Shabbat Shalom ~ Shemot 2021

Dear WJC Family,

Since I am not going to write a message next week in honor of the Winter Holidays, I want to wish you a very healthy and happy 2022. Okay, okay, I know that Hanukkah has been over for weeks and there is really no use being coy about what “Winter Holidays” we are talking about. Still, my kids are off from school so our family is definitely celebrating and we have plans to spend some time together. I will be in shul for Shabbat, but this will be my last weekly email of 2021 so here’s hoping for an excellent 2022.

In addition to hope (and hope truly can be a powerful force), sometimes the year ahead can be influenced by our own choices – by what opportunities we grab and how we focus our energy. To borrow a concept from yoga and meditation, our year ahead can be impacted by the intention we set for ourselves at the outset. So, take a moment and think about what intention you might want to set for yourself.

I’d like to share one of my intentions for 2022 – to expand my learning in the field of Jewish thought. You see, this past semester I took a class at the Jewish Theological Seminary where I studied to become a rabbi two decades ago— “Jewish Philosophy: Ethics.” I figured JTS  is so close and has so much Torah to offer, why not take advantage? I enjoyed the learning in class and loved sharing some of what I learned in various classes and talks here at WJC. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I am taking another class this Spring, “Prophecy and Politics in America: Heschel and King.” Whenever appropriate, I am looking forward to once again sharing what I learn in class with all of you in shul.

But that’s not all the news I have to share. I actually enjoy the learning so much that I applied to the Seminary’s Doctor of Hebrew Literature program with a concentration in Jewish Thought. I am excited to say I was accepted and will begin my part time doctoral studies in the Fall of the new year (yes, that’s what the rabbi does on his day off). I am very honored to have been named the inaugural Arnold Eisen Graduate Research Fellow, “In recognition of your academic achievements and your promise as a student in the Kekst Graduate School…” I am so grateful for this opportunity and am looking forward to sharing the intellectual and spiritual journey with all of you, my WJC family. As I learn and grow, I am excited to translate my new understandings into talks and classes for the shul. It’s an exciting prospect for 2022 indeed!

If you have exciting plans for 2022 or are planning to embark on a new journey of your own, I’d love to hear about it. In the meantime, I hope the year ahead holds striving towards, reaching for and fulfilling dreams for all of us. And if there are ways we can help make that happen for you, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

See you in shul or online,




P.S. I’ve also embarked on a Peleton fitness journey—anyone out there who is also riding in place, let’s follow each other—Riding RaJA, #RideWithTheRabbi

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