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the newsletter of woodlands community temple

March 2017 Adar-Nisan 5777


SNL Purim and Hamentashen Bake-Off!


by Gary Stern



hile Saturday Night Live is known for taking aim at current affairs (and, boy, have they been busy!), Woodlands plans to take a similar, laugh-along approach to tweaking a familiar political story from long ago. On Saturday night, March 11 at 7:00 pm, a team of improv specialists will present “SNL Purim!” In a series of sketches, a la Saturday Night Live, they’ll find the funny in Queen Esther, Mordekhai, King Ahashuerus and, of course, the perfect target of mocking satire – noisemakers please – Haman! “This is going to be an incredibly funny and enjoyable evening,” says Rabbi Billy. “Even Haman would enjoy this retelling of his demise.” The improv team will be led by Rob Schiffmann, who runs Broadway’s Next Hit Musical, an award-winning, improvised musical comedy that presents a spontaneous theatrical awards Continued on page 2

Author Abigail Pogrebin by Rabbi Billy Dreskin

Join us on Fri, Mar 10 at 8:00 pm

as author Abigail Pogrebin speaks about her not-even-available-but-almost (Mar 14) book, My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew. Pogrebin spent an immersive twelve months of her life studying, experiencing (many for the first time) and writing about the Jewish holidays (including the obscure ones). Her lively, personal, deeply-researched book chronicles what she discovered, how it changed her, and why she believes the Jewish calendar can be a blueprint for life, regardless of faith. Abby is an active member of Central Synagogue, a Reform temple in Manhattan, so her perspective on Jewish observance is one that could belong to any of us. Lilith Magazine reports about her year’s journey:

Abstaining from food not only on Yom Kippur but also on five other [fast] occasions that Jewish time calls for – fasts that commemorate a Jewish governor murdered by another Jew, the Fast that precedes Purim, the breach of the walls of Jerusalem, and Tisha B’Av (“the motherlode of memorial” for Jewish catastrophes across the ages) – tests Pogrebin’s resolve. In 2015, two of these fasts coincided with major secular holidays: New Year’s Day and the July 4th weekend, a fact that underscored Jewish difference. Publishers Weekly writes: Having grown up with her Jewish identity “a given, not a purContinued on page 5

Judaism and Love Sat, Mar 18 at 8:00 pm by Joel Chernoff n Judaism, love is truly transcendent. The word for love, ahavah, is used to describe the love between people as well as the love between God and humanity. In the Bible, the word does not discriminate by gender. It is simply a holy connection between two souls. Our Woodlands celebration of Jewish love will consider how we give love to each other from many perspectives. For example, love of family, love in marriage, and the love that remains after a partner or loved one is gone. Love of community is another way we express ahavah. You are invited to bring your ketubah (marriage document) and share its story or any personal story of ahavah. Rabbi Mara will explain the fascinating history behind the legal marriage document, one both legal and feminist in nature. Come celebrate love and music, strawberries, champagne and chocolate! Please RSVP by Fri, Mar 10 to There is a suggested donation of $20 per person. This program is for adults only.

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 Jason Fenster, Rabbinic 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

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


show. Schiffmann and his colleagues do this all over the country and visited Woodlands two years ago. They’re returning next month to present a fresh take on the Book of Esther. You may hear an improvised blues song, a spur-of-the-moment game show, or who knows what else. “We’ll tell the Purim story, alright,” Schiffmann says. “We’ll do it with fun and laughter, based on the audience’s suggestions. We’re improvising all the time.” His colleagues (Deb Rabbai, Stefan Schick, Greg Triggs and Eric March) come from highly regarded improvisation units like Chicago City Limits and Upright Citizens Brigade. The improv team plans to crack up adults and teens with smart, somewhat edgy humor. But – and this is a big but – their material will be squeaky clean and perfectly appropriate for kids. Funny as heck for adults and suitable for kids, a combination as perfect as pastry dough and prunes. “We know from two years ago that the humor of these comedy artists is witty and sophisticated enough for adults to love, but with plenty of silliness to engage even the youngest in attendance,” says Rabbi Billy. There is no cost to attend (what a deal!), but there will be a dinner beforehand at 6:00 pm for those who would like to join us. The cost for dinner is only $5 per person or $15 per family. Dinner sign up is at

Of course, we’ll read Megillah, tell the story of Esther and Mordekhai, and sing Purim’s greatest songs. And there will be even more silliness than usual from our rabbis and cantor, if that’s even possible. Since it’s Purim, everyone is encouraged to come in costume. Step out as one of the classics – Esther, Mordekhai, Ahashuerus or Haman. Or show up as your favorite comedian, appointing yourself in the best tradition of Belushi, Murphy and Fey, any character from your favorite sketch or sitcom, or any hysterical, family-friendly character from the world of yuks. And about that hamentashen bake-off part of the show. Everyone is invited to bake and submit their best triangular pastries. Temple dignitaries and celebrities (you know who you are) will judge the submissions during the oneg following SNL Purim. So dust off that old family recipe and, contact Michele Montague ( to sign up, and make Bubbe proud!

Join us!

Sh’lakh Manot Thank you to everyone who participated in the tradition of giving

at Purim by participating in Woodlands’ Sh’lakh Manot program! Sh’lakh Manot (Purim Goody Bags) are currently being prepared for our entire Woodlands family! The names of those who placed their orders will be listed in the letter that will be included in each Purim Goody Bag, along with the names of the other families that are sending Purim wishes.

Your sh’lakh manot will be available for pick-up after the SNL Purim and Hamentashen Bake-Off (Sat, Mar 11) and during the Purim Carnival (Sun, Mar 12). They will also be sent home with our religious school students.

from the


On Jonah’s 8th Yahrzeit by Rabbi Billy Dreskin

It’s been eight years since Jonah died. In that time, Woodlands has welcomed many new families who never knew him. Here’s a bit of his story.


onah was a Valentine’s Day baby, born in Cleveland in 1990. For many years after we returned to New York, Jonah missed Cleveland. A lot. Which was kind of surprising because he was only five when we moved here. But Jonah had a lot of passion. When he felt strongly about something, he wouldn’t let go. We understood this as Jonah’s profound sense of justice. It manifested itself early on in biting another first-grader because the kid had done something that Jonah felt required retribution. Later, it manifested itself in leading a group of 10th graders into Manhattan’s subways to seek out and feed the homeless. It also manifested itself, shortly before his death, in canvassing door-to-door while at SUNY-Buffalo on behalf of a local candidate. Jonah was a musician. At age 12, he asked for a guitar. I found him one for $12. “Learn how to play that and we’ll talk about getting you something better.” The first song he learned was The Irish Ballad, Tom Lehrer’s macabre classic about a girl who murders her family. That would be Jonah’s sense of humor. He got really good and traded up to a better guitar, an ukulele, and a mandolin. He apprenticed here at Woodlands with Kenny Green and, in college, he gave free lessons to anyone who asked. Jonah was active in WoodSY as well as regional programming for NFTY. He never took a leadership role in NFTY but was very much looked to as a leader, so much so that shortly after his death, NFTY-New York established The Jonah Maccabee Ruakh Award, “to one individual who displays the qualities that made Jonah so beloved in our region: his enthusiasm, compassion, depth, kindness and indomitable spirit.” And Jonah loved theatre. Through middle and high school, he and his younger brother Aiden practically lived at White Plains’ Play Group Theatre, appearing in 27 shows between them. Jonah adored being part of that community, coming in at a moment’s notice to help move sets, shepherd younger children – whatever they needed, he stepped up. PGT was the place where Jonah learned to be an adult. Jonah died during his freshman year at SUNY-Buffalo. Neither the police nor the medical examiner were able to determine how. Our family created The Jonah Maccabee Foundation (not to be confused with The Jonah Maccabee Fund here at temple) to provide grants to organizations doing great work on behalf of kids in three areas Jonah loved most: social justice, the arts, and Jewish life. This is why The Jonah Maccabee Fund sponsors an annual music concert here at Woodlands. Jonah spent every summer of his life at a URJ summer camp. Helping kids whose families need assistance honors Jonah’s legacy. And he’d have loved that we bring great Jewish music to Woodlands in his name! I hope you’ll join me and my family in remembering Jonah by participating in this year’s concert. You can purchase or donate at If you’d like to learn more about Jonah, I post stories at

Just Israel Peace Through Music by Jeanne Bodin


avid Broza is an Israeli rock star. Well-known for his Spanish rockand-roll sound, his pre-dawn concert to an overflow crowd at Masada is extremely popular. For the past 40 years he has also been outspoken about peace between Jews and Palestinians, and his song, Yihyeh Tov (Things Will be Better), speaks to us all. In 2013, Broza began what would become East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem, a collaborative documentary including Israeli, Palestinian and American performers singing contemporary and traditional music. They worked together in an East Jerusalem studio for only eight days. Among the performers were Mira Awad, an Arab-Israeli Christian who is a Middle Eastern superstar, and Muhammed Mughrabi, a member of the Palestinian rap group G-Town who has lived his entire life in a refugee camp. According to Broza, “If you can sing together and break bread together, maybe eventually you can make peace.” East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem is available on Netflix, the album on YouTube.

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 Terumah

Shabbat Kee Teesa

Ex 25:1 - 27:19 ... I Kngs 5:26 - 6:13

Ex 30:11 - 34:35 ... I Kngs 18:1-39 (add’l reading for Shab Parah is Num 19:1-22, Ezek 36:22-36)

Fri, Mar 3 Simply Shabbat at 8:00 pm

Fri, Mar 17

A quiet evening with your clergy. Familiar melodies and familiar prayers to bring us all together.

Mishpakha Shabbat at 7:00 pm

Sat, Mar 4

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 by Thurs Mar 16.

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

Sat, Mar 18

Shabbat Tetzaveh

Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 am

Rabbi Mara will speak.

Ex 27:20 - 30:10, Ezek 43:10-27 (add’l reading for Shab Zakhor is Deut 25:17-19, Esth 7:1-10, 8:15-17)

Fri, Mar 10 Jammin’ Shabbat at 7:00 pm Put on your jammies, bring a bedtime friend, and c’mon over for 30 minutes of Shabbat song, stories and blessings to get you ready for bed. Bring a buck for tzedakah!

Guest Speaker Abigail Pogrebin at 8:00 pm Author of My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew. The experience of one Reform Jew immersing herself in the well of Jewish life and inspiration provided by our holiday calendar. See article elsewhere in this issue.

Sat, Mar 11 No 10:30 service today. Ask for Kaddish to be recited at Hevra Torah (9:15 am).

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.

Mar 4: Parashat Terumah

Shabbat Vayak’hel-Pekuday

Mar 11: Parashat Tetzaveh

Ex 35:1 - 40:38, I Kngs 7:40 - 8:21 (add’l reading for Shab HaKhodesh is Ex 12:120, Ezek 45:16-25)

Mar 18: Parashat Kee Teesa

Fri, Mar 24 Guest Speaker Rev. Bruce Lamb at 8:00 pm Among the very newest of religious leaders in the Rivertowns, Bruce is the pastor at Ardsley United Methodist Church. Please be sure to be on hand to welcome him.

Sat, Mar 25 Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 am

Facilitated by Rabbi Mara

Facilitated by Cantor Jonathan

Facilitated by Rabbi Billy

Mar 25: Parashat VayakhelPekuday Facilitated by Cantor Jonathan

Save the Date!

Celebrate with us as Adam Restler, son of Debra and Todd Restler, becomes a Bar Mitzvah.

Union for Reform Judaism Biennial

Shabbat Vayikra

December 6-10, 2017 Boston, Massachusetts

Fri, Mar 31 Guest Speaker Jamall Calloway 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.

Hevra Torah Learning

Celebrate with us as Karenna Best, daughter of Carolyn and Rob Best, becomes a Bat Mitzvah.

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



at 8:00 pm Shabbat services is provided by teens from our religious school. This month, babysitting will be available on Mar 3, 24 and 31. There is no charge and no advance notice is required. For further information, contact

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

BESA: The Promise Sun, Mar 19 at 4:00 pm


ehmet was 18 years old when the Nazis occupied his country, Albania. And yet he didn’t hesitate to take charge of the Jewish family a villager pointed out to him. “They told my father they were Jews and didn’t know where to hide. ‘Come in,’ my father said.” Woodlands is honored to screen BESA: The Promise, an award-winning documentary telling the little known story of the Muslims of Albania who, in the face of a brutal Nazi occupation, showed extraordinary courage to shelter and protect every Jew who escaped to Albania during World War II. This tiny country saved the lives of 2000 Jews who would otherwise have perished, guided by their besa, a deeply rooted honor-code of personal responsibility that, among other things, pledges all Albanians to offer safe harbor to refugees. But long after the war ended, the besa lived on. The film recounts how the commitment that a Muslim-Albanian family made to the Jewish family it sheltered bridged generations, religions and continents to be fulfilled. As we think of Mehmet and all the other Mehmets, we ask ourselves, “What would we do?” This is one of the questions we will discuss following the screening. At a time when the honor and integrity of Muslims is under attack, this story will reaffirm your faith in essential human goodness and the bond between Jews and Muslims. Sponsored by Woodlands Adult Education and Social Action Committees and Religious School; co-sponsored by Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom. No charge, but RSVP required by Sun, Mar 12 at Author: Abigail Pogrebin, Continued from p. 1

suit,” Pogrebin believed that there was more to “feel than I’d felt, more to understand than I knew.” She is guided by an eclectic group of teachers, including rabbis from all modern denominations, who provide different lenses through which to view ancient, and sometimes obscure, holidays as relevant today. Her account of trying to learn how to blow a shofar every morning, and integrate her experiment in observance with her family routine, is both humorous and inspiring. Abby also authored Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk about Being Jewish, for which she interviewed everyone from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Steven Spielberg about Jewish identity. This bestselling book was later adapted for the Off-Broadway stage. Pogrebin’s second book, One and the Same, delves into what it was like to grow up as a twin, chronicling the author’s personal experience as an identical double. Abby has served as a broadcast producer for Fred Friendly, Charlie Rose and Bill Moyers at PBS, then for Ed Bradley and Mike Wallace at 60 Minutes. She has been published in many magazines and newspapers including Newsweek, New York Magazine, The Forward, Tablet, and The Daily Beast. She moderates her own interview series at The JCC in Manhattan called “What Everyone’s Talking About,” where her guests have included Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Brokaw, Nora Ephron, Nicholas Kristof and Mario Batali. We hope you’ll join us for an evening of exploration and insight.

Purim Hamantashen Bake-Off Sat, Mar 11 at 7:00 pm


fter laughing our heads off during SNL Purim, stick around to fill up your tummy with confectionary perfection from our own members. The Purim Hamantashen Bake-Off will feature entries from such world-renowned bakers as ... well, okay, probably not anyone famous ... but it could certainly be you! Sign up today and show off your not-yet-famous-but-maybe-soon hamentashen baking skills. Register to compete by emailing Michele Montague in our temple office (, then bake a tray filled with your most delectable hamantashen (including a mandatory extra for Rabbi Billy who’s not a judge but sure does love hamantashen). Our distinguished panel of judges will decide which are the best! Amazing prizes (which may or may not be an exaggeration)! An exciting and certainly tasty way to celebrate the Purim holiday with you!

WCT Welcomes Local Methodist Minister Fri, Mar 24 at 8:00 pm


t is Woodlands’ honor to host our neighbor, Rev. Bruce Lamb from Ardsley United Methodist. Church. Bruce joined AUMC just this past July and already we’ve taken a shining to him. Bruce teaches and preaches, leads worship, and helps vision for the church’s future. Prior to coming to Ardsley, Pastor Bruce served as the associate pastor at Mt. Calvary/St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Harlem. Previous to that (ready?), he served as a producer at NBC’s Today Show and CNN too. Bruce is a graduate of Texas Tech University and Union Theological Seminary.

Please be sure to join us — it’s important that we take these opportunities to reach out to one another, especially across religious lines.


March Happenings & Beyond Learning

WCT Goes to Boston! Sat-Sun, Apr 22-23

WCT Book Club Wed, Mar 8 at 2:00 pm

Get on the bus and explore the rich Jewish history of Boston! We’ll depart at 9:00 am Saturday and spend the afternoon and evening exploring this great town. Overnight is in a hotel with departure early Sunday afternoon. Sites and experiences include:

In The Rent Collector by Comron Wright, Ki Lim and Sang Ly and their chronically ill child live in the largest municipal waste dump in Cambodia. They scavenge for recyclables from the trash to buy food and live in a cardboard room. Just when things are at their worst, Sang Ly learns a secret about the ill-tempered rent collector that changes everything. From this chilling story of human suffering comes a story of hope and redemption. All are welcome.

Current Events Wed, Mar 15 at 10:00 am Don’t miss our popular current events program! An agenda will be emailed to participants ahead of the meeting.

Lunch and Learn How to Stay Young Physically, Mentally, and Spiritually Wed, Mar 15, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm Facilitated by Phyllis Hirth We will look at how we exercise our bodies, minds, and spirituality to help us keep functioning at our peak as long as possible. We will also work on developing a plan for each individual.

• The Museum of Fine Arts and its exhibit entitled “Memory Unearthed: Photography from the Lodz Ghetto” • The Boston Holocaust Memorial • Dinner together in Faneuil Hall • Mayyim Hayyim: Living Waters, the ground breaking pluralistic mikveh (ritual bath) • The Vilna Shul (subject to availabilty) Cost (includes transportation, doubleoccupancy* hotel room, admission to sites, dinner and breakfast): Members $250, non-members $300. Register at by Mon, Mar 6. *for single occupancy, add $100



WCT Book Club Wed, Apr 12 at 2:00 pm Pumpkin Flowers by Matti Friedman

Facilitated by Jeanne Bodin In Lebanon there is a hill called the Pumpkin. “Flowers” was the military code word for casualties. The author recreates the harrowing experience of a band of young Israeli soldiers charged with holding this remote outpost, an event that would change them forever and wound the country in ways large and small.


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

Andy Farber

Facilitated by Jeanne Bodin

Hevreh: A Community of Adult Jewish Learners Wed-Sun, Jul 19-23

Social Action Dinner for Teen Shelter Sun, Mar 5 There’s a joy in providing food to those we care about. As part of the Greenburgh Interfaith Caring Community, Woodlands provides dinner to teens at The Sanctuary shelter in Valhalla, run by Children’s Village. Our volunteers cook at home and bring their part of the dinner to the temple by noon. You can make the main course, side dish, salad, fruit or dessert for 15 people. Email socialaction with what you’d like to make.

Project Ezra Passover Food Collection March 10-24 For over 40 years we’ve befriended the frail, elderly Jews of Project Ezra. We continue our support with the call from our Passover haggadah to “let all who are hungry come and eat” by making Passover food boxes to give to seniors living on the Lower East Side. You can help us fill 50 boxes by donating kosher-for-Passover food items from our list ( And if you bring Passover food items to the Purim Carnival, you’ll receive extra tickets for fun! If you’d like to personally deliver food boxes in NYC on Apr 2 at 9:00 am, email Harriet Kohn at

WCT Blood Drive Sun, Mar 19, 8:45 am - 1:15 pm Giving blood at Woodlands is so easy and convenient - come in when you’re picking up or dropping off from religious school, going to a meeting or swing by just because you’re a mensch. You can donate if you’re between 17 and 75 years old and weigh at least 110 lbs (16-year olds may donate with a note from a parent, and those older than 75 with a note from your doctor). Please bring an ID with you to the Blood Drive. Schedule your appointment at or email Chuck Bauer ( Walk-ins are welcome but you may need to wait.

Knitting and Crocheting Sun, Mar 19, 2:00-4:00 pm Same caring, energetic group, just one hour earlier this month. Join us in creating mitzvah projects in a supportive atmosphere. Beginners welcome, and instructions are available. Email Angela Adler ( to let her know you’ll be there.

Midnight Run Benefit Concert Sun, Mar 26, 3:00-5:00 pm WCT is delighted to host this year’s Interfaith Caring Community Benefit Concert for Midnight Run, featuring our very own Mark Kaufman and his group, Exit 12. You won’t want to miss their fun, eclectic jazz vibe that rivals great jazz clubs in the city. All proceeds go to The Midnight Run, a Dobbs Ferry-based organization that provides common ground between the housed and the homeless. General admission is $20 (students $7.50). Become a Friend of Midnight Run ($35 per ticket) and be seated in row 1!

Mensch of the Month Join our 2nd grade in filling the food cart with cereal boxes, granola bars, juice boxes and fruit cups.

Social Action Meeting Mon, Mar 13 at 8:15 pm We know it may be early to be thinking about social action programs for next year, but they all do take lots of planning. Please join us at our next meeting to discuss our agenda for the coming year. There are so many urgent needs, be they advocacy or hands-on help. Which one will you support? All are welcome!

Youth Engagement Havdalah on Ice! Sat, Mar 25, 7:00-9:00 pm

Refugee Task Force Throughout history the Jewish people have often been refugees, forced to flee persecution and seek safety in other lands. Today, inspired by the biblical injunction to “welcome the stranger,” we must not fall into the indifference that allowed so many Jews to be murdered during the Holocaust. Knowing firsthand the cost of silence, we must make sure our voices are heard and help those most in need, regardless of religion, race or ethnicity. To join our task force or be apprised of the latest information, whether it be an update on our role as a host congregation or about other ways in which we can assist refugees, contact Dan Emery and Marge Glusker (

Women’s March Follow-Up We strongly support the fight for women’s rights, civil rights and justice for all Americans. For the most current actions, look in the weekly email or contact

Fun for the entire WCT family! More information in Tara’s recent emails. Bring your WCT friends and family for a great night!

WoodSY Purim Shul-in Sat, Mar 11 - Sun, Mar 12 For all 8th-12th graders. We’ll be taking part in the congregational “SNL Purim and Hamentashen Bake-Off” and then preparing for our Purim Carnival the next morning. Be sure to RSVP!

S av e

t h e d at e


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.


Rev. Jamall Calloway to Speak Fri, Mar 31 at 8:00 pm


e met Jamall at the WCT University (back in December) on “How Is the Collective Memory of a Community Formed?” when he brought us some mighty cogent thoughts from an African-American perspective. Jamall, a doctoral student at Union Theological Seminary, wowed us with his inspiring words, so we asked him back! Jamall Andrew Calloway is from Oakland, CA. He is a PhD candidate in Philosophical Theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York, receiving his Masters of Divinity from Yale Divinity School and his Bachelors of Arts in interdisciplinary humanities from Tougaloo College in Jackson, MS. He was ordained a Baptist minister in May 2013. He is the summer pastor of Christ Church UCC in Mt. Washington, MA. Reverend Calloway writes about faith, resistance and hope in the face of evil.

Temple “Kid” to Deliver Senior Sermon at HUC Thu, Mar 9 at 10:10 am Rabbinical student Maya Glasser will be delivering her Senior Sermon at HUC-JIR in Manhattan. If you are able, we’re sure she’ll cherish your attendance during this significant moment in Maya’s rabbinic training. HUC is located at 1 West 4th Street, off Broadway in Greenwich Village. Maya will speak as part of HUC’s Thursday morning worship service. Lunch follows, during which a discussion of Maya’s presentation will take place. Open to the public but a photo ID is required.

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


WCT Marches in DC and NYC


The Simkha Page

B’nai Mitzvah Prior to our recent buying trip, we reviewed our inventory, and it was no surprise that to us that mezuzot and their Kosher scrolls (klaf) are our biggest sellers.


ffixing a mezuzah on a doorpost in a Jewish home is a proudly significant commandment. We strive to bring in new, unique mezuzot on a continuous basis so you can always find the perfect one for that new home, B'nai Mitzvah, wedding or new baby gift. Mezuzot with adhesive backs are ideal for dorm rooms, rental apartments and metal door frames. Stop by and see what’s new!


ur next bestsellers are Shabbat items: challah boards, covers, knives, Kiddush cups, Shabbat candlesticks, candles and Havdalah sets. With so much on our minds all week, more and more of our Woodlands families are savoring Shabbat’s peace and joy with in-home Shabbat celebrations. The Judaica Shop at Woodlands has beautiful Shabbat items that will enhance your Shabbat table and bring warmth and glow to your home and your heart.

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!


Karenna Best

Adam Restler

March 18

March 25

Torah Portion Kee Teesa

Torah Portion Vayak'hel-Pekuday

Hebrew Name Keren Shoshana

Hebrew Name Adahm Shmuel

Todah Rabbah (thank you) to... Bonnie Arbore and Amy Green and their Purim Goody Bag Team for coordinating the Purim Sh’lakh Manot Fundraiser. Harriet Kohn for her leadership and planning of the Project Ezra luncheon. And to her dedicated volunteers who cook and host tables: Lisa Izes; Lois and Jay Izes; Sheri and Michael Silver; Bonni, Tony, Michael and Danielle Arbore; Jan, Jeffrey and Jessica Friedman; Janet Weinstein and Nara Sandberg; Linda, Jay and Mariah Zwicker; Albert, Lori and Jason Solano; Jeanne and Murray Bodin; Julie de Winter-Stein; Hilary Archigian; Pamela Goldstein; Lisa, Joseph, Matthew and Michaela Heinlein; and Dayle Fligel. Thanks also to Cantor Jonathan and Adam Hart and the 5th graders for their entertainment, and to the teens of Better Together for helping out where needed and for taking pictures. Roberta Roos and Julie Stein for helping to organize Woodlands members and friends in the fight for human rights at the Women’s March on New York City and Washington. We are so proud of our Woodlands community and thank all who stood up to be counted.

Mike Winkleman, Jeanne Bodin, Rabbi Joan Glazer Farber, Andy Farber and Dan Emery for sharing words from your heart at the “Wisdom From Our Own” Shabbat Service. Those who helped plan and run the 3rd/4th Grade Late Night: Emily Roos, Debbie Fuchs, Lisa Izes, Adam Lesser, Debbie Shapiro, Pamela Goldstein, Kirsten Kleinman, Leora Cohen, and Gail Hacker. Our creative team that organized WCT’s Tu b’Shevat experience: the planners (Jeanne Bodin, Joel Chernoff, Joan Glazer Farber, Debbie Fuchs, Lisa Izes, Eric Katz, Elka Klarsfeld, Kirsten Kleinman, Roberta Roos, Julie Stein and Marge Thrope), our clergy and all those who worked so hard on the day of the event. Jen Kline-Galkin for organizing our kids clothing drive to benefit Kids Kloset. Rabbi Lisa Izes for teaching Hevra Torah the day Rabbi Billy was home with the flu.

Mazal Tov to... Robert and Carolyn Best as their daughter, Karenna, is called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah. Jason and Debra Restler as their son, Adam, is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah. Leigh Smith on choosing Judaism. Steven and Barbara Gaines on the birth of their granddaughter, Madison Brooke Spivack, daughter of Joanna and Marc Spivack.

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 honor of Sarah Sagner becoming a Bat Mitzvah and in appreciation of Rabbi Billy, from Steve Sagner and Jen Tower. In memory of Robert Feder and in appreciation of Rabbi Billy, from Todd Gordon and Susan Feder.

Rabbi Mara’s Mitzvah Fund

In memory of Dorothy and Morris Kingston, from Michael Kingston. In memory of Mimi Stillman, from Dr. Irwin Miller and Barbara Gordon. In memory of William Silver, from Dr. Irwin Miller and Barbara Gordon.

Special Education Fund

In honor of Sarah Sagner becoming a Bat Mitzvah and in appreciation of Rabbi Mara, from Steve Sagner and Jen Tower.

In memory of Monroe Wangel, father of Aliza Burton, from David and Dayle Fligel. In memory of my beloved husband, Mark Solomon, from Linda Solomon.

Cantor’s Discretionary Fund

Social Action Fund

In honor of Sarah Sagner becoming a Bat Mitzvah and in appreciation of Cantor Jonathan, from Steve Sagner and Jen Tower. In memory of Robert Feder and in appreciation of Cantor Jonathan, from Todd Gordon and Susan Feder.

Chai Fund In memory of Susan Spilka, sister of Rich Spilka, from David and Dayle Fligel. In memory of Ernest Blum, father of Paul Blum, from David and Dayle Fligel. In memory of Bernice Endick, mother of Carol Kronenberger, from David and Dayle Fligel. Donation from Judy Levan. In memory of Robert Feder, father of Susan Feder, from David and Dayle Fligel.

In memory of Sharon Fishman, daughter of Ross Fishman, from Ruth Rugoff and Annie and Joe Potischman.

Jonah Maccabee Fund In memory of Ida Dreskin, mother of Rabbi Billy Dreskin, from David and Dayle Fligel, Barry and Judith Kessler, Kenneth Levin, Harold and Elaine Shames. In honor of the Dreskin family, from Kurt and Gloria Nash.

The Woodlands Community Mourns the Loss of Lucille Davids mother of Dan Davids Sharon Fishman daughter of Ross Fishman David Hirth father of Leon Hirth Marilyn Hacker mother of John Hacker Dede Kaufman cousin of Harriet Levine HaMakom y’nakhem otam… may God bring comfort to all who are in mourning. Zekher tzadik livrakha ... may their memory be for a blessing.

Israel Programming Fund In honor of Jeanne Bodin’s special birthday, from Lloyd and Roberta Roos. In honor of Jeanne Bodin, from Corey Friedlander.

Our Teens Travel to L’taken in DC (with thanks to Steve's H.O.P.E. for making it all possible)

Inscribe Your Loved One’s Name on Our Memorial Garden Wall 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 spring dedication will be held during Yizkor on the last day of Passover (Monday, April 17 at 9:00 am). If you wish to have names inscribed on our Memorial Garden Wall in time for the Passover dedication, please visit and supply the information requested there – not later than Monday, March 27. 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.


Upcoming Meetings

Executive Committee Mon, Mar 6 at 8:15 pm

School Board Mon, Mar 13 at 8:15 pm

Finance Committee Mon, Mar 13 at 8:15 pm

Jewish Life Committee Mon, Mar 13 at 8:15 pm

Social Action Committee Mon, Mar 13 at 8:15 pm

Board of Trustees Mon, Mar 20 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.

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 is 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.


Israeli Rabbinical Student to Join Us @ WCT Dear Woodlands, Shalom. My name is Yael Vurgan. I am a 3rd year Israeli

rabbinical student from HUC Jerusalem, and I will be visiting your community for two weeks just before Pesakh (Mar 26 - Apr 8). I live in the city of Modi’in in the center of Israel. I am a mother of two boys ages 12 and 8. I work for Rabbis for Human Rights and at the Yozma Reform community in Modi'in (mainly teaching B’nei Mitzvah students). Learning about Jewish life and the Reform Movement in the U.S. is an important part of our rabbinical training program. I feel very blessed with the opportunity to meet you, to learn from you and from the leadership of the community, and to start a long-lasting connection, I hope. I look forward to joining you in your community life and events, and to share with you some of my experiences and challenges as an Israeli Jew and a Reform rabbinical student. Thank you in advance for your hospitality.


Purim Laughter: A Healing Gift “The Jews ordained that these days of Purim should not cease from among the Jews nor their descendants” (Esther 9:27-28). The mitzvah of Purim is to laugh. Prejudice and bigotry are no laughing matter. Fighting for the just treatment of all minorities is Purim’s timeless demand, our response to the countless Hamans who have stepped into history. It's unlikely we'll ever “blot out” Haman forever. Purim suggests we resort to laughter. The average preschooler laughs 300 times a day. The average adult, 17. Our lives are complicated, so it’d be good to get more laughter into our day. Purim reminds us that few of us are only what we seem. We mask pain, sorrow, and so much more. We may not be able to get rid of them, but we needn’t give in either. So after you've had a good cry, get yourself a really good laugh. If we laugh loudly enough, perhaps we can blot out a few of our own Haman’s – at least until we catch our breath, muster our strength, and get back into the daily challenges of our lives.

Reserve These Passover Dates Now! 1st Seder (at home with friends and family) Monday evening, April 10 Pesakh Learning with Rabbi Billy Tue, Apr 11, 8:30-10:00 am

Don’t Be a Stranger!

Sat, Apr 15, 10:00 am-Noon A morning of eating, learning, singing and shmoozing. We’ll take the edge off of all that matzah you’ve been eating! A 3-part experience for members of all ages. 10:00-10:45 pm, parallel learning experiences for adults and young families. Adult learning with Rabbi Billy, storytime and craft for kids with Rabbi Mara. 10:45-11:15 am, brief service (to include Kaddish). 11:15-Noon, our annual Passover brunch. Sign up at At the same URL, you can also volunteer to help!

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


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 Tent Sale

Sun, Oct 8


Judai Connection Haftarah, Anyone? by Cantor Jonathan Gordon


ave you learned your Haftarah yet? Many of our young people are asked this question by relatives who want to know if they are ready to become Bat or Bar Mitzvah. In past years, youngsters were usually asked to chant the Haftarah on their big day, while other parts of the service were given to professionals. Of course, we have moved on since then at Woodlands. Let’s look at this rich and revered practice, this Haftarah thing. It literally means “the conclusion.” We chant the Haftarah B’navi, the conclusion by the Prophets. A section of the prophetic books is read after the Torah reading on Shabbat and certain holidays and fast days. How did this practice begin? The origins of the Haftarah are not precise. Around the time of Hanukkah, 168 BCE, Jews were forbidden to read from the Torah. The government was asked, “May we read from the Prophets?” The bureaucrats found no law against that. The Rabbis then created a yearly cycle of readings from the Prophets that would reflect the now forbidden weekly Torah teachings. This custom was retained when the Torah readings were again permitted by law. The Haftarah portions are some of the finest and most profound elements of the Jewish legacy.

• Jonah, the reluctant prophet, is chosen to bring redemption to the sinful, but would have preferred to avoid the whole thing (read on Yom Kippur). • Isaiah summons the nations of the world to a trial (Lekh Lekha). • Elisha (in II Kings) performs a miracle of oil by filling empty vessels to pay for the needs of a pious widow. He also brings a dead child back to life (Vayera). Who are these prophets? The Hebrew word for prophet does not refer to foretelling the future, as in the English word. Navi contains the meaning, “fruit of God.” The prophets are to speak to humanity with a message God has given them to share. The early books are vivid histories in narrative style, with some of the most powerful tales of the Bible. Here we find the story of David, the battle of Elijah against Ahab and Jezebel, and the story of Samson, among many treasures. The later prophetic books are poetic. Here we find the words that are usually thought of: voices of moral rebuke and consolation. They describe God’s plans for the future and the divine plan for the Jewish people. Here we get some insight into the way God views the world. I’d like to give you a snapshot of some memorable Haftarah portions that are read on specific Sabbaths or holidays.

• Amos tells the people of Israel that we are more guilty than other nations when we do wrong, for we have been taught what is truly proper (Vayeshev). • Na’aman (in II Kings) seeks healing for leprosy from Elisha, but first must learn modesty (Tazria). • The young Solomon (in I Kings) settles a dispute over custody of a newborn by threatening to cut it in half (Miketz). • Devorah (in Judges) shames Barak into going to war for God (Beshallakh). • Jeremiah proclaims that, while Rachel weeps for her children and will not be comforted, there is still hope for the future (Rosh Hashanah Day 2). Maybe this has piqued your interest, and you will look into the Books of the Prophets yourself. They can certainly be disturbing and provocative. Still, there is no better use of one’s time. Happy learning! And see you in shul!

WCT Makom March 2017  

Woodlands Community Temple March 2017 Bulletin

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