Cheshvan-Kislev 5779/November 2018

Nevada County Jewish Community Center
and Congregation B'nai Harim

Dedicated to the preservation, continuity, and enrichment of the spiritual, communal, ethical, and cultural teachings of Judaism
Monthly Newsletter
Reminder: Please join us for
A Service of Solidarity with Pittsburgh
Friday, November 2nd at 7:30 p.m.
Nevada County Jewish Community Center
506 Walsh Street, Grass Valley
Rabbi's Message
With the election coming up, we have the opportunity to consider how Judaism changed in America. While the Exodus from Egypt may have liberated our ancestors from slavery and bondage, it did not deliver them into democratic egalitarianism. Despite the call for us to be a kingdom of priests, signaling an equality across all social classes, in the end the Torah commands us to veer neither to the right nor the left from the instruction and demands that are in the Torah itself.

In the United States, however, the separation of religion and state meant that the government ought not to be used to enforce religious laws, as was the case in Europe. With no rabbis in the country until the 1840s, congregations were managed by members themselves, who made reforms to many different traditional practices. Secular organizations such as B’nai Brith also created centers of power in the Jewish community that pulled people away from synagogue and rabbinical authority.

Judaism changed due to three factors: the need to travel, earn a living, and mix with non-Jews. These factors led to alterations in dietary rules, clothing, and Shabbat practices and observance--including holding services on Sundays so Jewish storekeepers could work on Saturdays. Following the beginning of change in Germany in the early 1800s, American Judaism incorporated more English into services, added sermons, and insisted on quiet and decorum during services (as opposed to the schmoozing, marketplace feel of many traditional synagogues). Many prayers that were considered excessive or obscure were removed from prayerbooks, organs were used for musical accompaniment, and men and women sat together. Moreover, as critical thinking and science moved more and more to the forefront in the culture, many beliefs had to be adapted out of intellectual necessity.

Democracy did play a major role in Judaism in America by imbuing congregations and congregants with the spirit of self-determination, in partnership with clergy and the tradition. As Mordecai Kaplan, z”l, once wrote: "Tradition gets a vote, but not a veto." This radical development led to a multiplicity of Jewish practices as the community shifted into three main branches. Reform broke away first, but then went too far and led to the Conservative movement trying to find a middle ground between orthodox practice and historical/critical thought. Just as a strength of democracy is the freedom of speech given for different thoughts and beliefs, as Steven R. Weisman, author of The Chosen Wars: How Judaism Became an American Religion, has stated: “The most American thing about American Judaism is that it split apart into different factions, each one trying to find its own path to God.”

Reform Judaism has led the way toward keeping social justice at the forefront of Jewish identity. Rather than looking for a Messiah that would bring Jews back to Zion and restore the ancient Temple, Reform Judaism believes America is our Zion, our place to be a “light to the nations.” Thus, we have used the designation Temple for our places of worship to indicate we are not anticipating the rebuilding of a “third temple” in Jerusalem. Yet there is still the desire for redemption and the need for us to be the superheroes ourselves, to be a “messianic people” ready to work for a more just and peaceful world for everyone.

As we cast our votes and accept the outcome of democratic elections, let us remember our hopes, dreams and responsibilities as bearers of a Jewish vision of a world that honors all human beings, minimizes harm to all creatures and seeks to maximize blessings for everyone.


Rabbi David

President's Message
"Gratuitous or baseless hatred (sinat chinam) is such a grave offense that it is cited as the reason for the destruction of the Second Temple" - David S. Ariel in "What Do Jews Believe: The Spiritual Foundations of Judaism"

A day... a week... a time that we never expected. Images we never imagined we would see. Words we hoped we would never have to say....not today....not tomorrow....not ever!

Something has changed. Yes, there has been a noted increase in negative rhetoric. Many of us have experienced a greater feeling that something is not quite right--underlying, visceral feelings of discomfort.

As a people, with the facts before us, we have vivid reminders of lifetimes of hate directed at us. Nevertheless, we have survived and even thrived with a strand of “extra alertness” embedded into our DNA.

However, today feels different... something has changed.

As Jews, our resolve against the worst of our negative inclinations--already a strong, powerful ally--demands an upgrade. One that brings us closer together than ever. An upgrade to our belief in the good in humanity. An upgrade that forms familial bonds, unbreakable ones, giving us the strength to overcome. Bonds that are stronger than ever. We need a major infusion of belief.

With the trust that we will be victorious comes a determination and willingness to take action.

Over this past year, ideas regarding improved safety have been considered and initial planning was implemented to evaluate and seek recommendations for facility and property improvements to secure the safety of our children, our families, and our community.

Given the tragedy in Pittsburgh, we must act now. Your NCJCC board has been taking steps in a new direction and picking up and learning to use new tools that have proven records of successful implementation and offer greater safety and security. Under the leadership of Garrett Eckerling, an ad hoc safety committee met this past Monday and created a Plan of Action to identify and implement safety and security measures now and for the future.

Please rest assured that we understand the need to keep our community welcoming as well as safe, and we are committed to striking that delicate balance. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to call me or Garrett.

Please join us tonight, November 2nd, at 7:30pm for Solidarity Shabbat.

I hope to see you all there.

Ahava V'shalom,

Men's Club
The Men's Club meets the second Sunday of each month at 9:30am. We feature interesting speakers and presenters from the community. The activities include monthly meetings with stimulating speakers, and events such as a scotch and BBQ, wine and beer tastings, golf, and Poker games to prepare for the next Poker Tournament. We will be co-hosting the Fifth Friday Film Shabbats in November, March, May, and August.

The Men's Club is open to the entire congregation and community, men and women alike. Speakers and events are scheduled on Sundays as well as in the evenings and we'll share the upcoming opportunities in the weekly and monthly announcements, as well as the website.

We appreciate your interest and support of our activities and look forward to seeing you. Our annual dues are only $20. When we meet on Sunday mornings, we serve lox and bagels, coffee, and orange juice for only $5.00 (such a good deal your mother would be proud).

Contact Gordon Mann at for more information, to suggest an interesting speaker, or to schedule an event.
The Sisterhood holds its meetings on the first Thursday of every month at the NCJCC in Grass Valley.

Please come and join us. We have fun, food, drinks, and friendships. For questions or to join, contact membership chair Ruth Goodin at
Religious School News
The month of October at the Hebrew and Religious School has been very enjoyable. The students were given the opportunity to talk about spiritual concepts with the Rabbi. Some of us are working to create a whole set of new Jewish board games for all of us to play on our game day this coming winter. A very interesting request was voiced by the students to be presented with topics relating to some of the complicated issues the state of Israel is facing these days. We have a very interesting and dynamic group of students and we are all enjoying our time together.

In Hebrew class we are reading an Israeli children's storybook called Stories for the Whole Week by Shlomo Abas. In addition, we have been learning to write in Hebrew cursive. 

Wishing you all a pleasant month. Enjoy the beautiful colors of fall!

Kinneret Vinitzky                             
Book Club
To those women who love to read, the Book Club provides a stimulating and interesting discussion each month. Our choices include both fiction and non-fiction books. We meet on the second Monday of the month at 1:30 p.m. Your only requirement is that you be a Sisterhood member.

The November meeting of the Sisterhood Book Club will be held on Monday November 12th at 1:30 PM at the home of Fieni Verdooner. The book we will be discussing is “A Woman in Jerusalem” Please RSVP direct to Fieni at

Arlene Waxman, Book Club Chair.
November Birthdays
Susan Halperin- Nov 5
Elianna Williams- Nov 5                 
Kaya Russell- Nov 9                       
Charles Salomon- Nov 9
Alan Greenbaum- Nov 13
Holly Leeds- Nov 17                    
Jordan Mann- Nov 23                          
Renee Mayne- Nov 23                        
Elise Rosky- Nov 24                         
David Rosky- Nov 26                        
Beth Marchio- Nov 29                     
November Anniversaries
Steven & Lisa Kirshbaum- November 9         
Iola Gold & Winnie Loesch- November 17      
Yahrzeits Honored in November
Friday, November 2
Abraham Bass remembered by Richard & Cheryl Klein
Lionel Bloom remembered by Stan Karp
Friday, November 9
Eleanor Cissel remembered by Stan Karp
Harry Waxman remembered by Jerry Waxman
Laszlo Fried remembered by Judith Kenedi
Charlotte Lichterman remembered by Joshua Lichterman & Holly Leeds
Esther Weinstein remembered by Stan Karp
Leo Kroot remembered by Bill & Ruth Kroot
Friday, November 16
Beatrice Leeds remembered by Holly Leeds
Grete Strauss Lamm remembered by Eva Lamm-Ruben

Friday, November 23
Henney Gray remembered by Mike & Gail Atlas
Ilse Irene Lamm remembered by Eva Lamm-Ruben
Gail Greenbaum remembered by Rabbi Alan & Dori Greenbaum

Friday, November 30

David Hauptmann remembered by Holly Leeds
Dana Ruben remembered by Eva Lamm-Ruben
Mishebeirach- Prayers for Healing
Harper Faith Browning
Iola Gold
Meghan Rose Havery
Lawrence Katz
Ruth Kroot
Judith Kenedi
Nancy Maxwell
Dan Geffner
Pat Bennett-Schwartz
Eva Florsheim
George Ruben
Manon Ruben
Jane Bass

Andrea Frankel
Joni Gold
Charles Morgan Havery
Elijah King
Bob Levine
Jim Anderson
Charlotte Moore
Deborah Ruppert
Nadine Brown
Marilyn Salomon
Abigail Weissman
Gloria Livingston
Beth Marchio
Sally Hines
Richard Klein
Keith Ott
Melissa Nixon-Lingk
Jeff Lulla
Leah Chava
Eveline Lamm
Marselle Schwartz
Anthony Russo
Laura McIntosh
Robin Parisse
Walter Gitlin

General Fund

Connie Newman- In Memory of Richard Allan Newman
Lucy Trotter Bottrell- In Memory of Judd Trotter
Ellen & Tim Hagan

We always welcome and appreciate donations to the many funds which are used to enhance our community. If you would like to give, or just take a look at the list of funds, please CLICK HERE.
Congregation B’nai Harim at the Nevada County Jewish Community Center
506 Walsh Street/P.O. Box 1426
Grass Valley, CA 95945
Phone: (530) 477-0922

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 9am-1pm

David Azen

SharonJoy Jahoda
Iola Gold

President: Iola Gold
Vice President: Garrett M. Eckerling
Secretary: David Cohen
Treasurer: Ed Strongin

Eva Lamm-Ruben

Eli Okrent
Kinneret Vinitzky
President: Gordon Mann

President: Anita DuPratt

Advisor: Dan Kalt—GROOVY/NFTY
Principal: Kinneret Vinitzky
Rabbi David Azen
Cece Karp
Mya Russell
Jenni Wadatz
Lori McClintic
Dana Valensky

Kinneret Vinitzky
Dana Valensky
Mya Russell

Mike Atlas

Danny Klopfer

Jolene Shif

Nevada County Jewish Community Center and Congregation B'nai Harim
506 Walsh Street Grass Valley, CA 95945
Mailing Address: P. O. Box 1426 Grass Valley, CA 95945
Telephone: (530) 477-0922