Today is July 24, 2024 /

Shabbat Shalom ~ Vayikra 2021

Dear WJC Family,

I remember preparing for last year’s seders—I was working at a folding table in my living room because one of my children was doing “school from home” in one side of of our home office while Tami worked from home on the other side, one was using the dining room table as his “learning space,” one was set up with a tray table “desk” in the upstairs hallway and the fourth was in the basement. I was muling papers and books from my office and they were piled all over the place. I was desperately trying to figure out best practices for a Zoom seder so that I could teach everyone else, but I’d seemed to have missed that class in Rabbinical School.

Our four sons were asking different kinds of questions: Why is this homework on a different platform from all other homeworks? All other school websites require only one password, why does this one require two and what is it? All my other teachers allow me to sit up or recline with video on or off, why does my Hebrew teacher make me sit up? And of course, what day is it and how long have we been learning from home? The answer was one month – like a rabbi enjoying the laughter after the punchline of the first joke in her sermon, we were just getting warmed up.

Here we are a year later and, as I said in my Passover message, a lot has changed. Last year we approached this holiday with fear and angst, much like the Israelites celebrating the first Passover sacrifice in Egypt so long ago. Today we still are facing challenges, but we may be beginning to feel like we are standing on the threshold of freedom and redemption, optimistically looking towards the future. Yet, we are wounded and fearful of what we leave in our wake, not unlike the Israelites a week after they left Egypt and stood on the banks of the Red Sea waiting expectantly for a miracle.

To mark the moment and prepare us for another unique seder experience – not quite normal, not quite alien – this Sunday at 3pm we are hosting the Kol Kol Seder of Inclusion for Every Voice. The program will take us through a full seder, honoring all the new ways we found to connect, lamenting the ways we could not be together and providing readings, teachings, songs and meditations. The haggadah designed specially for the occasion also includes artwork from several members of the WJC family. 

The goal of this special seder is to help us recognize the unique nature of this moment, heal from the wounds of the year, and gain inspirational and fitting readings for our own seders a week later. Much thanks to WJC member Hazzan Ellen Arad and Rabbi Cornelia Dalton for designing the haggadah and the seder, which Cantor Ethan Goldberg, Rabbi Shoshi Levin Goldberg and I are looking forward to participating in as well. There is also a seder goodie bag you can pick up at the synagogue before the event that includes a bottle of wine and other seder essentials. I hope you will sign up to join us.

I hope you had a chance to read through both sections of our Passover email. If you missed it you can view the relevant information here. Things are a little unusual because the holiday comes in on Saturday night after Shabbat. That means that the Fast of the Firstborn males is moved to Thursday (since you are not allowed to fast on a Friday in anticipation of Shabbat). For those who are looking for a siyum to cancel the fast, we are joining the Rabbinical Assembly’s national siyum being led by my colleague Rabbi Mordy Schwartz. It will take place on Thursday morning at 8:00am and you can register to get the Zoom link by clicking here. Bedikat chametz, the official search of the home for chametz will take place Thursday night and all the chametz should be sold or thrown out by noon on Friday. To sell your chametz through me, click here.

With the changing of the clocks last week, we are able to go back to using Zoom for our Friday night service (Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma’ariv), which will start at 5:45pm. The Friday night service will also be available concurrently on the Live Stream. So, you can choose the option that is more comfortable for you. For those who choose Zoom (which will have the option to see the faces of other participants), you can join us on the Zoom link below and then switch to the Live Stream (preferably before candle lighting time) for Saturday morning. Saturday morning will follow the regular timing we have been using and havdalah is at 8:00pm (yes you read that right!)

We are excited that we have a great number of people coming back for Saturday morning services – it is wonderful to see familiar faces in the sanctuary again. If you haven’t yet come back and would like to, please let Rosie know. 

I also have a request. It is our goal to have an in-person minyan on Thursday mornings, but we are struggling mightily to reach that goal. If you can join us on Thursday morning at 7:30 in the sanctuary, please let Rosie know. Also, for the intermediate days of Passover the week after next, we’d like to try to have a minyan daily, as there is Torah reading everyday. Can you make one or more of those services (Tues. 3/30-Friday 4/2)? We could really use your presence!

See you in shul or online,




Connect with Us

Give Online

Westchester Jewish Center welcomes your contribution to any of our listed funds.

Donate Now