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1st Seder is

the newsletter of woodlands community temple

Monday Evening, April 10. April 2017 Nisan-Iyyar 5777

Annual Temple Meetings:

When Push Comes to Shove ... It’s No Longer Love

Make Your Voice Heard Congregational Budget Meeting Wed, May 10 at 8:00 pm

by Nicole Lesser


ach year at this time, we celebrate the Exodus and the liberation of our ancestors from slavery in Egypt. In fact, it is our responsibility to look upon ourselves as if we had actually gone forth from Egypt. To do so, we think about what it would have been like to be a slave, to have the Egyptians forcing us to work beyond our capacity, controlling our every move, and punishing us when they wanted because they could. We consider being at that moment of decision when there were the oppressors we knew to one side, who surely would come after us, and the vast unknown of the desert on the other. Would I have had the courage to flee the evil I knew, to live in temporary shelter, and to wander for forty years with little food or water for the journey? It is so overwhelming, we almost can’t imagine it. Unfortunately, we must, because the struggle for freedom is ongoing. The parallels between our people’s ancient story of liberation from Egypt and the modern-day stories of courageous Jewish survivors who have experienced domestic violence should not be ignored. Domestic abuse happens at roughly the same rate in the Jewish community as in the general population, and happens equally across all Continued on page 2

Is this Passover Different from All Other Passovers? by Rabbi Billy Dreskin


ow do you do Passover? Got a favorite dish? A favorite song or reading? Who runs your seder, and how fast does your table get through it? As Passover nears, these are some of the questions that get asked more frequently than the original “Four.” Then there’s the challenge of “My father was a wandering Aramean,” the classic haggadah verse that kicks off the telling of our people’s journey from degradation to redemption. Aram was the way-point for Abraham

A ziesen Pesakh ... a sweet and meaningful Passover to all!

and Sarah’s journey from Ur (in modern-day Iraq) to Haran (located in Aram, in modern-day Syria, hence “a wandering Aramean”) en route to Canaan (in modern-day Israel). In short, Abraham’s family were refugees from Iraq and Syria, which shines a whole new light for us on the current immigration crisis. The story of today’s Syrian refugees who have been waiting for years to leave their war-ridden land and resettle here in America, is our own story too. We literally come from the same place! What question will this bring up around your seder table? Just one of the possibilities for making your seder more relevant this year. Here are three more suggestions for how you can make this Passover your best yet: 1. First seder is Monday evening, April 10. For many it will be the same seder as every year, with the goal of getting through the haggadah as quickly as possible so that dinner Continued on page 2

Ask questions about next year’s proposed budget (available at

Annual Congregational Meeting Wed, May 17 at 8:00 pm Vote on the 2016-17 budget ( and slate of Board Officers and Trustees.

WCT Board of Trustees 2017-18/5778 Slate Officers (1 Year Term) President - Dayle Fligel VP Education - Rachel Wineberg VP Facilities - TBA VP Finance - Michael Wiskind VP Programming/Ritual Nancy Fishman Financial Secretary - Irving Adler Secretary - Steve Sagner Treasurer - Bonni Arbore

Trustees For Open Seats 3 Year Term - Judy Feder 3 Year Term - Yvette Gralla 3 Year Term - Lisa Linn 3 Year Term - Ann Zarider Terms in Progress 2 Year Term - Mike Scafidi 2 Year Term - Herb Friedman 2 Year Term - Amy Green 2 Year Term - David Bertan 1 Year Term - Dan Emery 1 Year Term - Jenna Lebowich 1 Year Term - Michele Wise 1 Year Term - Elka Klarsfeld Immediate Past President Stu Berlowitz Respectfully submitted by the Nominating Committee: Stu Berlowitz (Chair), Herb Friedman, Joy Gralnick, Elka Klarsfeld, Mike Litsky, Cliff Schoen and Fran Weingast

Our Woodlands Community

When Push Comes to Shove, It’s No Longer Love, Continued from p. 1

Rabbi Billy Dreskin Rabbi Mara Young Cantor Jonathan Ben Gordon Tara Levine, Director of Youth Engagement Corey Friedlander, Sh’liakh K’hilah Jason Fenster, Rabbinic Intern

denominations (Conservative, Reform, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, etc.) As it was for our ancestors, the decision to leave an abusive relationship is not an easy one. Too often we ask, “Why did they stay?” The question itself puts blame on the victim, something we don’t do when telling the Passover story, rather than putting it where it belongs – on the abuser. There are incredible cultural, economic, legal, and physical safety barriers to leaving (the chances of being murdered shortly after leaving increase 70-fold). Also, the myth that domestic abuse doesn’t happen in the Jewish community allows abuse to continue and creates additional barriers to Jewish survivors finding help. Just as the Jews escaped Egypt only with a great deal of divine intervention, we make escape possible when, as a community, we recognize these barriers and provide housing, education, financial and legal assistance, and police protection.

Executive Committee Dayle Fligel, President Rachel Wineberg, VP Education Lance Rosenthal, VP Facilities Michael Wiskind, VP Finance Nancy Fishman, VP Programming/Ritual Irving Adler, Financial Secretary Steve Sagner, Secretary Andrea Einhorn, Treasurer

Board of Trustees David Bertan Elka Klarsfeld Aliza Burton Jenna Lebowich Dan Emery Barry Leibowitz Herb Friedman Lisa Linn Yvette Gralla Mike Scafidi Amy Green Michele Wise Stu Berlowitz (ex-officio)

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

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: Aliza Burton


Yet for one special population, the decision to physically leave is not theirs to make. One in three teens is a victim of physical, emotional, sexual, digital or verbal abuse from a dating partner, and abuse starts as early as age eleven. Adolescent relationship abuse has its own unique barriers to leaving. The typical means for escape are not available. A teen cannot just decide to go to shelter or move to another state. They cannot avoid their abuser by changing jobs. Their job is to go to their assigned school, where their abuser may also attend. For them, we must provide a different sukkat shalom (shelter of peace). The Woodlands Domestic Abuse Task Force invites teens, parents, and the inspired to help create our sukkat shalom on Sunday, April 30, 2:00-4:00 pm, through the JWI interactive workshop, “When Push Comes To Shove ... It’s No Longer Love.” Sign up at

Is This Passover Different from All Other Passovers, Continued from p. 1

can be served and the good times can commence. Even bad seders can be fun, as I remember the antics that took place around my childhood’s really boring Passover table. But if you’d like to set your sights a bit higher, there’s lots of help out there. As a starting point, google “no more boring seders” – resources abound. And there are some pretty wonderful haggadahs that Rabbi Mara and I know about, some especially for families and others for more engaging, adult seders. Stop by if you’d like to look at some. The important detail to know is that our ancestors really intended for Passover to be strange. They wanted the kids to ask what all those weird foods and weird rituals are, so that the storytelling could begin with them. Asking questions is what the evening is all about! Finding ways to get people to ask questions that go beyond the “Four,” that’s where seders can get fun. Don’t just settle for the Maxwell House Haggadah. Find something to add a little spice this year. 2. Jewish tradition has us set aside the entire 1st day of Passover for special observance. While traditionally that’s a service, here at Woodlands we come together for lively learning. When you

wake up the morning after your seder, come on over to the temple and spend some time with me! On Tuesday, April 11, 8:30-10:00 am, we’ll nosh on some kosher-for-Passover delectables, and spend an hour or so doing some Jewish learning. I’ll be sure to bring you something fascinating. Sign up by emailing 3. Don’t Be a Stranger! This year it's our end-of-Passover all-congregation celebration. We’ll gather on Saturday, April 15 (10:00 am - Noon) for eating, learning, singing and shmoozing. It’s a three-part experience for members of all ages. At 10:00 am, there’ll be parallel learning experiences for adults and young families (adult learning with me, storytime and crafts for kids with Rabbi Mara). At 10:45, we’ll gather for Hallel (including Kaddish for those with yahrzeit), an upbeat, musical expression of our love for celebrating Passover. And then at 11:15 am, we’ll come together for Passover brunch. Homemade matzo brei, other tasty treats, and enjoying each other’s company will finish out our morning. Sign up at (you can also volunteer to help). A ziesen Pesakh ... a sweet, meaningful Passover to all!



Waking Up to the Truth by Cantor Jonathan Gordon

Just Israel


lternative facts” put out by the Trump administration follow an unfortunate tradition. In both Jewish and American life, there exists a sad precedent for repeated public assertions of things that are simply not true. According to the Rabbis, scads of false prophets preached in Ancient Israel, pretending to have heard the voice of God. You may ask, “How one can know the difference between a false and a true prophet?” Our sages say a false prophet tells the people what they want to hear. Think of the concocted stories one sees on the internet. Some depict outrages, such as barbaric Muslims tormenting innocent victims. Or they may tell tear-jerking tales, such as heroic pets saving crippled children who fall through the ice. These manipulative tales are cobbled together by authors who hope to have their message passed along by many sympathetic recipients. They reinforce the existing prejudices of the reader, and are immediately embraced as factual. “If it feels true, that’s good enough for me,” seems to be the state of affairs for too many of us. Think of famous “truths” without evidence. “Experts” challenged the relationship between smoking and cancer, hoping to please both the tobacco lobby and those who wanted to enjoy smoking. Our Chief Executive recently said, “Climate change is a myth invented by the Chinese” (presumably to sell solar panels). The fossil fuel companies must have been reassured. Trump’s fabricated claim that tens of millions of illegal voters cost him the majority vote allows him to assert a greater right to authority. Such falsehoods gain a certain social currency: they are repeated, without apology, over and again. Judaism has harsh words for liars. The Mishnah teaches that deceivers are unfit to be with God in the world-to-come. It reasons that falsifiers care only for the reaction of human beings to their words. As they ignore God in this world, so they shall be ignored in the next. Like a splash of cool water on the face, truth jars and invigorates. Truth wakes us up, even when part of us might prefer to stay asleep. A physician friend and I were once at a restaurant where she noticed a malignant growth on the arm of a diner. She chose to discretely inform the person of her observation. Perhaps the doctor spoiled that dinner; she may have saved a life. We had better face the truths around us. Minorities now encounter oppression all across our great land. Flames of intolerance have been fanned by the administration’s angry jingoistic language during the campaign and continuing to this very morning. Jewish graveyards are vandalized; our Community Centers receive bomb threats. Trump claims that he is rounding up drug kingpins and violent criminals. That is false. Our powerless Latino neighbors live in acute fear of increased ICE raids. They need our help. We are organizing to take action. Keep alert. The alarm has been sounded, one may not go back to sleep.

Israel, a Sanctuary for Syrian Orphans by Roberta Roos


t just about the same time that word came from Washington that Syrian refugees would be prohibited from entering the United States, an extraordinary announcement came from Israel. Israel will grant asylum to one hundred children orphaned in Syria’s war. Initially, the children will receive temporary residence status and, after four years, that status will become permanent. The Israeli government is reportedly also considering granting residence status to immediate family members of the children. While Israel has provided medical treatment to over 2600 victims of the Syrian war, it has never before allowed Syrian refugees to remain in Israel. Late last year, confronted with the brutal battles in Aleppo, the government began to seek ways in which it could provide some sanctuary. When this plan will take effect is not known at this time, but the announcement alone gives us all something to rejoice in these particularly troubled times.

While Israel struggles with the challenges of establishing peace with her neighbors, good news does emerge. This column provides a brief glimpse of something taking root there that firmly aligns Israel’s values with Judaism’s. We hope you share our pride and admiration for these Arab/Israeli achievements.


Worship Schedule Shabbat Vayikra

Lev 1:1 - 5:26 ... Isa 43:21 - 44:23

Fri, Mar 31 Guest Speaker Jamall Calloway at 8:00 pm

Shabbat Khol HaMoed Pesakh Ex 33:12 - 34:26, Num 28:19-25 ... Ezek 37:1-14 ... 4th day of the Omer

Fri, Apr 14 Simply Shabbat at 8:00 pm

A doctoral candidate in philosophical theology, Rev. Calloway is a passionate and dynamic speaker who will lift your mind and your soul.

A quiet evening with your clergy. Familiar melodies (along with some Passover tunes) and familiar prayers to bring us all together.

Sat, Apr 1

Sat, Apr 15

Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 am

Don’t Be A Stranger! at 10:00 am

Celebrate with us as Joseph Kleinman, son of Kirsten and Jonathan Kleinman, becomes a Bar Mitzvah.

During this morning congregational Passover celebration, we’ll pause at 10:45 am for a Hallel celebration of thanks. Kaddish will be recited. Sign-up at

Shabbat Tzav

Lev 6:1 - 8:36 ... Jer 7:21 - 8:3, 9:22-23 (add’l reading for Shabbat HaGadol is Mal 3:4-24)

Fri, Apr 7 A Joyful Noise! at 8:00 pm A service for everyone, from oldest to youngest. With a dozen musicians and your voices, we’ll fill the Sanctuary with a joyful noise! Visual Worship tonight... all prayers and readings will be projected onto screens. Welcome this evening to our 6th grade families!

Sat, Apr 8 Yoga Shabbat at 10:30 am A Shabbat morning experience for everybody – adults and kids – that will include music, prayer, Torah, and easy yoga movements. A holistic celebration of creation! Rebecca Jane Smith, gentle yoga instructor extraordinaire, will once again lead the way. Wear loose clothing and bring a yoga mat if you have one.


Mon, Apr 17 Pesakh Yizkor Memorial Service at 9:00 am A touching hour of remembrance for our loved ones who have died.

Shabbat Sh’mini

Lev 9:1 - 11:47 ... II Sam 6:1 - 7:17 ... 11th day of the Omer

Fri, Apr 21 Jammin’ Shabbat at 7:00 pm 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!

Shabbat Yom HaShoah at 8:00 pm Our annual Holocaust Remembrance Service will feature temple member Andrew Bordwin sharing the story of his mother’s family, their hideout in Holland’s dairy country, their internment at the Westerbork camp in the Netherlands, and their liberation by the Canadian 2nd Infantry Division. Our seventh grade will participate. Visual Worship tonight.

Sat, Apr 22 Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 am Celebrate with us as James Weber, son of Linda and Philip Weber, grandson of Joan and Carl Weber, becomes a Bar Mitzvah.

Sunday, April 23 (after sundown) Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Light your yellow candle this evening.

Shabbat Tazria-Metzora

Lev 12:1 - 15:33 ... II Kngs 7:3-20 ... 18th day of the Omer

Fri, Apr 28 Israel Shabbat (Yom HaAtzma’ut) at 8:00 pm In celebration of Israel’s 69th birthday, special readings, special music and more, as we explore the message of Yossi Klein Halevi’s book, Like Dreamers, the Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation. Visual worship tonight. Rabbi Mara will speak.

Sat, Apr 29 Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 am Celebrate with us as Ella Rimland, daughter of Michelle and Jason Rimland, becomes a Bat Mitzvah.


at 8:00 pm Shabbat services is provided by teens from our religious school. This month, babysitting will be available on Apr 28. There is no charge and no advance notice is required. For further information, please 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.

Apr 1: Parashat Vayikra Facilitated by Rabbi Mara

Apr 8: Parashat Tzav

Facilitated by Cantor Jonathan

Apr 15: Pesakh!

No Hevra Torah this morning. Come join our “Don’t Be A Stranger!” program at 10:00 am. Adult learning and fabulous eats included! Register at

Apr 22: Parashat Sh’mini Facilitated by Jason Fenster

Apr 29: Parashat TazriaMetzora Facilitated by Rabbi Billy

Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Sunday Evening, April 23


oodlands is mailing Yellow Candles to all our members. Please light yours to remember The Six Million. Remembering the Holocaust is not only 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 which mandate human decency, compassion, and justice. These are the values which experienced a total eclipse during the Shoah, but are precisely those which the Shoah demands we preserve and nurture, and struggle endlessly to find places for them among the community of humankind. After the Holocaust, some say 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, April 23 (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.

Pesakh Yizkor Memorial Hour Mon, Apr 17, 9:00-10:00 am


ear Friends, 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, to come together with our synagogue community is a beautiful and meaningful way to honor those we love. Please join us for our 7th Day of Pesakh Yizkor Hour. We’ll sing, read, and share a few words and thoughts of remembrance. Then we’ll return to our regular day. Not sure you want to set this time aside? We do this four times each year, so why not try it once and then make your decision.

Passover Information Center For your celebration of Pesakh, we’ve got lots of information and creative ideas at Stop by and pick up a few helpful tips. A ziesen Pesakh!

• Pesakh tzedakah opportunities • You can definitely conduct your own seder

• Adding creative readings to your seder

• Let’s all eat matzah together • To eat or not to eat ... What to eat is the question

• Who left Moses out of the Haggadah? • How many days do we celebrate Pesakh?

• Thinking about Passover


April Happenings & Beyond LEARNING

S’forim Forum Sat, Apr 8 at 4:30 pm

Lunch and Learn Wed, Apr 5, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

Six Weeks of Talmud Begins Thursday, Apr 13 (11:30 am - 1:00 pm)

Cantor Jonathan Gordon

For centuries, Jews have been scattered across the continents, each country’s residents with their own stories and own traditions handed down from generation to generation. As our people migrated, they brought their traditions with them. At no time is this more evident than at the Passover table. We hold tight to these precious memories that make OUR family seder so special.

Rabbi Billy Dreskin Ever been curious about what’s in those really big books known as “The Talmud”? 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 ( to register. Hope to see you there! Scheduled classes: Apr 13, 20 and 27, May 4, 11 and 18.

We’ll be discussing the short and powerful 1949 novella, Khirbet Khizeh, by S. Yizhar. This book is an Israeli classic, written by a landmark writer in Israeli culture. The book is available on Amazon and other online booksellers (including third-party used). Yizhar is notable for his original use of language; his flowery sentence structure is most original. His direct address of the moral challenges of the success of the Israeli State also has made him a widely acclaimed figure in Israeli culture, though he is largely unknown in the west.

Come hear about Passover traditions from around the world, and share one of your own. Marge Thrope, along with our visiting Israeli rabbinical student Yael Vurgan, will facilitate. Enjoy a special lunch and share traditions old and new.

Lunch and Learn Wed, May 3, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm Rabbi Mara will lead a fascinating discussion about Israel at our last Lunch and Learn of the year.

WCT Book Club Wed, Apr 12 at 2:00 pm Facilitated by Judith Kessler

Tikkun Layl Shavuot An Evening of Celebration and Learning Tue, May 30, 7:30-10:00 pm Hold the date for this extraordinary evening! In celebration of Shavuot, commemorating the receiving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai, we’ll gather in 15-20 small learning circles, led by temple staff and volunteers. Two 25-minute sessions, with a varied table of offerings that’s bound to whet your intellectual and spiritual appetite. After which, we’ll “climb Mt. Sinai” together and receive the Torah all over again, just as our ancestors did 3200 years ago! Oh, and we’ll fill your bellies with Shavuot sweets too.


In his riveting memoir Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s Story, Matti Friedman re-creates the harrowing experience of a band of young Israeli soldiers charged with holding a remote outpost in Lebanon in the late 1990s. This event would change them forever and wound the country in ways large and small and foreshadow the unwinnable conflicts the United States would soon confront in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere.

Current Events Wed, Apr 19 at 10:00 am Don’t miss our popular current events program! An agenda will be emailed to participants ahead of the meeting.

Hevreh: A Community of Adult Jewish Learners Wed-Sun, Jul 19-23 Looking for a unique summer experience? Do you value Jewish study, spiritual renewal and a sense of community? Then Hevreh is for you! To be held at Capital Camps and Retreat Center in Waynesboro, PA. Study with Rabbi Billy Dreskin, Cantor Ellen Dreskin, Rabbi Joan Glazer Farber, Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman, Marilyn and Roger Price, Rabbi David Teutsch, Rabbi Jacob Staub and Rabbi Mark Washofsky! For more information, visit

SOCIAL ACTION Knitting and Crocheting Sun, Apr 23, 3:00-5:00 pm Find a mitzvah project and work with others in our supportive and caring group. Beginners are welcome, and instructions are available. Email Angela Adler at to let her know you’ll be there.

Fair Trade Passover Passover is the festival of freedom. Celebrate that freedom by learning about and supporting fair trade foods and items at

WCT Refugee Task Force At Passover, as we celebrate the exodus from Egypt, we remember there are 60 million displaced people around the world, struggling to escape violence and persecution in search of a safe place to call home. You can find readings about refugees to include in your seder at Stay informed on the activities of our Refugee Task Force. Contact co-chairs Dan Emery and Marge Glusker at

WCT Action Task Force At our town hall meeting last month, many members expressed concern about issues in America and how they can find support within our congregation. If you have questions or want to join our Action Task Force rapid response email list, sign up at

Mensch of the Month is the 1st Grade! You can be a mensch, too, by dropping a donation of canned fruits and vegetables in the food cart to help our local food pantries.

Breakfast Run in May Missing the Breakfast Run this spring? We’ll be back to share our compassion and serve breakfast to homeless and disadvantaged folks in NYC on Sun, May 21. Save the date and please join us.

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT When Push Comes to Shove ... It’s No Longer Love Sun, Apr 30, 2:00-4:00 pm We all like a good love story with a happy ending, but with 1 in 3 teens, including Jewish teens, experiencing relationship abuse from a dating partner, where do we start? Teens, parents, and the curious, please join us for interactive exercises, guided discussions, text studies, and a short film to explore the dynamics, from healthy to abusive, of relationships. Sign up to attend at



M AY …

The Return of Textin’ Shabbat! Sat, May 20, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm Please join Rabbi (!) Jason Fenster and Rabbi Billy Dreskin, minus the blizzard, for a Shabbat morning service the likes of which have not been seen before. With phone or other wifi appliance in hand, we’ll engage with the traditional liturgy in new, fun and meaningful ways. Dress casually, be brave, and charge up your device. During our shared meal, we’ll talk about what just happened and share ideas of what might be a meaningful course for the future. Save the date or, if you’re ready, sign on at

WCT’s Got Talent (aka Open Mic Coffeehouse) Sat, May 13, 8:00-9:30 pm Exercise your inner and outer artistic talent and sign-up to perform at WCT’s annual open mic coffeehouse. We provide a piano, an accompanist, some microphones, the popcorn and the people. You provide your talent and enthusiasm! No judges, no judgement, just a lot of love, poetry, juggling, magic, music and lots of mayhem! Solo and group acts welcome! Sign up at

WCT Intern Soon to Hit the Big-time! Sunday, May 7 at 9:00 am


t is with tremendous nakhes we announce to you that our rabbinic intern Jason Fenster will become an ordained rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in NYC. You are welcome to attend! HUC asks that you bring a copy of the invitation (we can email that to you) as well as a government-issued ID. Jason was born and raised in Rochester, NY (where Lisa Izes was his rabbi!). He’s a graduate of Brandeis University where he majored in politics, minoring in legal studies. He’s worked for the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Jewish Policy Institute, and T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. He has served congregations in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, Wayland, MA, Washington, DC, and New York City. He has been a Tisch Rabbinical Fellow at HUC, a three-year intensive leadership training program that trains exceptional rabbis who have the ability to lead and transform synagogues and other Jewish communal institutions. While at HUC, he has won the Stephen S. Wise Memorial Prize in Homiletics, the Rebekah Kohut Memorial Prize for achievement in Bible, the Stephen S. Pierce Prize in Human Relations, the Paul Cowan Memorial Prize for a student who best combines commitment to social justice with personal spiritual growth, and the Samuel Ellenson Prize in Rabbinics. We wish Jason (and Gavi too!) mazal tov, kol hakavod, and much success, joy and contentment down the road ahead! Jason and Gavi will soon be moving to Chicago where Jason will serve as Assistant Rabbi at B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim in Deefield, IL.


Hats off to Our Treasured Office Staff!


ots of people make Woodlands work on a daily basis. From our layleaders to our youth director to our clergy and volunteers, so many people put their heart and soul into Woodlands. Our office staff is no exception. They are each a jill-of-all-trades and the friendly first-faces of our temple. In honor of Administrative Professionals Day (April 26) we’d like for you to get to know them a little bit: Liz Rauchwerger was born in Queens and raised in Woodmere. Long Island. Liz has worked at WCT for 11 years. Personable and warm, Liz enjoys music and theatre, traveling, horseback riding and the beach. Michele Montague is the strong backbone of our religious school. Originally from Suffolk County, Long Island, she has been working at Woodlands for close to 7 years. Her family is also actively involved in our temple community. Little known fact about Michele: she’s a black belt in karate and learned to weave over the winter break. Marjorie Mattel, born and raised in the Bronx and Mt. Vernon, is the newest member of our office staff. She started a year and a half ago but it feels like she’s always been part of the family. Marjorie likes to travel, attend theatre, cook, dine out, and values spending time with her family. Our bookkeepers are Sandra Ginez and Michelle Osorio.

Yoga Shabbat Returns! Sat, Apr 8 at 10:30 am Reflect, free your mind, relax, and spend time with the ones you love. Led by Rabbi Billy, Tara Levine and Rebecca Smith, master yoga instructor and deeply spiritual Jew. Rebecca seamlessly and inspiringly connects each yoga position to the prayers of our tradition. Regardless of your age (and we’ve covered the spectrum, from age 3 to 83!), or level of experience, there's a place for you in our circle. Wear loose, comfortable clothing, bring a yoga mat if you have one (we’ll have lots on hand too), and get ready for a lovely, invigorating Shabbat morning. RSVP to Tara (


The Noah Aronson Band 8th Annu

to remember Jonah, to help kids get to c

nual Jonah Maccabee Concert

o camp, and to hear some great Jewish music!



Our B’nai Mitzvah The temperatures are warming, the days are longer, and springtime holidays are only a few days away! This year, make your Passover sover seder ay table more and holiday speciall than ever! ing a seder Hosting for the first first time? dd a colorful Add ndmade handmade ed-glass or fused-glass delft-like ceramic seder plate and coordinating matzo trays and covers for your table. Time to replace the paper children’s seder plate? Check out our perfect ceramic hand-painted seder plates and make the kids table more grown-up! And for fun and levity, you’ll “flip” “flip” for our Jumping Frogs and Matzo Balls! Looking for a whimsical but practical hostess gift? The matzo oven mitt, apron and pot holder set will bring smiles to all.

We pride ourselves on having a wide array of gifts for all occasions, at all prices. Beautiful tabletop dishes made in Israel are always well-received hostess gifts; the baby kiddush cup is a unique gift for a b’rit milah or naming. One of our many in-stock framed blessings warmly welcomes all into a new home. And a specially chosen tallit will be a lifelong gift for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. The Judaica Shop at Woodlands is open every day (by request) that the temple office is open. Evening and weekend hours are noted in temple emails. Shopping for something special? Looking for a volunteer opportunity that’s fun and fits with your schedule? Email us at and let’s talk!


Joseph Kleinman

James Weber

April 1

April 22

Torah Portion Vayikra

Torah Portion Sh’mini

Hebrew Name Yosef Nakhum

Hebrew Name Yaakov

Ella Rimland April 29 Torah Portion Tazria-Metzora Hebrew Name Margalit Leah

Todah Rabbah (thank you) to... To the Jonah Maccabee Concert Committee: Lisa Linn, Chair, Karen Berlowitz, Lee Brickman, Lesli Cattan, Billy Dreskin, Ellen Dreskin, Katie Dreskin Boonshoft, Ross Glinkenhouse, Greg Linn, Phyllis Opochinsky, Doug Pell, Geri Pell, Steve Schwartz and Fran Smith. What a wonderful evening! Each and every family that participated in this year’s Purim Goody Bag mitzvah. Your generosity directly supports our religious school and our temple. Thanks also to the following people for giving their time and energy to help us bring the joy of the holiday to Woodlands: Rabbi Billy, Rabbi Mara, Michele Montague, Liz Rauchwerger, Marjorie Mattel, Jamie Fox, Madelyn Silverstein, Julie Stein, Debbie Shapiro, Jodi Moss, Juliette Moss, Ellie Moss, Joy Gralnick, Michael Arbore, Danielle Arbore,

David Katz, and David Green. And finally, to our Purim Goody Bag Committee co-chairs Amy Green and Bonni Arbore. Chuck Bauer for another successful blood drive, and thanks to all who donated a pint to our local blood bank. Margie Berman and Roberta Roos for bringing the important message of faith in human goodness from the film “Besa: The Promise” to all of us, including our Academy students. Melissa Goldsmith, Michele Montague and Sheri Silver for providing a delicious home-cooked meal to the teens at The Sanctuary shelter. Mark Kaufman and the Exit 12 band, who generously headlined the Interfaith Caring Community Concert to Benefit Midnight Run.

Mazal Tov to... Jon and Kirsten Kleinman as their son, Joseph, is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah. Philip and Linda Weber as their son, James, is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah. Jason and Michelle Rimland as their daughter, Ella, is called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah

B’rukhim haba’im ...

Welcome to our newest members!

Evan and Tracy Tyler

Donations We appreciate the thoughtfulness of those who support Woodlands Community Temple by remembering and honoring their friends and loved Rabbi Billy’s Mitzvah Fund

Social Action Fund

The Woodlands Community Mourns the Loss of

In memory of my loving parents, Mollie and Jules Bloomenfeld, and my beloved husband, Arthur Lucks, from Linda Lucks.

In memory of Ruth Bradburd, mother of Jill Iturbe, from Marjorie Thrope. In memory of David Hirth, father of Leon Hirth, from Marjorie Thrope.

Ruth Bradburd mother of Jill Iturbe and grandmother of Jason Graff

ones through their generous contributions.

Chai Fund In memory of Ruth Bradburd, mother of Jill Iturbe, from David Griff and Roni Beth Tower. In memory of Sharon Fishman, daughter of Ross Fishman, from David and Dayle Fligel.

Adult Education Fund In memory of David Hirth, father of Leon Hirth, from David and Dayle Fligel.

Cantor’s Difscretionary Fund In appreciation of Cantor Jonathan from the Iturbe Family in memory of Ruth Bradburd, mother of Jill Iturbe.

The Jewish Education Young Pioneers Award


e are thrilled to announce that Rabbi Mara Young, our Director of Congregational Learning, has been chosen as a recipient of The Jewish Education Project Young Pioneers Award 2017! The award celebrates five forward-thinking educators who are redefining how Judaism is taught, learned, and lived. Rabbi Mara has brought us into the 21th Century with her innovative educational methods; inspired the creativity and growth of all her colleagues; and has motivated students to take Jewish studies out of the classroom and into their lives. We’re proud to join The Jewish Education Project in highlighting Rabbi Mara’s dedication and innovative approach to making Jewish education exciting and relevant to today’s young people and families.

When Matzo Rises (Subversive Vittles) by Rabbi Billy Dreskin

There’s a lot more to matzo than flour and water. “Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.” (Ex. 12:15) As usual, Judaism is emphasizing more than ritual practice. Bread, the rising kind (hametz in the Torah), is a metaphor for unnecessary “stuff” in our lives. Foods we crave but shouldn’t. Gadgets too. Even some government leaders and their policies can be hametz. Passover urges us to consider what needs to be thrown out. As the Israelites left slavery that they took matzo, not bread, as if to say, “Where we’re going – into lives of free choice – we’ll need to keep straight what’s important and what’s not.” Matzo – ha’lakhma anya, the poor person’s bread – reminds us not only that our ancestors were

economically deprived, but that we, if we’re not careful, can be morally deprived. Passover is a radical moment. While we recline and dine in festive merriment, our mission is the “Exodus” that comes from making healthy decisions for ourselves and for those we love. Everywhere can be Egypt, and everyone can be a slave. Hametz is created when flour and water begin to decompose. Fermentation lets the dough rise. On Passover, we avoid fermentation and embrace fomentation, encouraging one another to incite rebellion somewhere in our lives. While our matzo may not be rising up, we should be – whether to save a country or our own souls. Pesakh reminds us that liberation is not only possible, it’s necessary. So this year, don’t just eat your matzo. Digest its message.

Deanne Barash mother of Rori Burke Jeanne Cohen aunt of Neil Shapiro Eva Piken Nagler cousin of Marge Thrope Alan Paul Rolle father of Rabbi Liz Rolle Dorothy P. Rice sister of Rochelle Novins HaMakom y’nakhem otam… may God bring comfort to all who are in mourning. Zekher tzadik livrakha ... may their memory be for a blessing.

In Memory of Elaine Friedman We are deeply grateful to Herb Friedman and family for generously underwriting The Eighth Annual Jonah Maccabee Concert. Because of their expression of family love, the concert was able to generate many more scholarship dollars that will help temple kids get to URJ summer programs. To Herb, Evan, Faye, Rachel, Norm, Pat, Todd, Beth and Josh ... thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

WCT Seat Cushions! Ever wonder why the chairs in the tent are so uncomfortable? Worry no more! You can now purchase attractive, comfortable and stylish seat cushions tastefully decorated with the Woodlands logo. At $10 per cushion (or a bargain rate of four cushions for $36), your entire family can enjoy the High Holy Days in supreme comfort. To order, email Questions, contact Nancy Fishman ( Your tush and your temple will thank you!



4 Real Questions for Your Seder

Finance Committee



Sun, Apr 2 at 7:30 pm

Executive Committee Mon, Apr 3 at 8:15 pm

School Board Mon, Apr 17 at 8:15 pm

Board of Trustees Mon, Apr 24 at 8:15 pm We would be delighted to welcome you to any temple meeting that interests you. Please be in touch with Dayle Fligel ( for information on how to join (or just visit) a committee.

Save the Date! Union for Reform Judaism Biennial December 6-10, 2017 Boston, Massachusetts Join your rabbis, temple leaders and members who enjoy great music, teachers, and worship for this phenomenal Reform Jewish experience. More information is available at

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


by Rabbi Billy Dreskin

f you’re up for a new idea at your seder table, consider this one. Amichai Lau-Lavie, a great Jewish educator and the founder of sTORAHtelling, jettisoned part of his Haggadah customs in order to make room for a new set of “Four Questions” that he opened up for real discussion. Amichai teaches: “Interrupt the tradition, to do what the tradition asks us really to do: educate, talk, learn from each other.” So here are Amichai’s “Four Questions.” You can ask each one as you arrive to that part of the Haggadah, or anywhere else that seems to work for you. 1) Mah nishtana? “Why (how) is this night different?” What’s new about your life tonight that’s different from last year?

2) Avadim Hayinu. “We were slaves.” What’s Egypt to you? What’s your slavery? What’s keeping you back from being more free this year? As an individual. Or in the world. Or if you prefer, what liberation have you experienced this year? 3) Dayenu. “Enough.” What are the riches, the blessings in your life? Where do you have what’s sufficient? And where in the world, or in your own life, are we not even close to saying Dayenu? What can you do to stop this slavery, this oppression, whatever that means to you? 4) L’shana haba’ah. “Next year.” What dreams will you be reaching for in the year ahead? Where do you see yourself? What’s the vision? For yourself, for your world?

Progressive Dinner/Silent Auction Sat, May 20 Community! Fun! Good Food! Lots of Schmoozing!! Woodlands Community Temple’s “In-House Progressive Dinner and Silent Auction.” Enjoy appetizers together, then mix-and-mingle with others who selected the same meal as you, and then we’ll all come back together for dessert. Throughout all of this, you’ll be able to bid in our silent auction. Sound like fun? Come join our team and help create this wonderful evening! We’re looking for volunteers to prepare appetizers, host dinner tables, and/or bake desserts. Also, please donate items for our auction. If you have a weekend home, sport tickets, something related to your business, you can help us make this event a fabulous success! Contact Nancy Fishman ( about any of these opportunities and join our team. Bring your friends! Make new friends! Visit to sign up. Can't make the event? You can still bid for items online!

Heisler’s Bakery 1321 North Avenue • New Rochelle NY • 914-235-8201

Quality Pastrys, Breads , Pies, Cookies & Decorated Cakes Fruit Platters • Shiva Platters • Catering for all affairs Kosher• NUT FREE• FAMILY OWNED

A proud vendor of Woodlands Community Temple

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

To reserve ad space, call 914.592.7070, or email


Non-Profit Org U.S. Postage

PAID White Plains, NY

50 Worthington Road White Plains, NY 10607

Permit No. 1112

Save the Date

current resident or:

for the WCT Marketplace Sale

Sun, Oct 8


Our Woodlands Connection It Was All about the Chairs by Lisa and Greg Linn


abbi Billy does not like too many chairs set for Friday night services. He prefers to keep the number low, so that arrivals have to sit near each other. If the arrivals exceed the available seats, only then do we add more chairs. Rarely is anyone left sitting surrounded by empty seats. This is Woodlands Community Temple and this is why we finally became temple members. A little background is in order. Like the Jews wandering in the desert for forty years, we tried out various temples in our home cities of St. Louis, Boston and Manhattan, but never found a place we were comfortable enough to join. It always felt like we were visitors in our parents’ temples. No one greeted us. We felt anonymous. We never found “our people.” And then, after years at a synagogue here in Westchester, we found ourselves once again in search of a Jewish home. We were away on vacation, but due to deadlines for religious school, we relied on our trusted friend’s advice that she had found the perfect place for us. We registered over the phone, joining sight

unseen. Luckily, Rabbi Billy met with the large influx of Hastings families and helped us transition into “the Woodlands Way.” He recommended that we first figure out what interested us and then find a committee or group of friends to create what we were searching for, but to be careful not to rush into anything too quickly. And each of the five Linns have done just that. By inviting us to join Derekh, we were able to better understand the temple and its history and helped us to contemplate all the moving parts of Woodlands. Derekh naturally led to the Board of Trustees, Mitzvat Mississippi, and creating The Annual Jonah Maccabee Memorial Concert. Our kids each found unique paths and friendships of their own, including Eisner Camp, the Youth

Engagement Committee, and as student liaison to the School Board. But back to the chairs. By forcing us to sit near strangers, we quickly broke through our shyness and learned to speak with people we did not know. We were greeted by a “Shalom y’all” from President David Fligel. And then, sure enough, the crowd grew enough so that there was a shortage of chairs. Greg noticed, and jumped up to get more chairs from the closet. And that was Woodlands. Close proximity to the membership, friendliness, seeing a need and jumping in to volunteer and help. No one exactly directs you to do something. You sort of see a need and run with it. The temple supports you in your efforts. Our family has received so much from WCT. We want to be sure that it exists and thrives for the next set of families and members. If you’ve got a story that you’d like to tell about belonging to Woodlands, please contact Rabbi Billy (

WCT Makom April 2017  

Woodlands Community Temple April 2017 Bulletin

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