February 2017, from our president

Trivia is not trivial

This is a tumultuous time during the transition from one administration to the next: protests, storms, flooding, work, school…life. It is easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged. We worry about our children, our nation’s political direction and the safety and well being of Israel.

I wanted to let you know the Women of Rodef Sholom are doing a few things to make our community and world a happier place.

Come join us at Trivia Night on Saturday, February 4th at 7 in the Social Hall. We will eat and drink, kibbetz, laugh, learn, get a little competitive about important facts, purchase amazing bargains at the silent auction, and enjoy being with each other.

Community is something that we have to celebrate. No weather or political administration can stop us from knowing we have always been, and always will be, stronger together.

~Susan Goldwasser
President, Women of Rodef Sholom

February 2017, from the clergy

Greetings to the women of Rodef Sholom.

Recently “Rilla”, the female guide-dog breeder I have been taking care of, reversed roles with me. I have been suffering from a case of shingles. Rilla has become a companion dog, always by my side, always ready to give love and comfort. She can sense the pain and discomfort I’m going through, and she has a calming influence, helping me to feel better.

Sometimes experiencing pain and suffering can be a pathway to gratitude for when our mind and body is functioning well. This week we started to chant and study from the book of Exodus. As we meet Moses, we learn that despite his self-doubt he takes on the mantel of leadership and steps into a new role. What fierce courage it must have taken to approach the Pharaoh and demand he let the Hebrew slaves go.

Moses willingness to lead stands as an inspiration to so many women from our congregation who have answered the call, joining sisterhood and offering their skills to make our community a better and holier place.

As we move from slavery to freedom to revelation may we find ourselves ever grateful for good health and eternal love.

~Cantor David

Sisterhood Seder, March 26

Annual Sisterhood Seder, March 26, 4pm in the Social Hall of Congregation Rodef Sholom
Please note: The seder is at capacity. Any further reservations will be put on a waiting list and you will be contacted if cancellations occur and we can add your name to our reservation list. Please use the RSVP form below to be added to the waiting list. {dated 3-16-17}

The Women of Rodef Sholom invite you to join us for our annual Women’s Seder. A traditional seder meal will be served along with ceremonial wine/grape juice. If you’d like wine with dinner, please bring your own. This event is most appropriate for girls third grade and above and women of every age.

Please RSVP below and mail your check (payable to ‘Women of Rodef Sholom’) to 170 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael, CA 94903.  Clearly mark ‘seder’ on the envelope.

WRS members $55 | non-members $60 | girls 9-18 $36

To RSVP please provide all information below. You may also use this form for questions.

January 2017, from our president

When it gets cold outside it feels so good to curl up, retreat, read a rom com or binge watch Netflix. It is also pretty special to invite a friend over, reach out and maybe make a new buddy and have tea and serve a homemade apple galette. I have an easy recipe that looks rustic (aka awkward) and tastes delicious. So put a fake log on the fire and have a nice chat. Winter chill? Bring it on!

Make a friend apple galette

In food processor pulse 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup corn meal, 1/4 cup brown sugar; add 1 stick butter, pulse a few times; add 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla, pulse. It will become dough! Turn out dough and press into disc shape, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1/2 hour. Turn oven to 400 degrees. Slice 4 apples and/or pears, add 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Roll out dough onto parchment paper. Transfer to a sheet pan. Add apples to center, fold dough at edge. Bake 45 minutes. Voila!

~Susan Goldwasser
President, Women of Rodef Sholom

January 2017, from the clergy

Dear Women of Rodef Sholom,

May 2017 be a year that brings much joy and laughter, health and happiness to you and your families. We thank you for all that you do to contribute to the strength and warmth of our community and we look forward to celebrating Rodef Sholom’s 60th anniversary together with you this year. Sending you much love and light for a wonderful new year.

~With love and appreciation,
Rabbis Stacy, Michael, Elana, Lara, and Cantor David

December 2016, from our president

Decades before Hillary’s campaign adopted the tag line, Women of Reform Judaism’s motto has been “stronger together”.

I recently visited the new Smithsonian African American Museum of History and Culture. It is a powerful place explaining the horrors of slavery. It details how our colonial society, economy and very infrastructure were literally built on the backs of slave labor. 12 of our first 18 presidents were slave owners. You learn about the experience of the Civil War, Segregation, Jim Crow laws, lynchings from the perspective of the people most affected. You walk into a slave cabin. You see chains and shackles.

Just when you’re so devastated you’re ready to collapse, you finally reach the top floor and see Oprah’s couch from her TV set! A full on shrine to President Obama! The extraordinary musical, sports, cultural, scientific contributions of African Americans on display!

I walked out and saw the sunset behind the Washington Monument. A wave of shock overcame me as I reflected on the fact that our president elect has chosen white supremacists as advisers. I wanted support to keep from reeling over. I reached out and held my daughter’s hand. Just over five feet, a towering pixie queen of hope and optimism, sparkling bright.

Stronger together, we remain determined to continue to do what we can to bring love and light into our world.

~Susan Goldwasser
President, Women of Rodef Sholom

December 2016, from the clergy

Dear Friends

I love the festive feel of this time of year – the light, the joy, the time together with our community.  And while I am filled with that joy, I am constantly reminded that the holiday of Chanukah is a season of dedication, of looking to recognize that which might need repair and working to recognize the holiness in our lives and around our world.  The word Chanukah literally means “dedication,” as we celebrate the time of the dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem.  What is it that we dedicate ourselves to year after year?  How can we dedicate ourselves as individuals and as a community to work together to help make the world a little better, one mitzvah at a time?

I would like to invite you to Rodef Sholom’s first ever Mitzvah Fair! The event will take place this Sunday at 10:30am-12:30pm in the Social Hall.  Now more than ever, as we enter this holiday season, we need to think about how to perform acts of tikkun that will improve the lives of those in our community who are struggling.  Come learn about volunteer opportunities for adults, kids, families (there’s something for everyone!) at Rodef Sholom and the larger community.  Meet representatives from over 20 local agencies and organizations in the county and learn about how you can get involved.

When we light our Chanukah candles, we sing the blessing, “she’a-sah ni-ssim l’a-vo-tei-nu ba-ya-mim ha-hem ba-z’man ha-zeh,” “Blessed are you God who made miracles for our ancestors in their days at this time.”  Let’s work together to dedicate ourselves to making this a season of mitzvot – of giving of our time and purpose to performing acts that will heal our community and our world in our days now at this time.

Rabbi Lara

November 2016, from our president

94 years ago these candle sticks were given to Nancy Symonds’ grandparents as a wedding gift. Nancy has decided to light Shabbat candles to engage more fully with Jewish ritual. She is participating in the Chai Mitzvah course with members of the Sisterhood Board. Each month we are led by Jewish educator and WRS board member Claire Mikowski. We study together, explore Jewish text, deepen our understanding of Jewish ritual, engage in social justice projects, and get to know each other better.

We are fortunate to have so many opportunities to learn together at Rodef Sholom. Please join us at our programs, make a friend, learn something new and feel the warmth that comes from being more fully engaged with your community of Jewish women at Rodef Sholom and generations past.

~Susan Goldwasser
President, Women of Rodef Sholom

November 2016, from the clergy

My First Israeli Friend

Her name was Tabi Weidenfeld. She was from Kfar Saba, just outside of Tel Aviv. She had two younger brothers, who would reportedly devour untold kilos of their mom’s chicken schnitzel every Shabbat when they came home from the army. Tabi herself was an architecture student at the Technion in Haifa. She had short black hair back in the summer of 1992 when we met. We were campers together at the BCI program in Los Angeles for Jews ages 18-26 to explore their Jewish identities.
It was a pivotal time in Tabi’s life and in mine. She was newly in love with her boyfriend back home. And I was in the midst of figuring out what my adult life might look like. We were surrounded by 60 fellow campers and a world-class staff of educators that included my first justice mentor Carol Levy and Rabbis Daniel Gordis, Levi Lauer and Karen Bender. For the first time in my adult life, I could see Judaism playing a major role in my life, and not just because the director of the program, Rabbi Alvin Mars, suggested that I should become a rabbi. For it was that summer that I began to appreciate the arc of Jewish history and the importance of the State of Israel . Plus I fell head over heals in love with Shabbat, Jewish justice work and with Rikud Am (Israeli folk dance).
What helped me fall in love with Israel that summer? Simply put, meeting Israelis: hearing their stories, understanding their pain and their dreams. I can still recall all of the stories they shared with us that summer. After camp, Tabi and 4 other Israelis came to stay at my parents house. We fed them, did their laundry and gave them a world-class tour of L.A. Six months later, I was in Israel. My first time as a curious Zionist. I had Shabbat dinner with Tabi’s family. I got to eat the schnitzel…and yes, I too ate kilos of it. And I fell in love with Israel and Israelis.
I tell you about about BCI, Tabi and the chicken schnitzel because I want you to fall in love with Israel and Israelis in the same way that I did. That is why we raised money to bring Adi Dardikman here to be our second shlicha. By now, I trust that most of you have seen her face. But have you invited her for coffee? A walk? A meal?
You should know that Adi will be soon be teaching a FABULOUS three-part class about Israel:
  • Thursday, 12/1 at 6:30pm – Watch the 2012 movie The Gatekeepers about Israel’s internal security service, the Shin Bet, from the perspective of six of its former heads in JCC Library
  • Sunday, 12/4 at 4pm -Come hear Carmi Gillon speak, former head of Shin Bet (featured in the movie) speak in Rodef Sholom sanctuary
  • Thursday 12/8 at 6:30pm – Discuss the movie and Carmi Gillon’s talk with Adi in JCC Library
Trust me, the movie, the lecture and the discussion will be lively.  It will get you together in the room with fellow congregants who want to talk about Israel.  Plus, it will get you in the room with Adi three separate times, putting you on the path to claiming your new(est) Israeli friend.
~Rabbi Michael Lezak

10/18 – Book Club, 7:15-8:15

The WRS Book Club meets monthly, usually the third Wednesday of each month, we meet in the JCC Library.

Books for next several months are:

October 18
If the Oceans Were Ink, by Carla Power

November 15
The Marriage of Opposites, by Alice Hoffman

December 20
Behold the Dreamers, by Imbolo Mbue

January 17th
The Other Einstein, by Marie Benedict

RSVP/questions below.

Israeli Folk Dancing, Thursdays

Dances are fun, good exercise, and danced to a wonderful assortment of Israeli and world music. This class is a great way to get started, return to, or just keep on folk dancing in a friendly, energetic and welcoming environment. Newcomers, beginners to experienced dances, and all ages are welcome; no partner is necessary.

  • 2017 sessions: 1/12-2/23 & 3/2-4/13
  • Location: 2nd floor of the Marin JCC (Pilates Studio)
  • Registration: 415-444-8000 or at the JCC front desk
  • Cost: $30 for the 6-week session, or $7 drop-in

For more information, contact Carol Friedman here.

Trivia Night, February 4

Trivia Night, February 4, 7-9pm

2017 Trivia night is over, but the memories linger. Here are a few photos…

It’s time to get out and have an adult evening! WRS is excited to bring to you, once again, Trivia Night, with Rodef Sholom’s very own master of trivia, Howard Rachelson. It’s going to be a great night – it always is! 7pm in the Rodef Sholom social hall.

  • Ticket price includes savory and sweet food delights, coffee and your first glass of wine or beer.
  • Form your own team (limit 10 per team) or just show up and join a team.
  • 50/50 Raffle: winner takes half of the raffle ticket sales. Tickets $2 each or 3 for $5
  • We are preparing a silent auction, so bring your checkbook
  • Lots of team prizes and door prizes!

$20 before February 1, $25 at the door (includes 1 drink ticket). Prizes will be awarded.


Consultation on Conscience, April 30

Social justice is  a Jewish mitzvah. If you are interested in becoming a champion of social justice, then sign up for the Religious Action Center’s conference in Washington, D.C. (April 30 – May 2, 2017). The Consultation on Conscience is the premier social justice gathering of Reform Jewish leaders and activists. More information and registration here.

Accessory Sale, December 8

Jewelry, Purse and Scarf Benefit Sale

The Women of Rodef Sholom will be hosting a Jewelry, Purse and Scarf sale (all gently used) to raise funds for the various organizations supported by WRS including Venetia Valley School in San Rafael. It’s a great place to get some fabulous deals for the upcoming holidays and feel good knowing the proceeds will help those in need.

The Sale will take place on December 8th from 3pm-7pm at the Jewish Community Center in the Lounge, 170 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael.  We look forward to seeing you there.

For questions, please contact Fanny Stein (fr7242@yahoo.com)