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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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 
  • Friday “Black Lives Matter/No AAPI Hate” Sidewalk Demonstrators: (TBD)
  • Indigenous Peoples Solidarity: Lauren Callen, R. Dorothy Richman, Marit Doshi  
  • Reparations: Robin Braverman  
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Check out our newsletter here!

Land Acknowledgements in our Jewish Community – An Exploration
Thursday, October 7, 7:00-8:00 pm (via zoom)
– Explore the emerging practice of acknowledging the relationship between ourselves, the land we occupy and the Indigenous Peoples who are the land’s traditional stewards. We’ll consider the origin, purposes and principles behind this practice, look at examples in both Jewish and non-Jewish settings and discuss what emerges. This is a great lens to have as we prepare to mark Indigenous People’s Day on Monday 10/11. Facilitators: R. Dorothy Richman, Marit Doshi and Laura Callen (This is the same program that has been offered previously, so that more people can participate.)

Reading Fiction by Black Writers Tuesday, October 5th / 7:30-9 pm (via Zoom) – Join us in the last of our book discussion series on fiction by contemporary Black writers, led by Carol Dorf. October’s book: The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead, two time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys.  The Berkeley Library has copies.

Havdalah with Jews on Ohlone Land (JOOL) Saturday, October 23rd / 7:00-8:00 pm Co-sponsored by Netivot Shalom and the Antiracism Initiative  — A joy and justice-filled havdalah led by R. Dorothy Richman at the West Berkeley Shellmound. These gatherings are organized by Jews on Ohlone Land and co-led by community partners: Congregation Beth El (9/25), Urban Adamah (10/2), and Netivot Shalom on 10/23. Details forthcoming. Hear Corrina Gould, tribal spokesperson for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan and co-founder of Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, speak on Rosh Hashanah at Kehilla Community Synagogue here (starting at 1:18:10). 

Wednesday, 10/27, 7:30-9:00 pm. – CC Meeting7:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Tuesday, 11/30 – “The Book of Salt” by Monique Truong, first in a new series focusing on fiction by Asian American writers led by Carol Dorf.

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.

Coming this fall!  Shabbat Morning Drashot – Join us in person or via livestream on the following Shabbatot to hear Antiracism Initiative (AI)-sponsored drashot by members of our Netivot community: 

  • October 9th  Shabbat Noach – Laura Callen on Indigenous Peoples Solidarity 
  • December 18th  Shabbat Vayishlach – Robin Braverman on Reparations 

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 Los Angeles, 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. 

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.

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.

Dorit Dorenz



All are welcome to join our committee. Please contact Chair: Dorit Dorenz to receive the meeting link and to join our committee e-mail list for future meeting and event announcements.

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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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!