Shabbat Shalom ~ Mishpatim (Rosh Chodesh Adar) 2021

Dear WJC Family,

Today is Rosh Hodesh Adar. Since Adar is the month that includes Purim, the rabbis of the Talmud taught that as it begins it is a mitzvah to increase our happiness. I have always loved the idea inherent in this teaching that whatever is going on around us, we can make the conscious choice to increase our happiness. Of course there will be times, like these perhaps, when it is more difficult to feel joy, but there is always the opportunity to just nudge ourselves to be a little happier—by saying a quick word of gratitude for some blessing, thinking of someone who makes us happy, reaching out to a loved one or just pretending to laugh (honestly that works). As Rebbe Nachman of Breslev, the Hasidic master of joy, said, “Finding true joy is the hardest of all spiritual tasks. If the only way to make yourself happy is by doing something silly, do it.”

But today I have to work a little less hard to feel joy, for tomorrow morning we will host an in-person Shabbat morning service with no bar or bat mitzvah. It is the first time we will be doing so since the beginning of November 2020 and we hope it will be the beginning of a process to open for more in-person services over the next several weeks. Of course, all of our tried and true protocols will be in place—physical distancing, required mask wearing, minimal singing, etc. and to attend you must make an advance reservation so we can assign you a seat. But it is all worth it when we can be in the sanctuary together, live streaming out an in-person minyan for praying, reading the Torah and sharing sacred time. 

And what a Shabbat to re-open—taking out three sifrei Torah to read—one for the weekly portion, one for the Rosh Hodesh reading and one for Shabbat Shekalim (one of the four special readings leading up to Passover). And since it is Rosh Hodesh we’ll have some Hallel songs of praise to boot. I know some of you have already signed up to attend in-person. I hope the rest of you will join us virtually on the Live Stream.

Before that, on Friday night, Cantor Ethan and I will be leading services together on the live stream. Also, this week we are adding something new. Unfortunately, Shabbat still comes in too early to do Friday night services on Zoom, but we know that folks also miss seeing each other during services. So for the next few weeks until we can switch to the Zoom platform for Kabbalat Shabbat, we are adding a Hachanat Shabbat (What we used to call a Shabbat Pre-neg) fifteen minutes before the start of services on Zoom. This will just be a chance to say hello, wish each other a good Shabbas and maybe drink a little L’Chaim. This week Hachanat Shabbat will be at 4:45pm—you can see the link in the Shabbat Services section below. When Hachanat Shabbat ends, you can switch over to the Live Stream for Kabbalat Shabbat.

We will close out Shabbat together on Saturday evening with a Zoom havdalah—you can check out that link below as well. Also, for a little pre-Shabbat Dvar Torah, click the video link below.

See you in shul or online,






This Weekend’s Services

Hachanah L’Shabbat
Friday at 4:45pm
Join us for a Friday Night Service hang out – a chance to wish each other a Shabbat Shalom, catch up from the week and maybe share a “l’chaim” before we switch to the live stream.
Join us:

Kabbalat Shabbat
Friday at 5:00pm
Cantor Ethan and Rabbi Arnowitz will lead our customary Friday night service without a minyan present.
Join us:

Saturday Morning Service Live Stream
Saturday at 9:15am-11:30am
Join us by live stream from our beautiful Sanctuary for a full Shabbat morning service. Cantor Goldberg will begin at 9:15am with the teary parts of the service solo in the sanctuary. At 10:00am, he will be joined by the rest of the clergy and an in-person minyan for Torah reading and musaf.
Join us:

Havdalah with the WJC Clergy
NEW TIME! Saturday at 6:15pm
Join us as we say goodbye to the quiet of Shabbat with the beautiful symbols and music of havdalah.
Join us via Zoom:

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