Dear WJC Family,
This week I was reminded how important it is to come gather, particular at unsettling times. As the events of Wednesday afternoon and evening unfolded and the weight of the events taking place set in, many of us watched in stunned disbelief. Sitting there watching rioters on television, incited by political leaders, defacing the very heart of our nation’s government, I was reminded too much of other televised, shocking moments in our life times. It was difficult to turn away from the images.
Yet, just an hour or two before our regular 7:00pm virtual evening service Rabbi Dalton, Cantor Goldberg and I were able to gather ourselves, prepare some special prayers and suggest to the congregation that we come together virtually to pray and share the comfort of togetherness. The over 50 people who joined us are many times our usual crowd and indeed, being together in a spiritual setting was comforting for me and, based on from feedback, for may of you as well. That evening I shared some remarks about The Prayer for Our Country. In this week’s Torah Talk video (video link below) entitled, “A Prayer for our Country—the anti-Mitzrayim,” I expand on those remarks and relate them to this week’s parsha, Shemot.
If you missed that opportunity to find comfort in gathering, fear not; our calendar is full of great opportunities to learn, pray and gather together. If you only open two emails from the synagogue each week, I hope it is this one AND the Monday “This Week at WJC.” A quick scan of that easy-to-follow email will tell you everything that’s coming up so you can see what might be interesting to you. For example, this Saturday evening we will gather for our regular havdalah at 5:30pm and at 5:40 we will flow right into an hour of music with WJC’s own Hazzan Elen Arad. I hope you’ll join us for an hour of togetherness, singing and spirit. Some togetherness along with Ellen’s warmth and soothing, camp-nostalgic style may be just the thing to comfort us during these turbulent times.
Then Sunday morning we have a great Virtual Tour of Jerusalem event with my friend and tour educator Elon Bloch. He is a master educator and this event too may bring some comfort at a time when it is difficult to get to Israel ourselves, Elon will bring a piece of Israel to us!
A moment of gratitude: I want to thank the over 40 of you who responded to my New Year’s request for “one surprisingly positive thing” that happened in 2020. By no means do we want to belittle the difficulties of the year, but it is also healthy to stop and remember the good things that happened. I have started calling all of you who responded to discuss (and it’s not too late if you want to send a response), and with things being so busy, a bout of Covid-19 in our home over the break (thank God it was mild and Tami is doing fine now) and our son Simeon’s bar mitzvah next Shabbat, I hope you will be patient. I will definitely be calling!
I also want to thank you for your generosity both with donations in honor of my grandmother’s memory and to the Kim Lewis Family Fund. The Kim Lewis Family Fund raised an extraordinary amount of money that will help cover costs related to AJ’s passing as well as whatever the family may need for comfort or to honor their son/brother. Kim has shown so much love for us over her decades with us, and you all really went above and beyond to show how much we care at a terrible tragic moment for her and her family. I am kvelling, thank you so much.
Also thank you to the Bikkur Holim Committee who coordinated many meals for our family while we were isolating from each other and the world, coordinated by the amazing Cindy Heller. I cannot tell you the difference it made or express to you how grateful we are. I will admit that it wasn’t easy for me to ask for help, but I am so glad I did. I hope that if you are dealing with difficult times you will let me and/or Cindy know and give us the opportunity to do the great mitzvah of helping out.
This Shabbat we are testing out a new clergy rotation (we are trying to put only two of us together at any given time), so tonight at 4:30 Rabbi Dalton will lead Kabbalat Shabbat on the Live Stream including some words of Torah. Cantor Ethan and I will be leading Saturday morning services. From 9:15-10am Cantor Ethan will lead the Pesukai d’Zimra (Preliminary) and Shacharit (Morning) Services and at 10am we will read some Torah and I will speak on parsha, “Engaging in Kosher Rebellion – Change through Non-Violence.” Then we will conclude with an individual musaf service, sung out loud with Cantor Ethan. Havdalah will start at 5:30pm with the cantor and, as mentioned above, go right into our musical gathering with Canor Ellen Arad.
See you online,
Westchester Jewish Center welcomes your contribution to any of our listed funds.