Shabbat Shalom ~ Kedoshim 2024

Dear WJC Family,

There is a popular notion that Mother’s Day was invented by greeting card companies and florists. It is not exactly true. The roots of Mother’s Day in this country are a little complicated. The simplest story, though, is that a dedicated daughter, Anna Jarvis, campaigned for the nationalization of the holiday after the death of her mother Anna Reeves Jarvis. She envisioned the holiday as a way to honor mothers for their dedication to and sacrifices for their children. In fact, as the holiday became more and more commercialized, Anna Jarvis spoke out against it.

The reminder that Mother’s Day is about celebrating mothers everyday and the underlying value of honoring our mothers is a good reminder for the other holidays we are celebrating and commemorating this week, the “Yom’s.” In past years, Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), Yom Ha Zikaron (Israeli Memorial Day), and Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day) seemed like purely symbolic days – they represented important values that needed to be lifted up every once in a while to remind us that we should live them everyday. This year is different.

Amidst a surge in Antisemitic incidents and rhetoric in this country, and especially on college campuses, no one needs a reminder to think about the Shoah (I hope you had an opportunity to read the open letter from many in the Columbia Jewish community to their campus community). As Israeli soldiers and civilians die in service to their country, everyday feels like Yom HaZikaron. Yom Haatzmaut this year feels like less of a celebration and more of a shout into the darkness of delegitimization and existential threats. This year the “Yoms” feel less like ethereal, symbolic reminders of very important values and more like solid statements of a reality we may have been taking for granted and now cling to for strength and solace.

Many of us got a taste of the difference in celebrating holidays this year on Passover. So too, Yom HaShoah last Monday was not like any I’d commemorated before – it seemed as much about a possible, terrible future as the tragic past. We should be prepared for more of the same this Monday and Tuesday for Yom HaZikaron and Yom Haatzmaut as well. Perhaps this year, in addition to showing up at ceremonies and celebrations, an appropriate way to mark the holidays is with donations (of any amount) to fitting organizations. I might suggest the following, recognizing that there are so many worthwhile organizations doing important work in this moment, a you may choose to support another

Yom HaShoah  

  1. The Hillel at your alma mater or at any of the campuses we’ve seen in the news.
  2. Local Hillels through Hillels of Westchester.
  3. Stand With Us, who supports Jewish students on campuses around the country.

Yom HaZikaron  

  1. Friends of the IDF, who do amazing work supporting Israeli soldiers, especially “lone soldiers” from outside of Israel.
  2. Magen David Adom, the Israeli version of the Red Cross.

Yom Haatzmaut 

  1. The Jewish National Fund
  2. Masorti – the Conservative Movement in Israel whose congregations bring a pluralistic vision to the future of Israel
  3. Purchase an Israel Bond to show your belief in the future of the State of Israel.

And please check the WJC website for Yom HaZikaron and Yom Haatzmaut events happening in the community.

Of course, before we celebrate moms or the “Yom’s” we’ll celebrate Shabbat. Please check the Shabbat service times below. We look forward to celebrating a peaceful and meaningful Shabbat with you.

See you in shul,



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