Shabbat Shalom ~ Va Era 2024

Important Note – Starting next week Rabbi Arnowitz’s day off will be Thursday.

Shalom WJC Family,

In 1960, author John Steinbeck took a trip around the United States to find out “what Americans are like now.” He titled the resulting memoir, “Travels with Charlie: In Search of America,” so named after the French poodle who was his traveling companion. In a way only Steinbeck could quite pull off, he expresses how he not only learns about America, but also about himself and even about Charlie. They are both seemingly changed by the journey. As Steinbeck notes, “People don’t take trips—trips take people.”

And what is true for Steinbeck and his canine companion is even more so for people on a journey together – a lesson that came poignantly home for me during my “Travels with Trollinger.” I refer to a trip to Israel I had the privilege to take with several colleagues in April of 2022, thanks to the generosity of the Westchester Jewish Council and UJA Federation of New York. The trip was designed to bring interfaith colleagues from Westchester together in Israel in hopes of building strong partnerships. It worked beautifully and I became closer with several colleagues including Rev. Dr. Erwin Lee Trollinger, Jr. Rev. Trollinger is one of the kindest, wisest, and gentlest human beings I have had the pleasure to know and now we are all blessed to have him as our guest after Kiddush Lunch on Saturday (1pm), where his topic will be “Reflections on MLK & Building Bridges between Communities.”

In addition to Rev. Trollinger, we have other meaningful events planned to commemorate Martin Luther King Weekend. We are pleased to have guest Joan Grangenois-Thomas speaking Friday night after the Rhythm & Ruach service (8:30pm) on, ”Bias: what is it and why it matters now more than ever,” as well as service projects for teens on Sunday and everyone on Monday. See the events section of this email for more details.

In introducing my friend Rev. Trollinger above I mentioned the Westchester Jewish Council (or the other WJC as we call them around here), a great organization that does so much good for our local Jewish community and beyond. We are so proud that the Council has chosen to honor our own Sarene Shanus and Harold Treiber at their Gala on January 27. We cannot think of two more worthy honorees. If you’d like more information about the Council’s Gala, click here.

The Council is also involved in the JAFI, UJA and WJC Community Gathering in Solidarity with the Hostages and People of Israel, commemorating 100 days in captivity. The event is Tuesday evening at 7:30pm and is being held at Temple Israel Center. For more information or to register (registration is required), click here.

All that and regular Shabbat services too, where we will celebrate the bat mitzvah of Elia Toeman. Mazal tov to Elia and to her parents Jeremy and Ariela.

See you in shul,

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