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Rabbi's Notes


I hear there’s an election coming up. Actually, I hear about very little else these days (the election is two weeks away as I write). For a while many people I spoke to were bubbling with hope. Then I started bumping into people--sometimes the same people--who were despondent. For my own part I’ve been doing my best to avoid political prognostications, which are like some kind of evil, addictive drug for me, plunging me into misery or lifting me sky-high based on pretty much nothing. But I’m going to make a prediction of my own here: no matter what happens on November 6th, most of us will be partially satisfied and partially disappointed.

This gets me thinking about having hope in outcomes. Things almost never work out the way we think they will, much less how we want them to. In fact, the idea of things “working out,” as though there were a moment when a struggle is definitively concluded, seems illusory to me. Especially these days. We’re in a political time during which we’re seeing a lot of things we thought were settled being undone: arms control treaties, climate agreements, voting rights, women’s right to choose. I am not so sure that there are ever really outcomes. It seems more like we are pulling on one end of a rope. Sometimes the rope moves our direction and other times we’re outmatched by the strength of the opposite side.


The stakes in this tug-o’-war seem extremely high to me. Mostly these days I am feeling pretty overwhelmed by the intensity of the struggle. So I find myself thinking a lot about how to sustain my soul, and how we might sustain each other’s souls while so much is in motion and the stakes feel so dire.

I have some personal and idiosyncratic reflections to offer you as I try to figure out myself how to stay centered and spiritually alive in these challenging times. I am just beginning to have any clear sense for myself, so these words are tentative and inquiring rather than certain and strong.

…it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,…

* I am contemplating the fact that, even if, from my perspective, the very best thing happens at the polls (from my mouth to God’s ear!), immigration, racial and economic justice, women’s and LGBT rights, climate change, criminal justice (and and and) will all still need immense attention and work on November 7th and beyond. And if things do not go as I wish, all the more so. I probably shouldn’t hang my hat--or my hopes--on one day in this tumultuous time. There will be work to do regardless.


* So I must be thoughtful about my small place in the large landscape of all that needs to be done. And to keep doing that small piece of work with commitment and resilience regardless of every tug and jerk of the daily news flow. But how can I work in a sustained way on one tiny piece in a world of hurt and not be completely overwhelmed by all else that cries out at the same time?


* I’ve been mulling my tendency to hope that some “adult” will tell me what to do, that I can rely on some leader or organization or news source smarter and better-informed and more visionary than I to figure out how to respond to each crashing blow as it lands. There are really smart people and groups, thank heavens, but all of them are people, with their own shortcomings and biases. I can and do track their advice, but I am starting to say to myself, “There are no adults.” I have to make my own decisions as best I can about where and how to dig in to the myriad problems facing us.


* Along these lines, I find that I am more drawn to certain political approaches and less so to others. This personal feeling of congruity is both idiosyncratic and somehow trustworthy. Some people, some movements, some ways of being in the world just resonate for me, while others don’t so much. For example, I’m often moved by people who go right into places of suffering and injustice and try to offer something useful there, or at least witness what is happening. I’m less moved by people building movements or ideologies. That’s just my own political nature. It doesn’t mean that others will, or should, resonate as I do. But it means something to me, and has significance for my own decisions.


* It is a good time for me to reflect on my deepest values and not just my immediate reactions. Some issues and some ways of being in the world have mattered to me all of my life. What can I bring to these times from deep in my heart and life experience?


* I think that means matter as well as ends…perhaps means matter even more than ends, if ends even exist. So acting in ways that bring more friendship and creativity and understanding is worthwhile. Acting in ways that bring more bitterness and division probably less so. I say this even though I do believe that it is important for me, for any of us, to speak out clearly about where we stand. Maybe it is even possible to stand strong in ways that bring beauty and warmth to the world. That could be a goal.


* I cannot imagine surviving the past two years, much less facing the future, without our beloved community. I am unbelievably grateful to MCJC, and to the Justice Group in particular, for being the circle in which I can question and wonder and plan and act and evaluate over and over with friends, with the benefit of the doubt, with the energy and the wisdom of people I love and trust. I also treasure growing friendships with other local activists.

* I find myself wondering if there is something distinctive and powerful and beautiful that we might find in our Jewishness. No two people experience Judaism in the same way, nor do our experiences matter more than those of other peoples and cultures. However, with all these caveats, I wonder if there is something in the long, long experience of Jews in tumultuous times that might give us some particular resilience, some faith, some perspective as we endure our own times? Is there something in our textual tradition--in our ways of prayer and celebration and mourning, in our jokes and stories, in our heroes and rogues--that might bring inspiration and strength that is needed?

* I wonder too about the practices and devotions and paths of study and mitzvot that will sustain and strengthen our souls as we each set about to act in these times. Is there a prayer that especially needs praying? A song that needs singing? A silence that needs holding? Is there something we could offer in the Jewish community, or in our larger community, that would be strengthening and sustaining?


These questions and ruminations feel pressing to me as I contemplate the truth that injustice and cruelty were not invented in the last two years, and they won’t be fully relieved by any election or any movement or any action in the near future. As we move into the next days of the times we’re living in, I am looking forward to exploring these questions with others who are interested and, perhaps, finding new ways to sustain our own souls and each other’s even as we try to act for good in the world.

Return of the Global  Day of Jewish Learning

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All are invited to join in the Global Day of Jewish Learning, this year on Sunday, November 11th. MCJC will meet from 1:00-4:00 PM at the shul to join the Jewish world in a day of study, “torah lishma,” for the joy of study. This year’s theme is “Extraordinary Passages: Texts and Travels.” What are the journeys that matter most to us? From ancient adventures to the modern diaspora, spiritual to physical, we will examine the journeys of individuals and of the Jewish people.aragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.

Mina and Margaret will each lead a study session. We will also take advantage of broadcasts of noted teachers around the world who are offering sessions.


The Global Day of Jewish Learning was started in 2010 when the great scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz completed his masterful translation of, and commentary on the Babylonian Talmud. Rabbi Steinsaltz brought together people from all corners of the Jewish world and from all denominations and ways of practice to study. It was such a great success that it has become an annual day devoted to Jewish learning, and MCJC has participated almost every year. Each year the GDOJL posts a map online of gatherings: this year it looks like there will be two in Kazakhstan, one in India, several in Russia as well as many in the United States and Europe. And one in Caspar!


You don’t need to know Hebrew or history or anything else to enjoy and be inspired by a time of study. Just come on by.

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”), an interpretation (drash) of the weekly Torah portion. The services are led each week by Rabbi Holub, except when she is out of town. The drash schedule for November is below:

  • 11/03/18 - Chayei Sara - Andrea Luna

  • 11/10/18 - Toldot - Rabbi Holub

  • 10/20/18 - Vayetzei - Andrea Luna

  • 10/27/18 - Vayishlach - Raven Deerwater

Hanukkah Party


We will celebrate the last night of Hanukkah together on Sunday, December 9th at the Caspar Community Center. The party will begin at 4:30 PM with music and dancing led by our fabulous Klezmishpoche klezmer band. For the candle light ceremony and dinner, please arrive before 6:00 PM.


Watch your mailbox for raffle tickets and a list of the raffle prizes in early November. If you want more tickets, they will also be on sale at the community center before dinner. Prizes will be announced throughout the party.

We welcome and need additional volunteers to make the Hanukkah party a success.  Please contact Susan Levenson-Palmer at or at 882-1750 to find out how and when we could best use your assistance.

If you are interested in helping make latkes for the dinner, please contact Marnie Press at 513-5539. We will be cooking at the community center on Sunday, December 9th from 9:00 AM until about 2:00 PM, with lunch included.

Kabbalat Shabbat

Kabbalat Shabbat November 30th (a week later than usual) at the home of Claire Ellis and Chuck Greenberg in Little River. Please contact Claire at or 937-2418 to RSVP and get directions.  In December we will be at the home of Harriet Bye and Larry Sawyer in Albion, a week earlier than usual on December 21st.


If you would like to host a gathering in 2019, the calendar is still open. Please contact Mina at 937-1319 or

All gatherings begin at 6:00 PM usually on the fourth Friday of the month, and include a short service with a vegetarian potluck following.

Elder's Conversations

The Elders’ Conversation meets every second and fourth Tuesday of the month. November meetings will be November 13th and 27th. With the end of Daylight Savings Time, we’ll meet earlier, from 2:30-4:30 PM at the shul. For each conversation we pick a theme to talk about. On November 13th we’ll be reflecting on intelligence.


On November 27th the Elders will be holding a “play date.” The idea for this grew from a recent conversation about creativity. Details are still being figured out, but the general plan is for people to bring whatever they might like to play with--art supplies, games, textiles--and people will play with each other.


People of all ages are most welcome.

MCJC Justice Group

The current administration plans to roll back provisions of the 1997 Flores Agreement which protects children from detention in unsafe and jail-like conditions. Current protections require that immigrant children be:

  • Released from custody without delay to a family member whenever possible, or

  • Held in settings appropriate to children when they cannot be released.

If the administration succeeds in terminating the Flores Agreement, government officials will be able to keep children in brutal conditions and jail families and children indefinitely.

You can read more about the Flores Agreement at If you find yourself opposed to the rollback of the safeguards of the Flores Agreement, please submit your objections by going to and following the instructions. The process is simple and transparent. All you need to do is enter what you want to say.


Members of the Justice Group are submitting their own comments and urging all who care about this critical situation to become involved in the effort to keep the already minimal provisions of the Flores Agreement intact. All comments must be submitted by November 6th. Please act now if you care about the safety of immigrant children and their families.


The plan for the next meeting is to discuss and write comments about another draconian administration measure affecting the public charge rules. In brief, the administration wants to make it more difficult for immigrants who receive supports such as healthcare, nutrition, and housing assistance to be granted green cards or become US citizens. All comments about this proposed regulation of immigrants are due by December 15th. Although the public charge rules will be discussed more thoroughly in next month’s Megillah, you can get more information now at


The next meeting is Thursday, November 8th from 5:30-7:30 PM at the shul. Kendall Smith will talk to us about her recent experience volunteering with refugees in Serbia. And we will continue with our new and ongoing projects. All are welcome!

Book Group

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We will meet Monday, November 26th at 2:00 PM to discuss Edmund de Waal’s The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance. A world-famous ceramicist, de Waal has written a family memoir about Japanese art, the Rue de Monceau, and Vienna during the World War II. Having spent 30 years making beautiful pots—which are then sold, collected, and handed on—he has a particular sense of the secret lives of objects. When he inherited a collection of 264 tiny Japanese wood and ivory carvings—netsuke--he wanted to know who had touched and held them, and how the collection had managed to survive. In both a memoir and detective story, de Waal discovers the history of the netsuke and of his ancestors, the Ephrussi family, over five generations.


A nineteenth-century Russian Jewish banking and oil dynasty that moved from Odessa to Paris and Vienna, the Ephrussis were as rich and respected as the Rothschilds, yet by the end of World War II, when the netsuke were hidden from the Nazis in Vienna, this collection of small carvings was all that remained of their vast empire.


The book group generally meets at 2:00 PM on the third Monday of the month. Please call Fran Schwartz at 937-1352 for information. Gallery Bookstore offers 10% off your purchases if you belong to the book club.

Bagel Schmagel

(TJW October 23, 2018) — When Apple released its bagel emoji in early October, people weren’t exactly kvelling. “What midwestern bagel factory did this come out of?” asked Nikita Richardson of Grub Street. On social media, bagel aficionados of all stripes lamented the icon’s appearance. One such twitter from Downtown JoshBrown (@Reformed Broker) read:


I’m organizing a march in New York City against Apple’s just-revealed bagel emoji. It looks like something you get from a cardboard box in the freezer section at Walmart. This insult will not stand.


Apple responded. After its latest iOS software update, the emoji has a plumper, doughier look and a shmear of cream cheese. The revamped emoji got some love from at least one trusted source: Philadelphia Cream Cheese tweeted, “Hooray! Bagel lovers everywhere have united. #ItMustBeThePhilly.”

ios bagel.jpg

(Web Editor's Note: The Google and Twitter renders of this emoji U+1F96F originally included cream cheese, so a revision was unnecessary. Microsoft is still deficient in this regard. Facebook does not offer the bagel emoji.

MCJC Board Meetings

The MCJC board meets monthly at 5:30 PM at the shul. The November meeting will be on the 29th. If you would like to attend, please leave a message on the phone at the shul, 964-6146.

Thanks For Mailing The Newsletter

The MCJC board meets monthly at 5:30 PM at the shul. The November meeting will be on the 29th. If you would like to attend, please leave a message on the phone at the shul, 964-6146.

New Online Megillah

The MCJC Megillah is now available in a new format suitable for online viewing. The new 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

Sharon Shapiro; Fanshen Faber; Linda Jupiter; Nancy Harris; David Minkus; Theresa Morales; Diane Baireuther; Marinela Miclea; Susan Hofberg; Nicky & Clarke Fish; Phoebe Graubard; Laura Goldman & Dennak Murphy; Susan Tubbesing & Sarah Nathe; Lew Mermelstein; Janet Seaforth; Margo & Jerry Miller; Jeanette Nichols.

Ruth Rosenblum and S A Ephraim in honor of Rabbi Margaret Holub, Mina Cohen & Andrea Luna as well as the entire MCJC: “We are very much appreciative of all the love & support our family has received over the years & especially for Yoel's Bar Mitzvah." 

In honor of Yoel Ephraim and his Bar Mitzvah from Yarrow Rubin, Miles, Pele & Ezra Clark.

In honor of Mina Cohen who taught me to daven my aliyah by Julie Melendi;


In memory of Belle Rodkin by Elaine & David Tavelli.  


Emily & Steve Chandler in memory of Edie Plotinsky: ”We were friends of Ira & Edie Plotinsky for over 50 years. They loved this Mendocino Jewish Community that gave them so much fellowship, connection and joy.”  


To the Adele Saxe Tzedekah Fund in memory of Edie Plotinsky from Roger & Fran Schwartz; Holly Tannen; Theresa Morales.

Contributing Membership In MCJC

Everyone who lives on the Mendocino Coast, and desires to be a member of MCJC, is one. The MCJC Board has set a goal of having every household become CONTRIBUTING members in 2018. 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.

Please Support the Underwriters Below

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:

Sea Shore Sells:  New-to-you clothing for everyone, collected and curated by Mirisa Livingstar. She sells the seashore!  $5 off your first purchase when you sign up at and use code SEASHORESELLS

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:



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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