Committees & Initiatives

Netivot Shalom has a wide range of programs and a diverse membership that welcome your participation! If you haven’t already joined us for services or one of our classes, we invite you to do so. One of our great strengths is the active participation of our members in all aspects of congregational life. We are a participatory, egalitarian congregation. Members lead services, plan classes and events, give drashot, and celebrate Shabbat, festivals, and lifecycle events together in our homes and at shul. This list of our committees and initiatives provides an overview of the many opportunities to participate in our community.

Click the arrow to view contact information and recent updates for our committees and initiatives.

Adult Education organizes opportunities for the congregation to study together, from after-kiddush talks (may they come again speedily in our days), to Scholars in Residence, evening classes, and regular torah study and talmud study sessions. Help us come up with ideas for new classes and talks and then make them happen!

Joel Gerwein

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Current News

Check out our calendar for the Torah Study schedule.

Make sure to check out the calendar for new classes.

The Antiracism Initiative is a group of members dedicated to addressing social and economic injustice through antiracist learning and action. It is a community-wide project rooted in the question, “What does it mean to be an antiracist synagogue?” The initiative is led by a Community Council composed of community members which is accountable to the Board.
COmmunity Council
  • Co-Leads: R. Becky Joseph, Deborah Yager 
  • Board Liaison: Joel Biatch 
  • Adult Education Committee Liaison: Stephen Tobias 
  • Security and Access Committee Liaisons: Serena Heaslip, Joe Meresman 
  • Stop Antisemitism Committee Liaison: Dorit Dorenz, Moshe Gottlieb
  • Climate Tzedek Liaison: Shosh Blachman
Working Group Leads/Co-Leads 
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Check out our newsletter here!

Upcoming Community Council (CC) Meetings (link here):
Wednesday, 12/29,  7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Wednesday, 1/26/2022,  7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Wednesday, 2/23,  7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Wednesday, 3/23,  7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Wednesday, 4/20,  7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Wednesday, 5/25,  7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Wednesday, 6/22,  7:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Fordham University is offering a year-long webinar series, “Black Studies and Jewish Studies in Conversation” focused on conceptual connections and contrasts between the experiences of Jews and Black people, the interrelated histories, narratives, politics, and cultures. Although recent events have brought back awareness of the connections between antisemitism and racism, a point raised by W.E.B. Du Bois decades ago, as core characteristics of white supremacy, this series directs the lens on the intersections of Jewish and Black experiences, not just anti-Black racist and antisemitic ideologies. Begins Tuesday, 10/5, 1:00 pm. Full info and registration here.

Bystander Intervention Training by Hollaback Consider attending a free Zoom Bystander Intervention training workshop  through Hollaback.  In response to the rise in Anti-Asian/American and xenophobic harassment, we at Hollaback! partnered with Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC to adapt our free bystander intervention training as well as offering a de-escalation training adapted to support the AAPI community. To meet this moment and offer trainings to communities nationwide, we partnered with Asian American Advancing Justice| Asian Law CaucusAsian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago. Here is the list of the training offered. Click to jump directly to each workshop description:

Please be sure to take a close look at our compilation of Antiracism resources and actions. 

Do you have an idea for an anti-racism project? Submit a proposal to the Antiracism Coordinating Team. 

The Chevra Kadisha Committee (“sacred community”) tends to the deceased and to the mourners.

Mary Breiner and Shari Rifas

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Climate Tzedek is a coordinating committee that works to engage our Congregation Netivot Shalom community to address the climate crisis and promote environmental justice. We work to support education and action at the household, synagogue, local, state, national and international level to cut greenhouse gas emissions, including moving off of fossil fuels. This includes promoting a fair and just transition to 100% renewable energy and engaging in a range of other actions that nurture healthy and sustainable communities and ecosystems. Climate justice issues are also racial justice issues and we do this work as Jewish anti-racists. 

Mark Schlosberg and Ariel Gold

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This committee develops Covid-19 protocols for the synagogue based on the requirements set by the City of Berkeley, the County of Alameda and the State of California. It also takes into account the health and safety of the congregation.
DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE (Fundraising and Outreach)
Our community is stronger when we all participate. Our committee fosters connections by reaching out to our community to encourage support and encourage participation. Members of the congregation are encouraged to renew and to get involved. If you like getting to know our members, then you may enjoy serving on this committee to get to know others and help them give back to our community. In addition, the Legacy Committee is part of the fundraising committee.

Betsy Ross and Jonathan Stern

Legacy Chair

Alix Derby Salkin

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The Education Committee represents a cross-section of the congregation’s stakeholders in youth and family programming and education and serves as a liaison between the Youth and Family Education Director (YFED) and the Congregation. The committee acts as a sounding board and brainstorming group for developing program ideas. They help evaluate priorities and support the YFED in areas such as family engagement, recruitment, curriculum assessment, communications, event calendar, budget, and ritual life practice. The committee also supports fundraising efforts, as well as the implementation of youth and family events.

Ariel Feinberg Berson

This committee oversees the monetary health of CNS.  This includes 1) monitoring current payables and receivables; 2) helping formulate and monitor the annual budget; 3) develop and approve financial policies and procedures; 4) participate in strategic/longer-range planning for the synagogue; and special projects (such as the evaluation of solar panels)

Norma Kaufman

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GEMILUT HASADIM (“bestowing kindnesses” such as caring for the ill)
Provides meals, rides, visits, calls, etc. to members who need help.
A great committee to be a part of – no meetings, no agendas! Just be on hand before, during, and after services every now and then to help open the building, set up chairs, etc. 

Serena Heaslip, Facility Manager

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This committee is charged with growing our paying membership at Netivot. We explore ideas, look for trends in data, advise staff, plan, and execute outreach strategies to transform prospective members into dues-paying members. As part of our work, we may evaluate or develop policies, processes, collateral, and/or events in the service of growing membership as well.

Our committee is comprised of people who are thinking about how to grow our paying membership at Netivot. We wonder: when a non-member expresses an interest in Netivot Shalom by attending services, participating in a program, by calling the office with an inquiry, etc., what can we do to transform that nascent interest into membership in our community? What are the most effective outreach strategies for bringing these folks in? How can event participation data help us develop an effective membership recruitment strategy? What policies, processes, collateral, and events will best facilitate the journey from non-member to member? What actions might we take to help grow Netivot’s membership?

Alison Schwartzbaum

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Recognizing that creativity is required during the Coronavirus pandemic to keep our synagogue community connected and thriving and our members engaged, the Netivot Shalom “MIKDASH/ Membership Experience Team” serves to create positive member experiences. For the holidays and throughout the year, the MIKDASH/Membership Experience Team will (a) build relationships within the community, (b) develop new leaders, (c) create new “experiences” for engagement, while traditional services and gatherings are suspended and (d) establish a structure for building positive member experiences that will continue beyond this pandemic.

Rabbi Chai Levy

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Help plan Netivot Shalom’s next retreat scheduled for Spring 2024.

Josh Gressel

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This committee discusses issues related to how ritual services/events operate and organizes volunteers to help coordinate these events.

Ron Sires


Alice Webber (Torah Reading/Leining), Cynthia Whitehead (Drash), Eugene Berg (Davening), Liora Brosbe (Gabbai)

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The mission of the Security and Access Committee  is to enable all members, guests, and staff of the CNS community to feel safe, secure, and welcome, and that the building should be available to be used for all appropriate activities.  We oversee improvements to the physical security of the building, provide advice and consultation, develop policy and procedures, training for emergency response, needs assessment, grant writing, and documentation of security issues.

Lynne Yellenberg

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Current priorities: updated emergency protocols for those using the building, planning for security improvements, including a new emergency exit path to Addison Street, resuming Incident Command System training, fundraising. We are looking for a few new SAC members to help us with those tasks.

The Stop Antisemitism Committee is dedicated to the education of our CNS Community and other Jewish community members about antisemitism so that we can work against the rise in antisemitism in all its forms.  We meet to plan educational programs and actions.

Dorothea Dorenz and Art Braufman


VZOT YISRAEL (“and this is Israel”)
The V’Zot Yisrael Committee The V’zot Yisrael Committee is dedicated to educating the CNS community about all aspects of Iife in Israel through presentations of talks, Israeli films, an Israeli author book group,  an Intermediate Hebrew chug and the celebration of Yom Atzmaot, Israel Independence Day, and Yom haZikaron, to honor the memory of those who fought in wars to defend Israel and those who died in terror attacks. Our goal is to strengthen our understanding and ties to Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.

Dorothea Dorenz

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Attend our monthly events on the first Sunday of the month.

Check the calendar to keep up with our other programs, such as film and lecture discussions.

Book Group meets on the second Tuesday of every other month from 7:30-9pm to discuss books by Israeli authors. Click here to see a list of books that we have read. Click here to see suggestions for future book readings.

Chug Ivrit meets the first and third Sunday of every month from 4-5:30pm.

A home for progressive young adults with opportunities to serve, learn, and connect. For folks 18 and over.
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Sign up for our email updates here, and check out and follow our Facebook page for current event information. We are recruiting new committee members too, email us to help shape our beautiful community!

COORDINATORS (not listed above)
Many volunteers regularly coordinate programs and services for our communities outside of a committee or initiative. Click the arrow to view their contact info.

Beyond Small Talk – Karen Bovarnick Contact:

Greeters – Lyssa Jaye Contact:

Kiddush – Josh and Noga Gressel  Contact:

Knetivot Knits – Sandra Gore  Contact:

Library – Barbara Bibel, Sandra Gore, David Stein Contact:

Men’s Shelter – Katya Gerwein Contact:

New Babies – R.Chai Levy Contact:

Shabbat Schmooze – Caroline Taymor Contact:

Shabbat B’Yachad – Alex Diamant Contact:

Wednesday Morning Minyan – R. Stuart Kelman Contact: