Shabbat Shalom (and Exciting New Announcements)

Dear WJC Family,

There is so much to talk about today, so what follows is a message in four parts:

  1. Expanded programming and reduction of protective protocols under the careful watch of our COVID-19 Task Force
  2. Shavuot Programming and Schedule
  3. Prayers and support for the people of Israel and their civilian neighbors
  4. This Shabbat

1) With increased vaccinations and decreased positive test results in our county along with governmental recommendations that loosen suggested protective protocols WJC is adjusting our protocols as well. Of course, our number one priority is keeping people safe so rest assured that everything we are doing is done with careful forethought. Our number two priority is getting back to offering all the great in-person experiences that make WJC so special and there’s lots of exciting news to report:

  • Starting THIS Friday night, in-person Shabbat services (Friday night and Saturday morning) are open to everyone. We will also continue the live stream for those who use that method to access services.
  • It is no longer required to pre-register for services. Just come when you want, like the good old days.
  • Until we hear otherwise from the County Dept. of Health, we will still require masking and social distancing, however you can sit in pods with whomever you are comfortable. 
  • Starting with Shavuot, at the Tikkun Leyl Shavuot and after morning services, we are serving food outside. There will, of course, be very strict protocols to make it safe, but Kiddish is making a comeback!
  • A variety of other programming is coming back in person—join us for Shabbat Yoga outside, Rhythm and Ruach Under the Stars, Israeli Dancing indoors, and more.
  • We are also planning to resume our normal in-person daily minyan schedule on June 1, also with a continued Zoom option. 

2) We are excited to be hosting an in-person Tikkun Leyl Shavuot on Sunday night. The Tikkun is the traditional “learn-in” in honor of the anniversary of our receiving the Torah on the first day of Shavuot. This year, though, it will be a “learn-out,” as we study under canopies just like they did at Sinai on the first Shavuot. And here’s the bonus—Patty and the kitchen staff are cooking up a dairy feast for those who attend—think blintzes and other dairy goodies. See the Tikkun schedule below.

We will have regular Yom Tov services on Monday and Tuesday morning as well, each starting at 9:15. On Tuesday I will be speaking at the Yizkor Memorial Service – to make sure you are there for Yizkor I would suggest arriving by 10:30am.

3) While the day-to-day situation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories is a complicated one that requires nuanced and critical discussions, this is not a day-to-day time. Just as I wouldn’t discuss theology when visiting someone in the hospital (we are doing that again if you need us, by the way, though for your health I hope you don’t), wartime is not the time to discuss complexities. Now, with many of our friends and relatives huddling nightly in their shelters and safe-rooms, it is time to pray for the protection of the residents of Israel, for the innocents on both sides of the Gaza border being victimized by the terrorist organization controlling Gaza and for peace to finally bless the Jewish homeland. If you would like an action item to help, join me in reaching out to our congressional delegation by clicking here and adding your voice to mine, and those of our fellow congregants. Let them know that their support is critical right now and that terrorism and the indiscriminate targeting of civilians must be condemned. And I hope you will join your clergy in raising our voices in prayers for peace. Click on the video link here to pray with Cantor Goldberg and Rabbi Levin-Goldberg.

4) All that and we still have Shabbat starting this Friday night: PLEASE JOIN US FOR FRIDAY NIGHT SERVICES LIVE AND IN-PERSON or on the live stream. It’s our first full Kabbalat Shabbat service for quite some time, so we’re excited! Tami Arnowitz will be our guest davener—the service starts at 6:45 in the sanctuary.

Saturday morning services will start at 9:15 (in-person and on the live stream) – I will be delivering a talk entitled, “Taking the Wilderness with Us: The Torah’s advice for maintaining the new priorities we learned during the pandemic and discarding the trauma.” Mark Berger will be leading Shacharit and Hazzan Ellen Arad will be davening musaf.

Havdalah will be on Zoom at 8:50pm.

A reminder – no need to pre-register or fill out any attestation forms, just show up. We can’t wait to see you!

See you in shul,

Tikkun Schedule:

7:30pm: mincha afternoon service
7:45pm: Rabbi Cornelia Dalton, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Demons, Dybbuks, and Witches in Jewish Imagination. Does the Torah talk about the supernatural? Did the rabbis believe that demons had chicken feet? Do we still believe in this sort of thing today? (For everyone, including teenagers)
8:30pm: maariv evening service and food
9:00pm: Rabbi Jen Tobenstein, Hearing is Believing: The auditory processing of Revelation
9:45pm: break for food
10:00pm: Seth Schafler, Reading Ruth An exploration of the Megillah read on Shavuot with an emphasis on the interpretations of Dr. Leon Kass
10:45pm: break and food
11:00pm: Rabbi Arnowitz, Torah and the Persistence of Evil: Questions answered and left carefully unanswered by the Torah

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