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the newsletter of woodlands community temple


December 2013 Kislev-Tevet 5774

Wednesdays with Gloria, Bob, Fran, and… Daytime Diversions isn’t just for the retired By Fran Smith


ednesday mornings can get a little wild at Woodlands. That’s when the Daytime Diversions program brings a crowd to the temple for movies, speakers, and robust discussions about current events. The program, powered by volunteer energy, has a devoted following of people who enjoy the opportunity to learn, argue, connect, and have fun in a welcoming, stimulating environment. The program is open to all, though most who come are retirees. “After you retire, you tend to get into a rut, and if people have physical ailments, it’s very easy to stay home and become isolated,” says WCT member Fran Rosenfeld. “This program was a wonderful idea — it’s a very important thing for people.” Daytime Diversions reflects WCT’s commitment to serving older members and, more broadly, to developing innovative programming that meets the diverse needs of a multi-generational congregation. The program also illustrates how leadership and determination by just a few members can Cary Grant is only one of many stars entertaining take an idea, push it forward, and make it a the DD crowd (from His Gal Friday, Dec 4) tremendous success. “It’s filling a huge gap,’’ says Stu Berlowitz, WCT president. “Not everyone wants to go to a program that starts at 7:30 in the evening.” Member Gloria Falk is the primary force behind Daytime Diversions. About five years ago, she responded to a letter from Rabbi Billy, saying he was interested in creating a program Continued on page 2

“Do Not Forsake Us” Project Ezra Luncheon Sun, Dec 8, 11 a.m.-2 p.m


roject Ezra is an independent, nonprofit grassroots organization serving frail Jewish elderly on New York’s Lower East Side. It provides a variety of services to a largely homebound population. The organization does not fall under any Federation or umbrella organizations nor does it receive any government funds. It depends on the tzedakah of the community at large. On Sunday, Dec 8, Woodlands will host a luncheon for 50 Project Ezra participants. You and your family can host a table by supplying

a dairy lunch and sharing in conversation and music with our guests. If you can’t attend, you can volunteer to provide food or make a donation to WCT to help fund some of the food. The food served is usually a dairy meal consisting of bagels, lox, and cream cheese, tuna fish, whitefish salad, egg salad, noodle pudding, and salad. Contact Harriet Kohn at or 693-0751 to volunteer and go to projects for more information.

Hanukkah First Candle Nov 27 Thanksgiving Meal Prep for Homeless Nov 28 MishpakHanukkah Service Nov 29 Hanukkah Last Candle Dec 4 A Joyful Noise Dec 6 Project Ezra Lunch Dec 8 Kidz Shabbat Dec 20 Christmas Eve Midnight Run Dec 24 Donate to WCT Annual Fund: Save on Taxes Dec 31

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

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


Continued from page 1

for people who are available during the day. A monthly current events group was flourishing on Wednesdays, under the leadership of longtime member Bob Steinhardt. It made sense to Gloria to piggyback on that, by expanding the Wednesday offerings. The format quickly took shape. On the first Wednesday of the month, there are movies. Gloria picks them to appeal “to different people with different tastes,” so the films run the gamut— from serious to funny, romantic to historical, and sometimes Jewish-themed. All are classics—“I believe I haven’t shown a single movie made after 1997,” Gloria says. No movie runs longer than an hour and 45 minutes, so there’s time to kibitz and discuss the movie before people are out the door at noon. The second Wednesday features speakers. There seems to be no topic that Gloria has not yet covered, and no local expert she has not tapped as a presenter, yet she keeps coming up with more. Members and Woodlands clergy have spoken on topics near and dear to their hearts, including old radios, financial planning, elder law, ethics, the Holocaust, and Yiddish musical theater. “We have a lot of talent and expertise in the congregation,” Gloria says. The current events group, on the third Wednesday, has been going strong for 11 years. It draws 20 to 30 people and they do not hold back their views. “It’s a very spirited group,” Fran Rosenfeld says with a laugh. “Very vocal and opinionated, but in a good way.” Bob Steinhardt sets the tone in the agenda he sends out in advance of each meeting. “Come get things off your chest,” he wrote in an agenda earlier this fall that listed eight discussion topics: The government shutdown. The Supreme Court fall term (gay marriage, abortion, voting rights, separation of church and state). The divide between the super-rich and the rest of us. The new Pope. Iran. Orthodox “goon squads” who beat up husbands who refuse to give their wives GETS. The 2014 mid-term congressional elections. The recent Pew study on Jewish practice and intermarriage in America—a topic that provoked discussion about belief in God. “It’s a very intelligent group,” Bob says. “We have a good time with each other and the morning goes fast.” The wide-ranging agenda inevitably inspires impassioned, informed debate. “It keeps us on our toes, talking with people who don’t always agree with us,” Fran says. “It makes you think about things in a different way. I think it’s very healthy.” You don’t have to be retired to love Daytime Diversions, so if you’re free on the first, second, or third Wednesday of the month from 10 a.m. until noon, stop by. There are always donuts and coffee. If you have suggestions for speakers, contact Gloria (gloriasfalk@aolcom). And if you want a great way to invest some time and energy, contact Gloria to help organize and run this vital program.

Bibi and Bond, Neshama and Todd, Billy and Mara—and Maybe You? From Dec 11-15, 5000 Reform Jews will join together in San Diego for five days of learning, celebration, music, prayer and social action. Among the 5000 will be eight representatives from Woodlands: Stu Berlowitz, Rabbi Billy and Cantor Ellen Dreskin, Rabbi Mara Young, Ross Glinkenhouse, Rabbinic Intern Dan Geffen, Mickey Milbauer, and Corey Friedlander. We’ll be attending workshops and leading a few, as well. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address us. Other presenters include NARAL President Ilyse Hogue, civil rights legend Julian Bond, ESPN columnist and founder

of Nothing But Nets Rick Reilly, and Women of the Wall chairwoman Anat Hoffman. Musical performances will include Neshama Carlebach, Josh Nelson, Dan Nichols, Rick Recht, Todd Herzog, Julie Silver, Craig Taubman and many more. Leading scholars will teach. Worship experimentation will abound. It’s not too late to register; visit biennial. Otherwise, plan for Nov 4-9, 2015. That’s when we’ll travel together to Orlando, FL, for the next Biennial.

Worship Schedule

Engaging Israel

Shabbat Miketz

Shabbat Shemot

Fri, Nov 29 MishpakHanukkah Shabbat at 7:00 p.m. (note earlier time) For the entire congregation but earlier so families with kids can attend. Meaningful for adults, engaging for kids! This month, filled with Hanukkah spirit (and latkes)! Bring your family Hanukkah menorah and help us really light up the sanctuary! Special welcome home to, and participation by, our college kids tonight. If you like, join us for a quick dinner at 6:00 pm – make your reservation at

Fri, Dec 20 Kidz Shabbat at 7:00 p.m. Our monthly 30-minute shenanigans, join in Shabbat songs and stories with Rabbi Mara and Mark Young. Bring a buck for tzedakah!

Genesis 41:1 - 44:17 ... I Kings 7:40-50

Shabbat Vayigash

Genesis 44:18 - 47:27 ... Ezekiel 37:15-28 Fri, Dec 6 A Joyful Noise at 8:00 p.m. A service for everyone, from youngest to oldest. With a dozen musicians and your voices, we’ll fill the Sanctuary with a joyful noise! Visual Worship tonight – no siddurim (unless you want one) ... all prayers and readings will be projected onto screens. Special welcome tonight to our 4th grade families.

Exodus 1:1 - 6:1 ... Isaiah 27:6 - 28:13

Shabbat Evening Service at 8:00 p.m. A quiet evening of Shabbat beauty and prayer with Rabbi Mara and Mark Young.

Jan-Feb 2014 Dear friends, I hope you will join me for one of the most exciting learning opportunities in which I’ve ever participated. “Engaging Israel” brings together, via digital media, members of our temple community with some of the foremost thinkers and visionaries in Israel today. We’ll be taught by internationally renowned scholars in the fields of Jewish studies, Middle East politics, and history, addressing core questions pertaining to: • the necessity and significance of the Jewish national enterprise

Shabbat Va’era

• how a Jewish state should exercise power

Fri, Dec 27 Shabbat Evening Service at 8:00 p.m. Harriet Levine, Corey Friedlander and Cantor Ellen Dreskin will all join Rabbi Billy for this sweet farewell to 2013. Babynaming tonight.

• why a Jew who lives outside of Israel should care about Israel

Exodus 6:2 - 9:35 ... Isaiah 66:1-13

• • • • • • • Babysitting at 8 p.m. Shabbat services is provided by teens from our religious school. This month, babysitting will be available on Dec 6 and Dec 13. There is no charge, and no advance notice is required.

• what the State of Israel can offer the world Growing feelings of disenchantment and disinterest toward Israel among an everincreasing number of Jews worldwide necessitates creating a new narrative regarding the significance of Israel for Jewish life. Come join the conversation! Part One: Wednesdays, 8:00-9:30 pm January 8, 15, 22, 29, and February 5 Course $18; Book $20 (financial assistance available)

Sign-up at by Dec 27 Part Two will take place in 2014

Shabbat Vayekhi

Genesis 47:28 - 50:26 ... I Kings 1:1-12

Rabbi Billy Dreskin

Fri, Dec 13 Shabbat Evening Service at 8:00 p.m. While the rabbis and many others are attending the URJ Biennial, Cantor Jonathan and friends will lead tonight’s service.

Read More About It

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.

Nov 30: Parashat Miketz Facilitated by Rabbi Billy

Dec 21: Parashat Shemot Facilitated by Rabbi Mara

Dec 7: Parashat Vayigash Facilitated by Cantor Jonathan

Dec 28: Parashat Va’era Facilitated by Rabbi Billy

Dec 14: Parashat Vahekhi Facilitated by Cantor Jonathan

“I can think of no better time for a good book about Israel,” wrote Thomas Friedman in the Nov 17 issue of the New York Times “Sunday Review.” This book, he wrote, would be about “the real Israel, not the fantasy, do-no-wrong Israel peddled by its most besotted supporters or the do-no-right colonial monster portrayed by its most savage critics.” Just such a book has just been published, wrote Friedman, and it’s My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, by Ari Shavit, a popular columnist for Haaretz. This book, Friedman concluded, “is a real contribution to changing the conversation about Israel and building a healthier relationship with it.”


from the cantor

Promises and Prizes


he calendar has been on our mind of late. First came Thanksgivukkah, the once in a lifetime meeting of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. The remaining weeks leading up to Christmas come after our “winter” holiday has ended, and Jews confront the feeling of being left out of the general culture. It makes one consider the emotional impact of the calendar, how calendars affect our experience of time. The calendar answers the desire to keep order and understand time, no easy challenge. When we are born, we are set free to swim in the sea of time. Once placed in that current, humans cannot master this moving dimension. We can only use time to measure changes in the world: how big a child has become, how small an experience seems in memory, how fresh is our love despite the passage of decades. December marks the end of the civil year. We strongly feel the calendar’s power. On New Year’s Eve we embark on elaborate celebrations of fireworks and joy against the long darkness of the winter night. We make resolutions to improve

our conduct by the time the year has turned one more time. We number our days, and resolve to use them better. These resolutions are promises. Promises to whom? A promise to myself, born of emotion, seems like a private matter of little consequence. I would rather see people make decisions than promises. If we remember we have a divine partner in life, an eternal caring witness, our choices become something more. The relationship with God animates every experience in life. We wish to grow according to the hopes God has for each of us; we wish to use time well both in celebration and in struggle. As Rabbi Hirsch wrote, “The calendar is the catechism of the Jew.” We speak our conscience with our hands. Jews are taught what we are to do: to love other people and serve them, to love and serve God. The future is not a gift we hope to inherit; it is a prize to be won.

Don’t delay ... Summer Camp Applications Due Now! Believe it or not, sections of our Reform movement’s summer camp programs (Crane Lake, Eisner, Harlam, Kutz, 6 Points Sports Academy, and 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy) fill to capacity by December. So if you’d like to ensure your child’s place in one of these programs, please do not delay submitting your application and deposit. Reform Jewish summer camps are not only great fun, but they also help solidify

a kid’s positive sense of Jewish identity. In this world of competing values and claims on our time and energy, this is a tremendous gift for you to offer your child or grandchild. Contact the Eisner/Crane Lake office (212-650-4130,, Kutz Camp (845-987-6300,, 6 Points Sports Academy (561-208-1650, 6points. or 6 Points Sci-Tech

Academy (857-246-8677, scitech. to find out more about this wonderfully enjoyable summer opportunity for your child or grandchild. Rabbi Billy, Rabbi Mara, and Ross Glinkenhouse have information, as well. Financial assistance is available ... contact the rabbis.

$$$ Available for 1st-time Summer Campers Is this the summer to send your child or grandchild to a URJ summer camp (Eisner, Crane Lake, Harlam, Kutz, 6 Points Sports Academy or 6 Points SciTech Academy)? Well, we’ve got up to $1000 waiting for you! No kidding! We’ve linked arms with the UJA-Federation of New York and the Foundation for Jewish Camp and


are thrilled to be able to offer this subsidy to any family wanting to give a child their first, unforgettable experience of summer at a Jewish sleepaway camp. The application process is now open at If you’ve got questions, feel free to contact Rabbi Billy, Rabbi Mara, or Ross Glinkenhouse.

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

Social Action Social Action meeting

Thurs, Dec 5, 8:10 p.m. Help plan upcoming activities. All are welcome.

Confirmation Midnight Run Clothing Collection

We need your warm clothing! Help the Confirmation class by collecting clean, gently used, men’s coats, pants, warm shirts, sweatshirts, sweaters, hats, scarves, gloves, shoes, and throw blankets. Provide warmth for those less fortunate during the Christmas Eve Midnight Run. Contact SocialAction@ if you can provide food or to find out what else you can do to help.

Dessert for a Week

Due to government cutbacks, meals at Volunteers of America Residence in Valhalla do not include desserts. Sign up as a family or with another family to supply dessert for a week during Dec or Jan. Contact Jeanne Bodin at Jeanne. for more information or to sign up for a week of desserts.

Gifts for Boys at Children’s Village

Help a boy from Children’s Village have a happy holiday. If you are able to supply a gift or gift card for one of the boys, contact Jeanne Bodin at

Donate a Kindle or electronic reader

We are collecting new and used Kindles or other electronic reading devices (plus their charges and covers, if possible) to be given to the Abayudaya, a Jewish community in Uganda with which Woodlands has a long-standing relationship. Bring your electronic reader (plus charger and cover) to the temple office or to Jeanne Bodin. For more information, go to

Social Action mailing list

We are updating our email list. If you would like to receive Social Action updates and important Social Action alerts, please send your name and email address to

Food of the Month

Snacks and large cereal boxes

Collection of the Month

Adult men size only: gently used clothing, coats, shoes, blankets, gloves, and scarves. For more information about Social Action programs, visit www.wct. org/social-action/projects or write

Adult Education Judaism 101: Jewish Thinkers (Past) Rabbi Mara Young Sun, Dec 8, 9:30 a.m. Ever wonder who we’re talking about when we say, “The Rabbis say...”? Come to this class to find out who they were and what they thought about God, Torah, and Jewish life.


Cantor Jonathan Gordon and Lisa Sacks Sun, Dec 8, 9:30 a.m. In this group we will delve into the centuries-old Jewish tradition of Mussar, a spiritual practice focused on developing inner awareness and proper conduct.

Woodlands Singers

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

Book Club Behind a Suicide Bombing

Wed, Dec 18, 7:30 p.m. The Wanting by Michael Lavigne begins with a suicide bombing on a bus in Jerusalem. The Palestinian bomber kills 10 people and wounds an Israeli architect. The human condition behind both sides of this tragedy leaves us all aching and wanting the same thing; thus the title of the book.

Ongoing Classes Jewish Studies

Hebrew (Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced) Please check the WCT Adult Ed. brochure or for more information.

Hag Sameakh! The Judaica Shop at Woodlands Committee is hoping your Festival of Lights Hanukkah celebration truly sparkles. And if a little more twinkle is what you need, the gift shop has it—from candles to shiny decorative matchboxes and menorahs to serving pieces to warm and spiritual home blessings. We are especially excited about the magnificent talleisim we just received from Silk Bijou. Finding a reasonably priced tallit that is contemporary and appealing for our B’nai Mitzvah children has been a challenge. Silk Bijou is a two-woman team that combined their multicultural backgrounds in 1988. They hand paint each piece individually, creating unique oneof-a-kind wearable masterpieces. The Judaica Shop at Woodlands loves hearing your feedback. Tell us about your recipient’s reaction to your gift or comments you’ve received about items you’ve purchased from the shop. We are always looking for new, upcoming and local artists whose work might do well in our shop. The Judaica Shop at Woodlands takes pride is being “your neighborhood gift shop for gift giving...and getting.” Think of us to help celebrate all your lifecycle events and simkhas. Looking for something special? Email us at: The Judaica Shop is open every day, by request, when the temple office is open. Evening and weekend hours are listed in the weekly email.


Woodlands Wear

Now you can wear Woodlands —anywhere you go… There were no runway models. There was no coverage in W, Vogue, or GQ (at least not yet). But on Sun, Nov 17, the world awoke to two new items of clothing that are likely to set the stage at least for temple fashion in the weeks and years to come: WCT-branded sweatshirts and t-shirts. Available in a range of sizes and for reasonable prices ($30 for sweatshirts, $15 for T-shirts), much of the the first shipment of Woodlands Wear was snapped up quickly. A limited selection is still available. But don’t feel closed out. A second shipment is on its way. As are other, as yet unrevealed, articles of clothing. And promised this spring: WCT-branded seat cushions to make High Holy Day seating more comfortable. To find out more—and to place an order, contact the office (592-7070) or write

December Happenings Thanksgiving Day Meal Prep for Homeless

Thu, Nov 28, 9:00 a.m. - Noon You are invited to join our Confirmation families at Woodlands as we prepare Thanksgiving meals for homeless men and women at the Valhalla Residential Shelter in Hawthorne. We’ll be fixing the goodies (and watching the Macy’s Parade!) until about noon, when those who would like can drive the food and personally deliver it to the men at the shelter. Space is limited, so please contact for more information. We can use shoppers, cooks to make a turkey the day before, cooks to work in our kitchen on Thanksgiving morning, and drivers at noon. Also, your donation will help us cover food costs (payable to WCT, with “Thanksgiving Meal” on the memo line).

Daytime Diversions Wednesdays at 10 a.m

Intrigued by our cover story this month? Here’s what’s on the Daytime Diversions roster for December. Hope to see you there.

Nominating Committee:

Time to Start Thinking About 5775 No sooner has the new slate of trustees and officers taken their seats, than it’s time to start thinking of their successors. Toward that end, the board has approved the 2014 Nominating Committee: Barry Leibowitz,(chair), Tanya Briendel. Esther Feldbaum. Caryn Donocoff. Mike Litsky, Jay Izes, and Michele Wise. If you have ideas of likely board candidates, please reach out to the committee with your suggestions: The new slate will be presented for congregational approval in April and will be ratified at the annual meeting in May.


Dec 4 - Movie: His Gal Friday (1940) Stars Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, and Ralph Bellamy. A comedy/drama about a newspaper editor who uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter (who just happens to be his ex-wife) from remarrying and quitting her job.

Dec 11 - Speaker: Joel Hoffman. Joel is familiar to Woodlands as a learned speaker, Israeli dance leader, Scholar-in-Residence, and much more. Come see Joel in a new light—a mystery novelist—as he talks about his book The Warwick Files and how he came to write the book and why he chose the mystery genre. Dec 18 - Current Events Bob Steinhardt sets the agenda. No one is shy about voicing ideas and opinions.

WCT’s Christmas Eve Midnight Run Tues, Dec 24, 9:00 p.m.

As part of this year’s Confirmation curriculum, Rabbi Billy and the Social Action Committee invite students (and optionally, parents) of our 10th grade to feed the homeless in New York City. Christmas Eve (a night when the needy and the homeless feel particularly alone and without hope), we meet at the temple, pack up the cars, and spend a few hours finding and feeding the homeless who, even in the dead of winter sleep in cardboard boxes on the street. Depending on room, congregants may place names on our waiting list. We’ll give you call as soon as we know your status. RSVPs are a must. Email (wct@ or call (592-7070) the temple office.

Singing along with Todd Herzog: Nov 3

January and Beyond Shabbat Shira: The Eternal Caravan Fri, Jan 10, 8:00 p.m.

Shabbat Shira is the festive yearly tribute to song as our ultimate expression of faith. This year will achieve new heights of beauty and joy, as Woodlands celebrates the many facets that make up the music of the modern Jew. Joining us will be a dynamic musical ensemble that hails from around the globe. Our virtuosic guitar duo is Israeli, the vocalist is Brazilian, and the percussionist is an American. Add to that the hand (and voice) of our cantor and the Jewish Caravan will arrive with an abundance of joy and energy. You’ll hear modern Jewish songs that express timeless Jewish themes, sung in Hebrew, Portuguese, and Yiddish, as well as new takes on traditional prayers from the liturgy, all arranged with both superb musicality and abandon.

A Spaghetti Dinner to Benefit Mitzvat Mississippi Sat, Jan 11, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Since Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on Aug 23, 2005, wreaking destruction and heartbreak in its wake, Woodlands has joined forces with Dobbs Ferry Lutheran Church to send a group down during the February break to help rebuild the area. After years in Mississippi, we have focused our efforts on New Orleans. And on Saturday night, Jan 11, we’ll join together for a old-fashioned spaghetti dinner and games to raise money for those we are still helping. Although this is the eighth year that we’ve headed south to help, there is still a lot of work to be done, a lot of rebuilding to do. We have teamed up with the St. Barnard Project to help those still displaced or who have not yet begun to rebuild. All money raised will go directly to help those with whom we will be working.

Just Israel

Super Bowl Party

Sun, Feb 2, starting at 6 p.m. With the Super Bowl being played in wintry New Jersey, the Woodlands Super Bowl Party is coming back by popular demand. Why freeze outside when you can be warm and watching with friends inside the comfort of Woodlands. Good food, good football – don’t miss the fun. Check the website for more details.

Woodlands Reads! A Program for All Ages Sun, Feb 9

This is a program for readers of all ages. We will use modern fiction for children, young adults, or adults to explore issues of Jewish identity. The books being discussed are: Ages 10 and under: Snow in Jerusalem by Debra Da Costa Grades 5-7 and teens: The Whole Story of Half a Girl by Veera Hiranandani Adults: The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks This multigenerational program will use adult, young adult, and children’s fiction as a starting point for exploring Jewish identity in the context of your life and heritage. Open to religious school families attending SPARK, younger children with parents, teens, and adult readers of all ages. While the event is free, there is a charge for lunch ($5/person; $15 per family). Reservations and payment are required by Feb 2.

Save the Date! 5th Annual Jonah Maccabee Concerts with Julie Silver and Ken Chasen. Sat, Mar 8, at 5:00 and 8:00 p.m.

What do Google, Intel, Microsoft, and Cisco have in common? Their offices in Israel have created Appleseeds Academy to provide economically and socially disadvantaged communities with the resources to effectively lift themselves through high-tech training out of debilitating poverty. In concert with United Israel Appeal (the Jewish Federation’s face in Israel), Appleseeds Academy works with women, Arabs, Druze, new immigrants, and even the ultra-Orthodox, offering access to 21st-century technology along with the opportunities for both social engagement and the jobs that it brings. Established in 2000, Appleseeds Academy helps 100,000 beneficiaries each year through its 350 centers located in disadvantaged communities throughout Israel. In 13 years, nearly 1 million people have been reached through the organization’s efforts, earning Appleseeds Academy an A-rating from Midot, an independent rating service that evaluates nonprofit organizations operating in Israel.

And there’s lots more Israel-related programming at Woodlands in January, starting with Rabbi Billy’s Engaging Israel course (see page 3 for details) and continuing with Brunch with Uri Regev, founder and president of Hiddush, an Israeli organization whose mission is to realize the founding vision of Israel as articulated in its Declaration of Independence. That’s on Sun, Jan 26 at 10:30 a.m. This program is co-sponsored by Temple Beth Abraham, Greenburgh Hebrew Center, JCC on the Hudson, Rosh Pina Chavurah, and Woodlands.


A Taste of Woodlands

The Simkha Page

Sample this recipe —then send in your own

Youth Task Force

Here’s one of the hundreds of recipes we’ve already collected for the new and improved Woodlands Cookbook, due out this coming spring. Shouldn’t your favorites be represented, too? Of course they should. So submit them, along with the stories behind them, to recipes@ Or fill in the form you’ll find at Questions? Contact Dayle Fligel at or Roberta Roos at

Alison Harris’s Mandel Bread Ingredients: 3 eggs 1 cup sugar 1 tsp vanilla ½ Cup oil 2 tsp baking powder ½ tsp salt 2 ½ cups flour 1 12oz bag choc chips Cinnamon and sugar mixture for toppings • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 cookie sheets. • Combine eggs and sugar in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Add remaining ingredients and mix well together. • Wet hands, and shape dough into approximately 2” long strips on baking sheets. (I get about 4 long strips total, 2 per sheet—they spread out as they bake so don’t do more than 2 per sheet.) Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture. • Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and cut into strips. Turn each strip on its side, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar again, and bake for 10 more minutes.

Thank You Todah rabbah to Gloria Falk, Danielle Cattan, Zachary Linn, Kimberly Fishman, Mark Montague, Martha Dubinsky-Witkowski, Barry Leibowitz, Anne Stern, Jonathan Kleinman, Leora Cohen Friedman, and Juli Klein—the members of the WCT Youth Task Force—for all of their time and efforts over the past year. Their work has led to a new mission statement for Woodlands’ Youth Engagement, as well as to the design and population of the new Youth and Family Engagement Committee.

Judaica Shop

Thanks to all who’ve made our purchases a pleasant, successful experience: Karen Fox, Mark Fox, Fran Stein, Nanci Brickman, Ellen Bloom, Elka Klarsfeld, Ruth Lefkowitz, Bonni Abore, Margie Berman, Karen Berlowitz, Susan Korsten, Judy Flamm, and Lois Green.

Progressive Night Out

A great time was had by all, thanks to the hard work of the chairs, Jennifer Korten and Deborah Halpern- Sinclair, and their committee, Jennifer Gottlieb and Michele Wise—as well as the host families: Karen & Stuart Berlowitz, Dayle & David Fligel, Liz & Richard Bloom, and Sue & Doug Galin.

Rosh Hodesh: Women of the Wall

For a tremendously inspirational evening (and a great Israeli dinner) we thank the chair, Roberta Roos, and her committee: Jeanne Bodin, Gloria Falk, Joan Farber, Dayle Fligel, Lisa Izes, Shelli Katz, Judy Levan, Mickey Milbauer, and Julie Stein. Thank you also to all of those who presented and facilitated discussions about women in our society.

Rosh Hodesh

Commemorating the Women of the Wall, Nov 3

Rabbis Lisa Izes and Joan Farber joined Cantor Ellen Dreskin to lead the WOW service.

Note: tastes best with A LOT of cinnamon and sugar. I put the mixture in a shallow bowl and actually roll each sliced piece in it before putting back on cookie sheet, so all sides are covered. WOW T-shirts and tallitot abounded at Woodlands’ WOW commemoration.


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 Jonah Maccabee Dreskin, from Toby and Dan Friedman. In appreciation of Rabbi Billy and in honor of Cozette, Sage and Sophie becoming a B’nai Mitzvah, from Mardene Miller and Jeff Blumenfeld and Family. In honor of Katie Dreskin’s engagement to Mark Boonshoft, from Jack and Sue Safirstein. In honor of Rabbi Billy’s spiritually meaningful High Holy Day Service, from Jeanne and Murray Bodin. As always, beautiful and inspiring High Holy Day Services, from Morty and Marilyn Berman. Many thanks to Rabbi Billy and in memory of Dorothy Segal, from Liz and Mark Rauchwerger and families. In memory of Stefanie J. Halpern-Levy, from Deborah Halpern-Sinclair and Alex Sinclair.

In memory of Dorothy Segal, from Jackie and Nelson Leicht. In memory of Dorothy Segal, from Roberta, Roger and Allison Wetherbee. In memory of Dorothy Segal, from Dayle and David Fligel. In memory of Dorothy Segal, from Pat and Michael Nissim. In memory of Cynthia Landis, mother, from Pat and Michael Nissim. In memory of Ruth Nagel Cooperstein, mother of Debbie Olonoff and Holly Friedman, from Pat and Michael Nissim. In memory of Hyman Bluberg, from Lori Bluberg. In memory of Bruce Kreiger, brother of Ellen Rubin, from Gloria and Bill Falk. In honor of the High Holy Days, from Liz and Mark Rauchwerger. Donation from Mark and Michele Montague.

Rabbi Mara’s Mitzvah Fund In honor of Rabbi Mara and for providing Woodlands a wonderfully spiritual High Holy Days, from Jeanne and Murray Bodin.

Jonah Maccabee Fund

Cantor’s Discretionary Fund

Library Fund

In appreciation of Cantor Jonathan and in honor of Cozette, Sage and Sophie becoming a B’nai Mitzvah, from Mardene Miller and Jeff Blumenfeld and Family.

Chai Fund In honor of Lois and Bernard Bacharach for all they have done for our family and “Aunt Shirley”, from The Families of Lonny and Jeffrey Rosenberg. Wishing Charlie Strick a speedy recovery, from Dayle and David Fligel. In memory of Murray and Molly Berg, and Abraham and Marcia Liebhart, from Howard and Elli Berg. In honor of the High Holy Days, from Debra and David Judd. In memory of Dorothy Segal, mother of Liz Rauchwerger, from Gloria and Bill Falk. In memory of Dorothy Segal, from Mickey Milbauer. In memory of Dorothy Segal, from Lori Bluberg.

In honor of Denali Sagner becoming a Bat Mitzvah, from Ellen Schall.

In honor of Denali Sagner becoming a Bat Mitzvah, daughter of Steve Sagner and Jennifer Tower, from Lois and Jay Izes. In honor of Denali Sagner becoming a Bat Mitzvah, granddaughter of David Griff and Roni Beth Tower, from Lois and Jay Izes. In honor of Alana Lefkowitz, granddaughter of Ruth Lefkowitz, becoming a Bat Mitzvah, from Lois and Jay Izes.

Lifelong Learning Fund In yahrzeit memory of Belle Gould, mother of Debbie Pollowitz, from Debbie and Jim Pollowitz.

Domestic Abuse Task Force Donation from Michael and Jenna Lebowich.

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

The Woodlands Community Mourns the Loss of Bruce Kreiger

brother of Ellen Rubin

Leonard Pincus

brother of Elaine Shames

Stephanie Scholnick mother of Liz Ansell

Mary M. Shlaen

mother of Eileen Stein

Seymour Tepper

uncle of Judith Kessler

Edward Wegard

father of Lara Leibman

Gerry Weiner

uncle of Skip Friedman 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.

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


Weinstein Memorial Chapel 914-793-3800 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

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


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


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


Non-Profit Org U.S. Postage

PAID White Plains, NY

50 Worthington Road White Plains, NY 10607

Permit No. 1112

current resident or:


Woodlands Connection By Rachel Posner

The Right Fit


grew up in a Conservative synagogue in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. I felt like a minority in my public schools and remember being embarrassed by the matzah sandwiches in my lunchbox during Pesakh. Synagogue was a refuge from feeling different…there was the sense that we MOTTs (Members of The Tribe) had to huddle together—and that is what we did in the massive windowless stone building that was Beth El. In addition to being a source of solace, the synagogue of my youth offered up many disappointments. Hebrew school left me uninspired. The only thing I remember clearly from my Bat Mitzvah instruction was that a great emphasis was placed on sitting on the bimah with your legs closed so that no one could see your underwear. Just the thought of this was so mortifying to my 12-year-old self that it completely preoccupied me during my Bat Mitzvah service. Looking back on my early Jewish development, I note a profound

disconnect between the level of at the seminary. Every Friday I would observance of the clergy and the walk by myself to the Cathedral of St. congregants. This always seemed to leave John the Divine to pray alone and ask the clergy frustrated and the congregants God for guidance. I felt very lost. I left guilty. rabbinical school and eventually found The School of Advanced Jewish Studies my way into my professional calling. (SAJS), in the heart of Squirrel Hill, was Jonathan and I wandered from a bright light in an otherwise dim formal Riverdale to Portland, OR, then back Jewish education. As teenagers we were to New York. We needed to find a shul challenged to think about texts and issues that was a good fit for our family and of identity. I remember lying to my friends that was a tall order. I needed a place to and telling them that my parents were fulfill my own spiritual needs. It needed “making” me go to SAJS. Actually it was to be a place that welcomes all kinds something I wanted to do, but Jewish of families—gay, straight, interfaith, learning was not cool. old, and young. It needed to be a place In college I majored in Religion and where my husband could participate in spent my junior activities other than year in Jerusalem. ...We wanted our girls to services, since he is I returned to Jewish but not see early on how magical deeply college figuring I the praying type. It would either get a needed to be a place Jewish life is... Ph.D. in religion where our girls would and teach or go to rabbinical school. feel safe and accepted, but would feel I remember clearly my interview at more than just safe and accepted. We JTS—entering the fortress-like building, wanted them to see early on how magical meeting the students there, feeling Jewish life is. nervous. Right before my interview a The first time I came to Woodlands rabbinical student told me, “Just be the Academy kids were speaking to the yourself. If you get in being someone else congregation about their experiences of you will regret it.” The truth was I just prayer. I was impressed by how articulate didn’t know who I was. and enthusiastic they were. I felt drawn I was accepted, showed up, and worked to Rabbi Billy’s words about social hard to catapult myself into the mold of justice and tikkun olam. I did not need a JTS student. It was a terrible fit. I was to “shul shop” because I had been hurt and confused by debates within my thinking for a long time about what class about whether a woman could lead kind of Jewish community would be the prayer service. I was pained to learn right for us. We feel grateful to have that my gay classmates remained closeted found a home in Woodlands.

WCT December 2013 Makom  

Woodlands Community Temple December 2013 Makom Bulletin

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