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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. 

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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.

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High Holy Days

Our Yom Kippur service will be at the Caspar Community Center, and also on Zoom.

 

Kever Avot ritual, Sunday, October 2, 3:30 PM, Jewish cemetery in Mendocino.

Bob Evans will lead us in visiting the graves of loved ones and community members, sharing memories and honoring their presence in our hearts. We will also acknowledge the memories of loved ones who are not buried in this cemetery. There may be other gatherings during the Days of Awe as well.

Yom Kippur:

Kol Nidre service — Tuesday, October 4, 7:30 - 9:30 PM at the Caspar Community Center and on Zoom.

Morning service — Wednesday, October 5, 10:30 to approximately 2:30 PM at the CCC and on Zoom.

izkor memorial service* — 4:30 - 5:30 at the CCC and on Zoom.

Mincha and Neilah — 5:30 PM to sundown at the CCC and on Zoom.

Details about the Rosh Hashana potluck lunch, break-fast meals after Yom Kippur, and other important matters can be found on the MCJC online calendar and Facebook page.

 

*If you have names to add to MCJC’s existing yizkor list, please contact Donna Montag at montag@mcn.org.

Make Tzedaka A Priority

Consider making a contribution to the Adele Saxe Tzedakah Fund and the Ella Russell Bikkur Cholim Fund, both of which are low on funds at this time of year. The latter’s funds are available to members of the community to help them work through short-term emergencies. All funds are made available on a confidential basis at the rabbi's discretion.

Contributions — We are suggesting a contribution of $150 for each adult who is not a contributing member of MCJC. As always, our services are open to anyone and we ask you to contribute what you can. Please mail a check to MCJC, P.O. Box 291, Little River, CA 95456, or make a donation through PayPal on our website (http://www.mcjc.org).

Sukkot Festivities

Sukkot begins at sundown on Sunday, October 9th and concludes with the special festival of Hoshannah Rabbah on Sunday, October 16th. There will be a beautiful sukkah up in the yard at the shul throughout the festival, and you are most welcome to come “dwell” in it anytime. Stop by with your coffee, sit in there and read a book, or have a visit there with a friend.

 

On the 14th, we will gather in Margaret Holub’s sukkah in Albion to observe the Sabbath and celebrate Sukkot. Details below. If you would like to have guests come to your sukkah anytime during the week, please let Margaret know and she will share your invitation. This could be for a meal or to exchange poems or jokes or canning tips. Or invite people to call and visit at mutually convenient times.

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Sukkot Harvest Party

Join us for earth-based ceremonies and a conversation about Indigenous perspectives. We will sing and dance with the Klezmishpoche, everyone’s favorite klezmer band, and sample delicious vegetarian dishes. Sunday, October 16th, 2022, 3:00-6:00 PM in the sukkah at the shul.

 

All are welcome. Bring a veggie dish to share if you like. Hosted by the Mendocino Coast Jewish Community Justice Group. RSVP, if possible, to refinnej@mcn.org

Simchat Torah

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We will celebrate Simchat Torah on Monday night, October 17th, 6:00 PM at the shul. We will share a simple and festive dinner, then read the end of the Torah and roll her back to the beginning and say farewell to the Holy Day season. This will be a night to be close to the Torah—to look at her, hear her, lift her, feel her energy.

 

Since this year we will be beating the willows and praying for rain and dancing to the festive music of Klezmishpoche on Sunday at the Sukkot Harvest party, Simchat Torah may perhaps be a more inward gathering. But a bit of dancing might just transpire.

Elder's Conversation

The Elders meet every second and fourth Tuesday of the month, 3:00-4:30 PM on Zoom. We will meet on October 11th and 25th. The conversation is always provocative and 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 (jupiter@mcn.org) or Joy Lancaster (ajoylancaster@gmail.com) and they will be happy to fill you in.

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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.

 
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Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7071836183?pwd=NzFaTkpjOXVYMDNnNnprOXlnZjVhQT09

 

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: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kd4ljIwm4

 

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

https://www.mcjc.org/calendar

If you have questions or problems, contact Susan Tubbesing at susan.tubbesing@gmail.com and she may be able to help you.

The Earlybirdcat

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Join your friends for a virtual cup of coffee (or an inferior 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 and current events, or from cats to your progeny, to Talmud, community news, health and cats. Religion, sex, politics, gender, food and even sports are not beyond the pale. 

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Leslie Krongold is your host and welcomes newcomers, your questions and comments any time at elkrong@yahoo.com. Use the Zoom address:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7071836183?pwd=NzFaTkpjOXVYMDNnNnprOXlnZjVhQT09

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

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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

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Save The Date

The Ledford House dinner and auction is back after a two-year hiatus on Wednesday, November 15th, at 6:00 PM. One of MCJC’s primary fundraising events, the festive evening is full of good wine, fine food, great conversations with your fellow congregants, and terrific auction items for you to take home. Ink it in!

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Book Group

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We will meet on Zoom at 2:00 PM on Monday, October 17th to discuss The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem, a novel by Sarit Yishai-Levi. Gabriela's mother Luna is the most beautiful woman in all of Jerusalem, though her famed beauty and charm seem to be reserved for everyone but her daughter. But when tragedy strikes, Gabriela senses there's more to her mother than painted nails and lips. To understand their relationship, Gabriela pieces together the stories of her family's previous generations―from Great-Grandmother Mercada, the renowned healer, to Grandma Rosa who cleaned houses for the English, to Luna. As she uncovers secrets, forbidden romances, and the family curse that links the women together, Gabriela faces a past and present more complex than she ever imagined.

For Zoom invitation and/or directions to the meeting, please contact Fran at franbschwartz@gmail.com Copies are available at Gallery Bookshop.

MCJC Board Meeting

The MCJC board meets monthly at 5:45 PM in the shul. The October meeting will take place on Tuesday, October 11th at 5:45 PM. If you wish to attend part of the meeting, please contact board member Susan Tubbesing at (707) 962-0565, or susan.tubbesing@gmail.com, and she will give you directions.

Newsletter Thank You

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Thanks again to Kath Disney Nilson and Steve Nilson for preparing the September Megillah for mailing. If you found a bird feather in your newsletter, I hope you saved it for future use. Volunteer for a future folding, stamping, and mailing project, and you can do it in about two hours. Such a mitzvah! Please contact Sarah Nathe at 962-0565 or sarah.nathe@gmail.com

 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 https://www.mcjc.org/newsletter.

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.

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 montag@mcn.org

Todah Rabah (Great Thanks) To The Following Donors

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Jeanette Boyer; Tracey Salkowitz & Rick Edwards; Laura Goldman & Dennak Murphy; Roberta Belson; Linda Jupiter; Donna Feiner; Leslie Gates; Lew  Mermelstein; Benna Kolinsky & Danny Mandelbaum; John Allison & Rebecca Picard; Bob Evans; Jay Millen & Stacy Pollina Millen; Leslie Krongold; Scott & Tracy Green; Kath Disney Nilson; Cecile Cutler; Josh & Carolyn Latkin; Rosalie & Art Holub; Rachel Lahn; Michelle Lucato; Myra Beals; Ronnie James amd Susan Hofberg.

To the Adele Saxe Tzedekah Fund from Kenny & Sandra Wortzel.

 

Annette & Jonathan Lehan in memory of Jean Garrett; Fran Schwartz in memory of Mickey Chalfin;

Kathleen Schultz in memory of Jay Frankston; Niclole Laumb in honor of Jay Frankston; Dale Glasser in memory of Mickey; Paula Cohen, Jennifer Blackson & Joel Blackson: “Monique & Jay Frankston brought a lot to this community and our family. We honor them with this donation to MCJC in the spirit of Monique & Jay.”

Robert & Carol Kafin in honor of the university graduation of Ben Kafin & Toby Kafin; Danny Mandelbaum & Benna Kolinsky in honor of a sweet sweet new year for all and Andra Luna in memory of Susan Miller.

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. 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.

 

​​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: 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

 

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

(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, except when they are not.)

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Hebrew Word of the Month

Based on the first weekly Torah Portion of the year

The Hebrew word of the week is rosh (head, summit, chief), which is the shoresh (root) of the very first word of the Torah, Bereshit:

Genesis 1:1 Hebrew Reading Lesson:


 

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Related Words:

The word rosh is used in compound words such Rosh Hashanah (head of the year), Rosh Chodesh (head of the month), Rosh Pinah (head of the corner, cornerstone). The shoresh appears in words such as rishon (first), reshit (beginning), and bereshit (in the beginning).

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Scriptural Passages:

"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel". (Gen 3:15)

"The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint" (Isaiah 1:5b)