Sivan/Tammuz 5777

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


  • 10 Movie Night – A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS
  • 26 Super Supper


  • 31 Super Supper


Our hearts go out to Cay Vandervelde, Molly, Nathan, and Annie on the loss of their beloved
and creative father and grandfather……

Mishebeirach to Linda Golden with wishes for a speedy & complete recovery.


A NEW YORKER TOTE BAG – Did you leave a tote bag with “The New Yorker” on it at the Annual Meeting? If you did, please call Nina Rogozen. She has it.


It’s always great to get together to watch and/or discuss films and books that feature Jewish humor, history, or creativity. Some of our members have been wanting to make it happen more often or even on a regular basis. SO now we have an opportunity to view a very special film that will not make it to the theaters:  A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS.  Israeli born Natalie Portman ( of Black Swan fame) has directed and plays a starring (stirring!) role . Amoz Oz, author of the book of the same title, was a child during the 1940’s and 50’s as Israel was coming into statehood. His reflections, both personal and political, on what he witnessed during those turbulent times, are moving and enlightening. The acting is exquisite—sheer poetry, not to be missed!

We will have a brief Havdalah and Pot Luck Desserts before viewing the film.
WHEN:   Saturday, June 10 at 7 pm
WHERE: 6207 N.E. Tolo Rd.  Home of Anita and Phil Rockefeller
DIRECTIONS: On BI, south side of Tolo. Turn at rock pillars and sign ” Rock Farm Community Garden.”  If you are coming from Winslow, turn left off of Miller Rd. as if going to Battlepoint Park, and coming from the North, turn right on Tolo.
RSVP Please to Sharon Rutzick so we can be sure to have enough chairs.  Thanks!


The chavurah recently received the latest newsletter from The Memorial Scroll Trust (MST) – it’s too long to include here but it included articles about scrolls in Sante Fe, New Mexico, Reston, Virginia and San Juan, Puerto Rico. This is an excerpt from the article about Temple Beth Shalom in San Juan:

The members of Temple Beth Shalom of San Juan, Puerto Rico are honored, privileged and humbled to have one of the Czech Torah scrolls saved from the Shoah.  It is ours on long-term loan from the Memorial Scrolls Trust in London.

 As trustees of this Torah scroll, we link ourselves with the six million of our people who perished in the Holocaust. Through this precious tangible connection with one community that was destroyed, we personalize a tragedy, which is otherwise incomprehensible – six million people murdered only because they were Jews! – and make it our own. By using this scroll, we make ourselves the spiritual heirs of the holy Jewish community that no longer exists in the city of Jihlava in the Czech Republic. Every time we open the ark and see this Torah scroll, every time we reach out to kiss it as it is carried through the sanctuary, every time it is opened and read we carry on their tradition as the heirs of a wonderful Jewish community that is no more. We are their heirs through our memories and our deeds, by how we act and by what we do.

We, the members of Temple Beth Shalom of Puerto Rico, have made ourselves the spiritual heirs of the Jewish community of Jihlava and the Torah scroll we honor and cherish in their memory. We read the names of six Jewish residents of Jihlava every erev Shabbat and Shabbat morning in our kaddish list and include all of their names in our Yom Kippur Book of Memory. In adopting this Holocaust Torah, we have undertaken a solemn obligation to embrace and celebrate our Jewish heritage – to secure its memory and to ensure our future.  We must teach Torah – the Jewish holidays, history and heritage – to our children and to theirs, so that no one will forget.

 One of the songs in Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder  (“Songs on the Death of Children”) says: “In this weather, in the windy storm/I would never have sent the children out/ They have been carried off./ I wasn’t able to warn them….” His eerily prophetic song and the story of Jihlava, symbolized by our scroll, are a warning to us: Remember. Be alert. Life is precious. Don’t take it for granted. Defend freedom. Have faith in the future. Remember.

From Denise – In early 2016, MST requested a thorough update to their records from all the scroll holders. After numerous emails among some of Chavurah Shir Hayam members, we were able to gather all the information to complete the questionnaire. Part of the MST desire was to give the scrolls more visibility; we in turn added this to our website  There’s a link that leads to all the scroll holders; curious I learned that the city closest to my home town in western Pennsylvania is a “card carrying member”! Maybe someone could edit our torah page & submit it for an upcoming MST newsletter.


We have a very nice family planning to build a house next door to us. They are in need of a rental for at least a year, starting this September 1, 2017. Their daughter will be enrolling in school in the first grade in the fall. If you have or know of anything for rent, please give Nina Rogozen or Steven Soltar a call or email Steven here  and we’ll pass on your name and number. (If there is an earlier rental, please let us know as well. Thank you.


Shir Hayam Annual Meeting ~~ May 21, 2017 Minutes

Present: Cay Vandervelde, Denise Brown, Jeff Brown, Zann Jacobrown, Dee Axelrod, Jessica Lang, Paul Travis, Joanna Church, Collyer Church, Carol Shakow, Elliott Leiter, Renee Leiter, Rachel Kerbrat, Steven Soltar, Nina Rogozen and Jon Garfunkel

ISRAELI DANCING: Fun, thank you to Jessica, our steps-savvy teacher.

NOSHES: Thanks to all who contributed.

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS –We went around the circle and here’s what we had to say:

  • When we met at the Mortells’ after the election I felt I was in a community of like-minded people. It was wonderful to see friendly faces. I thank you all.
  • I feel more involved. Shir Hayam really welcomed us and it’s been a blessing.
  • Jamal is a wonderful man; he shared new ideas and ways to connect.
  • Finally we have a cemetery. I can relax about when I die.
  • This community was very important to my daughter during her three-year illness. Our group provides healing potential on a consistent basis.
  • We are a group; not a place.
  • The cemetery is really beautiful. It’s great to have it finished. Thank you.
  • We focus on social activism. I am pleased to be part of that.
  • The way we’ve stayed together all these years; I deeply appreciate it.


Tikkun Olam – Chair: Rachel Kerbrat (we need a new chair for 2017-2018 and beyond)

The committee works on many hands-on projects, such as Earth day, Adopt-a-Road (in the past), Crop Walk, Project Wishbone through Helpline (Thanksgiving donations) and more. This coming year, a portion of the TO budget will be for projects that will involve adults, but with a focus on children, e.g., the Tent City project JLC was so involved in this year (see below). It is important to get into the community and “do the work.”

Another important benefit to the community that we are involved in along with other faith communities, though not officially part of TO, is Super Supper—coordinated by Denise Brown—which helps provide meals to those in need at Helpline House once a month.

Tikkun Olam distributed its dollars this year to many worthy organizations, including Syrian refugees settling in the area and to the International Rescue Committee. We were able to contribute nearly $1,000 to those in need in South Sudan thanks to over $700 in heartfelt, targeted donations.

It was mentioned at the meeting that if opportunities to fund other needs arise in the course of a year, a special ‘ask’ can be conducted to solicit designated donations, as we have done in other years, e.g., the Nepal earthquake.

It was decided that the Tikkun Olam budget allocation be increased to account for ‘hands-on’ projects in which kids can participate, e.g., Tent City visits.

Committee Leader needed for Tikkun Olam! Please let any member of the Coordinating Committee know if you are interested.

BUDGET REQUEST for 2017-2018: 10% of Shir Hayam membership funds received—up from 5% of previous years. The additional 5% is designated for Tikkun Olam projects that particularly involve children, for example the Tent City Project they carried out so beautifully this year.

Interfaith Council – Chair: Sharon Rutzick

Sharon Rutzick is our representative. They meet once a month. The group is very active. BUDGET REQUEST for 2017-2018: $40

Community Presence Committee – Chair: Paul Travis

This group has not been very active this year, but is looking forward to doing more in the coming year to help the community learn about Shir Hayam, what we offer, and how to be in touch with us. It will create a warm welcome for any and all Jews/families interested in being part of our wonderful group.

Jon Garfunkel made a good suggestion: We need a point person with the school district to address important issues, such as curricula, guest speakers, responding to hate incidents and the Jewish calendar. This person could be part of community presence or not. Anyone willing to be the point person should speak about this more with Jon who works with the district quite a bit.

BUDGET REQUEST for 2017-2018: $800 to fund newspaper ads and other outreach activities.

Ruach – Chair: Sharon Rutzick

There were lots of great religious gatherings this year. We had wonderful lay-led High Holidays, Jamal (a well-known Seattle Imam) came to speak, Arik came to lead us in song and prayer, we held many Shabbats, had a lovely Tu B’Shevat seder, Succoth gathering, and other holiday celebrations. It was clarified that the Ruach Committee should only be responsible for funding religious services, not instructional activities/professionals (which should be funded by Adult Ed, JLC, Community Presence, or any other appropriate committee). It was also agreed that more than one committee might contribute to funding and working on an event, if needed).

In addition, the Mortells hosted a very warm and supportive Shabbat/meeting at their house right after the November 2016 election, to help people find support in a country about to change in unknown and scary ways.

We sat Shiva several nights for Dashiell Mortell, who sadly died in a car accident. The community came together in love for a family we all treasure, and provided meals to keep them going through a very rough time.

The Committee hired Rabbi Jennifer Clayman to lead upcoming High Holiday services. You may have read about her already, and there will be more to come soon. She is a wonderful, experienced Rabbi with a Rabbi husband and two young boys. She sees herself as a seeker, not a ringmaster during services and welcomes lots of participation from the community.

BUDGET REQUEST for 2017-2018: $4,846.  This amount is expected to be spent fully on High Holidays this year.

Suggestions for next year:

  • Ruach determine a rotation system for Lay-led and Rabbi-led services, and how we can benefit differently during each cycle.
  • There was discussion on whether unused Ruach funds from a previous year should be retained by the Ruach Committee in the forthcoming year, as has been done in the past. See Governance Topic Discussed below.

Jewish Learning Center – Staff: Zann Jacobrown/Lisa Weiss

The JLC is small but mighty. They held many Shabbats, went on field trips to see the salmon run and contributed food, clothing, time and money to Tent City in Ballard (Seattle). Their approach is one of respect and engagement, not jut giving people “things,” but being involved in activities and getting to know the people there.

There is a real sweetness to the JLC group/families.

Other adults in the community participated in cooking for and visiting Tent City, and the whole community is welcome to all JLC events.

BUDGET REQUEST for 2017-2018: Historically, The Jewish Learning Center was supported by tuition paid by families and an annual subsidy of $2,500 from the Shir Hayam budget. JLC now has a hearty amount of savings accumulated from prior years, so the Coordinating Committee suggested that the expected 2017-2018 JLC expenses be covered by those savings. JLC-designated funds from savings: $2500.

Adult Education – Chair: We need a new chair for 2017-2018 and going forward.

This has not been an active committee for some time.

It is important to revitalize this committee—activities like having Jamal and Ted Falcon for a community event is an adult education event, and should be funded via Adult Ed budget allocation, rather than by Ruach, Community Presence or JLC (unless there’s an agreement on a shared expense among the committees). There are some very good opportunities here for overlap with the Community Presence Committee.

Other Shir Hayam gatherings can be started simply by people pulling together others with a common interest. (That is how the Torah Study group started.). There was talk of a book group, events just for fun (like bagels and music or discussions) and the movie night coming up on June 10 – see the announcement in the newsletter.

Committee Leader needed for Adult Education! Please let any member of the Coordinating Committee know if you are interested.

BUDGET REQUEST for 2017-2018: $300.

Newsletter – Editor: Rachel Kerbrat

The newsletter has evolved into the most wonderful monthly publication. It takes all of us to make it great. SO … each person, please try to submit pictures, articles, announcements, and/or reviews at least once a year. BUDGET REQUEST for 2017-2018: None needed


The 2017-2018 Budget passed unanimously.

It is important to note that it’s a very bare bones budget, and we are all encouraged to pay our membership dues—spreading out payments during the year is just fine.

It was discussed that if a special need arises in the course of the year for any Committee (e.g., Ruach events, disaster relief), a special ‘ask’ of the community can be conducted. In addition, the Committee can bring an additional allocation request to the Coordinating Committee (to be funded by either more membership income than expected, or possibly from reserves if urgent enough).


Remaining members: Cay Vandervelde, Jeff Brown, Jessica Lang, Carol Shakow, Nina Rogozen, Laurence Price and Gabe Travis.

Retiring member: Paul Travis – Thank you Paul for your great two years on the board and your role as chair. We appreciate you very much.

New member: Welcome to Rachel Kerbrat.

Governance Topic Discussed

Issue: Policy for committees using unspent funds from one year to the next (i.e., “carrying forward funds”).

History: In the past, some Committees were permitted to carry over unspent allocations from one year to the next. For example, if a planned/budgeted Ruach event did not happen, those funds could be used the next year. However, the ability to carry funds forward has not been documented.

For Consideration: (1) Should all committees be allowed to do this? (2) If our revenue falls short for any particular year, does it make sense to carry over unused funds that were allocated in that year’s budget? (3) Should all committees be expected to work within the baseline of an allocated budget based on annual income (from membership fees) and special donations to a designated fund, if solicited?

Resolution: Adopted at 2017 Annual Meeting, based on participant discussion) for the 2017 – 2018 year:

Committees should request and be granted a funds allocation by the Coordinating Committee budgeting process and Annual Meeting approval based on each year’s Shir Hayam forecasted income. Unspent funds from one year to the next will not ”automatically’ carry forward.

HOWEVER: If a Committee would like to request additional funds (“carried forward funds”) for an upcoming year—based on unspent, and available, funds allocated in the prior year—because of specific planning for the upcoming year, the request should be included as part of the normal Coordinating Committee budgeting process. This budgeting process begins mid-year with each Committee presenting to the Coordinating Committee their plans and budget request for the upcoming year. After working with the Shir Hayam bookkeeper, a final budget is prepared for approval at the spring Annual Meeting.

IF urgent committee needs arise during our fiscal year—after completion of the budget approval process—a request can be made to the Coordinating Committee for either unasked for carry forward funds, or funds from our reserve. This ‘policy’ applies to all Committees.


The Coordinating Committee has taken a first big step in editing and updating the Shir Hayam Member Handbook (it is a reference of the By-Laws and has been in need of a good updating for some time). Now it is time for community input. A review committee will meet a few times this summer to finalize the Handbook and welcome anyone who wants to participate. So far, the committee includes: Cay Vandervelde, Nina Rogozen, Zann Jacobrown and Jon Garfunkel. Please contact Cay or Nina if you are interested in participating. THANK YOU.

Minutes submitted by the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 Coordinating Committees.