Shabbat Shalom ~ Toldot 2021

Hodesh Tov!

Today is Rosh Hodesh Kislev, the first day of the new month of Kislev, which means just 25 days to Hanukkah! Keep your eyes open for a bunch of great Hanukkah events, programs and classes coming your way in the next few weeks, which will be detailed in the Hanukkah Programming Guide coming to your mailbox soon!

But before we dive into Hanukkah there are lots of other important things to share with you. First, I am proud to say that Westchester Jewish Center’s SOJAC Committee has officially joined the Interfaith Council for New Americans Westchester (ICNAW). ICNAW is a confederation of faith organizations, including other local Conservative synagogues, dedicated to resettling refugees in our communities. Right now ICNAW is deeply involved in the resettlement of Afghani refugees. In fact, ICNAW is taking responsibility for a refugee family that could arrive in the area any day. How can you help? We need volunteers for hands-on work with our new neighbors. There will be a WJC volunteers meeting on Zoom on Wednesday, November 10th at 7:30 pm and a training session presented by HIAS on how to do the work on Monday, November 15th from 7-9 pm. Lastly, if you are interested in volunteering, please fill out the volunteer interest form by clicking here. I am very excited about this mitzvah mission and am grateful to Holly Fink and Cheryl Brause for taking the lead on the ICNAW project.

I also want to mention that this week we will commemorate the anniversary of Kristallnacht, November 10-11. Our Holocaust Learning Center, now under the leadership of Amy Fastenberg and Holly Fink, has planned an important program for the occasion—Defiant Requiem: Documentary Film and Conversation with Conductor Murray Sidlin. The film highlights the remarkable story of Rafael Schächter, a brilliant, young Czech conductor who was sent to the Terezín concentration camp in 1941, and of the Jewish prisoners who performed with him. In the most dramatic example of intellectual and artistic courage, Schächter led one hundred and fifty prisoners to learn and perform Verdi’s Requiem, enabling them to transcend horrific conditions and engage in resistance against and defiance of the Nazis. Following the screening of the movie at WJC, the conductor Murray Sidlin, who is President and Creative Director of the Defiant Requiem Foundation, will be joining us for an interview by Zoom. Learn more about this event here.

Finally, Tami and I want to thank you all again for all of your love and support while she was sitting shiva for her brother Michael. Last Shabbat I gave a special sermon in memory of Michael in hopes of raising awareness about suicide prevention and mental health. You can read the sermon by clicking here or watch a recording of the sermon by following the video link below.

See you in shul or online,




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