Today is April 21, 2024 /

Shabbat Shalom: Shabbat for Peace

Dear WJC Family,

I am sure you are all as exhausted as I am, emotionally and mentally. As the appalling details about what occurred last Saturday in Israel continue to come out and the terrible numbers fill out with terrifying and heartbreaking stories, how could we be anything else? I know it is difficult to look to Shabbat for peace with the events of last Shabbat still so fresh in our memories. And yet, that is the formula that has sustained us for thousands of years. Heck, as we will read in this week’s Torah portion, Bereshit, even God found peace on Shabbat. And so, I hope we can gather this Shabbat to find the peace and comfort of being together.

Show Up for Shabbat – Saturday morning:

We will be celebrating two simchas in shul this Shabbat—a bar mitzvah in the morning at the Simple & Soulful service (in the activity center) and a bat mitzvah during mincha (in the sanctuary with a congregational service in the chapel). These simchas can be the ray of light and hope we need right now. They will help us smile, heal and remember why this is all worthwhile in the first place.

In fact, I was corresponding with a colleague in Katamonim, a neighborhood in Jerusalem (more on them later), and she was saying how three kids are supposed to have their bnai mitzvah in synagogue this Shabbat and the families want to go ahead with it, but no one is sure what will be by then or if it is wise to go, or if it will even be possible. On top of everything else that has happened to the Israeli people, imagine the disappointment of these soon-to-be-Jewish-adults and their families that the simcha they have planned for is marred. So, I am suggesting we Show Up for Shabbat Saturday morning for those in Israel who will not be able to do so.

This Sunday, October 15, is coincidentally the first “Everything you ever wanted to know about…” Adult Ed Class and the topic is “The Wonders of Shabbat.” Learning about our day of peace may also be a good way to honor our hopes for peace. See details here.

Security Update:

As we indicated in our email yesterday, we have significantly enhanced our security measures to be commensurate with the advice received from our law enforcement partners for this upcoming weekend.  As such, we hope you and your families will notice the difference and feel comfortable joining us for all of the services, programming, and activities planned throughout the next few days. While we don’t send out publicly the specific measures being taken, if you have specific questions, please don’t hesitate to check in with the office today.

WJC Israel Assistance Fund:

Several of you have asked me if, in addition to the large organizational funds we’ve been recommending (UJA ISrael Emergency Fund, Friends of the IDF, and  Magen David Adom) if I know of local needs and efforts on the ground in Israel that you can help with. The answer is yes. To help distribute funds more locally, we are going to start accepting donations for a designated fund in the WJC Discretionary Fund – WJC Israel Assistance Fund. To donate, simply contribute to the WJC Discretionary Fund and put WJC Israel Assistance Fund or IAF in the memo line.

The first three local efforts I will be contributing to are:

  1. Supporting the efforts my colleague is helping organize in Katamonim – housing refugees from the south in empty apartments, feeding those families amidst rationing, supporting the 50% of the families in the neighborhood impacted by call-ups, and working with the schools to home-school children while schools are closed.
  2. Continuing to support the Keshet Israel Emergency Fund: I mentioned this Fund in a previous email. Keshet is the tour company we used for our recent Israel trip. They are deeply connected to the communities along the Gaza border most impacted by the invasion and to several army units in the South. This fund is providing what’s-needed-as-needed support to the people and soldiers there.
  3. The IDF is not prepared to equip the 300 thousand soldiers it has just called up. A bat bayit (woman who grew up at WJC) who made aliyah is arranging the acquisition of basic supplies that called up soldiers don’t have – phone chargers, flash lights, etc. for soldiers in Israel who have just been called up.

The WJC Israel Assistance Fund is open and if you know of other local rebuilding or support efforts that need funds to succeed, please make suggestions. Together we do have the power to make a difference for our brothers and sisters in Israel.

One last thing: I know that many of us are feeling many conflicting emotions and are struggling to make sense of them—sadness, fear, rage, sympathy, mercy, to name a few. If you would like to meet to process together, I and my fellow clergy will make ourselves available for one-on-one meetings in the next few weeks (we are always here for you, and especially at difficult times like these).

See you in shul and Am Yisrael Chai,

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