Dear WJC Family,
Weirdest. Hanukkah. Ever. Just like the weirdest Thanksgiving ever before that, or the weirdest Passover ever in April. These are the exclamations we find ourselves saying with every passing holiday during this pandemic. And I get it—it may be the weirdest ones of these holidays that we’ve experienced in our lives, but the truth is they probably don’t make the top five lists of all time. After all, the Jewish people have observed their holidays under some pretty extraordinary circumstances over the last 2000 years or so.
Still, I do believe that observing holidays under these conditions has given us a new appreciation of the true meaning of these holidays, an experiential understanding. With Passover it was a new connection with the first Passover—understanding what it meant to make your seder in your home with just your household while a mysterious death passed outside killing your neighbors. For Thanksgiving there was a new perspective on gratitude as we learned to appreciate things because we missed them—friends and family and football and freedom. Now I think we are getting the same experience with Hanukkah. We are learning to shine light into the encroaching darkness in ways we may never have really experienced before. And it is meaningful, if a bit weird feeling.
That’s why this Hanukkah the WJC community has leaned into this new appreciation for the meaning of the holiday with our “Connected by the Light” line-up wonderful Hanukkah programs including lighting the hannukiah together every evening on Zoom/Facebook Live with a different featured lighter each night. Last night the Nazarzadeh/Hogasten family did the honors and they were terrific! There were about 100 people who came together to light our hannukiot and sing—what an amazing way to come together to celebrate when coming together is challenging. There is a wonderful line-up of all kinds of Hanukkah events, something everyday including Trivia Night with Bill Natbony Saturday night and a big outdoor lighting at WJC on Sunday at 5pm. I hope you’ll take a look at the schedule and join us for one or more of the Connected by the Light programs. Check out the full schedule by clicking here.
Another great way to share the light is to participate in SOJAC’s Annual Holiday Drive, which kicks off today and runs until December 15th. This year, we need an unprecedented 200 donations for children ages 2-12 for families affiliated with The Community Resource Center, right here in Mamaroneck. Please consider donating new, stimulating games, activity books, building sets, books, crafts, art materials, puzzles and more for imaginative play. To learn more and for details on how we are collecting safely, please click here. This is a great chance to share some Hanukkah light with a community that on the whole is feeling the darkness even more than the rest of us.
We’ll also be celebrating Hanukkah over Shabbat with two Friday services—our regular virtual Kabbalat Shabbat at 3:30pm culminating in the hanukkiah lighting at 4:15pm and Cantor Ethan on the Live Stream from the sanctuary will present a solo Rhythm & Ruach service at 6:00pm. On Saturday morning at 8:45am I will teach on “Three Versions of Hanukkah’s Origin and What Each Means.” You can download and print the source sheet in advance here. Then we will daven the earlier services solo starting at 9:15am and begin the Torah service with a minyan at 10:00am, which will include a bat mitzvah! We will then wrap up on Zoom with Havdalah at 5:30pm, including our communal candle lighting, so bring your menorah with you (or perhaps your Zooming device to your menorah).
See you online,
Kabbalat Shabbat Zoom Service
Friday Mincha and Kabbalat Shabbat at 3:30pm
Followed by our Virtual Community Lighting at 4:15pm
Join us via Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/681899721
Hanukkah Rhythm & Ruach
Friday at 6:00pm
Cantor Goldberg will lead this service from our sanctuary. This hour-long service welcomes you to reflect Hanukkah and your week, while offering a soulful space for you to connect with God and with each other.
Join us via our live steam: http://www.wjcenter.org/wjclive/
Saturday Morning Parsha Study
Saturday at 8:45am
Rabbi Arnowitz will be speaking on the “Three Versions of Hanukkah’s Origins.”
Join us: www.wjcenter.org/wjclive
Pesikei D’Zimra and Shacharit services
Saturday at 9:15am
Join us: www.wjcenter.org/wjclive
Saturday Morning Service Live Stream
Saturday at 10:00am
Join us by live-stream from our beautiful Sanctuary. We we will turn to the Torah service, and because there is a bat mitzvah this week, we expect to have a minyan and will be doing the full Torah reading.
Join us via our live steaming service: http://www.wjcenter.org/wjclive/
**To view according to Shabbat rules, before Shabbat on Friday night, go to www.wjcenter.org/wjclive and click play. The stream will be live at that time and become active upon the start of Shabbat services on Saturday morning at 8:30am.
For instructions on how to log in before Shabbat to avoid violations of Shabbat practice, click here. If set up properly, there should be no need to touch your computer on Shabbat itself.
Havdalah with the WJC Clergy
Followed by our Virtual Community Lighting
Saturday at 5:30pm
Join us as we say goodbye to the quiet of Shabbat with the beautiful symbols and music of havdalah!
Join us via Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/335351155