Dear WJC Family,
1) The search for the next associate member of our clergy team is well underway. Our search committee is being chaired by Marty Marcus and Mia Mandel and includes several other people representing different demographics and interest groups within the congregation. Cantor Goldberg and I are also members of the committee. Together we have spent the last several months envisioning the role and responsibilities of this new clergy person, which could be filled by either a rabbi or a cantor. The committee has done a great job defining a new kind of third clergy role for WJC and résumés have already started coming in. To find out more about the new position or if you have questions or thoughts you would like to share with us, please be in touch with Marty, Mia, Cantor Goldberg or me. You can also find more information and updates on the process by following the link on the WJCenter.org home page.
2) On a different note, you may or may not be familiar with the elections for the World Zionist Congress. When Theodor Herzl imagined the reality of the state of Israel, he founded the World Zionist Congress to make that dream a reality. Now 123 years later the WZC is still an essential link between the State of Israel and the world Jewish community. Every five years we have an amazing opportunity to participate in a World Zionist Congress election—and there is one coming between January 21 and March 11. Mercaz is the official Conservative/Masorti party and puts up its own slate of delegates. It is critically important that we get as many delegates as possible by casting our ballots for the MERCAZ Slate (Slate #6). By voting for the MERCAZ Slate we will ensure that Conservative/Masorti and pluralistic institutions will get a fair share of the $1 billion dollars in funding for programs, both in Israel and around the world, as well as help determine key decision-makers.
This election could not come at a more important time. There will be another round of government elections in Israel at the beginning of March and a strong showing for the Conservative/Masorti Movement is our best and most direct way to send a message to leaders in Israel that pluralism, democracy, and equality are critical to creating a strong and vibrant Israel and maintaining the strong connections between the Israeli and American Jewish communities. My goal is for our congregation to contribute at least 100 votes to the campaign. Next week I will send information about exactly how to vote. When you vote, please let me know so I can keep count. If you have questions about the World Zionist Congress or Mercaz or if you would be willing to help me get out the vote, please reach out to me directly. To learn more about Mercaz, click here.
3) I was contacted by a recent bar mitzvah about this mitzvah project:
I was looking for an environmental-themed Mitzvah project for my Bar Mitzvah. I thought about how many extra kippot we have at home and counted – we have 93! This got me thinking… what if I collect as many kippot as possible and donate them to Jewish schools, synagogues, and camps, or pass them along for other simchas. My parents call this the biggest game of Jewish Geography: imagine turning over a kippah and finding the name of a friend or roommate from another city or country! So if you can – please send me your extra kippot. —Sam
If you’d be willing to help out with what I think is a pretty creative idea, please bring to my office whatever extra kippot you have that haven’t seen the light of day in years. I will pass them along to Sam.
We are looking forward to a lovely Shabbat this weekend. As Rabbi Segelman and his group continue what from the pictures looks like an incredible journey in India, I will be speaking on Friday night; on Saturday morning my talk is entitled, “Stepping Towards Holiness: Giving God the Benefit of the Doubt.” We have a bat mitzvah on Saturday afternoon so there will be two mincha/maariv services. The shiur in the regular chapel service will be taught by a guest teacher as Cantor Goldberg and I will be in the sanctuary with the bat mitzvah. You can click on the video link below to see a recap of my remarks from last week’s Shabbat, which happens to be just as appropriate for this week’s parsha.
See you in shul,