Shabbat Shalom ~ Behukkotai 2024

Dear WJC Family,

Last week I was reminded why I am so grateful to be an American Jew. I was traveling in the Netherlands and so much of the Jewish story there, as with most of Europe and the world, is a question about the status of Jews. Could Jewish people be loyal subjects to the Christian crown? Could they be loyal citizens to an emancipated nation? Were they bound by the same law as other residents and citizens? In a conflict, would they be loyal to their fellow countrymen or their Jewish people? The inherent Antisemitism of all of these questions was simply the way of the Old World.

One of the great privileges of being Jews of the New World is that these were never the questions here. From the inception of the United States of America, Jews had the rights of full citizenship, including the right to vote. The right to vote gives every Jewish citizen the same say in influencing the future of this nation as every other citizen. It is an experience nearly unique in thousands of years of Jewish history and a privilege we cannot take for granted.

Especially now, as Antisemitism bears its ugly head in new ways here in this country, we should make good use of the leverage that comes from the right to vote, the leverage that comes from letting our voices be heard as we support the ideals and values of our tradition, such as “Tikkun Olam, Repairing the World” and “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof, Justice justice you shall pursue”

One important upcoming opportunity to vote is June 25th, when we will have the chance to exercise our rights as Americans to vote for the candidates of our choice in the Republican and Democrat congressional primary elections. Like most of the country, our congressional districts are drawn in such a way that whoever wins the primary election will almost certainly win the general election in November. In the districts where our members live, the Democratic primary will be determinative in deciding who represents us in Congress.

Thus, the elections that matter for Congress don’t take place in November, they take place in June! Because the elections take place in the summer when many of us are on vacation, at camp, or otherwise away from Westchester, it is critical that each of us makes a plan to vote now! As a matter of fact, Tami and I will be leading the congregational Ride for the Living trip on June 25th. We already have a date for in-person early voting (open June 15th to 23rd). You can find information about early and absentee voting at:

You can find more information about the elections, registration deadlines, and check your registration status at:

This summer’s election matters. I can’t, and won’t, tell you who to vote for, but as your rabbi I hope that 100% of eligible voters in our congregation will cast a ballot in this summer’s primary elections. It is our right as Americans, and our responsibility as Jews, to vote! If you have any questions or would like to discuss any aspect of this election or voting in general, I am always available.

There are so many ways to make a difference. Voting is one, but you don’t have to wait until you are 18 to have an impact. On Tuesday recent WJC bar mitzvah Levi Sigel hosted an exhibition baseball game (special uniforms and all) and raised thousands of dollars for displaced Israeli children to be able to play with some sense of normalcy. Pretty amazing – call haKavod to Levi and his parents Erica and Zack!

We are looking forward to celebrating Joey Babchik’s bar mitzvah on Saturday morning – mazal tov to Joey and his parents Bethany and Mike.

Friday night is full of Shabbat Festivities with a Rythm & Ruach Service, Pre-School Shabbat, Community Shabbat Dinner and our 8pm program My Sephardi/Mizrachi Heritage – a panel of fellow WJC members with diverse backgrounds! It should be a fun and interesting discussion!

See you in shul,


1 “Israel Elections: Is it a mitzvah to vote?” The Jerusalem Post, March 20, 2021, Shimshon HaKohen Nadel.

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