President’s Corner: Israel at 70


As the State of Israel celebrates 70, I think about how the existence of the modern State of Israel becomes part of what we embrace at synagogue and how we think. WJC brings Israel into our synagogue in many ways. In the classrooms, our children learn about Israel. We also have experiential learning. This year, Adam Bender inaugurated an AIPAC Annual Policy Conference trip for our Hebrew High students.

Our Religious School students celebrated Israel’s 70th with games, music and art, learned about Israel’s geography and created their own flags. Our ECC has their own simulated “Trip To Israel” on Thursday, May 19th. They visit many cities and participate in activities including an archaeological dig, fishing and relaxing on the beach, squeezing oranges & stomping on grapes to make juice at the winery, saying a prayer at the Kotel and enjoying an animal safari.

We experience Israeli culture through our Israel movie night and Israeli dancing, with many loyal followers. Each Shabbat, we pray for the well being of Israel. And then there are the WJC synagogue trips to Israel led by our clergy. My family has participated in one and it has been a highlight of our family memories. And Jennifer and I went on an adult trip to Israel, which was also very meaningful. Later this year there will be another trip led by Rabbi Segelman.

Please see the cover story for more details. I highly recommend it. There is something special about taking a trip with your synagogue friends and clergy. To be sure, a strong Israel is important to our community. We are reminded of the need for a secure Israel through much of the programming presented by the Holocaust Learning Center. Thank you to Dan Berkowitz for your leadership and to the committee, who makes sure the Holocaust and its important lessons remain relevant to our children and us today. And thank you to Dan and Mark Russ for such a moving service on Sunday, April 8, in commemoration of Yom HaShoah. The service was followed by a fascinating lecture by Noah Lederman, author of A World Erased: A Grandson’s Search for His Family’s Holocaust Secrets.

Our Westchester Jewish community came together to celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday at the Westchester countywide celebration held at Solomon Schechter on April 15. Thank you to the Westchester Jewish Council under our own Elliot Forchheimer’s leadership, for spearheading such an important event bringing the larger community together to celebrate Israel’s independence.

There was a lot going on last month and much to look forward to this month including a beautiful new Koslowe Art Gallery Exhibit, thanks to Amy Levine- Kennedy and her committee. The exhibit explores the “Jewish Presence in Eastern Europe.” The opening show was terrific and I am happy to say packed.

The World Jewry Committee continued the program “Exploring Judaism Through TV & Film.” A personal highlight was the discussion of how Seinfeld influenced society. There are a few things in May to note. We have a Community Shabbat Dinner with Rhythm & Ruach “Under the Stars” on May 4th followed by an author and book discussion. Thank you, Pam Mizrachi, for making these dinners so much fun and the food so good!

I look forward to our upcoming Spring Gala honoring the Tolchinksys and Gerszbergs on Sunday, May 6. Mazel Tov to the honorees. This is an important fundraiser for WJC and a wonderful way to celebrate our community. I hope to see you there.

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