Adar I/Nissan 5777

Call 206-567-9414 for event details or see our online calendar here.


  • 11 JLC – Purim
  • 26 Tent City Visit
  • 27 Super Supper


  • 15 JLC
  • 24 Super Supper
  • 29 Arik – Havdalah
  • 30 Arik – JLC


  • 13 JLC – Graduation
  • 21 Annual Meeting
  • 29 Super Supper


Saturday, March 11 Come Celebrate Purim!!! The Purim celebration will be at the Rosenkotz’ again this year.  If you would like to make hamantaschen together, come at 3 with your prepared dough and your already cooled filling. We can all cut and make them together.  Last year and we got really creative; some savory and some sweet, some gluten free and some full of gluten. It was great fun. If you prefer, come at 5 to celebrate. The JLC students have a Purim Spiel or two planned as well as other activities.

It is a potluck supper too, so bring a dish to share, good cheer, and of course, it is Purim, so costumes are always appropriate.



SAVE THE DATE Arik Labowitz will be joining us for a Havdalah service on April 29 and with JLC on Sunday April 30 More info to follow.  Stayed tuned for updates, but save the date for what is always some special time with him.



Seattle Tent City Dinner and Food Drive – Sunday, March 26th
4 Ways to Participate:   1) Donate money, 2) make or buy food for the meal, 3) donate to our Coffee, Juice & Hot Chocolate Drive, and/or 4) come along! Meet on the 2:05 ferry and return on the 6:20.

The families of the Jewish Learning Center are planning another trip to Tent City to bring dinner and do an art project with the campers.  Last time’s meal and custom t-shirt decorating that Sadie organized was such a fun and meaningful way to connect with the campers, that we want to do it again.

It costs about $250 for a hot dinner for 60 people, (such a deal!) and cash donations are much appreciated.  You can make checks to Shir Hayam and donations are tax deductible.  Checks can be given to anyone in JLC, or sent to Shir Hayam PO Box 11142, Bainbridge Island, WA, 98110.

The idea for the Coffee, Juice, Hot Chocolate Drive came from talking to the campers at Tent City 5 in Interbay who said they are always in need of non-perishable hot drinks, milk, creamer and juice.  They don’t have refrigeration, so please buy only powdered, canned, boxed and bottled drink items.

Our ideas of who ends up homeless were shattered last time when we realized that one of the campers was a working Jewish nurse.  A dishonest landlord and a minor medical operation landed her in a tent on the wintry Seattle streets.  Reaching out, person to person, offering food, respect and warmth, is a small but very human way to repair a little bit of the broken places in our world and our hearts.

Thanks everyone for your support.  Please get in touch if you have questions or want to come along.

Zann, Lisa and the whole JLC and Tent City Team



An equal number of adults and kids enjoyed Havdalah Potluck and planning for Purim this past weekend.  Thanks Heather & Jonathan Palmer — and of course Bnai Mitzvah Jordan!








We had a delightful Tu B’Shvat seder planned by Denise & Jeff Brown but contributed to by the collective of adults and youngsters.


Before going through the Hagaddah, we did some real life scenarios and mapped them to the worlds of Asiyah (the realm of doing) Yetsirah (the realm of forming one thing into another) Briyah (the realm of creating from nothing) to Atsilut (the realm of divine emanation).


Singing wrapped up a delightful evening.


Shir Hayam Coordinating Committee Meeting

Sunday, February 5, 2017

In attendance: Coordinating Committee members – Paul Travis, Gabe Travis, Cay Vandervelde, Jessica Lange, Jeff Brown, Nina Rogozen. Non-attending Coordinating Committee members – Carol Shakow, Laurence Price. Committee chairs/representatives – Lisa Weiss (JLC), Sharon Rutzick (Ruach & Cemetery), Rachel Kerbrat (Cemetery, Tikkun Olam & Newsletter)

NOTE: In addition to reports, committees discussed their financial needs for the coming year. The result of this discussion, and the committee reports presented, will be presented at the annual meeting in the spring.

Tikkun Olam – Rachel Kerbrat

Each year, the committee receives 5 percent of committed dues and any donations dedicated to TK activities. This year, to date, the committee has donated $250 cash and five $50 gift cards to an organization supporting Syrian refugee families in the Seattle area. It has $450 left in the budget.


Just a reminder to all –  the Tikkun Olam committee doesn’t just get together to divvy up the TO budget each year or to raise money for special needs. We have always been a hands on committee – we have organized lots of projects from CROP Walk to Adopt-A-Road to Supper Supper  to Earth Day Volunteering and more and kept them going for YEARS (decades even – some of them even carrying over from Kol Shalom days).  The point of Tikkun Olam is to get out in the community and do the work (*See Tent City Visit opportunity above). That being said I think it’s time for new leadership, new energy, new projects! If you are interested in being the Tikkun Olam Chairperson – please let someone on the Coordinating Committee or the Tikkun Olam Committee know.   ~Rachel

Jewish Learning Center – Lisa Weiss

Tent City trips: Lisa described their incredible experience with bringing food and supplies to Tent City in Seattle, as well as engaging residents in art and other projects that recognized them as individuals, rather than people in need and passive receivers of aid. They plan to go four times per year.

JLC: The structure now includes Shabbat and Havdalah services and potlucks with a usual attendance of four families plus Zann and Lisa (and some field trips).

  • They meet 14 times per year. There is no formal classroom instruction, however, but Lisa reports that concepts are woven into the Shabbats and Havdalahs.
  • The kids and their parents are very engaged, excited and happy to be there.
  • There is not a critical mass for classroom instruction, though the passage of knowledge, identification, community and support for our children remains a high priority for Shir Hayam.
  • JLC activities need to be integrated more into the newsletter and group-wide emails so more people attend. Adults have always been welcome, and our participation supports the kids and their identification as young Jews growing into Jewish adults.

Ruach – Sharon Rutzick

Shir Hayam held a service every month this year and more are planned.

The committee hopes to bring Arik for a Shabbaton, and Jamal and Ted for a large, community-wide presentation and discussion (see below under Budget). The hope is that we collect enough at the Jamal/Ted event to help pay their fees and for the venue. Additional proceeds (and those from a bake sale at the event) will go to groups, such as the Kitsap Immigrant Assistance Center and possibly some to the Tent City project (all TBD later).

High Holidays: The Ruach committee (based on post-High Holiday feedback after 2015 lay-led services, and opinions and preferences expressed at a large community meeting at the Mortell’s home two years ago) decided to hire a Rabbi this year to: be a consistent Rabbinic leader to guide us through all the high holiday services; work closely with existing (and other interested) lay leaders; and integrate community members who want to participate with stories, readings, etc.

  • The past two years’ lay led services were very well received by many and especially meaningful to those who co-led. An enormous amount of studying, preparation and love went into coordinating these services, sharing wisdom and engaging the Chavurah in a wonderful way.
  • We must remain flexible and nimble. The role of Ruach is to try and present religious services throughout the year that touch as many people as possible. The change this year will better meet the needs of those yearning for Rabbi participation.
  • As some point we will again have lay-led services.
  • There is a hopeful expectation that those in the group feel committed to the Chavurah and will attend and participate no matter what format the year embraces.

Cemetery Committee – Rachel Kerbrat & Sharon Rutzick

We have settled the contract for the cemetery! The space is in Seabold Cemetery, in the back, with forest on one side, and a road to the area off the main road in the cemetery on the other. It is a lovely spot. We will put in a stone bench with cement footings (funded with a special fund-raising campaign). And we are not required to use cement liners in the graves. We have access to 30 gravesites and can expand if we need/want to. The establishment of our own cemetery has been a years-long process and the Cemetery Committee has given Shir Hayam members with a loving and well planned option for when we or a loved one dies.

Financials – The cost per plot is $500. We (Shir Hayam) purchased 14 plots to hold for the future. We are trying to sell the remaining 16 spots (the cemetery would like us to accomplish this within the year, if possible). At least four have been purchased by a member of the community.

We will raise the money to purchase a stone bench with for resting and contemplating.

It was requested that a small wooden sign be put up that says “Shir Hayam” with a directional arrow so members can easily find their way.

Chevra Kadisha – The meeting attendees concurred that we need to re-establish (and retrain for) a Chevra Kadisha—an organization of Jewish men and women who bathe the body of a Jewish person who has died, prepare them for burial according to Jewish tradition and sit with them until their burial.


The process for creating a 2017/2018 budget for presentation to the Chavurah at the Annual Meeting is as follows:

  1. Coordinating Committee meets in March to discuss committee budget requests and all relative issues. Then submits proposed budget to Denise.
  2. Denise compiles a budget before the April Coordinating Committee meeting, for further Committee review and discussion. Budget reflects her input and comment.
  3. Coordinating Committee reviews budget at April meeting and notifies committees of any changes and why. Committees have a specified window of time to respond.
  4. At (early) May Coordinating Committee meeting, CC compiles final recommended 2017/2018 Budget for distribution.
  5. The “Recommended 2017/2018 Budget” will be distributed to the Chavurah at least one week before Annual Meeting.
  6. Discuss/adopt 2017/2018 Budget at Annual Meeting.

FINAL NOTE, From the Heart: As we all read through these notes, it will be clear to everyone that a huge amount of time goes into planning, negotiating, implementing, conversing, writing about (and on and on) all aspects of our Chavurah. It is easy to feel that nobody knows what you do, and how much time you spend. We don’t see each other’s efforts all the time, or take note. And though there are surely exceptions, most people want to be acknowledged for their hard work. Perhaps the Annual Meeting is a time to thank those who pour their hearts and time into our group: Kugelettes organization (and education) and practice; the JLC activities and community outreach in Seattle; committee work (many of us are on more than one); planning, hiring professionals, hosting and leading services; our beautiful and comprehensive newsletter (and its technical demands and guru); creating sacred burial sites; keeping our books in tiptop shape and so much more. Let’s not feel alone. Let’s acknowledge the many who make this our Jewish home. It takes a Chavurah to be a Chavurah!