The MLJC’s mission is to provide opportunities and events
that nurture a vibrant and enduring Jewish identity,
culture and community in the Mother Lode.
THE MOTHER LODE JEWISH COMMUNITY
YOUR JEWISH CONNECTION
IN CALIFORNIA'S GOLD COUNTRY
Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa
and Tuolumne Counties
"Let your house be wide open'
Pirkei Avot 1:5
(Ethics of our fathers)
MLJC Board of Directors
Rodger Orman, President
Tami Rakstad-Schaner, Vice President
Emily Orr, Treasurer
Ron Schaner, Secretary
Board Members "at large"
Joanne Madsen Elliott
We are a 100% volunteer run, 501c3 nonprofit membership organization.
Our Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is elected annually each June at the annual member meeting, with members serving from July through June. The board, along with other volunteers drawn from our membership, organizes and hosts about 12 events each year.
President’s Message: (updated 8/22)
Welcome to the Mother Lode Jewish Community’s website.
I am one of the founding members from when this havurah was formed back around 1987 and took up the role of president once again just as we entered a unique and trying time in our history. One of my favorite parts of being in this group was the frequent potlucks and social gatherings that took place during the year, many surrounding the frequent holidays on the Jewish calendar. We shared sometimes hard-to-find Jewish foods together and got to know people from various parts of the Sierra foothills, many of whom settled in this beautiful area after long careers in more urban settings with larger Jewish communities and others raising young families here.
In recent years the MLJC had also been fortunate to enjoy the services of Rabbi Andra Greenwald, who led us in religious gatherings as well as in study groups, enriching the fabric that binds us as a community. Rabbi Andra has recently stepped down from this role, as her life is taking her in a different direction. We will miss her and I want to extend my deep appreciation for all she has done for this organization and its members.
We are most fortunate in that Rabbi Valerie Joseph who was our rabbi for several years a decade ago before moving to Philadelphia has returned to California and is living inPalo Alto. I want to welcome her back as she has agreed to be our Rabbi again. We hope to have 4 events in person with her this coming year..
COVID-19 put a damper on our activities. I had thought that we could resume at least our outdoor events together in person this past spring, but between the weather and the virus, it was not until August that we managed to gather for a delayed annual meeting. It was wonderful seeing so many old friends as well as to welcome new faces.
All Jews and their families are welcome in the MLJC. We have a lot of blended families. What does it mean to be a Jew? We have recently broadened our by-laws so that our definition now includes lineage either from your mother or your father as well as conversion. Some of us follow the laws of Kashrut, some are married to a non-Jewish partner, some have converted to Judaism and some consider themselves “secular” Jews. We all have different ways that we identify as being Jewish, but we unite in celebrating the traditions that bind us as a Jewish community through celebration, ritual, study, and Jewish friendships.
Welcome to the Mother Lode Jewish Community and we hope to have in person events for Rosh Hashanah, Hannukkah and Passover and more.
La shana tova tikatavu! May you be inscribed for a good year!
לְשָׁנָה טוֹבָה תִכָּתֵבוּ וְתֵּחָתֵמוּ
President, Mother Lode Jewish Community
Rabbi Valerie Joseph
Rabbi Valerie Joseph graduated from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. She is a Board-certified chaplain and recently served on the Greater Philadelphia Board of Rabbis. She is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly, Neshama: the Association of Jewish Chaplains, and the Greater Carolinas Association of Rabbis.
Rabbi Valerie currently provides Disaster Spiritual Care for the Red Cross. Previously, she was a chaplain at the Palo Alto VA Medical Center. She will be officiation at a number of MLJC events in the near future.
Her hobbies include bicycling, travel, baking, reading, and participating in the worldwide Daf Yomi cycle (reading a page of Talmud each day).