Congregation Ner Shalom

services and events

What's the Buzz?

Erev Shabbat with Rabbi Daria
Friday, May 20 ~ 6:45 Shmooze; 7 PM Service
Led by Rabbi Daria Jacobs-Velde
Music by Suzanne Shanbaum and Sheridan Gold

If Shabbat has the potential to be a taste of Olam Haba, the time of the Mashiach, what does that mean for us? Through song, discussion, and the weekly parashah we'll explore this idea together. Oneg shabbat sponsored by Sheridan Gold.

"Palace of Shabbat" Camping Trip
Friday, May 20 through Sunday, May 22
Spring Lake Campground in Santa Rosa

Join Reb Irwin, Rabbi Meredith and Rabbi Ted for a shabbaton for J School families and other families with children in the community. A chance to rest, learn, pray and play in nature. For details, click here. Or to register, click here.

Safe Passage
How My Experiences with Refugees in Greece Opened My Eyes and My Heart

Monday, May 23 ~ 7PM

John Namkung, retired Sonoma County educator, recently spent three weeks in Greece volunteering with refugees from Syria and other parts of the Middle East. He will share a firsthand account of his experiences with the refugees and what he learned about them and their journey toward peace and safety.
(For a written account of his experience, click here.)

Friday, May 27
At the home of Suzanne Shanbaum and Jane Lawhon
Our Sebastopol and West County chavurah gets together every fourth Friday to welcome Shabbat in someone's home, eat dinner, make music, tell stories, and have a good time. If you'd like to be included on the Shabbastopol mailing list to know dates and locations, click here and let us know!

Morning Minyan & Torah Study
Saturday, May 28 ~ 10 AM Sharp
Led by Reb Judith Goleman

Shabbat in the morning light. Join us for sweet shacharit and Torah study. Reb Judith will lead us through Parashat Behar, in which we receive instructions for the shmitah year. How do we live within a nature that is deeper and bigger than our ability to control it?

Yiddish Tish
Thursday, June 2 ~ Noon
Taught by Reb Irwin Keller

We will visit our old friend, poet Itzik Manger, and his poems about Ruth and Naomi, in this pre-Shavuot session of Yiddish Tish. There is always lively discussion, Yiddish learning, and enjoyment of the beauty of poetry. No previous Yiddish knowledge necessary. This session's learning will be dedicated to the memory of Helene Steinlauf-Norwitt and Evey Sackler, both Yiddish Tish regulars. Bring your lunch.

New Member Music Shabbat!
Friday, June 3 ~ 6:45 Shmooze, 7PM Service
Led by Reb Irwin Keller
Music from Lorenzo Valensi, Suzanne Shanbaum, Susie Miller, Sheridan Gold and Calvin Johnson

Come rejoice! We will have a heap of great music, plus a teaching from Reb Irwin. We will welcome and celebrate all the people who have joined this congregation in recent months. Come make them at home in this heymish community!

Jews & Words
A writing workshop at Ner Shalom
Facilitated by Poet and Journalist Rita Losch
Sunday, June 5 ~ 2-4 PM at Ner Shalom

Words are central for Jews. Let's explore that and write together! From a simple, gentle and flexible prompt, we will free-write for a short while, surprising ourselves by seeing what emerges onto the blank page. Then, we can choose to share from what we have written. This experience is open to writers and non-writers. RSVP by clicking here.

Countywide Tikkun Leyl Shavuot
A Night of Jewish Study on "Inclusivity and Diversity"
Saturday, June 11 ~ 7 PM till After Midnight
At Congregation Shomrei Torah in Santa Rosa

Once again our whole county comes together for the venerable tradition of late night study on our holiday of revelation. This year we explore inclusivity and diversity in Judaism. There will be many teachers and many workshops. Teachers from Ner Shalom include Rabbi Meredith Cahn ("The Elder as Other"), Reb Judith Goleman (Sufi poetry), Rabbi Josh Jacobs-Velde (Judaism and Buddhism), Laurie Le'ah Lippin (Dominance and Marginalization) and Reb Irwin Keller (Transgender and Intersex in Talmudic Times). Join us for the sweetness of late night learning. Visit the Facebook page.

Chant and Hike up the Mountain of Revelation
With Rabbi Shefa Gold
Sunday, June 12 ~ 2-5 PM
In celebration of Shavuot, our holiday of revelation, Rabbi Shefa Gold will lead a moving outdoor experience, open to all, in beautiful Occidental. Rabbi Gold is a well-known pioneer in the use of Hebrew chant as a modality for healing, contemplation and community building. Children attending will have their own special nature experience led by Wilderness Torah educator Rebecca Schisler. Requested donation: $20/adult; $7/child (6-12). Children under 6 are free. Limited space available. Register by June 8 by clicking here.

This event is sponsored by ZMANIM, Congregation Ner Shalom, and B’nai Israel Jewish Center. Supported by a partial grant from the Newton & Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust. (Note that this event involves moderate walking on uneven terrain.)

Ongoing at Ner Shalom!

Sapling Chavurah
for Families
with Young Children

Join this delightful chavurah for families with young children. Events include Shabbat dinners, weekend hikes and song sessions! Get info here.

Ner Shalom Singers
Lend your voice! Besides our annual High Holy Day appearances, we sing for other ritual and just for the joy of it.

For details email Lorenzo.

Shalom Drum-In
Currently on hiatus. Watch this spot for updated details!

Fourth Friday of the Month ~ 6PM

Some Sebastopol and West County Ner Shalomers are making it a practice to gather and welcome shabbat together over a potluck meal. No program, no fuss. Just a warm, candle-lit place to hang out in community on Erev Shabbat. If you'd like to participate, email Jen Herman.

Wine Tish
A Periodic Exploration of Wine, Winegrowing and Jewish Tradition
At Orpheus Winery
8910 Sonoma Hwy in Kenwood
Led by Rachel Friedman, Marc Krafft and Reb Irwin

Talmud says if a snake is swimming toward your boat and you have uncovered wine in it, quickly dillute the wine to repel the snake. This and a million other mysteries of Judaism's relationship with wine. Email to find out be included in future sessions.


Congregation Ner Shalom is a warm and inclusive Jewish community.
Drawing from our Reconstructionist roots and the soulfulness of Jewish Renewal,
we embrace Judaism through ritual,
social justice, music,
learning and laughter.

Special Upcoming
and Ongoing!

Chant and Hike with Shefa Gold!

Limmud Bay Area
June 24-27 at Sonoma State University

The entire Bay Area comes together at SSU for these days of intensive Jewish study. Click here for information and registration.

Yiddish Tish
Next: Thursday, June 2

Taught by Reb Irwin Keller, this monthly workshop explores the great Yiddish writers of Europe, Israel and North America. We read, translate and discuss poetry, short stories and other texts, both serious and comic. No previous Yiddish knowledge is required. We read and translate together, and discuss the literature seriously and humorously. And bring your lunch.


Beginning Yiddish
Tuesdays at 11 AM

Led by Gesher Calmenson
and Myra Siegel

This class, an outgrowth of our monthly Yiddish Tish, will help you learn to read and speak basic Yiddish, and gain greater access to Yiddish literature. 

Rainbow over Ner Shalom. Photo by Lorenzo Valensi.

Ongoing Stuff...

AppleCommunity School for Jewish Learning
Looking for a religious school for your kids? Our dynamic "J School" is a collaboration with B'nai Israel Jewish Center. Join our vibrant school and community. Read all about it by clicking here.

Find us on Facebook
Join the Ner Shalom Facebook group to stay in better touch with your Ner Shalom friends.

Chesed Team
Help Ner Shalom community members in crisis. If you might ever be available for a hospital visit, or to deliver a meal, or make a phone call, or respond to some other need, let us put you on our Chesed Alert list. Just contact Vicki.

Many Meetings

Kavanah (Ritual) Committee:
Wednesday, June 1
~ 9:30 AM at Marvin's Restaurant in Cotati.

Next Ner Shalom Board Meeting:
Thursday, May 26 - 5:30 PM
If you'd like to attend, email us. Just click here.

Ner Shalom: Strictly Scent-Free

We Love You Just the Way You Smell

Congregation Ner Shalom is dedicated to creating community and ritual space that is safe and accessible to all, including people with severe environmental sensitivity. It's easy to do once you know how:
  • Please don't wear cologne, perfume, or scented hair (or other) products when you come to Ner Shalom.
  • Pomegranate
    If you smoke, please take a few minutes to let the smoke from your last cigarette dissipated before entering the building.
  • As you settle into a scent-free, chem-free way of thinking, consider buying scent-free laundry detergent and fabric softener, so that you can hug everyone at shul, and everyone can hug you.
  • Tell your guests. They might be resistant at first. Looking nice for synagogue might, for them, include smelling nice. So please explain to them that being scented may seem small to them, but not to someone who may not be able to remain in the room at services because of it. Or just tell them we're sticklers (because we are).
We thank you for making our holy space safe for everyone.

Congregation Ner Shalom
A Reconstructionist Synagogue
of Sonoma & Marin Counties

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