Today is July 23, 2024 /

Shabbat Shalom ~ HaGadol

Dear WJC Family,

The holiday Passover and the first seder will be here on the evening of Wednesday, April 8. It is customary for firstborn males to begin fasting at dawn on Wednesday morning and not to eat until we say Motzi Matzah at the seder table. Ta’anit Bechorot as it is known in Hebrew, reminds us that as firstborn males it was only the blood of the Pesach offering on their doorposts and the grace of God that would have saved their lives on that fateful first Passover thousands of years ago. Even in our moment of redemption, there is a reminder of our own vulnerability and that it took an act of faith to save us.

Erev Passover is a tough day to fast and so there is a custom to nullify the fast with a siyyum that morning—a siyyum is a special celebration for completing a section of Jewish learning. So, at our minyan on Wednesday morning (8:00am – I will be celebrating my completion of Tractate Yomah about Yom Kippur, and all the firstborn males there to witness it can celebrate with breakfast, as will I.

Tractate Yoma is all about Yom Kippur, but a section I was learning last Shabbat talks about the Passover sacrifice. Passover falls on the night of the 15th Nisan on the Hebrew calendar, but the lamb to be sacrificed had to be selected and dedicated to the purpose by the 10th of the month. Why so? Because to make Passover properly takes preparation and dedication. I know we have spent a lot of time grieving the seder that we won’t be having, but there is still plenty of time to prepare for the seder we will have.

It doesn’t take planning a giant Zoom presentation for dozens of people – it could be just you or you and your partner – being together is what counts. And it doesn’t have to be a three-hour production. Telling the story in a way that is meaningful to you is what counts. And it doesn’t need fireworks or theatrics or the cleverest idea ever – I have a feeling this seder will be memorable however we do it.

That being said, we want to make sure you feel prepared with whatever resources you need to prepare in a way that is meaningful for you. To that end, here are the links to two Passover workshops we have held so far:


Seder 101 with Rabbi Arnowitz

A full introduction to the traditional seder: history, meaning, themes, preparation and a quick overview of each part


Passover Cleaning, Kashering and Cooking with Rabbi and Tami Arnowitz

A quick overview of prepping the house for Passover, especially during this pandemic


We will also host a Passover Idea Exchange this Sunday at 10:00am. This will be an open discussion for people to share ideas of how they are making seder work this year or how they have done it in years past. Join us Sunday morning by clicking here:


We are looking forward to our Shabbat celebrations as well:

Friday at 5:30pm – Shabbat Pre-neg (it’s like an oneg but before Kabbalat Shabbat) This is an opportunity to schmooze with your fellow WJC members, perhaps “share” a beverage and have a snack before our “Taste of Shabbat” service because while services are nice, so is our together time that usually accompanies them and we miss it.


Friday at 6:00pm-7:00pm – Ta’am Shabbat, A Taste of Shabbat at WJC

This week is Shabbat HaGadol, the Shabbat that precedes Passover. We will read some of the Torah portion, a few verses of the special haftarah, Rav Jef will share words of Torah and we will sing in Shabbat together with Kabbalat Shabbat tunes.

The link for the Pre-neg and Ta’am Shabbat is:


Saturday at 8:30pm – Havdalah

We’ll see out Shabbat together and start the new week united in spirit through ritual, just as the havdalah candle is braided together.

The link for Havdalah Saturday night is:


And, I want to remind you that if you need anything we, your clergy and your WJC family, are here for you. Hopefully, by now you have received a call from one of our lay-leaders checking in and if for some reason you haven’t gotten that call, please know that we are thinking of you and are here if you need help getting necessities like food and medicine, as well as if you just need to talk. We understand that these are challenging times in many ways and want you to know that you are not alone! That’s what being part of a family is all about.

See you online,





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