On the last day of Pesach, which was also a Shabbat, a shooter entered the Chabad Center of Poway, near San Diego. He shot and injured the rabbi and killed one woman. The woman who was killed, Lori Kay, was a friend of one of our own beloved community members, which brought this murder home in a particularly chilling way. It was also six months to the day since another shooter killed 11 people at prayer in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, which shook the American Jewish community as well as our local community of friends and allies.
For me these two shootings were in some ways shocking and in other ways almost inevitable, given the hatred--antisemitism and xenophobia--that has come out of the shadows and into our daily lives in the past several years. Like all of us, I have many thoughts and feelings in this season of heightened violence. One of them is that we have now joined those communities for whom violence is always a lurking possibility: African American Christians in their churches and Moslems in their mosques and poor people of color in their neighborhoods and, God help us, children in their schools, in having to feel that jolt of anxiety when we hear the door open and don’t know who’s hand is on the knob.
I think that it is extremely unlikely that we will be attacked in our shul--that we are much more in danger driving there and back on Highway 1. I should also say that, before either of the synagogue shootings, as part of renovating and upgrading our shul building, we took several steps to make us safer. We put more motion lights outside, so that we don’t come and go in the dark. We upgraded our fire extinguishers and hung them where we can all get to them. We put a second phone line in the library, in case we need to call for help and can’t get to the kitchen. We also had the Fire Chief and a Sheriff’s deputy come over and talk to us about safety should there ever be a threatening situation. We asked that the Sheriff’s office keep a closer eye on hate activity online. The deputy was receptive, and the upshot was that there is no obvious local threat right now and not much else that can be done before the fact.
So we live with more fear now than we might have had a year or a decade ago. It’s a very specific kind of fear: that we will be targeted as Jews by people who hate Jews. Not a likelihood at all, but neither is it an unthinkable or paranoid notion. So it is upon us to figure out how to live in the midst of that fear--a spiritual question, not just a practical one. I don’t have any perfect answers, and it is something we will be reflecting on together in the days and years to come, but here are some of my thoughts:
The hand on the doorknob. Welcoming the stranger is a “deed without measure.” Every congregation says it is a welcoming congregation, and we say that too. Being welcoming means that when someone opens the door and walks in, their presence is received positively. Our capacity to welcome new people and to engage with them is one of the treasures of our life together. Over the many years that I’ve been here, the shul door has opened countless times and all sorts of people have crossed the threshold for the first time. Most newcomers are lovely, and more than a few have become lifelong friends of mine and of our community, even if they only show up oh-so-rarely. Very occasionally someone has come in with a weird vibe that was a little awkward and annoying, but now we have more serious worries. How can we meet the stranger who enters with friendship and curiosity, even while we know the terror that a certain kind of stranger can bring? We will need to learn even more about the mitzvah of welcoming the stranger.
* Neighbors. After the shooting in Pittsburgh I was contacted by someone in our local community who wanted to bring some friends to the shul the following Shabbat to escort us in. It was a lovely offer of support at such a vulnerable moment, but it was new territory for me, so I gratefully yet quizzically accepted. During the week I began to hear that lots of people were planning to come: from the Women’s Choir, from the Huddle, from the Mendocino Presbyterian Church. The following Shabbat morning when I arrived, people were milling around awkwardly in the parking lot. Someone asked me what they should do, and I said that I had no idea. More local folks kept arriving, from the groups I’d heard about in advance and others as well. They got themselves together in a circle, sang, hugged MCJC folks as they arrived, and then came in and joined the service. It was really beautiful, in some small part because it was a little clumsy and unpracticed. We have many allies, all trying to learn how to support and protect each other.
* Neighbors, again. In the aftermath of the Rodney King uprising in Los Angeles in 1992, well-meaning Jewish congregations reached out to African American churches to try to be of help and solace. Afterwards I was at a panel discussion about the effectiveness of this interfaith outreach. One conclusion stayed with me: the places where the Jewish allies could be effective were those in which relationships already existed, where churches and synagogues had ongoing involvement with each other. Conversely, when strangers showed up, even with all the goodwill in the world, they were mostly underfoot. Most of the people who came to the shul after the Pittsburgh shooting already had relationships with MCJC, through the Justice Group, through past interfaith activities, through bar and bat mitzvahs and funerals, through personal friendships. All those activities and shared services over the years built an armature for solidarity. I used to be very active in the local interfaith scene, but for a number of reasons I have let that slide. It’s time for me and for others of us to attend to those relationships, for the pleasure and connection they bring and because we may need each other in the future.
* Security. Is an illusion. Jewish life is not secure. No life is secure. There is no amount of vigilance that can keep every painful thing at bay. How do we live joyfully and openheartedly, when terrible things can--and will--happen to us and to the people we love? One place to look for answers to these questions is Judaism. It’s not the only place by any means, but Jewish practice happens to have some pretty powerful tools for resiliency and vibrancy and meaning in the face of danger. One of the first clear-ish thoughts I remember having after the shooting in Pittsburgh is that, if antisemites are going to kill people for being Jewish, we may as well at least squeeze all the juice we can out of Jewish life. For all the horror and heartbreak brought by these attacks on Jewish people in their shuls, I am grateful that, in their wakes, the impulse of many of us, and many of our friends, has been to come together at our shul, and even, as best we can, to sing and pray.
In difficult times it is wise, though also difficult, to return to our core values. Love more. Connect more. Celebrate more. May we love and connect and celebrate without ever facing adversity, but we should face adversity, individually or as a community, we will do so with friendship and solidarity and to support us.
Shavuot - Standing at Mount Sinai
Shavuot is the beautiful, joyful, nourishing festival that honors both the first fruits of our plantings and also the giving of Torah at Mount Sinai. It falls this year on Saturday night, June 8th, and we will celebrate from 8:00 PM until a little after midnight. It is traditional to stay up all night studying Torah in anticipation of the revelation from the mountain. This year we will stay up half the night, finishing our celebration before the open ark, when the heavens are especially open to the prayers of our hearts. Leading up to that moment will be a feast of study, conversation and contemplation.
Our theme this year is nourishment for the soul. Torah is sometimes called “mother’s milk,” which is why it is customary to enjoy dairy treats on Shavuot. In our case, mother’s milk also includes strong Turkish coffee! Seven teachers from our community will each offer a text or practice or idea for the lifting up of the spirit. You are most welcome to come for any part of the evening. Snacks are also welcome. The schedule is below.
8:00-8:30 PM -- Very brief festival evening service with Yizkor
8:45-11:45 PM -- Study with our seven teachers
11:45-12:00 AM -- Midnight prayer
Then a nosh and homeward to dream.
We will be holding our second Shabbat gathering especially for young folks and their families, again at the home of Nina Ravitz and Terry Clark (off Benson Lane in Fort Bragg) on Friday night, June 21st at 5:30 PM. We’ll have a relaxed, kid-friendly early evening with some games and crafts, candle-lighting and Kiddush, a very short Shabbat service and dinner. Children of all ages (from the very young to the hardly-still-children) are invited, along with all their adults. We will provide dinner; all you need to do is come. Our approximate plan:
5:30 — time for people to arrive and get settled, with a welcome game or two;
6:00 — candles and Shabbat singing;
6:30 — Kiddush and dinner;
7:00 — a cup of tea, time to chat and something crafty.
Please RSVP to, and get directions from Nina at firstname.lastname@example.org or 357-6462. It will be helpful if you let us know as soon as you know, so we can set up for the right number of people. If it turns out that we will be expecting a very large group, we will move to the shul. If you know of other families who might like to come, and you don’t think they’re on the MCJC e-list, please tell them about the gathering, and please let Nina know so we can grow our list.
Shabbat Morning Services
Shabbat morning services are held every Saturday morning of the year from 10:30 AM until about 12:30 PM. People are welcome to come for any part of the service. Members of the community often give the davar Torah (“word of Torah”), an interpretation (drash) of the weekly Torah portion. The services are led each week by Rabbi Holub, except when she is out of town. The drash schedule for March is below:
06/01/19 - Bechukotai - Margaret Holub
06/08/19 - Bamidbar - Margaret Holub
06/15/19 - Nasso - Fran Schwartz, Andrea Luna & Clare Bercot
06/22/19 - Beha’alotcha - Margaret Holub
06/29/19 - Sh’lach - Margaret Holub
On June 28th we will gather at the home of Fran and Roger Schwartz in Mendocino. Please contact them to RSVP and get directions at 937-1352 or franbschwartz @gmail.com In July we will meet at Julie and Bob Melendi’s in South Caspar.
The joyful get-togethers usually take place on the fourth Friday of the month, begin at 6:00 PM, and include a short service with a vegetarian potluck following. If you would like to volunteer to host a gathering, contact Mina at 937-1319 or email@example.com.
The Elders’ Conversation meets every second and fourth Tuesday of the month, 3:00-5:00 PM at the shul. This month we will meet on May 14th and 28th. We’ve already picked our theme for the May 14th conversation: concerns about losing your mind. We will select a topic for the May 28th meeting at the end of that conversation. People of all ages are most welcome.
MCJC Justice Group
The Dream and Promise Act of 2019, HR6, a House bill that seeks to reinstate DACA and Temporary Protected Status, and to enlarge their scope, is scheduled to be debated in the House Judiciary Committee, amended, and possibly rewritten in late May. Jared Huffman is one of the sponsors of the bill. Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, some people unlawfully in the U.S. after being brought to the country as children are allowed to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred deportation and become eligible for a work permit.
The current administration’s new Public Charge Rules are being implemented despite a significant amount of public feedback against the proposed regulations. The original intent of the services was to give immigrant families a helping hand in a new land. The changes will make families choose between safety, nutrition and health care and a permanent immigration status (such as a green card) and/or future citizenship. The Justice Group intends to learn more about the needs of DACA recipients in our community.
Thank you to the following generous supporters for their donations to the Citizen Scholarship Project: Susan Tubbesing & Sarah Nathe, Eleanor Adams, and Judy Stavely. We appreciate donations of any amount. If you would like to contribute, please make checks out to MCJC, with a notation of Justice Group on the memo line, and mail them to MCJC Justice Group, PO Box 291, Little River CA 95456.
Make Mendo Solar:
Members of the Coast Climate Crew (CCC) are engaged in a campaign to convince local governments, school districts, communities of faith, and owners of prominent local real estate to install solar panels in their buildings. Despite complications for buildings in the Coastal Zone and the Mendocino Historical District area, the group is negotiating ways to bring more solar energy production to our coastal structures.
Other members of the CCC are investigating the realities of recycling and achieving zero waste in homes and businesses, and devising ways of making this information easily accessible to coastal residents. At the next meeting the JG will look at specifics of the Green New Deal and discuss whether or not the group will support its goals.
The Justice Group will meet at the shul on Thursday, June 6th, 5:30-7:30 PM (with gathering and munching time at 5:00 PM). This is a week earlier than our usual second Thursday meeting time. All are welcome to attend. If you’re on the Justice Group mailing list, you’ll get more details. If you’d like to be on the list, please let Margaret know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2019 Women's Retreat August 8th and 11th
AYEKH? Where are you? God asks this of Adam in the Garden of Eden, once the apple has been eaten, some life has been lived, some choices made. Likewise we will ask ourselves: Where are you? Where are you in life? What is behind you? What does the present moment look like? What might be ahead? As our Jewish calendar moves toward the season of heightened heshbon ha-nefesh (taking account of our lives), we review the year just lived, but at the retreat we will telescope outward and look back at the flow of our lives, at key moments, decisions, turning points, seasons.
During our time together we will undertake the audacious task of looking at our own lives as holy narratives with meaning and consequence. As always we will do this through conversation, contemplation, study, experimentation, ritual and play.
We will return to our river mikveh (conditions permitting) to dip into mayim chayim, the ongoing and all-connected water of life. We will celebrate a luxurious Shabbat, with plenty of time for quiet, rest, walking, swimming, and other pleasures for the soul. There will be abundant prayer, song and delicious food for body and spirit. This year our retreat ends on Tisha B’av, the traditional day of mourning for the destruction of the Temple. We will touch upon the themes of loss and destruction as we contemplate the flow of our lives.
For more information or to register, contact Harriet Bye at email@example.com or 937-3622.
W e will meet Monday June 24th to discuss Judas by Amos Oz. In 1959 Jerusalem, Shmuel Ash, a biblical scholar, is adrift in his young life when he finds work as a caregiver for a brilliant but cantankerous old man named Gershom Wald. There is a third, mysterious presence in his new home: Atalia Abravanel, the daughter of a deceased Zionist leader, who entrances young Shmuel even as she keeps him at a distance. Piece by piece, the old stone house reveals its secrets. At once a love story and a coming-of-age novel, an allegory for the state of Israel, and a parallel of the biblical tale from which it draws its title, Judas is Amos Oz’s most powerful novel in decades.
The book group meets at 2:00 PM on the third Monday of the month. Please call Fran Schwartz at 937-1352 for information on location. Gallery Bookstore offers 10% off your purchases if you belong to the book club.
MCJC Board Meetings
The MCJC board meets monthly at 5:30 PM at the shul. The June meeting will be on the 11th If you would like to attend a meeting, please leave a message on the phone at the shul: 964-6146.
Thanks For Mailing The Newsletter
Nous sommes profondément reconnaissants à Monique and Jay Frankston for preparing the May Megillah for mailing. If you volunteer for a future folding, stamping, and mailing project, you can do it at home, or another spot of your choosing, in about two hours. It’s a mitzvah! Please contact Sarah at 962-0565 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The MCJC Megillah is available in a format suitable for online viewing. The format will adapt itself to any screen size, including smartphones. It is posted on the MCJC website on the newsletter page https://www.mcjc.org/newsletter.
The Mendocino Megillah is published in three formats: hardcopy, emailed PDF, and online web page. You can subscribe to the hardcopy version and have it mailed to you, you can subscribe to the email PDF/ online version, or you can receive both. The Megillah is posted on the MCJC website www.mcjc.org/newsletter.
Any information on changes in mailing address, changes in email address, and changes in email notifications should be sent to Sarah Nathe at email@example.com. If you choose not to be a contributing member of MCJC, we request a $25 annual fee for the Megillah hardcopy or email.
Great Thanks To The Following Donors
Harriet Bye & Larry Sawyer; Ronnie Kemper & Lance Johansen; Cecile Cutler; Laura Goldman & Dennak Murphy; Sandra & Kenny Wortzel; Jonathan & Annette Lehan; Tracy Salkowitz & Rick Edwards; Bob Evans; Lew Mermelstein; David Minkus; Nancy Harris; Rosalie & Art Holub; Henrietta Steiniger; Ronnie James; Marinela Miclea; Linda Jupiter.
Benna Kolinsky & Danny Mandelbaum in honor of Ilana Mandelbaum’s first Mother’s Day.
To the Adele Saxe Tzedekah Fund: Dr David Schiff.
Contributing Membership In MCJC
Everyone who lives on the Mendocino Coast, and desires to be a member of MCJC, is one. The MCJC Board had a goal of having every household become CONTRIBUTING members in 2019. We have memberships at Regular, Limited Income, and Family levels, as well as any level possible for you. Please mail your donations to MCJC, Box 291, Little River, CA 95456, or use PayPal on the MCJC website.
When you contribute in memory or honor of someone, an acknowledgment card will be sent to the individual or family. Please include their name and mailing address. Contact Donna Montag at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mendocino Megillah is published monthly. The deadline for article submission is the 15th of the month before publication. The editor will include all appropriate material, space permitting, with the exception of copyrighted material lacking the permission of the author. Divergent opinions are welcome. Material printed in the Megillah does not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the MCJC Board of Directors.
Please Support Our Underwriters
Albion Doors and Windows: 1000s of recycled windows, French doors, thermal windows, entry doors, new & used. Leaded glass, arches & unique styles. Liquidation prices at 937-0078 in Albion. www.knobsession.com
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Frankie's Pizza and Ice Cream Parlor: Homemade pizzas, Cowlick's ice cream, and other yummy things to nosh on. Beer and wine available. Live music weekly; all ages welcome. Open daily from 11:00 am - 9:00 pm at 44951 Ukiah Street, Mendocino, 937-2436. www.frankiesmendocino.com
Out of this World: Telescopes, binoculars, & science toys. 45100 Main Street, Box 1010, Mendocino. 937-3335. www.OutofThisWorldShop.com. Serving all your interplanetary needs since 1988.
Phoebe Graubard: Attorney at Law. Wills, trusts, probate, conservatorships. 594 S. Franklin, Fort Bragg, 95437. 964-3525. www.phoebelaw.com Member National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Wheelchair accessible.
Rainsong & Rainsong Shoes: From head to toe in Mendocino! Contemporary clothing. Shoes & accessories for men & women. Two locations: Mendocino and Healdsburg. 937-4165 (clothing), 937-1710 (shoes), 433-8058 (Healdsburg). www.rainsongshoes.com/
Raven Deerwater, EA, PhD: Tax practitioner. Specializing in families, home-based & small businesses, & non-profit organizations. 45121 Ukiah Street, Box 1786, Mendocino. Tel: 937-1099. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.taxpractitioner.com
Rhoda Teplow Designs: Original jewelry created with beads from around the world, specializing in brass from Ghana, silver from Israel, and lapis, turquoise and coral from Tibet/Nepal. POB 453, Mendocino CA 95460. Tel: 964-2787. Email: email@example.com
Silver & Stone: 45050 Main Street, Mendocino. Contemporary sterling silver & gemstone jewelry for women & men. Affordable to indulgent. 11:00-6:00 pm daily. 937-0257. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanksgiving Coffee Co: Local roasters on the Mendocino Coast for over three decades. Certified organic, shade grown coffee & Fair Trade Coffees. Box 1918, Fort Bragg, 95437. (800) 462-1999. www.thanksgivingcoffee.com
Tonk's Tree Service: Hazardous removals, spurless pruning, arborist reports, stump grinding, 60' aerial lift, view and sun improvement. Owner-operated, licensed & insured. Tatanka Russell, certified arborist WE-9236A, lic. no. 798911. 964-6209, Email: email@example.com
The Witch-n-Wardrobe: Shamelessly second-hand apparel for conscious clothing enthusiasts. $5 off your first purchase when you sign up at www.poshmark.com/closet/witchn_wardrobe using code WITCHN_WARDROBE
(MCJC underwriters increase their businesses’ visibility to over 300 subscribers and improve their presence on the web. $100/year. Contact Donna Montag at 877-3243 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
MCJC Board and Contacts
(* identifies the MCJC Board members. All phone numbers are in the 707 Area Code)