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the newsletter of woodlands community temple

June 2017 Sivan-Tammuz 5777

Bidding Jason Fenster Farewell

Community Meeting on New Sanctuary

by Rabbi Billy Dreskin


fter three years as our rabbinic intern, it’s time for Rabbi Fenster (yep, as of May 7!) to go get a real job. Soon to move to Chicago, Jason will spend one more Shabbat with us, giving us a chance to tell him how much we’ve loved having him grow up here. Please be on hand to wish Jason well. Personally speaking, it’s been three years of learning and growing for me too. My conversations with Jason each Monday afternoon have challenged me to think deeply about “how I rabbi.” I’m so grateful to Jason for bringing his insatiable curiosity and enthusiasm to me and to our synagogue. Here are a few words from the new rabbi himself:

by Cantor Jonathan Gordon


I am not sure when it happened, but at some point during these three years, I started speaking about Woodlands in the first person. It just…happened. Being immersed in this community fosters an undeniable attachment and commitment. There is just something special about this place. I have spent a lot of time in these closing weeks thinking about what makes this community so remarkable. Surely, it is the people that care not just about the Temple but about each other. Surely, it is the incredible staff and clergy who are devoted to asking new questions and trying new experiments to make Judaism relevant, engaging, and accessible. Surely it is the building, Continued on page 2

Glossary LGBTQ+ “Acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. Sometimes, when the Q is seen at the end of LGBT, it can also mean questioning.” [source: GLAAD] Additionally, the ¨+¨ stands for all different identities not included in the acronym

Pride Shabbat by Daniel Goldberg


CT is becoming a safer and more inclusive space, with a group of people diverse in age, gender, sexual orientation, and background Safe space “A place intended to be free of bias, conflict, criticism, conversing in Tara’s office. Through discussing topics or potentially threatening actions, surrounding LGBTQ+ issues in our temple and Judaism, ideas, or conversations.” [source: the LGBTQ+ Task Force ensures that Woodlands keeps Merriam-Webster] up with positive change and makes new members and all Gender (other than male or female) existing congregants feel comfortable, well-represented, and In short, gender and sex are two dif- welcomed. Tara Levine, our Director of Youth Engagement, ferent concepts. Gender is how you facilitates the Task Force which helps to create educational feel you are, and sex is your biology. programming, temple activities, organizational policies, and Many people feel neither male nor an accepting culture at our temple. female and identify as one of many In the near future, the Task Force would like Woodlands different genders. For more informato become well-known as a place where LGBTQ+ people tion, visit all types of families are not only welcomed, but links/understanding-gender. Continued on page 5

o many in our community have expressed concern about the rising tide of fear and intolerance that seems to have taken hold around the country, even here in Westchester County. We must do something. What can we do? We are specifically concerned about our immigrant neighbors who live in fear of arrest and deportation, who daily face the destruction of their families by government officers. We know of people being taken into custody while engaged in daily domestic activities: dropping kids off at school, or going to medical appointments. The government claims to target murderers and drug dealers, but an entire community trembles in their homes at night, and lives in jeopardy during the day. This is why a meeting on a New Sanctuary will be held on Sunday, June 4, 7:00-8:30 pm at Woodlands. This will be an opportunity to learn about what can be done. We will be joined by area religious leaders and community members who share our commitment to social justice. We will hear from three highly respected leaders in this field: Reverend Donna Schaper, Senior Minister of Judson Memorial Church in Washington Square, NYC, who has guided many communities in taking actions to help immigrant neighbors. Ravi Ragbir, a nationally recognized leader in the immigrant rights movement and an organizer for the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York, who has a moving personal story about the threat of deportation. Continued on page 2

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

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

Bidding Jason Fenster Farewell, Continued from p. 1

full of history, memories, and light. But, most of all, I learned that what makes Woodlands Community Temple special is the story we tell about ourselves. Woodlands is a place where each person has the opportunity to feel a sense of ownership over their Judaism. Our Judaism is flexible and relevant to the needs of contemporary American life while remaining accessible to all people, regardless of their knowledge of or familiarity with tradition. We set up the chairs and break down the tables. We warmly greet newcomers. We volunteer our time and energy to make sure that Woodlands remains the place we know and love. We say “Community is our middle name,” and we mean it! My hope and prayer is that we can continue to share this story and live it! After all, isn’t that the Woodlands Way? The past three years at Woodlands Community Temple have provided some of the most important learning of my rabbinical education and given me the opportunity for countless moments of growth, deepening, and uplift, and I just want to say thank you. So…THANK YOU! Thank you for letting me into your lives to celebrate moments of joy and to comfort each other in times of sorrow. Thank you sharing with me in Torah and prayer. Thank you for guiding me in the sacred work of creating a world of justice and compassion. Thank you for sharing meals and oneg cookies and Board meeting nosh. Wherever I go and whatever happens in my career, I will always feel the pride and joy of sharing with colleagues, congregants, and friends that I spent three incredible years as the rabbinic intern at Woodlands Community Temple. Thank you for welcoming me and Gavi into your community and making us feel like part of the family. Deerfield is not that far away! I hope you will come visit. Jason

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

Our interns become unforgettable. Even many, many years after they’ve left us, we still claim them as our own. You too, Jason. Wherever life takes you, we’ll be watching ... and kvelling!

P.S. If you’d like to stay in touch with Jason, his new email address is

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


Community Meeting on New Sanctuary, Continued from p. 1 Juan Carlos Ruiz, a Lutheran minister with the Metropolitan New York Synod and staff member at St Peters’s Church in NYC, who is co-founder of the New Sanctuary Movement. They can tell us what has been done, and what our community can do. Torah teaches one may not “stand by idly while your neighbor bleeds.” We have been targets ourselves; we know what to do. We must reach out to our neighbors. We wave to them on the street. We hire them to work in our homes and in our yards. They may cook our meals and repair our vehicles. They care for our children. It is impossible to pretend we do not know how frightened they are, and how much they need our help. Come join us on June 4 to share ideas, to learn what our community can do, and to contribute your own energy in a vitally important moment. RSVP to so we know you’ll be there.

from the


Looking Back and Looking Forward by Dayle Fligel


ou take a little bit of nervousness, a whole lot of excitement, add an incredible community, and what do you get? An amazing year at Woodlands Community Temple! This has been the beginning year of our second half-century as a temple. What will these next years hold, and where will they bring us? Our sixth decade started off with a bang. In true Woodlands tradition, we have had a wonderful year filled with ritual, learning, programming and all-around fellowship. So many of you have taken advantage of the abundant opportunities we offer, and my hope is that, next year, the rest of you will get involved and find an event or activity that draws you into your synagogue as well. There is something here for everybody, something to learn, something to ponder, something to help make society better, something to help you discover all the friends waiting for you to step inside. During the High Holy Days, I spoke of involvement as a connection to the temple for everyone. Involvement is the glue that holds Woodlands together, the fuel that makes us run. This past year, we have had many who took a first leap and signed up to help, to participate, to be part of the Woodlands magic. As this year now comes to an end, think back on what you have done, where you entered, how it made you feel. Make a pledge to yourself – and to Woodlands – that, this coming fall, you’ll take that leap again. We’d love for you to get involved. Thank you, Woodlands, for a great two years as your temple president. I’m looking forward to an even greater year to come, especially if you work with us and get involved. Have a great summer! Come on by on Friday evenings for outdoor services. And then, I’ll see you in the tent next fall.

Just Israel

That “ARZA Check-off” on Your 2017-18 Bill by Rabbi Billy Dreskin If you’re like me, when you think of Israel, you want to feel proud that she honors and protects all of her citizens, including Arab Israelis, women, and Reform Jews. You also want to know that she’s building bridges to peace with her Palestinian neighbors. ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America, is the Reform Jewish voice in the Holy Land. ARZA promotes advocacy for a Jewish, pluralistic, just and democratic Israel. It takes the concern that you and I share for Israel, and translates it into constructive and substantive action. ARZA is one of most tangible ways that we can express our love for Israel and our concern for Israel, both at the same time. Included on your membership statement is an opportunity to support (for $50) and join ARZA. It’s a small but important gesture from each of us. It’s a step we can take to connect to, and help build, the kind of Jewish homeland of which we can be justly proud. So please, when you see the invitation to join ARZA on this year’s membership statement, say “Yes.” It’s one way that each of us can truly help. Visit for more information.

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 Naso

Shabbat Sh’lakh Lekha

Num 4:21 - 7:89 ... Judg 13:2-25

Num 13:1 - 15:41 ... Josh 2:1-24

Fri, Jun 2

Fri, Jun 16

Farewell to Jason Fenster at 8:00 pm

Mishpakha ShaBBQ at 6:00 pm (note earlier time!)

He’s a rabbi now, so we have to let him go. But not without a grand send-off.

A one-hour Mishpakha Shabbat, followed by our annual cookout. Also, bring your campers-to-be for a blessing to send them off to a summer of fun and growing. Reservations for the BBQ a must at And please help Woodlands grow by bringing a friend to “Taste of Woodlands” at 5:30 to meet the clergy and leadership.

Sat, Jun 3 Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 am Celebrate with us as Aidan Pray, son of Allison and Keith Pray, becomes a Bar Mitzvah. Also this morning, babynaming for Sadie Rose Weinstein, daughter of Susan and Jason Weinstein.

Shabbat Behaalotkha Num 8:1 - 12:16 ... Zekh 2:14 - 4:7

Fri, Jun 9 Pride Shabbat at 8:00 pm Woodlands’ new LGBTQ+ Task Force is excited to bring this new Shabbat service to our temple home. We will share experiences and hopes for LGBTQ+ inclusion, and embrace our community’s diversity as well as its commitment to these deeply-held values. Also tonight, babynaming for Hayes Jaguar Kirshbaum, son of Katja LangKirshbaum and Alex Kirshbaum, grandson of Marina Braun and William Lang.

Sat, Jun 17 Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 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.

Shabbat Korakh

Jun 10: Parashat Beha’alotkha

Num 16:1 - 18:32 ... I Sam 11:14 - 12:22

Fri, Jun 23 Board of Trustees Installation at 8:00 pm

Facilitated by Rabbi Mara

Facilitated by Rabbi Billy

Jun 17: Parashat Sh’lakh Lekha Facilitated by Cantor Jonathan

Join us as we thank our outgoing leadership and welcome our new Board.

Jun 24: Parashat Korakh

Throughout the Summer

Jul 1 - Oct 7

Fridays throughout July and August

Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 am

Under the stars (weather-permitting), a bit less formal and lasting about an hour.

Saturdays through Simkhat Torah Hevra Torah Learning, 9:15-10:15 am Led by members of Hevra Torah and/or visiting faculty. Good conversation on the weekly Torah parashah is always happening. Drop by any Shabbat morning! Visit for schedule of facilitators.

Saturdays, 9:15-10:15 am

Jun 3: Parashat Naso

Summer Outdoor Services at 8:00 pm


Hevra Torah Learning

Celebrate with us as Eliana Miro, daughter of Alyssha and Paul Miro, becomes a Bat Mitzvah.

Sat, Jun 10

Celebrate with us as John Aldous, son of Kathryn Kitt Aldous and Ken Aldous, becomes a Bar Mitzvah. Also, babynaming this morning for Emery Kate Margulis, daughter of Ashley and Keith Margulis.


at 8:00 pm Shabbat services is provided by teens from our religious school. This month, babysitting will be available on June 9. This will be the last Shabbat babysitting until September. There is no charge and no advance notice is required. For further information, contact Have a great summer!

Facilitated by Rabbi Billy

Visit for list of summer/fall facilitators

Clergy Availability During the Summer ... Either Rabbi Billy, Rabbi Mara or Cantor Jonathan will be “on call” throughout the summer. Please understand, however, that summertime is one of the very few times our clergy can get away for rest and relaxation. If you should have need, you need only contact the temple office (592-7070) or our temple president Dayle Fligel (282-9019).

Pride Shabbat, Continued from p. 1

embraced and celebrated. LGBTQ+ issues deserve to be talked about at WCT and in fact, Judaism has a lot to say about them! If you are interested in learning more, please visit, the website of a well-respected national organization that “works for LGBTQ inclusion in all facets of Jewish life.” We formed the LGBTQ+ Task Force six months ago, and in this short period of time, it has already sprung into action. While sticking to its core values, the Task Force has advocated for inclusive restroom signs around the temple, emphasizing that services provided at WCT are for all congregants. Currently, WCT’s single-stalled bathrooms are for men and women, but the Task Force desires to make it comfortable and clear for all genders. These bathroom signs, which are still in development and are expected to be installed in the coming months, will help reflect WCT’s feelings on LGBTQ+ issues and help make WCT a safer space. In addition to new bathroom signs, the LGBTQ+ Task Force is excited to announce Pride Shabbat! On Friday, June 9 at 8:00 pm, Woodlands will celebrate diversity and reinforce its values through sharing wisdom and goals for LGBTQ+ inclusion. The Task Force is an ongoing project, dealing with new and existing issues and working towards the same goal. Even small things (like the word used to describe a person’s Hebrew name) can be changed to make Woodlands inclusive down to its roots. The Task Force is an exciting leap for Woodlands and will make our congregants, temple, community, and world a better place. As it says in the LGBTQ+ Task Force mission statement: The LGBTQ+ Task Force will engage simultaneously in both outreach and programming with the ultimate goal of overt inclusion of all people in the LGBTQ+ community. Everyone, as soon as they walk through our doors, will feel welcome and know that they and their families will be comfortable and well-represented in all aspects of temple life. Educational programming, temple activities, organizational policies, and overall culture will reflect this greater inclusion. With more to offer individuals and families in the LGBTQ+ community, our active outreach will bring in people who will feel welcomed and included and therefore more likely to join our congregation, making it more diverse and inclusive, which will in turn enrich all of our lives.


Farewell to Jason Fenster Fri, Jun 2 at 8:00 pm After three years as our rabbinic intern, it’s time for Rabbi Fenster (yep, as of May 7!) to go get a real job. Soon to move to Chicago, Jason will spend one more Shabbat with us, giving us a chance to tell him how much we’ve loved having him grow up here.

Camp Blessings Fri, Jun 16 at 6:00 pm Just before our sweet young ‘uns take off for points known and unknown – summer camp or otherwise – we invite you to bring them to temple. We’ll bless’ em and send ‘em on their way ... with much love and hope for a summer of fun, growing, learning and friendship. Hope you and your kids can join us! Shabbat Barbecue follows. RSVP for dinner at

Billy’s Month of Music Fri, Jun 30 - Fri, Jul 14 Each summer, when Cantor Jonathan takes a well-deserved vacation, Billy dusts off the keyboard that resides in his study and, during Shabbat Evening Summer Services, unleashes a full load of new music. You probably won’t know much, if any, of it. But they are new melodies that he has come to love and hopes you will too. So be daring. Ta u’shma ... come and learn!

Under the Stars! Fri, Aug 4 at 9:00 pm

Celebrate Torah! Read a Verse in October

One of the great things about summer services is the green

and informal ambiance of worship outdoors. On Friday evening, August 4, we’ll have something extra – a group sing- and play-along under the stars. Bring a musical instrument and come sit and sing together as the moon passes in the sky. We’ll have music sheets and chord sheets for those who want them and, if you express interest, we’ll get them to you in advance. Or just show up and take pot luck. It’ll be a wonderful experience for all of us!

Are you interested in chanting a verse of Torah on Simkhat Torah this fall? If so, reach out to either Cantor Jonathan (cantor@wct. org) or Margot Serwer ( We’d love to have you participate!


June Happenings & Beyond Learning

Summer Course!

Hevra Torah Summer Learning Saturdays 9:15-10:15 am Change Is in the Air! Throughout the summer and until Simkhat Torah, the rabbis and cantor do not regularly lead the weekly Shabbat morning Torah discussions. To give them time off during the summer and to keep their schedules lighter as they prepare for the High Holy Days, we will be featuring a pretty wonderful team of lay leaders and “ringers” who’ll be dropping by once each to lead a session. This will create tremendous variety in style and content, offering lively opportunities for exploring ancient Scripture. The schedule will appear in the weekly email and online at Spiritual learning and growth never stop at Woodlands. You’re always invited to stop by.

WCT Book Club Wed, Jun 14 at 2:00 pm Facilitated by Karen Margulies Please join us to discuss A History of Loneliness by John Boyne. This powerful novel takes us to Ireland in the 1960’s where we follow the life of Odran Yates as he enters Clonliffe Seminary in 1972 after his mother informs him that he has a vocation to the priesthood. Forty years later, Odran’s devotion has been challenged by the revelations that have shattered the Irish people’s faith in the church. But when a family tragedy opens wounds from his past, he is forced to confront the demons that have raged within a once respected institution and recognize his own complicity in their propagation.

Current Events Wed, Jun 21 at 10:00 am Don’t miss our popular current events program! An agenda will be emailed to participants ahead of the meeting.


A Jewish Perspective on Christian Anti-Semitism

7 Thursdays, 10:00 am - 12:15 pm (Jul 27, Aug 3/10/17/24/31 and Sep 7) Taught by Barry Kessler and Howard Green Explore how anti-Semitism has continued for 2000 years, influenced through the centuries by the Gospels. We’ll examine actions of the Catholic Church during the Holocaust and take a Jewish look at several pillars of Christian theology. Participants should bring a Tanakh and a Christian bible. Copies of A Jewish Perspective on Christian Anti-Semitism, written by Howard Green, will be distributed in class (there will be a $5 duplication cost) or digitally (no charge). To register, contact Howard Green ( Course is limited to 20 participants.

Till It and Tend It WCT’s Commitment to the Environment

Social Action

Youth Engagement

In a follow-up to Woodlands’ Tu b’Shevat seder, the Social Action Committee organized WCT’s participation in the March for Science in NYC. We continue to look out for the environment. Let us know at if you want to be part of this effort by joining our environmental taskforce.

Breakfast Run Sun, Jun 4, 6:45-10:30 am Too often we walk by those who are hungry on the streets of NYC, rarely having the time to stop and talk, or understand the needs of low income or homeless people. Join us for an extraordinary morning spent serving breakfast, supplying toiletries and bringing compassion and a smile to folks who are in need. Middle school and older kids (with parent) are welcome. Join us by emailing Michael Silverman and Betsy Schorr at Or if you can’t come along, you’re invited to provide homemade or store-bought breakfast foods.

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

WoodSY Picnic in the Park Sun, Jun 4 at Noon Join WoodSY for a picnic at Kensico Dam for our last event of the year! Bring your food, blanket, and friends! For more information, contact Tara at

Board of Trustees Installation Fri, Jun 23 at 8:00 pm Each year, a wonderfully dedicated group of volunteers steps forward to share the responsibilities of leading our congregation. Our Board of Trustees works tirelessly to make our synagogue community a home for Judaism for us all. Please join us as we honor them with a gala Shabbat celebration.

Our sincere thanks

to these outgoing members of our Board of Trustees ... Aliza Burton Andrea Einhorn Barry Leibowitz Lance Rosenthal

Pride Shabbat Fri, Jun 9 at 8:00 pm


oodlands’ new LGBTQ Task Force is excited to bring this new Shabbat service to our temple home. We will share experiences and hopes for LGBTQ inclusion, and embrace our community’s diversity as well as its commitment to these deeply-held values.

For your leadership and dedication, todah rabbah ... thank you. And welcome to our 2017-18 Board of Trustees Dayle Fligel, President Rachel Wineberg, VP Education Andy Farber, VP Facilities Michael Wiskind, VP Finance Nancy Fishman, VP Programming/Ritual Irv Adler, Financial Secretary Steve Sagner, Secretary Bonni Arbore, Treasurer David Bertan, Trustee Dan Emery, Trustee Judy Feder, Trustee Herb Friedman, Trustee Yvette Gralla, Trustee Amy Green, Trustee Elka Klarsfeld, Trustee Jenna Lebowich, Trustee Lisa Linn, Trustee Mike Scafidi, Trustee Michele Wise, Trustee Ann Zarider, Trustee Stu Berlowitz, Immediate Past President

We wish you a year of unparalleled success!

Memorial Garden Wall Inscribe Your Loved One’s Name Twice a year, Woodlands adds names to our beautiful outdoor Memorial Garden Wall (just outside the sanctuary on the other side of the Ark) and dedicates them during a Yizkor Memorial Service. The fall dedication will be held during Yizkor on the last day of Sukkot (Thursday, October 12 at 9:00 am). Please visit if you wish to have names inscribed on our Memorial Garden Wall in time for the Sukkot dedication, and supply the information requested there – not later than Monday, September 18. The price for inscription is $800 per name. Space may be reserved on the Wall for future inscriptions with full, advance payment. All names (whether they are to be inscribed or reserved) should be submitted at the time of reservation. This allows the engravers to allocate appropriate space for future inscriptions. Zekher tzadik livrakha ... their memories are for a blessing.


Summer Outdoor Services Friday Evenings All Summer Jun 30 - Sep 1, 8:00-9:00 pm


ou are cordially invited to join us — beneath a canopy

of enchanting summer skies — for our Shabbat summer outdoor services. About an hour long, come and relax with friends and neighbors. These services are less formal (if that’s even possible at Woodlands), filled with music, prayer, and meaningful words of humor and hope. A very friendly crowd will join you following the service for an oneg of noshing and even better shmoozing. Such a delightful way to celebrate Shabbat. Children are most definitely welcome! And if the weather does not cooperate, we’ll move inside for air-conditioned spiritual comfort.

Rabbis Away But Working Tho We Can’t Be Sure They’re Not Having Fun


or a while this summer, Rabbi Billy will be joining the faculty at Hevreh: A Community of Adult Jewish Learners (Jul 19-23). Hevreh brings adults learners together who are looking for Jewish study, spiritual renewal and a sense of community. Billy and his wife Ellen will both be at Hevreh, which is the brainchild of temple member Rabbi Joan Glazer Farber. If you’d like to learn more, visit Rabbi Mara will be joining the faculty at Eisner Camp (Jun 25 - Jul 2), one of two URJ summer programs in our part of the country. Mara’s already spent some time at Eisner’s sister camp, Crane Lake, down the road. Now she’s going to find out what Jewish life is like at Crane’s older sibling. Best of all, she’ll get to hang with all the terrific WCT kids there!

Summer Reading of the Lofty Kind


f you’ve ever wanted to re-read sermons given by the WCT clergy, get your spirit-fix right here! Many of these writings live on in cyberspace and we’ve got the details below. So fire up some popcorn, stir yourself a tall glass of iced tea, and settle back for some adventures in soul-searching at: (Rabbi Billy’s writings) (Rabbi Mara’s writings) (High Holy Days sermons)

April 22 Woodlands Marches for Science


Come Sing with Us! This is the time to join up with the Woodlands Singers and help fill the High Holy Days tent with music! In June, we begin to rehearse what is arguably the best choral music in the Jewish world. If you are inclined to sing with the illustrious and friendly Woodlands Singers, why not jump in now? We rehearse every week, from now through the fall, beginning promptly at 8:15 pm (and ending just as promptly at 9:15 pm). Our singers come as often as they can. You don’t have to give up everything in your life to be part of the team, although it will become a meaningful part of your life and you probably will want to come as often as is possible. The choir sings on Rosh Hashanah evening, Yom Kippur evening, and at Neilah as the Day of Atonement comes to a close. The music is grand. The experience is wonderful. And our singers help provide a beautiful service for the entire congregation. Rehearsals are brief and fun. What’s holding you back? Now’s the time (we know you’ve been thinking about it). Contact Cantor Jonathan and chat about it (592-7070 or Looking forward to hearing from you in every sense of the word.

ELUL: A Month to Get Ready


While packing bags and kicking back for summer fun, you may want to circle Tuesday, August 22 on your calendar. That evening is the beginning of the Hebrew month of Elul, which means Rosh Hashanah is only four weeks away (Wed eve, Sep 20). AUG During the month of Elul, Jewish tradition urges us to begin the introspective process that will occupy our attention during High Holy Days. As we begin to wind down from the sunny (hopefully), lazy (also hopefully) days of summer, Elul reminds us it’s time to begin examining ourselves – our actions, our outlooks – and begin considering why we’ve made the choices we’ve made in the past year, and how we might modify those choices in the months ahead. We’ll give you more to think about when Elul gets here. But for now, we encourage you to make August 22 a red-letter eve in your summer/fall schedule.

Travel Justly this Summer A

merica’s hotel employees work hard to ensure we feel at home while traveling. Yet they are often poorly compensated and sustain injuries at more than twice rate of other service-sector workers. During this summer’s vacation travels, here’s how we can all help:

Keep a Tidier Room Injuries commonly sustained by hotel workers include back aches, shoulder pain and “Housemaids’ Knee.” We can help by throwing away trash and organizing personal items so they don’t need to be moved.

Leave a Meaningful Gratuity We can show appreciation for quality service and help hotel employees better care for their own homes and families.

Stay at Unionized Hotels Visit to find union hotels where workers earn an average of 33.3% more. In Deuteronomy 24 we are taught, “Do not abuse needy and destitute laborers. Pay them their wages on the same day, before the sun sets ... lest they cry to God and you incur guilt.” For 3000 years, Judaism has advocated on behalf of those unable to lobby for themselves: the poor and the homeless. Let’s do our part.


A Midnight Mystery

Sat, Sep 16 at 10:00 pm As the summer winds down, join us for this late-night very spiritual beginning to Judaism’s remarkable period of self-reflection we call the High Holy Days. Selihot has its origins in Jewish mysticism and, to this day, offers an embracing, inspiring late-night hour of personal review of the year gone by. It’s a very sweet, yet provocative opportunity to meet the music and the themes that will fill our tent just a week later. One of our better-kept secrets here at Woodlands, Selihot is some people’s favorite service of the entire year! Be sure to put Sat, Sep 16 at 10:00 pm on your calendar.

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

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!


The Simkha Page

Our B’nai Mitzvah

One of our goals is to find new,

interesting, affordable merchandise that celebrates Jewish holidays, honors Jewish lifecycle and milestone events, and enhances everyday Jewish living. So when we found kaleidoscopes with Jewish themes, we could hardly wait to bring them to Woodlands!

Aidan Pray

Eliana Miro

June 3

June 17

Torah Portion Naso

Torah Portion Sh’lakh Lekha

Hebrew Name Nakhman

Hebrew Name Eliyana Simkha

John Aldous

Jacob Federbusch

June 10

Aug 24 in Israel

Torah Portion Bemidbar

Torah Portion Shoftim

Hebrew Name Mordekhai

Hebrew Name Yaakov Tevya

Todah Rabbah (thank you) to... A unique gift for Father’s Day, Confirmation or Graduation! Artists Joanne and Mike Jacobs of Fantasy Glass Works have been making colorful kaleidoscopes since 1987. Joanne is the color artist, Mike the mirror specialist, and they credit Marc Chagall, Claude Monet and Walt Disney as their predominant influencers. A new tradition at Jewish weddings! Those unusual-shaped colored glass globes in the shop cases are "smashing glass," hand-blown glass, housed in a velvet bag, to be broken at a Jewish wedding ceremony. The colorful shards can then be encased in a myriad of items such as picture frames, mezuzot, sculptures and more for lifelong display. Talk with us regarding color options to match the wedding theme, and art pieces to showcase the shards. A special bridal and wedding gift!. Summertime means a slowdown in WCT’s normal high level of activity and we take this time to speak with our favorite artists about new work, shop for holiday items and special requests. There will be limited evening and weekend hours but please contact us if you need anything. The shop is open, by request, any day that the temple office is staffed. Questions? Email


The members of “A Joyful Noise” for another fantastic, musical, spiritual year: Mark Kaufman (soprano and tenor saxophones, horn arrangements), Glenn Babakian (trombone), Justin Weber (bass), Adam Weber (percussion), Adam Hart (guitar and voice), Rabbi Billy Dreskin (keyboard and voice), Cantor Jonathan Gordon (voice), Cantor Ellen Dreskin (voice), Margot Serwer (voice), Ashley Klein (voice), Jeremy Sipe (voice), Rachel Kaufman (voice), Ethan Sipe (violin), Doug Pell (sound), and Hernando Carmona (technical guru and all-around good guy). Juli Klein for covering Shalom Storytime while Rabbi Mara was away!

Betsy Schorr and Michael Silverman for leading our Breakfast Run to feed those in need in NYC. Marianne Ripin, Aviva Belsky and Deborah Shapiro for organizing the Confirmation class celebration dinner. The world-famous Academy BBQ grilling team: Stu Berlowitz, Linda Davidson, Dave Bertan and Mitch Klein. Phyllis Hirth and Marge Thrope for planning our fabulous trip to Boston. All of our temple committees for an amazing year of programming and spiritual nourishment.

Mazal Tov to... Allison and Keith Pray as their son, Aidan, is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah. Kathryn Kitt and Ken Aldous as their son, John, is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah. Alyssha and Paul Miro as their daughter, Eliana, is called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah. Mary Ann and Richard Federbusch as their son, Jacob, is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah. Pam Chernoff on choosing Judaism. Robin and Chuck Bauer on the birth of their grandson, Chase Hunter Bauer, son of Ari Bauer and Emily Fernandez.

Zach Yeskel and Heather Brubaker on the birth of their daughter, Naomi Havah Yeskel, granddaughter of Susie and Ed Brubaker. Melanie Brubaker and Robert Danzi on birth of their daughter, Josephine (Joey) Alice Danzi, granddaughter of Susie and Ed Brubaker. Mazal tov to William and Marina Braun on the birth of their grandson, Hayes Jaguar Kirshbaum, son of Katja Lang-Kirshbaum and Alex Kirshbaum. Melanie Friedman on choosing Judaism.

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 Mitzah Fund In memory of Steve Zizmor, from Lois Ratafia Diamond, Herb Friedman, Len and Marsha Green, Meryl Lewis, Jim and Debbie Pollowitz, Dick and Sheila Sweet. In appreciation of Rabbi Billy for his support and caring, from The Zizmor Family. In honor of the naming of our granddaughter, Madison Spivak, from Steven and Barbara Gaines. In memory of Gloria Israel, Miriam Berliner, Ida and Irving Doynow, from Dave and Renee Doynow. In memory of Gloria Israel and Miriam Berliner, from Barry and Judith Kessler. In memory of Gloria Israel and Miriam Berliner, from Lew and Judy Stiefel. In memory of Richard Farber, father of Andy Farber, from Herb Friedman. In honor of James Weber becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Philip and Linda Weber.

Rabbi Mara’s Mitzvah Fund In memory of Steve Zizmor, from Herb Friedman. In memory of Richard Farber, father of Andy Farber, from Herb Friedman. In honor of James Weber becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Philip and Linda Weber.

Cantor’s Discretionary Fund In memory of Steve Zizmor, from Herb Friedman. In memory of Richard Farber, father of Andy Farber, from Herb Friedman. In honor of James Weber becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Philip and Linda Weber.

Chai Fund In memory of Steve Zizmor, from Richard and Janet Birnbaum, Murray and Jeanne Bodin, David and Dayle Fligel, Larry and Yvette Gralla, Don and June Moskovitz, Lloyd and Roberta Roos, Ruth Rugoff and Joe & Annie Potischman, Bob and Jane Steinhardt. In memory of Gloria Israel and Miriam Berliner, from Todd Gordon and Susan Feder. In memory of Paula Gordon, from Irwin Miller and Barbara Gordon. In memory of Richard Farber, father of Andy Farber, from Murray and Jeanne Bodin, Adam and Andrea Einhorn, David and Dayle Fligel, Corey Friedlander, Herb Friedman, Larry and Yvette Gralla, Barry and Judy Kessler, Nelson and Jackie Leicht, Marjorie Mattel, Mickey Millbauer, Mark and Michele Montague, Rochelle Novins, Harold and Mary-Jo Potischman, Mark and Liz Rauchwerger, Scott and Julie Stein,Michael and Deborah Wiskind. In honor of the Current Events program at Woodlands, from Walter and Harriet Schwartz. In memory of Gloria Israel and Miriam Berliner, from Alan and Bonnie Mitelman. In honor of the 25th Anniversary of Jay and Evalyn Mendelson, from Robert and Katrina Axelrod.

In memory of our friend Bob Sternburg, from Rich and Sandy Spilka. In memory of Gussie Halper and Sol Friedman, from Philip and Lyn Halper. In honor of Corey Friedlander, from the WCT Office Staff. In honor of the ordination of Jason Fenster, from WCT Office Staff.

Rabbinic Intern Fund In honor of Corey Friedlander for his friendship and help, from Chuck and Nancy Fishman.

Education Enrichment Fund

The Woodlands Community Mourns the Loss of Natalie Cohen mother of Roberta Florin Richard Farber father of Andy Farber Julian Fischgrund father of Rob Fischgrund Michael Gross step-father of Adam Lesser Alan Hersh husband of Ilene Hersh

Thank you to Rabbi Mara and the teachers, in honor of James Weber becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Philip and Linda Weber.

Emanuel Wolin father of Michael Wolin

Project Ezra Fund

HaMakom y’nakhem otam… may God bring comfort to all who are in mourning.

In memory of Steve Zizmor, from Herb Friedman.

Music Fund In memory of Steve Zizmor, from Michael and Marcia Kingston. In appreciation of Cantor Jonathan for his support and caring, from The Zizmor Family.

Torah & Ritual Fund In memory of Steve Zizmor, from Sy and Sarah Donner, Andy and Joan Farber, Todd Gordon and Susan Feder, Chuck and Nancy Fishman, Herb Friedman, Alan and Bonnie Mitelman. In memory of Steve Zizmor, from Scott and Julie Stein. In memory of Steve Zizmor, from Ellen Donat.

Bernard & Frances Shapiro Chesed Caring Community Fund In memory of Steve Zizmor, from Michael and Deborah Wiskind.

Steve’s H.O.P.E. In honor of the ordination of Jason Fenster, from Alan and Bonnie Mitelman.

Makom Shelibi Oheyv Bookplate Fund In memory of Steve Zizmor, from Lois Green and Family.

Jonah Maccabee Fund In memory of Steve Zizmor, from Bob and Bonnie George.

Social Action Fund In memory of Julian Fischgrund, father of Rob Fischgrund, from Scott and Julie Stein.

Geraldine and Gerald Weinberger Lifelong Learning fund In honor of Corey Friedlander being honored by the Shames JCC, from David Griff and Roni Beth Tower.

Zekher tzadik livrakha ... may their memory be for a blessing.

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

Please Fill the Shopping Cart! Adults and children: Your donations to our “Tzedakah Shopping Cart” feed hungry people right here in Westchester. Each time you come to Woodlands, please bring a few (unexpired and nutritious) non-perishables with you. Parents, when your children join you in giving to others, they watch the most powerful role-model in their lives and will remember it forever. Make sure you bring something too. Let’s all get into the tzedakah habit!


Upcoming Meetings

Finance Committee Mon, Jun 12 at 8:00 pm

Board of Trustees Mon, Jun 19 at 8:00 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.

B’rukhim haba’im

...Welcome to our newest members! Seth and Leah Bacharach Lisa Pinkus Hamroff

Kol Hakavod to Andrew Aldous and Abigail Loose


CT tenth graders Andrew Aldous (son of Kathryn Kitt Aldous) and Abby Loose (daughter of Jill Garland and Andy Loose) were recently awarded the UJA-Federation Singer Family Israel Scholarship. Recipients are selected on the basis of young leadership potential, a strong commitment to tikkun olam (repairing the world), and proposed service to their synagogue upon return from Israel. Andrew and Abby, who will be participating in NFTY’s five-week trip to Israel this summer, will volunteer in our religious school next year, teaching younger students about the beauty and excitement of a trip to the Promised Land. Kol hakavod, you guys ... a job well done! Send us a postcard!


End-of-Year Religious School Picnic

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 13


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

Advertise in


Plan your fall marketing and let your fellow congregants know about your business. Your ads support Makom, so it's a great way to support Woodlands and generate new customers at the same time! For rates email or call 592-7070

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


Non-Profit Org U.S. Postage

PAID White Plains, NY

50 Worthington Road White Plains, NY 10607

Permit No. 1112

Save the Date

current resident or:

for the WCT Marketplace Sale

Sun, Oct 8


Judai Connection Rabbi Jason Fenster

Goodbye, So Long, Ta Ta For Now!


e all loved our fourth grade English teacher. She could do no wrong. She made everything interesting and exciting, even the subtle nuance of elementary school grammar. So at the end of the year, we were understandably distraught to have to say goodbye to her. What she said has always stuck with me: “We aren’t saying goodbye. We are just saying farewell.” I think about her all the time at moments of important transition; in those times when I have to figure out what to say when one stage of a journey is ending and the next is beginning. And naturally, we can turn to Hebrew for some help finding the right words and sentiment. There are two primary ways to say something like “Goodbye” in Hebrew. First is the word l’heet-ra-ot. The root of this word, the three-letter sequence that forms the grammatical building block for this word, is the same as the word “to see.” This particular formulation is one of mutual action. It means to see each other. The core of this way to say goodbye is to promise that, once again, we will see each other. The second word for goodbye is shalom. I am pretty sure that the first fun fact I learned about Hebrew – and that I imagine many of you learned as well! – is that shalom means three things: “Hello,” “Goodbye,” and “Peace.” And it is the connection between these meanings that

strikes me in this moment. We see that connection in the way the word gets used in the Torah. If you were to open up a biblical dictionary, you would see that the root of shalom, in addition to peace, connotes something that is whole or complete. The Jewish vision of peace, then, is wholeness, balance, and unity. And! It’s even more than that. If you were, say, Moses or Miriam, and you wanted to ask your brother Aaron, “How are you?” or if you wanted to inquire about his welfare, you would say: “Ha’shalom?” – a word made up of our vocab word of shalom and what my biblical grammar teacher calls “the interrogative hay,” a prefix that makes the word a question. So ha’shalom means literally, “Is there peace?” Yea or nay? Peace – thumbs up, thumbs down?


ow beautiful! To inquire about someone’s basic well-being, we ask, “Is there peace with you?” Suddenly, the simple act of asking, “Hey, what’s up?” becomes an opportunity to show that we care. So what does this mean for our words of departure? What about when we say goodbye and there are no fancy grammatical prefixes to be found? Our words are full of depth and meaning. We do not just say goodbye nor farewell. We say, “Although we will not be together tomorrow, we will see each other again.”

We say, “Although I have to part, my greeting and my wish for you are the same – one of peace and wholeness in this stage of the journey and in those stages yet to come. This is not a moment for “Goodbye.” This is not a separation forever and for all times. This is not even “Farewell.” It is a recognition that our relationship continues even though our proximity to each other will change. It is an appreciation for each moment of wholeness and peace. It is l’heet-ra-ot and shalom. I wish you peace until we see each other again.

WCT Makom June 2017  

Woodlands Community Temple June 2017 Bulletin

WCT Makom June 2017  

Woodlands Community Temple June 2017 Bulletin