Shabbat Shalom ~ Ki Tavo 2022
Dear WJC Family,
We are barreling our way through the Hebrew month of Elul – it feels like the weeks are flying by! Rosh Hashanah is almost here and it is time to get serious about our spiritual preparation for the “Days of Awe.” The Unetaneh Tokef prayer so central to the High Holiday liturgy gives us three ways to prepare: Teshuva (Repentance), Tefillah (Prayer) and Tzedakah (Acts of Charity). With those in mind, here is a checklist for the rest of Elul to get you ready:
- In the spirit of Tefillah, attend Selichot Services tomorrow night. Selichot are the unique and beautiful prayers designed to give us a first introduction to the High Holiday liturgy. Our community Selichot service features cantors from several local Conservative synagogues and will start with havdalah and some learning led by Rabbi Adam Baldachin and me. Important Note: Due to circumstances beyond Shaarei Tikveh’s control, the Musical Selichot service has been moved inside and will be available on Live Stream. Havdalah and learning beforehand will take place outside in the tent.
- In the spirit of Teshuva, participate in our 100 Blessings for 100 Days Campaign. As we have been discussing, blessings play an important role in our Jewish lives. There is a teaching that every Jew should recite 100 blessings every day – we are going to try to do so as a community. Click on the link and please share a blessing you’ve recited or experienced today. It could be a formal Jewish blessing, for example the HaMotzi over bread, a moment when you gave thanks in your own way for something you experienced or witnessed, or a time you reflected God’s blessing in the world for someone else, like an act of tzedakah or care or kindness. Sharing your picture or a picture of the blessing (like a beautiful rainbow you witnessed) is optional. The goal is to reach 100 blessings submitted everyday and we encourage you to try to do a different blessing each day.
We will really kick-off the campaign at Rosh HaShanah and it will run until Hanukkah, but we can get started early – submit a blessing to brighten someone else’s life and your own.
- Also in the spirit of Teshuva, it is my privilege to share this great teshuva idea from The Orangetown Jewish Center. Rabbi Paula Mack Drill designed a series of questions to be used as a “Spiritual Check-in” with someone you care about. Click here to get those questions and then choose a partner to interview. In Elul we are supposed to work at restoring and renewing our relationships. The Spiritual Check-in is a great opportunity to reconnect or connect more deeply with someone. I hope you’ll use this great tool.
- There are too many opportunities to give tzedakah to count, but I will take this opportunity to remind you that if you haven’t already made your Elul/Kol Nidre pledge to the synagogue, the waning days of Elul would be a good time to do so. You can make your pledge by clicking here.
- One more opportunity for tzedakah – after Ida devastated our town and villages one year ago, SOJAC at WJC, in partnership with the Mamaroneck Coalition for Affordable Housing (MCAH), is trying to help address the need for better emergency preparedness in our area. We are trying to create a list of volunteers who will host displaced families of 2-6 for 3 days. The commitments include:
Bathroom with tub &/or shower
Toiletries (some will be provided)
Attend an orientation meeting
Of course, we hope the need won’t arise and people won’t be displaced, but if you would be willing to do this great mitzvah and be on the list of host families, please contact Sharon Silver at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We are also collecting toiletries and making pre-packed toiletry kits. Please drop these toiletries off at WJC: individual toothbrushes, toothpaste, body wash, deodorant, shampoo, and conditioner.
We hope you will participate in all of these ways over the next week, as well as join us Friday night for a wonderful evening including dinner (rsvp required), Rhythm & Ruach services and a guest speaker Dr. Samantha Vinokor-Meinrath, Senior Director of Knowledge, Ideas and Learning, Jewish Education Project, presenting on “COMING OF AGE IN A NEW REALITY OF ANTISEMITISM: WHAT YOUR FRIENDS, KIDS & GRANDKIDS WANT YOU TO KNOW.” It should be a great evening and Shabbat at WJC.
See you in shul,