Shabbat Shalom ~ Vayetze 2022

Dear WJC Family,

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Perhaps due to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thanksgiving has become the de facto start of the Christmas Holiday season, and accordingly we’ve started to see lights go up on houses and the sale items appear in store windows. Usually, Hanukkah displays (a token menorah, perhaps) appear at the same time regardless of the actual timing of the Hanukkah holiday, but this year it actually makes sense! Thanksgiving day was also Rosh Hodesh Kislev, the beginning of the month of Kislev and Hanukkah starts on the 25th of this month. So, for a change, it makes perfect sense to have Hanukkah on our minds just now.

In that spirit, I wanted to share a fun/funny project of my colleague Rabbi Yael Beuchler of the Leffell School – Hanukkah Yay or Nay. Rabbi Beuchler goes into stores and rates their Hanukkah goods as appropriate or inappropriate on a scale from “Kosher for Passover food” to “items that really send the message of Hanukkah.” So, for example, a decorative wall hanging with a menorah that says Peace and Joy doesn’t really pass muster. While peace and joy are wonderful things to celebrate, they are not really the message of Hanukkah. On the other hand, the same wall hanging with the message, “Light and Love,” while not exactly nailing the Hanukkah message, works pretty well. The light part is good and who couldn’t do with a little more love in the world.

As we think about Hanukkah, it’s a great time to think about what we can do to spread Light and share Love. Right now WJC is providing two opportunities to do so:

  1. This Sunday we are hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive from 8am to 2pm. There is a blood supply shortage in New York and this is an easy (and free) way to give the gift of life. Make an appointment by clicking here
  2. WJC is hosting a Holiday Gift Drive to support the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Community Resource Center. This year we will be focused on gifts for teenagers including but not limited to cosmetics, perfume, jewelry, sweaters and ear pods for young women and hoodies, sweatshirts, ear pods, sneakers and body sprays for young men. For ease of purchase and delivery, SOJAC has created a Wish List on titled “WJC Holiday Drive – 2022” so that WJC members can purchase items that will be delivered directly to a SOJAC member who will drop the items at the CRC. You can access the wish list by clicking here. You can also drop the gifts in the bins in the coat room prior to December 18th.

Sharing light and love for Hanukkah is definitely a “yay!” Thanks to all our volunteers and to SOJAC for making these events possible and making WJC a source of light and love for the world.

I hope we’ll see you in shul for Shabbat and mazal tov to WJC members Noa Berg, who will celebrate her bat mitzvah Shabbat afternoon and Benji Salama who will celebrate his bar mitzvah at Beth El Synagogue Center Shabbat morning. And of course mazal tov to Noa’s parents, Virginie and Jonathan Berg, and to Benji’s parents, Rachel Barbanel-Fried and Andy Salama. Nothing like a couple of simchas to bring even more light and love to the darkening days of late autumn.

See you in shul,

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