Dear WJC Family,
This week in shul we will read the story of Noah and the Flood. I remember learning the story as a child and laughing at the cartoonish images of Noah and his sons collecting animals and preparing for a long cruise. This year the story doesn’t seem so entertaining or fantastic. We have all seen the destructive force of flooding recently and firsthand. Many of us and our neighbors are still reeling from the effects of Tropical Storm Ida. Not only are many of our own homes still damaged and broken, but as of earlier this week there are still about 120 newly homeless families, still struggling, displaced, now more than five weeks after the waters rose.
WJC, led by SOJAC, is still working hard to honor our partnership in the Coalition for Community, the umbrella organization coordinating the local response to the extraordinary need in our town and villages. We continue to collect needed goods for our neighbors, steer tzedakah donations to where they are needed most and keep alert for unexpected needs as they continue to arise. Also, I hope you have heard about the Sponsor-a-Family program, which facilitates one or two WJC families to connect with a single local family experiencing extraordinary need. The financial commitment for the “Sponsor a Family” program is $250-$500 over time, but more importantly, you might build a relationship with a family to support them as they navigate the difficulties of homelessness, carelessness, and living without any cushion. If you are interested in participating in Sponsor-a-Family and building this bridge with our neighbors, please let me know or contact Rebecca Baron, our representative at the Coalition for Community, directly.
Despite the continuing difficulties of the pandemic and the aftermath of our own flooding here in the building, there continues to be noticeable excitement and energy around the WJC community. I hope you have had the opportunity to take part in any or all of our exciting programming and services over the last several weeks. Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah were a lot of fun as we welcomed dozens of people into our Sukkah after services, as well as several other occasions including a New Member’s Breakfast and for some great programming including a beautiful evening of poetry with Rabbi Dalton.
Throughout the holidays our schools have been humming along—the delightful laughter of ECC students echoes once again down our halls in the morning and we have been enjoying the excitement and enthusiasm on Sunday mornings and weekday afternoons as our Religious School is once again convening in person. Kol HaKavod to our school leadership, Aleza and Ann, and their staff—our success begins with our children first (as you can see in my Shabbat video this week). Thank you for making us successful.
And our teen program is enjoying some great energy and momentum as well. In fact, this coming week on Tuesday, October 12, the teens will be meeting with the former New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Ethan Bronner. If you know a teen who might be interested in joining contact Rabbi Dalton, the program is from 6:00-8:00pm.
The Brotherhood met Wednesday night for Tacos and Beer – 35+ guys showed up just to meet and get to know one another—thank you to Zack Sigel for hosting and to Ron Mandel for co-organizing. The next event is Scotch and Study on October 17. And Sisterhood has been humming along hosting lots of participants at several events including a cool painting activity in one of our tents a couple of weeks ago. The next event is the Sisterhood Fall Book Club on Zoom with author Courtney Zoffness discussing her memoir Spilt Milk. Thanks to Glenna Lee and all the Sisterhood leadership for creating such fun and interesting events. The JOY Club has had an amazing summer of programs too, including one coming up on October 17 called “Considering How America is Changing.” And the Koslow Gallery has its opening virtually on October 12 highlighting our fall exhibition, Karen Kassap: Medieval Modern.
All of this to say, there are a ton of amazing services and programs happening at WJC every week and lots of ways to access them. I hope you will take the leap and prioritize participating in the community in whatever way feels right to you; it has never felt more important.
And of course, that includes regular Shabbat services, which this week include Friday night service at 6:00pm where Rabbi Dalton will be speaking, our regular Saturday morning service at 9:15, including my sermon and a Dvar Torah from our bat mitzvah Danielle Kravetz, and our Saturday evening service in the chapel including a shiur presented by Rabbi Dalton. All that and another separate bat mitzvah, Sophie Steinberg, in the afternoon! All services will be in-person or on the live stream. (The streamed Shabbat minchah service will be the bat mitzvah and will include Mourner’s Kaddish.)
See you in shul or online,