Shabbat Shalom ~ Va-Era 2021

Dear WJC Family,

This week in Parshat Va-Era we begin reading about the plagues that God brought upon Egypt, including a couple kinds of diseases like boils and cattle disease. As the number of COVID-19 related deaths soar to Biblical (or at least Medieval) levels, these plagues are hitting a little close to home. Though it is hard to believe that a disease can wreak such devastation in the modern era and in such a prosperous nation, contemporary medicine has at least given us a way to see light in the future with the unprecedentedly rapid discovery of vaccines to protect against the disease.

It is a wonderful miracle that the vaccine is available, but unfortunately, information about the vaccine and registering to receive it can be confusing. I am sharing the following current information in hopes that it helps (shout out to Kol Ami in White Plains for compiling this information first) and if you need help signing up for a COVID Vaccine (it isn’t such a simple process)—let us know. We have people here who want to help you!

  • Effective January 11, 2021, Governor Cuomo expanded the list of people eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.  Phase 1B includes teachers and educators in grades K-12, first responders, public safety and transit workers, those ages 65 and older, immunocompromised people with diseases such as cancer, public safety workers, childcare workers and support staff in licensed daycare facilities, in-person college instructors, public transit workers and grocery store employees, among others. To see if you are eligible for a vaccine, click here
  • As the process which culminates in receiving the COVID-19 vaccination may be confusing to navigate, we want take this opportunity to clarify the steps involved.  To reach the official website of the State of New York, click here.  This website has all necessary pathways to schedule an appointment.  Follow the prompts to determine your eligibility, to register, to locate the vaccination site closest to your home and to schedule an appointment.   Please note appointments are required to be vaccinated and due to limit supply of the vaccine, it could take up to 14 weeks to schedule your appointment.
  • If you prefer to get vaccinated in New York City (you don’t have to be a NYC resident to use one of these sites), click here for locations.
  • You may also call the New York State Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4VAX (1-833-697-4829) to determine eligibility, register and schedule an appointment. 

I am, as you can imagine, very excited for my son Simeon’s bar mitzvah celebration this Shabbat. You should have received all the information about Shabbat services in a separate email (for a reminder, click here!). I hope you will be able to “join us” for this special moment in the life of our son and our family. We really want to be able to share it with our WJC family (that’s you!) as fully as possible under these circumstances.

See you online,





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