Shabbat Shalom ~ VaYeitze 2023

Dear WJC Family,

Just a quick note this week to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. I know with everything going on in the world, it can be hard to feel thankful. However, as I teach in the video in the link below, a holiday like Thanksgiving (or Shabbat for that matter) is an occasion to hold our family and friends close, cut out the noise, and focus on how much there is to be grateful for. And, it is in that spirit of gratitude that helps us remember how much good there really is all around us, that I express my thanks for the privilege of serving as your rabbi. My family and I have many blessings to appreciate this Thanksgiving and our WJC community is definitely one of them.

I am also grateful for my trip to Israel last month. I want to once again invite you to let me know if you are interested in a January trip to Israel. We are gauging interest for a short, congregational, volunteering and solidarity trip to Israel from January 21-25, 2024, with the potential to stay over Shabbat. On Shabbat the hope is to visit our proposed sister synagogue, Moreshet Avraham in the Talpiyot neighborhood of Jerusalem. The trip would include volunteering, meeting with Israelis personally connected to the October 7 attack in different ways, and touring as much as possible.

Monday’s request generated ten interested people. I’d love to have 5-10 more to confirm the trip’s potential. I have also been coordinating with the Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center who did such a great job running the trip I went on in October and they will be in touch soon with confirmation of dates and potential pricing. If you are interested, please email Rabbi Arnowitz.

Also, thank you to those who contributed to the Be’eri Resilience Fund that we advertised on Monday. Even on such short notice, together we were able to contribute $5000 to the cause at the event at Young Israel New Rochelle on Wednesday. The speaker described what he and his fiance experienced in their shelter on October 7—a terrible story—but also expressed optimism about rebuilding for the future. I will never cease to be amazed by Israeli optimism and belief in a better tomorrow. We will continue to contribute to the rebuilding efforts from our Israel Assistance Fund portion of our discretionary fund.

Lastly, we have a full slate of Shabbat activities over the holiday weekend – Friday night services and Saturday morning services, as well as a congregation in mincha in the chapel at 4:15pm (separate from the bar mitzvah that will start in the sanctuary a little later) where Tami Arnowitz will be our special guest teacher. If you are in town for the holiday weekend, I hope you’ll join us in shul to celebrate Shabbat, another more frequent holiday of thanksgiving, together.

See you in shul,


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