President’s Message
Thanksgiving meal served to SMPD by RCSM members, family, and friends.
December 18th through December 26th families will gather for the eight-day Jewish celebration known as Hanukkah or Chanukah which commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend Jews had revolted against their Greek Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt.To wish someone a Happy Hanukkah, say “Hanukkah Sameach!” (Happy Hanukkah) or simply “Chag Sameach!” (Happy Holiday). Or if you want to show off your Hebrew skills, say “Chag Urim Sameach!” (urim means “lights”).Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25th as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on twelfth night. Christmas Day is a public holiday in most Countries and is celebrated religiously by most Christians, as well as culturally by many non Christians. New Year’s! So how did January 1st become New Year’s Day? We can partly thank the Roman king Numa ompilius. According to tradition, during his reign (c. 715–673 BCE) Numa revised the Roman republican calendar so that January replaced March as the first month.

We, Santa Monica Rotarians, have a Holiday Schedule, we will be live this week (December 2nd) at the Hilton but DARK ON DECEMBER 9TH . Our Holiday Party will be on December 10 th at the home of Kathy Dracup. We will be live at the Hilton on December 16th for our Club Annual Meeting, State of the Club Message, Financial Report and Elections (see notice below). Our program on December 16th will be Dr. Ben Drati, Superintendent of Santa Monica Malibu School District. We will also have a holidy ugly swater/best dressed contest. We will be DARK ON DECEMBER 23rd AND DECEMBER 30th.


Steve Litvack is in Cedars Hospital in the Marina with COVID and his wife, Gail is at home recovering from COVID. We will have a Get-Well card at our meeting for all members to send their wishes for a speedy recovery.

John Lehne, Past President (2000-01) of RCSM was a member of our club for 32 years, met his wife, Katherine “Kate”, in 1955 and they were married for 63 years. Katherine passed away peacefully on November 23, 2022, after a four-year battle with Alzheimer’s. Funeral services will be at Corpus Christi Church in Pacific Palisades (date yet to be determined). We will have a sympathy card for your signature at our meeting this Friday.


Our Club Leadership Elections are coming up!  This year’s elections will be held at our LIVE AT HILTON meeting on December 16th .  We are making a change this year in how some of the positions are filled.  Many Rotary clubs don’t have “contested” elections.  Instead, there is a slate of candidates, and the members vote to approve or disapprove the entire slate.

In the past we had two candidates for each open position.  This year we are trying a hybrid approach.  Some positions will have two candidates, some will only have one candidate.  For example, we have five director positions to fill, and your vote will be to approve the entire slate of five directors or not to approve the slate. Since two of these directors will be two-year positions, you will then vote for two of the five directors you want to have filling the two-year positions.

This hybrid approach is a test for this year, and we will evaluate how it goes.  There will be absentee ballots available one week before the election if you can’t attend.  These must be received by 5pm on December 5th.  IF YOU NEED AN ABSENTEE BALLOT, REQUEST ONE FROM BILL POWELL at

The ballot was announced at our November 18th  meeting and here are the candidates:

Vice-President: Mike Kallhoff, Kera Snell, Daniel Bennett, Kathy Shepard
Secretary: Felix Crown, Kathryn Markolf
Treasurer: George Pickell
Directors: Bill Rayman, Karin Wallerstein, Kinan Aljamal, Richard Lombari, Brian Linnenkens

Our President-Elect who will take charge July 1 st , 2023, is of course Ken Waltzer.  And our new President- Elect??? – MONIKA WHITE!!!   Congratulations to Monika and let’s all give her, Ken and the incoming board all of our support.

Trash Talk: Water Quality and Plastic Pollution Prevention

In this presentation, we will explore the ways in which nonprofit Heal the Bay achieves its mission of keeping the local coastal waters and watersheds of greater LA healthy, safe, and clean. We will then dive deep into the specific issue of plastic pollution and how science, policy, and community action can be used to fight this problematic and prolific pollutant. Talk will be followed by a Q&A with the presenter on all things marine conservation.

Host Rotarian; Carol Powell
Hilton Santa Monica 1707 Fourth Street, 90401
Cost: $68 includes lunch for visiting Rotarians & Guests

December 9th dark for holiday party.
December 16th
Rotary is proud to hear from our very own exceptional school district. The SMMUSD Mission Statement: “Extraordinary achievement for all students while simultaneously closing the achievement gap” The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is headquartered in Santa Monica and serves the diverse coastal communities of Santa Monica and Malibu.
Superintendent Dr, Ben Drati, who is also a Rotary member will update us on our local school district achievements and the future of our school district.
Host Rotarian Host: Monika White
Hilton Santa Monica 1707 Fourth Street 90401
Cost: $68 includes buffet lunch for visiting Rotarians and guests
Also December 16th-
• Rotary Santa Monica Election of Board of Directors 2023-24
• Rotary Santa Monica annual Ugly Holiday Sweater Contest

Become a Holiday Angel and help families in need
(in partnership with Connections For Children)
Donate unused & unwrapped toys for ages 0-18 years old (ages 13-18 preferred – gift cards, make-up sets, board games, sports equipment, accessories, and technology).
1.    Drop toys off at the December 2nd Rotary meeting or bring to the volunteer event at the CFC office on December 10.
2.    OR contact Karla Guerra (, 310-452-3325 x276) to schedule a time for the collected toys to be picked up or dropped off to the Connections for Children office.
3.    OR purchase from the CFC Amazon Wish List:
1.    Saturday, December 10 (9:00am-noon): Help sort the donated toys and fill bags with what each family requested!
2.    Saturday, December 17: (10:30am-12:30pm): Help hand out gifts to families.
Note: If you cannot make this time, gift distribution will also occur Friday 12/16 from 12-5pm and on Saturday 12/17 from 9am-5pm.

Where: The CFC office at 5901 W. Century Blvd. Los Angeles

Thank you for helping to put a smile on a child’s face during the holiday season! For questions or to sign up, please email Also, please let Connections for Children know directly with this link: RSVP for Holiday Angels.

December 2nd – Toy Drive
December 6th – First Tuesday @Solidarity
December 9th – Dark for holiday party
December 10th – Holiday Party @ Kathy Dracup’s House
December 10th & 17th – Sort Toys @ Connections for Children
December 16th – Holiday Ugly Sweater & Best Dressed Contest live @ Hilton
January 12th – Book Club – in Person at Judy Neveau’s Home 
MAR 4th – Wine and Food Festival 2023- more details to come. Purchase your raffle tickets now.  See Karin Wallerstein or Kera Blades Snell.
MAR 16- 23rd -District Humanitarian Trip to Belize
Curious about Upcoming Rotary Programs? Go to

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MEETING LOCATION: Hilton Hotel, 1707 Fourth Street, Santa Monica

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 586, Santa Monica CA 90406