Today is February 20, 2024 /

Shabbat Shalom

The Strategic Planning Committee needs your help! Click here to read the letter that went out from our committee chairs explaining the next steps of our process, the specific area planning task forces being set up, and how to sign up to help out. These task forces will be visioning the future for the whole synagogue, so this is your chance to spend your volunteer time in a way that will have an impact for a whole generation. I hope you’ll sign up to help out.


 

Shalom WJC Family,

It’s been a fabulous Purim week here at WJC—the Carnival last Sunday saw hundreds of people of all ages having a great time. On Monday night, our Megillah Reading and Wine/Juice Tasting was a big hit too! If you missed the wine tasting, but would still like some fabulous kosher wine for your Passover table, the order form is attached here. Personally, I recommend the Rothschild’s!

And we aren’t done with Purim yet. This Sunday night at 7:00pm we will have our first Purimspiel in four years. It occurs to me that some of you could have forgotten, or may never have been familiar with, the Purim-time custom of spieling.

When asked by me, ChatGpt (Artificially Intelligent chatbot) says, “The origins of the Purimspiel date back to the Middle Ages in Europe, where Jewish communities would put on plays and performances to celebrate Purim. The Purimspiel can take many different forms and is often a humorous and satirical retelling of the Purim story, featuring characters such as Queen Esther, Mordechai, and Haman. It may include songs, dance, comedy, and audience participation.”

The spiel features sketch comedy roasting synagogue life, our clergy and pretty much whatever the imagination of our resident spieler, Randy Heller, can turn out. I mean, he’s no ChatGPT, but I often do suspect his intelligence is artificial. Still, it’s pretty funny stuff, and as is customary, includes the retelling of the Purim story in classic Oyklahoma-style, with a cast of characters that includes all of our clergy, WJC president Larry Thaler, some newbies and a seasoned troupe of grizzled actors, tempered in the crucible of an ambitious and plentiful rehearsal schedule.

All this to say—it should be a pretty darn good time and if you’ve never seen one, come see what all the fuss is about – Sunday at 7:00pm at WJC. I hope you’ll come to see us make fools of ourselves for your entertainment, as has been a pillar of Judaism for millenia!

On a more serious note, after the performance on Sunday night I am joining about 20 colleagues traveling to Israel on a UJA Federation Mission. The trip is just Sunday night to Friday morning – three days on the ground. But we all think it is an important moment to go, discuss, listen to what’s going on from varying perspectives on the ground there, and express concerns we have and that we have heard from all of you. We are scheduled to meet with Ministers of the Knesset, journalists, NGO CEOs, Israeli rabbis from across the spectrum and a variety of other thought leaders. When I return I look forward to sharing my experiences and what I am able to glean about the reality of the situation there.

And of course, before any of that, we also have a beautiful Shabbat ahead featuring our New Members Shabbat Dinner, A Simple & Soulful service Saturday morning and the bat mitzvah of Zoe Perl in the afternoon. Mazal tov to Zoe and her parents Alynn and Ben!

See you in shul,

 

P.S. There will be no video commentary this week or next week. I look forward to picking it up when I return. Due to my travel schedule, there may not be a personal message from me in next week’s email either.

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