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 anti-racist 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 Coordinating Team which is accountable to the Board and guided by a Community Council.
Coordinating Team

Shosh Blachman, Joshua Diamant, Judith Radousky and Deborah Yager. 

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Current News

CNS Antiracism Reparations Project on Sunday 2/28 12-2pm – Exploring ways in which we can support the idea of reparations for descendants of former American slaves.  Zoom:   Please contact Robin Braverman at or (925) 979-1998 for more information. 

What To Do About Antisemitism and Racism – Eric Ward Talk on Sunday 2/28 at 4pm – Join us for a timely interview of Eric Ward, an internationally respected expert on the relationship between authoritarian movements, hate violence, and preserving inclusive democracy, in conversation with Moment Magazine editor-in-chief Nadine Epstein.  Click here to join meeting.

Join a Racial Justice Study Group! Informational meeting with Lyssa Jaye on 3/14 at 4 pm – To begin your antiracism efforts in a powerful way, join a book group to read and discuss “Me and White Supremacy” by Layla Saad.  

25th JCRC Multicultural Passover Freedom Seder Tuesday 3/16 at 6 pm – Be part of this participatory, cross-cultural, interfaith exchange as we celebrate our community as a bastion of freedom.  Click here to register.

COVID-19 Pandemic Effects on Low Income and Minority Residents of Berkeley – Talk by Terry Taplin on Wednesday March 24th at 7:30 pm – Berkeley City Council District Two Representative Ted Taplin will address vaccine rollout, homelessness, food insecurity, employment and youth job training programs, gun violence and policing.  This event is sponsored by the CNS Antiracism Initiative.  

Reading Fiction by Black Writers (first meeting Tuesday April 6th at 7:30 pm) – Read and discuss fiction by contemporary black writers.  Book group led by Carol Dorf will meet bimonthly on the first Tuesday of the month. First book: “Another Brooklyn” by Jacqueline Woodson. 

Toward a Jewish, Anti-Racist Reading of Biblical Texts on Monday April 12th, 19th, 26th, May 3rd, 10th from 7:30-8:45 pm  Join us for a course taught by Rabbi Rebecca Joseph that examines aspects of anti-racist practice through the study of biblical texts from multiple perspectives.  

Calling Attention to the Most Recent Wave of Anti-Asian Violence Recent racist attacks against Asian Americans across the country and in the Bay Area are responses to COVID-19 and are only the latest incidents since COVID hit a year ago. They are horrific and we must stand against them.  If you witness or have any information about incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, report it to the Stop Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Hate website: It also has a page to check how your local and Federal Senate and representatives vote on issues of racism. 

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

Click here for more information on current news and actions you can take.

CHEVRA KADISHA (“sacred community” that cares for the dead and 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. 

Mark Schlosberg and Ariel Gold

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Elana Naftalin-Kelman


Brenda Goldstein, Darci Smith, Katya Gerwein, Lynne Yellenberg, R. Chai Levy, Tamar Fendel

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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.

Betsy Ross and Jonathan Stern

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)

Jonathan Stern

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GEMILUT HASADIM (“bestowing kindnesses” such as caring for the ill)
Combined with Bikur Cholim. Provides meals, rides, visits, calls, etc. to members who need help.

Lynne Yellenberg and Norma Kaufman

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Mikdash creates positive member experiences and strengthens relationships in our community. During the coronavirus pandemic, Mikdash works to maintain our connections through creative and relational experiences for our community.

Rabbi Chai Levy

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This committee is in dormancy right now due to Covid-19.

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.

Alice Webber (Torah Reading), Cynthia Whitehead (Drash), Eugene Berg (Davening)

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The SAC’s mission 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. 

Rose Falanga

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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.

VZOT YISRAEL (“and this is Israel”)
The V’zot Yisrael committee is dedicated to educating our membership about all aspects of Israeli society to foster understanding and connection between our two homelands: Israel as the home to 45% of world Jewry, and the United States as the home to 45% of world Jewry.

Dorothea Dorenz and Art Braufman

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Current News

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. Upcoming: February 28th, 4:00pm, White Nationalism, Antisemitism, and Racism – Eric Ward Talk

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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Current News

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!