Chabad of Sonoma's Rabbi Mendel Wolvovsky has been out visiting shelters, bringing food, comfort and other necessities. (Photo/Courtesy Rabbi Mendel Wolvovsky)
Chabad of Sonoma's Rabbi Mendel Wolvovsky has been out visiting shelters, bringing food, comfort and other necessities. (Photo/Courtesy Rabbi Mendel Wolvovsky)

Shabbat dinners to offer comfort in Santa Rosa and Napa

In an effort to contribute to the healing process after the North Bay wildfires, Sonoma County Chabad Jewish Center and Chabad of Napa Valley are organizing Shabbat dinners this Friday, Oct. 20. All are invited, and there is no charge for either event.

The Sonoma Chabad center will hold its Shabbat dinner at the Flamingo Resort Hotel in Santa Rosa, while Chabad of Napa Valley will hold its event at the Embassy Suites in Napa.

The past days have been so horrific, said Sonoma Chabad Rabbi Mendel Wolvovsky, that he decided to put together what he’s calling a “Shabbat Dinner of Comfort and Unity,” where locals can gather and share their stories with one another.

Wolvovsky and his wife, Altie, have spent time visiting members of their community in their homes, and bringing meals to those in evacuation centers. As the dust begins to settle, he says, emotional support is all-important.

“So many people have lost everything,” he said, adding that at least one person in his community was still missing as of Oct. 16. “People are just walking into the Chabad office to talk. They’re very shaken up.”

Wolvovsky is expecting as many as 400 people will show up on Friday. The hotel has donated space, donors are sending flowers, challah and wine, but he said he still needs more help to put on what he anticipates will be a heartwarming affair. The JCC of Sonoma County, as well as the local branch of Jewish Family and Children’s Services, will be on hand to let people know of resources they can provide.

Meanwhile, Rabbi Elchanon Tenenbaum and his wife, Chanie, of Napa, said in their invitation to the Shabbat dinner that as a result of the fires, “the loss and trauma have been overwhelming. As we are all trying to process the magnitude of the devastation, this Friday might let us unite and heal by together welcoming the Shabbat, the day of peace, comfort and serenity.”

The Sonoma dinner starts at 5 p.m. at the Flamingo, 2777 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. To RSVP or send a donation, jewishsonoma.com/fire.

The Napa Shabbat dinner starts at 5 p.m. at the Embassy Suites, 1075 California Blvd., in Napa. To RSVP, contact Rabbi@JewishNapaValley.com or call (707) 492-4993.