Today is June 15, 2024 /

Shabbat Shalom ~ Shelach Licha

Dear WJC Family,

Just a quick note this week to wish all the grads out there a mazal tov and all the dads a Happy Father’s Day. Starting with our grads – I remember at my own high school graduation, I saw my parents crying and thought they were such fools. I mean every kid I know graduates high school. Now as I watched my son Elijah graduate high school last week, I was the blubbering fool. What a great moment! What a special thing! Mazal tov to all of the parents, grandparents and other relatives kvelling this graduation season and to all you grads – just wow, we are so proud of you!

For all you dads, being a parent changes one’s perspective – especially as a rabbi – becoming a father definitely changed my perspective on God. With all the “father” language we use for God in our prayers, whether it’s “Avinu Malkeinu, Our Father Our King,” or “Av Harahaman, Father of Mercy,” or a plethora of others, God and fatherhood our closely linked in our liturgy. A few years after becoming a father, I gave a High Holiday sermon about fatherhood and my relationship and understanding of God. I guess being a cantor gives you similar ideas, as at a recent Renewal Service, Cantor Goldberg spoke about how becoming a parent changed his perspectives on God. I found his remarks very thought provoking and so am including them here in honor of Father’s Day.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of our amazing volunteers for an amazing year. This week I want to especially call out Joanna Shlesinger and Lauren Sholder who chaired an incredibly fun and successful Night at the Riviera event last Sunday night. They, along with a crew of incredible volunteers to whom we are so grateful, put together an amazing night for each of us and the community as a whole, and they did it on a short timeline. Kol HaKavod to you all.

I also want to give a special thank you to Amy Bennett and Cindy Heller who are arranging our summer davening. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Saturday morning services are completely lay-led for the months of July and August. That includes leading the prayers, reading the Torah and giving the Divrei Torah talks. This allows an important break for the clergy and gives us all the opportunity to learn from some of the diverse and talented folks that make WJC the special community that it is. It is also a gargantuan task to arrange it all and we all owe a big “thank you” to Cindy and Amy. So, thank you, especially from your grateful clergy!

I will be away this Shabbat at a family bat mitzvah in NJ, but I know there’s a lovely Shabbat in store for you at WJC.  Cantor Goldberg will be leading and teaching at a Simple & Soulful Saturday morning service for those who choose it. Rabbi Dalton will lead services in the main sanctuary. I will be back the following week, June 24th, and Tami and I hope we will see all of you too as we celebrate Shabbat and our son Gabriel’s bar mitzvah. In the meantime, have a beautiful Shabbat this week.

See you in shul (next week),

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