Remembering Lesli

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Lesli & Eddie

Lesli & Eddie

As many of you know, CJC founder Lesli SachsWilliams died unexpectedly while on a trip to Costa Rica. The CJC congregation that we experience today and the ongoing strength of our community have its roots in Lesli’s vision of a Jewish community on the Coastside and her tenacious work in bringing it to fruition

CJC Memorial for Lesli:

Shloshim service led by Jhos & Julie
Sunday, June 23, 2-4 pm
Holy Family Episcopal Church in Half Moon Bay

Our community is heartbroken with the news that CJC founder Lesli Sachs-Williams passed away on Tuesday May 14, with husband Eddie and daughter Loryn at her side.  Lesli was truly a mover and shaker in our community, and so it is with gratitude that the board has voted to establish a memorial fund to honor Lesli and all she did to create, grow, and nurture CJC through the years.  The fund is the Lesli Sachs-Williams Clergy Fund, and it will help to support and retain our beloved clergy, Jhos andJulie (see bottom of this article to make a contribution).


As Board members shared their thoughts about Lesli at a recent meeting, it was clear she touched everyone in some way. Going back to the beginning of Jewish history on the coast (!), we remembered that before Lesli, Safeway market did not carry matzo, which she got them to do. Of course, the biggest reason for her to want them to carry matzo was so she could start “lookin’ for Jews” there! Which she did. Hanging out in the matzo aisle! Then with determination and pride she formed, shaped, and continued to breathe life into CJC, and “the one word in the English dictionary she never learned to hear was: NO.”


In a CJC Holy Books study group a couple of years ago, she offered this: “when I die, I better find out what it’s all about.” One thing she did find several years ago was her “beshert” Eddie. Our congregation watched Lesli relax into this sweet relationship, with a glow and sparkle as their love grew for each other, and we welcomed Eddie into our community and our hearts. At our most recent Friday night Shabbat service in Pacifica, Lesli’s daughter Loryn came and was surrounded by our hugs and shared tears. Loryn will always be in our CJC family and it was with bittersweet joy that we welcomed her that night. As Julie Batz said a few weeks ago, “during this time we must pay attention to our broken hearts together, and to do it Jewishly.” That is the true spirit of CJC.


Here are two links to articles from 1998 in the HMB Review and in the JWeekly about how Lesli created CJC and the community’s joy with the first High Holidays with the new student Rabbi, Serena Eisenberg.  Some of our current members were there, many of us joined later and some of our newest members came into CJC after Lesli and Eddie moved to San Diego two years ago.  Take a walk down memory lane, or get to know Lesli for the first time, and enjoy learning about our roots.  Soon we will send along links for current articles about Lesli from local and Bay Area papers.                                       A remembrance, by Cathy Hauer


The Half Moon Bay Review featured Lesli in its June 5, 2013 edition; the article can be read on their website.


To make a contribution to the Lesli Sachs-Williams Clergy Fund:

By Check, please make check out to ‘CJC’ & note ‘Lesli’s fund’ in your memo field; mail to:
CJC, PO Box 1729, El Granda, Ca 94018

To make a contribution via PayPal, click on the link below: