Shabbat Shalom ~ Noah 2020

Dear WJC Family,

Thank you all for the prayers you’ve been sending for Jose Luis and David Goldstein. Jose Luis is a trooper and seems as frustrated by being hindered in taking care of the shul and us as by his discomfort. David remains symptom-free, Baruch HaShem. Please keep those prayers coming for them both! Of course, the situation has everyone concerned─and I know a lot of you share this feeling. Whether it’s two staff cases in the shul, a case or two at your work or possibly one in your child’s school, this elevated state of anxiety seems like the new normal, at least for the foreseeable future. And as if times were not anxiety-producing enough, the approaching election on November 3rd (voting is a mitzvah) is definitely not helping calm us all down!

It feels a little like just a few days after the Flood and Noah’s son says to him, “Hey dad, it’s kind of cloudy. Was there rain in the forecast for today?” I bet that family never saw a drop again without their stomach getting tied in knots! But there are lessons in the story of Noah and his family for healthy ways to deal with the stress and anxiety of living through trying times. Certainly, the story includes some what-not-to-do’s, like self-medicating with alcohol or abusing some other substance, but it also has some helpful advice for what we CAN do to feel better AND make a difference for others. I speak more about this in this week’s video, “The Fear of Rain after the Flood.” I will also address this issue in another way during my teaching on Saturday morning at 8:30am on the Live Stream during my shiur, “A Covenant for Anxious Times.” The source sheet for the talk can be accessed and printed before Shabbat by clicking here.

On a separate note, I hope you saw the “Baruch Dayan Emet” announcement about WJC’s ECC administrator Sandy Fenton. Sandy was a fountain of love for our preschoolers, their teachers, and the office staff. She was fun and funny and had a smile that lit up the place. She fought hard to the end, yes to get more time with her husband and son, but also to get back to WJC, a place she loved. She finally succumbed to her illness earlier this week. Her memory will be a blessing for our staff and the families she worked with and I hope we can all help support our staff through this tragic loss. In speaking with them, one office staff member mentioned that working at WJC isn’t just a job, it’s being part of a family. Please join me in taking care of the family that takes such good care of us.

And with all of that, there are still simchas to celebrate and programs to experience. The Department of Health has given the go-ahead for our worship services to continue and this Shabbat we will celebrate two b’nai mitzvah! Every simcha we are blessed to celebrate feels particularly special and important these days, and we look forward to celebrating in our shul. These families have navigated obstacles in reaching this day that most of us can only imagine. It has helped me understand the true meaning of the simcha and I know it is true for them as well. Sometimes the simcha is even sweeter when we have to work extra hard for it.

Next, thanks to the Scholar in Residence Committee, on Sunday morning we have an amazing opportunity to spend an hour on Zoom with noted Israeli author and journalist Yossi Klein Halevi in discussion with our own Jack Steinberg. I hope you will join us. Also, a week from Sunday, on Sunday night November 1st, I will be speaking at a Men’s Club virtual Scotch & Study about The Jewish Value of Democracy and Why It’s a Mitzvah to Vote. It should be an interesting discussion, so mark your calendars (and buy your beverage of choice)!

This Shabbat we will have our Virtual Friday Night Service at 4:50pm and Havdalah on Saturday at 6:45pm. In between, we have our Saturday morning study session at 8:30am, davening Shacharit with me and our bar mitzvah from 9-9:45am and our regular service with a minyan from 10:00-11:30am.

See you in shul or online,




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