Malka Drucker is rabbi at Temple Har Shalom. She has deep roots in Idyllwild, having owned a home here for more than 40 years. Although many of those years were part-time, she and her family spent the summers and weekends in Idyllwild, her kids went to camp here and her husband also did accounting work on weekends.
It was on the Idyllwild Arts campus that Drucker took her first writing class with Norman Corwin. Since then, she has written 21 books. She wrote about 80 percent of her books at her serene home in Idyllwild.
Her first book, published in 1976, was “Tom Seaver, Portrait of a Pitcher.” The book was part of the Book of the Month Club for about 12 years. She wrote “White Fire, A Portrait of Women Spiritual Leaders in America” for which she won the Pen Southwest Award in 2005.
As well, Drucker has written two books about the Holocaust, “Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust” and “Jacob’s Rescue,” a children’s book and a true story. You can also read her “The Family Treasury of Jewish Holidays” and “Jewish American,” an anthology of heroes.
Drucker was a rabbi in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for 25 years before taking the position of rabbi at Temple Har Shalom in Idyllwild on June 8, 2016. Now that Drucker lives full-time in Idyllwild, the Jewish community can know that “their spiritual leader is always present.”
Drucker feels that her “personal presence hasn’t mattered elsewhere as much as it has in Idyllwild.” The reason the presence of a spiritual leader is so important in Idyllwild is that there is only “a small cadre of Jews” who want to learn more about their faith. It is my job, said the rabbi, to “connect them to their souls as Jews.”
For the purpose of education to those at Temple Har Shalom, as well as to the entire community of Idyllwild, Drucker is leading a series of four sessions called Judaism 101. Drucker invites those who are not Jewish to “come explore the roots of the Abrahamic religion.” The Jewish Federation of the Desert is underwriting this event.
The first session was Tuesday, March 13, at St. Hugh’s Episcopal Church. However, the next three sessions will all be held at Idyllwild Library between 5:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. the Tuesdays of March 20 (“Celebrating Life: Jewish Rites of Passage”), March 27 (“Israel: Wishes, Dreams, and Lies”) and April 3 (“Judaism’s Five Best Ideas”). Light refreshments will be served.
Also, on Saturday, March 31, Passover will be held at the Community Church, just across the street from the Town Crier.