Dear WJC Family,
Chag Purim Sameach! This Purim I am thinking a lot about giving. Did you know there is a National Give Something Away Day? It’s July 15, so you have some time to think about how you’d like to celebrate that. But as Jews we have had a National Give Something Away Day for several thousand years—it’s Purim. I know that when you think of Purim you probably think of fun costumes and delicious hamantaschen cookies and tough female heroines—and that’s all good stuff. But Purim is also about giving.
In fact, two of four mitzvot related to Purim are related to giving—matanot l’evyonim (gifts to the poor) and mishloach manot (sending gift baskets of food to neighbors). What do these mitzvot have to do with the Purim story? There is no gift basket part of the story; Mordechai and Esther do a lot of cool stuff but they don’t distribute tzekdakah! When dear old Uncle Mordechai proclaimed the Purim celebration, he wanted everyone to be happy. One way to do that is to make the difficult life of those in poverty a little better by helping them with some of their burdens—matanot l’evyonim.
But what about mishloach manot? Fortunately, for many of the people who receive mishloach manot the extra food items are not critical to their sustenance. So will they really be happier when they receive a basket of food? Okay, granted it is always nice to be thought of, but the truth about mishloach manot is deeper than that. The real impact from sending baskets of food is on the sender, not the receiver! Mordechai knew the truth that still rings true today—if you want to be happier, just give something away!
This Purim there so many in great need who we can help by giving. In particular, I would like to encourage you to donate to those in Texas still recovering from the disastrous cold weather and its resulting loss of power and potable water. Many people in the state are still reeling from the resulting damage to their homes, work places and property. The easiest way to have an impact and help them is to give through local organizations on the ground who know firsthand how to allocate resources to the greatest need. Therefore, I would like to recommend a Purim donation to the Jewish Family Service of Houston Winter Storm 2021 Relief Fund by clicking here. Also, it is not too late to donate to our Project Ezra Food Drive.
Purim will go right into Shabbat Friday evening. Cantor Goldberg and I will be leading services from the sanctuary at 5:15 without a minyan on the Live Stream. We will meet for a quick Hachanat Shabbat at 5pm on Zoom, a gathering to wish each other ‘Shabbat Shalom’ and maybe share a L’Chaim. You can see the link below.
Then we will all be present with a minyan for Shabbat morning services on the Live Stream starting at 9:15am. We will start with the Torah reading and say the first Mourner’s Kaddish at 10am.
Havdalah will be at 6:30pm on Zoom. See the link below.
One last important announcement— morning minyan will be in-person on Torah reading days (Mondays, Thursdays and Rosh Chodesh, Sunday, March 14) from Purim until Passover. From Passover on we hope to be in-person every morning. We will meet in the sanctuary with all of our precautions in place. If you can be a regular part of the minyan once a week or more, or just want to come once to say kaddish for a yortzeit or to check it out, simply contact Rosie in the office.
See you in shul or online,
Westchester Jewish Center welcomes your contribution to any of our listed funds.