Dear WJC Family,
We are considering a trip to participate in Ride for the Living, a one-day bicycle ride from Auschwitz to Krakow (dates: June 26-30 with some touring and Shabbat) to raise money for the JCC of Krakow. The JCC of Krakow is involved in providing relief for Ukrainian refugees, in addition to revitalizing and serving the Krakow Jewish community.
If you might be interested in joining the trip:
In early November when I returned from Israel, several of you came to me and expressed a desire to go to Israel and have a similar experience—to volunteer and witness and give encouragement. It is such a privilege to serve a congregation of such passionate and committed people. How could I say no?
So, this Sunday I am embarking with 22 other participants, including Tami, for a four day whirlwind mission. Along the way we will staff a mess tent, cooking for Israeli soldiers making their way to and from Gaza (Tami is extra excited to plan the meal and run the kitchen). We will pick citrus for a farm whose foreign workers left the country. We will prepare Tu B’Shvat goodie boxes with volunteers from our partner congregation in Jerusalem, Moreshet Avraham, and then go together to Hadassah Hospital and deliver the packages to patients. (Starting on February 11 at 1:30 we will begin a monthly Zoom learning session with Moreshet Avraham, including breakout groups to have more personal conversations—keep an eye out for that Zoom information.)
In addition to those volunteering highlights we will also bear witness. We will get a tour of one of the Kibbutzim in the Gaza Envelope (probably Re’im) from a recently returned resident. We will visit with residents of Re’im that are still displaced in Tel Aviv and hopefully plan an ongoing project with them through an organization that specializes in these partnerships, “Israel24.” We will visit the headquarters set up for families of hostages to meet people and tell their stories (only when they want to) and join in the daily services held in “Hostages Square” by many of the streams of Judaism. We will, of course, even have some time to spend a few shekels and help the folks who make their living in the tourism industry.
It is a very full itinerary and a very short trip. I am not sure how much we will sleep, but I am assured we will definitely eat plenty. While this busy schedule means I won’t be doing a message or video next week, you can certainly still hear from me and about the trip by following our experiences on my Facebook page and Tami’s, and the WJC Facebook page will share our posts as well.
I also want to thank you for all of your continuing donations to the WJC Israel Assistance Fund. You have been generous and donations have made a difference in several grassroots aid efforts in Israel. We will be looking for more opportunities to support those making a difference for those in need on the ground and up close.
Then, one week from this Shabbat on January 27, you are invited to join us at services when trip participants share some of their reflections from the bimah during our morning service. We will also share reflections and pictures as this year’s World Wide Wrap speakers on the morning of February 11.
Also, just as our flight is passing Montauk heading to Israel (Sunday, January 21 at 3:00pm), you will have the opportunity to speak with IDF soldier Roy Neumann. Roy served as a “shin shin” in Westchester last year and after returning has begun his service in the IDF. This is a great chance for everyone to hear what it is like in Israel now and how we can best support them. To register and receive the Zoom credentials click here.
I also want to wish a Mazal Tov once again to our Past-President Sarene Shanus and Harold Treiber who will be honorees at the Westchester Jewish Council Gala next Saturday night, January 27th. I hope I will see many of you there to celebrate with them.
Lastly, don’t forget to register for the plethora of events during our Scholar In Residence Weekend as we welcome Amy Spitalnick, CEO, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, to speak about, “Antisemitism, Extremism, and American Democracy: Confronting the Challenges Ahead.” As is evident all around us, this is a crucial topic right now.
It’s an exciting few weeks ahead, and it all starts with Shabbat—services Friday evening and Saturday afternoon both start at 4:30pm. Saturday afternoon will include the celebration of Joseph Lindenbaum becoming a bar mitzvah—mazel tov to Joseph’s parents Jennifer and Phil! And please don’t forget to join Brotherhood for their first annual Charity Poker Tournament Saturday at 6:30pm—everyone is welcome to help raise money for a good cause.
See you in shul,