"Let your house be wide open'
Pirkei Avot 1:5
(Ethics of our fathers)
2021-2022 Board of Directors
Rodger Orman, President
Tami Rakstad-Schaner, Vice President
Emily Orr, Treasurer
Ron Schaner, Secretary
Bill Wittmer, Immediate Past President
Board Members "at large"
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.
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 have once again taken up the role of president during this unique and trying time in our history. One of my favorite parts of being in this group are the potlucks and social gatherings that took place during the year, many surrounding the frequent holidays on the Jewish calendar. We share sometimes hard-to-find Jewish foods together and get 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 has been fortunate to enjoy the services of Rabbi Andra Greenwald, who has led us in religious gatherings as well as in study groups, enriching the fabric that binds us as a community. She has made herself available to officiate at traditional rituals such as brises, bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings and funerals, enrichening our lives deeply.
COVID-19 put a damper on our activities. I had thought that we could resume our events together in person this year, but now know I was wrong and COVID-19 is still lethal. Until we can safely meet in person we will continue to have our events on Zoom. Hopefully we can have outdoor events in person by our Annual Meeting in June of 2022.
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? Is it strictly your birth from a Jewish mother? 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.
If you have creative ideas for events, please let me know!
Have a Good Year and Stay Healthy.
President, Motherlode Jewish Community
Rabbi Andra Greenwald
Rabbi Andra Greenwald is a licensed clinical social worker and ordained rabbi who feels "that adding the spiritual component to the physical, psychological and emotional dimensions of our lives would make touching those lives more complete."
Rabbi Greenwald, along with her husband, Loren Gonella joined the Mother Lode Jewish Community in 2014 and has been involved in leading the spirutual portions of our gatherings since 2013. She also contributes a thoughtful and educational note to this website each month. Rabbi Andra (as she prefers to be called) also has been called upon by both our members and others in the 4 county region to officiate at life cycle events, with the goal of "making these moments meaningful" and notes, "I have made so many friends in the process."
Rabbi Andra also serves as the second vice president of Modesto's InterFaith Ministries and believes "we are blessed in the process of helping others". She and her husband have three young adult daughters, the youngest of whom is a cantorial student at the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Rabbi Andra’s rich knowledge of our Jewish traditions, coupled with her warmth, sincerity and caring manner enhance and facilitate our mission to provide opportunities and events that nurture an enduring Jewish identity and community in the Motherlode.