the newsletter of woodlands community temple
HIGHLIGHTS April 2014 Nisan-Iyyar 5774
Six Weeks of Social Action But why stop there? The committee hopes its new program will get you hooked. by Fran Smith In the time it takes to watch a Law and Order rerun, you can prepare a meal for homeless people in Westchester or pack desperately needed medical supplies to send to a developing country. In the time it takes to upload or download or share funny cat videos, you can learn how to help abandoned pets at a local animal shelter. And if you want to put an afternoon to great use, or a whole day, the wonderful folks on the Social Action Committee can steer you in the right direction. It’s all part of “Spring into Action,” the committee’s new initiative to get all of us at Woodlands involved in social action. From April 2 through May 10, the committee has organized even more opportunities than usual to help those in need. Learn to knit a cap for a chemotherapy patient. Deliver Passover food to an elderly resident on the Lower East Side. Babysit for kids at a domestic abuse center so their moms can get out and go to a beauty salon. Then take one of those moms Social action is year-round at WCT: to dinner. Last fall¹s Yom Kippur food van Or learn how to change a law, right a wrong, and fight for a cause close to your heart, by joining Reform Jews from around the region for Advocacy Day in Albany. You’ll meet with lawmakers and staff and get training in making your voice heard in the corridors of power. The list of opportunities to make a difference goes on. The committee has lined up activities for all ages and diverse interests. “Our goal is to get people personally involved in social action,’’ says Julie Stein, chair of the Social Action Committee. “The idea of offering so many hands-on projects is to open people’s eyes to the needs right here in our community.” Social action is a bedrock Jewish value, and one that defines the Woodlands community. The commitment—and the challenge—are stated right there on the temple home page: Woodlands “is a place that amply provides for the educational and spiritual needs of its membership while Continued on page 2
Spring into Social Action Begins Apr 2 Mishpakha Shabbat Apr 4 Interfaith Seder Apr 9 A Joyful Noise Apr 11 First Seder Apr 14 Pesakh Ends
Apr 21 Holocaust Remembrance Shabbat Apr 25 Yom HaShoah Apr 27
Spring into Social Action: The Schedule Wed, Apr 2 to Wed, Apr 9: Halakhma Anya Food Collection WCT; Family activity Food collection to help feed our neighbors in need by replenishing the shelves at a local Greenburgh food pantry. Bring healthy, non-perishable (nonPassover) food to donate the week leading up to the Apr 9 Interfaith Seder. Put donations in the food cart.
Sun, Apr 6: Project Ezra NYC Lower East Side; 9 – 11 a.m.; Family activity Personally deliver Passover food boxes to one or two Project Ezra elderly and visit with them. Families meet at NYC Project Ezra office at 465 Grand St at 9 a.m. Participants are excused from Religious School this day. Continued on page 2
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Our Woodlands Community Rabbi Billy Dreskin email@example.com Rabbi Mara Young firstname.lastname@example.org Cantor Jonathan Ben Gordon email@example.com Ross Glinkenhouse, Youth Director firstname.lastname@example.org Corey Friedlander, Sh'liakh K'hilah email@example.com Dan Geffen, Rabbinic Intern firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Committee Stu Berlowitz, President email@example.com Jenna Lebowich, VP Education firstname.lastname@example.org Cliff Schoen, VP Facilities email@example.com Andy Farber, VP Finance firstname.lastname@example.org Dayle Fligel, VP Programming/Ritual email@example.com Herb Friedman, Financial Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org Andrea Einhorn, Secretary email@example.com Mark Selig, Treasurer firstname.lastname@example.org
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at the same time enlisting its congregants to do good works that benefit an ever more complicated world at large.” That ethos is what draws some, maybe many, people to join the temple. “One of the things that attracted us to Woodlands was the dedication to social action,” says Roberta Roos, a committee member and former chair who joined the congregation about 14 years ago. “To me, this is part of what it means to be a Jew. Being Jewish involves trying to fix the world.” From Rabbi Billy’s perspective, social action projects help us not only to actualize the obligation to perform acts of tikkun olam, but also to satisfy our spiritual needs as humans. “One of the most important functions of Judaism is to provide ourselves with opportunities to enhance our sense of humaneness, of menskhlichkeit,” he says. Opportunities abound all year, and as a congregation we respond. It’s evident in the donation bins at the religious school entrance that overflow with goods.
It’s evident in the van that fills up with groceries every Yom Kippur. It’s evident every February, when kids and adults head south to rebuild homes in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Temple members provide meals for elderly Lower East Side residents through Project Ezra, help formerly incarcerated people rebuild their lives through Project Isaiah, regularly participate in the Midnight Run, and volunteer at Hope’s Door, a shelter for domestic abuse victims and their children. WoodSY teens incorporate social action into all their projects. But there is always more to do. “Spring Into Action” makes it easy for you to take the leap — you just need to roll up your sleeves for an hour. How hard it that? And once you do it, you may get hooked. “I hope that many people who participate will come away thinking, ‘I felt good about doing it and I want to do it again,’” Roberta says. “That I would consider an enormous success.”
Board of Trustees
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Nancy Brown Lois Green Gloria Falk Barry Leibowitz Nancy Fishman Lisa Sacks Jill Garland Mike Scafidi Aliza Garofalo Jay Werner Yvette Gralla Michele Wise Rochelle Stolzenberg (ex-officio)
Spring into Social Action: The Schedule
Thur, Apr 17: Food Bank for Westchester Elmsford; 4 - 6 p.m.; Adults & kids age 8 and older with parent School vacation opportunity for the whole family. Repack food.
Patricia Nissim, Temple Administrator email@example.com Liz Rauchwerger, Rabbi’s Assistant firstname.lastname@example.org Michele Montague, Religious School email@example.com Lori Bluberg, Bookkeeper firstname.lastname@example.org
About Our Temple 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 email@example.com www.wct.org Religious School: firstname.lastname@example.org Woodlands Community Temple is affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism Editor: Mike Winkleman Art Director: Melanie Roher Design and Production: Kate Levy
Thur, Apr 10: Deliver food to Greenburgh Food Pantry WCT; 9 - 10 a.m.; Adults Help transport food from the Halakhma Anya food collection.
Fri, Apr 18: Grace Church Soup Kitchen White Plains; 8:45 am – 12 noon; Adults & teens age 15 and older with parent School vacation opportunity for adults and older teens with parent. Help prepare and serve lunch. Wed, Apr 23: Grace Church Soup Kitchen White Plains; 8:45 a.m. – 12 p.m.; Adults Help prepare and serve lunch. Sun, Apr 27: Meal for Valhalla Shelter WCT; 9:30 - 11 a.m. or 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.; Adults & kids ages 8 and older Prepare a meal for the 20 residents of the Volunteers of America Valhalla Residence. Come with your child or drop off to cook in the temple kitchen. 2 sessions.
Sun, Apr 27 to Sun, May 4: Book Collection in honor of Kabbalat HaSiddur WCT; Family activity As 4th graders receive their own prayer books, take the opportunity to donate a book from the wish list of books from Children’s Village. Visit www.wct.org/social-action/projects for list of books. Tues, Apr 29: Afya Sort & Pack Yonkers; 5 – 7 p.m.; Adults & kids ages 7 and older with parent Another great family activity! Sort and pack medical supplies at the Afya office to be shipped to developing countries. Pizza dinner included. Anyone under 18 must bring Afya permission form. Sat, May 3: Hope’s Door Childcare WCT; 12:30 – 4 p.m. or Northern Westchester 4 to 7 p.m.; Adults and teens Play games, read, and babysit the children living in Hope’s Door, a domestic abuse shelter, while the moms are treated to a salon afternoon and dinner. Volunteer for one or both shifts. Share in a pizza dinner at the shelter during the later childcare shift. Must sign Hope’s Door confidentiality form supplied. Continued on page 6
Note: There are limitations on the number of participants for specific activities so register early. You must register to participate. Register by writing to SpringIntoAction@wct.org
Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance Day
Sat, Apr 19 No service this morning.
Fri, Apr 4 Mishpakha Shabbat at 7:00 p.m. (note earlier time) For the entire congregation, just earlier. Meaningful for adults, engaging for kids! Aufruf tonight for Meir Braunstein and Lisa Hersh, daughter of Alan and Ilene Hersh. If you like, join us for a quick dinner at 6:00 p.m.; reservations at wct.org/mishpakha.
Sun evening, Apr 27
Mon, Apr 21 at 9:00 a.m. Pesakh Yizkor Memorial Service A touching hour of remembrance for our loved ones who have died.
Woodlands is mailing Yellow Candles to all our members. Please light yours to remember The Six Million. Remembering the Holocaust is not simply a time to memorialize our dead—six million senseless murders cannot ever be adequately mourned. But if their deaths are to have ultimate meaning, that meaning must lie not in our perpetual tears and anger; it is to be found in our ongoing commitment to the values of our Jewish faith—values that mandate human decency, compassion, and justice. These are the values that experienced a total eclipse during the Shoah, but are precisely those that the Shoah demands we preserve and nurture, and struggle endlessly to find places for them among the community of humankind. After the Holocaust, some have said we can no longer believe in a God that cares. Others say, “It is because of the Holocaust that we must insist upon believing. Because the alternative—a universe in which we are hopelessly alone and without purpose—is absolutely and utterly unacceptable.” Yom HaShoah is observed each year on the 27th day of Nisan, chosen in 1951 by the government of Israel because it falls beyond Pesakh but during the time of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. If the 27th occurs the day before Shabbat, or the day after Shabbat, Yom HaShoah is moved (Nisan 26 or Nisan 28, respectively). The fixed Jewish calendar does not permit 27 Nisan to occur on Shabbat. So this year, on Sunday evening, Apr 27 (the 28th of Nisan, and now you know why), light a candle for the six million. And then live a life that brings continual light—the lights of warmth and of wisdom—to even the darkest corners of our world. (For more about our commemoration of Yom HaShoah, see page 6)
Leviticus 14:1 - 15:33 ... II Kings 7:3-20
Sat, Apr 5 Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 a.m. Celebrate with us as Marina Lebowich, daughter of Jenna and Michael Lebowich, becomes a Bat Mitzvah.
Shabbat Akhrei Mot Leviticus 16:1 - 18:30 ... Ezekiel 22:1-19 (additional reading for Shabbat HaGadol is Malakhi 3:4-24) Fri, Apr 11 A Joyful Noise at 8:00 p.m. A service for everyone, from youngest to oldest. With a dozen musicians and your voices, we’ll fill the Sanctuary with a joyful noise! Visual Worship tonight – no siddurim (unless you want one) ... all prayers and readings will be projected onto screens. Special welcome tonight to our 6th grade families. Sat, Apr 12 Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 a.m. Celebrate with us as Abigail Loose, daughter of Jill Garland and Andrew Loose, becomes a Bat Mitzvah.
Shabbat Hol HaMoed Pesakh Exodus 33:12 - 34:26, Ezekiel 37:1-14
Fri, Apr 18 Shabbat Evening Service at 8:00 p.m. Celebrate Shabbat tonight with Cantor Jonathan and friends.
Leviticus 19:1 - 20:27 ... Amos 9:7-15 Fri, Apr 25 Holocaust Remembrance Shabbat at 8:00 pm Remembering the six million with candles, music and readings. Torah reading from our Czechoslovakian Shoah scroll. Presentation by Gregorij von Leitis, artistic director, Elysium Between Two Continents (Berlin and New York City), who will speak about growing up non-Jewish in post-World War II Germany and his passion for fighting anti-Semitism and promoting tolerance and peace in Germany and around the world (see page 6 for more details). Our seventh grade will participate. Visual Worship tonight. Sat, Apr 26 Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 a.m. Celebrate with us as Anna Schlesinger, daughter of Iris Schlesinger, becomes a Bat Mitzvah.
Yom HaShoah Sunday, Apr 27 (after sundown) Holocaust Remembrance Day Light your yellow candle this evening. •••••••• Babysitting at 8p.m. Shabbat services is provided by teens from our religious school. This month, babysitting will be available on April 11 and April 25. There is no charge, and no advance notice is required.
Hevra Torah Learning: Saturdays, 9:15-10:15 am There’s abundant room around our table. We’d love to have you join our lively conversation.
Apr 5: Parashat Metzora Facilitated by Rabbi Mara
Apr 19: Parashat Hol HaMoed Pesakh Facilitated by Cantor Jonathan
Apr 12: Parashat Akhrei Mot Facilitated by Rabbi Billy
Apr 26: Parashat Kedoshim Facilitated by Rabbi Billy
Half a League, Half a League, Half a League Onward
n Passover we gather at the table to celebrate our liberation from bondage in that brutal and primitive empire from the past. The joy in this telling of this story may be a bit easier to come by this year, in light of recent events in the Ukraine. Ukraine has a tortured and bloody history. Lying between Poland, Austro-Hungary, and Russia, its culture and language are neither Russian nor Polish. The land was a terrible battlefield between Russian and Germany in WW II, and its landscape remains battle scarred today. Jews have had a tragic experience living in the Ukraine. Long before Hitler’s invasion, hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed in the Pogroms led by Khmelnitsky in 1648-49. He remains a hero to Ukrainians; his honored statue stands in the great square of Kiev. Jews place him beside Hitler and Haman as an anti-Semite and killer of the innocent. It seems that nationalistic movements in lesser lands are often puppets of super powers with their own motives. Crimea, now a pawn of Russian and Ukrainian ambition, was once viewed by England as a bastion of the British Empire. In 1854, Tennyson wrote The Charge of the Light Brigade, a salute to the British Army in Crimea.
Jews often have found ourselves unwelcome outsiders, vulnerable in a potent swirl of ethnic struggle and political strife. Passionate nationalism leaves little room for diversity. While there have been noble attempts to revive Jewish life in the Ukraine, it seems that most of the region would prefer to be free of the 200,000 Jews who remain there. It is not hard to imagine us now in the boiling Ukraine, trembling amidst recent events. My family fled from the Ukraine, cities in the news are familiar to me. When I read about military maneuvers and prowling militias, the words of the Haggadah take on a special meaning. “In each generation each one of us shall view ourselves as if we personally had been delivered from Egypt.” How fortunate am I to have been led to a free land by the hand of God. May we all be grateful, and remember to be courageous in defense of those who are still in chains.
Jonah Maccabee Concert—Mar 8 at WCT
C o m m i t t e e R e p o rt s
Ritual The Ritual Committee has been exploring a very exciting possibility for our celebration of the High Holy Days. The URJ has created a new Makhzor, which has several features which may be advantageous for our congregation. Each of the prayers has English transliteration, which will facilitate participation by the entire congregation, including those without skills in Hebrew. It will also have many new English readings, explanations, and footnotes. The plan is for this to be a two volume set, color-coded, one for Rosh Hashanah and one for Yom Kippur. Timing is critical as we are being offered a 40% discount if we order before May 1. Nevertheless, the purchase of sufficient copies of this new Makhzor would require a relatively significant expenditure, even at the discounted price.
To that end, a trial Rosh Hashanah service was held on Thurs, Mar 27, using the preliminary version. Those who attended got a small taste of how an actual service would run using the new prayer book. The Ritual Committee will be making a final recommendation to the Board of Trustees about the purchase of the new Makhzorim on Sun, Apr 6 at 7:30 p.m. A final decision will likely be made at the April Board of Trustees meeting on Mon, Apr 21, 2014 at 8:10 p.m. We certainly hope you will come to the Ritual meeting, the Board of Trustees meeting, or to both to express your opinion. As always, we look forward to your comments and suggestions. If you cannot be present at either meeting, please feel free to email us at email@example.com. We are always in search of new members; we have lots of other exciting events coming up this month including both an Interfaith Seder on Apr 9, and Passover morning learning on Apr 15, and would welcome your participation. —Nancy Fishman and Don Levan
Adult Education Judaism 101: Mysticism
Rabbi Mara Young Sun, Apr 6, 9:30 a.m. What is kabbalah? It’s a whole lot more than red strings and Madonna. Come learn about this vibrant, if esoteric, discipline.
Wed, Apr 23, 7:30 p.m. Rescheduled from January, we are reading The Secret River by Kathleen Grenville. Winner of the Orange Prize, this bestseller tells the story of the settlement of New South Wales, Australia, by exiled British criminals at the turn of the 19th century.
Cantor Jonathan Gordon and Lisa Sacks Sun, Apr 27, 9:30 a.m. We delve into the centuries-old Jewish tradition of Mussar, a spiritual practice focused on developing inner awareness and proper conduct.
Make your holiday table memorable, your gift giving special and your Afikomen finder gifts spiritua!.
Ceramic Tree of Life Seder Plate with Dishes, $85; Matzo Dish, $36; Kugel Server by Jillery, $36; Matzo Cover, $36
Made in Israel: Lily Art Seder Plate, $76; Lily Art Candlesticks, $44 3-piece set, Yair Emanuel Hand Painted Matzo Cover, $40, and Afikomen Bag, $25
Rabbi Billy Dreskin Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. through Apr 10
First three Wednesdays of the month, 10:00 a.m. The Movie: Apr 2: Blumenthal The Talk: Apr 9: Lee Brickman on old radio shows. The Discussion: Apr 16: With Bob Steinhardt—and Passover cookies
Cantor Jonathan Gordon Wednesdays at 8:15 p.m.
Jewish Studies (Thursdays at 10:00 a.m.) Hebrew (Thursdays at 8:00 p.m.) Please check the WCT Adult Ed. brochure or wct.org for more information.
Square Glass Seder Plate, $30; Hand Painted Silk Afikomen Bag, $16; Hand-made Matzo Cover by Featured Artist Saige Soskin, $50
Saige Soskin’s hand-crafted matzo covers were inspired when invited to a friend’s Seder. Her hostess’ joy from the gift moved her to continue creating, expressing her passion for art and her spiritual connection to Judaism. The Shop is open, by request, every day the temple office is open. Weekend and evening hours noted in the e-newsletter. Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Uncovering Lost Treasures of the Shoah to Create a Better World Growing up in Germany in the 1950s, Gregorij von Leïtis experienced “a big silence” about the Shoah. In 1963, a powerful theater piece and the trials in Frankfurt of some of the officials of the AuschwitzBirkenau death camp started Gregorij questioning his country’s and his family’s past. Moving to New York in the 1970s, he met writers and theater artists who had fled the Nazi regime but were now totally forgotten and learned of others who had been persecuted and killed, most of whose work had been lost. “I must do something,” he told himself. “I cannot let them die a second time; I can’t let them die through silence.” Gregorij has dedicated his life to keeping those voices alive by fighting discrimination, racism, and antiSemitism by means of art, for which the German government has honored him. Through their trans-Atlantic cultural exchange organization, Elysium — between two continents, Gregorij and his partner, Michael Lahr, rediscover and present music and literature created by artists persecuted by the Nazis and preserve that work in the Lahr von Leïtis Academy & Archive. In particular they work “to familiarize young people with the treasures of exiled art to help them create a meaningful future that incorporates the lessons learned from history.” On Apr 25, as part of our Yom HaShoah Shabbat evening service, Gregorij and Michael will share with us their fascinating journey and some of their detective work in uncovering the past to create a better future for us all. Photo by Letizia Mariotti
April Happenings Building Jewish Lives: Our Families, Ourselves: Bridging the Generations as We Age
Sun, Apr 6, 2:00-4:00 p.m. Feeling stressed? Isolated? Invisible? Pulled in too many different directions? Seniors, the Sandwich Generation, Families: Please join us as we explore the emotional, social, and psychological aspects of aging and its impact on individuals and their families. Following a short presentation from a Jewish perspective (led by Rabbi Mara), participants will engage in professionally guided discussions to share common concerns and potential solutions.
Hosts Needed for Interfaith Seder
Table hosts are needed for our Interfaith Seder, to be held at Woodlands on Wed, Apr 9, 8:00-10:00 p.m. In the spirit of the universal messages of our Jewish faith, we have invited members of local churches to share in our “Festival of Freedom.” Reading from a specially prepared Haggadah, our rabbis and cantor will guide our guests through this historical celebration of freedom. Sit with a small church
group, assist in their following along in the Haggadah and in partaking of the traditional foods, and help answer simple questions. To volunteer, contact the temple office (email@example.com or 592-7070). Congregants of all ages are welcome and may bring non-Jewish friends. Bring along a seder plate. At the conclusion of this seder, our guests will have an opportunity to view the Torah and speak with us about Jewish life.
Tues, Apr 15, 8:00-9:30 a.m. Keep the seder spirit going the morning after: join us at temple for 90 minutes of inquiry and conversation. With Rabbi Mara, we’ll explore some of the great Jewish texts. If you’re lucky, we’ll have some matzo waiting for you! Definitely hot coffee and something breakfast-y.
Mon, Apr 21, 6:00 p.m. Calling all Academy kids...and 7th graders, too! Come break Passover with all your friends at Academy. It’s sure to be a zany evening!
To Eat or Not to Eat ... What to Eat Is the Question The Book of Exodus mandates that “throughout the seven days [of Pesakh] unleavened bread shall be eaten.” Any food that has become fermented is prohibited. These foods are characterized in Hebrew as hametz, meaning “sour.” Although it may seem easy to distinguish between what’s unleavened (matzah) and what’s leavened (hametz), it’s not always obvious. Here are some guidelines:
Hametz • All flour not prepared for Passover
• All breads, cakes, cereals, and baked goods not prepared for Passover • Yeast, baking soda, and baking powder • Beer, whiskey, and all other liquors made with grain alcohol
Matzah Foods that do not need a Pesakh label: • Coffee, tea, spices, and sugar • Fresh fruits and vegetables
• Frozen and dried fruits and vegetables • Meats and fish Foods that should have a Pesakh label: • Milk and dairy products • Oil, margarine, and shortening • Canned goods • All matzah products (including matzah flour, matzah meal, matzah farfel, and any other mixes) Also, the Ashkenazic (European Jews) and Sephardic (Spanish and North African Jews) traditions differ on a number of food items considered kosher for Passover. The Ashkenazic tradition deems corn, rice, beans, and other legumes (such as peanuts) as hametz (because they expand or rise during cooking) and are, therefore, forbidden foods during Pesakh. The Sephardic tradition not only allows those foods, but includes some of them in time-honored dishes reserved for the seder meal.
Spe c i a l Se c t i o n: C o n g r e g at i o n a l M e e t i n g / Ne w Sl at e
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A Report from the Boardroom By Stu Berlowitz, WCT President
hope you are enjoying our April issue of Makom. As you can see, the following pages have details about the Annual Meeting, the proposed slate of Board members for the next temple year, bios of the new Board and information on how to access or pick up the proposed budget for next year. There are a couple of meetings of particular importance. The first, on May 15, is our Congregational Budget Meeting. This is your opportunity to ask questions regarding the budget directly to our financial officers. The next date to mark on your calendar is Wed, May 21, our Annual Meeting. We need at least 5 percent of WCT’s members for a quorum so we can move to approve the budget and trustees for next year. At this meeting, you will also hear reports from all the professionals, officers, and committees in a comprehensive update on what happened at WCT this year. Please remember that this is your temple and your participation in this process is strongly encouraged. Please join us! Our Board of Trustees has been very busy this year. We’ve been making a concerted effort to focus much of our discussions on a more strategic level. This is not always easy to do because the lay leadership has such an active role in the day-to-day operations of the temple. Some key planning we’ve done this year was the result of workshops that we’ve participated in. The first, held at a regular Board meeting, which included our Membership Committee, was to revisit the goals and priorities of the committee. I strongly believe in challenging ourselves, even in areas where we have had much success. This work builds off
of some of the work that we’ve done in the areas of Youth and Ritual where we’ve also done much visioning in the last 18 months. In November, we held a Board of Trustees retreat to focus on some long-term goals that are keys to the future success of WCT. The first of these areas includes a long-term financial planning committee, which kicked off in March. Next, we are working on the development of a capital projects list. Another outcome of the retreat was the idea of a temple-wide theme for next year. This is in development and you will hear much more about this as we head toward September. The last all-encompassing area focused more attention on our membership and how all of our committees need to interact with our Membership Committee. This process identified the need to be better able to capture our institutional knowledge to make life easier for our professional staff, leadership, committees, and task forces to do the great work that they do. I am happy to report that during our most recent Board meeting, the Board approved an investment in a new membership management system, which, over the longer term, should enable us to significantly improve our temple operations and make life much easier for our committees and for you, our community, to interact with WCT. As you can see, we’ve been busy. Join us May 21 for our Annual Meeting—and I hope to also see you at our annual gala on June 7 honoring our Original Members.
Woodlands Needs You
Looking to get involved—or more involved—in the Woodlands Way? Here are some suggestions: Drop in on a Committee Meeting
And maybe join that committee
Committee meetings are open to the entire congregation. Here’s a list of some that are coming up in the next few months. Board of Trustees Mon, Apr 21, 8:10 p.m. Mon, May 19, 8:10 p.m. Mon, Jun 23, 8:00 p.m.
Ritual Committee Sun, Apr 6, 7:30 p.m. Mon, May 12, 8:10 p.m. Mon, Jun 16, 8:00 p.m.
Finance Committee Mon, Mar 31, 8:10 p.m. Mon, May 12, 8:10 p.m. Mon, Jun 16, 8:00 p.m.
Social Action Committee Thurs, May 8, 8:00 p.m.
School Board Mon, Apr 28, 8:10 p.m. Sun, May 18, 7:00 p.m.
Adult Education Sun, May 18, 9:00 a.m. Sun, Jun 8, 9:00 a.m.
Or just interest? Here are some places where your help is really needed. • Sell ads for Makom • Edit and art direct Makom • Market and promote temple activities • Work on the temple website • Keep the gardens pruned • Keep the budget balanced • Work on membership development and retention • Plan fundraisers • Plan the annual gala • Invent new rituals • Or anything else you can think of. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org for the right tasks.
Spe c i a l Se c t i o n: C o n g r e g at i o n a l M e e t i n g / Ne w Sl at e
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Know Your Board of Trustees
Who are these people who can always be found in meetings at the temple on Monday nights? And Wednesday nights. And Thursday nights. What do they do when they’re not at Woodlands (if that’s ever the case)? What brought them to Woodlands and what keeps them so involved? We asked. And we found out. Now you can too. Read on. (By the way, they’ll all be at the congregational meeting on May 21 and they’ll be installed officially during the Shabbat service on June 13. So, if you haven’t met them yet, meet them then.)
• Rejoining the board this July, having previously served twice before, including tours as treasurer and vp/finance • WCT member: about 30 years • Wife, Penny, an active WCT volunteer; 2 sons; 4 grandkids • Retired for more than 10 years after 35 years at ABC Sports • “WCT is an important part of our lives, and I want to be part of assuring its continued success for generations to come.”
• Trustee for 2 years; vp/facilities for 3; vp/ritual & programming for 1; vp/education for 2; president for 2 • WCT member: 17 years • Wife, Karen; daughter Sammi, 23; son Josh, 20 • Has worked in IT management for Avon Products for 27 years • “WCT is my home away from home. Actually, many people think it’s the other way around.”
• 5 years on Board; previously president of School Board • WCT member: 15 years •Husband, Larry is long-time Finance Committee member; sons, Aaron and Jesse •Librarian at Fox Lane High School. Sings show tunes loudly—but not well, she says. • “We feel extremely luck to have found Woodlands. There is no other synagogue like it!”
• 2 terms on Board • WCT member: 13 years • Partner, Rich Bromberg; daughter, Briana • Part-time bookkeeper in Tarrytown and a religious school teacher, both at WCT (for 10 years) and in Armonk. • “For me, walking into Woodlands is like walking into a big hug.”
• 1 year on Board plus 1 year as secretary • WCT member: 14 years • Husband, two kids, ages 21 and 17 • School psychologist • “Woodlands is a great place— a warm and welcoming community—with an amazing blend of spirituality, learning, compassion, and humor. I could not have asked for a better place for my kids (or myself!) to develop their Jewish identities.”
• Rejoining the Board this July, having previously been on the Board for 5 years • WCT member since the mid-1990s • Husband, Arnold; daughter, Mollie • Recently retired in-house counsel, having specialized in human resources and labor relations • “WCT is a place that offers us all opportunities for friendship, peace, learning, and celebration. I look forward to helping us continue all of those efforts and more as a member of the Board of Trustees.”
• 4 years on the Board • WCT member: 38 years • Husband, Bill; 5 children; 2 grandchildren • Retired educator • “After years of being the recipient of the generosity, warmth, and love from the temple community and clergy, I feel fortunate to be able to spend my retirement years volunteering and giving something back to the place I love.”
• 7 years on the Board, including tours as financial secretary, vp/ finance, treasurer, and again as vp/finance • WCT members: 11 years • Wife, Rabbi Joan; 3 kids, Miriam, Adam, and Yael—only the youngest (Yael) became a Bat Mitzvah here, but all three consider Woodlands home. • Manages financial systems at Consumer Reports • “Community is more than our middle name. It’s who we are.”
• 2 years on Board; currently cochair of Ritual Committee • WCT member: 15 years • Married to Chuck, former temple president; 2 children, Alexa, 22, and Kimberly, 18 • Medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, specializing in treatment of breast and gynecologic cancer • Woodlands is “The place that my heart holds dear.”
Spe c i a l Se c t i o n: C o n g r e g at i o n a l M e e t i n g / Ne w Sl at e
O ff i c e r s
Tr u s t e e s
• 5 years on board, including tours as secretary, vp/facilities, and vp/programming & ritual • WCT members: 18 years • Husband, David, is a former WCT president; son, Sidney; and daughter, Erin • Special needs coordinator at WCT • “At the end of a busy week, relaxation and peace comes from a beautiful Shabbat service.”
• Financial secretary for 1 year; in the 1970s served on the Board • WCT member for 46 years • Married to Elaine, who passed away in 2010, for 54 years; daughter, Beth; son, Evan; 2 grandchildren. . • Retired after 43 years as school supt.; was also exec dir. of health insur. coop •“Woodlands has provided my family all the care and support we wanted and needed unconditionally. As a result, we were delighted to support this Jewish community.”
• 2 years on board • WCT member: 8 years • Husband, Andy Loose; 2 kids in religious school • Senior director of development at New York Shakespeare Festival/The Public Theater • “So happy our family found Woodlands.”
• Has served 2 tours as a trustee and 4 tours as an officer • WCT member : 45 years • Husband, Larry, is a former WCT president; 2 daughters, 2 sons-in-law, 6 grandchildren, all current members of WCT • Retired as teacher and statistician. Now an active volunteer • “Woodlands is the place for our family—the people and community that we hold dear.”
• 3 years on Board, 2 years as vp/ education • WCT member: 10 years • Husband, Michael; daughter, Marina, a 7th grader • Culinary nutritionist and owner of Cook Learn Live; spent 15 years in HR • “Woodlands is a special place where everyone can find a comfortable connection to Judaism. There is always room for another great idea and for great people to step up to make those ideas reality.”
• 3 years on the Board • WCT member: 14 years • Wife Laurie teaches WCT’s Gan Hayeled program; a son and a daughter, both in college • Writer and editor for CBS News • “Woodlands is a great place to learn, pray, and play, Jewishly.”
• 6 years on the Board including one as secretary and one as treasurer • WCT member: 15 years • Wife, Marjory; 3 kids in college/ grad school (Lexi, Julia, and Ted), each born in a different state, all became B’nai Mitzvah at WCT • Buyer at Bloomingdale’s • As Sal Tessio said, “It’s perfect for us. A small family place, good food, everyone minds his business. It’s perfect.”
• 1 year on the Board • WCT member: 5 years • Husband, Jon Richer; 2 daughters: Gigi, 9, and Lucy, 7 • CFO of Hazon • “Woodlands has become much more than a synagogue for us: it is our Jewish communal home.”
• 2 years on the Board • WCT member: 5 years • Wife, Liz; son, Sam; and daughter. Eliana • Digital marketing operations at PepsiCo • “Though we live in walking distance of five synagogues in White Plains, Woodlands is our community.”
• 3 years on the Board • WCT member: 9 years • Wife Debbi and 2 sons • Manufacturers representative in the packaging field • Woodlands is a “place where there is something for everyone and you can be involved as much as you want to be.”
• 9 years on the Board, including 1 year as treasurer, 1 as vp/education, 2 as vp/ programming & ritual, 3 years as president, and 2 years as IPP • WCT member: 18 years • Husband, Jeff; daughter Sophie, 23; son Sam, 20; two large dogs, Lamont Cranston & Coco • Sells ad space for Westchester Health & Life Magazine. • “WCT is my second dysfunctional family! ”
• 1 year on the Board • WCT member: 9 years • Husband, Andrew; three children in religious school • Finance director for Ernst and Young audit practice; yoga and runner; love to cook, bake, and read • “Woodlands made Judaism come alive in a completely different way from my upbringing.”
Immediate Past President
Photos by Karen Berlowitz
Spe c i a l Se c t i o n: C o n g r e g at i o n a l M e e t i n g / Ne w Sl at e
O ff i c e r s
Tr u s t e e s
Notice of Annual Meeting The 48th annual meeting of the members of Woodlands Community Temple will be held on Wed, May 21, 2014, at 8:00 p.m. at the temple.
Committee and Officer Reports
Proposed Budget for FY 2014-15 / 5775
• Treasurer • Financial Secretary • Ritual • Education • Facilities • Membership • Marketing • Social Action A quorum of 5% of the membership units must be present for business to be transacted. Please make every effort to attend.
The budget may be viewed by going www.wct.org/wctbudget into your browser on or after April 21, 2014. You may also obtain a copy of the budget package from the temple office.
Officers 1 Year Term
Trustees for Open Seats
Terms in Progress
President........................ Stu Berlowitz
3 Year Term .................. Bob Apter
2 Year Term................... Nancy Brown
VP Education................. Jenna Lebowich
3 Year Term................... Aliza Burton
2 Year Term................... Gloria Falk
VP Facilities................... Cliff Schoen
3 Year Term................... Wendy Eliezer
2 Year Term .................. Lisa Sacks
VP Finance..................... Andy Farber
3 Year Term................... Yvette Gralla
2 Year Term .................. Mike Scafidi
• Welcome • President’s Report • Business - Election of officers and trustees for 2014-15 / 5775 - Adoption of Budget for 2014-15 / 5775 (See below) • Professional Reports - Youth Director - Director of Congregational Learning - Cantor - Rabbi
2014-15 / 5775 Slate
VP Programming/Ritual...Dayle Fligel Financial Secretary........ Herb Friedman
1 Year Term................... Jill Garland
Secretary........................ Andrea Einhorn
1 Year Term................... Nancy Fishman
Treasurer....................... Mark Selig
1 Year Term................... Barry Leibowitz 1 Year Term................... Michele Wise Immediate Past President: Rochelle Stolzenberg
Respectfully submitted by the Nominating Committee Barry Leibowitz (Chair), Tanya Briendel, Caryn Donocoff, Esther Feldbaum, Jay Izes, Michael Litsky, Michele Wise
May and Beyond Fanfare for the Founders: This Year’s Gala—and Journal
425 member families who strive every day to keep our Founders’ dreams alive.
Sat, Jun 7, 7:00-11:00 p.m.
On Sat, Jun 7, Woodlands will celebrate our Founding Families with a congregation-wide dinner party. The centerpiece of that party (along with the 1966 memorabilia, food, and music) will be a journal, full of photos and memories from the early days—and ads from members, friends, and merchants congratulating not only the Founding Families but all our members on the continued success of the vision that built this institution.
Do you remember 1966? Maybe not, but we bet you’re familiar with what went on during that landmark year. The National Organization for Women was born; so was the Black Panthers. The first Miranda Rights were read. LSD became illegal. Mike Nichols asked “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.” John Lennon apologized for suggesting he was “more popular than Jesus.” Time magazine wondered “Is God Dead?” And in Greenburgh, 59 families started a new temple. Today, 48 years later, that congregation—our congregation—boasts
To place a commemorative ad (there are lots of sizes and price points available), contact Karen Bernard, Helen Harper, or Dayle Fligel at email@example.com or Pat Nissim in the temple office. And be sure to join us for the social event of the year on June 7.
Continued from page 2
Spring into Social Action: The Schedule Sat, May 3: Hope’s Door Mom’s Salon Afternoon and Dinner WCT to upper Westchester; 12:30 – 7 p.m. or dinner only 5 - 7 p.m.; Adults Spend the afternoon with mothers living in Hope’s Door, a domestic abuse shelter. We have arranged for the moms to visit a beauty salon, Salon Elle in Armonk, and then go out to dinner at a casual restaurant; participants will pay for their own dinner and that of one mom. Some participants needed to transport the moms to the salon and dinner. 12:30 – 5 p.m. Accompany women to salon (meet at WCT); 5 – 7 p.m. meet at restaurant near Armonk. Must sign Hope’s Door confidentiality form supplied.
Car pool to Albany arriving in time for a 10 a.m. breakfast in the Legislative Office Building, followed by advocacy training, legislative briefings, and meetings with legislators. Depart Albany 3:30 p.m. Registration fee approximately $30 plus cost of lunch.
Sun, May 4: Breakfast Run WCT to NYC; 6:45 – approx. 10 a.m.; Adults and families with middle school and older children Drive together into the city to serve breakfast, provide clothes and toiletries to homeless and working poor. Participants and other congregants provide food for breakfast.
Sat, May 10: Pets Alive Animal Shelter Elmsford; 1 – 3 p.m.; Family activity Find out how to be an Animal Shelter volunteer and participate in an activity to help the animals in the shelter. Anyone under 18 must bring Pets Alive permission form.
Sun, May 4: Knitting Chemo Caps WCT; 6 – 8 p.m.; Adults and teens Join the knitting and crocheting brigade and learn how to knit caps to donate to chemotherapy patients.
Register by writing to SpringIntoAction@wct.org.
Mon, May 5: Reform Jewish Voice of New York State Advocacy Day WCT to Albany; Adults
Tues, May 6: WJCS Kids Kloset White Plains; 7 – 9 p.m.; Adults & middle school kids and older with parent Organize kids clothing donations and match up a week’s worth of clothing suited to specific likes and styles of children who have been identified through social service agencies. Meet at Kids Kloset on East Post Rd., White Plains.
Monetary contributions to support Spring Into Social Action are welcome. For online donations to the Social Action Fund: wct.org/donate or send your check payable to Woodlands Community Temple (“Spring Into Social Action” on the memo line) directly to the temple, 50 Worthington Road, White Plains, NY 10607.
Just Israel Israel is the country where the Jewish past, present, and future collide daily. An example was at the Negev Theater in the Eshkol region of southern Israel. Israeli teenagers spent a year meeting with Holocaust survivors to learn about their stories and the stories of their families. At the end of the year, the teens performed 18 of the stories they heard in a play, “We’re Here Despite Everything,” channeling the experiences of their new friends. It was a moving experience for all. The theater’s director, Issy Mamanov, remarked: “The sides created an amazing dialogue, and the survivors revealed stories they never had the courage to tell before. Their childhood was lost, crushed. They lost the most precious thing in the world, and now they are being portrayed by teenagers. It touches everyone’s heart.” The teens saw some of themselves in the survivors, tapping into their Jewish past in a closer way. Source: ynetnews.com
My Favorite Enemy: Feb 28
Sowing seeds of peace (l to r): Alaa Ali, Rabbi Billy, Michael Ochs
And don’t forget:
Yom HaAtzmaut Service: Israel’s 66th birthday Fri, May 2, 8:00 p.m.
WCT Youth Engagement Youth and Family Engagement—Katan The 3rd/4th Grade Shul-In will be Fri, Apr 4 to Sat, Apr 5. The evening will include the congregational Mishpakha Shabbat. Dinner will be at 6 p.m. and the service at 7 p.m. Parents, feel free to join your kid. After the service, we invite all the 3rd/4th graders to stay overnight (or just for the evening, if that is more comfortable for your child). We’ll have various fun activities, snack, and a movie. This is a great opportunity to make new friends and connect with old ones.
WoodSY April Happenings
Watch Facebook and Ross’ weekly emails for more details. WoodSY Board application due Mon, Apr 21 WoodSY Game Night Apr 24 WoodSY’s Day Out Sat, Apr 26 WoodSY Nomination Committee meeting Sun, Apr 27 WoodSY slate vote Mon, Apr 28
NFTY Spring Kallah (for 8-12 grade) Apr 4-6 NFTY Jr. Youth Kallah (for 6/7 graders) Fri, May 2-4 See Ross for more information and registration details.
Purim Thank Yous A BIG, BIG, BIG thank you to Leora Cohen for producing our Purim play. Your vision and hard work brought Purim joy to our community! Cast: Neoma Emery, Jacob Friedman, Cooper Gottfried, Dylan Gottfried, Sydney Gottlieb, Tess Korten, Marly Liebman, Gigi Richer, Lucy Richer, Sarah Sagner, Sam Scafidi, Kaleigh Silverstein, Max Weinhouse, Scott Zarider Behind the Scenes Assistance: Adults Esther Feldbaum, Juli Klein, Madelyn Silverstein; Kids - Emma Feldbaum, Samantha Feldbaum, Ashley Klein, Juli Klein, Marina Lebowich And, of course, Rabbi Mara! Thank you to Ross Glinkenhouse, WoodSY, and the YFEC Gadol Committee for an incredible Purim Carnival. Thank you to Elka Klarsfeld, Amy Green, Barbara Wishner, and Gail Wainer for organizing our Shlakh Manot (Purim Goody Bags).
The Simkha Page
B’nai Mitzvah Marina Lebowich
Torah Portion Metzora Hebrew Name Mirke Bailke
Torah Portion Akharei Mot Hebrew Name Avigayil
Anna Schlesinger April 26 Torah Portion K’doshim Hebrew Name Batya Miryam
Mazal Tov to Michael and Jenna Lebowich, as their daughter, Marina, is called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah.
Mazal Tov to Iris Schlesinger, as her daughter, Anna, is called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah.
Mazal Tov to Andy Loose and Jill Garland, as their daughter, Abigail, is called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah.
Mazal Tov to Rick Kaskawits on the birth of a granddaughter, Emma Kaskawits.
Thank You ... to the Jonah Maccabee Concert Committee: Lisa Linn, Chair, Karen Berlowitz, Lee Brickman, Lesli Cattan, Billy Dreskin, Ellen Dreskin, Katie Dreskin,
Ross Glinkenhouse, Greg Linn, Phyllis Opochinsky, Doug Pell, Geri Pell, Steve Schwartz, and Fran Smith. What a wonderful evening!
Purim: Sat, Mar 15 and Sun, Mar 16
Donations We appreciate the thoughtfulness of those who support Woodlands Community Temple by remembering and honoring their friends and loved ones through their generous contributions.
The Woodlands Community Mourns the Loss of Myrna Ackerman,
cousin of Gerry Weingast z”l Rabbi Billy’s Mitzvah Fund In memory of Geraldine Weinberger, from Geraldine’s family. In appreciation of Rabbi Billy and in honor of Brendan Chang becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Heidi Gralla and Dean Chang. In honor of Matthew Heinlein becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from J and Lisa Heinlein. In memory of Norman Festinger, father of Susan Matlock, father-in-law of Scott, grandfather of Neal and Nicole, from Susan Matlock and family. In memory of Norman Festinger, father of Susan Matlock, father-in-law of Scott, grandfather of Neal and Nicole, from Daisy Matluck. In appreciation of Rabbi Billy for his care and compassion and in memory of Norman Festinger, beloved husband of Paula, father of Susan Matluck, from Karyn Festinger and Lynda Dobbins, Grandfather of Neal and Nicole Matluck, Stephen, Danielle, Sydney and Isabelle Dobbins. from Paula Festinger,The Matlock family and, The Dobbins Family. Thank you Rabbi Billy and in honor of Alex Shapiro becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Neil, Deborah, and Alex Shapiro. In memory of Gerry Weingast, from Lois Diamond. In memory of Gerry Weingast, from Leila Lituchy. In memory of Gerry Weingast, from Hal and Elaine Shames. In memory of Geraldine Weinberger, from Hal and Elaine Shames. Rabbi Mara’s Mitzvah Fund In appreciation of Rabbi Mara and in honor of Brendan Chang becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Heidi Gralla and Dean Chang. In honor of Matthew Heinlein becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from J and Lisa Heinlein. In honor of Alex Shapiro becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Neil and Deborah Shapiro. Cantor’s Discretionary Fund In appreciation of Cantor Jonathan and in honor of Brendan Chang becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Heidi Gralla and Dean Chang. In honor of Alex Shapiro becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Neil and Deborah Shapiro. In honor of Matthew Heinlein becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from J and Lisa Heinlein. Chai Fund In yahrzeit memory of Adela Froimowitz, from Sandi and Nathan Froimowitz. In memory of May Kaskawits, from Mark and Michele Montague. In memory of Gary Charkow, from Terrie and Morty Robins. In memory of Gary Charkow, from Gail and Steve Zizmor. In memory of Shel Mitelman from Gloria and Bill Falk. In memory of Jonah Maccabee Dreskin, from Gloria and Bill Falk. Donation from Dina & Arthur Epstein
In yahrzeit memory of Philip Farbman, father from Lois Ratafia Diamond. In memory of Geraldine Weinberger, from Melissa and Bruce Saidman. In memory of Geraldine Weinberger, from Neil Silverston and Risa Shames. In memory of Geraldine Weinberger, from Laura Buchwalter and Allan Lakshman. In memory of Geraldine Weinberger, from Rhoda and Joseph Bloom. In memory of Geraldine Weinberger, from Rita C. Goldman. In memory of Geraldine Weinberger, from Phyllis Gilbert Nadler. In memory of Geraldine Weinberger, from Sara Gilbert Nadler-Goldstein. In memory of Gerry Weingast, from Larry and Yvette Gralla. In memory of Gerry Weingast, from Bill and Gloria Falk. In memory of Gerry Weingast, from Mort and Susan Aron. In memory of Gerry Weingast, from Mickey Milbauer. In appreciation of Corey Friedlander and in honor of Brendan Chang becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Heidi Gralla and Dean Chang. In appreciation of Ross Glinkenhouse and in honor of Brendan Chang becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Heidi Gralla and Dean Chang. In appreciation of Harriet Levine and in honor of Brendan Chang becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Heidi Gralla and Dean Chang. In honor of Brendan Chang becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Gloria and Bill Falk. Scholar-in-Residence Fund In memory of David Steinhardt, from Alan Landesman. Rabbi’s Hunger Fund In honor of their new granddaughter, Layla Michelle, daughter of Joanna Gaines Spivack and Marc Spivack, from Barbara and Steven Gaines. Project Ezra Fund In memory of Gerry Weingast, from Sy and Sarah Donner. Donation from Karen and Dave Blumenthal. Jonah Maccabee Fund In memory of Gerry Weingast, from Bonnie and Bob George. Education and Youth Activities Fund In honor of the birth of Emma Kaskawits, granddaughter of Rick Kaskawits, from Jim and Debbie Pollowitz. Makom Shelibi Oheyv Bookplate In memory of Dr. Abraham Cheifitz, from Laura G. Ripin. In memory of Fay S. Cheifitz, from Laura G. Ripin.
To find out more about all the funds that are available for your support and for information about how to donate to these funds, please visitwct.org/donate
father of Susan Matluck
mother of Howard Shlom and step-mother of Rick Kaskawits
husband of Fran Weingast HaMakom y’nakhem otam… may God bring comfort to all who are in mourning. Zekher tzadik livrakha ... may their memory be for a blessing.
Pesakh Yizkor Memorial Hour
Mon, Apr 21, 9:00-10:00 a.m. Whether someone you love died recently or many years ago, Jewish tradition provides an opportunity through Yizkor to reconnect memory and heart for a few moments out of our busy lives. While we can certainly each stop anytime to do this ourselves, coming together with our community is a beautiful way to honor those we love. Please join us for this Yizkor Hour. We’ll sing, read, and share a few words and thoughts of remembrance. Then we’ll return to our regular day. We do this four times each year, so why not try it once and decide if you’d then like to try it again.
Honor a Loved One Bookplates Now Available It is a time-honored Jewish tradition to honor people we love by making a tzedakah contribution on their behalf. Now, in addition to contributing to our regular funds, you and your family may purchase bookplates to dedicate individual copies of our High Holy Days makhzor, Gates of Repentance. And your donation will help us purchase new prayerbooks as the need arises. • Bookplates cost $36 each. • One plate will be lovingly inscribed with both your and your loved one’s name • Each plate will be placed inside one synagogue copy of our High Holy Days prayerbook. Order online at wct.org/bookplate
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The Only Jewish Family Owned Chapel in Westchester County
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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
Ads Deliver Reach out and touch a Woodlands member with your ad. One, five, ten times a year.
To reserve space, call Pat Nissim in the temple office: 914-592-7070 or write to email@example.com
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
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current resident or:
DATED M ATERIAL- DO NOT DEL AY
The Judai Connection Boys to Men
Sinai moments and some lessons from counting the Omer By Ross Glinkenhouse, WCT youth director
assover is just around the corner. Matzo ball soup will be on the table, songs will be sung, haggadot will tell the story of how our ancestors journeyed out of bondage through the Red Sea. We’ll recreate the moment. Yet, the second night of Passover begins something that we may often overlook. It’s counting the Omer. An “omer” is an ancient unit of measurement. Nowadays we use it to refer to the 49 days between the time when the Jews left Egypt to the time when they received the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. The days of the Omer are a time for great reflection. We are supposed to be spiritually readying ourselves, like our ancestors did, to receive the Torah. We connect ourselves with the nervousness and humility. Imagine: your people just left 400 years of slavery; you have nothing. Now you are wandering the desert, waiting to receive a new code to
live by. It’s thrilling. It’s terrifying. It’s a major transition between a way of life that people knew and the fear of the unknown. While counting the Omer, we read from Pirkei Avot (Wisdom of Our Fathers). As we read, learn, and reflect on the teachings of these great men before us, how can we pay honor to them? Can we take their moral teachings and help build a positive image of what it means to be a man? Society has painted the image that men are strong, muscular, and saddled with limited emotions. We say things like “man up!” but what does that even mean? Could we be doing better in how we teach our boys to be men? This is particularly important with our tweens and teens. They’re wandering in the desert, wondering who they are going to be. What will be their Sinai moments? Will they take advantage of them?
In Jewish Education, researchers and professionals are exploring what it means to be a man. Moving Traditions, one of the top 50 innovative Jewish organizations in the country, is leading the way to help our boys explore manhood from a Jewish perspective. This includes finding ways for them to be expressive, to listen, to feel that they can have emotions, and the importance of being themselves. During this Omer season, we can make each day count. Read some of the Wisdom of Our Fathers. A great example: Hillel taught: “A person who is [too] shy [to ask questions] will never learn, and a teacher who is too strict cannot teach . . . and in a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.” A man speaks up, a man is gentle, a man finds other men and travels through the wilderness together.