Rodef Sholom: A Reform Jewish Congregation in Marin County, California

Kol Yisrael arevim ba’zeh/All Jews are responsible for one another.
Congregation Rodef Sholom stands as one with Israel
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Tags >> Rabbi Kushner

Over the past six years, Congregation Rodef Sholom has been blessed to have Rabbi Noa Kushner teach us, lead us in worship and “do Jewish” differently in an innovative program known as NITA. With the leadership development program, Sulam, Kabbalat Shabbat services in Mill Valley, NITA, Gesher and more, Rabbi Kushner has provided inspiration, education and Jewish studies to congregants of all ages. We are fortunate to have had a teacher with so much passion and vision for Judaism, and with seemingly boundless energy.

In June, Rabbi Kushner will end her tenure as our assistant rabbi at Rodef Sholom so that she can pursue a new opportunity in San Francisco—launching a new program called “The Kitchen.” We are certain her new work will be innovative and spiritually enriching.

Rabbi Kushner has touched our souls and made us a much richer sacred community and it is our privilege to invite you to join us as we honor her at our Friday, June 3, 6:15 pm Shabbat Services, with an evening of worship, music and celebration. We look forward to thanking Rabbi Kushner for the many gifts she has given us and hope that you will be there for this very special Shabbat.


New classes/learning opportunities this spring:

Freezing Time: Isolating the Sacred in our Stories

Wednesday, February 9 , 11:30 am, Social Hall
Z’man L’Vatikim - Time for Seniors Luncheon with Rabbi Michael Lezak. This program is free and is co-sponsored by Women of Rodef Sholom. RSVP to Pete at 479.3441 to insure that we have enough food.

Raising Values Conscious Kids: Mindsets, Resilience and Learning

Sunday, February 27, 9:30 am, Inner Conference Room
Join Steve Bileca, Head of Middle School and Assistant Head of Campus at Brandeis-Hillel Day School, in a conversation about raising values-conscious kids in today's world. He'll discuss some of the challenge we face as parents in so doing, engage us in thinking about how to help our children confront moral dilemmas, and present Carol Dweck's theory of Mindsets as one approach to raising resilient, life-long learners.

 •Torah Cantillation

Most Tuesdays, 11 am to 12 noon, Cantor Margules’ office
Unlock the mysteries of Torah cantillation by joining Cantor David Margules on Tuesday mornings in our Sanctuary. Learn to decipher trope symbols and to translate them into the haunting, ancient melodies of our ancestors! The current session runs through May 10. Classes are 45 minutes to an hour in length. If you have questions or would like to sign up, contact david@rodefsholom.org or 479.3441.

The Inner Life of Joseph

Tuesdays (through March 21), 1:30 to 2:30 pm, Inner Conference Room
Rabbi Noa Kushner will be teaching a class examining Joseph’s life through the lens of Torah and Midrash. Beginners welcome.


3 Tuesdays, November 2 through November 16, 12 noon to 1 pm
Using Aviva Zornberg, Nehama Leibowitz and others, this class will study Torah and Midrash with the aim of finding meaning(s). No experience necessary. Arizemendi Bakery is located at 1002 Court Street in San Rafael (where Macy’s used to be).


Torah at Arizmendi with Rabbi Noa Kushner

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7 Tuesdays, October 5 through November 16, 12 noon to 1 pm

Using Aviva Zornberg, Nehama Leibowitz and others, this class will study Torah and Midrash with the aim of finding meaning(s). No experience necessary. Arizemendi Bakery is located at 1002 Court Street in San Rafael (where Macy’s used to be). RSVP to Pete at pete@rodefsholom.org.


This year, Congregation Rodef Sholom has been engaged in an innovative project called Nita.  Rabbi Noa Kushner wants us to know all about it.

What is Nita?
Nita (Hebrew for “we will plant, we will grow”) aims to reach out to the unaffiliated Jewish community, focusing on generations x and y through high quality Jewish experience. Our aim is to produce invested and empowered Jews, ones who will use Jewish life to design and teach what being Jewish means for this and the next generation, in order to better the world. Nita is an incubator for new ideas in Jewish spiritual and communal life, and a project to develop and experiment with those ideas. The dynamic relationship of Rodef Sholom and Nita will serve in the continued transformation of Rodef Sholom, and demonstrate the congregation’s relevance and meaning to those in generations x and y who want to connect.

Perhaps we say this simplest on our Nita website: “Nita is a doorway for people who want to do something Jewish in an unintimidating way. We get together to ask, practice, and really, just try stuff out.”

What does Nita do?
Most of Nita’s events focus on an experience of Shabbat. For next year, we plan to continue hosting havdallah house parties in people’s homes, and going on Marin hikes on Shabbat afternoons.

On 2nd Fridays (through June this year and then starting again in October) we host a Shabbat service and a moveable feast, often at the Mill Valley Community Center.

On on 3rd Saturdays (starting in October), we will begin a Shabbat morning storahtelling experience (storytelling + Torah reading + theater), location TBA.

Finally, Nita is a resource for people who are looking for someone to answer their Jewish questions or provide the tools necessary for them to do Jewish by themselves or with friends. In this vein, we help create many one on one conversations, house parties, and informal group learning opportunities.

Who is Nita for?
Nita is primarily created for people in generations x and y who are not connected to a Jewish institution. If you think you know of someone who you think might like Nita, please feel free to direct them to our website, facebook page or twitter account.  If they are interested, Rabbi Noa has many low key coffees with people who are thinking of connecting to doing something Jewish.   She can be easily reached at nitamarin@me.com.

Rodef Sholom members are welcome to participate in Nita’s activities as guests.

How will this project change Rabbi Noa’s role at Rodef Sholom?
Rabbi Noa will continue to teach Gesher 7th on Shabbat mornings and teach on Tuesdays for Rodef Sholom. However, her new role will be primarily focused on Nita and its development. Part of this work will be bringing the ideas and energy from Nita to Rodef Sholom, so watch for her in this capacity as well!

How did Nita get started?
In spring 2009, Rodef Sholom applied and received a one-year grant from Synagogue 3000 in order to create opportunities for unconnected Jews through the creation of Nita.  Rodef Sholom was one of only five places that received this grant and is a part of the Next Dor Network.

Who is paying for this?
We are funded through grants and gifts of all sizes from organizations and people committed to Jewish innovation.  We are extremely proud to have the support of Synagogue 3000 and The Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund.  Several Rodef Sholom congregants and non-congregants have also committed to Nita through their leadership gifts. Finally, we ask that participants of Nita make contributions towards our operating budget.

Why did Rodef Sholom create this project?
Congregation Rodef Sholom is an innovative and cutting edge institution, one that consistently explores new opportunities to serve the community as well as to explore those possibilities for its’ own growth.  Synagogue 3000 gave Rodef Sholom an opportunity to achieve both these goals with its Next Dor grant.  The grant has allowed Congregation Rodef Sholom to fulfill its’ goals of reaching out to the unaffiliated Jewish community, focusing on generations x, y, and millenials.   Since its inception this fall, Nita has reached over 300 people, people who would not otherwise have found a connection to Jewish life.

By working to understand this demographic, and by developing our relationships with the individuals within it, Rodef Sholom has significant opportunities to grow and transform.  Not only will Rodef Sholom ultimately grow in relation to the amount and diversity of its’ members, it will grow by means of the new ideas and approaches that these people will invariably bring to our larger, ever evolving community.  In short, Nita will be a key ingredient in the transformation of our congregation into its next vibrant incarnation.


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It's time to find a permanent home for the Rotating Winter Shelter - learn more on May 15, 6:30 - 8:30 at Rodef Sholom. Click here.
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accessiblecongragationslogoThrough the efforts of our Kulanu/ Inclusion of Those with Disabilities Committee, Rodef Sholom has been acknowleded as an accessible congregation by the National Organization on Disability.