, a four-session course, culminating in a visit tot the scrolls at the De Young museum.
To celebrate Shabbat Shira, the Sabbath of song, Tal Skoot, one of our congregants, arranged a few prayers for guitar, flute, cello and oboe, under the auspices of the Kirschner Music Fund. Our choir performed as well. In April the bloom duo along with Cantor Margules played a concert of Jewish composers including Ernest Bloch, Kurt Weill, Mark Lavry and Aaron Copeland.
Purim was celebrated with a potluck dinner, costume parade ad Megillah reading on Thursday, February 24 followed by the Purim Carnival the following Sunday.
The William Rubin Scholar-in-residence weekend featured Rabbi Robert Daum discussing ”Storming Heaven: Radical Hope and Jewish Messiahs”. The annual community Passover Seder held March 27 followed this. On March 19, seventy two women gathered to celebrate a Women’s Seder, under the auspices of Sisterhood.
In April many congregants attended a Temple theater party at Marin Theatre Company.
A fund raising effort to replace the social hall chairs was most successful and as a result 300 new chairs were purchased for the social hall and another 30 choir chairs were bought for the bimah.
Sisterhood honored all past sisterhood presidents at a “Celebration of Women” Shabbat in the spring. The fall paid membership brunch featured a presentation of “Jewish Pioneer women in the Bay Area” presented by the Judah Magnes Museum.
Using her High Holiday sermon as a kick-off, Rabbi Stacy Laveson launched the synagogue Yad L’Yad program, the hand–to-hand program of the caring committee,. Requiring a dedicated commitment for those involves, the program included a series of sessions teaching how to reach out to those in need.
Our High Holiday food drive resulted in 3,881 pounds of food being donated to the Marin County Food Bank.
September 11 was the High Holiday Memorial Service and dedication of our beautiful new cemetery entrance at Sha’arei Shalom.
On October 30 the synagogue launched a special project, our first annual Mitzvah Day, a joint effort by the entire religious school and the congregation to work together to help non-profit agencies and improve our community. Over 500 congregants participated. Participants did everything from soaping and oiling saddles for the Halleck Creek riding Club for the Handicapped to gift-wrapping Chanukah firsts for distribution by Jewish Family and Children’s Service. Destined to become an annual event Mitzvah Day has headed by Joan Gosliner, Alissa Ralston and Sharon Gordon.
November 6 marked the grand opening of the Rodef Sholom Judaic Library and a special certificate of appreciation was presented to Mrs. Leon Kolb for her unfailing support of our library.
Our seventh annual William Rubin Scholar-in-Residence weekend took place February 10-12 and featured Dr. Norman Cohen, dean of Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion, and Professor of Midrach. His topic: “Self, Struggle and change: Family Conflict Stories in Genesis and the Healing Insights for Our Lives.”
Nathalea Scholnich and Claudia Fromm rook over as chairmen for the Meals for the Homeless program from Annette Heller, who chaired this job for three years.
Jan Luxenberg chaired this year’s Pizza bingo for sisterhood, an event that brought over 120 pizza lovers and much needed money for Sisterhood’s many projects.
On March 10 we celebrated Shabbat with a special folk music service. It generated a positive response. It generated such an overwhelmingly positive response from the congregation that a second Jewish folk heritage Shabbat was held in August.
March was the date of our Life Long Learning Shabbaton, ”The Mind, Body and soul connection” with sessions headed by Dr Michael Franzblau and Dr Avraham Davis.
April 26 marked our community Yom Hashoah commemoration. At that time a special community memorial scroll was unveiled—filled with names of loved ones lost in the Holocaust. This permanent scroll resided in a special case at the Bernard Osher Marin JCC
This was the first year we participated in the Human Race, a 5 1.2 mile fund raiser sponsored by the Marin Volunteer Center, Rabbi Barenbaum, Rabbi Laveson and Cantor Margules along with our fundraising committee and many Temple members did the “run” in under 1 ½ hours. Money collected when to Mazon, a Jewish organization which provides for the needy.
Helene Holly, our Sunday School principal for the past four years retired and was replaced by Chani Oppenheim.
In May, Rabbi Barenbaum was honored for his twenty five years in the Rabbinate by receiving his doctorate from Hebrew Union College. This was followed by a special Shabbat on Friday June 9, when congregants gathered to celebrate Michael’s 18 years at Congregation Rodef Sholom and this twenty fifth anniversary since his ordination In his honor over $10,000 was contributed. Part of this money went for a stone under the Tree of Life and Michael designated the charities to receive the remainder of the contributions.
June 24 Cantors David Unterman, Kay Greenwald and Roslyn Barak joined our own David Margules in a Kirschner Music Endowment Program saluting Heroes and Heroines in Jewish History.
This fall we embarked on our strategic plan for the future of Rodef Sholom and dozens of our fellow congregants volunteered to work on this along with our board of directors. Hundreds of hours of meetings ensued with hopefully exciting results for the synagogue’s future.
As always, we had a delightful Sukkah Shabbat as well as a Simchat Torah dinner and service.
Mitzvah Day, under the careful and charismatic supervision of Joan Gosliner, Jan Luxenberg and Marlene Knox took place on October 29th and once again dozens of community projects benefited by our good deeds. Over 700 congregants participated.
Our sanctuary was filled to overflowing on Monday, November 6, when close to a thousand of us gathered in a massive outpouring of emotion at a memorial service for Yitzchak Rabin. Although tremendously saddened, we all felt comfort in one another’s presence.
The Rodef Sholom Judaic Library had a busy year. In the spring we had a series of cultural events including a program by artist Elvire de Baere and a discussion by author Sherril Jaffe. The library kicked off the Fall with a special monthly artist and writer’s speaker’s series featuring special monthly artist and writers’ speakers’ series featuring g long time member and jewelry designer Esther White, novelist Herb gold, filmmaker Jin Goldner, and artist Wendy Goldberg. At the end of the year Steve Birnbaum and David Stern were awarded the Midge Melnick award for their exceptional volunteer service to the library.
Sisterhood ended the year with the annual Book review; this year’s selection: Ursula Hegi’s “Stones from the River” and the congregation celebrated Chanukah with a special family celebration at the JCC as well as a Friday evening Chanukah lighting celebration.
Finally, members of congregation Rodef Sholom staffed the Hamilton Homeless Shelter on Christmas Day and provided full course dinners to approximately 75 men and women in need.
Our Social Action committee kicked off the year on January 12 when members of the Marin City Village Baptist Church joined our congregants for a Shabbat dinner, worship and dialogue at the synagogue. Three days later many of us attended the interfaith service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King at First Presbyterian Church in San Rafael, where Cantor Margules sang.
Many members attended the “box dinner” theater party on January 23 when Marin theater company performed Diane Samuels’ award-winning play ”Kindertransport”.
February 9th ushered in our eighth annual scholar-in-residence weekend with Dr Daniel Matt, Professor at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, discussing “From Kabbalah to the Big Bang”.
The music of Rodgers and Hammerstein was featured at the February 17 Shabbat Shira Cantorial concert starring David Margules, David Unterman, Rachel Michelberg and Kay Greenwald.
Seniors over 50 began a series of potluck dinners at the synagogue. The first was held on February 23 with Mitzi Kemp and Bernie Ellis as chairmen.
In keeping with its growing family education program, Rodef Sholom subsidized a Shabbat retreat for fifth and sixth grade families at Walker Creek Ranch in Petaluma in March. Twenty-three families studied Torah, sang song, made family banners and learned about community and mitzvot through a variety of activities.
Our religious school year was a busy one and ended for the summer with a Lag Ba’Omer family picnic on Sunday May 5.
The Kirschner Music Concert was held on May 17. Our Shabbat liturgy was set in jazz and accompanied by percussion, bass, guitar, piano and choir.
During the summer we saw the kickoff fund raising effort to purchase a new floor for the social hall. Under the direction of Marvin and Michelle Zwerin and Fred and Nancy Levin and their fundraising commitment, the aim of the program was to encourage temple members to buy floor tiles at $25 each.
The fall kickoff membership brunch for sisterhood featured KCBS reporter Betsy Rosenberg as guest speaker. A high holiday cooking class was also offered in the beginning of the fall season.
Fall Lifelong Learning Classes included Beginning Hebrew, Intermediate Prayerbook /Biblical Hebrew, and The Mystical Kabbalah, Discovering Judaism, and A Taste of Talmud and Sharing Leadership in the Jewish Community.
October is a most important month: the celebration of our 40th Anniversary! A special Shabbat on Friday evening, October 18 kicks off the weekend. Honoring both our current religious leaders (Rabbi Barenbaum and Laveson and Cantor Margules) and our past Rabbis: Morton Hoffman, David Davis, Lee Bycel, Miriam Baitch and Robert Daum this evening should long be remembered for bringing together so many of our clergy and congregants, all of whom have helped make Rodef Sholom the special Temple it is. Saturday evening some 300 members will attend a special gala evening: Celebration 40! This sold out event features and evening of Jewish Comedy staring Steve Mittleman and Wendy Kamenoff. Sunday, October 20 is also focused on the 40th Anniversary with special events slated especially for the Religious School community.
Still to come between now and the end of the year is Mitzvah Day on October 27 and in November—the second anniversary of the opening of our Rodef Sholom Judaic Library featuring a Rabbi Barenbaum Book review.
Today (1996) Rodef Sholom is a vibrant, exciting synagogue. Our congregation is steadily growing and the services we offer within our community are varied and meaningful.
Rabbi Michael Barenbaum, Rabbi Stacy Laveson, Cantor Margules plus our senior staff including Lani Losk, coordinator, Chani Oppenheim, principal and Harvey Tucker, custodian –all help make Rodef Sholom a special place to be.
Each month there are at least a dozen ongoing educational forums available to our members including many held in co-sponsorship with our neighboring JCC. We have ongoing torah study, Sunday morning learning with the rabbis, luncheon study sessions with Rabbi Barenbaum in downtown San Francisco, book group discussions and so much more.
All the holidays are celebrated, many coupled with family dinners in our social hall or the JCC. Every Passover we celebrate a second-night community seder in our social hall. This event is normally held in conjunction with the Marin Jewish community Center. Thursday morning minyans attract numerous worshippers and a class follows these lay-led services on Prayer and Holiness.
We have special interest groups that range from Tot Shabbat (for families with preschool through age 7) and B’yachad (7 holiday programs for pre-school children) to Rosh Chodesh, a women’s group which gathers together to sing, pray, talk and learn together in celebration of their Jewish tradition. There are numerous Chavurah programs.
Marin Jewish Youth, an active program with a combined membership of students from Rodef Sholom, Kol Shofar, Brandeis Hillel Day School and the MJCC, has a calendar full of activities through our the year and aimed at our Junior High through High school age youth.
Rodef Sholom’s religious School, the largest in Northern California, now meets on Sunday mornings, Tuesday afternoons, Wednesday evenings, and Thursday afternoons in addition to the Tuesday and Thursday afternoon Hebrew School. Added to the many classes are the myriads of special events held throughout the year to coincide with our many Jewish holidays. Intersperse that with weekend retreats at Camp Swig and confirmation trips to Israel, and you have but a glimpse of the scope of our religious school experience. Did you know that Rodef Sholom has been a pioneer in Jewish Family Education, being one of the few congregations in the nation to originally offer this program?
As a Temple community we reach out to our mixed faith families holding events like our Interfaith Seder, our special outreach Shabbat dinners, and our discussion support groups for interfaith couples.
Rarely is there a Shabbat evening where there isn’t one type of Shabbat dinner or other honoring either one of our Sunday School classed or one of our many special interest groups.
Our Mitzvah Day is a model for many organizations. We take part in the Human Race, Meals for the Homeless and Meals of Marin (serving people with AIDS). Through our very active social Action committee, we also celebrate Jewish Holidays with seniors and shit-ins, and help and befriend Soviet émigré families’ living in Marin.
In conjunction with the Marin Jewish Community Center, Kol Shofar, Brandeis Hillel Day School, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, and many other groups, we co-sponsor many educational, cultural, religious, and social action events.
Sisterhood is vital and active with a multitude of activities each year and a fabulous knack for raising much needed funds to help all aspects of our Temple community. Sisterhood women run the temple gift shop, sponsor the annual New Years Greeting and Turkey Mitzvah projects, send Passover and Chanukah fists to our college students, give bibles to our confirmands, provide money for camperships and scholarships, sponsor the children’s Rosh Hashanah reception, present gifts to new members, prepare many of our Oneg Shabbats provide interesting monthly meeting, conduct a Sisterhood Shabbat each year, hold outreach events and so much more.
A vibrant, exciting place, yes! But probably the most important ingredient is the membership and our is a wonderful group of people of people spanning all ages and interests. Some use the Temple facilities almost daily; others come but twice a year or holiday services. The Temple is here for everyone and for every occasion: from the blessings at birth to the blessings at death.
As we celebrate our fortieth anniversary and look ahead to our golden anniversary and another fifty years beyond that–may Rodef Sholom continue to be as meaningful part of our lives and the lives of generations to come.