Today is July 23, 2024 /

Shabbat Shalom ~ Terumah 2024

Dear WJC,

Just a quick message this week to wish everyone a happy President’s Day. While I know many people will be traveling for the long weekend and school Mid-Winter Break, if you are around I invite you to come to services this Friday night at 5:15pm. Instead of our regular clergy Dvar Torah, our own Jeff Taffet will be giving a talk about “Soviet-Jewish Immigration to the US and Israel.” Jeff is a Professor of the Humanities at the United States Merchant Marine Academy.

The Free Soviet Jewry Movement was a prominent feature of jewish communal life in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. Many of us recall the March on Washington culminating in Anatole (now Natan) Sharansky’s fiery words, “Let My People Go!” I personally remember wearing a bracelet to my bar mitzvah engraved with the name Grygory Vekster. Grygory was a teenage refusenik and I was “sharing” my bar mitzvah with him through a twinning program nearly all of my religious school classmates participated in. Jeff will be speaking about the resulting wave of immigration when the Iron Curtain fell, a coda to the story that is probably as interesting and important as it is ignored and unconsidered. It should be an interesting talk!

We are grateful to Jeff for offering to speak on a Friday and I hope it may encourage others to do the same. If you might be interested in giving a talk on a Friday night, please let me or the cantor know – we’d love to have you teach us!

Along that theme, you may not realize it, but so many of the excellent programs and services we offer start out as a suggestion from a member. One of our favorite things to do is help make your vision a reality and see the beautiful community moment of members sharing their passions and wisdom with each other. Our executive staff is meeting in March to review next year’s calendar – if you have ideas about programming or services you’d like to see, let us know. If we can’t make them happen here, we can at least help you move the vision forward in other ways.

In the meantime, I hope we’ll see you for a beautiful Shabbat Friday evening, Saturday morning (when I’ll be teaching my regular 8:30am class and speaking during the service about How a “Portable Sanctuary” led to Jewish survival and is still maintaining us today!), and again on Saturday afternoon when Rabbi Dalton will be teaching between the afternoon and evening service.

See you in shul,


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