Like so many of us, this morning I started my day looking at pictures of murdered children and their teachers in Uvalde, Texas. And then I read calls and pleas by everyone from President Biden to Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr to various rabbis, all saying in various anguished ways, “We must not let this go on…”
Then I went out to do my day. First I stopped at the Albion grocery, where I bumped into someone I know a little bit, wearing her Albion-Little River Volunteer Fire Department uniform. She’s an EMT. We chatted for a few minutes. She was off to staff the weekly food pantry next door at the firehouse. She mentioned that she was thinking about doing chaplaincy training at the hospital. “What else is a retired person supposed to do?” she said, laughing.
Then I went next door to the post office, where I ran into someone else, who invited me to dinner. While she and I were talking, another acquaintance came up and offered some produce from her garden. While the three of us were chatting, a young girl walked shyly up to me and silently gave me a little modeling clay flower—purple and lime green, my kind of colors. Her grandmother was smiling in the background. She said, “My granddaughter asked me who she should give this to, and I said [pointing to me] you’d be perfect.” Then the grandmother, who works at the pharmacy, said, “Don’t forget, I can deliver things whenever you want. Just give me a call.”
I’m sharing in all this detail because I committed myself to memorizing those 15 minutes or so that I spent picking up mail and buying a quart of milk. Even so, I didn’t catch it all. The person who offered me the produce also offered me something that she said only took an hour to make. But I couldn’t quite understand her through her mask, and I was busy getting that cool little flower at the same time. And the person who invited me to dinner offered to invite other friends too in case I might feel more comfortable, since I don’t really know her all that well.
It was all so beautiful and uplifting and nourishing … and funny and homely and slightly awkward in places. Just perfect.
I have long thought that there are two kinds of work worth doing. One is the hard work of trying to fix what is wrong in the world: advocating, organizing, strategizing, campaigning, demonstrating, documenting, suing, dialoguing, fighting, marching, writing postcards, traveling to war-afflicted places and witnessing, sitting in giant redwood trees, raising funds—all that work of struggle. I admire the people who do this work very much, both the famous and the not-famous, the people of global reach and the ones who struggle right here over the most local of injustices and lacks.
The other kind of work that I admire very much is maintaining what is working: delivering mail, teaching school, cleaning teeth, fixing cars, mowing lawns, selling groceries, grooming dogs, serving food, filling potholes, giving vaccines, caring for children. It’s also the work of saying hello, inviting people over, sharing useful information, checking in on neighbors, telling jokes, volunteering, hosting parties, noting birthdays, giving rides, sharing garden bounty, listening kindly, cleaning up after events. The world needs every bit of this.
So many of the statements that I read in response to the terrible school shooting in Texas yesterday, and the one at the grocery store in Buffalo last week, and all the others before then said, “We must…” followed by whichever prescription that speaker advocates: We must get guns out of the wrong hands, provide mental health care, make schools more secure. I agree with much of what is said (not about arming teachers…), but my agreement doesn’t matter much, because I have relatively little agency to accomplish what I think is necessary, especially if tomorrow’s news will be about asylum seekers turned away at the U.S./Mexico border or the war in Ukraine or the end of legal abortion or rising seas or other crises that my imagination can’t even conjure. I can definitely donate money. I can write government officials. I can show up at marches and write letters to the editor (well, I could do that if we had a functional local newspaper). Like most all of us who read the mighty MCJC Megillah, I participate in various efforts to fix our hurting world. And, maybe like some others as well, I spend a ridiculous amount of time berating myself for not doing more, smarter, braver, more effective world-fixing.
But today as I was looking at the pictures of the students and teachers from Uvalde, Texas, I found myself thinking that a very useful thing that any of us might do to resist a culture of violence and death is to live—specifically to live lives of beauty, friendship and warmth. In that department all of us have a tremendous amount of agency, and the most beautiful and inspiring teachers around us all the time.
I want more of the world to be like the parking lot in front of the Albion grocery as it was at 2:00 PM on May 25th: thick with kindness and friendliness and generosity, and with mail in the boxes and milk in the cooler.
We all know that sometimes it can be tough to get along with our neighbors. There are people we enjoy more than others. The wonderful little local organizations that we all cherish have to be managed, often by boards of volunteers with inadequate cash and support and sometimes hard feelings and big egos and long, boring meetings. For all the great people who step up to help, it’s hard sometimes not to resent the other ones who don’t. Running a beautiful local business can be a terrible grind for a thousand different reasons.
It’s not that world-fixing is hard and world-maintaining is easy. But I think that world-maintaining is sometimes undervalued, especially by those of us who see so much that needs fixing in our wounded world. There are plenty of holes that need repair in our local community as well as further afield. There is plenty to worry about and struggle to mend. On this day, like so many days when my heart is bleeding over all the meanness in our poor, hurting world, I want not to overlook the web of decency and kindness and beauty that gets spun day after day in this same world. Today in particular I would like to suggest that this generous way of living, in all its homespun particulars, is itself a kind of resistance against the forces of destruction.
Shavuot - Torah Is Like Mother's Mill
Shavuot, the feast of weeks, is celebrated seven weeks after the second Passover seder. Although Shavuot began as an ancient grain harvest festival, the holiday has been identified since biblical times with the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. This year, Shavuot begins on Saturday night, June 4th, and we will celebrate as we have for many years with a late night of study, noshing, song and prayer, and infusions of Turkish coffee.
We will begin at 8:00 PM with a short evening service that will include Yizkor. Then we will proceed to learn from various members of our beloved community. At midnight we will pause, open the ark, and take time for the prayers of our hearts to rise on this auspicious night. Our (loose) theme for this year is offerings, reflecting both on the offering of the first fruits of the barley crop and the offering of Torah at Mount Sinai. These two different kinds of offerings—agricultural and spiritual—are at the heart of Shavuot.
The plan this year is to gather in person at the shul. With COVID cases increasing locally, we may have to move to Zoom, so check your email announcements to make sure. You are welcome to come for any part of the evening. You are also most welcome to stretch out on the shul floor and nap while the learning goes on around you. It is always a wonderful part of Shavuot when the door opens late at night and new friends arrive. We will send out a more complete schedule of teachings close to Shavuot.
The Cheesescake - Shavuot Connnection
The MCJC Young Adults Group will be hosting a cheesecake bake-off party on Thursday evening, June 2nd in the shul kitchen. All are invited. The staple ingredients will be provided, and please bring your creative additions. We will bake them and let them chill for the Saturday night Shavuot Torah study session mentioned above, but you can take some home if we make many. Vegan options available! Why cheesecake on Shavuot? Maybe it’s because it’s sweet, resembling the milk and honey of the Promised Land. Contact Steve Aviv Kleinman at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
The Elders meet every second and fourth Tuesday of the month, 3:00-4:30 PM on Zoom. We will meet on June 10th and 24th. The conversation is always provocative and enjoyable. There is always a topic chosen at the previous meeting. The topic is announced in the weekly email announcement. People of all ages are most welcome. Use the MCJC Zoom address on the page above. If you need more information, please contact Linda Jupiter (email@example.com) or Joy Lancaster (firstname.lastname@example.org) and they will be happy to fill you in.
Join Zoom Meeting:
We are using the Zoom address below for all MCJC events. You may or may not be asked to type in a password, which is shalom. Disregard the numeric passcode at the bottom of the invitation unless you’re dialing in on a phone number.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 707 183 6183
Dial by your location
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
Meeting ID: 707 183 6183
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kd4ljIwm4
The Zoom link information can be found on the MCJC online calendar:
If you have questions or problems, contact Susan Tubbesing at email@example.com and she may be able to help you.
Good To The Last Drop
Join your friends for a virtual cup of coffee (or a lesser beverage) every Wednesday at 10:30 AM. Check in with community members and chat about anything and everything from the weather to the human condition, or from cats to your progeny, to Talmud to cats. and grands. Religion, sex, politics, gender, food and even sports are not beyond the pale, but cat convo is encouraged. Leslie Krongold is the host and welcomes your questions and comments any time at firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the Zoom address:
Cat and dog appearances are welcomed, but not absolutely required.
Shabbat Morning Services
A Shabbat Shacharit service in held on Shabbat morning with much singing, chanting and silence, Torah teaching and reading, blessings for healing and peace, and an opportunity for mourners to say the Mourner's Kaddish. In late March, we began hybrid services most Saturdays, so come to the shul or Zoom in from 10:30 AM until about 12:30 PM. Rabbi Holub usually leads the service, in her absence members of the community lead the service. Rabbi Holub or a member of the community will offer a Dvar Torah. Please check the calendar for the latest information.httpswww.mcjc.org/calendar.
Members of the community are invited to give a Torah teaching (drash) during a Shabbat service. If you have an interest in performing this mitzvah, or would like more information about what’s involved, please contact Raven Deerwater at email@example.com or 937-1099.
In-Person Kabbalat Shabbat Is Coming Back
Good lord willing, case load don’t rise, starting in July we will resume gathering in person to welcome in Shabbat. On Friday, July 29th, at 6:00 PM we will gather at the home of Susan Tubbesing and Sarah Nathe. Details will follow in the July/August Megillah, but mark your calendars.
Hosting Kabbalat Shabbat means opening your home to the community for a short service and potluck vegetarian dinner. It’s one of MCJC’s favorite social/spiritual events and we’re so happy to be getting back together.
We are still looking for hosts for October and November of 2022 and are open to any time in 2023 you would like to host. Our usual gathering date is the third Friday of the month, though that occasionally is changed because scheduling complications. If you are interested, please contact Mina at (707) 937-1319 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Looking forward to seeing you in July!
MCJC Justice Group
The Justices meet on the second Thursday of each month, in June on Thursday, the 9th from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. If you would like to be on the Justice Group mailing list or attend meetings, please contact Nancy Harris at email@example.com or Judy Stavely at firstname.lastname@example.org. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Save Jackson Demonstration State Forest
At the April meeting of the Justices we heard a report on the ongoing campaign regarding Jackson Demonstration State Forest. The Justice Group as a whole has not taken on a project relating to JDSF, but members are active in different aspects of this ongoing campaign. There have been some important successes: the Board of Forestry has rewritten the areas within JDSF to be preserved, now to include 45 key acres, including the Mama, Papa and Gemini Trees. However, to date planning has not included Native people, nor has the mandate been changed from logging for profit to stewarding the forest to ameliorate climate change.
The learning and relationship building with descendants of the original dwellers on land where our shul is sited continues. The Justices will travel together to the County Museum in Willits on Friday, June 3rd, for a special tour of local indigenous artifacts led by curator Vicki Patterson.
The Mendocino Art Center is featuring an exhibit which highlights original artwork by contemporary Native Pomo artists: Bonnie Lockhart (Northern Pomo, Kai Poma), Meyo Marrufo (Eastern Pomo), and Eric Wilder (Southwest Pomo), whose “Berry Circle” appears on the right. The artists write, “This is about our continued resilience. It’s about how we still maintain strong ties to our land, where we still come for ceremony, family events, gathering, and religious observances. We are still a part of the landscape and we don’t only show that through our art but through our name places, our traditional land management practices, and the sharing of ourselves. We are still here.”
There will be an Artist Gallery Reception on June 11th, 4:00 7:00 PM, which will include an artist talk, “Exploring Our Culture through Art.”
We will meet on Zoom at 2:00 PM Monday, June 20th to discuss When We Were Arabs: A Jewish Family’s Forgotten History, a memoir by Massoud Hayoun. There was a time when being an “Arab” didn’t mean you were necessarily Muslim. It was when Oscar Hayoun, a Jewish Arab, strode along the Nile in a fashionable suit, long before he and his father arrived at the port of Haifa to join the Zionist state, only to find themselves hosed down with DDT and then left unemployed on the margins of society. Arabness used to be a mark of cosmopolitanism, of intellectualism. Today, in the age of Likud and ISIS, Oscar’s grandson, the Jewish Arab journalist Massoud Hayoun whom Oscar raised in Los Angeles, tells his family’s story.
To reclaim a worldly, nuanced Arab identity is, for Hayoun, part of the larger project to recall a time before ethnic identity was mangled for political ends. It is also a journey deep into a lost age of sophisticated innocence in the Arab world, an age that is now nearly gone. When We Were Arabs showcases Hayoun’s gorgeous prose, bringing the worlds of his grandparents alive and vividly shattering our contemporary understanding of what makes an Arab, what makes a Jew, and how we draw the lines over which we do battle.
Please contact Fran at email@example.com for Zoom invitations.
Support Your Local Synagogue
Thank you very much to all who have already responded to the annual appeal letter. We appreciate your support at every level. MCJC is here for you, with Shabbat services, classes, the Justice and Elders groups, and lovely holiday celebrations. If you prefer to make your contribution at a future time during this calendar year or have questions, please contact Donna Montag, Treasurer, at 707 877-3243 / firstname.lastname@example.org. Your prompt response will save us the time and effort of contacting you individually in the coming weeks. Sincerely, Donna Montag, Ali Sabin, Susan Tubbesing, the MCJC Finance Committee.
MCJC Board Meeting
The MCJC board meets monthly at 5:00 PM in the shul. The June meeting will take place on Tuesday, the 14th. If you wish to attend part of the meetings, please contact board member Susan Tubbesing at (707) 962-0565, or email@example.com, and she will respond.
Newsletter Thank You
We are very grateful to Steve and Kath Disney Nilson, and their avian helpers, for preparing the May Megillah for mailing. If you volunteer for a future folding, stamping, and mailing project, you can do it in about two very fun and productive hours. It imparts such a sense of accomplishment and is a mitzvah to boot! Please contact Sarah Nathe 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.
Everyone who lives on the Mendocino Coast, and desires to be one, is a member of MCJC. The MCJC Board of Directors has a goal of having every household become CONTRIBUTING members in 2022. 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 make a donation 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
Todah Rabah (Great Thanks) To The Following Donors
Linda Jupiter, Rosalie & Art Holub, Laura Goldman & Dennak Murphy; Cecile Cutler; Kenny & Sandra Wortzel; Marinela Miclea; Kath Disney Nilson; Lew Mermelstein; Jerome Berk; Ronnie James; Tracy Salkowitz & Rick Edwards; Donna Feiner; Bonnie Lawlor.
n memory of Mildred Rakofsky on her yahrtzeit by Karen Rakofsky
In memory of Frances Lehan by Jonathan & Annette Lehan;
In honor of Rabbi Margaret by Danny Mandelbaum & Benna Kolinsky;
In memory of Mickey Chalfin by Sherman and Claire Ervin Lee, Barbara & Michael Newmark
In honor of Mickey by dobby sommer
In loving memory of dear Mickey by Leslie Gates
In honor of Rabbi Margaret and in memory of Mickey Chalfin by Larry & Gayle Heiss
In memory of dear Mickey and sweet Pulga by Theresa Glasner Morales
In memory of Rabbi Margaret’s beloved husband, Mickey Chalfin, by Sandra & David Eliaser
In loving memory of Mickey Chalfin by Kenny & Sandra Wortzel
In loving memory of Mickey. May his memory be a blessing by Karen & Norm Rosen
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: email@example.com 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.
Rainsong Shoes: Shoes & accessories for men & women. Two locations: Mendocino and Healdsburg. , 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
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, except when they are not.)