Dear WJC Family,
We are particularly excited to daven this Shabbat in our newly rebuilt chapel, finally repaired from all the damage caused by Ida! It is a long-overdue rededication of our sacred space and davening is always lovely in the more intimate setting. Over the summer we will mostly use the chapel on Shabbat unless we know we are expecting a larger than usual crowd for a Simcha or other occasion. The Beit Midrash (open space in the back of the chapel) will be open with staggered seating for those who prefer it.
More on summer davening in a moment, but first I want to share an important message from the Rabbinical Assembly, the organization of Conservative rabbis, that was published after last week’s Supreme Court Decision overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. You can access the statement by clicking here.
As you can see, the movement has had a consistent position of supporting a woman’s right to choose for over 40 years at least. That does not mean that every Conservative Jew, or even every Conservative rabbi, needs to share that opinion, but it does mean that it is the normative opinion within the movement. Included in the message are links to the published opinions of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly, which I provide to you for your consideration. Now is a good time to learn about abortion rights through a Jewish lens and to recognize that while many justify anti-abortion opinions in religious terms, that is not the only way to read the sources.
I offer these resources knowing that this is an emotionally charged issue for many and that not everyone agrees with the opinions offered. If you would like to continue the discussion, I hope you will engage me or Rabbi Dalton in the conversation. More importantly, the instability and significantly impactful legal rulings of this week, including abortion, state-level gun laws, and allowance of prayer (mostly Christian, of course) in public settings has left many feeling like they are standing on shaky ground. That’s understandable because it’s been a lot and your clergy is here as a resource as we all adjust to this new reality and decide on a path forward.
This will be my last weekly message before leaving on vacation for the rest of July. The clergy and I are all able to take time over the summer to rest, recharge, and spend time with family and friends because our congregation is filled with talented and learned people who can teach, preach and lead prayers in our absence. We are so grateful to be part of a community like that and to Cindy Heller for coordinating all of the volunteers for every Shabbat in July and August. It is a gargantuan task which she undertakes on our behalf every year and we are so grateful. If you might want to volunteer for a Torah reading, I believe there are still openings for several weeks. And thank you to all of you stepping up in this way.
I also want to recognize that many of you have talents that are not necessarily applicable to Saturday morning, but are incredibly valuable to the community all the same. Perhaps you are an expert in a subject, have a passion for a cause or are hiding some great talent – there are myriad ways to volunteer and bring those passions and talents to your WJC family. We would love to hear what you love to do and explore how we can share it with the community. WJC isn’t some amorphous entity; it isn’t a building; it isn’t a clergy team. WJC is all of you and we are what we make it together. We are looking forward to creating and growing with you in the year to come.
Have a great summer and look to Facebook for pictures of me and Tami on top of a mountain in Colorado or Utah!
See you in shul this week,