Congregation B'nai Harim
at the Nevada County
Jewish Community Center
September / October
2023-5783/5784 Newsletter
Nevada County Jewish
Community Center Newsletter
Serving the members of our Diverse Community
as together we search, study, and learn the history, the culture,
the principles, the Values ..... explore and take on moments here and there
of just what does it mean & how does it feel to take on this Jewish experience?
What is this Jewish Identity .......
Upcoming Events!

Services via Zoom and In Person
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 945 669 9137
One tap mobile +16699006833,,9456699137# US (San Jose)
Dial by your location   +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
September Evening Shabbat Services with
High Holy Day Services
Please see details to the right for all services dates and times.

October Shabbat Services
October 6th @5:30
October 20th @ 7:00

Torah Study
September 9th @ 10:00AM
October 21st@ 10:00AM

Saturday Torah Study:
The Hebrew Prayer and Meditation and
Social Justice Torah
via Zoom and In Person
Rabbi David Azen

Rabbi Office hours
by appointment only please.
You may contact Rabbi Directly or the NCJCC Office
Giving Back!!
Our new Social Action Committee is excited to work with our community and will offer different events throughout the year.
See below for this months Innocent Project
Important Dates

Events will be held in Person and by Zoom when possible.
Any change will be noted in the weekly schmooze.

Labor Day
September 4th

High Holy Days
Pre-Jewish New Year Dinner, Shabbat, and Wrongful
Conviction Forum
September 8th @ 5:30 Dinner
7:00 Shabbat Service
7:30 Forum

Rosh Hashanah
September 15th @ 7:00

Rosh Hashana and Tashlich
September16th @10:00
followed by a gathering at the stream behind Wild Eye Pub for the Tashlich
Located at 535 Mill Street
in Grass Valley

Yom Kippur
September 24th @ 7:00

September 25th
10:00 -1:00 Morning Service
1:00-3:00 Study Session
3:00-4:00 Music
4:00-5:00 Afternoon Service
5:00-6:00 Yizkor
6:00-7:00 Neilah
Sukkot and Festival Booths and Movie Night
September 29th @5:30
Feast and Celebration

Orange Shirt Day
September 30th
See sisterhood below
for more details.

Simchat Torah
October 6th @ 5:30
Feast and Celebration

3rd Annual Golf Tournament
October 15th @9:00AM
Lake of the PInes Golf Course
See Men's club below for more details.

Monthly Programs by Department

NCJCC Board Meeting
First Thursday each month
September 7th @7:00PM
October 5th @7:00PM

Sisterhood Meeting
First Thursday each month September 7th @12:30
October 5th @ 12:30

Sisterhood Book Club
Second Monday each month
September 11th @ 1:30
October 9th @ 1:30

Sunday School
September 10th and 17th @ 9:30
October 8th and 29th @ 9:30

Rabbi Kids
Contact Rabbi David for details

Youth Hebrew
Thursdays beginning
September 14th @ 3:00

Adult Hebrew Classes
Contact Kinneret at

September 8th - Pre Jewish New Year and Wrongful Conviction Forum
Carol Menaker Author,
The Worst Thing We've Ever Done
Lori Stone -
nonprofit leader with a strong commitment to driving
strategic change for justice
and creating real impact
Congregation B’nai Harim at the Nevada County Jewish Community Center (NCJCC) invites the public to its pre-Jewish New Year Welcome Back event on Friday, September 8th at 506 Walsh Street, Grass Valley, CA 95945.

The Welcome Back event will include a family-friendly dinner and short child-friendly Shabbat service, followed by a regular Shabbat service and Friday Night Forum on the issue of wrongful convictions. The Forum will feature a conversation with Carol Menaker, local author of The Worst Thing We’ve Ever Done; Lori Stone, a former Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP) senior staff member; Todd Fries, new Executive Director of the NCIP; and Obie Anthony, exoneree and founder of Exonerated Nation. The forum will be moderated by Criminal Law Specialist David Cohen, Esquire, past president of the NCJCC. NCJCC is a Jewish Community Center and reform Jewish Synagogue that has been serving the greater Grass Valley/Nevada City community since 1978.

The event schedule is as follows:
5:30 Welcome Back dinner and short child-friendly Shabbat service
7:00 Shabbat Service
7:30 Justice Forum

Suggested donation: $5 -10/person, no one will be turned away for lack of funds
For more information please visit or The NCJCC can be reached by emailing or calling (530) 477-0922, or by Facebook Messenger.

NCIP is a non-profit clinical program of Santa Clara University School of Law whose mission is to promote a fair, effective, and compassionate criminal justice system and protect the rights of the innocent. Since its inception in 2001, NCIP has processed over ten thousand requests for inmate assistance, investigated hundreds of cases, pursued litigation or collaborative resolution in dozens, and obtained the freedom of 35 wrongfully convicted individuals. Learn more at

Bio 1: Carol Menaker is a writer and author of The Worst Thing We’ve Ever Done: One Juror’s Reckoning with Racial Injustice. Published by She Writes Press in April of this year, the book is a memoir of Carol’s 1976, 21-day jury sequestration in the murder trial of Frederick Burton, a young Black Revolutionary charged with the murders of two white prison wardens. Forty years after she voted to convict Mr. Burton, she revisited her experience of the trial and came to terms with how her youth, naiveté, and white privilege may have led her to convict a man whose shoes she could never have walked in. For more about Carol, visit
Bio 2: Lori Stone is a seasoned nonprofit leader with a strong commitment to driving strategic change for justice and creating real impact. Her track record includes significant achievements in external relations, fund development, and strategy development, complemented by expertise in marketing, communications, and fundraising principles. Lori's approach centers around equity-focused community engagement, empowering change through community organizing, strategic development, storytelling, and fostering collaboration. Her contributions have been instrumental in various social justice and human rights sectors, especially in areas such as criminal justice, immigration reform, and legal advocacy. As a sought-after nonprofit consultant, Lori has been a valuable resource for organizations, showcasing her proficiency in executive, development, and program leadership. Her adeptness at striking a balance between organizational sustainability and ambitious goals sets her apart as an effective and impactful leader. For more about Lori's work and achievements, visit her LinkedIn profile. She welcomes the opportunity to connect and collaborate with like-minded individuals and organizations, united in their vision for a more just and inclusive world.
Bio 3:Todd Fries graduated cum laude from Santa Clara Law in 2009 with a certificate in Public Interest and Social Justice after completing his Bachelor of Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to working at NCIP, he worked at Paul Hastings LLP and as a volunteer attorney at the Santa Clara County Superior Court, Family Law Self-Help Office. Fries began working for the Northern California Innocence Project in 2007 as a clinical law student and returned to NCIP in 2010 as a research fellow as part of the law school’s post-graduate fellowship program. Following the retirement of NCIP's founder, Linda Starr, Todd Fries was appointed as the new Executive Director in August 2023.
Bio 4: Obie Anthony, wrongly imprisoned at 19, served 17 years for a murder he didn't commit. Upon his 2011 release without even proper identification, he struggled to rebuild his life – uncertain about resumes, jobs, and technology. This led him to aid other exonerees in meeting post-release needs. His efforts were pivotal in passing California's "Obie's Law" (Assembly Bill No. 672), mandating assistance for exonerees' transition, encompassing housing, job training, and mental health services. In 2016, he founded Exonerated Nation, aiming to reshape exonerees' post-release experiences, fostering safety, stability, and healing. Recipient of the 2017 Rockwood Leadership Institute Returning Citizens Fellowship, Obie speaks frequently at events like Loyola Project for the Innocent and the Innocence Project, contributing to dialogues on exoneration and incarceration.
Rabbi Message - High Holy Days
Welcome to the Jewish New Year

“A Jew who renounces their Jewishness in order to save humanity will end up renouncing humanity in the end. Only through the fulfillment of one’s Jewishness can one be fully human.”
-Elie Wiesel

After my junior year, I dropped out of college and hitchhiked across the country, ending up in Seattle. I had been thinking about becoming a rabbi, started liberal services at Princeton, took an Intro to Judaism class, and then, on a semester in Israel, had a crisis of faith. At the Western Wall during a prayer service, now knowing what the Hebrew meant, I could not relate to God as Master of the Universe. Seemed to me with all the chaos and conflict in the world, God was Master of Nothing. I immediately stopped praying and did nothing Jewish for a year and a half.
Lost and in despair, I wondered whether being born Jewish was just an accident of fate. I wanted to walk away from the conflicts and challenges, hoped that Jewishness was incidental to who I was. Exploring other spiritual paths, I didn’t finding anything else compelling either.
Then, after deciding to head back to the east coast, I bought my first car, picked up a friend from the program in Jerusalem and headed to her parents in San Antonio, just in time for Passover. Having grown up with the bland Maxwell House Haggadah, the booklet for the seder celebration, I found myself absorbed in a new book from the Reform Jewish rabbinic publishing arm. And then, the thunderbolt, the quote from Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor turned author and teacher. Years later, before he died, I had the opportunity to tell him in person that he sparked the start of my return to embracing the struggles of being Jewish and my eventual path toward becoming a rabbi. May his memory always be for a blessing.
I now have the privilege and pleasure of serving Congregation B’nai Harim (Hebrews of the Hills), the Unorthodox Synagogue of Nevada County at the Jewish Community Center. If you were ever Jewish and became alienated yourself, welcome back. If you have been curious about Judaism, please join us for worship and study. Please know that we consider ourselves progressively hebrewish, and we explore traditional texts in non-traditional ways. Abraham was Hebrew and his main divine directive consisted of following the path of being a blessing to all the families of the earth. Despite some evidence to the contrary, our overwhelming desire remains the fulfillment of that command.
And keep in mind that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Years after I stopped praying at the wall, Rabbi Marcia Prager taught me that the word Adon, Master, relates to the “adanim” the places where the tent poles in the wilderness sanctuary were joined together. So Adon Olam, Master of the Universe, could actually be understood as Master of Connection. The universe’s ability to organize itself, to bring us into being and enable us to communicate, to relate to each other and the world – that lies at the heart of my sense of the divine. Adon Olam for me calls to mind the mysterious Source of Connectivity that leads to any meaning we might find. Not in control of everything, but seeking to bend the arc of history toward justice and to move our hearts toward greater compassion, kindness and connection.

Join us for celebration, reflection and renewal as we gather for:

Rosh Hashanah, the New Year
7 p.m. Friday September 15
10 a.m. Saturday September 16 (lunch and Tashlikh)
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement
7 p.m. Sunday, September 24
10 a.m. and through the day Monday, September 25

Sukkot, the Festival of Booths
5:30 Feast and celebration Friday, September 29

Simchat Torah, Rejoicing with the Torah
5:30 Feast and 7:00 celebration Friday, October 6

Have a look at for further information on classes and other events.
We look forward to seeing you soon and celebrating the riches of the Jewish tradition together.
Rabbi David Azen
Facilities Update
We have exciting new changes coming to our facility in the upcoming year. We were awarded a security grant by CalOES (California Governor's Office of Emergency Services) which will enable us to install additional security lighting around the exterior of the building and backyard, install a more robust security camera system, install aesthetic garden impact barriers along the front of the building, extend fencing around the perimeter of our property, replace the wheelchair ramp to the social hall, regrade and repave the front of the building including adding a small deck between the wheelchair ramp and center door entrance, hire armed security for services and events, and have professional active shooter safety training.

We will also have ongoing maintenance needs that require volunteers to help with projects including staining the rear deck, staining the sukkah, tightening bolts, and other TLC for our play structure and playhouse, and installing commemorative plaques in the backyard.
To sign up to help with any of these tasks thereby spreading the workload in all areas of our organization, please contact Gordon Mann or Mya Russell. You can reach out directly to them or leave a message at the office at (530) 477-0922.

We are a small organization and the more we all pitch in, sharing the responsibility, the greater we become as a Jewish community, welcoming our members, new members, and our community to celebrate life events together in the beauty of our backyard.
Your help is always appreciated!
Mya Russell
Facilities Chair
Friday Night Movies
Fifth Friday   
 Movie Nights

At the NCJCC

Watch for details in the Schmooze

Social Action - September/October
Social Action Wrap up for Jan-July 2023

The Social Action Committee invites B’nai Harim members to fulfill the joy of mitzvot by finding small ways to address the needs of our community throughout the year. 

Our launch was a great success: during Passover we collected diapers and wipes in honor of baby Moses to be distributed by the Nevada County Diaper Project. This organization brings diapers to the most rural and poverty-stricken areas, where some parents lack running water. Our collective donation was much appreciated and helped reduce child abuse incidents - because no baby wants a dirty diaper! 

Our second initiative in May and June focused on school-aged children with the Snack Drive. Over 60% of children living in the city limits of Grass Valley qualify for the free lunch program. When school’s out for summer, the Nevada County Food Bank steps in and provides free lunch for children in front of libraries across the county. Volunteers were delighted to stuff brown paper bags with the individually wrapped snacks we provided.

Coming into the New Year - Innocence Project
We extend our reach nationally with an online fundraiser for the Innocence Project through October 22, the International Day Against Police Brutality. Our collective goal of $1,800 is not limited to our congregation: please share the link with friends and family. Every donation signifies another person educated on wrongful imprisonment. 

In addition, during High Holiday services we are collecting non-perishable foods for the Interfaith Food Ministry. Kindly bring a grocery bag or two brimming with pantry staples because hunger lives next door. 

And finally, keep an eye out for our upcoming mitzvah: Operation Warmth!

Have a great idea or know of a wonderful organization to support??? Please connect with Elise Timoney:
"Fresher Sacramento seeks to enable everyone to go to bed well-fed and build wealth from health for generations to come. With nearly a quarter of a million folks in Sacramento County lacking regular access to affordable, nutritious food, our team of Fresher Chefs are cooking up a brand new model for making sure everyone goes to bed well fed, by preparing affordable, convenient, delicious, and nutritious meals for folks who lack the time, knowledge, and resources to prepare their own."
Youth and Adult Education
Kinneret Vinitzky, Principal Religious, Hebrew School
for Children, Youth and Adult Education.
We have a group of great students and we are able to focus and be more in tune with our students due to the fact that we have wonderful helpers from the sisterhood. New beginnings always bring renewed hope!!! There are a lot of new ideas and exciting plans for this coming school year!

We will meet on Friday, September 8th, at 5:30 pm to celebrate a family Shabbat
BBQ! We have a special speaker program on Wrongful Convictions.
We hope that at least one parent can stay. If the children are able to stay until 8:30 pm, we will have someone in the back room to oversee them.

Our first day of Sunday school this year will be - Sunday, September 10th!
Please bring a yoga mat, if you have one for a special activity this Sunday!
This year we are celebrating our first Sunday school by
making Challah for Rosh Hashanah!

The first Hebrew class will be Thursday, September 14th at 3:00 pm.
Men's Club
Gordon Mann, President
NCJCC Third Annual
Golf Tournament
Sunday, October 15th
at the Lake of the Pines
Golf Course
Rabbi David Azen

B'Nai Harim Sisterhood
of the NCJCC
Officers and Committee Members

Sisterhood meets the first Thursday of each month at the NCJCC.
September 7th @12:30
October 5th @ 12:30

We welcome our newly elected board members:

President:   Carol Brown
VP Programs:  Cheryl Kelly
VP Membership: Jackie Levy
VP Fundraising: Judy Silberman
Recording Secretary: Antia DuPratt
Treasurer: Gail Atlas
Judaica Shop Chair: Jackie Levy

Corresponding Secretary: Cheryl Kelly
Bereavement/Caring Hands Chair: Arline Mehr
Charitable Giving Chair: Susan Halperin
Oneg Shabbat Chair: Debbie Lamont
Book Club Chair: Dori Greenbaum
Past President: Ruth Goodin

Please consider Volunteer for this event, and spread the word.

Saturday Sept. 30th, 11-2 Outdoors

Location: Yuba River Charter School, 10085 Adam Ave 
Grass Valley
In recognition of the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe and all indigenous children who were sent to boarding schools in the US & Canada, and the on-going public education and healing needed.

We are looking for churches, schools, spiritual groups, community organizations and individuals to help promote and volunteer before & during the event.

To volunteer: text Jeree’ Waller (530) 320-0817, or contact Jeree’ at www.HeartWork



Sisterhood Book Club
The Sisterhood Book Club meets on the second Monday of each month at the NCJCC. Gather and Greet at 12:30 with lively Book Discussions beginning at 1:00.

Hope you all will join us. If you haven't read the book, that’s ok, you can join in on the stimulating conversation.

September 11th In the Midst of Winter Author: Isabelle Allende
October 9th Cloud Cuckoo Land Author: Anthony Doerr
Jan Brenner, Membership Chair
September / October Birthdays
September / October Anniversaries
We honor those who went before us....who helped us become who we are!
By sharing the names of family and friends
who forever hold a special, precious place
in our hearts and minds .....
the people who we keep close within our
person as we move
We Remember
Thank you to our Sponsor's
Know your Evacuation Zone
Please be safe as we find ourselves in high fire danger.

Know your Fire Evacuation Zone, use the following link ZoneHaven - Now

COVID-19 Resources
Working to keep everyone safe

Keep up to date with My Nevada County website.