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the newsletter of woodlands community temple

January 2018 Tevet-Sh’vat 5778

Report from Boston by Rabbis Billy Dreskin and Mara Young


very two years, for five days, members of our Reform movement gather somewhere in North America for its Biennial Convention. This year, 6000 of us gathered in Boston to join in study, song, prayer, leadership development, and in the simple pride of belonging to a strong, vibrant, modern, principled Reform Jewish community. Here are, for us, some of this year’s highlights:

• Rev. Dr. William Barber II gave a stunning oration, setting the spiritual tone for our gathering. As leader of the New Poor People’s Campaign, Rev. Barber urged us to instigate a “moral breakthrough” in our country. The plight of the poor, LGBTQ people, and people of color is not a political issue, but a moral one. He reminded us that repentance is not enough – restorative justice is necessary in our fractured society. • Learning sessions cover almost every topic in temple life. Rabbi Mara sat on a Moving Traditions panel to talk about Woodlands’ involvement in the nation-wide gender-based empowerment program. Workshops like this one offer a glimpse of the innovation bubbling out Continued on page 4

Stop Me If You’ve Heard this One ...

Six Clergy Walk into a Temple

by Gary Stern


our rabbis, a cantor and a rabbi-intraining. They’re not on staff but are an important presence here at Woodlands. That presence varies from season to season and year to year, but these six men and women have deep roots here and value their time at our temple. Cantor Ellen Dreskin, Rabbis Joan Farber, Lisa Izes, Julius Rabinowitz and Eve Rudin, and rabbinical student Lisa Sacks are familiar faces at Woodlands. They are seen on the bimah and in the classroom, but are mostly known as fellow parents, volunteers, and particularly curious and learned congregants. Woodlands is only too happy to have them around. So who are these other clergy in our midst?

Rabbi Joan Farber, a Baltimore native, attended HUC-JIR in New York with Billy and Ellen. She and her husband, Andy, are Tarrytown residents and have been active members of WCT since 2003. Their three adult children were all very involved with Academy and WoodSY. These days, Rabbi Joan is co-director of Hevreh: A Community of Adult Jewish Learners, which provides retreat and webinars across North America. She is also quite active at WCT, teaching Hebrew to 4th graders and adults, and co-chairing the Social Action Committee. “First, I am a Jew in the pew and here to be inspired by our clergy,” she says. “Second, is to share my expertise and knowledge with my community, teaching and being involved.”

Continued on page 2

Havdalah and Concert with Jason Mesches Sat, Jan 20 4:30-5:45 pm


et ready to sing, smile and shvitz in this special experience for families with kids ages 0-7. Havdalah is such a beautiful ritual to conclude Shabbat, and it’s made even sweeter when we share it as family and friends. Rising Jewish music superstar Jason Mesches will lead us in a brief but beautiful Havdalah ceremony followed by a rockin’ concert. Jason has been touring for the last four years with his first album – Oneg Time! – and as a member of the nationally-acclaimed children’s band, The Beat Buds. His newest album, The Nosh Pit, is a continuation of his efforts to create fun, educational music for Jewish families. He’s been featured on and he performed at the URJ Biennial last month. Fun fact: Rabbi Mara and Jason both grew up in Westfield, NJ, and were in youth group together. According to her, he’s still the same raucous, lively kid he was back then. While Jason is based in L.A., we’re thrilled he’s made WCT a stop on his East Coast tour. Check out to view his hilarious music videos and get a taste of what’s coming.

Join the Nosh Pit! Admission is $10 per family. Sign up at

Our Woodlands Community

Stop Me If You’ve Heard this One ... Six Clergy Walk into a Templ, 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 Deena Gottlieb, Intern

Rabbi Lisa Izes grew up in Ardsley and now lives in Irvington with her husband Jason Laks and their two daughters. Lisa’s family joined Woodlands in 1979 and her parents, Lois and Jay, are still members. She serves as rabbi for the Shames JCC on the Hudson in Tarrytown and Chavura Beth Chai of Northern Westchester. “I am sure a part of the reason I became a rabbi was the wonderful experience I had growing up at Woodlands,” Lisa says. “It is special for me to be able to continue the tradition with my family. I appreciate being able to volunteer for projects and events that are valuable and teach a little here and there.”

Executive Committee Dayle Fligel, President Rachel Wineberg, VP Education Andy Farber, VP Facilities Michael Wiskind, VP Finance Nancy Fishman, VP Programming/Ritual Irving Adler, Financial Secretary Steve Sagner, Secretary Bonni Arbore, Treasurer

Board of Trustees David Bertan Dan Emery Judy Feder Herb Friedman Yvette Gralla Amy Green

Elka Klarsfeld Jenna Lebowich Lisa Linn Mike Scafidi Michele Wise Ann Zarider

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


Rabbi Eve Rudin grew up in NYC, where Billy was her 8th grade religious school teacher while he was a rabbinic student. She worked for many years for the URJ as director of NFTY and Kutz Camp. Eve is now Director of Education, Youth and Families at Larchmont Temple. A Tarrytown resident, she is also a parttime doctoral student at Jewish Theological Seminary. She was very active at Woodlands when her daughter Emma was young. These days, Eve says, “I’m not physically at Woodlands that often. Woodlands, however, is very much a part of my essence and identity and my way of thinking and being. While I’m happy to help out if asked, I also love coming to pray here when I can.” Rabbi Julius Rabinowitz grew up in North Jersey and is a longtime Irvington resident. He was ordained only five years ago after four decades as a lawyer. He is the part-time rabbi for a small Conservative congregation in southeast Connecticut, spending about half his week there. He says his experience as a lay leader at Woodlands has been invaluable, and that he’s finally stopped watching the Woodlands clergy for

“tips.” “Being more secure in my practice, I can experience a prayer service or other program without the need to wear my ‘clergy eyes,’” he says. “I feel welcome every time I walk in the doors.” Yes, Cantor Ellen Dreskin may be best known at Woodlands as Rabbi Billy’s wife who, on occasion, leads services with him. But the Houston native is an accomplished and respected cantor in her own right. She and Rabbi Billy raised their three children in Ardsley (and at Woodlands, of course). During the late 1980s, Cantor Ellen interned at Woodlands and then served three years as Cantor/Educator. These days, Cantor Ellen is a rare non-congregational cantor. She teaches at conferences and synagogues, consults for the JCC Association, and leads a Shabbat morning family program at Central Synagogue in Manhattan. And she has a High Holy Days pulpit, of all places, outside of Seattle. Her role at Woodlands? “I happen to be the rebbetzin, but that’s not really a role at Woodlands. I’m mostly a congregant. I show up. It’s my community. I’m thrilled with that.” On her way to joining the other clergy at Woodlands is Lisa Sacks, a 4th year rabbinical student at the Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers. She grew up in Santa Cruz, California, now lives in Hastings and has two daughters who are growing up at Woodlands. She says her role at Woodlands is an “evolving experience” as she prepares to be a rabbi. “I like to be able to ask questions of the Woodlands clergy (those who are paid by Woodlands and those who are members), and to get their take on what’s going on with my learning, both in the classroom and in the field,” she says. “These folks are a treasure to us all,” says Rabbi Billy. “Whether teaching, leading services and committees, or just being part of the temple family, we’re so blessed by their presence.”

from the


As Giants Fall


Rabbi Billy Dreskin

abbi Hayyim Soloveitchik was riding a train when he found himself surrounded by traveling salesmen who had begun a game of cards. The rabbi’s disinterest in their game annoyed the men who were angered when he declined their invitation to join in. One of them picked up the rabbi by his collar and threw him out of the compartment, but when both disembarked at the same stop and the salesman discovered the rabbi’s true identity, he begged for forgiveness. “How can I forgive you?” said the rabbi. “You never insulted me. You did not know who I was. You want forgiveness? Go find some poor, anonymous Jew sitting on a train, reading a book, and ask him for forgiveness!” I’ve always been haunted by this story. Not unlike Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, someone whom we’ve harmed is not the same person they were before we did what we did to them, and it might therefore be impossible to ask that person for forgiveness, for that person no longer exists. But you and I know, from years of Yom Kippur observance, that Judaism embraces forgiveness as an honorable response to true and sincere teshuvah. When an individual demonstrates genuine regret for past actions and refrains from any new presentation of their objectionable behavior, it is commendable of us to accept their teshuvah and offer forgiveness. As we read report after report of condemnable behavior by people in the public eye, we’re examining their words of apology and debating the sincerity of their regrets, as we should. But the court of public opinion is a fickle arena. How much do we actually know of the cases before us, and in what position are you and I to render a verdict? I wonder if perhaps it would be better to let others try the cases of people we don’t know, and spend our own energies looking within to understand our own conduct and work to repair our own inadequacies. An adjunct to this query is what we do with upstanding achievements attained by people who have calamitously ruined their moral reputations. Woody Allen is one of America’s greatest filmmakers, Bill Cosby one of our greatest comedians. Both have behaved deplorably and earned the scorn of good people everywhere. But what of their body of work? Are Bananas and Annie Hall to be cast aside? Are Cosby’s best routines, including “Noah” and “Cake for Breakfast” (some of comedy’s funniest and cleanest routines) no longer appropriate for sharing with our children? One more question: Does it matter if the artist is alive or has died? And perhaps: Can we forgive ourselves for liking their body of work, even as we denounce the individual who created that work? I don’t have the answers. But I hang onto the questions, hoping one day we’ll sort this all out. Be in touch with me if you’d like to share your own thoughts (rabbi@ In the meantime, I’m reminded how in 2012, after a 70-year ban, the music of Richard Wagner, a virulent antisemite and favorite of the Nazis, was played for the first time in Israel. Jonathan Livny, founder of the Israel Wagner Society, said, “The important thing is that this is good music, and I am against any boycott of that regardless of who wrote it.” People’s lives have been hurt. They deserve justice. And I continue to wonder, are there limits to that justice? Are there always obligations to forgive? Are there sometimes obligations not to forgive?

Just Israel

Israelis and Arabs Fight Fire with ... Water! by Rabbi Billy Dreskin


ne year ago, as fires raged across the countryside, Israeli and Palestinian firefighters of necessity found themselves battling blazes side-by-side. Now, teams from Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority, have been participating in joint training sessions to increase their skills in large-scale cooperative firefighting management, evacuation of residents, humanitarian assistance, and preservation of nature. Israeli Fire Commissioner Dedi Simhi writes, “We sent rescue forces from the Home Front Command to assist during earthquakes in Turkey, Nepal, Haiti, and most recently, Mexico. Our aerial firefighting unit provided assistance last year to Cyprus, and this year to Montenegro and Macedonia. And last November, during an unprecedented number of fires, we requested and received assistance from our Palestinian and Egyptian neighbors. There is great operational importance to an exercise involving international cooperation, so that in the event of an emergency, we will be familiar with one another and know how to work in collaboration.” 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.


Honoring Dr. King Special Guest: Dr. Jamall Calloway Fri, Jan 12 at 8:00 pm


hat does Martin Luther King Day mean to you? Another Monday holiday? Sales at The Westchester? But where does one go to commemorate Dr. King’s lifetime commitment to racial and human equality? Or to affirm our own commitment to the continuing struggle for civil rights? That’s why we encourage you and your family to join us on Friday evening, January 12 for our annual Martin Luther King Shabbat. Make sure your kids understand the importance of this day. And set aside time for your observance of this significant American holiday. This year, we welcome back Dr. Jamall Andrew Calloway. Jamall was with us last March while he was still a doctoral student at Union Theological Seminary. He absolutely wow’ed us with his incredibly smart and poignant words about Cain and Abel. We first met Jamall at the WCT University on “How Is the Collective Memory of a Community Formed?” when he brought us some mighty cogent thoughts from an African-American perspective. Dr. Calloway is from Oakland, CA, has now received his PhD in Philosophical Theology, following a Masters of Divinity from Yale and BA in Interdisciplinary Humanities from Tougaloo College in Jackson, MS. An ordained Baptist minister, Jamall is a postdoc research fellow and visiting professor at Brown University, as well as summer pastor of Christ Church UCC in Mt Washington, MA. Dr. Calloway writes about faith, resistance and hope in the face of evil.


Report from Boston, Continued from p. 1

of synagogues and Jewish non-profits. • Music at Biennial is quite a phenomenon. It’s where Jewish performance art and visual art explodes. On the main stage (during major gatherings) and on the sound stage (where performers play pretty much ‘round the clock), and throughout the enormous exhibit areas, Reform Judaism is celebrating a veritable renaissance of Jewish art. So many faces familiar to Woodlands: Stacy Beyer, Noah Aronson, Dan Nichols, Julie Silver, Michelle Citrin, Josh Nelson, and many others you’ve not yet met (we’re working on that!). • Sen. Elizabeth Warren addressed our gathering, acknowledging the great difficulty of these times, but acknowledging the gift of standing with communities like ours “where welcoming the stranger isn’t just some organizational imperative but a divine principle,” and encouraging us to persist, and refuse to step back. “Win or lose,” she told us, “when we fight for what is fair, our power isn’t a battery that gets drained. It’s a muscle that gets stronger every time we use it.” • Shabbat services for 6000 are unforgettable. One beautiful snapshot includes the matriarch of a recently resettled Kurdish Syrian refugee family offering a blessing of peace and thanksgiving in her native tongue followed by her young daughter blessing us with the English translation, Shabbat candles aglow before them. Our commitment to standing up to Pharaohs everywhere, and helping others to march to freedom, was renewed. • And of course, there are old friends to hug and with whom to share a cup of coffee. We thoroughly enjoyed our “WCT family dinner” that included our local college kids and recent graduates. Former intern sightings included Rabbis Dan Geffen, Leora Kaye, Erin Glazer, Elyse Frishman and Danny Zemel, summer interns Andi Fliegel, Rachel Maimin and Serena Fujita, as well as rabbinic temple members Geoff Mitelman and David Mersky. When 6000 people are moving from one event to the next, it’s pretty impossible not to bump into someone you know, or meet someone you’ll be looking for at the next Biennial. The URJ Biennial is an incredibly exciting moment for a Reform Jew to experience. If you are delighted by the prospect of a seemingly unending smorgasboard of study, song, prayer, leadership development, and pride in belonging to the Reform movement, then mark your calendar for December 11-15, 2019 when, two years from now, your Union for Reform Judaism will meet up in Chicago. We’d love for you to come with us!

Worship Schedule Shabbat Shemot

Shabbat Bo

Exo 1:1 - 6:1 ... Isa 27:6 - 28:13, 29:22-23

Exo 10:1 - 13:16 ... Jer 46:13-28

Fri, Jan 5

Fri, Jan 19

Simply Shabbat at 8:00 pm

Mishpakha Shabbat and New Member Welcome at 7:00 pm

A quiet evening with your clergy. Familiar melodies and familiar prayers to bring us all together. Rabbinical intern Deena Gottlieb will speak.

Sat, Jan 6 Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 am Celebrate with us as Eliot Loose, son of Jill Garland and Andy Loose, becomes a Bar Mitzvah.

Shabbat Va’era Exo 6:2 - 9:35 ... Ezek 28:25 - 29:21

Fri, Jan 12 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!

Martin Luther King Shabbat at 8:00 pm Our annual celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. Dr. Jamall Calloway, Brown University, will speak.

For the entire congregation, just earlier – meaningful for adults, engaging for kids! If you like, join us for a quick dinner at 6:00 pm – make your reservation at Special welcome to our newest members, with whom we’ve already fallen in love!

Sat, Jan 20

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.

Jan 6: Parashat Shemot Facilitated by Rabbi Mara

Jan 13: Parashat Va’era Facilitated by Rabbi Billy

Jan 20: Parashat Bo

Worship with the Wires Exposed 10:00 am - Noon

Facilitated by Rabbi Billy

A Shabbat service and simultaneous conversation with Rabbi Billy about the history of our prayers.

Facilitated by Cantor Jonathan

Jan 27: Parashat Beshallakh

Shabbat Beshallakh Exo 13:17 - 17:16 ... Jud 4:4 - 5:31

Fri, Jan 26 Shabbat Shira at 8:00 pm In observance of this year’s Sabbath of Song, we welcome Woodlands’ own, Cantor Ellen Dreskin, who will pay tribute to the memory and musical legacy of Debbie Friedman.

Sat, Jan 27

Sat, Jan 13

Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 am

Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 am

Celebrate with us as Samuel Stein and Andrew Stein, sons of Fern and Ira Stein, become B’nai Mitzvah.

Celebrate with us as Gigi Richer, daughter of Lisa Sacks and Jon Richer, becomes a Bat Mitzvah.

Hevra Torah Learning

Babysitting at 8:00 pm Shabbat services is provided by teens from our religious school. This month, babysitting will be available on Jan 5 and Jan 26. There is no charge and no advance notice is required. For further information, contact

Join Our Cast for Hairspray Purim! Just Two Rehearsals! Adults, teens and kids are all needed to present the music and script for Hairspray Purim! We’ve selected the very best tunes from Hairspray and put together a purimspiel that’ll make your hair fall down! Our (count ‘em!) two rehearsals will be held on Thursdays, Feb 1 and Feb 15. Pick your time ... either 6:00-7:00 pm or 8:00-9:00 pm, and come sing with us because the show can’t go on without you! The ever-lyrical Dreskin family promises the usual nuttiness to mangle some of the best songs from Broadway and beyond! Sign up today at purimspiel. Song lyrics, mp3 recordings, and lead sheets will (eventually) be available for download. Oh, and save Wed, Feb 28 at 7:00 pm for our one and only performance before the authorities run us out of town.


January Happenings & Beyond LEARNING

Lunch and Learn: Fresh, Fast, and Easy Healthy and Simple Weekday Meal Ideas

Wed, Jan 17 at 11:30 am

Engaging Israel: Jewish Values and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Rabbi Billy Dreskin

10 Wednesdays, 8:00-9:30 pm Jan 3 - Mar 14 We’re not looking to change your politics on Israel, but to work with the prism of Jewish values through which you form your opinions. Through text study with Rabbi Billy and video presentations from renowned Israeli scholars, we’ll address core questions that foster greater understanding and greater respect for each other, without whitewashing the differences. Visit israel to register. Course fee is $18. Book fee is $20.

WCT Book Club Wed, Jan 10 at 2:00 pm Facilitated by Phyllis Opochinsky Red Notice by Bill Browder is a gripping, true story of one man’s experience with fraud, corruption and violence in post-Soviet Russia. After discovering rampant fraud in Russia’s investment market, the author found himself in a nightmare: first, he was declared a national security threat, then he feared for his life. Red Notice is a dramatic, moving and thriller-like account of how Browder was transformed from hedge-fund manager to global human rights crusader.

Current Events Wed, Jan 17 at 10:00 am Join us as we discuss issues that face us daily. Then stay for Lunch and Learn immediately following.


Join Registered Dietitian, Culinary Nutritionist (and temple member) Jenna Lebowich for a hands-on cooking demonstration and discussion on planning and preparing healthy, fresh, and easy weekday meals. Learn new ways to use seasonal products, share tips and tricks to simplify meal planning and preparation (especially when cooking for one or two) and give yourself a nutrition “tune up” for the new year. We’ll share what we prepare and continue the conversation after cooking together. Please RSVP at Fee is $10 per session (unless you have already signed up for all Lunch and Learn programs).

S’forim Forum Sat, Jan 20, 4:30-6:00pm A Crown of Feathers: Stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer Isaac Bashevis Singer is the 1978 Nobel Prize winner for literature. He is a master short story and novel writer. His short stories usually have gripping surprising endings. His characters are unusual but fascinating and somehow we can relate to what is described, if not in ourselves then in others. Each of this collection of 25 short stories contains a mystical element and is full of Bashevis Singers’ unequaled telling of the struggle between the old world orthodox Judaism and its trust in the Messiah coming, and the new worldly Jews living in a new and ever more volatile world. This is a wonderful collection by a wonderful writer. Stories to read, absorb and enjoy and learn humanity from.

Annual Adult Ed Brainstorming Brunch Sun, Jan 28, 9:30-11:00 am Please join us for a delicious brunch and brainstorming event to explore ideas for next year’s programs. Be sure to attend if you have suggestions or want to explore what Adult Ed is all about. RSVP to

Save the Date! A Trip to the Tenement Museum Sun, Feb 11, 8:30 am - 2:30 pm We will depart by bus from WCT at 8:30 am for the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side. Following our tour of this incredible space, we will board the bus again to go for lunch at Ben’s Delicatessen on 38th Street. We anticipate returning to WCT by 2:30. All this for only $35 per member ($45 per non-member). Reservations are limited to 23 attendees so please RSVP by Fri, Jan 5 at

Save the Date! Haggadah Building Sun, Mar, 18, 2:00-5:00 pm Do your guests wonder when they will be liberated from the seder rather than from Egypt? Is the haggadah text too familiar? Are the children asking for dinner and the surly teenagers acting, well, surly? In this Haggadah Building workshop, participants will make evocative haggadot that will elicit discussion and connect your guests to the meaning of Passover. Why will this seder be different from all others? Because this year when you announce, “Dinner is served,” your guests will say, “Already?” Please RSVP at

Don’t delay ... SOCIAL ACTION


January Mensch of the Month is Fourth Grade

Woodlands Boxing Class Sun, Jan 28 1:30-3:00 pm

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

Monthly Knitting and Crocheting Sun, Jan 21 at 3:00 pm Make mitzvah projects together with our friendly and active group. All levels welcome, including beginners. RSVP to Angela Adler at

Hurricane Maria Relief Heartfelt thanks go out to Irv and Angela Adler, Jim Ballan and Elise Wagner, Murray and Jeanne Bodin, Andrew Bordwin and Gaby Sudock, Billy and Ellen Dreskin, David and Dayle Fligel, Herb Friedman, Steve and Marjorie Glusker, Michael Goldberg and Jenny Ottinger, Deena Gottlieb, Lenny and Marsha Green, Marc and Devra Gross, Jim and Nancy Heymann, Alan and Shelli Katz, Charles and Carol Kessler, Mitch and Juli Klein, Mickey Milbauer, Rochelle Novins, Todd and Elizabeth Ommen, Erik Parens and Andrea Kott, Harry and Marge Phillips, Jack Rockafellow and Harriet Kohn, Lloyd and Roberta Roos, Peter and Sandy Rosenthal, Ruth Rugoff, Karyn Schorr, Erik and Sharon Shawn, Scott and Julie Stein, Mara and Mark Young. We have met and far exceeded our goal to raise $2500 to help ten families in the town of Loiza, Puerto Rico. If you’d like to do more for these families in a personal way, you will find a list of names and urgent needs at We will keep you updated on additional ways in which Woodlands is participating in the rebuilding of Puerto Rico.

Get ready to “hit it hard!” Let off some steam at our local Ardsley Title Boxing studio (you hit the bag, not people!). This is a private class just for Woodlands members and their friends. All experience levels are welcome. Gloves and hand wraps will be provided. Cost is $20 per person and all proceeds go to the WCT Youth Activities Fund. You must be 13 or older to attend. Sponsored by YFEC, this is a great way to work out, hang out, and support our temple youth. Sign up at

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

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

Worship with the Wires Exposed Saturday, January 20 10:00 am - Noon

Is It Time to Purchase Cemetery Plots? Woodlands Community Temple has graves available for purchase at Sharon Gardens in Valhalla. The cost per grave is $3300. If you are interested or have questions, please contact

We Want to Hear from You! It is always a pleasure to hear good news from members of our WCT family. It often helps to share the not-so-good too. Please let us know if you or someone else is in need of a visit or phone call from our clergy. Many assume that “everyone knows,” but this is not always true. A note of call to our temple office or clergy will ensure that we are able to extend our support to Woodlands members in a moment of need.

Want to know more about where our prayers came from, what they're trying to say, and why we do what we do when we're reciting them? Then this is the service for you! Join Rabbi Billy for a couple of hours of spirited conversation and worship as we examine and explore the history of our prayers and how we've prayed them. We began this exploration most recently at the December Shabbaton where the questions flowed freely and no thought was out of bounds. It's clear that the time has come for us to hold more of these inquiring Shabbat gatherings. So let us come together and learn! RSVP to wct@wct.


Sh’lakh Manot – Purim Goody Bags A Purim Tradition Continues!

Confirmation families cook up a storm for Thanksgiving, providing meals for homeless teens


ou are invited to honor the tradition of giving at Purim by participating in Woodlands’ Sh’lakh Manot program. Ordering information will be mailed to you this month. Online ordering is available as well at manot. Please complete your ordering by Monday, February 12! For $118, your family can send sh’lakh manot (Purim Goody Bags) to the entire Woodlands family. In each bag, there is a personalized greeting that includes the name of everyone that sponsored the bags, along with all the other families that are sending Purim wishes. Ordering information will be mailed to you in January. Purim Goody Bags will be sent home with our religious school students and will also be available for pickup after Purim festivities and other temple programs. Not only is sending sh’lakh manot a mitzvah, but you’ll feel great knowing all proceeds go directly to supporting our religious school and the WCT Chai Fund. Visit to place your order.

Support the WCT Endowment Trust You can help sustain and ensure the heritage of Woodlands Community Temple for generations to come by supporting the WCT Endowment Trust, an investment entity designed to generate income separate from the Temple’s operating funds. Gifts to the Endowment Trust can be made in many ways, including bequests, multi-year pledges, and remainder trusts. Contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law and will always be tastefully acknowledged. Oversight is managed by a committee of Temple members who serve as trustees. For more information, or to plan a donation to the Endowment Trust, please email


Knicks center Enes Kanter visits B’nai Binah class to serve Noah’s Pudding with his Turkish Muslim friends from the Peace Islands Institute

The Judaica Shop at Woodlands is “your neighborhood shop for gift giving ... and getting.” We love hearing, and seeing, how well your purchases were received by their recipients ... so this month’s column is filled with the pictures that tell us we’re on the right track!

An Evening of Pop, Soul, Spirit and Fun: The 9th Annual Jonah Maccabee Concert

Charlie Dreskin enjoys the Festival of Lights with his Judaica Shop doggie menorah. Mixed media home blessing proudly displayed on mantel in a new home

with Dan Nichols, Josh Nelson, Ellen Dreskin and Rosalie Boxt The Alef Bet hamsa necklace brings protection to Karen’s daughter-in-law every day!

Saturday Evening, March 10 Longtime friends of Woodlands and consummate professional singer-songwriters Dan Nichols, Josh Nelson, Cantor Ellen Dreskin and Cantor Rosalie Boxt will once again bring us their deep friendship, love of Jewish life, and their vast musical skills, raising both their voices and ours in shared pursuit of music’s power to change our lives and our world, one person at a time. Don’t miss their extraordinary vocal and instrumental performance at the 9th Annual Jonah Maccabee Concert on Saturday, March 10 at 8:00 pm. “Across the years, we’ve been so lucky to welcome each of these musical giants to perform in our temple,” said Rabbi Billy. “Now they’ve begun making music together, and the result is nothing less than magical!” What’s in store for the evening? Original contemporary Jewish folk-rock as well as some remarkable 4-part vocal covers of songs we’ve loved across the decades. Upbeat tunes, occasional love ballads, along with an offering of heart and spirit that will fill you up and over the brim. In short, something for everyone. And like every Jonah Maccabee concert, this will be an evening of celebration and community for a great cause. Ticket proceeds support URJ summer program scholarships for Woodlands kids and teens whose families really need our help. You can visit to hear some of the tunes from BDN&N’s first recording, So Is Life. You’ll immediately understand why audiences across North America have fallen for them. Tickets for this year’s Jonah Maccabee Concert go on sale Wed, Jan 8, and always sell quickly. So don’t delay in buying yours at

Shower gift of smashing glass and mixed metal sculpture to house wedding shards is first displayed as cake topper at the wedding

It’s too cold for a yard sale ... but not for our Annual January “yad” sale!! 15% of all instock Torah pointers throughout January!

The Judaica Shop at Woodlands is open every day during temple office hours. Shopping for something special? Looking for a volunteer opportunity that’s fun and fits with your schedule? Email us at and let’s talk!


Upcoming Meetings

The Simkha Page

B’nai Mitzvah

Adult Ed Committee

Eliot Loose

Samuel Stein

Sun, Jan 7 at 9:00 am

January 6

January 27

Finance Committee

Torah Portion Shemot

Torah Portion Beshallakh

Hebrew Name Hadriel

Hebrew Name Ze’ev

Gigi Richer

Andrew Stein

January 13

January 27

Torah Portion Va’era

Torah Portion Beshallakh

Hebrew Name Talia Tiferet

Hebrew Name Ze’ev

Sun, Jan 14 at 7:30 pm

Board of Trustees Sun, Jan 21 at 7:30 pm

Jewish Life Committee Mon, Jan 29 at 8:15 pm

Finance Committee Mon, Jan 29 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.

The Woodlands Community Mourns the Loss of Robert Roxenberg father of Shari Turell Shirley Schiffer aunt of Michelle Merer

Mazal Tov to ... Andrew Loose and Jill Garland as their son, Eliot, is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah. Jonathan Richer and Lisa Sacks as their daughter, Gigi, is called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah. Ira and Fern Stein as their sons, Samuel and Andrew, are called to the Torah as B’nai Mitzvah.

New Member

Dinner and Serivce Fri, Jan 19 at 6:00 pm

HaMakom y’nakhem otam… may God bring comfort to all who are in mourning. Zekher tzadik livrakha ... may their memory be for a blessing.

Scheduling Weddings or Funerals with Our Clergy The rabbis and cantor want very much to be with you during significant life-cycle moments. Please speak with them before setting any dates or times for weddings or funerals. Don’t be disappointed to learn they’re not available at the time you’ve already arranged, so bring them “into the loop” at the very beginning of your planning.



elatively new to Woodlands? Let us welcome and honor you! If you joined the temple any time after November 2016, please spend an evening with us as a guest of the Membership Committee at the New Member dinner before the evening’s Mishpakha Shabbat service. Dinner is served 6:00-6:45 pm, followed by our one-hour(-ish), open to everyone and accessible for all ages, Mishpakha Shabbat service at 7:00 pm. Email membership@wct. org to let us know how many seats to save for your family!

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.

Rabbi Billy’s Mitzvah Fund In appreciation of your hard work in preparing Robbie to become a Bar Mitzvah, from Lauren and Ben Levitt. With thanks to Rabbi Billy and in memory of Carole Raften Friedlander, from Amy and Corey Friedlander.

Rabbi Mara’s Mitzvah Fund In appreciation of your help in preparing Robbie to become a Bar Mitzvah, from Lauren and Ben Levitt. With thanks from the Grackin Family, from Alice McNamara.

Cantor’s Discretionary Fund In appreciation of your hard work in preparing Robbie to become a Bar Mitzvah, from Lauren and Ben Levitt.

Todah Rabbah (thank you) to... Leslie Kimmelman for sharing your story and introducing us to Julia at Book Fair Shabbat.

Rabbi Billy and the Confirmation Class for organizing, and all who volunteered during, the Christmas Eve Midnight Run.

Roberta Roos for providing challah dough to our 8th grade family learning. It was delicious!

Juli Klein for her “sacred shlepping” in advance of Michelle Citrin’s weekend @WCT.

Liz Scafidi for her dedication this past year in handling the monthly Mishpakha dinners.

The Woodlands Singers for their inspiring participation in this year’s Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at South Presbyterian Church in Dobbs Ferry.

Bonni Arbore for leading the Yad Workshop. Jeanne Bodin for organizing the Children’s Village Gift Drive. Liz Bloom and Lauren Kaufman for organizing the Confirmation Class Thanksgiving meal preparation to benefit The Sanctuary in Valhalla. Harriet Kohn and her incredibly generous host families for the December Project Ezra luncheon: Bonni, Tony, Michael and Danielle Arbore; Hilary and Milo Archigian; Jan, Jeffrey and Jessica Friedman; Dayle Fligel; Pamela and Melanie Goldstein; Alison Harris; J, Lisa and Matthew Heinlein; Jill Strick; Julie Stein; Michele, Andrew and Jacob Wise; Janet Weinstein; Linda and Jay Zwicker; Roberta and Lloyd Roos; and, Fern, Andrew and Samuel Stein. Also, to Cantor Jonathan for your beautiful music throughout the day, and to Adam Hart and the WCT 5th grade class for singing and visiting.

The music ensembles and tech teams that have supported and nurtured A Joyful Noise! throughout its first ten years. The Shabbaton Committee for a fabulous, engaging, meaningful and enjoyable WCT Shabbaton: Nancy Fishman, Natalie Werner, Chuck Fishman, Phyllis Hirth, Heidi Gralla and Joel Chernoff, with special thanks to Rabbi Billy, Rabbi Mara, Cantor Jonathan, Michele Montague and Hernando Carmona. Karen and Stu Berlowitz, Jeanne and Murray Bodin, and Joan and Andy Farber for hosting the members of Beit Tefilah Israeli while they shared Hanukkah with us. Dayle and David Fligel for their generosity in making it possible for Beit Tefilah Israeli to spend a weekend at Woodlands.

Why I Volunteer @ Temple In this column, we introduce you to fellow temple members who have stepped forward to help make Woodlands a place we can all love.

My first volunteer activity at

Woodlands began not long after Deborah and I became part of the congregation in 1999. My background is financial, so joining the Finance Committee came naturally. That’s continued to be the focus of my involvement, including terms as Treasurer and now VP-Finance (for the second time). Even though we don’t always think of the temple this way, underlying each of WCT’s religious, educational, and community functions is an ongoing business – we need to bring in enough revenue to pay the expenses and keep everything going.

The aspects of Judaism that have always resonated most for me are the history and culture of the Jewish people, and I think it’s important to maintain these traditions in an increasingly chaotic world. I really appreciate the inclusive nature of the congregation (especially the support for children with learning issues) and the energy and dedication of all those who volunteer their time and efforts in leadership positions and as part of WCT’s many programs and projects.

Shabbat Shirah – Sabbath of Song And You Shall Be a Blessing: The Legacy of Debbie Friedman Fri, Jan 26 at 8:00 pm


antor Ellen Dreskin will lead a musical service devoted to Debbie Friedman’s wide and dynamic musical legacy. Debbie almost single-handedly changed the course of liturgical music, not only in America, but around the world. While some of Debbie’s songs are well known and widely utilized (Lekhi Lakh, Miriam’s Song, Not By Might, to name a few), there is a treasure trove of compositions that are sadly neglected today. Ellen was Debbie’s friend and collaborator, and is uniquely suited to bring us a spirited and rewarding evening of Debbie’s music for soloist, group singing and choir. In addition to being a beloved and familiar part of our Woodland’s family, Cantor Ellen is also an innovative force in the Reform Movement. Her expertise ranges from liturgical music to synagogue transformation, experiential education, liturgy, and mysticism. She works as a scholar-in-residence across North America, facilitates online learning, and teaches and performs regularly at national conferences and seminars. The evening will include choral pieces, group singing, and engaging melodies that will make this a Shabbat to remember. Mark this date because you really want to be here!


Michelle Citrin @ the Jonah Maccabee Family Concert!

Our teens love to bake, even moreso for a cause!


Israeli dancing @ the WCT Shabbaton

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College Connection Emily Linn by Emily Linn I help coordinate a student-run art and farmers market through the Hillel at Tulane University. Our Hillel created a program called “Tulane Jewish Leaders” (TJL) in which students have the opportunity to easily create clubs and organizations. As a TJL, I am able to work with other Jewish students, utilize Hillel’s resources, and attend events and programs put on by other members. Although I did not originate the market, I have adopted it as my own project. It is a great way for me to connect with the greater New Orleans community and bring the city to Tulane students. I have loved being able to

introduce students to local artists, organic farmers, and live musicians. I identify the presence of many of my Jewish values through this interconnected and creative relationship. Judaism taught me to respect and care for my neighbors. By supporting local vendors, students are giving back to the community that has taken them in so graciously. I also feel the sense of love for my neighbors when connected to other Jewish students through the TJL program. Furthermore, I am reminded of the Jewish value of caring for and respecting the environment by providing sustainable goods to students. Emily Linn is a senior at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. She works as a tour guide and a research assistant in a psychology lab. She is also involved with running an art/food market through Hillel and the Celebrate Mental Health Festival through the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI).

Jordan Einhorn by Jordan Einhorn


t’s hard to talk about what I’m doing in college without mentioning Jewish life. I didn’t really know what to expect about Jewish student life in Buffalo when I got here. I just knew I wanted to get involved in whatever the college version of WoodSY was. I never expected to find such a rich and diverse collection of Jewish organizations, both on my campus and in the greater Buffalo community. Four years later, I can’t imagine my college experience without them. If there’s one thing I learned growing up in the Woodlands community, it’s that your Judaism is something you own. This is a value I’ve tried to integrate into my Jewish involvement at school. I’ve taken leadership positions in some organizations and remained a member in others. I’ve worked with some and I’ve prayed with others. In short, I’ve tried to curate a unique Jewish college experience that works for me.

For so many years, Woodlands empowered me to take ownership of my Judaism. Over the past four, I’ve learned so much about both the importance and the challenges of this. As I enter into my final semester here, I look forward to continuing to create the Jewish life that works for me. Hopefully, I’ll be able to take some lessons from Woodlands and help some other students figure out how they can create a Jewish student life that’s as rewarding for them as mine’s been for me. Jordan Einhorn is a WCT college kid in his senior year at the University at Buffalo. He is majoring in Political Science and is the current president of UB’s Jewish Student Union.

WCT Makom January 2018  

Woodlands Community Temple January 2018 Bulletin

WCT Makom January 2018  

Woodlands Community Temple January 2018 Bulletin