Today is March 4, 2024 /

Shabbat Shalom ~ Behar-Behukkotai 2023

Dear WJC Family,

It is with great sadness and real fear that I write to you (I am writing on Thursday night) as over 800 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel in the last 36 hours. Most have been intercepted, but no system can stop every one of such a relentless barrage. One rocket hit an apartment building in Rehovot, killing one person and injuring 2. While Islamic Jihad terrorists in Gaza intentionally aim rockets at civilian populations in Israel, including some that are reaching Tel Aviv, Israel is targeting terrorist infrastructure. This infrastructure, such as rocket launchers and Islamic Jihad leaders, are often in civilian areas, intentionally placed there by Islamic Jihad despite the risk to the civilians. All of this is to say, let us pray for the safety of those protecting Israel and all innocent civilians caught in this clash. Let us pray for peace to reign again soon.

I understand that this news may give you whiplash. With all the news about judiciary reform coming out of Israel lately and the real misgivings about the current government, especially several of its leading members, it can be hard to shift our attention so quickly. Yet it is important that we remain able to differentiate between the Israeli government and the Israeli people. Today, Israelis (Jews and Arabs, Christians and Muslims) are in danger and Judaism teaches that all of their safety must be our first concern. While we thank God (and the US Congress) for the iron dome batteries that are significantly reducing the penetration of those rockets into Israel, and thereby reducing the much higher death toll in Gaza that would incur if Israel felt that a ground incursion was needed to protect her citizens, the death in Rehovot is a reminder that the risk to life and limb is real and now is the time for prayers and solidarity. The other Israel conversations will return when peace comes, and may it come soon.

These attacks are yet another reminder what a miracle Israel’s existence and survival for 75 years really is. I hope you will join the Southern Westchester Jewish community to celebrate at Israel Fest on May 21st at Temple Israel New Rochelle. Or, or also on May 21, if you are in the J.O.Y. (Just Older Youth) Club you can join Rabbi Menachem Creditor here at WJC for his take on The State of the State of Israel.

I also wanted to share one more follow-up thought on our terrific Scholar in Residence Weekend with Rabbi Ethan Tucker of Hadar. If you came to a session and enjoyed it, or even if you missed it and are curious to experience some of the incredible Jewish learning and experiences he and Hadar have to offer, you can sign up for two worthwhile programs they run. The Hadar Executive Seminar – a learning conference being hosted in New York CIty from July 16th to the 20th and Project Zug a program that matches up virtual partners for regular, paired Torah learning guided by master teachers. If you have questions about either program you can get in touch with me or follow the links to folks at Hadar who can answer help.

We are excited to celebrate Perri Schapiro’s bat mitzvah in shul Saturday morning. Perri’s family has been associated with WJC for generations and we wish a mazal tov to them all, especially her mother Ilyse and her father Evan, a dedicated officer of WJC. I hope you’ll join us to celebrate, as well as on Friday and Saturday evenings for our regular services, times listed below.

See you in shul,

 

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