Shabbat Shalom ~ Sukkot 2021

Interested in the early 7:00am Shemini Atzeret service, including the Yizkor Memorial Prayers, in the outside tent on Tuesday? See the details below!

Dear WJC Family,

I had the opportunity to be in a few different sukkot in this first part of the holiday and in one of them, there was a particular sign that caught my attention. It’s the sign that’s pictured here. At first, I laughed at the fact that whoever was coloring in the words “joyful celebration” seemed to have run out of time. “Yup,” I thought, “that’s what this crazy gauntlet of holidays feels like. We finish Yom Kippur and start building and decorating the sukkah, and then in just a few days Yom Tov is here and whatever we got done, we got done. It may not be fully ready, but up it goes.”

But then I started appreciating a deeper meaning I could take from the uncolored letters. It almost looks like a ‘joy-mometer’ and it’s measuring as pretty weak. It’s true, sometimes it just doesn’t feel like we can fill it up, especially during difficult times. The greeting for this middle period of Sukkot is Modaim L’Simcha or Sacred Times are for Joy, but sometimes we just go through the motions of the rituals that are supposed to inspire us with joy, but they just seem to lack color. We just can’t get there. If that’s how you are feeling, like life is joyless and grey-scale, I hope you will reach out to talk. We can’t color in the letters for you, but sometimes sharing the emptiness helps fill it in. 

Sharing, in general, can work too – please support the various drives we have going for Ida Relief and Afghanistan Refugee Support – gift cards and several kinds of goods are needed. Please check the details and donate. 

Also, we have a lot more opportunities to do the joyful rituals of Shabbat and Sukkot and share that joy. By placing ourselves in specific moments, moments that may be rich with the colorful joy of connection and uplift, we can bring happiness to our lives. Here are a few of the upcoming event highlights:

  1. We have a full Sukkot Friday night planned with regular services, ECC services, and Simple & Soulful services, plus dinner in the sukkah (rsvp required) and dessert in the sukkah with a presentation of poetry by Rabbi Dalton.
  1. Various Sunday Sukkot Activities including ice cream in the sukkah at 3:00pm and Teen Sushi and Ice Cream in the sukkah at 5:00pm.
  1. Tuesday is Shemini Atzeret featuring two morning services both with the Yizkor prayer service. At 7:00am I will lead a service in the outside tent that is designed to be done by 8:45am. This service will cover all the tefillot for Shemini Atzeret, but will have no rabbinic remarks. At 9:15am, Rabbi Dalton and Cantor Goldberg will lead the regular holiday morning services in the sanctuary.
  1. Tuesday night is Simchat Torah – ECC Simchat Torah celebration at 5:30pm followed by Pizza and Pasta dinner at 6:00pm. Then at 7:00pm we will start our adult service with Hakafot in the outdoor tent! Then we will head back inside to read from the Torah and recite the ma’ariv evening prayers. For those looking to join for ma’ariv on the Live Stream, it won’t start before 7:45pm.
  1. Wednesday morning is Simchat Torah morning with more marching with the SIfrei Torah and we are excited to honor two of our newest and most regular Torah readers with the special Simchat Torah honors. Mazal tov to our Hattan Torah Graham Arad and the bride (literally actually!) our Kallat Bereshit Ellen Arad! More on that in Monday’s email.

Believe it or not, this isn’t even everything that’s happening, so check the website and the schedule in this email for more information! I am looking forward to speaking on Saturday morning and teaching on Saturday night at mincha/ma’ariv—check out the source sheet here. The shiur is about HoShanah Rabah the last day of Chol HaMoed (Monday) and is called “It’s the Great HoShanah Charlie Brown!” Yes, you read that right. It’s got a little Yom Kippur, a little Halloween, and a little Sukkot all mixed in there—should be fun! I hope to see you in shul or online.

Modaim L’Simcha,





Connect with Us

Give Online

Westchester Jewish Center welcomes your contribution to any of our listed funds.

Donate Now