Shabbat Shalom ~ Shelach 2021

Dear WJC Family,

Oh what a difference ten people can make for a community! In this week’s parsha, Shelach Licha, Moses sends twelve scouts to reconnoiter the Promised Land. This is only a year and a half or so after leaving Egypt – no forty years of wandering, no dying in the desert. Two of the scouts, Joshua and Caleb, come back with a positive report, but the other ten (those who shall not be named) agree that the land is good, but are consumed with fear of the inhabitants there. They spread their fear throughout the camp and soon the people are ready to rebel against God and Moses, pack up their stuff and head back to Egypt. It is in reaction to their lack of faith that God sends the people back into the desert to bide their time there for another thirty-eight and a half years. Only their children, along with Joshua and Caleb, will enter the Promised Land.  

Since that fateful grouping of ten we have never taken a gathering of ten people for granted. We call them a minyan and to this day we recognize a minyan as a spiritual force to be reckoned with – though we only try to harness their power to bring positivity into the world today. And as you can see from this picture taken on Thursday morning, with daily, in-person services back every weekday morning at 7:00am, we have the opportunity to convene one of these spiritual power-groups every day.

What our minyan needs is you! It would be great to have ten people every morning as we did yesterday, but we are not quite there yet. Of course, we are delighted to continue to be joined by those who attend on Zoom and until we get things more consistent with our in-person minyan, we will continue to rely on our Zoom attendees to recite kaddish with us at the end of the service (just as we did when we were all virtual). Thank you to all who attend virtually and in-person – not only are you helping people fulfill their obligation to say kaddish for mourning periods and yortzeit anniversaries, but you are helping us bring the powerful group of ten into the world on behalf of good in the world – what a great way to start the day. And don’t forget—we enjoy bagels and coffee every morning after minyan.

Speaking of powerful gatherings to join, I hope you will join us and much of the Westchester Jewish community at the Unity Gathering, Westchester Stands Against Anti-Semitism and Hate, on Monday, June 7, 7:00-8:00pm outside at the JCC of Mid-Westchester. I also wanted to share this excerpt from the Jewish Theological Seminary’s “Statement on Antisemitic Crimes:

What is happening to Jews in North America shares much with other hate crimes perpetrated in our society. But it also is the latest manifestation of a centuries-long phenomenon of hatred and violence against Jews that has infected so many lands on this earth. These antisemitic outrages cut to our very heart, even as they tear at the fabric of the society that we all share. But they do not lessen our resolve to defend our Jewish family, and to work for a tolerant and humane society.

It should go without saying that there is no justification in the world for attacking innocent people, or for instilling fear in the hearts of those who wonder whether they may be the next to be assaulted. 

And, as I noted in last week’s message, while it is important to stand up and speak out against Antisemitism, it is even more important that we continue to fulfill our role of tikkun in the world by bringing goodness and holiness into our lives and our greater community.

Looking forward to seeing you all over Shabbat – Friday night we have our second outdoor Rhythm & Ruach service (in the gym without wind instruments if it rains) from 7:00-8:00pm. This will be available in person or on the Zoom link provided below. Saturday morning we have our regular service starting at 9:15 in-person and on the live stream – have a birthday, anniversary or yortzeit you’d like us to announce, just shoot me an email to let me know. And Saturday night we are excited to announce our first Shabbat mincha/maariv, in the sanctuary or on the live stream starting at 8:00pm. The service includes some Torah teaching – Rabbi Dalton will be our teacher this week. For more information about the afternoon service, feel free to contact any of the clergy.

See you in shul,






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