Dear WJC Family,
Hodesh Tov from the corona time warp. There is such a strange pushing and pulling on time these days. The days seem long and slow, and then suddenly we realized seven weeks have passed, long enough to get two million people from Egypt to Mt. Sinai with three days to spare (50 days separate the Exodus from Egypt and the Revelation at Sinai). The boys need new shoes and there are less than two months left of school. How did that happen so quickly? And yet we are only in the 15th day of the counting of the omer, one week from the end of Passover – Passover seems like a long time ago already.
Our ancestors lived in a society like this, an agrarian existence where every day was very much like the last and probably very much like the next. It’s no wonder they were so careful about marking time! Not only do we mark every week with the spiritual observance of Shabbat, but we also mark every new month at each new moon – today and tomorrow are the celebration of the new month of Iyyar. Then place atop those regular practices the liturgical calendar – we are now counting the days between Passover and Shavuot – and you realize that our ancestors were obsessed with marking time. The strange warping of time we are experiencing in quarantine is a good reminder of why we should be counting too.
By observing Shabbat, by marking Rosh Hodesh and by counting every day and its blessings, time starts to make sense again. The bending of time is unnerving and disorienting – but our faith reminds us that we can control time through our rituals and practice; we don’t have to let it control us. I encourage you to carve out time: time for work, time for relaxation, time for friends (Zoom Game Nights work) and specific family times and couples times. By creating boundaries and not letting everything bleed together, we can capture the wisdom of our tradition regarding time and relieve some of the “time abstraction” we are experiencing.
There are also a lot of great things going on to help us spend our time well. Here are a few suggestions.
1) The Community Resource Center which supports our town’s most vulnerable residents is working tirelessly to support them through this pandemic. You can help by:
A) Support the CRC Emergency Assistance Fund for COVID-19 impacted community members. Send what you can to: PO Box 312 Mamaroneck, NY 10543 (for tax purposes note that the CRC is a 501(c)(3) community-based organization, EIN: 31-1678682) and
B) Look for extras or buy to donate to the CRC Thursday, April 30 DRIVE: TYLENOL, COUGH SYRUP, BACTERIAL WIPES, GLOVES, MASKS, CLOROX, DIAPERS, TAMPONS, SANITARY PADS, PAPER TOWELS, VITAMIN C, VITAMIN D3, CHAMOMILE TEA and GINGER TEA (note, all sealed and unused, and ONLY these items, they are not equipped for safety and other reasons to accept other donations).
– Bring to the CRC, 134 Center Avenue, Mamaroneck on Thursday, April 30, from 10:00am to 12:00pm. A masked and gloved volunteer will come to your car to get your donation, or, between now and Thursday 11 a.m., you can leave your donations in bin provided at 5 Iden Avenue in Larchmont.
– Order and send items via Amazon/Costco/Local Vendor delivery to The CRC, 134 Centre Ave, Mamaroneck, NY 10543 (call 835-1512 so they can expect delivery and know sender).
2) Join one of our amazing learning opportunities:
A) Monday, 9:30am class provided by the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, “Meaningful Prayer in Challenging Moments” with Rabbi Daniel Silverstein. Bringing our Whole Self into Prayer—sources from the Tanach, ancient rabbis, Kabbalists and Chasidic masters on overcoming the many doubts, anxieties, distractions and other hindrances which impede our prayer experience, not by ignoring or dismissing them, but by bringing them into our prayers. This class is recorded; if you can’t make it look for the link.
Join us: https://zoom.us/j/96612823745
B) Tuesday Morning Torah with Me – 9:45am – A deep dive into the weekly Torah portion (Acharei Mot-Kedoshim)
Join us: https://zoom.us/j/738077371
C) Rabbi Segelman’s “Saturday Morning Torah” on Thursday Nights
Join us: https://zoom.us/j/907858576
3) Support our WJC community and honor our beloved Rabbi Jef and Marla by signing up to attend our Virtual Spring Gala and purchasing an ad (congratulatory greeting) in the journal for posterity! The Gala is May 17 at 4:00pm.
Sign up here: https://www.wjcenter.org/gala/
Of course, we also hope you’ll join us for our Ta’am Shabbat tonight, and Havdalah tomorrow at 8:45pm. This evening our Shabbat Pre-Neg starts at 5:30pm – just a chance to hang out and catch up, and then the service starts at 6pm. See the links below. We are very excited to celebrate a bar mitzvah tonight, so Jonah Baron will be sharing his Dvar Torah (which is excellent, by the way). Also, for my Dvar Torah on this week’s portion Torah Portion and the Omer, click the video link below. My topic is about civil speech and pandemics in the Torah, among Rabbi Akiva’s students and today.
See you online,
Westchester Jewish Center welcomes your contribution to any of our listed funds.