Dear WJC Family,
This week’s Torah portion is Tazria-Metzora, an in-depth, graphic treatment of a skin disease that is somehow related to one’s spiritual health and/or ethical behavior. Needless to say, unless you are a dermatologist (and maybe even if you are one), it does not make for the most interesting reading. And yet, these are the passages from which the rabbis draw some of their most profound Torah ideas. For an example, click on the video link in this message where I share how Rebbe Nachman of Bretzlav uses a passage from this Torah portion to teach us how to heal the world. Don’t worry, there are no animal sacrifices involved, just a lot of Chesed (lovingkindness).
Make sure to mark your calendars for next weekend. We are privileged to have one of the great Rabbinic minds of the American Jewish Community, Rabbi Ethan Tucker, joining us for our Scholar in Residence Weekend (4/28-30). He is notable not only for the breadth and depth of his knowledge, but also for his creativity, insight and commitment to finding modern, relevant meaning in our traditional texts. I am excited to learn with him as we examine how to build and feel a part of a meaningful whole with our theme, Connection, Community and Conversation. I hope you will join us for some of the excellent talks that are planned. Please RSVP so we know how many people to expect. And don’t forget – this year there will be childcare for all events, but you’ll need to sign up for it in advance!
On another note, I hope you got to attend our Yom HaShoah commemoration on Sunday. In a move that begs to be explored, the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) set Yom HaShoah just one week before Yom HaZikaron (Israel’s Memorial Day) and Yom Haatzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day). The timing links the three events in a profound (and sometimes problematic) way. We will be exploring those connections in our 8:30am class on Saturday.
This is a special Yom Haatzmaut as we celebrate Israel’s 75th birthday, a milestone unimaginable at Israel’s founding. It is important that we recognize the complications of the Jewish State, which we as a community continue to explore, and also to celebrate the miracle of Israel’s existence and the terrible price that was paid for its creation (Yom HaZikaron) and during the millenia that it did not exist and Jews were vulnerable and abused all over the world (Yom HaShoah). Cantor Goldberg is participating with the Memorial Prayer at our community’s ceremony Yom HaZikaron for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror on Monday night at the JCC of Mid-Westchester at 7pm. I hope you’ll join him there.
To accommodate the moment, we are pleased to be hosting journalist Allison Kaplan-Sommer on Sunday, April 23rd at 10am for a talk about the present moment in Israel, as well as about how life continues daily. For more information about this “On Israel” event, please see below or click here.
Then, on Tuesday night, as we transition from Yom HaZikaron to Yom Haatzmaut, we will celebrate at WJC with a big Israeli dinner and Israeli dancing with Shmulik! I hope you’ll join us and, Again, please RSVP so we know how much falafel to prepare!
This Shabbat we will celebrate a special ECC service at 5:30pm, followed by dinner, before our regular Friday night service in the sanctuary at 7:15pm. Then, on Saturday morning, we will celebrate the bar mitzvah of Spencer Baron, Mazal tov to him and his parents Rebecca and Craig! Finally, at 7:15pm on Saturday we will gather again for the afternoon (mincha) and evening (maariv) services, with a shiur (lesson) in between that will be presented by Rabbi Dalton. It’s an exciting couple of weeks to round out the month of April!
See you in shul,