Today is July 23, 2024 /

Shabbat Shalom ~ Shemini 2024

Dear WJC Family,

This Shabbat we will do the fourth special reading for the weeks before Passover, Shabbat HaChodesh. The extra reading we do is from Parashat Bo and discusses the Hebrew calendar, stating that Nisan is the first month (the month with Passover), and some of the laws of Passover. We last read this passage in the regular Torah cycle in January. At that time I posted a video about calendars, counting, and the hostages being held in Gaza.

Since then we have continued to count days, over two more months of them, and we are approaching six months of captivity – my heart is broken. I know I am not the only one. Though I will be in Alabama with 34 members of the synagogue, I hope WJC will show up en masse at two gatherings planned to mark this moment:

  1. On Sunday, April 7th at noon there will be a gathering called “Six Months They are Out of Time,” iin Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, E 47th St. & 2nd Avenue, New York City.
  2. On Monday April 8th, Westchester will have its own gathering at 7:30pm at Kol Ami in White Plains (registration required, flier pictured here).

Even as we gather to demand the return of the hostages, it is important to mention how upset I am about the accidental killing of the seven World Central Kitchen aid workers in Gaza. It is a reminder how awful war, even a justified one, is for everyone involved and that we should be praying for peace above all things. World Central Kitchen does good and important work to fight hunger in crisis areas all over the world. If you are upset too and would be interested in learning more about their sacred work and maybe even making a donation to support it, you can go to their website by clicking here.

Since I’ll be away next week in Alabama, there will be no video or rabbinic message in the email next week. However, follow my Facebook page for some blog entries and pictures of our experience.

I’m looking ahead with excitement to next weekend (April 12th-14th) when my dear friend Rabbi Dr. Josh Kulp will be at WJC as our Pre-Passover Rabbi-in-Residence. We will have four opportunities to learn with him, including a Friday night dinner and learning (sign up here), a Saturday evening Seudah Shleshit (traditional Shabbat afternoon “third meal”) and talk (sign up here), and a Sunday morning brunch (sign up here) with talk entitled, “Celebrating Seder in the Shadow of War and the Light of Redemption: Haggadot from the Founding of the State of Israel.” See the program link for all the discussion topics. Josh is a brilliant scholar and a master teacher. I hope you will come learn with us and eat with us (it’s a good time to load up on hametz!)

This Shabbat we are looking forward to celebrating Jonah Lewis’s bar mitzvah on Saturday morning – mazal tov to him and to his parents Adrian and Sharon!

See you in shul,

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