Rabbi's Notes

Tuesday sundown--two days ago--marked the end of the Holies for 5780. Ahhh, a familiar, once-a-year mix for me of profound exhilaration and bone-deep tiredness. Those holidays clean my clock! Or rather, they reset me clock. My heart is full full full. So much thinking, writing, singing. So much paying-attention. So much soul energy with so many people I love. So much holiness! I used to think of the High Holy Day season as starting with the beginning of Elul, way back in late August. But now I learn from my dear friend and teacher Laura Goldman that conceptually they really begin even earlier, with Tisha B’av, with the mourning of the destruction of the Temple, a couple weeks earlier than that. This year on Tisha B’av many of us were together at our annual Jewish Women’s Retreat. Altogether it was many months of full-throttle spiritual attention, not just for me who was honored to be leading much of the formal part, but for all of us who partook.

In three months God created the High Holy Days. And on the fourth, God, uh, went back to work? So we should do likewise? What’s missing from this formulation? Somewhere during Sukkot, during the latter High Holies, I happened upon a wild little interview (an episode of a lovely podcast called Healing Justice, which I heartily recommend; Hersey’s episode, “Rest as Reparations,” is Episode #40) with African-American theologian and performance artist, “Nap Bishop” Tricia Hersey, who began her mission to promote daytime sleep while an overworked seminary student who would occasionally sneak in a catnap between classes and jobs. Friends laughingly nicknamed her the Nap Bishop and it stuck.

 

What began lightheartedly for her became serious as she researched the lives of her enslaved ancestors:

"I was obsessed with finding out the smallest details of plantation life. What time did they wake up? Where did they sleep? How far were the fields from the sleeping quarters? Did they have lunch breaks? What time would they begin work? When would the work end? (I discovered that most enslaved Africans on cotton plantations worked 20 hours a day.)

Did they stay in the fields once the sun went down? If so, how did they see the cotton in front of them? How many pounds of cotton did they have to pick each day? Did pregnant women work until their due date? Did the pregnant women give birth in the fields? (I found reports of women giving birth and while the midwife cared for infant, they went back into fields on the same day.)

 

How hot would the temperature rise during the summer months? How many died from heat stroke? Did they ever nap?" -- thenapministry.wordpress.com.)

She began to consider that rest can be a form of reparation for those ancestors who had no rest. She began to nap in public, to set up beautiful scenes and sleep in them. An announcement for one of these events said, “Hersey invites the public into this living altar to rest as reconciliation via the radical notion of watching a black woman sleep and perform rituals of spiritual care.” She organized performance events in which people were invited to come together and take a nap. There were soothing light and music, soft places to lie down, eye shades, and quilts and pillows to curl up with.

 

Hersey’s analysis has grown larger still as she creates new events and invitations for what she now calls the “Nap Ministry.” She holds that naps are a holy place, a spiritual practice, and a form of resistance for those living on the margins, navigating racism, poverty, violence, and discrimination. Rest, she says, is a form of resistance against the unceasing demands of capitalism. Not just the descendants of slaves, but all of us who struggle with the demands of productivity and economic survival are entitled to “rest as reparations.” Not to mention that many of us have forbearers who were worked to the bone, often under terrible and unjust circumstances. Even if that is not our heritage, we are all in a kind of bondage to the demands of ceaseless productivity. She speaks of tech workers--who seem among the more privileged of American laborers--and the Silicon Valley “campuses” which enable people to virtually never leave their workplaces.

Activists in particular, says Hersey, are burdened with the message that the work is endless, the crisis apocalyptic, their own response always inadequate to what is demanded. “Rest,” she writes, “is a form of resistance because it disrupts and pushes back against capitalism and white supremacy.” We all deserve and need rest as reparation, not only for the past but for the present-tense debilitation of unceasing labor and effort.

 

Not only is rest an entitlement, says Hersey, but it is also a necessity for the work itself. Rest is dreamtime, when imagination runs free and ideas are born and poetry formulated. Lack of rest impoverishes the very enterprises that ceaseless work is supposed to ceaselessly expand.

I was so moved by this interview! I couldn’t stop talking about it with everyone around me, because so many people around me are so tired. As I talked about the Nap Ministry I couldn’t help thinking about Shabbat, that sacred performance piece in which we are required to cease enterprise for one seventh of our lifetimes (this in addition to holy days and regular nightly sleep-time) and perform the devotion of rest. Built into the very fabric of Jewish existence--one of the Ten Commandments!--is the performance of a weekly day of rest. The traditional script is very specific: no tearing, no sewing, no hammering, no binding two things together, no kindling fire and so on. No making anything. No accomplishing anything. No checking anything off of any list. Some people who perform the full activity of Shabbat rest pre-tear their toilet paper and put their tea water on a warmer so that they can fulfill the traditional demands of the rest performance.

I think of myself as keeping Shabbat. I host Shabbat dinner with candles and kiddush. I lead services. I don’t schedule other appointments or errands on Shabbat. But I don’t know that I really rest very much. The Nap Bishop’s message--coming to me at the weariest time of my year--reminds me that rest is a commitment, a deliberate act. One can perform rest as one performs a ritual or performs a mitzvah. And we are to perform mitzvot with intention and with beauty. I offer to you, and to myself, the ministry of the Nap Bishop to remind us that rest is a mitzvah par excellence. What, I ask myself, would it be like to devotedly, beautifully perform the mitzvah of Shabbat rest. I can hardly wait to try it!

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”), a teaching about (drash) of the weekly Torah portion. The services are led each week by Rabbi Holub, except when she is out of town. The Parshot for September is below:

  • 11/02/19 - Noach - Margaret Holub

  • 11/09/19 - Lech-Lecha - Fran Schwarz

  • 11/16/19 - Vayera - Margaret Holub

  • 11/23/19 - Chayei Sara - Raven Deerwater

  • 11/30/19 - Toldot - Margaret Holub

Kabbalat Shabbat

On November 22nd, we’ll gather at the home of Laura Goldman and Dennak Murphy in Mendocino at 6:00 PM. Call them at (510) 604-2220 to RSVP and get directions.

The celebrations usually take place on the fourth Friday of the month, but because of the Thanksgiving holiday, we’re meeting earlier. The short service will be followed by a vegetarian potluck.

In December we’ll be at the home of Harriet Bye and Larry Sawyer in Albion. We are looking for hosts starting in April, 2020. If you would like a gathering in your home, please contact Mina Cohen at 937-1319 or mcohen@mcn.org. Mina is taking sign-ups for 2020. If you would like to host a gathering, please contact her at 937-1319 or mcohen@mcn.org.

Intro To Judaism

Margaret’s six-session class on basic ideas and practices of Judaism begins on November 7th at 5:30 PM. The sessions will take place on the first and third Thursdays of November, December, and January, 5:30-7:30 PM at the shul. She will introduce you to the Big Books (Torah, Talmud, midrash, kabbalah), prayer and ritual, holidays, some of the great spiritual teachings and revolutionary ideas, and a few of the personalities that have grown on the Jewish tree over the millennia. This class welcomes people who are curious about Judaism, who want to refresh their memory about basics, people thinking of stepping more deeply into Jewish life in some way, and people who just like to come together and look at interesting Jewish things with their friends and community.

 

To be a part of this class, please contact Rabbi Holub at mholub@mcn.org or 937-5673. If you already let her know that you are planning to attend, please reconfirm, as some messages got lost.

Learn to Be a Mensch from the Inside Out

A new Mussar group will begin in January 2020!  Mussar is the time-honored practice of refining our individual character traits. This practice of focusing our hearts and minds on a well-defined set of Jewish spiritual ethics propels us to strengthen and balance key inner traits such as patience, trust, and lovingkindness. This class is for individuals who are ready to learn how to live like a mensch by deepening their listening skills and following the path that a Mussar practice guides us on.  

 

We will be working in partner study, both in and outside of class.  Group conversation and sharing will be the mainstay of our bi-monthly classes. The methods Mussar provides include guided and contemplative meditations, journaling exercises, and chants.  The class will be thought-provoking!

We will meet on Tuesday evenings from 5:30-7:00 PM at the shul, twice a month, beginning on January 21st. The eight-week class will end April 28th. We expect students to commit to the whole class. Participants will need to obtain of copy of Everyday Holiness by Alan Morinis. There will be a course fee of $36 for MCJC contributing members and $54 for non-members.  No one will be excluded for lack of funds.

 

To sign up, or with questions, please contact Sandra Wortzel at artsplay@mac.com or 520-591-7176.

Sandra is a relatively new member of our community who is a Rabbinic Pastor, Spiritual Director, and Expressive Arts Therapist. She has practiced Mussar for over 12 years and is excited to offer this transformational practice to an ever-expanding group of seekers.  

Elder's Conversation

The Elders’ Conversation generally meets every second and fourth Tuesday of the month. Our winter hours are 2:30-4:30 PM at the shul, but in November this will be slightly adjusted: we’ll meet on November 12th (the second Tuesday of November) and then again on November 19th (the third week). There will be no meeting on November 26th. Topics are selected at the end of the prior meeting, and the conversation is lively and deep. People of all ages are most welcome to attend.

MCJC Justice Group

The MCJC Justice Group continues to focus on issues relating to immigration and climate change.  On the immigration front—in addition to the big Citizenship Scholarship fundraiser on November 11th—the group is consulting with leaders in Sonoma County to explore creating a Rapid Response Network, similar to groups in other California counties.  Such a network coordinates with local officials and volunteers to provide support in the case of a local immigration raid, including “be prepared” trainings, monitoring the raid itself, providing pro bono legal counsel to people who are detained and help to their families.  The group is also exploring possibilities for a training and volunteering trip to the border with Arizona Jews for Justice.

 

On the climate front, members of the Coast Climate Crew (a subgroup of the Justice Group) are meeting soon with Sonoma Clean Power to explore possibilities for making clean energy more widely available on the coast.  They are also distilling complex information about installing solar panels on individual homes and energies.  The CCC continues to work on getting accurate information about recycling out to the community (look for the green one-page flyers with up-to-date info) and promoting green and plastic-free events.  A small but lovely project has been proposed to encourage local faith communities (including our own!) to use beeswax candles rather than burning paraffin, which is a petroleum product.  More on this soon.

 

The Justice Group meets every second Thursday of the month, 5:30-7:30 PM at the shul (come a little earlier to share some potluck nosh).  

Fundraising Dinner For Citizen Scholarships

The MCJC Justice Group is hosting a Citizenship Scholarship Enchilada Dinner on Monday, November 11th, 5:00-7:00 PM at the Caspar Community Center. The great Queenie will be chef-ing, and there will be all sorts of fun and friendship to support the Citizenship Scholarship Fund. This fund enables students who have completed the Citizenship Class at the Coastal Adult School to complete the process of becoming citizens with community support and friendship. More than 25 local folks have already become US citizens with this help, and more are in the process.

The contribution is $20, tickets will be sold at the door, and no-host beer and wine will be available. If you’d like to volunteer for this great event, please contact Jeannette Rasker at jrasker1@gmail.com or 937-2011. Helpers are needed for prep from noon on that day and also for serving at the event itself.

Stand Up For The Census

April 1, 2020 is Count Day for the US census. Since the census takes place only every ten years, getting everyone counted is very important. It is the basis for determining the number of slots each state has in the US House of Representatives and Electoral College, as well as the amount of federal funds it is eligible for. There are more than 250 programs that distribute federal funds based on the census count: school aid, health care, roads, highways, housing, fire departments, water districts, veterans and senior services, economic and business development, among others. Many state programs also use the US Census data to set funding levels. At stake is about $2,000 per person per year, for a total of $20,000 for each person over ten years!

Mendocino County was designated a “hard-to-count” area after the 2010 Census. For the upcoming count, outreach efforts are being spearheaded by the Community Foundation of Mendocino County and the League of Women Voters, partnering with Mendocino County offices to encourage participation. Hard-to-count households include those without internet access or land lines, low literacy people, children under 5, veterans, people experiencing homelessness, people with physical or mental disabilities, racial and ethnic minorities, those distrustful of government or “cyberspace,” and those living in rural areas.

 

It will be especially challenging to reach hard-to-count household this year because people are being encouraged to complete the questionnaire online at home or at a designated place in their community.

Everyone will receive a post card at their physical address with information on how to go online and fill it out. Forms will not be mailed. Procedures are being developed to help those without addresses gain access to the census, by telephone response to an 800 number or through visits from census takers.

 

Engage your friends in discussion about the impact of the census count on our communities and services. Please complete the form yourselves. If you have questions, contact Paula Cohen, head of the Complete County Committee for the Mendocino Coast, at pcohen@mcn.org 

Please Support MCJC Now

During the past year or two, our Jewish community has lost nearly 20 long-time members, many of whom have left the area for better healthcare or for employment opportunities. We miss our cherished friends. We realize that our community is aging and, looking ahead, we know that many people who have been actively involved in MCJC and generous in their support will also leave the area.

 

We are extremely fortunate that, during this same period, MCJC has been enriched with the arrival of many newcomers to our beautiful coast. Together we will grow and thrive.

This is the time of year when our little shul finds it especially challenging to make ends meet. If you have not yet made your annual contribution, have not fulfilled your pledge, or can afford to increase your donation, it would be great to do it now. Your contribution will help us end the year on a sound financial footing. The board of directors encourages everyone--new members and long-time supporters as well--to help sustain our Jewish community. Checks may be sent to MCJC, PO Box 291, Little River, CA 95456. If you would like more information, please contact Donna Montag, Treasurer, 877-3243 or montag@mcn.org.

Book Group

There will be no meeting in November. We will gather next on December 9th at 2:00 PM to discuss 

The Glass Room by Simon Mawer. Please call Fran Schwartz at 937-1352 for information on location. Gallery Bookstore offers 10% off purchases to MCJC book club members.

MCJC Board Meetings

The MCJC board meets monthly at 5:30 PM at the shul. The November meeting will be on the 5th. If you would like to attend the meeting, please leave a message on the phone at the shul: 964-6146.

Thanks For Mailing The Newsletter

We greatly appreciate Jane Corey’s timely effort to prepare the October 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. Please contact Sarah at 962-0565 or sarah.nathe@gmail.com.

Megillah Subscriptions

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 sarah.nathe@gmail.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

Sandy Kaufman; Theresa Glasner Morales; Lynne Spillinger; Linda Jupiter;

Bob Evans; Lew Mermelstein; Esther Faber; Henrietta Steiniger; Rosalie & Art Holub; Joy & Marty Lancaster; Sharon Shapiro; Robert Kafin; Susan Hofberg; Les Reicheck; Laura Goldman & Dennak Murphy; David Goldfarb; Margaret Kane & Rick Frey; Bob Schlosser & Dawn Hofberg; Sandy Glickfeld; Jane Corey; Tammy Baireuther; Dr Jennifer Kreger & Dr Wade Grey; Lee & Sally Welty; Ira Beyer; Lillian Cartwright; Marinela Miclea; Tracy Salkowitz & Rick Edwards; Diana Corbin; Andrea Luna; Julia Bloom; Meryl Rafferty; Ruth & Mitchell Cohen; Suzanne & Lawrence Heiny; Cheryl & Douglas Koeber.

Phoebe Graubard in memory of William Graubard and Judith Rothenberg Feuer.

Helen Sizemore in memory of Tal Sizemore; Holly Tannen in memory of Monique Frankston.

 

To the Adele Saxe Tzedekah fund: Theresa Glasner Morales; Mark & Deena Zarlin; Lillian Cartwright;

Art & Rosalie Holub in memory of Monique Frankston; Art & Rosalie Holub in memory of Sara Kreger. 

 

To the Judith Meisel Education Fund: Mark & Deena Zarlin.

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 montag@mcn.org

Editorial Policy

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

 

Karen Bowers Studio: Painting workshops and studio gallery. Website: karenbowersstudio.com  

Email: highpt@mcn.org  Tel: 707 937-3163.

 

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: raven@taxpractitioner.com 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: rteplow@mcn.org

 

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: silverandstone@comcast.net

 

Web: www.silverandstone.net  

 

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: tonk@mcn.org

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 montag@mcn.org)

MCJC Board and Contacts

(* identifies the MCJC Board members. All phone numbers are in the 707 Area Code)

15071 Caspar Road, Caspar, CA   (707) 964-6146
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 291, Little River, CA 95456
Email: sarah.nathe@gmail.com

© 2019 MCJC updated  11/03/2019 (rge)