Shabbat Shalom ~ Vayeitzei

Dear WJC Family,
 
In my email this week you’ll read about our Installation Ceremony, the 613 Mitzvot Campaign culmination ceremony, a special deal to attend the AIPAC National Policy Conference with Tami and me, and our guest speaker teaching on Saturday morning: Rabbi Ben Goldstein of the Beit Teshuva Jewish residential drug rehab center in LA.
 
One of my many roles as rabbi of WJC is to help facilitate ritual. Our faith gives lots of rituals to call out the beauty and holiness in specific moments. Some are connected to lifecycle events like b’nei mitzvah, weddings and funerals. Others are connected to the calendar, like lighting Shabbat candles each week, rituals associated with holidays, and what prayers we say when. Then there is a third category of Jewish ritual that is not necessarily associated with a time of life or time of week or year, but is rather associated with events in the life of the community, like the dedication of a new synagogue or Torah or the installation of a new rabbi.
 
This third type of ritual is called upon only when there is a significant moment in the life of the community, and are unique occasions. Indeed, being only the third person to serve as senior rabbi of the Westchester Jewish Center since World War II, it has been a while since we have installed a senior rabbi. This is a rare ritual indeed in the life of this congregation (and I hope it stays that way, lol). I am so looking forward to celebrating this special ritual with you on Sunday morning.
 
The program is made up of rabbis and cantors who have been and continue to be my mentors, partners, friends and counsel, sharing their perspectives about the special relationship of rabbi and congregation and sharing blessings for this sacred moment. Then, the morning will culminate in our siyyum (literally finishing ritual) to celebrate our completion of the 613 Mitzvot Campaign, which we undertook from September 8th to December 8th and aimed to complete and record 613 specific mitzvot that members of the congregation would perform. It is not too late to submit a mitzvah, by the way, but time is indeed running out so if you have done a mitzvah and want to be part of this extraordinary effort submit your mitzvah by clicking here. It promises to be a very special ritual and morning. I am looking forward to sharing it with you.
 
I sit on AIPAC’s National Council (America-Israel Public Affairs Committee), and in honor of the installation AIPAC is offering of an extra $100 off the registration fee for their annual Policy Conference in Washington DC, March 1st-3rd 2020. I hope you will consider joining Tami and me there this year. To register click here and enter the promo code WJCPC20. The special deal will be available until December 12, at midnight.
 
Prior to that, one of our guests for the installation, my friend Rabbi Ben Goldstein, will be our guest speaker for Saturday. Rabbi Goldstein is the Senior Rabbi of Beit Teshuva, the only Jewish residential drug rehab in this country. He will be teaching twice: at the Saturday morning shiur at 8:45am he will teach a class entitled, “The (Un)Examined Life,” and he will deliver the sermon on Saturday morning entitled, “The Lies We Tell Ourselves (and Others).” Rabbi Goldstein’s visit comes at a poignant moment with the opioid crisis impacting every community in this country, including our own. I am looking forward to sharing the whole weekend with him and you!
 
See you in shul,
RJA

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