Page 1

Don’t Forget:

Daylight Savings Time

the newsletter of woodlands community temple

Set your clocks BACK at bedtime on Sat, Nov 3! November 2018 Heshvan-Kislev 5779

From WCT Intern to Rabbinic Leader: Dan Geffen Returns for a Weekend of Learning by Fran Smith


any of us at Woodlands remember Dan Geffen as an astute, engaging, amazingly lovely almostrabbi when he was here as our intern in 201314. He is now the much-loved rabbi of Long Island’s oldest synagogue, Temple Adas Israel, and a leader in revitalizing the Jewish community of the East End. But we get to borrow him for an exceptional weekend of learning, celebration and eating, Nov 30 - Dec 1. Don’t miss it! It’s a wonderful opportunity to hug our old friend (or meet him and find out why we like him so much) and to immerse yourself in scholarship and reflection on integrity and mentshlikhkeit. Can any topic be more urgent in our world today? Continued on page 2

Giving Thanks Interfaith Thanksgiving in America


hanksgiving expresses gratitude for the abundant blessings we (and our ancestors!) have received. Jewish tradition overflows with expressions of thanks. In Psalms:

Hodu l’Adonai kee tov ... give thanks, for God is good; such grace lasts forever Ps 136:1 It really is a good world in which we live. The journey may not be easy, but it’s excellent to be on the path.



Sun, Nov 18 4:00-5:00 pm Each year, Woodlands Community Temple joins with the Greenburgh Interfaith Caring Community for shared worship before Thanksgiving. Always an inspiring, multi-denominational gathering, we encourage you to bring your family and model what it means to be a wonderful neighbor! Share in the true meaning of Thanksgiving, standing side-by-side with friends of different religions and cultures, reading and singing of fellowship, communal joy, and goodwill toward humankind.


Oy Gevalt! Jews and Punk Music? by Pam Chernoff


ne doesn’t usually think of “punk rock” and “Judaism” in the same sentence. But on Friday, November 16, at this year’s Book Fair Shabbat, author Michael Croland will make the connection. In 2005, Croland, a book editor who lives in Astoria, was working on a review of “Fiddlin’ on Ya Roof” for New Voices, when the editor asked for some context. The Jewish punk band Yidcore’s full-length cover of “Fiddler” was masterful, Croland says. But did it exist in isolation or was it part of a larger scene? Answering that question led to a feature on Jewish punk bands, then covering a West

Coast Hanukkah tour of Jewish punk bands for The Forward. He continued to write about the Jewish punk scene, which led to his book, Oy Oy Oy Gevalt! Jews and Punk, which covers both the history of Jews in punk music and the musicians who use punk to put their Jewish identities front and center. From punk music’s start in the 1970s at CBGB’s nightclub, some of the key players in punk music have been Jewish, including CBGB’s owner, two of the Ramones, and all of the Dictators. Punk is infused with nods to Jewishness, whether it’s humor as a coping mechanism, demands for social justice, or a Continued on page 4

The Greenburgh Interfaith Caring Community has been in business since 1983, when Ardsley pastor Bob Godley called on our local houses of worship to form a permanent organization that has “an independent existence, distinct from any denominational or religious tradition, but which, at the same time, reflects all of us.” Interfaith meets monthly, rotating between the different houses of worship and doing what it can to respond to local need in the Rivertowns area. Interfaith’s annual Thanksgiving service is, quite simply, beautiful. Just to see the rainbow of clergy Continued on page 4

Our Woodlands Community Rabbi Billy Dreskin Rabbi Mara Young Cantor Jonathan Ben Gordon Lily Mandell, Director of Youth Engagement Corey Friedlander, Sh’liakh K’hilah Zach Plesent, Rabbinic Intern

Executive Committee Andy Farber, President Nancy Fishman, VP Education Michael Witkowski, VP Facilities Michael Wiskind, VP Finance Jenna Lebowich, VP Programming/Ritual Herb Friedman, Financial Secretary Steve Sagner, Secretary Bonni Abore, Treasurer

Board of Trustees Irv Adler David Bertan Pam Chernoff Judy Feder Yvette Gralla Amy Green

Toby Linder Lisa Linn Matthew Moss Mike Scafidi Ann Zarider Jay Zwicker

Dayle Fligel (ex-officio)

Office Staff Liz Rauchwerger, Office Coordinator Marjorie Mattel, Office Assistant Michele Montague, Education Administrative Assistant Bookkeeper

Dan Geffen Returns for a Weekend of Learning, Continued from p. 1

Rabbi Dan’s presentations will build on the week’s Torah portion, Vayeshev, at the end of Genesis. It opens the dramatic story of Joseph as he reveals his dreams of power and glory to his brothers, who are already jealous of his status as Jacob’s favorite child. And yet, this prideful, even grandiose guy would become the first in Jewish tradition to earn the title of Tzaddik, which most people would associate with unadulterated goodness, righteousness, perhaps even humility. So what’s that about? What can we learn from Joseph’s complicated life? How can each of us, with all our flaws and foibles, cultivate the tzaddik within us? Dan will guide us in wrestling with these questions. He will be on the bimah Friday night, in t’filah at Religious School and in Hevra Torah Learning Saturday morning. He also will join us for Saturday evening dinner at 6:00 pm, followed at 7:30 pm by learning, Havdalah and dessert. “Our study of righteousness and value-laden living with Dan will enrich us all, both through our exploration of the materials he brings to us and through the time we spend with this exceedingly kind and engaging teacher of Judaism and of human goodness,” Rabbi Billy says. For Rabbi Dan, the weekend is not only an opportunity to explore values that guide his life and work. “It’s also a way of saying thank you to the Woodlands community for what they gave me,” he says. “They showed me it’s possible to have a synagogue where

people can really be themselves and feel like they’ve found a home. There’s a way to be relaxed in synagogue and be serious without being sanctimonious. It opened my eyes to look for that when I looked for a job.” And it informed the spirit he wanted to bring to the temple community he now leads. “Woodlands showed me a way of being together. Whether it was the way clergy interact with their leadership, or the way leaders interact with their congregation, or the way kids interact with adults, or adults interact with elderly members. The foundation of the synagogue is the idea of human dignity, and how we treat each other ultimately determines how the community is built.” Dan can fill you in on all the great things he’s been up to since we last saw him, but here are a few highlights. He was ordained by Hebrew Union CollegeJewish Institute of Religion in New York in May 2014 (he’s probably too humble to mention this but during his time at HUC, Dan received prestigious awards for Rabbinics, Hebrew Literature, Halachic Literature and twice for Amitz Lev, honoring his spirit, character and strength of heart). He and his wife, Lu, landed in Sag Harbor in the summer of 2014 and, two and half years ago, they became the proud parents of Eva Malka. Please join us for any or all parts of Dan’s visit with us. If you want to attend the Saturday dinner, don’t forget to register at

Rabbi-in-Residence Rabbi Dan Geffen: “Pursuing Tzedek in Our Lives” Fri, Nov 30 - Sat, Dec 1

Woodlands Community Temple 50 Worthington Road White Plains, NY 10607 914.592.7070 main office 914.592.1790 religious school direct line 914.592.7376 fax Religious School:

Woodlands Community Temple is affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism Art Director: Melanie Roher Advertising Director: Dayle Fligel


Fri, Nov 30 at 8:00 pm Shabbat Evening Service: “How Perfect Must We Be?”

Sat, Dec 1 at 9:15 am Hevra Torah Learning: “Joseph: He’s a Tzaddik?”

Sat, Dec 1 at 7:30 pm Learning and Discussion: “Being Tzodek: What Does Judaism Want from Us?” Optional dinner at 6:00 pm Register at ($18/person)

from the


A Higher Calling


The Long and the Short of It

Cantor Jonathan Gordon


his Kavanaugh nomination has taken a heavy toll on the heart. The Judge, and his primary accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, are similar in one way: they are each convincing witnesses to their own pain. As I write this, the decision is not yet made, their futures hover at the point of a spear; who knows how this drama will end? By the time you read this, it may all be settled. Each side will claim a moral triumph, either vindication or martyrdom. In order to heal, America will need to believe that justice has been served. Seems impossible. The past is a teacher in such matters. It seems fantastic to remember that millions opposed entry into World War II. That most of us accepted McCarthyism as Gospel truth. Or that the majority of Americans disputed federal action to ensure voting rights for people of color. There was staunch support for Nixon despite his Watergate scandal. History clears the air, so to speak; we come to see the narrative as a unified moral whole. We will require that the course of justice is properly served. If the investigation is tainted or there is abuse of power, we may ultimately demand an act of national contrition. In any case, we will crave a unified understanding of these events. From that perspective, the matter seems clear to me. A judgeship is no ordinary occupation. A judge is a finder of the truth. A judge considers testimony, evaluates truthfulness, and must deliver both justice and mercy. Judges change lives. A judgeship requires a higher calling. Statues of Justice show a blindfolded figure holding that scale. Judges are to be neutral and fair, with no prior disposition to the people before them. Judges are to be above suspicion, like Caesar’s wife, without even the hint of scandal. How far this nomination falls below that standard. Kavanaugh’s tirade against Democrats, the Clintons, and liberals, which depicted them as vile conspirators against his reputation, seals the matter. It is impossible anyone in these groups could ever trust him to dispense justice on their behalf. Trump recently pledged that the Supreme Court should always be in Republican hands, as he publicly mocked the testimony of the dignified victim. What a terrible moment in our history. The court is to be above such things. Justices are not, and should not be, political operatives. A judge is to be more than ambitious, more than successful. God tells Moses to appoint judges with good character. “They must be God-fearing men who can be trusted and who cannot be bribed” (Ex. 18:21). Our justices must be above the breath of scandal. They must be tellers of the truth in order to be finders of the truth. If America can affirm that a higher calling is required to be on our highest court, our country will emerge all the stronger from this painful test of our character.

Sindyanna by Roberta Roos


hile the olive branch has traditionally been the symbol of peace, in modern Israel the olive tree has come to stand for hostility. We too frequently read of settlers bulldozing Palestinian olive trees and of Palestinians prevented from reaching groves that have been in their families for hundreds of years. But in one place in northern Israel, the olive is bringing Arab and Israeli women together. The vehicle, Sindyanna of the Galilee, reclaims derelict lands and transforms them into olive groves, modernizes Arab farming, empowers women, fosters Jewish-Arab friendships, and promotes fair trade. The tending of the groves, pressing of the olives, bottling and sale of the olive oil, workshops, and Kanna visitors center are joint endeavors between Arab and Israeli women. With names like Extra Peaceful, Extra Positive, Extra Hopeful, and Extra Unified, who can resist their olive oil, now available for purchase through Amazon! Learn more at

Israel, like America, is a land we love. Its accomplishments inspire us, yet we struggle when it falls short of our dreams for it. This column explores Israel’s ongoing work toward building a nation firmly aligned with the Jewish values we love. Join us in probing the aspirations and endeavors of this complicated but cherished land.


Engaging Interfaith Families for a Thriving Jewish Future Sun, Nov 4, 9:30-11:30 am Shames JCC Why do some interfaith families engage with the Jewish community more than others? Are there identifiable barriers that need to be eliminated to encourage engagement and to enrich communal life for all? You are invited to join a thoughtful community conversation about the pathways to engagement of interfaith families for a thriving Jewish future, led by Ed Case, nationally-known presenter on interfaith issues and an advocate for interfaith families’ Jewish engagement. RSVP to (please include your name, number attending, name of synagogue, and any questions you would like the presenter to consider. Sponsored by the Rivertowns Jewish Consortium.

Save the Date! for the

10th Annual Jonah Maccabee Concert this year with Rick Recht

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Yom Kippur Food Drive


stray line referencing things in a Jewish way. But the bands that really animate Croland’s interest are the ones that are overtly Jewish, not just Jewish-influenced. “This is my passion,” he says. “When I found out about one band, I thought it was great. Now I’ve found out about at least two dozen.” These bands approach their music in many ways. The band Jewdriver, for example, performs parodies, taking the white nationalist songs of a band called Skrewdriver and turning them into emphatic odes to Jewish culture — to bagels and even Chuck Barris, the creator of a kitschy 1970s talent show called “The Gong Show.” Yidcore has a whole song about wooing Natalie Portman. Other Jewish punk bands take an overtly religious approach. Moshiach Oi, for example, uses its music to praise God, and even hopes to use punk to bring the messiah. “They think if you can scream the Sh’ma from the bottom of your gut, that’s a way to really feel it,” Croland says. Michael also has a special connection to Woodlands. Croland met Rabbi Mara when she was a rabbinic student. As she tells it, “A fellow rabbinic student and I started a minyan called the Wandering Jews of Astoria. Michael was our first member and quickly became a partner in getting the group off the ground. He’s a great person.” The Woodlands Book Fair runs November 9-18 in the Meeting Room.

Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, Continued from p. 1 on the bimah is a treat and it really embodies the spirit of Thanksgiving: that we are alive and that we respect and love our neighbors. To meet members of other congregations is a privilege, as well. There is something incredibly holy about worshiping interdenominationally. And something uber-holy about bringing our children to witness it. So come join us on Sunday, November 18 at 4:00 pm, right here at Woodlands. It will kick-off your Thanksgiving in a way that will help make it so much more than a turkey-and-stuffing meal. How appropriate for us to come together and give thanks as one community of many religions, dedicated and committed to securing the dignity and rights of the human family. Whoever we are, from wherever we come, we depend on one another for the support we are able to give to those we love and those who need our love. It is exactly what we imagine the God of all religions would want from us.

How to Do Tashlikh When it Rains!

from the


Be Thankful It’s November! Andy Farber, President


he first Tuesday in November (actually, the Tuesday after the first Monday) is Election Day. Pirke Avot (3:2) suggests that we should “pray for the welfare of the government.” But we can and should do more than that. We should go out and become part of our governing process. It is the right, the duty, and the responsibility of every American citizen to vote. So this is the time to take one day and put away the petitions, stop marching, and stop writing letters. This is the time to participate in our democratic electoral process, and vote. Let’s strive for 100% participation from Woodlands in the voting process this year. If you need a ride, or can give a ride, give us a call. Within our own community, the building is pretty busy in November, with programs going on nearly every weekend. Check out our calendar at Here are a few: • Open Mic Coffee House on Saturday night, November 3, starts off the month. Join us as fellow congregants step up to the microphone to entertain us. Don’t worry about staying out late, you’ll get an extra hour of sleep as we set the clocks back to mark the end of Daylight Savings Time. Then on Sunday, November 4, save a life by making a special donation at the Blood Drive. • The following weekend, on Saturday, November 10, the YFEC is sponsoring a program for all parents of teens, and on Sunday, November 11, the Jewish Life Committee is sponsoring Dinner and a Movie. Come watch “Deli Man” and then enjoy a Sunday evening deli dinner. • That same weekend also kicks off our annual Book Fair, which now takes place conveniently in the Meeting Room. For an entire week (Nov 9-19) we can browse, pick up some books for Hanukkah (or just for someone special), and support our Religious School along the way! • On Sunday, November 18, we’re hosting the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, inviting our friends and neighbors from area houses of worship to join us in counting our blessings. • Finally, November ends with a very, very special event. Our former rabbinic intern, and now rabbi at Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor, NY, Rabbi Dan Geffen will join us for a special Rabbi-in-Residence weekend (Nov 30 - Dec 1). We loved Dan when he was our intern. This is a great opportunity for us to reconnect with him, and with each other. More info on page one.

Happy Thanksgiving! L’shalom,

B’rukhim haba’im

Welcome to our newest members!

Annual Book Fair Nov 9-19 An annual treat! Do some Hanukkah shopping while supporting our religious school. We’ll have books of all types, some with Jewish themes and some secular. Religious school kids will be cycling through during class, so be sure to send them with some money on that day. Held in the Meeting Room, sponsored by the WCT Religious School Board.

WCT’s Got Talent! Annual Open Mic Coffeehouse Sat, Nov 3 at 8:00 pm Exercise your inner and outer artistic talent and sign up to perform at WCT’s open mic night. We provide a piano, an accompanist, some microphones, the popcorn and the people. You provide your talent and enthusiasm! No judges, no judgments. Poetry, juggling, music, magic and mayhem are all welcome. Email your interest ( and

Can You Hear Me Now? WCT Sound Crew in Formation

We’re looking for a few folks who’d like to mix sound for worship services. Previous experience is helpful. If you’ve ever played in a band or mixed sound, this could be just for you. Once a month or so, we need a pair of ears to mix sound in sanctuary for A Joyful Noise, Purim, and other complex musical moments at WCT. Here’s a chance to have lots of fun working with great people and to give a bit of time to our temple. We can train you on our specific board (Behringer X32) but we’re not really in a position to teach anyone from the ground up. Please contact Lance Rosenthal ( if you’re interested or have questions.

Barney and Milena Schmidt James and Lauren Jen


A Fourth Pillar – The Woodlands Way by David M. Fligel

Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were talking about the hot weather? And here we are a few weeks away from lighting the first candle of Hanukkah!! The Judaica Shop at Woodlands is starting to receive holiday merchandise, and we’re excited to showcase new items from long-time favorite artists. Tamara Baskin’s ombre blues Western Wall menorah, made from artisan crafted crushed art glass mounted onto a frosted base, will be a striking centerpiece for your holiday celebration. Gary Rosenthal’s mixed-media hanukkiyah of steel, brass and fused glass is a beautiful example of the artist’s simple, elegant style. His colorful small-bar menorah is priced perfectly for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah gift and will be a treasured gift for years to come.

And don’t forget to add a box of colorful, dripless Safed Hanukkah candles to make this year’s Festival of Light glow the brightest ever. Speaking of not forgetting, we often hear, “I wish I’d bought it when I saw it.” With our limited display space (even though we fill it to capacity!) and even more limited storage space, we stock only one or very few of each item. If you’ve been eyeing a particular item, please let us know you’re interested because once it’s sold, we may not be able to re-order another.

Come visit us soon!! Check out the new holiday arrivals from jewelry to homegoods to toys, trinkets and socks! The Judaica Shop at Woodlands is open, by request, every day the temple office is staffed. Evening and weekend hours are noted in the weekly temple email. Have a question? Special request? Email us at



ow often do we sing the song “Al Shlosha D’varim (On Three Things)” without thinking about what those three things are, how they are achieved at Woodlands Community Temple, and our responsibility to sustain efforts to keep them going? Pirkei Avot teaches us that the world stands upon three things (“3 Pillars”): (1) Torah – “laws” – most often associated with the Torah and the 613 mitzvot that give us structure and values to live by (as Reform Jews, we’d call them “religious opportunities”); (2) Avodah – service to God – most often expressed in the praying we do, as well as, by the gratitude we express to God and to each other; and (3) Gemilut Hasadim – acts of loving kindness – often reflected in giving without the expectation of receiving anything in return. At Woodlands, carrying out these three pillars happens simultaneously: our B’nai Mitzvah kids leading/participating in the service (Torah and Avodah) and their tzedakah donations (Gemilut Hasadim) that you read about in the daf (service handout); Shabbat services (Avodah and Torah), Midnight Runs where we bring food to the homeless in New York City and many other social action activities (Avodah and Gemilut Hasadim); adult learning opportunities from Torah Study on Shabbat mornings (Torah/Avodah), to book groups/film series (Avodah), to Scholar-in Residence programs and many classes taught by members of the congregations; and, among many others, our religious school where our children not only learn about, but participate in, all three pillars. The list of activities here at Woodlands is long and deep – we are a robustly active congregation! The quality and quantity of our version of the 3 Pillars is why we call Woodlands “Makom Shelibi Oheyv – The Place My Heart Holds Dear.” If you close your eyes, you can feel the comfortableness and satisfying feeling that comes with being a member of Woodlands and the ease with which we apply any and all of the 3 Pillars. Alas, to accomplish this, we all have a responsibility. As Rabbi Tarfon said: “It is not incumbent upon us to complete the work, but neither are we at liberty to desist from it.” One way to fulfill that responsibility is with what I call “the 4th Pillar – Money.” Our Annual Fund Campaign is one way that our support helps WCT offer so many opportunities for the 3 Pillars. Since its inception six years ago, not only have we raised in excess of $400,000 but participation has increased to over 100 families, many of whom have donated each year. The money raised keeps dues and school fees increases to a minimum while continuing to offer enhancements everywhere in our temple (those very tangible feeling you get when engaging with your temple, either through services, lifecycle events, educational and/or social action opportunities). I’m calling upon you to please support this 4th Pillar. You will be receiving information about the 2018 Annual Fund Campaign shortly. Thank you for participating. It’s a mitzvah!

P.S. If you can’t wait for the formal communications on this year’s campaign, please contact me (914-646-2287 or

Worship Schedule Shabbat Khayei Sarah

Shabbat Vayetzay

Gen 23:1 - 25:18 ... I Kngs 1:1-31

Gen 28:10 - 32:3 ... Hos 12:13 - 14:10

Fri, Nov 2

Fri, Nov 16

Jammin’ Shabbat at 7:00 pm

Book Fair Shabbat at 8:00 pm

A half-hour of zany, holy fun! Put on your jammies, bring a bedtime friend, a blanket if you like, and c’mon over for 30 minutes of Shabbat song, stories and blessings to get you ready for bed. Bring a buck for tzedakah. And new this year, Mitzvah Hero Training at 6:45 pm!

In honor of our annual Book Fair, tonight’s service will feature Michael Croland, author of Oy Oy Oy Gevalt! Jews and Punk. This ain’t your mother’s Lekha Dodi! Come support the Book Fair and meet Michael.

Wisdom From Our Own at 8:00 pm Our iyyunim (prayer introductions) will be presented by temple members. Come celebrate and learn from our own. Naming tonight for Baby Girl Chesterson, daughter of Tiffany and Jedd Chesterson.

Sat, Nov 3 Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 am

Sat, Nov 17 No 10:30 service today. Ask for Kaddish to be recited at Hevra Torah (9:15 am).

Shabbat Vayishlakh Gen 32:4 - 36:43 ... Hos 11:7 - 12:12

Fri, Nov 23 Simply Shabbat at 8:00 pm

Celebrate with us as Dylan Gottfried, daughter of Jennifer and Eric Gottfried, becomes a Bat Mitzvah.

A quiet evening with your clergy. Familiar melodies and familiar prayers to bring us all together. Led by Cantor Jonathan while the rabbis are away.

Shabbat Toledot

Sat, Nov 24

Gen 25:19 - 28:9 ... Mal 1:1 - 2:7

Fri, Nov 9 Mishpakha Shabbat: NFTY in Israel Edition! at 7:00 pm For the entire congregation, just earlier – meaningful for adults, engaging for kids! This month, 11th grader Daniel Goldberg will share highlights and impressions from his summer with NFTY in Israel. If you like, join us for a quick dinner (this month, demonstrating zero-waste strategies) at 6:00 pm – make your reservation at

Sat, Nov 10 Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 am Celebrate with us as Hudson Svigals, son of Cynthia and Matt Svigals, becomes a Bar Mitzvah.

No 10:30 service today. Ask for Kaddish to be recited at Hevra Torah (9:15 am).

Babysitting at 8:00 pm Shabbat

services is provided by teens from our religious school. This month, babysitting will be available on Nov 2, 16 and 30. There is no charge and no advance notice is required. For further information, contact

Hevra Torah Learning Saturdays, 9:15-10:15 am There’s abundant room around our table. Drop by once or often, we’d love to have you join our lively conversation. In the Meeting Room or Library.

Nov 3: Parashat Khayei Sarah Facilitated by Rabbi Billy

Nov 10: Parashat Toledot Facilitated by Rabbi Billy

Nov 17: Parashat Vayetzay Facilitated by Rabbi Mara

Nov 24: Parashat Vayishlakh Facilitated by Cantor Jonathan

Dec 1: Parashat Vayeshev Facilitated by Rabbi Dan Geffen

Shabbat Vayeshev Gen 37:1 - 40:23 ... Amos 2:6 - 3:8

Fri, Nov 30

Sukkot BBQ!

Rabbi-in-Residence Dan Geffen at 8:00 pm Rabbi Dan Geffen, former (and muchloved) rabbinic intern joins us for a weekend of learning and spirit. This evening’s topic: “How Perfect Must We Be?” Babynaming this evening for Lucy Rose Moore, daughter of Lauren and Al Moore, granddaughter of Linda Einfrank and Jeff Schlossberg.

Sat, Dec 1 Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 am Celebrate with us as Zachary Weinhouse, son of Deena and Brett Weinhouse, becomes a Bar Mitzvah.


November Happenings & Beyond Learning Dinner and a Movie: “Deli Man” Sun, Nov 11 at 4:00 pm “Deli Man” is a 2015 documentary film about the history of the kosher deli in America, and about one deli man and his life in and out of the deli. Join us for a screening of the movie, followed by a delicious kosher deli meal. The cost is just $36 per person, a portion of the proceeds going toward the care of our four Torah scrolls. Register at A movie. A nosh. A good cause. Join us!

Jewish Studies Thursdays 10:00-11:30 am Harriet Levine teaches about the wonderful environment for Jews in the “Golden Age of Spain.”

Woodlands Singers Woodlands Singers performs at special services and other events. We rehearse Wednesday evenings, 8:15-9:15 pm. If you can carry a tune and enjoy group singing, this is the place for you. Contact Cantor Jonathan ( for more information.

Current Events Third Wednesday of each month (except Nov), 10:00-11:30 am Join us for an always-lively discussion on current events. An agenda is emailed to participants ahead of the meeting. Next session: Wed, Dec 19. Subsequent sessions: Jan 16, Feb 20, Mar 20, Apr 17 and May 15.

Lunch and Learn Third Wednesday of each month (except Nov), 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Book Club One Wednesday each month at 2:00 pm On Wed, Nov 14, we’ll discuss Educated by Tara Westover, facilitated by Phyllis Opochinsky. What does it mean to be educated? Tara Westover, the seventh child, born in the mountains of Idaho to a survivalist family suspicious of government and preparing for the biblically predicted judgement day and the end of the world. Tara’s family was off the grid – no birth certificates, school, doctor visits, hospitals, or driver’s licenses. This is a well-told story of resilience in the face of an unpredictable, evermore paranoid father, and a situation that became more and more abusive. Tara had no formal education and, against her father’s wishes, entered a classroom at age 17. For the first time in her life, she had mentors who supported, guided, and created opportunities for her. Educated is a real story of resilience and survival. Subsequent dates: Dec 12, Jan 9, Feb 13, Mar 13, Apr 10, May 8 and Jun 12.


Join us for a wonderful lunch and timely discussions of important topics. $10 per session or $65 for all sessions. On Wed, Dec 19, Rabbi Billy will present, “Jews and Money: Will the Real Stereotype Please Stand Up?” On Wed, Jan 16, Rabbi Joan Farber will present. On Wed, Feb 20, “The History of the Jews in Westchester.” Subsequent dates: Mar 20, Apr 17, May 15 and Jun 19.

S’forim Forum Sat, Dec 15, 4:30-6:00 pm Read and discuss the best books in Jewish fictional literature, old and new, from Europe, Israel, the U.S. and all other possible points of origin. A light snack and Havdalah follow. At our upcoming meeting, we will discuss Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart. By most measures, Barry Cohen has achieved the American Dream. He manages a hedge fund with $2.4 billion in assets, lives in Tribeca and has a beautiful wife. He appears, at least on the surface, to be a highly unlikely candidate for a cross-country journey to find himself. But

when we first meet Barry, he is stressed out and unhappy, and he is bleeding because his wife recently attacked him. Soon we learn that there is more imperfection in his life: his son has autism and an SEC investigation is hanging over his head. So when Barry gets on a Greyhound and tries to leave it all behind (naively seeking out a long-lost college girlfriend), we understand the allure he finds in busing himself into the unknown.

Marc Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde: Trip to the Jewish Museum Sun, Jan 6 8:30 am - 2:00 pm Marc Chagall, El Lissitsky, and Kazimir Malevich’s paintings are showcased at the Jewish Museum’s exhibit examining the Russian avant-garde after the 1917 revolution.

The Story of the Jews Wednesdays, Jan 23, 30, Feb 6, 13 and 27, 7:30-9:00 pm Led by Rabbi Joan Glazer Farber View and discuss Simon Schama’s “The Story of the Jews.” This 5 -part TV series follows Schama as he travels from Russia and the Ukraine to Egypt, Israel, and Spain, exploring the imprint that Jewish culture has made on the world and the drama of suffering, resilience and rebirth that has gone with it. Register at

Talmud with Rabbi Billy Six Thursdays, Oct 25 - Dec 13 11:30 am - 1:00 pm You are warmly invited to join our intrepid team of adventurers and learners. Get yourself a copy of Koren Talmud Bavli, Vol. 1: Tractate Berakhot (English and Hebrew Edition) and jump right in with us (or just visit our first class to try us out). Our conversations are entertaining, frequently enlightening often irreverent, and sometimes life-changing. Contact the office (wct@wct. org) to register. Hope to see you there!

Islam and Judaism: The Same, Only Different! Interfaith Conversation and Learning

Wed, Nov 7, 7:30-9:00 pm How much do you know about Islam? Did you know that Abraham is considered the father of Islam as well as the father of Judaism? Did you know that the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah and the Flood, and Sodom and Gemorrah are not only in the Torah but are also in the Quran? On Wednesday, November 7, we’re starting a series of Muslim/Jewish learning opportunities during which we’ll come together and explore texts that are shared by both religious traditions. This will not be lectures but a conversation between all of us, facilitated by Rabbi Billy and Rabbi Mara. Our Muslim friends from the Peace Island Initiative will share the Quran’s version of these narratives while we share ours. We suspect that we’ll discover more commonalities than differences, but that we’ll also be fascinated by those elements of these sacred tales that are different. Plan to join us for our first gathering. Register online at Dessert will be served.

Social Action Mitzvah Month Continues through early November Because Mitzvah Month encompasses both October and Heshvan, several opportunities remain to become involved. On Sun, Nov 4, you can donate blood, drop off a few items of food at the Dobbs Ferry Stop & Shop during our Thanksgiving Supermarket Food Drive (or help with the collection), and/or join our knitting and crocheting group (even if you are a beginner). On Tue, Nov 6, you can drive someone to the polls to vote. And on Fri, Nov 9, you can purchase a book at WCT’s Book Fair and donate it to a child at Children’s Village. Much more information is available at

Blood Drive Sun, Nov 4, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

November Mensch of the Month is Sixth Grade

Giving blood at WCT is easy and convenient. Come in when picking up or dropping off for religious school, going to a meeting, or swing by just because you’re a mensch. You can donate if you’re 17-75 years old and weigh at least 110 lbs (a 16-year-old may donate with a parent’s note, and those over 75 with a doctor’s note). Please bring ID. Schedule your appointment at or email Chuck Bauer ( Walkins are welcome but may need to wait.

A Month of Desserts November and December

Knitting & Crocheting Sun, Nov 4 3:00-5:00 pm Election Day Tue, Nov 6 Hillel taught “Do not separate yourself from the community.” It is our responsibility (and honor!) to play an active role in choosing our community’s leaders. The Talmud teaches, “A ruler is not to be appointed unless the community is first consulted.” This deeply embedded ethic of political participation has guided Jews to participate enthusiastically in the American electoral process. If you need a ride – or can give a ride – please let us know (

Thanksgiving Day Meal Prep for Homeless Thu, Nov 22, 9:00 am - Noon You are invited to join our Confirmation families at WCT in preparing Thanksgiving meals for homeless men and women at the Valhalla Residential Shelter in Hawthorne. We’ll be fixing the goodies (and watching the Macy’s Parade!) until about noon, when those who would like can drive the food and personally deliver it to the men. Space is limited, so please contact SocialAction@ for more information. We can use shoppers, cooks to make a turkey the day before, cooks to work in our kitchen on Thanksgiving morning, and drivers at noon. Also, your donation will help us cover food costs (payable to WCT, with “Thanksgiving Meal” on the memo line).

You, too, can be a mensch by bringing in nonperishable Thanksgiving food for the food cart. Help our local food pantries and the folks they serve.

Woodlands provides desserts each day during these two months for The Sanctuary teen shelter. Sign up as a family or with friends to supply dessert or fruit for one week. Email Jeanne Bodin ( to participate. This is a really fun activity to do with your kids, and a wonderful opportunity for a family to do tikkun olam together.

Children’s Village Holiday Gifts Kids at Children’s Village do not always receive holiday gifts, unless someone in the community thinks of them. You can brighten the holiday season by being that “thinking” person. Contact Jeanne Bodin ( to be notified of the kids’ wish list.

Holiday Toy Drives @ Woodlands! Two great holiday gift drives for adults and children to share the Hanukkah spirit!!

Have a Heart Mon, Nov 12 - Mon, Nov 26 We’ve partnered with WJCS to collect new toys for needy Jewish children at Hanukkah. Please drop off a new, unwrapped toys in the big box at WCT. Or donate online at

Toys for Tots Mon, Nov 26 - Wed, Dec 19 For needy kids at Christmas, new, unwrapped toys are being collected by WCT and will be picked up for distribution by the Greenburgh Fire Department. Or donate online at Collection bins for both projects are in the hallway outside the Sanctuary. Questions, contact Michele Montague (michele@ This year, make it a tzedakah Hanukkah!!


Want to Stay Informed About Social Action at WCT? Our monthly Makom is written more than a month ahead of time. But some events pop up more urgently than that. There are two ways for you stay current: 1) Visit where we provide the most current information on immigration, anti-Semitism, racism and other issues of concern to our community; and, 2) Email to add your name to our social action mailing list – we usually send them monthly but also when urgently needed.

WCT Getting Closer To Becoming A Zero-Waste Facility Take a look around Woodlands this year and you’ll see something different ... black, blue and green trash/recycling stations! Thanks to Hernando and the Environmental Task Force, last year’s B’nai Mitzvah class and an anonymous gift to fund this, our recycling program has begun. Be sure to take a look at the signs before you stash your trash. Unsoiled paper goods and cardboard go into the blue bins; clean glass, cans and plastic go into the green bins; and the rest goes into the black trash. The signs also help you know what to recycle at home! Stay tuned for the addition of compost bins coming soon.

Youth Engagement NFTY-NAR Fall Kallah Fri-Sun, Nov 9-11 Join NFTY’s New York Area Region at URJ Kutz Camp in Warwick, NY, meet new people and see your friends from camp, Israel and Mitzvah Corps, all while participating in fabulous fun and interactive programming. A weekend full of outdoor enjoyment, challenging conversation and teen-led services. Register at newyork.nfty. org or reach out to Lily (

WoodSY Friendsgiving and Football Sat, Nov 17, 4:00-7:00 pm Come celebrate Thanksgiving with WoodSY! Join us for a Friendsgiving potluck dinner and football game on the lawn. Wear your favorite football jersey and bring your favorite Thanksgiving dish, look out for more info from WoodSY soon!


Don’t delay ... Summer Camp Applications Due Now!

YFEC Presents Teen Brain: Mental Health Edition Sat, Nov 10 at 6:30 pm Join the Youth and Family Engagement Committee and fellow parents of teens and pre-teens for an enlightening evening of information presented by the Youth Mental Health Project (YMHP). The Youth Mental Health Project believes every child’s mental well-being needs to be nurtured, and that mental wellness and physical wellness should be equally prioritized. We have invited Randi Silverman of YMHP to come educate, empower and support the families of our community on youth mental health. Randi is the co-founder of YMHP and an award-winning screenwriter and producer of the feature film, No Letting Go (available on Amazon). As a nationally-recognized public speaker and presenter on the topic of children’s mental health, Randi’s work creates opportunities for open community dialogue and increases awareness and education about children’s mental health. A believer in the power of storytelling, Randi used her real-life experiences as the mother of a child with a mental health disorder to co-write and produce No Letting Go. Receiving critical acclaim from film reviewers and mental health organizations alike, the film has won over 20 awards at independent film festivals worldwide. This program is geared towards parents with kids of all grades. We’ll start at 6:30 pm with Havdalah and dinner. Randi will facilitate our program at 7:00, followed by dessert. Cost is $20 per person for dinner (with BYOB wine and beer to share, please). Register by Sun, Nov 4 at Not able to join us for dinner? Feel free to come at 7:00, but please let us know to save you a seat by replying online. Friends and family who are not WCT members are also welcome to attend.

Believe it or not, sections of our Reform movement’s summer camp programs (Crane Lake, Eisner, Kutz, 6 Points Sports Academy, 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy and 6 Points Creative Arts Academy) fill to capacity by December. So if you’d like to ensure your child’s place in one of these programs, please do not delay submitting application and deposit. Reform Jewish summer camps are not only great, but they help solidify our kids’ positive sense of Jewish identity. In this world of competing values and claims on our time and energy, this is a tremendous gift for you to offer your child or grandchild. Contact the Eisner/Crane Lake office (, Kutz Camp (, 6 Points Sports Academy ( 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy ( or 6 Points Creative Arts Academy (6pointscreativearts. org) to find out more about this wonderfully enjoyable summer opportunity for your child or grandchild. Lily Mandell, Rabbi Mara and Rabbi Billy have information, as well. Financial assistance is available too.

$$$ Available for 1st-time Summer Campers Is this the summer to send your child or grandchild to a URJ summer camp (Eisner, Crane Lake, Kutz, 6 Points Sports Academy, 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy or 6 Points Creative Arts Academy)? Well, up to $1000 is waiting for you! No kidding! We’ve linked arms with the UJA-Federation of New York and the Foundation for Jewish Camp and are thrilled to be able to offer this subsidy to any family wanting to give a child their first, unforgettable experience of summer at a Jewish sleepaway camp. The application process is now open at If you’ve got questions, feel free to contact Lily Mandell, Rabbi Mara or Rabbi Billy.

The Simkha Page

The Woodlands Community Mourns the Loss of

Our B’nai Mitzvah Dylan Gottfried

Hudson Svigals

Nov 3

Nov 10

Torah Portion Khayei Sarah

Torah Portion Toledot

Hebrew Name Rivka

Hebrew Name Hayyim

Todah Rabbah (thank you) to... All who helped with the Sukkot BBQ: Hilary Archigian, Stu and Karen Berlowitz, Dave Bertan, Linda Davidson, Andy Farber, Mark Fox, Richard Fleiss, Dayle Fligel, Mindy Gallagher, Jill Garland, Heidi Gralla, Elizabeth Hiller, Lisa Izes, David Katz, Mitch and Juli Klein, Jon Kleinman, Michael, Jenna and Marina Lebowich, Barry, Charlie and Owen Linder, Jodi Moss and family, Julie Levine, Caroline Rosengarden and family, Lisa Sacks, Ethan Sipe, Mike Scafidi, Debbie Shapiro, Cathy Shore-Sirotin and Gene Sirotin, and Natalie Werner. And extra special thanks to Mitch Klein for running the grill, the clergy for their support, Hernando for his assistance, Ruach Neshama for the entertainment, and Michele, Liz, and Marjorie in the office for their patience and help. All who helped collect and deliver our Yom Kippur food collection: Sandi Lieb, who organized it all with her lieutenants, Val Fox and Julie Stein, plus Jeanne Bodin, Lesli and Danielle Cattan, Sarah Chernoff, Rachel Flamm, Jada Fleiss, Dayle Fligel, Julian Goldstein-Lika, Lindsay Hornstein, Carol Intner, Shelli Katz, Hannah Kirschbaum, Marina Lebowich, Evi Lieb, Aaron, Barry and Laurie Liebowitz, Todd Miller, Sarah Sagner, Eliana and Sam Scafidi, Paul Storfer, Elise Wagner, Lucas Werner, and all those kids who came to give and stayed to work.

Captain’s Wine and Spirits in Ardsley for supplying us with at least 100 cartons for our Yom Kippur food collection. Jen Kline-Galkin, along with the Isenberg and Bloom families, for getting apples and honey to the kids after family services on Rosh Hashanah. Betsy Schorr and Michael Silverman, who led our September breakfast run into NYC, plus Julie and Owen Fisher, Debby Fischgrund, Eric and Josh Grossman, Sandi Lieb and Paul Storfer, who handed out food, clothing and friendship. Pam and Joel Chernoff for their extraordinary work in organizing the High Holy Days honors. Lance Rosenthal and Mitch Klein, for sound engineering at “A Joyful Noise!” The beautiful folks at Peace Islands Institute for sharing Noah’s Pudding and a little bit of Muslim culture at the high school Academy. Karen Berlowitz and Mike Winkleman, for their moving presentations at Yom Kippur Yizkor.f Kirsten Kleinman for bringing us closer to eco-friendly! Liz Mueller for making Paint Nite happen. Roberta Roos and Ellen Dreskin for making Islam, Judaism and America a beautiful success.

Lauren Perlstein step-sister of Don Levan Leonard Geltzeiler father of Michelle Heyman Linda Goldfarb sister of Stephen Stein HaMakom y’nakhem otam… may God bring comfort to all who are in mourning. Zekher tzadik livrakha ... may their memory be for a blessing.

Hevra Kaddisha: Comforting the Mourner A Sacred Duty and We Could Use Your Help Perhaps they’ve appeared at your front door? When death takes someone we love, Jewish tradition has us sit shiva to receive comfort from friends and neighbors. Sometimes we request that evening services be held in our home to provide an opportunity to recite Kaddish. That’s when the members of our Hevra Kaddisha arrive. With compassionate guidance, they take our hand for this ritual of remembrance as we make our way through the valley of the shadow. We can always use another member of the team. If you’re comfortable at a Friday night service, we will train you to lead the home shiva service and provide this most meaningful act of communal support. If you think (even if you’re not sure) that you might want to become part of the Hevra Kaddisha, please contact Cantor Jonathan (cantor@ He’ll help you decide if this is right for you, and he’ll train you to be able to comfortably lead the service.

If you or someone you know is a victim of Domestic Abuse, please share this confidential hotline:


Upcoming Meetings

School Board Mon, Nov 19 at 8:15 pm

Finance Committee Mon, Nov 19 at 8:15 pm

Board of Trustees Mon, Nov 26 at 8:15 pm We would be delighted to welcome you to any temple meeting that interests you. Please be in touch with Andy Farber ( for information on how to join (or just visit) a committee.

Get The Word Out About WCT You love Woodlands Community Temple, but do you like us on Facebook? Help us spread the word about our wonderful congregation and all of the great things we do. Please like the temple’s Facebook page and then make sure to like and share our events on your own page and other local community pages. This really helps to get the word out. Thanks!

Mazal Tov to... Eric and Jennifer Gottfried as their daughter, Dylan, is called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah. Matthew and Cynthia Svigals as their son, Hudson, is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah.

Liz and Mark Rauchwerger on the marriage of their daughter, Jackie Glazer to Josh Tannenbaum

ones through their generous contributions.

Rabbi’s Mitzvah Fund In memory of Mollie and Jules Bloomenfeld and Arthur Lucks, from Linda Lucks and Ralph Lawrence. In honor of the High Holy Days, from Michael Sinkin and Ann Lang. In honor of the naming of Sadie Neugeborn, daughter of Emily and Ian Neugeborn, granddaughter of Bonnie and Bob George, from Emily and Ian Neugeborn. In honor of Marly Leibman becoming a Bat Mitzvah, from Andy and Lara Leibman.

Rabbi Mara’s Mitzvah Fund In honor of Marly Leibman becoming a Bat Mitzvah, from Andy and Lara Leibman. In appreciation of Rabbi Billy, from Scott and Julie Stein. In honor of our children and grandchildren attending the Neilah service, from Stephen and Eileen Stein. In appreciation of Rabbi Mara, from Scott and Julie Stein.

Chai Fund

Simkhat Torah!

Lori and Michael Fettner on the birth of their son, Jonah.

Donations We appreciate the thoughtfulness of those who support Woodlands Community Temple by remembering and honoring their friends and loved

In memory of Marilyn Mendelson, mother of Jay Mendelson, from David and Dayle Fligel. In memory of Michele Burr, sister of Steve Fell, from David and Dayle Fligel. In honor of Marion Asnes, Elizabeth Barnhard, Pam Chernoff, Leslie Litsky, Pamela Goldstein, Joy Gralnick, Gail Hacker, Lesli Cattan, Jedd Chesterson, Jeffrey


Ana Szyld and Sam Bercovich on the birth of their son, Nico.

Richter becoming B’nai Binah, from David and Dayle Fligel. In appreciation of WCT clergy for inspiring High Holy Days services, from Nelson and Jackie Leicht. In honor of the clergy and committee members who made the High Holidays so beautiful and moving, from Larry and Yvette Gralla. In memory of Mandel Stein, Louis Melnick, Julia Fihrer Stein and Mary Melnick Shlaen, from Stephen and Eileen Stein.

Midnight Run Fund In memory of Audrey Irene Sacher, mother of Caryn Donocoff, from Steven and Gail Fell.

Music Fund In honor of Cantor Jonathan for the beautiful music provided for the High Holy Days, from Nelson and Jackie Leicht.

Social Action Fund In memory of Hy Polikoff, father of Phyllis Opochinsky, grandfather of Laurie Rosen, from Phyllis Opochinsky. In memory of Estelle Chernoff, mother of Joel Chernoff, from Pam and Joel Chernoff.

Education Fund In appreciation of B’nai Binah faculty, from the Gralnick Family.



We t h a n k o u r A d v e r t i s e r s f o r t h e i r S u p p o r t

We t h a n k o u r A d v e r t i s e r s f o r t h e i r S u p p o r t


Non-Profit Org U.S. Postage

PAID White Plains, NY

50 Worthington Road White Plains, NY 10607

Permit No. 1112

current resident or:


College Connection Allison Stein


had always planned to continue on to Hillel once I went to college. But, when I experienced the Conservative-led services there, I found that they didn’t have the feeling of belongingness and comfort that I had always associated with Woodlands and Shabbat. So a friend and I found a musician, Facetimed with Rabbi Mara, picked some of my favorite passages out of the siddur, and created our own Reform service. This was a totally different perspective and completely new to me. I learned a couple things from leading a service: 1) you need to pay attention to when you are supposed to stand, sit and bow, as you can’t look around to anyone else for cues; 2) you have to try and not be disconcerted if you are left to do Mourner’s Kaddish solo; and, 3) I can lead a service! But after a few services, I decided to retire as a rabbi. I feel proud and empowered being on the other side of the service for once and assisting others through a night of prayer. On Friday nights, I now take time to relax with the people I care about, decompress from the week, and maybe have a good debate or two. With my Jewish friends I can compare experiences, expand my views on Judaism, and sing some Jewish songs we remember from our childhoods. We can talk about Israel or questions like what really makes someone Jewish. I’m currently studying abroad in Denmark, and I live with a host family. I’m learning about their Christian views and the cultural differences of Denmark. Yet I still stay connected, fasting for Yom Kippur, even when a miscalculation of sundown leads to a 29-hour fast! And I know that whenever I come back home, I can come to temple, catch up on people’s lives, and feel the amazing peace, community, and hominess that comes with Woodlands. Allison Stein is a junior at the University of Rochester with a double major in Brain & Cognitive Science and American Sign Language, plus a prospective editing minor. She’s currently studying abroad in Copenhagen.

Francine Klarsfeld


eing very involved with Jewish life and culture growing up, I was looking for a way to get involved in the Jewish community elsewhere. The summer after sophomore year, I interned at a not-for profit called DOROT. This organization is based on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and helps Jewish elders who often live alone. The program offers wellness classes, Shabbat dinners, dances, and many other programs with the goal of bringing different generations together. My main job at DOROT was to visit isolated seniors at their apartments. Each week, I would visit the same senior, named Frieda, with whom I developed a close relationship. Since DOROT is a Jewish organization, Frieda and I often discussed religious aspect of our lives, such as her childhood, discrimination she experienced growing up Jewish, in comparison with my childhood, where I embraced my Judaism. The most meaningful Jewish experience that I’ve had in college so far, was when I spent a semester studying in Prague, Czech Republic. The city was under the Nazi regime for the entirety of World War II, which means that there are not many Jewish people left today. While in Prague, I visited many old synagogues, all of which preserve hundreds of years of Jewish history but are not in use today. Also while in Europe, I visited a number of concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Birkenau. This experience was so powerful because since childhood, I have learned about the atrocities of the Holocaust and this camp in particular. To be able to see it and tour it in person was so meaningful. Attending Woodlands throughout my childhood has helped shape me into the Jewish adult I am today. The education I received throughout religious school and Academy influences the decisions I have made and the path that I am now on. Francine Klarsfeld is a senior at Washington University in St. Louis. She is double majoring in history and anthropology and is hoping to attend law school next fall! This past spring, she studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic. She started attending Woodland’s religious school in Kindergarten and continued through graduation.

WCT Makom November 2018  

Woodlands Community Temple November 2018 Bulletin

WCT Makom November 2018  

Woodlands Community Temple November 2018 Bulletin