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Rabbi's Notes

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I’ve been in New York this past week, taking my customary post-High Holy Day break.  I imagine that a lot of the people I sit next to on the subway would be very happy to get away to a week in Mendocino.  But I’ve always loved the vibrancy and all-around excessiveness of Manhattan, and I’m here to soak it up.  Maybe I’ve been trying too hard this visit, but I’ve been aware of spending a little too much time trudging between one cool place and the next, or googling “What to do in New York today” over and over.  Or maybe, in my post-Mickey life, my capacity to jump headlong into fun and excitement is still a bit withered. 


Then, on my last day in the city, late in the afternoon, I walked about a million miles and ended up at one of the last places on my to-do list: the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Spaces, way out east on Avenue C. For some reason, it was closed during its open hours, and it was starting to rain. I crossed the avenue to look at a garden, walked in a gate, and there was the most beautiful community garden I’ve ever seen! The 9th Street Community Garden & Park features a koi pond, still-blooming dahlias, big trees, every kind of fanciful awning, seating place, and something that looked like a homegrown coffee bar right in the middle. Oh my! There was what looked like a little party going on under one awning. I sat a little distance from the gathering and just gazed around. Someone from the party got up, walked over to me, and handed me a cup of a warm drink that turned out to be hot cider. A smiley older woman, Puerto Rican, was joshing with an older guy, also with an island accent. They came and sat next to me and started to schmooze. They told me the history of the garden, showed me the spots they had designed and cared for. Pretty soon we were laughing in the rain, and I was completely happy.

After that, I went up the Hudson River Valley (with the fabulous Amy Katz, who used to live on the coast and is now perched here). I’ve hit peak fall color, and it’s glorious. Walking around in one of the little towns I picked up a book by the nature writer Barry Lopez, whom I’ve always admired without having read much of him. Lopez died in late 2020, and the book I’m holding is called Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World. I feel like I need to read it.


In the bookstore, I start at the end. In the last paragraphs of the book, Lopez, ill with the cancer that will soon take his life, describes bucking up a tree that had fallen on his woodshed and crushed it. He works with a friend, wearing many different braces and other protective gear to keep from getting hurt:


“We’ll waste little energy and do things in the order that will make the best use of our time so we don’t weary too fast. We’ll enjoy each other’s company and lean against our trucks, drinking from thermoses, and we’ll watch fair-weather cumulus clouds scudding overhead, above the crowns of the Douglas firs and hemlocks and cedars, and feel the curious revitalization of physical exertion, the pleasure our mutual dependability, and the gift of life, still, in the waning body.”

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As I write this, I am aware that you may be reading it shortly before or after the midterm elections. I’ll be happy to be happily surprised, but I’m trying to prepare myself for outcomes I don’t look forward to. As I do, I keep hearing Mickey’s voice, standing out in our yard, ill with the cancer that will soon take his life, saying (just about every day), “This place is Paradise!” I find myself thinking about that garden in the Lower East Side, across the street from the locked-up museum, and about Barry Lopez and his friend taking pleasure in making firewood from the tree that busted up his shed. And I say to myself, “The portals are everywhere.”


I’m writing this in the week of Parshat Noach in Torah. God just got done creating the world, with its Garden of Eden and all its beautiful creatures. But within a very few generations, God, as it were, looks, as it were, into that gorgeous world, now fouled with corruption, and decides to destroy the whole contraption and start all over (well, almost: if that was really God’s intention, why, then, preserve Noah and the animals?) I think of God’s despondency, looking at all the foulness, willing to flood it all nearly to oblivion. Not that any of us can be compared to the God of Torah, but I imagine that many of us can identify a bit with that God-like feeling of despair and indignation: “How could those people take something so beautiful and ruin it?”

At the end of Noah’s story, God pledges never again to destroy the world with a flood. It seems worth preserving, even with all its potential for distressing outcomes. I wonder why, and as I do, my mind wanders to a Midrash: God is scribing the Torah in black fire on white fire, and Moses asks him, “What’s with those curlicues you’re putting on the top of the letters?” God answers, “Someday after many generations, there will arise a man, Akiba ben Joseph, who will derive heaps of law from every little dash, and it is for his sake that I prepare these little crowns.”

The most powerful piece of Whyte’s essay to me was the suggestion, made by Vanessa de Oliveira Andreotti, an Indigenous Brazilian educator and land rights activist, that we need to “hospice” the earth, which:


“would entail sitting with a system in decline, learning from its history, offering

palliative care, attending to the integrity of the process, dealing with tantrums,

incontinence, anger and hopelessness, ‘cleaning up,’ and clearing the space for

something new. This is unlikely to be a glamorous process.”


Unglamorous, yes, and also, to my ears, so much more realistic. It’s painful to think that we might be called on to “hospice” our world. But I think that might mean to gently care for ruined landscapes, nurture animals and plants away from the brink of extinction, practice slower and more thoughtful consumption of resources. Not totally unlike shmitah values.


I don’t know exactly where this line of thought leads, and I am certainly no expert from reading one essay. I think there is a need for identifying some events and situations as crises, but I am also persuaded that much can run amok when we feel under the gun, literally or figuratively. For a start, I think it might be worthwhile to just notice crisis thinking when it comes up and to wonder a bit about what it calls forth, in our own guts and souls, in our actions, in the policies we advocate and the voices we lift up.

As we return to the world of plowing and sowing, I’m sort of glad that it starts slowly, with a winter in there before the real action can begin. As we enter this new season and this new year and this new cycle, I wish us all some slowness, some time to deliberate and not to panic. And I wish us all a sense of kinship with all that we sustain and all that sustains us.


Welcome To Our New Rabbinic Intern

MCJC’s Board of Directors and Rabbi are very happy to welcome our new Rabbinic Intern, Paige Lincenberg. Paige will work with our community for the next nine months. She will reach out to families with children and to younger adults to offer programs that support their needs and interests, as well as augmenting the work of our Chevra Kadisha and Bikkur Cholim, participating in services and holidays, and more.


Many in our community have already experienced Paige’s warmth and thoughtfulness on Zoom or in person. She is a sixth-year rabbinical student in the Aleph Alliance for Jewish Renewal. She lives on the Coast and, along with her studies, has been leading Torah study and services with our friends at Kol HaEmek in Redwood Valley. She just returned from helping to lead a multi-generational, four-day Sukkot festival with Wilderness Torah. She has also created and offered an earth-based Jewish study experience for children through Wilderness Torah.

Paige is passionate about rooting Jewish experience in the earth, also about building enduring relationships and community across generations. She looks forward to learning from our MCJC community even while she offers her insights and energy to us.


Donna Montag, one of the founders of MCJC and board member for 45 years, is stepping down from her many roles at the end of October. In abundant gratitude and appreciation for all she has done for so long, the MCJC Board wishes Donna a restful and enjoyable retirement. Below is her farewell message.


The time has come for me to become a community participant and not a community organizer. I have been honored to be a board member since the beginning of MCJC. As the Treasurer for many of these years it has been my privilege to communicate with so many of you, and I appreciate the frank communications that we have had. I have always believed that our community is like a spider web, and each person is a strand. It would be a different community if any one of you had not participated.


I believe that the principles that our community began with—the confidentiality of each person’s contribution, as well as the membership concept that each person is a member who lives here if they want to be—have helped our community to flourish. When Rabbi Margaret came here, I remember one of her first lessons was about lashon hora, not speaking ill of others. Our board has always honored this. I know our good will towards each other will continue. With blessings and gratitude, Donna Montag.

Elder's Conversation

The Elders usually meet every second and fourth Tuesday of the month, 3:00-4:30 PM on Zoom. However, in November, due to the holiday and Joy being away, they will meet on the 15th and 29th. The conversation is always provocative and enjoyable. There is usually 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 ( or Joy Lancaster ( and they will be happy to fill you in.


We are using the Zoom address below for 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.

Zoom Addr

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 707 183 6183

Passcode: shalom


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

Passcode: 776001

Find your local number:


The Zoom link information can be found on the MCJC online calendar:

If you have questions or problems, contact Susan Tubbesing at and she may be able to help you.

Let's Have Another Cup

Tune in on Zoom for a virtual cup of your favorite beverage every Wednesday at 10:30 AM. Check in with community members and chat about anything and everything from the garden to the state of the nation, or from zucchini recipes to what the kids are up to these days. We also talk about health and wealth. 

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Leslie Krongold is your host and welcomes newcomers, your questions and comments any time at Use the Zoom address:

Cat and dog appearances are welcomed, but not absolutely required.

If Not Now, When?

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Every year at this time we remind you that now is the time to send in a contribution to support our Rabbi, our programs, and our shul. If you have already contributed, we thank you enormously, and ask you to consider digging a little deeper with an end-of-the-year donation. If you haven’t yet given, please do so soon. This is your Jewish community and we need your support.


This past year, we had several new expenses that make ending the year on a sound financial footing especially challenging. Early in the year, we purchased a hybrid zoom system that helped those near and far stay connected to MCJC for weekly services and special programs. This new system also enabled many of you to participate in High Holy Day services from the safety of your own home. We have also secured the services of a technician who makes the hybrid system available each Shabbat and for many holidays.

This past year, we had several new expenses that make ending the year on a sound financial footing especially challenging.  Early in the year, we purchased a hybrid zoom system that helped those near and far stay connected to MCJC for weekly services and special programs.  This new system also enabled many of you to participate in High Holy Day services from the safety of your own home.  We have also secured the services of a technician who makes the hybrid system available each Shabbat and for many holidays.

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Advice To The Folklorn
bu Holly Tannen

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimms’ Kinder und Hausmärchen (Children's and Household Tales) published in 1812, inspired scholars throughout Europe to collect old tales and songs from common people. The term “folklore” was coined in 1846 by English antiquarian William Thoms, to replace the unwieldy term “popular antiquities.” “The folk” were considered to be the rural, illiterate peasants, and their lore was thought to express the essence of their nation.


Most Jews, however, lived in towns, were not farmers, and have always prized literacy. For centuries, Jews lived in an insular society where literacy was fairly high. At a time when most of the world was still illiterate, Jews read and studied large amounts of their religious-literary heritage. Children read Hebrew, adult males, and even some women, studied when their work was done. There seem always to have been a handful of women in traditional Jewish communities who became educated: women from learned families where there were no sons, and daughters from learned families who benefitted peripherally from the education of their brothers.

Zamlers, Jewish folklore collectors, sought informants in shtetls and in Warsaw and Vilna. They realized that city folk—indeed, any group of people—also had traditions and stories in common. Jews have at least 3000 years of oral tradition, going back to Biblical times. Jews in Eastern Europe had to know Biblical Hebrew, Yiddish, and the languages of the countries they lived in. They translated proverbs, stories and songs from one language to another. Readers learned tales and songs from columns in Yiddish newspapers.

For over 2000 years, Jews have been forced to leave their homelands. They took with them their religious traditions, stories, and songs, sometimes merging them with those of the countries where they settled. A klezmer band at a bat mitzvah today might play a Polish love song, Romanian hora, a Terkisher tune, “Bei Mir bist du Sheyn,” and Beatles songs.


“As the Jewish world became less traditional and more secular, with more…of the youth leaving the Yeshivas,” says Itzik Gottesman of YIVO (the Institute for Jewish Research), “The study and collection of folklore provided a way to maintain connection with one’s religious parents and grandparents.” But many immigrants, like my grandparents, dismissed Jewish old-world traditions as superstition. When their children and grandchildren became interested in old traditions, they were forced to find them in the stories of Sholem Asch or Isaac Bashevis Singer.


What traditions and stories did your parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents share with you, or reject? Which ones did you keep? Which ones did you resist? Which traditions have you revived as you’ve grown older? I’d like to hear from you! Contact me at

Shabbat Morning Services

A Shabbat Shacharit service in held on Saturday 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, followed by Kiddush. Services are hybrid, so come to the shul or Zoom in from 10:30 AM until about 12:30 PM. Rabbi Holub or 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.

Kabbalat Shabbat

Kabbalat Shabbat

Justice Group

The Justices meet on the fourth Thursday of each month, but in November they will meet on Thursday, the 17th from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. If you would like to be on the Justice Group mailing list or attend meetings, please contact. Everyone is welcome to attend. For information, contact Donna Medley at

Book Group

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We’ll meet on Monday, November 14th at 2:00 PM on Zoom to discuss The Promise, by Damon Galgut. The novel blends characters and history to reveal the devastating impacts of white privilege and institutional racism. On her deathbed, Rachel Swart makes a promise to Salome, the family’s Black maid, which will divide the family, especially her children: Anton, the golden boy; Astrid, whose beauty is her power; and the youngest, Amor, whose life is shaped by feelings of guilt. Reunited by four funerals over 30 years, the dwindling Swart family remains haunted by the unmet promise, just as their country is haunted by its own failures. The Promise is an epic South African drama that unfurls against the march of history, reflecting the atmosphere of its country, one of resentment, renewal, and hope.

Please contact Fran Schwartz at for a Zoom invitation.

MCJC Board Meeting

The MCJC board meets monthly at 5:45 PM in the shul. The November meeting will take place on Monday, the 21st at 5:45 PM on Zoom. If you wish to attend part of the meeting, please contact board member Susan Tubbesing at (707) 962-0565, or, and she will give you the address.

Newsletter Thank You

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We are very grateful to Laura McIver and Brian McGinnis for helping us prepare the October Megillah for mailing. A weekend in the country turned into a golden opportunity to perform a mitzvah, and they seized it. You could grab the gold ring too if you volunteer for a future folding, stamping, and mailing project. It takes a couple of hours and imparts such a sense of accomplishment Please contact Sarah Nathe 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 can be use with adptive technolgies for those who may have be vision impaired 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.

Contributing Memberships

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

Todah Rabah (Great Thanks) To The Following Donors


Joel Ginsberg; Sasha Graham & Colin Drake; Myra Beals; Dale Canyon; John Allison & Rebecca Picard; Tracy Salkowitz & Rick Edwards; Cecile Cutler; Laura Goldman & Dennak Murphy; Elaine & David Tavelli; Clare Bercot Zwerling; Yarrow Rubin & Miles Clark; Kath Disney Nilson; Bob Evans; Lew Mermelstein; Eliza Lev; Margo Miller; Maya Brodkey; Margaret Kane & Rick Free; Leslie Gates; Joan Selchau; Linda Jupiter; Theresa Glasner Morales.

Bob Schlosser & Dawn Hofberg in honor of Ayla Schlosser & Brett Cooper’s wedding; Nancy Nelson: “New Year’s blessings to all here and in the world out there;” Mark & Deena Zarlin: “In honor of Rabbi Margaret and all who helped with Elul and the High Holidays.”

To the Adele Saxe Tzedekah Fund: Benna Kolinsky & Danny Mandelbaum; Theresa Glasner Morales. To the Ella Russell Bikkur Cholim Fund: Benna Kolinsky & Danny Mandelbaum; Theresa Glasner Morales.

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

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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.


​​Rainsong Shoes:  Shoes & accessories for men & women. Two locations: Mendocino and Healdsburg. , 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:


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, except when they are not.)

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