2016 Women’s Retreat recap

2016 Women’s Retreat

A reflection of a beautiful Shabbat written for the Women of Rodef Sholom sisterhood at our annual retreat, read by the author to her sisters by the fireside.

Here, it is Good

by D.L. Lang

Far away from the city now,
reconnecting to our souls and how!
Wandering this rainbow floral wonderland
as wind chimes ring a calming song
beneath prayer flags
whose messages of peace do freely wave
in multilingual unity—
a clue to how the world should be.

Here, it is good.
We stand together as women
before God,
barefoot in the sanctuary,
singing with our hearts out,
connecting to the energy and serenity of love.

The mealtime bells do ring along,
as we embrace in holy sing-a-longs.
Nights of singing Jewish, folk,
and country songs,
gathered cross-legged
in a round barn.

The birds are giving
concerts of their own
as sisters sing
with angelic voices, echoing
into the heavens.

Like each bird with our unique notes to bring,
gathered here to pray and sing
for peace and goodness
as we pause from travelling
the labyrinths of our lives
as loving daughters, mothers, sisters, and wives.

Sitting by the fire pit,
reveling in the simple joy of it.
The sweet smell of smoke rises in the air
like the hopes and dreams that we all share.
United as sisters we all will stay,
trying to be holy
in these fleeting days,
admiring those who came before us
and ignited the way.

On this ranch we adore the food,
but what tastes so sweet as sisterhood?

2016 Mother’s Day Gift Fair recap

Mother’s Day Gift Fair at Venetia Valley Family Center

The Women of Rodef Sholom organized their third annual Mother’s Day Gift Fair at the Venetia Valley Family Center (at Venetia Valley School). Jewelry and scarves were donated by CRS members for last year’s annual Jewelry Sale (also to benefit Venetia Valley School). Not everything was sold last year, so the best items were displayed at a ’boutique’ set up by WRS members and mothers from Venetia Valley School on May 4. First grade teachers brought their students to the sale to make gift selections for their mothers which were then wrapped to take home on May 6.

This program earned WRS the Gold Or Ami award from the Women of Reform Judaism in November of 2015.


Sisterhood Shabbat, May 18, 2018

Sisterhood Shabbat, 7:30 (late service)

Join the Congregation to welcome Shabbat, led by the Women of Rodef Sholom.  This service promises to be songful, spiritual and special! Once a year WRS leads the Shabbat services and we are honored to do it again on May 20th at 7:30 (late service).  Bring your family and friends to help celebrate this wonderful evening.  No rsvp necessary.

If you wish to be involved in the planning of this lovely event, please email:  wrs@rodefsholom.org and put Sisterhood Shabbat in the Subject line.


Mother’s Day Mitzvah, May 4 & 6

Mother’s Day Mitzvah at Venetia Valley School

The Women of Rodef Sholom are organizing another Mother’s Day gift giving experience for all of the first graders at Venetia Valley School. Please go through your jewelry, scarves, and handbags to see if there’s anything you haven’t used in the last year that you would be willing to donate to this project. If you find items, you can drop them off at the temple office. Or (preferably) use the form below to contact Hannah Panger and drop your items off at her house.

We are also looking for volunteers on two days:

  • 5/4-volunteer to help set up the boutique in the morning at the Venetia Valley Family Center
  • 5/6-volunteer to hlep the children choose a gift for their moms

This program earned WRS the Gold Or Ami award from the Women of Reform Judaism in November of 2015. Please help to keep it successful!

about that chicken

The Kosher Chicken Index

really….it does exist!

On Jan 8th, the Jewish Chronicle of London, England, published their research as The Kosher Chicken Index to spell out the cost of living a “full” Jewish life in London when compared to the alternative. Not too fond of that “full” part as it carries with it some sort of “shame on you” for Reform Jews.  But it is an interesting peek into London Jewish life.

For example, the Jewish Chronicle reports on the increased cost of a Jewish wedding compared to non-Jewish. But where is it written that Jewish weddings must cost an arm, a leg and your first born? Bring that cost down (how hard could that be?) and the Kosher Chicken Index becomes less of an issue.

And if you think the cost of kosher chicken is way too high I have one word for you…vegetarian! There are ways to bring down costs, and whether you choose to keep kosher or not, the recipes coming out of  Yotam Ottolenghi’s and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem: A Cookbook will rock your world. Buy it at the Women of Rodef Sholom Gift Shop in the JCC…but you knew that!

Regardless of your take on kashrut, The Kosher Chicken Index does make for interesting reading.  Enjoy.

If you do decide to take on that chicken, Bubbe can help. Bubbe has left us, but her heartwarming videos play on.

But back to the Gift Shop….here are a few things you should know:

  1. The Gift Shop carries almost 60 tallit, from traditional styles to modern, wool, silk, polyester and acrylic and priced from $60 to $300.
  2. The Gift Shop looks for unique Judaica like the mezuzot made from found industrial materials by Schmutz & Bolts out of Berkeley.
  3. The Gift Shop carries a child size lap harp with accompanying Jewish sheet music. Can’t you see this? It’s Seder and time for a song and the little one asks for quiet  then moves everyone to tears with a Jewish tune on the lap harp. You kvell!
  4. The Gift Shop carries Mini Mazels for your next simcha.  Made from Belgian chocolates, they are tiny coins foil wrapped in pink or blue or an Israeli theme of blue and white. Bag of 240 costs $24.00.  Sprinkled around tables you’ve got something really unique.

~Ronna Voorsanger
The Gift Shop manager




Women of Rodef Sholom Win Or Ami

Women of Rodef Sholom Win Or Ami Award at the WRJ/URJ Biennial
WRS delegation to the WRJ/URJ Biennial in Orlando receive the 2015 GOLD OR AMI Award from the President, 1st VP and Executive Director of the WRJ (Women of Reform Judaism).  WRS won the award for our program: “Crossing the Street: Mother’s Day Surprise” a program that provided students from Venetia Valley School with gifts they chose to present their mothers on Mother’s Day.

A Jewish Framework for WRS Social Justice

The goal of WRS is to create a strategic plan that is based upon Torah values and concentric circles of need. This will be a 3 year plan targeting different organizations that we will support, advocate for and educate ourselves and others about.
Based upon the article “Rabbinic Law on Tzedakah Priorities” by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, tzedakah means righteousness, not charity. At its core is the concept of restorative justice, privacy and dignity for every human being. Tzedakah is a test of the values of our Torah.
  1. Who gives? Everyone, even the poorest person who depends on tzedakah is required to give a ½ schekel, so that he too is a contributor.
  2. How much should we give? The richest can give up to 20% of their income, but no more. More would get that person too much honor and power for the community’s good. Less is ok. The normal amount is 10%.
  3. How do we choose among a wide range of needs? Anyone who asks for food should receive it at once. Hunger is a powerful emergency. Strangers with less urgent needs should be queried. The community is responsible to give what they need based upon the results of the perceived need. Those known to the community should not have to wait for tzedakah.
  4. Giving is extended in a series of concentric circles. Ones own needs come first. The next priority goes to parents. Children come next, then relatives, immediate neighbors, then the needs of the town in which one lives. After that a person needs to be concerned with their country and finally the world.
  5. Jews & Non-Jews For the sake of peace, give to both. The highest communal good is a joy to help all beings.
  6. Moses Maimonides – 12th century scholar and author of the Mishnah Torah illiterated 8 steps of tzedakah. All 8 steps are built upon restoring a person’s dignity, privacy and anonymity of the giver and the receiver.
  7. We can raise a person’s dignity in their own eyes as well as in the eyes of the prosperous by involving them in the process and in the work. The highest form of tzedakah is enabling every person to be economically self-sufficient.
  8. There is a difference between acts of loving kindness and tzedakah. One is direct service and the other is capacity building which enables people to stand on their own independent of a need for tzedakah.

~Claire Mikowski