Mordechai recorded these events and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, the near and the distant ones, charging them to observe annually the fourteenth day of the month of Adar, and its fifteenth day, as days on which the Jews gained relief from their enemies, and the month which had been turned about for them from one of sorrow to gladness, and from mourning to festival; to observe them as days of feasting and gladness, of sending delicacies to one another and gifts to the poor. The Jews undertook to continue that which they had begun, just as Mordechai had prescribed (Esther 9:20-23).
Once in ancient days, a month of sorrow was turned—most unexpectedly and against all odds—into a month of relief from devastation, and we are adjured to keep a month of feasting and gladness every year to recall and retell this.
The tradition of shalach manos goes right alongside the tradition of gifts to the poor. The sense of these gifts on Purim—in contrast to other days of the year—is that gifts are given a little bit lightly, even recklessly, with some abandon. You don’t keep count or think about who will give back or who needs what most. I once heard a story about someone who, on Purim, would walk around town with dollar bills sticking half-out of her pockets, so someone could just walk up and take a couple without even being seen, much less admonished. I think that the idea may be partly for the giver to feel, or at least act like we feel, like things are good for once instead of rotten, like we don’t have to zip our wallet so tightly into our pockets, like fortune has turned (remember that the word "purim" itself means “lots,” like the lottery, like we hit the jackpot for once instead of the triple skulls), like we have enough to rain some goodies down on people around us whether they Truly Deserve it or not.
Here in our own little community, Ellen Saxe (aka Tante Ellen) does a brilliant kind of shalach manos at the annual Purim party with her “Hadassah Gift Shop”/peddler’s wagon, full of fabulous Jewish kitsch and other goodies that she shares with proper Purim abandon. On another front, many a year I’ve found a package at the PO, addressed to me from another genius of shalach manos, filled with a curated collection of homemade treats, wicked cartoons and always a little bag of homemade hamantaschen.
In my perfect world, come Purim, or a day or two before, I would be riding my bike up to your doorstep with plates of treats and jokes just for you. Even though that may not happen THIS year, I have been, as always, thinking about shalach manos I’d love to give. In addition to those for all of you, here are a couple more plates I’d love to deliver:
To the folks doing traffic control on the highway, especially the really pissy-looking ones;
To every barista in town;
To the guy who writes the golf column in the Beacon every week (I know him and he’s great, but that’s immaterial. What’s relevant here is that he writes a GOLF column.)
To my friend D, whom I love for many reasons, but especially because she has a bumper sticker on her car that says, “Make Awkward Sexual Advances Not War”
To the cute guy who bags my groceries at __________;
To that other woman with a lime green car that I always wave to on the road;
To S for dealing with all the stuff I write every month; she actually DESERVES all the hamantaschen she can lift.
Anyhow you get the idea. For a day or a couple of days or a month each year, we act like something went our way and we’re happy about it! I know, I know: it was millennia ago and it probably didn’t even happen. But still, it could! We bop around town and share some laughs and some sweets and some largesse, just because we can.
We can! And we will! Happy Purim!
This passage is, among much else (including the fridge magnet that used to be at the shul which said, “Be happy! It’s Adar!”), the source for the custom of mishloach manot—literally “sending portions”—better known to some of the Yiddish-rooted among us as shalach manos. Sometime around Purim it is the custom to fill plates with a couple of goodies and deliver them to your friends and neighbors. In some Jewish communities, you’d be likely to bump into your friends on the sidewalk with shalach manos in their arms on their way to your house. Nowadays, some Jewish communities have made the delivery of shalach manos into a big communal event (and, I hear, a big fundraiser): community members order plates for their friends in advance, like one might order flowers; then throngs of volunteers prepare the plates and deliver them.
A Very Serious Purim
Once again, the Hadassah Gift Shop (where all gifts ARE gifts) will be open. Tante Ellen manages to have something for everyone, but donations of Judaica (kitschy or sincere) are always appreciated. Anything you might find in a synagogue gift store is welcome. Call Ellen ahead (877-3475) and she’ll arrange a pick-up, or just bring it when you drag yourself in to hear the long yet uplifting story of Esther.
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 the weekly Torah portion (drash). The services are led each week by Rabbi Holub, except when she is out of town. The Parshat for January is below:
In March, Kabbalat Shabbat will be on Friday the 27th at the home of Sandra and Kenny Wortzel also in Albion. Contact them at (520) 591-7176 or to RSVP and get directions.
The joyful get-togethers take place on the fourth Friday of each month at 6:00 PM. The short service is followed by a vegetarian potluck dinner.
We are still looking for a couple hosts for later in the year. Please contact Mina at email@example.com or 937-1319 if you can help.
Intro to Judaism Class
Margaret had to cancel the final meeting of the Intro to Judaism class because of illness. It will meet instead on Thursday, March 5th, 5:30-7:30 PM at the shul. Our final class will be about women, queer people, other revolutionaries, and front-line issues of our Jewish generation. We will end on a high note by looking at some of the bright lights of the present and near-future in Jewish life.
Dine Out For MCJC At The Mac Callum House
Wednesday March 11th, 2020
All profits from the evening will benefit the MCJC
The MacCallum House is at 45020 Albion Street in the heart of Mendocino.
The bar opens at 5:00 PM and dinner is served from 5:30–8:30 pm
To make reservations, please call (707) 937-0289;
The Elders’ Conversation meets every second and fourth Tuesday of the month, 2:30-4:30 PM at the shul. March dates will be the 10th and 24th. Topics to be announced. It’s always interesting! People of all ages are most welcome.
MCJC Justice Group
“ The Justices” meet on the second Thursday of each month, 5:30-7:30 PM at the shul (a little earlier for sharing noshes and schmoozing). This month, we’ll meet Thursday, March 12th. If you’d like to be on the Justice Group mailing list, please contact Margaret at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-5673. Everyone is welcome to attend a meeting.
Thanks to the women of the Mendocino Study Club for their generous gift to the Citizen Scholarship Project.
The group continues its concern about the proposed fee hikes by USCIS for all immigration fees, from green cards to asylum seekers to citizenship applications, including all fee waivers. The fee to apply for citizenship is currently $725. The proposed fee is $1,175. We now have enough funds to provide scholarships to 26 students. When the new rules go into effect (date still not known) we will only be able to sponsor 16 students. The new proposal is the latest in a series of rule changes by the government to restrict legal immigration, particularly for low-income immigrants.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Public Charge Rule will take effect on February 24th, 2020, after the Supreme Court lifted a nationwide injunction blocking the rule. The changes broaden the definition of who can be considered a public charge to include immigrants authorized to be in the USA who use one or more government programs listed in the proposed rule. 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 permanent immigration status, such as a green card or future citizenship.
The Climate Crew continues to work on implementing zero waste programs locally. It has also turned its attention to disaster preparedness and is working with local communities to help design protocols and practical guidelines.
Update on 25 Million Stitches
25 Million Stitches, one hand-sewn stitch for each of the world’s 25 million refugees, is intended to raise awareness about the plight of refugees across the globe that have been forced to flee their homes due to genocide, war, famine, natural disasters, targeted violence, political persecution and other dangerous circumstances. In Kaunos, Lithuania, organizers named Rasma and Aisti recruited many local groups of stitchers and put together an astonishing 65-panel installation. Rasma and Aisti’s publicity effort was so successful that the 25 Million Stitches was featured in Lithuanian national TV as well.
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. Encourage your friends and please complete the form yourselves. Anyone interested in volunteering to help with the census should contact Paula Cohen, head of the Complete County Committee for the Mendocino Coast, at email@example.com.
Israeli Film Festival Film Festival
The Sonoma County Jewish Community Center will present the 5th Annual Israeli Film Festival on March 3-31st at the Rialto Cinemas in Sebastopol. The festival seeks to nurture an appreciation of Jewish and Israeli cinema by showing the best of the films that are rarely if ever featured on our local silver screens. The 2020 films focus on issues as diverse as gender identity, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, love, aging, and the pull between secular and orthodox.
Try It; You'll Like It
And speaking of hamantaschen, that is one of The 100 Most Jewish Foods in Alana Newhouse’s newish book, which is of course subtitled A Highly Debatable List. It’s not about the most popular Jewish foods, or the tastiest, or even the most enduring. It’s a list of the most significant foods culturally and historically to the Jewish people, explored with essays, recipes, stories, and context, lotsa context.
Newhouse is the Editor in Chief of Tablet Magazine (https://www.tabletmag.com/) and contributors include Ruth Reichl, Éric Ripert, Joan Nathan, Michael Solomonov, Dan Barber, Gail Simmons, Yotam Ottolenghi, Tom Colicchio, Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, Maira Kalman, Action Bronson, Daphne Merkin, Shalom Auslander, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, and Phil Rosenthal, among many others.
O n March 3rd, Flawless will have its Bay Area premiere. Eden is 17 and has a deeply held secret. She is virtually friendless in her new school and discovers that her only two friends have been lured into an arrangement that will have them sell their organs in exchange for cosmetic surgery and new prom dresses. She has her own reasons to find this attractive for herself, so she joins them on an international adventure.
On March 17th the festival will show Tel Aviv on Fire, winner of Best Film at the Venice Film Festival, which walks the fine comedic line of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Other Story on March 24th tells the story of two young women, one who leaves her secular life to join a Hassidic community, and one who was raised in that community and can’t wait to get out. Their paths cross and things get interesting. The final film is the romantic comedy Love in Suspenders, in which an absent-minded widow meets a gruff widower and their love must conquer concerned offspring and nosy neighbors.
Screenings are twice a day, at 1:00 PM and 7:00 PM at Rialto Cinemas, partners of the JCC for the past 20 years. There’s a full restaurant and bar so come for dinner before the show! For the full schedule, and much more detail on each film, visit http://www.jccsoco.org/2020iff
Some of the dishes are no longer cooked at home, and some are not even dishes in the traditional sense (store-bought cereal and Stella D’oro cookies). The entire list is up for discussion, which is what makes this book so useful at dinner time, and before.
Many of the foods are delicious, such as babka and shakshuka; others make us wonder how they’ve survived as long as they have, for example, unhatched chicken eggs and jellied calves’ feet. As expected, many Jewish (and now universal) favorites like matzo balls, pickles, cheesecake, blintzes, and chopped liver make the list. The recipes are global and represent all contingencies of the Jewish experience.
The group is not meeting in March, but in April it is gathering to discuss The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish. The National Jewish Book Award winner runs for 592 pages, so it takes a while to read. 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 March meeting will be on the 25th. 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 are grateful to Holly Tannen for preparing the February Megillah for mailing. We assume she sang while she worked, and you can too! 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. 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
Susan Tubbesing & Sarah Nathe; Lew Mermelstein; Marinela Miclea; Cecile Cutler; Maynard Kaminsky; Laura Goldman & Dennak Murphy; Kathleen Nilson; Tracy Salkowitz & Rick Edwards; Ronnie James; Rosalie & Art Holub; Bob Evans; A. Kantor; Alicia & Pete Kafin; Elias Steinbuck; Linda Shear & Windflower Townley; Shelley Martin; Mark Kalman & Marcia Steinfeld; Henrietta Bensussan; Lillian Cartwright; Allan Abramson.
To the Adele Saxe Tzedekah Fund: Ruth Rosenblum & SA Ephraim
In Honor of Mina Cohen for her Bat Mitzvah assistance: Tracy Salkowitz.
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
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.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.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: 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:
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: email@example.com
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 www.poshmark.com/closet/softandtumbled
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
(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 email@example.com)
MCJC Board and Contacts
(* identifies the MCJC Board members. All phone numbers are in the 707 Area Code)