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the newsletter of woodlands community temple

HIGHLIGHTS March 2014 Adar I - Adar II 5774

Reboot, Not Retool. Transform, Not Tinker The URJ and Woodlands take a new look at youth engagement by Gary Stern Speaking to 5,000 people at the Union for Reform Judaism biennial in December, Rabbi Rick Jacobs (right) explained that engaging youth is a mission to which the Reform movement must dedicate all its creativity and energy. There is no alternative, the URJ’s president said, at a time when young Jews are looking outside their religion for meaning. As he put it: “We must reboot, not just retool, transform, not just tinker.” Woodlands Community Temple has chosen to meet this challenge. The congregation has undertaken an unprecedented, top-to-bottom review of its approach to engaging children, teens, and families. Woodlands has had tremendous success maintaining connections with post-B’nai Mitzvah teens, but the professional staff and lay leaders are taking a fresh look at what engagement can mean. “We’re not just creating more programming, but trying to create a point of view—a mindset, really—that moves youth engagement to the forefront of what we do,” says Jenna Lebowich, WCT’s vice president for education. A Youth Engagement Task Force began the journey in January 2013 with two key goals and wrapped up its work in October. The task force created Woodlands’ first-ever mission statement for youth engagement, a sharply focused, 74-word pledge that will help every temple youth develop a “comfortable and confident Jewish identity.” The task force also appointed a new Youth and Family Engagement Committee to put the mission statement into action. Rabbi Bradley Solmsen, director of youth engagement for the URJ, attended a task force meeting and came away impressed with the group’s commitment to start anew. “The status quo is healthy at Woodlands, but the group really wanted to do things differently and not accept anything

Blood Drive Mar 2 Jonah Maccabee Concert Mar 8 Report from the South Mar 14 Kidz and Congregational Purim Mar 15 Purim Carnival Mar 16 Youth Engagement Town Hall Mar 19 Kidz Shabbat Mar 28 Civil Rights Journey Shabbat Mar 28

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Purim for Kidz

Harry Potter—and the Carnival is back! (For the congregational Purim, see page 2) Harry Potter’s World of Purim

Sat, Mar 15, 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. You and your kids are invited to a special Purim play. We’ll tell the story of Purim and do some crafts, all while immersed in the world of Harry Potter. Each religious school grade will prepare a song and will be invited to participate that evening. For more info, contact Then stick around for our congregational Purim celebration—and join us first for a laidback dinner: sign up at

Purim Carnival 5774

Sun, Mar 16, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. The Purim Carnival is back and better than ever, we’ll have raffles, games, food, and a special mingling space (with coffee) for parents. And, during the carnival, we’ll be having a hamentaschen bake-off! To participate, email Michele ( Prepare a full tray of hamentaschen and bring them in by 9:45 a.m. Folks will sample them throughout the carnival. At 11:00 a.m., a panel of judges will pick the best!

Scan this QR code for more WCT information.

Our Woodlands Community Rabbi Billy Dreskin Rabbi Mara Young Cantor Jonathan Ben Gordon Ross Glinkenhouse, Youth Director Corey Friedlander, Sh'liakh K'hilah Dan Geffen, Rabbinic Intern

Executive Committee Stu Berlowitz, President Jenna Lebowich, VP Education education@wct.og Cliff Schoen, VP Facilities Andy Farber, VP Finance Dayle Fligel, VP Programming/Ritual Herb Friedman, Financial Secretary Andrea Einhorn, Secretary Mark Selig, Treasurer

Board of Trustees Nancy Brown Lois Green Gloria Falk Barry Leibowitz Nancy Fishman Lisa Sacks Jill Garland Mike Scafidi Aliza Garofalo Jay Werner Yvette Gralla Michele Wise Rochelle Stolzenberg (ex-officio)

Office Staff Patricia Nissim, Temple Administrator Liz Rauchwerger, Rabbi’s Assistant Michele Montague, Religious School Lori Bluberg, Bookkeeper

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as a given,” he says. “I was impressed religious school or adult education—it’s with their honesty. Engagement means the big middle ground,” says Rabbi focusing on who you are and what is Mara Young, director of congregational important to you, not about what you learning. Woodlands must encourage all already do.” arms of congregational life, from adult The new committee has two subgroups: education to social action, to consider the Katan section focusing on families how to involve youth and families. “Our with kids up through 6th grade (chaired approach has to be to encourage everyone by Leora Cohen Friedman); and the to be involved with youth culture,” Gadol section Youth Director Ross focusing on 7th Glinkenhouse says. grade through Looking forward, WCT Mission Statement college (chaired by the committee plans for Youth Engagement Juli Klein). The two to revamp the jamWoodlands Community Temple groups took charge packed 7th-grade offers every temple child, teen, and of parts of this year’s curriculum and young adult the opportunity and Purim activities (see continue exploring resources to develop a comfortable p. 1). On Wed, Mar how Woodlands can and confident Jewish identity. 19 at 7:30 p.m., best serve teens after We create a vibrant, inclusive, and the committee will they become B’nai supportive environment intended really make its mark Mitzvah. Rabbi Mara to engage, empower, and reengage with a “town hall” and Ross are studying youth through every stage of their meeting on how the possibilities development. to best serve youth for “experiential Woodlands’ Youth Engagement who have become learning,” meaning programming provides experiences B’nai Mitzvah (see p. less sitting for rooted in Jewish culture, ritual 8). “Our Academy students and more and values, with an emphasis on program is very doing. Temple atzmeyoot (individual identity), tzorkhay tzeebor (community successful, but not President Stu involvement), and tikkun olam every kid can make Berlowitz says that (repairing the world). it Monday nights,” Woodlands can’t Lebowich says. “We afford to accept the need new ways to status quo, even if the meet kids where they are.” congregation has done better than most Woodlands’ professional staff is in connecting with youth. “We accept working closely with the new committee that today’s youth are different from 15 and is excited about the opportunities years ago, 10, even five,” he says. “We presented by taking a “no looking back” have to look at what we’re doing to make approach. Everyone agrees that families sure we’re not just good enough, but must be engaged early and often because cutting edge. We want every youth who those who are only connected to religious goes through Woodlands to leave with a school are most likely to disappear after Jewish identity and values that they are their kids become B’nai Mitzvah. “A lot proud of and can be a foundation for of what we’re looking at is not straight their lives.”

About Our Temple Woodlands Community Temple 50 Worthington Road White Plains, NY 10607 914.592.7070 main office 914.592.1790 religious school direct line 914.592.7376 fax Religious School: Woodlands Community Temple is affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism Editor: Mike Winkleman Art Director: Melanie Roher Design and Production: Kate Levy


Purim for Everyone

Sci Fi Purim Comes to Woodlands (For KIdz Purim, see page 1) Sat, Mar 15, 7:30 p.m.

Bring everyone, from oldest to youngest, for a Purim celebration unlike any experienced anywhere before. Cantor Jonathan has promised an evening in which hilarious clips from such classics as Return of the Jedi, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Dune, Metropolis, and, of course, Muppets from Space combine (with voiceovers provided by some intrepid—and talented—temple

members and professional staff) to add a keen dramatic (yet comic) intensity to the story of Purim—with a brand new twist: Haman intends to subject the Jews to imprisonment and use them and all the Shushanites as subjects in sci fi laboratory experiments so that our villain might rule the universe. How does this play out? Who saves the day? Can Miss Piggy pass as Esther? You’ll only know if you attend.

Worship Schedule Shabbat Pekuday

Exodus 38:21 - 40:38 ... I Kings 7:51 - 8:21 (additional reading for Shabbat Shekalim is Exodus 30:11-16) Fri, Feb 28 My Favorite Enemy at 8:00 p.m. We’re delighted to bring composer/ performer Michael Ochs back to Woodlands, this time with his friend, Palestinian composer/performer Alaa Ali, as they share their remarkable story of promoting peace through music. Sat, Mar 1 Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 a.m. Celebrate with us as Henry Stern, son of Anne and Gary Stern, becomes a Bar Mitzvah.

Shabbat Vayikra

Leviticus 1:1 - 5:26 ... Isaiah 43:21 - 44:23 Fri, Mar 7 Mishpakha Shabbat at 7:00 p.m. (note earlier time) 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—reservations at mishpakha. Sat, Mar 8 No service this morning.

Shabbat Tzav

Leviticus 6:1 - 8:36 ... Ezekiel 36:22-36 (additional reading for Shabbat Zakhor is Deuteronomy 25:17-19) Fri, Mar 14 Report from the South at 8:00 p.m. Come hear about the hard work and significant experiences straight from our Mitzvat Mississippi crew, freshly back from New Orleans. Our volunteers will share stories of rebuilding homes and rebuilding spirits. Visual Worship tonight.

Sat, Mar 15 No service this morning.

Shabbat Sh’mini

Leviticus 9:1 - 11:47 ... II Samuel 6:1 - 7:17 (additional reading for Shabbat Parah is Numbers 19:1-22) Fri, Mar 21 Shabbat Evening Service at 8:00 p.m. While Rabbi Billy is away with our high school students on the Civil Rights Journey, Rabbi Mara and Cantor Jonathan will lead Shabbat worship. Cantor Jonathan will speak. Sat, Mar 22 No service this morning.

Shabbat Tazria

Leviticus 12:1 - 13:59 ... II Kings 4:42 5:19 (additional reading for Shabbat HaKhodesh is Exodus 12:1-20) Fri, Mar 28 Kidz Shabbat at 7:00 p.m.Our monthly 30-minute shenanigans. Join in songs and stories with Rabbi Billy, Rabbi Mara, and Cantor Jonathan. Civil Rights Journey Shabbat at 8:00 p.m. High school participants from our high school Civil Rights Journey to Georgia and Alabama will share impressions and lessons learned. Visual Worship tonight. Sat, Mar 29 Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 a.m. Celebrate with us as Jamie Kramer, daughter of Fredda and Rick Kramer, becomes a Bat Mitzvah. •••••••• Babysitting at 8 p.m. Shabbat services is provided by teens from our religious school. This month, babysitting will be available on Mar 14, Mar 21, and Mar 28. There is no charge, and no advance notice is required.

Hosts Needed for Interfaith Seder Table hosts are needed for our Interfaith Seder, to be held here at Woodlands on Wed, Apr 9, 8:00-10:00 p.m. In the spirit of the universal messages of our Jewish faith, we have invited members of local churches to share in our “Festival of Freedom.” Reading from a specially prepared educational Haggadah, our rabbis and cantor will guide our guests through the ancient rituals, the Exodus story, and the music—both old and new—of this historical celebration of freedom. What will we need from you? To sit with a small church group, help them to feel welcomed into our synagogue home, assist in their following along in the Haggadah and in partaking of the traditional foods, and answer simple questions any of our guests might have. Don’t worry about not knowing all the answers. Not only will we happily provide you with some advance material to “bone up” on your Pesach perspicacity, but you may also defer to your clergy at any time. This is a wonderful opportunity for individuals or entire families to perform this mitzvah together! To volunteer as a host, please contact the temple office ( or 592-7070). Congregants of all ages are welcome to attend, and may also bring non-Jewish friends. We would also appreciate your bringing along a Seder plate (for display at your table only). At the conclusion of this unique and uplifting Seder, our guests will have an opportunity to view the Torah and speak with us about Jewish life. We very much look forward to your joining our Ritual and Social Action committees for a special evening of sharing our heritage, faith, and fellowship. Please contact us soon.

March Committee Meetings Board of Trustees Mon, Mar 17, 8:10 p.m.

Hevra Torah Learning: Saturdays, 9:15-10:15 am

Adult Ed Sun, Mar 9, 9:00 a.m.

There’s abundant room around our table. We’d love to have you join our lively conversation.

Finance Mon, Mar 10, 8:10 p.m.

Mar 1: Parashat Pekuday Facilitated by Cantor Jonathan

Mar 22: Parashat Sh’mini Facilitated by Cantor Jonathan

Ritual Mon, Mar 10, 8:10 p.m.

Mar 8: Parashat Vayikra Facilitated by Rabbinic Intern Dan Geffen

Mar 29: Parashat Tazria Facilitated by Rabbi Billy

Social Action Mon, Mar 24, 8:10 p.m.

School Board Mon, Mar 24, 8:10 p.m.

Mar 15: Parashat Tzav Facilitated by Rabbi Mara





On Jonah’s 5th Yahrzeit


ive years since March 5, 2009, I’ve healed a lot. But never completely. Grief stands strong while life continues on. Here are some snapshots of Jonah’s continuing presence: 1) In the first months after Jonah’s death, I struggled with how to remember his face. 19-year olds change frequently. Long hair, short hair, bearded, clean-shaven – which Jonah do I remember? Today I’m comfortable with all of them. The photographs that cycle continuously on a computer in our living room celebrate the many versions of Jonah. I love remembering them all. 2) I don’t dream about Jonah. Perhaps because I “see” him in the photographs each day, I don’t need to dream of him at night. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to! 3) Two months before he died, Jonah dropped by the 10th grade and led a discussion on Judaism and science. My students loved being with this college kid. Five years later, I brought his session back. I love sharing him with them. 4) The Jonah Maccabee Concert brings Jewish songwriters to Woodlands, and you and I raise money to help WCT kids get to Reform Jewish summer programs. Music and camping, so precious to Jonah,

remain a powerful presence in our temple. That makes me very happy. 5) The Jonah Maccabee Foundation is two years old. We make grants that focus on social justice, the arts, and Jewish life. I treasure the beautiful tributes these projects pay to Jonah’s life and memory. 6) And I continue to write about Jonah, preserving my favorite memories of him which I share at It helps me feel like there will be a place for his nieces and nephews to one day meet and get to know him. From losing Jonah, I’ve learned that people are amazingly resilient. I see so many others who rebuild on the ashes of their own tragedies and traumas. I always miss Jonah, but as in the apocryphal story of Itzhak Perlman breaking a string yet continuing to perform, I try each day to affirm that “it is our genius, as well as our hearts, to make music with what remains.”

This Year, Rosh Hashanah Comes Early

Can’t Wait for the High Holy Days? Well then… There’s no need to. On Thurs, Mar 27, from 7:30 – 9:45 p.m., Woodlands is honored to be testing the CCAR’s new High Holy Days makhzor (prayer book) in order to give the CCAR some feedback on content and design. No tent (sorry), but lots of familiar faces (Billy, Jonathan, Mara, Corey, Dan, and even Fimi)— and a chance to check out (and comment on) lots of cool new English readings, meaningful changes in the Hebrew, full transliteration, commentary across the bottom, and more. Be there at the beginning. Make a difference. Get a good seat. And, Rabbi Billy promises, receive a voucher excusing you from the real Rosh Hashanah Evening Service on Sept 24. That is, if you really would want to miss it.

What’s Rosh Hashanah without the tent? Find out on Mar 27.


C o m m i t t e e R e p o rt s

Social Action Blood Drive

Sun, Mar 2, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. It’s a mitzvah to help others in need, and you can help by donating blood to replenish the local blood bank supplies. To schedule a time, please e-mail Chuck Bauer at or call him at 589-7231. Walk-ins available, but you may need to wait.

Knitting and Crocheting

Sun, Mar 2, 5:00-8:00 p.m. If you knit or crochet—or have always wanted to learn—join us for a potluck dinner, great conversation, and square making. The squares are sewn into a blanket for women transitioning out of Hope’s Door into their own apartments. Email Angela Adler at Angeadler@aol. com if you’d like to join us.

Project Ezra Passover Food Collection

Help us provide newly bought Kosher for Passover Food for 50 elderly, low-income Jewish friends from the Lower East Side. You can help by donating food, shopping for items, giving a monetary donation, or delivering the Passover boxes to

the seniors. For a list of food being collected, go to Contact Harriet Kohn at to volunteer.

Children’s Books for Hope’s Door

Donate new or used children’s picture books for elementary school children living in Hope’s Door, a Domestic Abuse Women’s Shelter. Leave your book donations in the marked basket in the lobby.

Your Neighborhood shop for Gift Giving… and Getting! Here’s a few ideas:

Children’s Clothing Collection

We’re collecting clean, gently used or new children’s clothing for Kids Kloset, a WJCS agency that helps clothe children in need. Kids Kloset provides a child with a week’s worth of clothing, matched into outfits and suited to the child’s likes and style.

Social Action meeting Mon, Mar 24, 8:10 p.m.

To receive periodic updates on Social Action activities and alerts, email

Baby Blessings with Swarovski Crystals $64 Heart Mezuzah by Simple Touch $28

Adult Education S’forim Forum

Cantor Jonathan Gordon Sat, Mar 22, 4:30 p.m. Join us for a discussion of Little Failure, a brand new memoir by award-winning author Gary Shteyngart.

Judaism 101: God-Shopping

Rabbi Mara Young Sun, Mar 2, 9:30 a.m. You read that right: God-shopping. While there’s only one God in Judaism, there are many different ways to view the Divine. Come explore the different Jewish perceptions of God—and more importantly, start to formulate your own “God-concept.”

Daytime Talmud

Rabbi Billy Dreskin Thursdays, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm through Apr 17 with no class on March 13 and 20

Book Club

Wed, Mar 26, 7:30 p.m. Rescheduled from Jan: The Secret River

Princess Mezuzah (with adhesive back)


by Kathleen Grenville. Winner of the Orange Prize, this bestseller tells the story of the settlement of New South Wales, Australia, by exiled British criminals at the turn of the 19th century.

Shabbat Candlesticks by Gary Rosenthal $50

Building Jewish Lives: Raising a Mensch

Sat, Mar 29, 6:30 p.m. Parents: Mark your calendars and book your babysitters! Join us for a potluck dinner and lively discussion of Wendy Mogel’s parenting books, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee and The Blessing of a B-Minus. 

Woodlands Singers

Cantor Jonathan Gordon Wednesdays at 8:15 p.m.

Ongoing Classes:

Jewish Studies (Thursdays at 10:00 a.m.) Hebrew (Thursdays at 8:00 p.m.) Please check the WCT Adult Ed. brochure or for more information.

Safed Dripless Candles $7 Fused Glass Matchbox by Tamara Baskin $20 Etched Kiddush Cup and Plate by Simple Touch $50 Looking for something special? Let us shop for you! Email us at


Daytime Diversions: March Madness

March Happenings

Three Wednesdays a month. Three different activities. Everyone’s invited. Here’s what’s on the roster for March:

Fifth Annual Jonah Maccabee Concert With Julie Silver and Ken Chasen

The Movie: Random Harvest Wed, Mar 5, 10 a.m.

It’s a 1942 romance/drama movie starring Ronald Coleman and Greer Garson, the story of World War II veteran who marries and settles happily into a tidy, humble life until an accident restores memories of a former life of wealth, while blocking out all post-war recollections. One man disappears and another longmissing man turns up. What does his devoted wife, whom he no longer remembers, do?

The Talk: Ed Miller

Wed, Mar 12, 10:00 a.m.

Ed Miller, on location at Wal O Tapu, a thermal area in New Zealand.

Back by popular demand, we welcome Ed Miller, congregant and world traveler (and great photographer), who will treat us to a slide show of his travels through New Zealand.

The Discussion: Current Events

Wed, Mar 19, 10:00 a.m. While Bob Steinhardt is relaxing in the sun, we’ve asked the everresourceful Tony and Selena Barron to write the agenda and lead the meeting.


Sat, Mar 8, 8:00 p.m.

Plan to attend the Fifth Annual Jonah Maccabee Concert, featuring Julie Silver (beloved guitarist/vocalist) and Ken Chasen (half of the very popular Mah Tovu), two of contemporary Jewish music’s favorite performers. Proceeds support scholarships for URJ summer experiences for Woodlands children and teens. Purchase your tickets at jonahconcert. Listen to Julie and Ken online. Visit and

Civil Rights Journey Departs Soon Throughout the weekend of Mar 20-23, students from our 10th, 11th, and 12th grades will travel to Alabama and Georgia, retracing the footsteps of America’s very Stephen Lelewer, z”l difficult but monumental struggle to bring equal rights to all Americans, regardless of skin color. Led by Rabbi Billy and Youth Director Ross Glinkenhouse, the group will walk the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL (site of “Bloody Sunday” in 1965), visit the 16th St Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL (where a bomb took four little girls’ lives), and view the site where, in 1913, Jewish factory manager Leo Frank was lynched in Atlanta, GA. Time will also be spent at the Southern Poverty Law Center (still fighting for civil rights today), in Montgomery, AL, and the Names Project (40,000 AIDS panels and, sadly, growing) in Atlanta, GA. We are incredibly fortunate that our Journey is subsidized by WCT’s Steve’s HOPE Fund. Steve’s HOPE (Helping Open People’s Eyes) was created by Bonnie, Alan, and Geoff Mitelman and Joanne Lelewer Harpel when their son and brother, Stephen Lelewer, died

suddenly. Steve cared deeply about the way people treat one another. We are honored to share in remembering Steve through the projects that Steve’s H.O.P.E. supports, and to further Steve’s ideals and the work that might have become his own. Be sure to join us on Shabbat evening, Fri, Mar 28 at 8:00 p.m., when participants will speak from our bimah about their experiences.

Building Jewish Lives: Interfaith Task Force The Easter/Passover Predicament Sun, Mar 30, 5:00 p.m.

While interfaith families often struggle with a “December dilemma,” challenges also arise come springtime, with Passover and Easter close proximity. It’s one thing to keep up with Santa Claus and gift giving. It’s another to talk about the Resurrection in an interfaith home. Or the role of the Passover Seder in the Last Supper. Please join Woodlands’ Interfaith Task Force for a potluck dinner and an interesting discussion of these issues.

William Donat Visiting High School Holocaust Education Program Mon, Mar 31

High school students from Hinesburg, VT, on their way to the Holocaust Memorial in Washington, will spend the morning at WCT with a Holocaust survivor, an American soldier who liberated a Nazi death camp, and Rabbi Mara. Begun in 2004 by our cherished friend, temple member, and Holocaust survivor Bill Donat, z”l (above), Woodlands is proud to welcome these students to honor Bill’s memory, his work, and his powerful goodness. You are cordially invited to join us. Contact the religious school office (, 914-592-1790) to RSVP and to get the schedule.

April and Beyond Spring Into Social Action

Apr 2 – May 10 It’s been a difficult winter, but with spring on the horizon, it’s time to turn our focus to tikkun olam. Throughout April and May, Woodlands invites you to help repair the world. Choose among more than a dozen events and activities, from collecting food to feeding the hungry, from sorting medical supplies to knitting chemo caps, from collecting books to distributing clothes. Plus advocacy training in Albany through the Reform Jewish Voice of New York State. For more information on how this project came to be, see the cover story in the April issue of Makom. For a full schedule of activities, check the temple website. To volunteer to participate, write

Building Jewish Lives: Our Families, Ourselves Bridging the Generations as We Age Sun, Apr 6, 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Feeling stressed? Isolated?  Invisible?  Pulled in too many different directions? Seniors, the Sandwich Generation, Families: Please join us as we explore the emotional, social, and psychological aspects of aging and its impact on individuals and their families. Following a short presentation on this topic from a Jewish perspective (led by Rabbi Mara), participants will engage in professionally guided discussions (led by temple members Caryn Donocoff, Stacey Silverman, and Lesli Cattan) as a way of sharing common concerns and potential solutions.

Pesakh 5774

First Seder: Mon, Apr 14 For more details, see the April issue of Makom.

Religious School Open House Sat, Apr 26 and Sun, Apr 27

New neighbors with young kids moving in down the block? Tell them about Woodlands—and invite them to our third annual Religious School Open House at which they can tour classrooms, get a touch of T’filah, and nosh with the clergy. More details in the April issue of Makom.

Annual Temple Meetings: Make Your Voice Heard • Budget Meeting: Thurs, May 15, 8:00 p.m. • Congregational Meeting: Wed, May 21, 8:00 p.m.

Spring Gala: The Times They Were a’Changing! Honoring the Founding Families

Sat, Jun 7, 7:00 p.m.

Time it was, oh what a time it was, way back in 1966. Return with us now to those days of yesteryear and relive that hallowed time. Miniskirts and bell bottoms. The Rolling Stones and the Hollies. Star Trek and “A Taste of Honey.” Student protests and Miranda rights. And a small group of Westchester Jews who banded together to form a brand-new temple, inventing what came to be known as The Woodlands Way. Come honor the Founding Families and celebrate what they’ve wrought. For more details—and to place an ad in the commemorative journal—check the temple website. (Got some memories of 1966? Then write and share them.)

Just Israel Jordan River Village, a year-round camp in the Galilee, hosts chronically ill children in the Middle East. Part of the Serious Fun Children’s Network Camps, originally called the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, they were started by actor Paul Newman. These camps provide round -the-clock medical supervision, swimming, sports, drama and crafts. An added benefit is that these children, after attending camp, respond more favorably to medical treatment and have more positive frames of mind. The camp’s goal is  to “to enrich the lives of Jewish and Arab children, in Israel and the neighboring countries, suffering from serious illnesses... by creating funfilled,... medically sound, safe camping experiences. The experience also provides a unique opportunity for Jewish, Muslim, and Christian children to form friendships. An Arab father commented after his daughter returned home, “If we would leave the problems of the Middle East to the children, we would have had peace long ago.”

“Imagine an Israel...” RabbI Uri Regev, founder and CEO of Hiddush, spoke to more than 60 people from the Rivertowns Jewish Consortium at a brunch at Woodlands on Jan 26th. Hiddush is an advocacy group working  to create an Israel-Diaspora partnership to strengthen Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Rabbi Regev spoke about religious and social equality in Israel as stated in the Israel Declaration of Independence. He specifically addressed the questions of Who is a Jew? and who can get married in Israel? As he stated so eloquently,  “ Imagine an Israel in which every couple is free to marry in their country in a ceremony of their choice, whether religious or civil.  No one will have to leave the country in order to wed.”


WCT Youth Engagement Help shape the future of the post-B’nai Mitzvah experience at Woodlands. Join our Rabbis, Youth Director Ross Glinkenhouse, and education and youth engagement lay leaders for a town hall meeting on Wed, Mar 19 at 7:30 p.m. We want to hear about your individual and family experiences with our post-7th grade education program (Academy) and our organized and informal teen programming (WoodSY and beyond). Everyone is invited to share thoughts and ideas in a brainstorming session and to hear and give feedback on some of the ideas Rabbi Mara and Ross are considering for next year. We especially want to hear from teens and families who haven’t actively participated in Academy or other youth programs. Email Jenna Lebowich at with questions and to let us know if you will attend.  For more on youth engagement at Woodlands, see our cover story on page 1 of this issue of Makom.

The Simkha Page

B’nai Mitzvah Henry Stern

Jamie Kramer

March 1

March 29

Torah Portion Pekuday Hebrew Name Avraham

Torah Portion Tazria Hebrew Name Yehudit Khana

Mazal Tov

Mazal Tov to Gary and Anne Stern, as their son, Henry, is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah.

Thank You

Thank you to Jacqueline Weitzman, Roberta Roos, Jeanne Bodin, and Harriet Levine for helping to make our “Engaging Israel” class so welcoming. Thank you to David Fligel for your great work on the Annual Fund appeal.

Mazal Tov to Rick and Fredda Kramer, as their daughter, Jamie, is called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah.

Thank you to the ARZA/Israel Committee for a really wonderful morning with Rabbi Uri Regev. Thank you to Rabbinic Intern Dan Geffen (and his brother, Rabbi Jonah Geffen) for a terrific Academy program on negotiating peace in Israel.

Mitzvat Mississippi: Eight Years On Over February break, Woodlands volunteers joined the St. Bernard Project and local homeowners to help repair Hurricane Katrina damage in New Orleans.

Woodlands’ youth—singing, lobbying, and helping to feed the hungry.


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’s Mitzvah Fund

Education Enrichment Fund

Thank you Rabbi Billy for the beautiful wedding ceremony and in honor of the marriage of David Green to Nika Finelt, from Marsha and Lenny Green.

In memory of Marcy Melman, from Lois and Arnold Melman.

Many thanks to Rabbi Billy and in honor of Henry Stern becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Anne and Gary Stern. In memory of Arthur Pell, from Doug and Geri Pell In memory of Rochelle Eisenman, from Doug and Geri Pell. In appreciation of Rabbi Billy for his care and compassion and in memory of Arthur Lucks, beloved husband, Mollie and Jules Bloomenfeld, parents and Minnie and Abraham Lucks, Arthur’s parents, from Linda Lucks. In appreciation of Rabbi Billy for presiding over Leslie and Ray Kimmelman’s vow renewal, from Leslie and Ray Kimmelman. In honor of Matthew Heinlein, grandson, becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Lois and Arnold Melman. In appreciation of Rabbi Billy, from Julie Levine and Larry Katzenstein.

Congratulations to Ani Weinstein and Saul Melman on the birth of their daughter Ilan Matilda, granddaughter of Lois and Arnold Melman. from Lois and Arnold Melman.

Chai Fund In loving memory of Geraldine Weinberger, wife of Gerry Weinberger, from Daytime Jewish Studies Class.

In memory of Geraldine Weinberger, from Tony and Selena Barron. In memory of Geraldine Weinberger, from Larry and Yvette Gralla. In memory of Geraldine Weinberger, from Mort and Susan Aron. In memory of Geraldine Weinberger, from Bob and Jane Steinhardt. In memory of Geraldine Weinberger, from Corey Friedlander. In honor of Brendan Chang becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Jane and Bob Steinhardt.

In honor of Alex Shapiro becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Jenna and Michael Lebowich.

Mitzvat Mississippi Fund

In appreciation of Rabbi Mara, from Julie Levine and Larry Katzenstein.

In memory of Jonah Maccabee Dreskin, from Billy and Ellen Dreskin.

Cantor’s Discretionary Fund

In honor of Brendan Chang becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Yvette and Larry Gralla.

In honor of Matthew Heinlein, grandson, becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Lois and Arnold Melman. In appreciation of Cantor Jonathan, from Julie Levine and Larry Katzenstein.

brother of Alan Mitelman

Geraldine Weinberger wife of Gerry Weinberger

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.

Education and Youth Activities Fund

In honor of Matthew Heinlein, grandson, becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Lois and Arnold Melman.

Many thanks to Cantor Jonathan and in honor of Henry Stern becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Anne and Gary Stern.

Shel Mitelman,

In memory of Geraldine Weinberger, from Nelson and Jackie Leicht.

Rabbi Mara’s Mitzvah Fund Many thanks to Rabbi Mara and in honor of Henry Stern becoming a Bar Mitzvah, from Anne and Gary Stern.

The Woodlands Community Mourns the Loss of

Social Action Fund In memory of Philip Feiner, father of Paul Feiner, from Scott and Julie Stein.

Steve’s H.O.P.E. Fund In memory of Shel Mitelman, brother of Alan Mitelman and uncle of Rabbi Geoffrey Mitelman, from Corey Friedlander.

To find out more about all the funds that are available for your support and for information about how to donate to these funds, please visit

Honor a Loved One Bookplates Now Available It is a time-honored Jewish tradition to honor people we love by making a tzedakah contribution on their behalf. Now, in addition to contributing to our regular funds, you and your family may purchase bookplates to dedicate individual copies of our High Holy Days makhzor, Gates of Repentance. And your donation will help us purchase new prayerbooks as the need arises. • Bookplates cost $36 each. • One plate will be lovingly inscribed with both your and your loved one’s name • Each plate will be placed inside one synagogue copy of our High Holy Days prayerbook. Order online at


Ads Deliver Reach out and touch a Woodlands member with your ad. One, five, ten times a year.

To reserve space, call Pat Nissim in the temple office: 914-592-7070 or write to


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

Weinstein Memorial Chapel




1652 Central Park Avenue • Yonkers, New York 10710 (1 Block North of Tuckahoe Road) E-mail:

The Only Jewish Family Owned Chapel in Westchester County

Needs You! Sell ads to support Makom. ••• Market and promote temple activities. ••• Work on the temple website. ••• Keep the gardens pruned. ••• Keep the budget balanced. ••• Work on membership development and retention. ••• Plan fundraisers. ••• Plan the annual temple “gala.” ••• Pursue tzedakah and tikkun olam. ••• Bake latkes and hamentaschen. ••• And anything else you can think of!

A Family Commitment to the Jewish Community with Dignified, Respectful Service. Four Generations of Personalized Service Mildred, Jack*, Seymour & Edward Weinstein (Owners) Arrangements Available in Westchester and Metro NYC 24 Hours a Day • 7 Days a Week We Accept All Major Credit Cards. MEMBER: Jewish Funeral Directors Assoc. of America New York State Funeral Directors Association Westchester Funeral Directors Association


Write to and we’ll put you in touch with the right person for the right job.

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

current resident or:


The Woodlands Connection Abie’s Irish Rose: The Sequel By Ira Berkowitz


hen Rabbi Dreskin asked me if I would be willing to share my Woodlands experience with our community, it was an easy decision. First, some background. My wife Phyllis and I come from different Jewish backgrounds. She was raised in classical Reform Judaism, and I was raised Orthodox. Not quite Abie’s Irish Rose, but close. Soon after our marriage we agreed to split the difference and join a Conservative synagogue. It was an adjustment for both of us, but manageable. Until the time came for our daughter Robin to become a Bat Mitzvah. We were informed that even though ritual gender lines were already blurred in the Conservative movement, one thing was immutable: she would not be permitted to chant from the Torah. And that was a problem. In effect the policy implied that, at least ritualistically, our daughter was not valued as highly as our son. A terrible message to send to a child we raised to treasure the beauty of Judaism and its values. And that was unacceptable. Within a very short

time we joined Woodlands, and her Bat Mitzvah celebration was a joy. And yes, she chanted from the Torah. And yes, I kvelled. My wife slid easily into the Woodlands community, and our children thrived. Phyllis eventually became a Board member and liaison to the Interfaith Caring Community. For me the adjustment was more difficult. Rabbi Dreskin once told me that I’m the perfect Reform Jew. I’m not too sure about that. Labels have always troubled me. I’m a Jew in a Reform synagogue who continues to wrestle with ritual issues, but less so than I once did. I guess you

...How can you beat spending an hour experiencing the richness of Judaism with a group of oft-time crazy relatives?... can take the boy out of orthodoxy, but it’s much harder to take orthodoxy out of the boy. What I love about Woodlands is its ethos. It is a true caring community filled with kind, generous people from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, and all dedicated to living Jewishly. In

effect Woodlands is a family, and there’s no better expression of that than Torah

Ira and Phyllis’s granddaughter Allison celebrating becoming a Bat Mitzvah, with her brother, father, and mother, Robin.

Study. How can you beat spending an hour experiencing the richness of Judaism with a group of oft-time crazy relatives? After 30 years, not a week goes by that I don’t feel refreshed. Now, here’s the postscript. Our daughter Robin—the reason we joined Woodlands in the first place—and her family are members of a Conservative synagogue. As she became a Bat Mitzvah, our granddaughter Allison stood on the bimah and chanted her Haftarah and Torah portions. And we all kvelled. Go figure.

Makom March 2014  

Woodlands Community Temple monthly Makom Bulletin for March 2014

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