havurah rainbow
Saturday mornings at 9:30 AM: Zoom Torah Study

Saturday. July 18, 7-8:30 PM: Online Mandelbrot Baking Webinar with Aaron Hendon

Friday. July 24, 7 PM: Online Musical Shabbat Service with Yael Yanich 
Scroll down for details!
Kol Hakovod to our Jewish HS Graduates
Shira Stahl and Silas Gardener!!

On Erev Shavuot, the Havurah gathered on Zoom for Shavuot services and to honor our HS graduates. We had a very sweet circle, and people told them how proud of them we are. The Havurah granted two certificates and a small scholarship of $180 each. Shira and Silas are both coincidentally attending the same college in the fall (we hope!) at Lewis and Clark in Portland. We wish them both all the best. Mazel Tov and Kol Hakavod Shira and Silas!!!

Shira read us her college essay which was centered on her experience growing up Jewish on Vashon. We are thrilled to have permission to share that essay with you. 

Shira Stahl's College Entrance Essay

"Growing up on Vashon, a small rural island in the middle of Puget Sound, I often felt disconnected from my Jewish heritage. I was a latke on a plate of pork chops. Although my family belonged to a synagogue consisting of about 60 families, the community of Jewish people on The Island was minimal, and I can count on my own two hands the number of Jews from my high school. My siblings and I made up almost half of them. 

My family and I practice Jewish Renewal, a contemporary branch of Judaism that strays far from the intensity and extremism of Jewish orthodoxy. We celebrate the major Jewish holidays, keep most of the Jewish dietary laws, and occasionally attend services, but growing up I wasn’t really interested in participating in my religion. 

There were many times when I was younger when I wished I wasn’t Jewish, and I avoided sharing my Jewish roots with my classmates. I wanted to ball up and hide away this part of my identity, and replace it with the mainstream hype of Christmas. The candles on the menorah were a reminder of what I was missing out on. I dreaded explaining that on Christmas day, we’d go out for Chinese food, and the local cinema would become my family’s private theatre. I’d often hear holocaust jokes, and found it easier to laugh it off rather than let it personally affect me.

At the age of ten I spent my first summer at a Jewish sleep-away camp in Northern Washington. It was at Camp Kalsman that I came to genuinely love being Jewish. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by people my age who shared the same cultural background as I did. One girl whom I became friends with brought up how she, too, hid her Judaism from people at her school, and I realized that I wasn’t the only one who had felt this way growing up. Together we learned to love being Jewish. We were taught the meaning and importance of Judaism through dance, song, art, food, nature, history, and social action. We sang Hebrew songs in circles of hundreds, which connected us to each other and Judaism. Everyone at camp had this certain love and acceptance for one another, including our collective Jewish identity. Being a part of this loving community completely changed my mindset about being Jewish, and taught me to cherish this core part of my cultural background. 

I attended the camp five summers in a row. And even though each summer session lasted only two weeks, I found that a part of the camp stayed with me, helping me to feel connected to the Jewish community throughout the entire year. I still wouldn’t consider myself very religious, but the culture of Judaism is so special to me, and I’m endlessly grateful that I can finally say that I’m proud to be Jewish. I feel that I've grown significantly due to my experiences at camp, not only as a Jewish person, but also as an individual. I strive to accept all people, in the same way that I felt accepted when I first walked onto the grounds of Camp Kalsman. 

One core value of Judaism that has stuck with me is Tikkun Olam, which teaches us that it’s the responsibility of humanity to repair what is broken in our society and planet. As I make my way into adulthood, I hope to carry the concept of Tikkun Olam with me, and do my part in repairing this very broken and divided world. Whether it be through acceptance of those different than me, small acts of kindness, or social and environmental action, I feel mandated to do all that I can to make this world a better place."

Torah Study

9:30 am • Every Saturday Morning • On Zoom!

"We're gonna Zoom, we're gonna Zoom.... we're gonna zoom, zoom, zooma zoom...every Saturday from 9:30 - 11:00 am!"

Click Here to Join Torah Study on Zoom!! 

July 4: Parashat Chukat-Balak / פרשת חקת־בלק
Torah Portion: Numbers 19:1 - 25:9 (triennial 19:1 - 21-20)
“Instruct the Israelite people to bring you a red cow without blemish...”
Haftarah:  Micah 5:6 - 6:8

July 11: Parashat Pinchas / פרשת פינחס
Torah Portion: Numbers 25:10 - 30:1   (triennial 25:10 - 26:51) 
“Phinehas, son of Eleazar son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the Israelites...”
Jeremiah 1:1 - 2:3

July 18: Parashat Matot-Masei / פרשת מטות־מסעי
Torah Portion: Numbers 30:2 - 36:13   (triennial 30:2 - 31:54)
“If a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath imposing an obligation on himself, he shall not break his pledge...”
Jeremiah 2:4 - 28; 3:4

July 25: Parashat Devarim / פרשת דברים
Torah Portion: Deuteronomy 1:1 - 3:22   (triennial 1:1- 2:1)
“These are the words that Moses addressed to all Israel on the other side of the Jordan...”
Haftarah:  Isaiah 1:1 - 1:27

Everyone is welcome to join these illuminating and warm discussions - no preparation required!

 Learn more about the Havurah Torah study group on our website 

Online Mandelbrot Baking Webinar

Saturday, July 18, 7-8:30 PM 


Please join us for this online cooking class with baker extraordinaire Aaron Hendon!! Suggest Donation $18, but pay what you will! Proceeds will go towards painting the Havurah and replacing the windows, with a portion being donated to an island charity. 

My grandmother used to bake us mandelbrot and send it in the mail to keep us permanently stocked with this staple:-) We always had a supply ready in the freezer. Now you too can make this Jewish delicacy and stuff your freezers with it!

"Mandelbrot (Yiddish: מאַנדעלבראָט), also called mandel bread or kamish in English, is a type of cookie found in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine and popular amongst Eastern European Jews. The Yiddish word mandelbrot literally means almond bread, a reference to its common ingredient of almonds. It is typically formed by baking a loaf which is then cut into small slabs and twice-baked in order to form a crunchy exterior. The cookies were popular in Eastern Europe among rabbis, merchants and other itinerant Jews as a staple dessert that kept well.

Its precise origin is unknown, as is its historic relationship with biscotti, a similar Italian cookie. It is made with oil and not butter and so is pareve and can be served as part of the Shabbat dinner.

The basic ingredients are flour, sugar, eggs and oil. Additional ingredients vary between bakers, but common additions include almonds, walnuts, cinnamon, chocolate chips or diced candied fruit. Mandelbrot is called kamishbrot in Ukraine, and the two terms are often used interchangeably in the United States." (From Wikipedia)

Register for the webinar HERE.
Monthly Cooking Webinars with the Havurah!!
Our blintz making webinar with Aaron Hendon was such a smashing success, we have decided to offer monthly cooking webinars going forward. It is a wonderful way for Gastronomic Jews (a term I learned at the Limmud conference last fall!!) to connect to our rich culture, a way for us all to be together doing something in this strange Pandemic era and a way for the Havurah to do some much needed fundraising for our painting/window replacement project planned for this summer. We were also happy to contribute 10% to the Vashon Covid Relief Fund.

Tickets are by donation; we are suggesting an $18 donation per household (have fun cooking with the whole family!). This is a tax-deductable donation! Give what you can; if you are able, consider giving a bit more to support those who are less able to contribute. In these times of uncertain finances for so many families, the Havurah has decided to hold off on our annual membership drive. Please consider contributing in this fun way! 

We will also be recording each webinar, so if you are not able to attend at the appointed time, you can still purchase a ticket and watch later. We had a lot of people do that for the blintz-making webinar, and heard back that it worked very well. After the webinar is over, we will continue selling the recordings. These will be available on the website soon; meanwhile, you can just go to the Havurah website and make a donation, when it asks you the purpose of your donation, pick "other" and then enter which webinar you are buying and we will send you the link!

To motivate you even more, if you attend four webinars at the full $18, the fifth one will be on us! Just email me at and let me know you'd like your complimentary 5th webinar. 

Some ideas are being floated of putting together a Vashon Havurah cookbook with all the recipes we make in the webinars. Stay posted for that!

Looking forward to cooking with you all soon!

for the ritual/programming committee

Musical Kabbalat Shabbat Zoom Service

Friday, July 24th, 7 PM


Many thanks to all who joined our June Fourth Friday Shabbat evening service on Zoom! Yasher Koach to Alice Bloch, who designed and led us in a poetic, beautiful service, and to Julea Gardener for leading us in song with her haunting and melodic voice.


Please join us this month on July 24th. We are thrilled to have Yael Yanich lead us in a musical shabbat service.

Born in Israel and raised in the US, Yael was part of a creative, musical family. Every Friday night, her parents hosted shabbat for all who wanted to come, singing and dancing into the night. She has been leading Jewish music and culture since she was knee high at summer camps, Jewish Day Schools, and for years as part of the Coolanu Havurah and Rosh Chodesh group of Seattle. Please come and give Yael a big Vashon welcome!


We welcome and coach new leaders!
 Click to sign up!  
We have your back!

A Jewish Response to the Killing of George Floyd
By Suzanne Greenberg (reprinted from the Beachcomber)
“He who takes one life, it is as though he has destroyed the universe and he who saves one life it is as though he has saved the universe". Talmud
I am a second generation Jewish American, raised with dual realities; being part of a people who has been murdered, oppressed, exiled and hated throughout our history and being a white, middle class American with privileges that my black and brown neighbors do not enjoy.

Though my grandparents’ arrival in America was greeted with antisemitic racism, European Jews were increasingly accepted as “white” in American society; proving the social construction of race; those in power decide who is and isn’t acceptable. After the atrocities of the Holocaust, antisemitic sentiment seemed to diminish; Jews entered society more fully, going to universities with former Jewish quotas, entering professions previously unattainable, even becoming elected officials, and enjoying newfound privilege unknown to our ancestors.

Yet, my parents instilled in me the idea that we are not truly free while others are still oppressed. With our historical trauma at the forefront of our psyches, many Jews have been propelled by the memory in our DNA to show up for justice and freedom for everyone. Jews have been at the forefront of every social justice movement.

Even so, it’s easy to become complacent, forget the daily reality of people of color, float by on white privilege that many aren’t even fully aware we have. I once brought a non-white friend to a Jewish event, and she confided afterwards that it felt uncomfortable to enter a room full of white people. My unspoken reaction was that it wasn’t a room full of white people, it was a room full of Jews!! I grappled with that over the next several months, realizing my identity as an oppressed minority held the duality of also being a white person in America, and though I identified as oppressed, I lived with everyday privilege that I was just waking up to; the privilege of not having to worry about being shot by a police officer for a traffic stop, the privilege of being able to walk down an empty aisle in a store without suspicion being raised, the privilege of growing up in comfortable suburbia, the privilege of not losing multiple family members to the horrors of the prison system. And on and on…

In the last month, America has been experiencing a profound moment of awakening. White Americans are suddenly confronted with the level of privilege they enjoy in contrast with the state-sponsored terror black Americans experience daily. George Floyd’s death, so vividly shown to the world in the midst of a pandemic that was already disproportionately killing people of color, was a breaking point.

Amidst the sorrow, anger and rage, there is also the excitement of hope, the power of the people reclaiming what is theirs, and momentum for change that only crops up once or twice in a generation. A Jewish sage named Hillel said, “If not now, when?”

I encourage all to find strength and teachings from your own backgrounds and histories; the commonalities where your people may have been oppressed, the teachings from your cultures that encourage showing up for what is right, and the deepest commonality of all; that of our shared humanity. Grab this moment and find courage to step forward and help propel the momentum of this movement. As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “In a free society, only some may be guilty, but all are responsible.”

How to do this? Follow the lead of the Black community. There is amazing, energetic, coordinated, intelligent leadership being displayed; if you are white or a non-black person of color, I encourage you to get behind these young leaders. Another Jewish teaching says, “If you can stop your household from committing a sin, but do not, you are held responsible for the sins of your household. If you can stop the people of your city from sinning, but do not, you are held responsible for the sins of the city. If you can stop the whole world from sinning, and do not, you are held responsible for the sins of the whole world.” (Shabbat 54b)

If you are looking for a local way to get involved, consider joining Vashon-Maury SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice). Contact

If you want to make change by electing new leadership for this country, please join us at Indivisible Vashon. We have many opportunities for action; contact or go to

Whatever you do, please do something. Leviticus 19:16 says, “Do not stand idly by while your neighbor’s blood is shed.”
Antisemitism did not, after all, go away as it seemed when I was younger; it went underground, but is rapidly resurging. Hatred towards any group is all part of the same disease; we cannot root out hatred towards one group until and unless we eradicate all forms of hate and all oppression.

If not now, when?
With all of our programming moved to Zoom Meetings, here are some simple directions for getting onto Zoom:

If you are using a laptop or desktop with webcam and microphone, click the “join zoom meeting” link, and your default browser will open a zoom window. You do not need to create an account.  Depending on your security settings, you may get a banner asking if you want to download or run the Zoom program. Click “yes” or “agree” or “run”.

If you are using a phone or tablet, go to and download the Zoom mobile app from the App Store or Google Play. You do not need to create an account. When you click the “join zoom meeting” link, the app will open.
The Havurah will send one monthly email with events, announcements and food for thought. Let us know what would make this weekly message most useful and meaningful.

Click here to open an easy Contact page.

Please submit news items one week before the last day of the month for publication the following month. We’re trying to limit excess messages in your Inbox and manage the all-volunteer communications workload.

Email your items to  Thanks!
handsAbout Us

 The Havurah is proud to be an all-volunteer organization, maintained by the cooperative energy of its members. We are blessed with many hard-working folks. Here's our board:
President:              Suzanne Greenberg
Vice President:      Meredith Cummings
Clerk/Secretary:    Alice Bloch
Treasurer:              Amy Greenberg
Member at Large:  Barry Grosskopf

We welcome your ideas and skills too!   CONTACT US 
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Sustain Us

We depend on your wise and generous hearts for:
• monthly or annual membership contributions.
• donations in honor of births, bar/bat mizvah,
   graduations, weddings, and other happy events.
• donations in memory of beloved family members
   and friends.

Four easy ways you can help!
1. Save Your Thriftway Receipts:
Vashon Thriftway gives 1% of your purchases to the Havurah!
Simply sign your slips and give them to a board member,
or drop them in the jar at the Havurah.

2. Use Amazon Smile:
Amazon gives 0.5% of your purchases to the havurah! Click:
 amazon smile
3. Send Contributions with PayPal:
 PayPal Donate
4. Mail a check:
 Havurat Ee Shalom • PO Box 89 • Vashon WA 98070

Copyright © 2020 Havurat Ee Shalom, All rights reserved.

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