Today is November 23, 2020 /

Shabbat Shalom ~ Chayei Sarah 2020

Dear WJC Family,

Well, this week has not turned out quite as I’d planned. As you may recall from last week’s email, I wasn’t planning to send a message because I was taking some vacation time and hiking Upstate. Instead, as you may have heard, all minyan attendees from several days last week, including the three clergy, had to quarantine due to a positive test result for one minyan attendee. Baruch HaShem, he is doing alright and so far no one who attended minyan has tested positive or developed symptoms. Due to the care we take in minimizing risk with health and safety measures, I hope and expect that will remain the case.

That being said, I think we all have a sense of the pandemic intensifying once again and the record-setting numbers of new cases and deaths are quite frankly frightening. While my confidence in our safety measures remains high, I hope we will all take extra care over these next few weeks to reduce risk and be extra-careful in the decisions we make. I hope you will also join me in praying for the health and welfare of all those being impacted by the virus directly and indirectly and all those whose role it is to treat the rest of us.

I would like to express my gratitude to all the minyanaires who attend minyan in-person regularly to ensure that those present and those attending virtually can say kaddish and the kedusha in the presence of a minyan. These minyanaires are some of our most committed mitzvah-menches and now, despite our protocols and care that we take to avoid “close contact” anywhere inside the synagogue, many of them are quarantined. We appreciate all that you do to contribute your time and presence to your WJC family and I know the congregation is here for you, whatever you may need during the next week to ten days at home.

I would also especially like to express my gratitude to Benjamin, Daniel, and Ethan Levy who, with their parents, have been truly dedicated members of the minyanaires. The WJC community has benefited from their presence (often making up half of a minyan all on their own) and their participation, including Torah reading and davening. And now Benjamin, Daniel, and Ethan, all high school students, are required to switch to virtual learning as they quarantine at home. My very sincere thank you to those boys for their passion to do a mitzvah to benefit others—I hope it always stays that way and your WJC family owes you all a BIG debt of gratitude.

In light of all of our clergy being in quarantine, as well as this week’s bat mitzvah honoree also quarantining due to a positive case at Hommocks Middle School, we will be altering our schedule for this Shabbat. There will be no Saturday morning service this Shabbat and our bat mitzvah will take place on December 12, Shabbat Hanukkah. We will host a Kabbalat Shabbat service this week at 3:30pm—the early timing is due to Shabbat coming in early. Our intention is for this to be a simple service that will end in time for candle lighting at 4:20pm. We will then gather again for Havdalah at 5:30pm, which will be more involved than usual, including my giving a talk in commemoration of the anniversary of Kristallnacht and in honor of Veteran’s Day entitled, “Recognizing Responsibility—Being a Grown-Up Bar/Bat Mitzvah.” I hope you will join us for these virtual Shabbat gathering opportunities. I have also included a video Dvar Torah that you can view by clicking the video link below.

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