Shabbat Shalom ~ Behaalotcha 2023

Dear WJC Family,

It’s June, so not only have we been celebrating LGBTQ+ pride, I have been thinking a lot about the beauty of the term itself – ‘pride.’ What a beautiful framing of how we should feel about all the aspects of who we are, how God made us and how those attributes come together to create our full, integrated identity. Pride isn’t simply acceptance; it isn’t simply talking about LGBTQ+ identity once a year—it is appreciating, learning from and celebrating diversity in Jewish sexual and gender identity all year, not to mention all the other kinds of diversity that make the beautiful tapestry of the Jewish identity.

In fact, that is one of the great lessons we can all learn from Pride Month—that it isn’t enough to accept who we are, we should be proud of it and how it all comes together to make us who we are meant to be. I was particularly touched when marching proudly in the Israel Parade this past Sunday with a healthy contingent of WJC folks, to see the rainbow flags with a Jewish Star on them matching the Israeli flag and saying so much more. This is a good time to remind our community that we are proud of the WJC community and all the people who make us diverse and wonderful.

If you have any questions regarding our LGBTQ+ policies (they are pretty simple—fully appreciated and celebrated community participants just like everyone else) please don’t hesitate to ask me or one of our clergy team about it. And of course, if you are having questions about your own identity or how to best express it (or someone you love is in a period of questioning) we understand that these periods can be challenging. We are here to support you – please just let us know so we can help.

This Friday night we will be celebrating another effort at WJC worth cheering about. Our reinvigorated ‘green efforts’ are an exciting part of our WJC programming and efforts. This Friday night I hope you’ll join us after the Rhythm & Ruach service (even better, join us for the service too – R&R at 7pm, Program at 8pm) as several of the leaders of our green efforts present and answer questions about our new Pollinator’s Garden, Oak Tree and the solar panels that will soon sit atop WJC’s new roof. We will discuss these efforts and how they represent our Jewish values and connection to Creation.

And of course, we will top off the weekend with another celebration of pride. The pride in our WJC community itself, of the exciting plans prepared for our Night at the Riviera event this Sunday night and our amazing honorees Howard and Judy Zweig, Jacques Steinberg and Sharon Weinstock, and Glenna Lee – finer people you will not find. A fun night is guaranteed for all. We are very close to 300 attendees! If you haven’t registered yet, there’s still time. Perhaps you’ll be the registrant to put us over 300! I hope we’ll see you there (and I hope you will bid on the scotch/beer tasting I am offering for auction or the Shabbat dinner for you and your chosen guests at our house catered by Tami (the challah is quite tasty here!)

And in between the Green Rhythm & Ruach and the Night at the Riviera we’ll celebrate the b’nai mitzvah of Daniel and Amanda Koffler – mazal tov to them and their parents Michael Koffler and Marcy Jacobson. With all the excitement of celebrating two mitzvahs, we won’t have regular sermon – our weekly Torah lessons will be incorporated in the blessings for our b’nai mitzvah. So, please enjoy the link to a dvar Torah on this week’s Torah portion below.

See you in shul,

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