Fall 2017 Shabbat Speaker Series

On select Fridays throughout the year, we welcome special guest speakers to share their knowledge and talents with our congregation. Some are are preceded or followed by a Shabbat dinner (RSVP and additional fee required).
Friday, September 8, 6:15 pm
The Power of Relationship
with Principal Juan Rodriguez of Venetia Valley School  
Juan Rodriguez is a veteran administrator of San Rafael City Schools, and well-known for his former role as the principal of Bahia Vista School, where he served for 11 years. Before coming to SRCS, he worked as a vice principal for three years in the counties of Sonoma and Los Angeles. His eight years of teaching experience took place in his hometown of Pomona where he dedicated himself to giving back to his native city.
Mr. Rodriguez is bilingual, bicultural and biliterate.  He holds a bachelor degree in Political Science from UCLA and two masters degrees from Claremont Graduate School and Cal State L.A.. He currently serves on the board of trustees of First Five Marin and Marin County School Volunteers. Along with several other awards for his work in education and activism, he was honored as Marin Democrats' Latino Leader of the Year in 2013.

Friday, October 13, 6:15 pm
From Rescue to Reconstruction: Humanitarian Aid Around the World
with Yotam Polizer
Born and raised in a small village in Northern Israel, Yotam has been involved in social activism since he was young. He began his career working with at-risk youth in a rehabilitation center; his achievements include launching a groundbreaking program to pair Israeli army volunteers with special-needs children, as well as a youth leadership and community development project in Bedouin villages of Israel’s Negev desert.
In 2007, Yotam joined the Tevel B’Tzedek’s development project in Nepal, where he spent three and a half years as a project coordinator. During this time, he was also employed by the Israeli Embassy as Consular Assistant. He joined IsraAID following the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, where he served as Japan country director for three years. Following two years as Asia regional director, Yotam is now the co-chief executive officer, overseeing all of IsraAID's fundraising and strategic partnerships around the world.

Friday, October 27, 6:15 pm
Blue Like Me: Indian Jewish Art and Midrash
with Siona Benjamin
presented in partnership with Osher Marin JCC
Siona Benjamin is a Bombay-born artist and educator now living in the US. Siona was brought up Jewish in a predominantly Hindu and Muslim India; her artwork is inspired by both Indian miniature paintings and Sephardic icons.
She holds two MFAs, one in painting and one in set design for theater. She has exhibited in the US, Europe and Asia. She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 2010-11 for an art project titled: Faces: Weaving Indian Jewish Narratives. “In this transcultural America I feel a strong need to make art that will speak to my audience of our similarities, not our differences as I feel I can contribute to a much-needed repair’ (Tikkun) through my art,” she said.
Spend more time with Siona Benjamin and her art on October 29,  5:00 - 7:30 pm at the Osher Marin JCC. There will be a screening of Blue Like Me: The Art of Siona Benjamin, a 30-minute documentary which explores the artistic, religious and cultural influences behind the artist’s vibrant artwork, along with an audience Q&A. Siona’s concurrent exhibit is on view at the Osher Marin JCC through January 3, 2018. For more information, visit marinjcc.org/siona.  

Friday, November 10, 6:15 pm
Combatants for Peace
In 2006, former combatants from Israel and Palestine—people who had taken an active role in the conflict—laid down their weapons and established Combatants for Peace. The egalitarian, bi-national, grassroots organization was founded on the belief that the cycle of violence can only be broken when Israelis and Palestinians join forces. Committed to joint nonviolence since its foundation, CFP works to transform and resolve the conflict by ending Israeli occupation and all forms of violence between the two sides and building a peaceful future for both peoples. For over a decade they have embodied and served as a model for humanistic values of freedom, democracy,  security and dignity for all.
Combatants for Peace has a vision for a strong, significant, influential binational community that exemplifies viable cooperation. Through joint nonviolence in the present, they lay the foundations for a nonviolent future.

Friday, November 17
Adults-only Dinner 6:00 pm | Service 7:30 pm
with Rabbi Lee Bycel  
Rabbi Bycel has many accomplishments both in the U.S. and internationally. In 2014, he was appointed by President Obama to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Council. He has been a senior moderator of leadership seminars at the Aspen Institute for more than 15 years and has served as president of the County of Los Angeles Commission on Human Relations.
He also served as executive director of the Robert Redford Center and has worked to improve conditions in the Darfur region of Sudan. He’s received the National Conference of Community and Justice Humanitarian Award and is currently adjunct professor of Jewish Studies and Social Justice at the University of San Francisco.
Adult Shabbat Dinner at 6:00 pm. $20 per person. RSVP to Molly at [email protected] by November 11.

Friday, December 8, 6:15 pm
Interfaith Shabbat with the Islamic Center of North Marin and Mill Valley
Last year Rodef Sholom hosted the Islamic Centers of North Marin and Mill Valley for a wonderful service of sharing stories and getting to know our neighbors’ faith. Since then we have joined in each other’s homes for conversations and learning. Join us for an evening of interfaith worship, learning and community.
Potluck dinner to follow. Please bring a vegetarian dish for approximately eight to share.