Today is July 24, 2024 /

A Time To Return: A Letter from Rabbi Arnowitz

Dear WJC Family,

In English, we refer to the High Holiday season as “a time to repent,” but repentance isn’t actually an accurate translation of the Hebrew, “הָבּוׁשְּת, teshuva.” In fact, teshuva comes from the Hebrew root shuv meaning “return.” So the High Holidays are “a time to return” and what better message could there be for the year 5782?

In general, when we talk about “a time to return” on the High Holidays, we are referring to returning to our relationship with God, returning to our best selves, or returning to the path God meant for us. This year it has a more basic meaning—it is a time to return to “normal life,” to activities we used to do, and to our WJC community.

While we still need to take the pandemic into account, we are very excited to be able to offer a much more robust set of services and High Holiday experiences than was possible last year. This year’s High Holiday Task Force, under the leadership of Susan Miller and Harold Treiber, has been working actively for several months. Thanks to their efforts, as well as the efforts of the rest of the High Holiday Task Force, the COVID-19 Task Force, the clergy, and staff, we are able to offer High Holiday experiences for all ages including indoor and, for the first time, outdoor experiences. We have made every effort to use our resources evenly to create the highest quality experience wherever you may be davening with us indoors, outdoors, or online.

Click here to view a brief description of our plans for our service offerings as of mid-June. These plans may be subject to change at any time right up until the start of High Holiday services. As always, we will do our best to be transparent in our decision-making and timely in our communication. Soon you will also receive information about additional programs that will enhance this special time of year, which will occur before, during, and after the High Holidays, but we wanted to get you the enclosed information as soon as we could. 

The pandemic situation necessitates that we can’t completely return to our exact pre-COVID experiences, but we hope that you will find a service that is the right fit for you and your family in a venue where you are comfortable. While we will necessarily be divided into multiple indoor and outdoor venues, the prospect of all being on the campus at the same time is thrilling—it is quite a bit closer together than we were able to be last year!

May we continue together,
on this path of return,
at the time to return,

Rabbi Jeffrey M. Arnowitz, Seth Schafler, and WJC’s High Holiday Task Force

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