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the newsletter of woodlands community temple

October 2017 Tishrei-Heshvan 5778

WCT Taking Action in Difficult Times

Sukkot & Simkhat Torah:

by Gary Stern

No no no no no no no no no!

Defying Human Nature


few months back, a banner was placed on the front lawn at Woodlands with a simple, but urgent, message: “All are welcome here.” It was meant as a reaffirmation of the temple’s commitment to openness and fraternity at a time of growing intolerance across the country. Since then, though, minority groups – Jews, African-Americans, immigrants, Muslims, and the LGBTQ community – have continued to face a startling number of threats, ranging from hate speech to discriminatory legislation. The Woodlands community has been deeply concerned, with discussions held almost daily about how best to respond. One overriding consensus has been reached: that the most Jewish way to react is to avoid isolation and to offer support to our most vulnerable neighbors. “These are extraordinary times,” Cantor Jonathan Gordon says. “When we face an increasingly angry and unstable cultural and political situation, the proper response is to reach out to others. The response to hate is compassion.”

Don’t fade on us just because Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur took it all out of you. We’re just getting started!

Key responses underway so far include: • Woodlands recently hosted a training session of the New Sanctuary Movement, a clergy-led, New York City-based group that trains volunteers to accompany undocumented immigrants to hearings required Continued on page 2

First up after Yom Kippur is Sukkot. As best we can tell around here, the holiday of Sukkot is Judaism’s major food festival. Yes, we know you thought that honorific belonged to Passover, but how many guests come over for seder – maybe 10, 15, 25? Well, at the Sukkot BBQ, 300 of our best pals will be stopping by for supper! Oh yeah, the clergy will share some other stuff about God and nature and the lulav and such, but we know that it’s really all about skirt steak, salmon, chicken, hotdogs, hamburgers and veggie burgers. So on Wed, Oct 4, get yourself over here for Sukkot a la Woodlands! Sukkah decorating is at 4:30 pm, service at 5:15 pm, feastivities at 6:15 pm. Stop by to make your reservations. All 300 of us can’t wait to see you here!

Pursuing Justice, Grade by Grade by Rabbi Mara Young


he WCT Religious School Educational Philosophy defines the goal of our K-12 experience: “Religious school is the spiritual community where members of our WCT families explore becoming moral, confident individuals in relationship with one another and the world. We believe that Judaism provides the framework and the language for spiritual development that strengthens a person, our temple community, and the world at large. [...] We aim to provide transformative experiences, both inside and outside of a classroom setting, where students and their families are inspired to learn and to make a difference in the world. We do this while also preparing learners for knowledgeable, active

participation in Jewish life.” One major way we fulfill this goal is through donating tzedakah and participating in other forms of righteous giving. We teach the value of giving time and resources, especially financial ones. Every week, our students are encouraged to bring a dollar or two from home that they can contribute to the community collection. This is an ancient practice. The Torah tells us to leave the corners of our fields untouched so that the poor can collect food. The rabbis used this mitzvah as the basis for a communal welfare system, where money was collected and then fairly distributed in order to help society’s poor. Continued on page 2

Then, a week later, the cast and crew of So You Think You Can Dance will watch us do what none of their dancers ever did – boogie with a Torah scroll! Nigel, Mary and Adam will be handing out plane tickets galore when they get a load of Woodlands rock and (un)rolling the night away. Wed, Oct 11 is the date. We start at 7:30 pm and conclude (with a tasty oneg afterward) by 9:00 pm. And if we’re starting too early to get the family fed, come at 6:30 pm for a quick dinner (reserve at

Our Woodlands Community

WCT & Taking Action in Difficult Times, Continued from p. 1

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

by ICE, the Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Some 75 people attended from inside and outside Woodlands. “You are there as a witness, not an advocate, so the judge and others know the immigrant is not alone,” Cantor Jonathan says. “When the judge sees someone there, there is a tendency to be more understanding.” Trainees are now waiting to be called. For more information, contact

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

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

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

Stu Berlowitz (ex-officio)

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

Woodlands Community Temple 50 Worthington Road White Plains, NY 10607 914.592.7070 main office 914.592.1790 religious school direct line 914.592.7376 fax Religious School:

Woodlands Community Temple is affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism Art Director: Melanie Roher Advertising Director: Aliza Burton


• Volunteers from Woodlands and surrounding communities have been trained by HIAS (formerly the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) to help resettle Syrian refugee families. Resettlement has slowed considerably because of the Trump administration’s “travel ban,” but volunteers are standing by as the ban makes its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Marge Glusker, cochair of the Woodlands Task Force on Syrian Refugees, says that Rabbi Billy Dreskin’s sermon last Rosh Hashanah about how the Yanov Torah survived the Holocaust inspired many. “More and more volunteers stepped forward to get prepared to welcome a Syrian family,” she says. For more information, contact • Woodlands will host an “Upstander Intervention Workshop” on Sunday, Oct 15 from 3:00 -5:00 pm. The Center

for Anti-Violence Education will train congregants, as well as Christian and Muslim neighbors, about the range of responses available when we see someone targeted by hatred, or even when we are in the presence of bigoted conversations. Register at UpstanderTraining. “Role playing is an important part of the workshop,” says Roberta Roos, co-chair of WCT’s Social Action Committee. Social Action’s Stand Up to Bigotry Project is also asking people to add their name to a digital “Stand Up Wall” at • For over two years, WCT’s Bridges of Faith and Friendship Task Force has reached out to neighboring Muslim and Christian communities. The task force, for instance has hosted two Ramadan dinners. Such social and educational activities will continue. To learn more, contact Rabbi Billy emphasizes that these efforts are in line with the historical Jewish imperative to be sensitive to the pain of other minorities. “Our Torah teaches,” he says, “‘Do not wrong the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.’ And at our seders, with these words, ‘Let all who are hungry come and eat,’ we are challenged to act.”

Pursuing Justice, Grade by Grade, Continued from p. 1

To connect to this hallowed practice, last year we created a religious school tzedakah council, named Rodef Tzedek (pursuing justice). We’re thrilled to be entering year two. Last year, our kindergarten through 12th graders were given the opportunity to opt-in to the council. 16 students in grades K-7 and seven temple teens met monthly to learn about global need and local impact. They often worked in small groups with the teens taking mentorship roles, working directly with the younger kids. The group participated in self-reflection exercises to understand their personal values around giving and the causes they care about most. They researched organizations in order to learn about major factors to consider when making a gift: How many dollars go to overhead? How big is the organization’s impact? What’s its stated and unstated mission? They then had to engage in a process of compromise in order to whittle 20 organizations down to five that we would donate to. In the end, a community was formed. Kids of different ages got to bond over their common love of justice. We distributed over $1,000 last year. This year, we’d like to double it! Tzedakah differs from charity. Charity is a voluntary giving of help, an action rooted in a feeling. Tzedakah takes the concept of charity to the next level. It defines giving as a holy obligation – not optional, not subject to one’s whims, but a constant, dutiful deed. We reinforce this many times throughout the religious school Continued on page 9

from the


Looking for the Staple of Life Rabbi Billy Dreskin


uthor James Collins has given some considered thought to mortality (“Let Me Count the Days,” New York Times, March 12, 2014). Admittedly, his perspective is a bit more jaunty and entertaining than our recently completed High Holy Days but his point, I think, is just about the same. Collins writes: “I was rummaging in a desk drawer and paused to read what was written on a box of staples I saw there: Swingline standard staples / fits all standard staplers / 5000 staples.” Collins thought that was an awful lot of staples. He noticed that the box, which he’d purchased perhaps a decade earlier, was only about 150 staples down, with some 4850 still remaining. He then determined he’d been using about fifteen staples a year and that, to finish the box (ignoring the startling fact that, for some reason, he owned two other unopened boxes of 5000 staples each) it would require something akin to 323 years. “That’s when I realized that I was going to die,” he wrote. “I owned more staples than I could possibly use in my lifetime, or several of my lifetimes.” Counting the time we have left is nothing new in Jewish tradition. Yom Kippur is, in fact, a rehearsal for dying. Some wear a white kittel, literally a burial shroud, throughout the day. Most of us fast, the dining modality of those no longer living. On Yom Kippur, there’s no washing, no fancy ornaments, and no sex – when we’re dead, these all go away. Except that Yom Kippur concludes with the words “khotmeinu b’sefer khayyim tovim ... seal us for a blessing in the Book of Life.” That’s not a reference to the hereafter. Our ancestors spend a day each year contemplating death so that they might “choose life and live.” Which begs these questions for you and me: Another set of High Holy Days has come and gone – have they made any difference in our lives? Have we learned anything about who we are, how we behave, and ways that we will strive to improve? Will we value our lives to any greater degree? And if so, how will we show that? The world we live in is more complicated than ever. Those complications present us each with possibilities. There are so many lives – everyone from ourselves to our children and grandchildren, to communities struggling with the impact of natural events, and those contending with the impact of legislative events – so many lives that can benefit from our helping hands. This year, let’s not just hear the shofar’s call, let’s respond to it. Woodlands is around to help you help. Whether it’s to volunteer or to have a conversation about trying to make sense of it all, we’re here for you. And who knows? Maybe it’s just about learning to share our staples.

L’shana tova ... wishing you an incredibly sweet and life-filled New Year,

Just Israel Avocados Making Guacamole and Better Neighbors by Jeanne Bodin


ar from the headlines, “green gold” is paving the way for Israeli-Palestinian cooperation and coexistence. The recent increase in world-wide consumption of avocados has provided a unique opportunity created by the Galilee International Management Institute in northern Israel for Palestinian agronomists to study new agro-tech methods with their Israeli counterparts and increase production. Israeli exports of avocados have increased to 100,000 tons or 30% of the European winter market. The GIMI Institute, established in 1987, trains people from over 170 countries in their own languages. Funding for the Palestinian project was provided by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Union with the goal of fostering Israeli-Palestinian collaboration. These Palestinian farmers (40% are women) already grow avocados but want to increase their farms’ production and their piece of the European market. This program will conclude with help in exporting these crops to Europe. Joseph Shevel, president of GIMI, hopes to create a “breakthrough” program to ease unemployment in Gaza as well. 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.


Please Join Us at Our Famous

Annual Sukkot BBQ Wed, Oct 4, 4:30-8:00 pm A holiday celebration for the whole congregation! 4:30 Sukkot Family Experience 5:15 Kabbalat Sukkot Service (a 1-hour musical, visual worship for young and old) 6:15 Sukkot BBQ

Simkhat Torah Rock and (un)Roll!!

Our annual celebration of Torah and Jewish learning Wed, Oct 11

Through Fri, Sep 29: adults $15, children $7, families $30 On or after Sat, Sep 30: adults $20, children $10, families $40 Bring one side-dish or dessert per family (if possible, make it local, go for organic, and keep it green). And don’t forget, no nuts please!

Dinner at 6:30 pm Celebration 7:30-9:00 pm Don’t miss our rockin’ Simkhat Torah house band!

Sign-up online at

Sukkot-Simkhat Torah Yizkor

Please remember to bring fruits and veggies to hang in the sukkah!

Witness the awesome experience of unrolling the entire Torah! Bring your entire family – from great-grandparents to grand-infants – as we sing, dance and celebrate with our Torah ... the Woodlands way! Register for dinner at

Thu, Oct 12, 9:00-10:00 am


f someone you love died recently, or many years ago, Jewish tradition provides an opportunity to reconnect memory and heart for a few moments out of our busy lives. While we can certainly stop anytime to do this ourselves, to come together with our synagogue community is a beautiful and meaningful way to honor those we love. Please join us for a simple and meaningful Sukkot-Simkhat Torah Yizkor Hour. We’ll sing, read, and share a few words and thoughts of remembrance. This is one of four times during the year we come together for Yizkor. It’s a loving and respectful way to Jewishly remember. Please plan to be with us. Registration is now open!

Union for Reform Judaism Biennial

Build My Own Sukkah?!


uilding a sukkah at home can make Sukkot exciting and hands-on for young and old alike. It’s really not so complicated. And many sukkah-builders involve their friends, relatives, and even the entire neighborhood in the fun. Sukkot this year begins Wednesday evening, October 4 (and tradition has us return home from Yom Kippur services to begin building). Why not let us show you “The Sukkah Project” and other ideas about how to make your own sukkah? Visit for details.


December 6-10, 2017, Boston, MA


oin your rabbis, temple leaders and members who enjoy great music, teachers, and worship for this phenomenal Reform Jewish experience. Speakers include: Abigail Pogrebin, David Grossman, William Barber and Anita Diamant. More information is available at Registration is now open! Save $200 by signing up before Oct 10. Learn how to make Woodlands a better synagogue for us all, and have a great time in Boston too!

Worship Schedule Shabbat Khol HaMoed Sukkot

Shabbat Noakh

Ex 33:12 - 34:26 ... Ezek 38:18 - 39:7

Gen 6:9 - 11:32 ... Isa 54:1 - 55:5

Fri, Oct 6

Fri, Oct 20

Simply Shabbat at 8:00 pm

A Joyful Noise! at 8:00 pm

A quiet evening with your clergy. Familiar melodies and familiar prayers to bring us all together. Israeli rabbinical student Yael Vurgan will speak.

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

Sat, Oct 7 Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 am Celebrate with us as Joseph Vohnout, son of Tara and Richard Vohnout, becomes a Bar Mitzvah.

Sat, Oct 21

Hevra Torah Learning Saturdays, 9:15-10:15 am There’s abundant room around our table. Drop by once or often, we’d love to have you join our lively conversation. In the Meeting Room or Library.

Oct 7: Parashat Khol HaMoed Sukkot

Facilitated by Rabbi Joan Glazer Farber

Oct 14: Parashat Bereshit Facilitated by Rabbi Billy

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

Oct 21: Parashat Noakh

Gen 1:1 - 6:8 ... Isa 42:5 - 43:10

Shabbat Lekh Lekha

Oct 28: Parashat Lekh Lekha

Fri, Oct 13

Gen 12:1 - 17:27 ... Isa 40:27 - 41:16

Jammin’ Shabbat at 7:00 pm

Fri, Oct 27

Put on your jammies, bring a bedtime friend, a blanket if you like, and c’mon over for 30 minutes of Shabbat song, stories and blessings to get you ready for bed. Bring a buck for tzedakah!

Mishpakha Shabbat at 7:00 pm

Shabbat Bereshit

NFTY in Israel Shabbat at 8:00 pm High school students recently returned from their summer in Israel will share impressions about their visit to the Holy Land. Rabbinic intern Deena Gottlieb will speak.

Sat, Oct 14

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

Sat, Oct 28 Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 am Celebrate with us as Gabriel Fuschillo, son of Olga Tenenbaum and Michael Fuschillo, becomes a Bar Mitzvah.

Shabbat Morning Service at 10:30 am Celebrate with us as Robert Levitt, son of Lauren and Benjamin Levitt, becomes a Bar Mitzvah.

No Phones or Cameras at Services, Please When our Woodlands family celebrates sacred moments – services, weddings, funerals, etc., – we endeavor to create something that transcends ordinary time and brings us into relationship with our Creator. We hope that you will help create these moments by being fully present and in spiritual partnership with us and with God. Please, no additional lenses or recorders. View and remember through your own eyes and heart.

Facilitated by Rabbi Mara

Facilitated by Cantor Jonathan

Honor a Loved One High Holy Days Bookplates Now Available It is a time-honored Jewish tradition to honor people we love by making tzedakah contributions on their behalf. You and your family may do this by purchasing bookplates to dedicate individual copies of our High Holy Days makhzor. Your donation will help us pay for these new makhzorim. • Bookplates cost $36 for each makhzor dedicated.

High Holy Days Sermons Will Be Online If you find one presentation or another particularly meaningful during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, or just want to read something through again, you can download it for yourself or to share with others. They will be available at

• 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


October Happenings & Beyond Learning

Sukkot Learning in the Sukkah Thu, Oct 5, 8:30-10:00 am

Current Events/Lunch and Learn Wed, Oct 18, 10:00-11:30 am

Always a wonderful Sukkot morning, come nosh on bagel and a shmear while exploring some of Judaism’s greatest texts. We’ll read through the originals and probe them for deeper meanings and contemporary relevance. Led by Rabbi Mara and Israeli HUC student Yael Vurgan.

Join our ever popular and dynamic Current Events conversation. Then immediately following, stay with us for “Lunch and Learn.” This year, we have nine different learning opportunities while you enjoy a lovely lunch. For October, Walter Schwartz is presenting “The History of Suffrage.” It’s good to be reminded just how precious our right to vote is. Current Events is free. Lunch and Learn is $10/session and $75 if you sign up for all 9 programs. RSVP at

Talmud with Rabbi Billy Five Thursdays, Oct 19 - Dec 21 11:30 am - 1:00 pm The Talmud is a doorway into self-discovery. Containing 800 years of spiritual inquiry, the Talmud has, for 2000 more, beckoned generations of seekers who’d like to better understand the Jewish quest for answers to life’s greatest puzzles: right and wrong, pain and struggle, the existence of God, death. You are warmly invited to join our intrepid team of adventurers and learners. Get yourself a copy of Koren Talmud Bavli, Vol. 1: Tractate Berakhot (English and Hebrew Edition) and jump right in with us (or just visit our first class to try us out). Our conversations are entertaining, frequently enlightening, often irreverent, and sometimes life-changing. Contact the office ( to register. Hope to see you there!

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

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


S’forim Forum Sat, Oct 21 at 4:30 pm Cantor Jonathan Gordon will facilitate this wonderful discussion of various books by Jewish authors. Watch for future notices of what book we’ll be discussing. Join us to enjoy a light nosh, great literature, enlightening discussion, and sweet Havdalah.

Westchester Night of Learning Sat, Nov 18 at 7:30 pm Enjoy your choice of any two sessions taught by 30 Westchester rabbis (including Rabbi Billy, but go learn with someone else while you’ve got the chance!). Scrumptious reception follows. Beth El Synagogue (1324 North Ave, New Rochelle). $20 per person through Nov 10, then $25. Register at More info, contact Donna Bartell at

S O C IA L A C T I O N October Mensch of the Month is Academy! You too can be a mensch by bringing in canned meats, fish and beans for the food cart. Help our local food pantries and the folks they serve.

Woodlands Gift Card Drive at the Sukkot BBQ Wed, Oct 4 Woodlands Domestic Abuse Task Force helps families move from Hope’s Door into transitional housing. We provide them with everything they need for a fresh start. In addition, we’re asking you to bring to the Sukkot BBQ a gift card (Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target, Kohl’s, etc). Want to join or to find out more about the Domestic Abuse Task Force? Contact us at

Upstander Intervention Workshop Sun, Oct 15, 3:00-5:00 pm The Center for Anti-Violence Education will conduct a workshop here at Woodlands teaching us the range of responses available when we see someone targeted by hatred or are in the presence of bigoted conversations. Check weekly email for registration information.

Social Action Committee Shabbaton Sat, Oct 21, 10:30 am - 1:00 pm Please join us for study, planning and organizing. We’d love to have your participation. Check weekly email for registration information.

Why I Volunteer @ Temple Monthly Knitting and Crocheting Sun, Oct 22 at 3:00 pm

Dinner for Teen Shelter Sun, Nov 5

Make mitzvah projects together with our friendly and active group. All levels welcome, including beginners. RSVP to Angela Adler at

Provide part of a home-cooked dinner for fifteen teens living at The Sanctuary shelter in Valhalla. Prepare at your home a main dish, vegetable or starch side dish, salad, fruit or dessert and bring it to the temple by Noon on Sun, Nov 5. To volunteer, email

Breakfast Run Sun, Nov 5, 6:45 am We load up our cars with oatmeal, French toast, hot coffee, yogurt and more and head into NYC to provide breakfast, clothing and companionship to folks who are homeless or low-income. To participate, contact Michael Silverman or Betsy Schorr at

Blood Drive Sun, Nov 5, 9:00 am - 3:00 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 17-75 years old and at least 110 lbs (16-year olds may donate with a note from a parent, those over 75 with a note from your doctor). Please bring ID. Sign up at or email Chuck Bauer ( Walk-ins are welcome but you may need to wait.

Refugees and Immigrants Because we know what it feels like to be a stranger, our work with refugees and immigrants is expanding. Our Refugee Resettlement ( and Immigrant Friends at Woodlands ( task forces welcome your participation.

Environmental Task Force Our new Environmental Task Force, chaired by Kirsten Kleinman and Adam Hart, is looking for members. If you are concerned about the environment and want to join with others to make a difference, let Kirsten and Adam know at

Connections: Become a Mentor! Make a difference in a young person’s life forever. Connections is a program of The Children’s Village that provides mentoring by those 25 years or older willing to meet twice a month for a year or more with one individual who is currently in foster care. Connections’ mission includes three core beliefs: all young people need connections to adults who believe in them; education, appropriate social behavior and job skills are essential to functioning independently in society; and, everyone possesses the ability to make life happy and fulfilling.

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


pon joining Woodlands, our children were young and they were my priority. I truly did not think that active temple life was for me; a religious school event here or there would be enough. But I quickly found out I could volunteer with my children and as a family. We took the leap and together as a family volunteered for the Tent Sale. I was a core member of the planning committee and David, Sidney and Erin joined the day of the sale. To work hand-in-hand as a family, meeting and making new friends, doing something good for our Woodlands community, had its rewards. One volunteering led to another, and eventually led to leadership. I have loved that being involved at temple – giving back to my community within Woodlands and to the greater community – could be a family affair. Not only did I grow, but our volunteering has helped shape the character of our children.

Dayle Fligel

Save the Date! 6th Annual Jonah Maccabee Concert

with Dan Nichols, Josh Nelson, Ellen Dreskin and Rosalie Boxt

 aturday, S March 10, 2018

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

If interested, contact Jahmeal Blain ( or 914.693.0600 x1750).


Rabbi and Rebbetzin Summoned to Tenafly


n Saturday, October 7, Ellen and Billy Dreskin will cross the GW Bridge to spend an evening with the Tisch fellows of the Hebrew Union College rabbinical program. Our intern, Deena Gottlieb, participates in this three-year intensive leadership program that helps rabbinical students inspire and encourage modern Jews to willingly and joyfully embrace Jewish living. The Dreskins have been asked to present on the topic of excellence in worship. They will lead a service using creative liturgy, visual projection and iyyunim (all the elements, by the way, that Woodlands has been exploring for years). A discussion will follow, during which Billy will promise never to refer to Cantor Dreskin as a rebbetzin ever again.

Israeli Rabbinial Student Returns! Yael Vurgan spent a wonderful week with us last April, learning from and teaching us, and now she’s coming back. That makes us very happy! Here’s a note she wrote to us about her return: Dear friends, Shalom. It has been five months since my first and wonderful visit from Israel to Woodlands, and I am very excited for my second in October, when I’ll be with you for the week of Sukkot and Simkhat Torah. The Hebrew month of Elul is a good time to prepare for the challenges of the coming new year. I will start my fourth and final year of HUC in Israel while working as a Student Rabbi in a small Reform community in Even-Yehudah (close to Netanya). So it is very important and helpful for me to learn as much as possible from you, and to continue building the connection between us. It seems like these days our communities and movements are dealing with a similar need to struggle for the sake of democracy in both of our countries. I look forward to meeting all of you again, joining you in the holiday events, and sharing with you some more of my country. In the meantime, I wish you all shana tovah! Yael

Have You Seen Our New Benches? Greenwich Village at Woodlands Sat, Nov 4 at 8:00 pm


he Woodlands Coffeehouse will feature our friend, folksinger Chris Lowe, a regular performer in the Greenwich Village scene today. Chris is a singer/songwriter who grew up in and around New York City. He has lived in Greenwich Village all his adult life, reflected in his songs about the people, places and things of his beloved neighborhood. His first album was produced by his friend and mentor, Dave Van Ronk, who said that Chris writes songs with “a wonderful sense of place... captured with a deftness that a novelist might envy.” Heavily influenced by the delta and country blues artists of the thirties as well as traditional folk, jazz and classical, Chris’s music displays a unique synthesis of the old and new. Come and enjoy great acoustic music in the friendly confines of our Woodlands Coffeehouse. $20 adults, $10 students. It’s a fun deal. See you there.


Thank you to Michael Arbore for designing, constructing, and donating our new foyer benches! Michael, a 12th grader in our Academy program, (third from right in photo below), is currently pursuing his Eagle Scout rank with the Boy Scouts of America. To pursue this award, Michael is required to complete a service project that benefits a community outside of the Boy Scouts. We are incredibly thankful that Michael chose to give back to his synagogue community. His benches have transformed our foyer, making it a true gathering space: one that is more accessible to the elderly, disabled persons, nursing mothers, and more ... not to mention his friends in Academy!

Youth Engagement 9th-12th Graders: Join us at the NFTY-NAR Kickoff on Sat, Oct 14. It’ll be a day-long NFTY event in Brooklyn, perfect for you new members! Want more info? Contact Tara.

8th graders: Get excited for WCT’s first ever 8TH GRADE RETREAT! We will be spending the day in NYC on Sun, Oct. 15. More information to come, but you won’t want to miss it! Contact Tara with any questions.

Build the Temple Sukkah! Sunday, Oct 1 Contact Andy Farber at to lend a hand. Children welcome!

WCT in Training to Aid Immigrants

Shalom Storytime for Kids 2 and Younger Got young kids? Grandkids nearby? Friends with young kids? Tell them about Shalom Storytime. For kids 2 and younger, we meet once monthly on select Saturday mornings (9:30-10:00 am). For parents/caregivers and little ones who love a good story and song. Join us for this half-hour of singing, reading, and making friends. Each month we’ll use a Jewish holiday as our theme. No need to be a temple member or to RSVP, just come be part of the fun (we do start on time, though!) Here are the dates: Oct 14, Nov 4, Dec 2, Jan 20, Feb 10, Mar 17, Apr 14 and May 19.

Book Fair 2017! Fri, Nov 10 - Mon, Nov 20 Come down to the Youth Lounge and do some early holiday shopping while you support your religious school. We’ll have books of all types, some with Jewish themes and some secular, for the littlest kids through adults. Religious school kids will be cycling through during class, so be sure to send them with some money on that day. The Book Fair will be open during temple programs and religious school hours.

Book Fair Shabbat: A Muppet with Autism Accompaniment Training (to assist undocumented immigrants apprehended by ICE) with Ravi Ragbir, community organizer with New Sanctuary Coalition NYC.

Pursuing Justice, Grade by Grade, Continued from p. 9

experience: weekly collection of funds, our Mensch of the Month food collection (in which one grade is in charge of decorating the collection cart and filling it to the brim), requiring that our B’nai Mitzvah students donate money (as well as time and energy) to two charitable organizations, and youth group projects. Make sure your family gets involved, whether it is through the school or by supporting the efforts of our students.

Fri, Nov 10 at 8:00 pm Kick off our annual Book Fair by hearing one of WCT’s own. Leslie Kimmelman is an accomplished children’s book author and will speak about her role in originating and developing Sesame Street’s (yes, THAT Sesame Street!) newest character, Julia, a young muppet with autism.


The Simkha Page

Our B’nai Mitzvah

Shana tovah

and warmest wishes for a wonderful 5778 from The Judaica Shop at Woodlands. As the temperatures cool, we find our

calendars filling with family and friends, and the gift shop committee is excited about the wonderful hostess gifts we’ve brought in. We know the colorful “Shalom” home blessing by Israeli artist Emanuel will bring smiles to the recipient.

Welcoming a new baby?

Joseph Vohnout

Gabriel Fuschillo

Oct 7

Oct 28

Torah Portion Hol HaMoed Sukkot

Torah Portion Lekh Lekha

Hebrew Name Yosef Shlomo

Hebrew Name Gavriel Yaakov

Robert Levitt Oct 14 Torah Portion Bereshit Hebrew Name Reuven

Todah Rabbah (thank you) to... The Academy Barbecue shoppers and grillers. The Kabbalat ShabBBQ grillers. The Lebowich, Wineberg/ Kaufman, Sagner, Klein and Farber families for participating in Tara’s URJ Roswell Klal Yisrael Fellowship Shabbat experience. Tara says, “It was so meaningful and educational for our fellows, and you helped them all fall in love with Woodlands. I am so lucky to work with you all!”

The charming enameled baby blessing or the dinosaur tzedakah box will be treasured gifts for many years to come. We’re happy to be able to carry gift shop favorites once again – the “Tree of Life” Torah pointer by Quest Designs, car mezzuzot and decorative Shabbat candles. This month, we feature our newest artist, Daryl Cohen of Glassdesigns. Daryl’s dichroic (glass containing micro-layers of metal oxides; a process dating back to 4th century CE) mezzuzot are eye-catching, blending his love of color, glass and Judaism. Each of his one-of-a-kind pieces reflects his environment, the Sonoran desert, sun and sky. Come find a piece that speaks to you.

The Judaica Shop is open, by request, every day the temple office is staffed. Evening and weekend hours are noted in the weekly temple email. Shopping for something special? Looking for a volunteer opportunity that’s fun and fits with your schedule? Email us at and let’s talk!


Tara and her Klal Yisrael cohort.

Mazal Tov to... Richard and Tara Vohnout as their son, Joseph, is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah. Benjamin and Lauren Levitt as their son, Robert, is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah. Michael Fuschillo and Olga Tenenbaum as their son, Gabriel, is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah.

B’rukhim haba’im

Welcome to our newest members! Scott and Kim Cohen Josh and Cheryl Fineman Matthew and Lisa Lowenbraun David and Lisa Sacks David and Lorraine Valle

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 memory of Lewis M. Stubits, father of Liz Shlom, from Jay Mendelson and Evalyn Cohen. In memory of Martha Ranieri, from Jeffrey and Susan Axelrod.

Cantor’s Discretionary Fund In honor of Jack Oren’s Bar Mitzvah, from Richard and Nancy Oren.

Chai Fund In memory of David Segal, father of Liz Rauchwerger, from Murray and Jeanne Bodin, Joel and Pan Chernoff, Andy and Joan Farber, David and Dayle Fligel, Corey Friedlander, David Griff and Roni Beth Tower, Abby Hirsch, Barry and Judy Kessler, Charles and Carol Kessler, Nelson and Jackie Leicht, Barry and Laurie Leibowitz, Marjorie Mattel and Richard Rosen, Mark and Michele Montague, Lloyd and Roberta Roos, Ruth Rugoff and Joe and Annie Potischman, Jonathan Richer and Lisa Sacks, Michael and Stacey Silverman, Scott and Julie Stein, Bob and Jane Steinhardt, Marge Thrope, Jay and Natalie Werner, Roger and Roberta Wetherbee. In memory of Lilly Erbst, mother of Sandra Froimowitz, from David and Dayle Fligel.

In memory of Lewis Stubits, father of Liz Shlom, from David and Dayle Fligel. In memory of my grandfather, Marvin Sherman, from Michael Arbore’s Eagle Scout Project Donations. In honor of Robert Kleinberg on his 80th birthday, from Irwin Miller and Barbara Gordon. In memory of Fay Raphael Rosenthal, grandmother of Deborah Wiskind, from Larry and Yvette Gralla. In memory of Fay Raphael Rosenthal, grandmother of Deborah Wiskind, from Scott and Julie Stein. In memory of Fay Raphael Rosenthal, grandmother of Deborah Wiskind, from Roger and Roberta Wetherbee. In honor of Barry and Judith Kessler, from Susan and Erwin Grill. In memory of Lewis Stubits, father of Liz Shlom, from Mark and Michele Montague.

The Woodlands Community Mourns the Loss of Leon Jay Abram brother of Bill Abram Robert D. Harper, Jr. father of Emily Harper Gilfus Fay Raphael Rosenthal grandmother of Deborah Wiskind David Segal father of Liz Rauchwerger

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

Geraldine and Gerald Weinberger Lifelong Learning Fund In honor of Sidney Shames’ 100th birthday, from Gerry Weinberger.

Music Fund In honor of Fran Weingast’s birthday, from Sam and Eileen Shulman.

The Sukkah Of Life: Handle With Care In ancient Israel, Sukkot may have been more important than Rosh Hashanah

and Yom Kippur. The Really Big Day was when everyone prayed to God for rain and a good harvest. In the arid Middle East, nothing was more important than rain. The Talmud reports that during the Sukkot ritual in Jerusalem, a kohen (priest) changed one of the Sukkot rituals and the people rose up and pelted him with their etrogs! Sometimes it’s incredibly important not to spoil things. But it’s something we sometimes do too well. We take what isn’t ours. We pelt one another with words designed to hurt. We ignore others in need. When relationships go bad, like spoiled fruit we throw them away. Angry and frustrated, we slam the door because everything has been spoiled and we have no idea how to make it all better again. But sometimes, even what is spoiled can be reclaimed. When Moses broke the Tablets, instead of throwing everything away he climbed back up Sinai, asked forgiveness, and renewed the relationship with God. May this Sukkot season remind us that just as the sukkah is beautiful but fragile, life and relationships are as well. We can preserve a sukkah, and we can preserve lives and relationships.

This is the great blessing of life: that while things can go wrong, they can also be made right.

Memorial Garden Wall

Inscribe Your Loved One’s Name


wice 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 Thursday, October 5. 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

School Board Mon, Oct 16 at 8:15 pm

Finance Committee Mon, Oct 16 at 8:15 pm

Board of Trustees Sun, Oct 22 at 7:30 pm

Jewish Life Committee Mon, Oct 30 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.

Employment Services for the Westchester Jewish Community WJCS Career>Connect program helps those dealing with employment instability. Provides job-seekers with dynamic informational workshops, a Career Boot Camp Intensive, and individual career counseling services. Contact 914.761.0600 x170 or

Are You in Need of Financial Assistance? The Hebrew Free Loan Society (HFLS) may be able to help. For 125 years, HFLS has been providing 0% interest loans to low- and moderate-income New Yorkers in need. Loans are available for emergency and personal needs, higher education, vocational school, small business start-up or expansion, fertility treatments, adoption, and more. HFLS loans have no interest, no fees, and reasonable repayment terms. Visit or contact 212.687.0188 or to learn more.


Kindergarten through 6th grade Religious School Opening Day was Sunday, September 10. Fun was had by all as families competed in a Rosh-Hashanah themed game show and took part in the song-filled opening ceremony.

Major Supporter of Woodlands Community Temple 2017 Tent Sale


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WCT Marketplace Sale Sun, Oct 8

current resident or:


Judai Connection Cantor Jonathan Gordon

Is God an Adverb?


here are many Jewish names for God. Our rabbis teach that God has 70 names. To take it further, 70 is a metaphor for ten times everything. There are as many names for God as there are experiences for a human being, and even more for what we do not imagine. There are seven names of God that are so holy that, when they are written, the page itself accrues holiness. Such written documents must not be destroyed, but are to be buried when they are no longer usable, in the same manner as a person who has died. Both the page and the human are vessels of the divine. Each Jewish name of God expresses a particular aspect of the Holy One. For example, Shaddai tells us that God has provided enough. This name appears in the mezuzah of the Jewish home.


ach name of God is true, while still leaving room for other names. As individual facets on a beautiful jewel, each experience of God is perfect and consistent in itself. We humans can but describe the qualities as we encounter them.

Two names of God are primary in the Torah and the prayer book. They are often used side by side. Elohim depicts one aspect of God, Adonai the other.


lohim is the name of God used in the beginning of Genesis. Elohim depicts God as a ruler. Here God is revealed in rules that make things as they are: the forces of nature, the pull of gravity, the Reality Principle. The natural consequences of human actions that are fixed also express the force of Elohim. Our rabbis taught: “If a man stole a measure of wheat and planted it, it would be just if the grain would not grow. But the world pursues its natural course.” We must accept these laws as natural. Elohim expresses the eternal laws of existence. The other name appears at a unique point in the Creation narrative. Here God has just completed fashioning the world and experienced the Sabbath. Elohim has separated from matter and order. The stage is set. Genesis 2:4 depicts the creation of the future. Here the name of God as Adonai is added to our language. No shrub or herb had yet sprung up.“God had not caused it to rain, there was not a human to till the

ground.” At this moment, God forms humanity. Here, the name Adonai is added to the name Elohim. Adonai expresses the relationship between humans and God, one being to another.


ankind is introduced when there is a mission to fulfill. We say Adonai to address our Divine Partner. One might imagine the relationship between a child and a parent, in all that might entail. The name Elohim will express reality which cannot be changed. Adonai contains the ideal which may yet come into being. Elohim is the God of judgment. Adonai connotes mercy. It embodies love, as against truth. It depicts God as mercy and compassion. These names exist together. The Sh’ma affirms that Adonai, our Elohim, is one. Taken together, the names express both what we can control and what we cannot. The holy names are adverbs more than nouns. They express what God has done, and continues to do, in this great history we call life.

WCT Makom October 2017  
WCT Makom October 2017  

Woodlands Community Temple October 2017 Bulletin