Dear WJC Family,
I hope you received the link to “The Curse of Blessings” video we sent out earlier this week and had a chance to watch the video. The video introduces the concept of using blessings to “replenish our souls,” one of the central topics of the High Holidays at Westchester Jewish Center this year. Using blessings to recognize the good things around us and reflecting God’s blessing into the world was literally part of Judaism from the start. It is what makes us special – after all, the very first thing God said to Abraham and Sarah in Genesis chapter 12 was:
Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
I will make of you a great nation,
And I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you
And curse the one who curses you;
And all the families of the earth
Shall bless themselves by you.”
There are a lot of different meanings of blessing in that short message from God to our first ancestors, and unpacking them and living by them can help fortify our souls and help us fulfill the purpose God intends for us. To help us achieve this, in the next couple of weeks we will be launching our “100 Blessings a Day for 100 Days” campaign. Stay tuned for more information on that and how to participate!
All of this, the video and the 100 Blessings Campaign are part of our High Holiday efforts, which begin in earnest this Shabbat. This Shabbat and Sunday we will celebrate Rosh Hodesh, the start of the new month of Elul. Elul is the official start of the High Holiday season as we begin our process of teshuva, reflecting on the past year, where we are on our spiritual journey and looking towards where we could or should be. By doing the spiritual work in Elul, we have an easier time finding success on the High Holidays themselves.
In order to help us have a successful and meaningful Elul journey our member Glenna Lee, working on behalf of the WJC Sisterhood, has developed, “Cheshbon HaNefesh: Opening Ourselves to the New Year.” Included is a daily kavanah, or intention, designed to gift us with one minute of deep and honest self-reflection to replenish our souls and set us on the path to integrity and spiritual wholeness. This amazing resource is open to anyone – the Sisterhood asks only for a donation of any amount as your commitment to the process. To participate you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and then to send your contribution you can use Zelle (email@example.com) or write a check (made out to WJC Sisterhood, mailed to WJC, attn: Sisterhood Fundraiser) in any amount of money you’d like to contribute to Sisterhood. For more information you can click here.
As we celebrate Rosh Chodesh, we will also be celebrating our final lay-led summer Shabbat service. We are so grateful to all of our volunteers, especially Cindy Heller whose gargantuan efforts starting early in the spring ensures all the participation in services and smoothness of the process. Thank you Cindy from a very grateful clergy team and congregation. And this week my partner in life and leadership Tami Arnowitz will be sharing the sermon, “Moyshe Hollender and the Art of Giving and Receiving” reflecting on, among other things, her experience visiting the Yiddish Book Center this summer. In addition, Hazzan Ellen Arad and Randy Heller will be leading the davening, so I hope you’ll join us for what promises to be a beautiful service end to end.
See you in shul,