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Rabbi's Notes

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I am writing these notes the morning after the Fort Bragg City Council held a special meeting to consider changing the name of Fort Bragg. Fort Bragg was named after an undistinguished Mexican-American War-era general who later (after our little coastal settlement was given his name) fought for the Confederacy. Fort Bragg was named in 1857, 163 years ago, by Lieutenant Horatio G. Gibson, who established the fort for the purpose of containing and suppressing indigenous people who lived here. The name is bad; the injustice represented is much worse.

I’m supportive of changing the name, but the move to do so raises for me a larger paradox about the moment we are in. Michelle Alexander writes persuasively in The New Jim Crow that there is a continuous stream of government-imposed suppression of African Americans running from slavery through Reconstruction through Jim Crow to policies of redlining, segregated schools, and voter suppression to the “war on drugs” and to mass incarceration today. A couple of days after the 2016 election, Reverend William Barber, leader, most recently, of the Poor People’s Campaign, gave a powerful sermon making the point that anti-Black racism didn’t start when Donald Trump became president, but has a 400-year history. (For me, Professor Alexander and Reverend Barber are beacons worth listening to and learning from.)

I have done relatively little in my own 62 years of life to push back against the stream of injustice (these streams, actually, since the suppression of indigenous people is its own centuries’ long horror story).


This year on Memorial Day, George Floyd was brutally murdered by a white Minneapolis police officer while three other officers stood by. This touched off the uprising which is so compelling today. A couple of days later here, there was a strong and well-attended student-organized rally in front of Fort Bragg Town Hall, which I attended. I was proud and moved to see so many young people and people of color who had come out.

While I was standing there (hanging back a bit, trying to maintain social distance) someone handed me a sign: “Honk Honk to End Racism!” Even though people probably couldn’t see my sign, passers-by were honking wildly. I felt stupid and sad holding my sign: if only it were as easy as honking! Other signs had variants of the slogan “White Silence Equals Black Violence.” And I’ve been mulling that one too.


I’ve been deluged in recent days, and I imagine many of you have too, by webinars and reading lists and workshops on showing up for this moment. One powerful piece of writing that came my way is “The Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture,” by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun ( I received it from Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), an organization I admire. Jones and Okun write in their introduction:


The characteristics are damaging because they are used as norms and standards without being named or chosen by the group. They are damaging because they promote white supremacy thinking. They are damaging to both people of color and to white people.


The second characteristic they list (after “perfectionism”) is “sense of urgency.” I find myself thinking about urgency culture these days: the hurried search for a gesture, any gesture that will “do something.” I can’t tell you how many e-mails I’ve gotten in the past month that begin with “We must…!” The current uprising IS urgent. It is a moment of passionate outrage, and it has brought about real possibilities for changes that were unthinkable even a few months ago. The moment must be seized, no question. The fact that we are in a moment of strongly calling out 400 years of systemic racism makes this truly an urgent moment.


Paradoxically, however, it also seems like a moment to think, to be sober and serious and even humble, not to jump into the first action that comes our way, whether it is honking our horn or changing the name of our coastal town. It seems important to me to realize that racist injustice has been prevalent in this country for 400 years and is not going to be derailed by quick and clever actions.


Another characteristic in Jones’ and Okun’s white supremacy list is “paternalism.” One of their definitions of paternalism is: “Those with power think they are capable of making decisions for, and in the interests of those without power.” It think of that slogan: “White Silence = Black Violence.” I actually know so little about what would be truly in the interests of those without power that I wonder whether maybe some white silence would be a positive contribution at this time.

There have been torrents of racist injustice in this country since its inception. How does one stop a torrent? Carefully. Respectfully. Paying attention to people who’ve been dealing with it for a long time. I plan, for one small act, to reread and reflect on the powerful Platform of the Movement for Black Lives ( which, I think, represents a coalesced vision of Black Lives Matter movement leadership. It was first published in 2016 and has been updated for 2020. (The M4BL Platform was controversial in some parts of the Jewish world when it first appeared because it calls out the lopsided allocation of U.S. aid, including aid to Israel. I support this plank; you may not.)


I’m not sure how to distinguish between the genuine urgency of this moment of uprising and the reflexes that come from white supremacist thinking: “I must act decisively and quickly.” or even, “It’s all about me.” I’m not sure how to distinguish between the moral mandate to speak up and the white supremacist cultural reflex of paternalism, which thinks that my voice and my opinion are more crucial than others’.


I support renaming Fort Bragg. I support demonstrating here on the Coast. I support posting a sign in your yard. I support honking. I support white people facing our blind spots. But I also support reckoning that, while we may be new to flood control, others most certainly are not. At this urgent moment, the strongest mandate I can discern is to listen.

Plans For The High Holy Day Season

This year, in response to the exigencies of COVID 19, we are rethinking every aspect of the High Holy Day season, beginning with Tisha B’av (Thursday, July 30th) through the month of Elul, the High Holy Days themselves, and then Sukkot and Simchat Torah. There will be different kinds of gatherings (on Zoom and also, if safe, in smaller, outdoor, socially distanced, masked settings). Many thanks to all of you who responded to Margaret’s questionnaire about High Holy Day priorities. We look forward to being together in beautiful and meaningful ways. A full schedule of plans will be coming your way.

High Holy Days Torah Readers

In years past, we have asked for volunteers to read Torah during the High Holy Days. This year, it is questionable whether we will have a full Yom Tov Torah reading on either Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur, though various possibilities are being considered. If there is a need for readers, Mina Cohen will be in touch with readers and help them learn a Torah portion.

Onward We Zoom

We will continue to have MCJC gatherings on Zoom. In addition to Shabbat morning services at 10:30 AM, meetings and classes, and Chai on The Coast activities, we’ll continue with the Wednesday morning Cup of Coffee and the Friday evening candle-lighting and Kiddush. Zoom invitations to these gatherings will be sent by e-mail; they will also be posted on the MCJC web page. If you’re not getting the invitations, let Margaret know at or 937-5673.


Cup of Coffee—a time to connect and check in and talk about anything at all every Wednesday morning at 10:30 AM. There will be no cup on July 1st, but tune in every other Wednesday.


Candle-Lighting—a half-hour of schmooze followed by Shabbat candle-lighting and Kiddush. Schmooze begins at 6:30 PM, candles are lit at 7:00 PM.

The Adele Saxe Fund


From its founding, MCJC has had a tzedakah fund that enables us to offer financial support in times of need. It works like this: a request comes to Rabbi Holub, who writes a personal check and then is reimbursed by the Tzedakah Fund. It is totally confidential. Usually, tzedakah grants range from $100-$200. We wish we could pay rent or wages for people right now, but those are larger amounts than the fund can offer. As you are thinking about how you can help others in a difficult time, a gift to the Adele Saxe Tzedakah Fund would be a wonderful contribution.

Mitzvah Food

There is delicious homemade vegetarian food in the Mitzvah Freezer at the shul and canned food in a box nearby that may be helpful to you these days. And there are Clorox disinfectants and instructions for getting food in a safe way. Please be in touch with Margaret if food would be helpful for you. We also have several generous folks who have offered to bring deliveries of groceries or other needed things, and you’re welcome to contact Margaret about these as well.

Shabbat Morning Services

Shabbat morning services are held every Saturday morning of the year from 10:30 AM until about 12:30 PM. This month they will be held online via ZOOM.  The rabbi and members of the community will continue to give davar Torah (“word of Torah”), an interpretation (drash) of the weekly Torah portion . The services will be led each week by Rabbi Holub.

  • 07/04/20 - Chukat-Balak - Lew Mermelstein

  • 07/11/20 - Pinchas - Andrea Luna

  • 07/18/20 - Matot-Masei - Margaret Holub

  • 07/25/20 - Devarim - Raven Deerwater

  • 08/01/20 - Vaetchanan - Margaret Holub

  • 08/08/20 - Eikev - Raven Deerwater

  • 08/15/20 - Re’eh - Margaret Holub

  • 08/22/20 - Shoftim - Mirisa Livingstar

  • 08/29/20 - Ki Teitzei - Margaret Holub


Kabbalat Shabbat

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The monthly Kabbalat Shabbat service in someone’s home continues to be replaced with the aforementioned virtual schmooze and candle-lighting every Friday evening at 6:30 PM. Gather with members of your community, from near and far, for a little conversation, a short teaching from the rabbi, and then bentsh likht with everyone.

Elder's Conversation

The Elders continue to meet every second and fourth Tuesday at 3:00 PM. Because talking on Zoom is a little more tiring than a regular face-to-face conversation, even with brilliant and high-spirited folks, we will try ending by 4:30 PM. We’ll meet on July 14th and 28th; in August we will meet on the 11th and 25th. We pick topics for our next conversation at the end of the prior chat.


People of all ages are most welcome!


MCJC Justice Group

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“The Justices” meet on the second Thursday of each month, from 5:30-7:30 PM. In July, we will meet on the 9th, and in August we will meet on the 13th. All meetings will be online via the ZOOM platform. If you would like to be on the Justice Group mailing list, please contact Rabbi Holub at or 937-5673. She will send out an email invitation to join the meetings. Everyone is welcome to attend.


One of our basic principles is to work with other local groups that share our values of compassion, justice and respect, and to endeavor to make our community a place of welcome and safety for all. We are partnering with Safe Passage, a nonprofit organization with the core belief that strong families make the entire community stronger.

The pandemic has caused scores of local businesses to close and some adult family members have lost their jobs. Many already earned low wages earners, and now making ends meet from month to month has been a serious challenge. Some families are able to use social safety net programs to ease their financial strain somewhat. However, under the current administration’s new Public Charge Rules, legal immigrant families that apply for and accept any assistance are made ineligible to become U.S. Citizens. Too many people in our community are finding life scary and precarious.


Safe Passage has been inundated and overwhelmed by families that need help with the basic necessities of life like buying food and paying rent. Though Safe Passage is trying to meet the urgent needs of many more families in the community, it has simultaneously been unable to hold any of its regular fundraising events because of shelter in place orders. And some of the nonprofit’s steadfast donors are themselves out of work.


We are urging our MCJC community to make a contribution to help struggling families with food and rent during the COVID 19 pandemic crisis. You can do this in a number of ways:


  • Go to and contribute via Pay Pal or credit card;

  • Send a check to Safe Passage, PO Box 1718, Fort Bragg, CA 95437 and put “MCJC” in the memo;

  • Send a check to MCJC, PO Box 291, Little River, CA 95456 and put “Safe Passage” in the memo.


In whatever way you can, however much you can contribute, please, help support Safe Passage.


The Justice Group placed an ad in the Thursday, June 18th Advocate and Beacon:

BLACK LIVES MATTER – The Mendocino Coast Jewish Community Board of Directors and the Justice Group are in strong support and solidarity with all people of color.

Book Group

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We will meet on Zoom Monday, July 20th at 2:00 PM to discuss The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss. In August, 1920, 35 states had approved the Nineteenth Amendment, granting women the right to vote, and one last state, Tennessee, was needed for ratification. Suffragists faced vicious opposition from politicians, clergy, corporations, and racists who didn’t want black women voting. And the “Antis”—women who feared suffrage would somehow bring about the nation’s moral collapse. In the hot summer, they all converged for a confrontation. Focusing on a handful of remarkable women who led their respective forces into battle, The Woman’s Hour is the gripping story of how America’s women won the vote in the first campaign of the great twentieth-century battles for civil rights.

The following month we will meet Monday, August 17th at 2:00 PM to discuss Abbi Waxman’s The Garden of Small Beginnings. Lilian Girvan has been a single mother of two young girls for three years, ever since her husband died in a car accident. One mental breakdown and some random suicidal thoughts later, she's just starting to get the hang of this widow thing. She learns that being chosen to illustrate a series of boutique vegetable gardening guides means getting her hands dirty, literally. After recruiting her kids and supportive sister to join her, Lilian shows up at the Los Angeles Botanical Garden feeling out of her element. But what she'll soon discover—with the help of a patient instructor and a quirky group of gardeners—is that into every life a little sun must shine, whether you want it to or not.

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You can order a copy of the book from Gallery Bookshop and request a 10% discount as a book club member. Please contact Fran at for a Zoom invitation.

MCJC Board Meetings

The MCJC board meets monthly at 5:30 PM, these days on ZOOM. The July meeting will be on Thursday, the 16th. August is not yet scheduled. To attend part of the meeting, please contact board member Susan Tubbesing at 962-0565 or, and efforts will be made to patch you in.

Thanks For Mailing The Newsletter


We are grateful to Dobby Sommer for preparing the June Megillah for mailing. Volunteer for a future folding, stamping, and mailing project, and you can do it at home, or another spot of your choosing, in about two hours. If you want to do a mitzvah, please contact Sarah at 962-0565 or

 Online Megillah

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

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


Any information on changes in mailing address, changes in email address, and changes in email notifications should be sent to Sarah Nathe at 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


L inda Rosengarten; Kathleen Disney Nilson; Holly Tannen; Nancy Harris; Leslie Gates; Shoshana & Hollis Henderson; Laura Goldman & Dennak Murphy; Joan & Paul Katzeff; Pamela & Dave Duncan; Tracy Salkowitz & Rick Edwards; Lew Mermelstein; Theresa Glasner Morales; Linda Jupiter.

In memory of William Graubard by Jonathan & Annette Lehan.


In honor of the ordination of their nephew, Rabbi Daniel Freedman, by Irv & Rosalie Winesuff.


To the Ella Russell Bikkur Cholim Fund: In honor of Rabbi Margaret Holub by Ronnie Karish & Ellen Saxe

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 2020. 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

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.

Dear River’s Bend Retreat MCJW Guests:
We invite you to be like an “Economic Eco-System” with us: Invest in the resilience of River’s Bend in this time of extreme financial strain to support the whole!

● We’re sorry your retreat group can’t come this year! Please come visit the river and meadows as individuals, families or small groups of friends!

● Help River’s Bend to cover some of the costs we incurred to prepare for your retreat by making a donation!


What we need to cover: Each Winter we invest $100,000 + to prepare for our groups the coming summer. ​Administration of booking group retreats, insurance, permits, and maintenance include necessary facilities projects.


What is lost:​ $320,000 of booked group retreat and wedding income (so far). We hope to recoup $30,000 of that in individual reservations this summer and early fall, however, the administrative costs of unraveling and re-booking our entire 2020 season is huge.

​What is possible: ​We have worked with each of our groups to discuss how to handle deposits. MCJW requested all deposits for their challenging situation. If individuals in your group can support us with donations totaling $1500, that will cover the refund of your group deposit and part of the $100,000 that we incurred last winter to prepare for your retreat. Help us stay resilient, now, together, so we can be here in the future!

We give you our Huge Thanks by Joining us in the Following Ways!

Donations: Help us keep running!
​Make a secure donation right here on our website ​or send us a check to: ​River’s Bend Retreat Center/ PO Box 332/ Philo, CA 95466 Gift us $50 for 3 months or $150 and we will share a jar of homemade salsa with you!

Visit: (Book now or buy a gift certificate)
Short term stays: Lodges, Cabins, Tent Cabins, Camping
Enjoy a ​large lodge for your family,​ or rent two ​smaller cabins ​side by side for family friends to share a BBQ dinner outside in a safe, healthy environment .

Extended stays​:​ Lodges and Cabins
We are booking longer stays: 2 weeks-3 months.​ Invite friends from urban areas who want to enjoy being in Mendocino County while distance-working or occasional commuting!

Be well, share in community wellness, and think like an ecosystem!
The RB team: Laurie, Yesika, Greg, Lilia, Skip, Pilar, Mirella and Ana

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.


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

Email:  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.


Out of this World: Telescopes, binoculars, & science toys. 45100 Main Street, Box 1010, Mendocino. 937-3335. Serving all your interplanetary needs since 1988.


Phoebe Graubard: Attorney at Law. Wills, trusts, probate, conservatorships. 594 S. Franklin, Fort Bragg, 95437. 964-3525. 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).


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: Website:


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:


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:



Soft and Tumbled: Shamelessly second-hand apparel for conscious clothing enthusiasts. Get $5 off your first purchase when you use the password SOFTANDTUMBLED. Sign up at 


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.


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:

(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

MCJC Board and Contacts

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

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