Shabbat Shalom ~ Hukat Balak 2023

Dear WJC Family,

First, thank you all so much for the amazing spirit and kindness you have demonstrated to help us mark the occasion of Gabi’s becoming a bar mitzvah. It was a wonderful simchadik (joyful) Shabbat for us, and we’ve been thrilled to hear that others felt that as well. We couldn’t have hoped for more.

Second, Happy July 4th! Independence Day is one of my favorite secular holidays. I mean, I am as proud (or almost) to be an American as am to be a Jew. This country and the principles upon which it was founded has been an incredible gift to my family, our people, and our faith. It is true that the country does not always live up to those principles and it is important to spend time learning the history, connecting with others and working to repair the damage of our past, and the wrongs still being perpetrated. It is just as important to recognize the beacon of light and hope this country has been so many times and for so many people because of the vision and ideas that birthed it and that we strive to live up to. And so we take one day, July the 4th, to celebrate the idea of “We the People” and to pledge ourselves to help make the union even “more perfect.”

There is more connecting Judaism and America than the fact that this nation has been such a hospitable home for Jews. As Dara Horn taught in her commencement address to the eighteen Jewish graduates of West Point this spring, both Judaism and America require a life of service, an agreement to accept certain obligations, in exchange for the privilege of being a Jew or an American. Her speech is definitely worth a look – check it out here.

I also wanted to mention how pleased I’ve been with the response to the High Holiday message that went out last week and to the theme of “Joyful Together.” Thank you to the over 100 of you who have already registered. To everyone else, please do so by clicking here, and pay special attention to the exciting new family service on the first day of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and to the stand-alone, afternoon Yizkor Memorial Service (in addition to the regular morning Yizkor service).

Lastly, this Sunday I begin my summer vacation and will be back on July 30. If you need anything between now and then, Rabbi Dalton is your go-to contact. Wishing everyone a great July and before that, see you for Shabbat – summer services start this week with laypeople leading the services and delivering the sermon. It is always a treat to hear what you all have to say!

See you in the chapel (or on the live stream),


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