Shalom WJC Family,
And Happy Lag B’Omer! I want to begin by sharing an interesting observation: Many have observed that since the pandemic began keeping track of time has been difficult. Some things seem to pass in the blink of an eye, others seem to take forever. The fact that it is Lag B’Omer, literally the 33rd day of the omer, means that it is less than a month since Passover ended. One may have thought that deliberately and ritually counting every single day would cure the warped perception of time, but I find that it is just not so. I cannot believe that it is only a few weeks since Passover. For whatever reason, it feels like that was months ago. Perhaps the only thing that will make time feel normal again is actually living in normalcy – may it return again speedily in our days.
Still, whether it took a shortcut or the long way round, it is Lag B’Omer. That means only two and half weeks until Shavuot, the holiday that commemorates the Revelation at Sinai. Somehow Lag B’Omer feels like turning a corner. From Pesach until now it is recovering from that wonderful but taxing holiday and observing mourning customs like not shaving or getting a haircut (check out this week’s Torah Talk video to see how long my beard has gotten). Then, from the joy of Lag B’Omer, until we arrive at Sinai, it is excitement and anticipation. Shavuot is a fun holiday – only two days long with no house to kasher, matzah to eat, or booth to build. Don’t get me wrong, I love Passover and Sukkot, but Shavuot is just sharing joy in celebration of Torah and the opportunity to do mitzvot. Plus, there’s usually cheesecake.
This year Shavuot is a Sunday evening to Tuesday evening, May 16-18. I hope you’ll check out all the great Shavuot services and programming we have planned. I am especially excited for our Tikkun Leyl Shavuot Under the Stars. If the outside was good enough for our ancestors who actually camped at Sinai, it is good enough for us to learn Torah in memory of that greatest of moments in Jewish history. And don’t forget to mark your calendars for the Yizkor Memorial prayers on Tuesday, May 18 at Yom Tov services.
Even before Shavuot, we are working hard to reinstate many of the services that were a cornerstone of our congregation before the pandemic. As we continue to head in the right direction regarding vaccinations and new cases of Covid-19, we are accelerating our service offerings. Anyone of any age is now welcome at our services, but everyone does need to sign up in advance (email the office to sign up). In-person Shabbat youth services have been running for a few weeks (it’s wonderful to see these young faces again) and we are having our first in-person Tot Shabbat this week. We are excited about our first in-person Friday night service with a minyan since January, which is coming up next week on May 7th. It is a Rhythm & Ruach service outside with lawn seating and some chairs available for those who prefer it (see details below.) Our intention is to offer in-person Friday night services every week after that. Shortly after that, we are planning to restart Shabbat mincha services, as well as daily weekday morning minyan. So please keep your eyes out for information about new offerings as we are able to add them.
One last thing, last night was the UJA/Federation Westchester Event. I want to wish a yashar koach to Cindy Golub who is finishing her term as the Westchester Regional Chair and a mazal tov Tara Slone-Goldstein who will be taking up that position. I have to say that I was kvelling as I watched these two active leaders and supporters of our WJC community setting an inspirational example of leadership in and commitment to the greater community! Thank you both for all your great work on such an important pillar of the Jewish community.
Rabbi Dalton and Cantor Goldberg will be leading Kabbalat Shabbat services tonight on Zoom at 6:30pm, and Havdalah will also be on Zoom Saturday night at 8:40pm. Saturday morning services will follow our usual schedule with in-person services starting at 9:15 that will also be available on the Live Stream. All are welcome at Saturday morning services and youth services, but pre-registration is required (contact the office).
See you in shul or online,