November 14, 2020 @ 5:00 pm – 5:45 pm
Car Scavenger Hunt - Our young families drove all over Westchester hunting down a list of 20 items. A rainbow, a tombstone, a license plate other than from NY, NJ, CT, or PA...the list goes on. Who knew that you didn't need to drive to either the Hudson River or the Long Island Sound to find a boat! It was a blast and we can't wait for the next one
On Thursday night Oct, 22, I delivered an invocation before the State of the County in the magnificent and historic Chambers of the Board of Legislators. I felt honored to be in that space to offer a prayer on behalf of the Westchester Board of Rabbis. It was particularly special to be joined by two colleagues, Rev. Dr. Verlin D. Williams and Imam Hafiz Amjad Karim. We all spoke to the idea that we are all created equal and in the image of God. That through grace and love we can face this moment together, rising to meet our responsibility to act as God’s stewards on earth.
I read the words we say each Shabbat in The Prayer for Our Country asking God to grant our leaders the ability to see fully the needs of the moment, the courage to face uncertainty, and the stamina to weather the storms of this uncertain time.
Here is the remainder of my invocation:
This weekend Jews around the world will read the story from the Torah of a great flood that destroys the earth. Noah, alone, is chosen to build an ark to save himself, his family, and every species of animal in order to rebuild a better world. God instructs Noach to include in the ark structure something called a tzohar. A commentary explains that this is a window which provides light for those in the ark as well as a way to see beyond the walls of the ark. Others say that it is a precious stone that gives light to each person inside the ark, providing them with hope and courage to sustain them while the storm rages around them.
The tzohar offers Noach and his family light and inner strength, while also reminding them to look outwards to see a world waiting for their help in building a new and better society. Tonight as we gather together to commit to the important work ahead of sustaining our county, may we, through the words of our County Executive, George Latimer, feel that bright light shine towards each and every one of us. And may we remember how to access that inner light so that we can shine it outwards beyond the boundaries of family, race, and religion so that we, together, can face the darkness of the moment with renewed strength and hope in the coming year.
Compassionate one, bless us with the ability to shine the light of justice, equity, and kindness to every individual. We ask that with mercy, You illumine the earth and all who dwell on it with goodness. During these dark and uncertain times we pray that you guide us and our leadership with the wisdom and strength to move together towards brighter days ahead.
Religious School Highlights
“ מַה טֹּבוּ אֹהָלֶיךָ, יַעֲקֹב; מִשְׁכְּנֹתֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל”
How lovely are your tents, people of Jacob; your sanctuaries, people of Israel!
– Numbers 24:5
When I look out to our spaces each Monday and Wednesday, I’m struck by how beautiful the sight of our students and teachers learning together is in our tents. While I imagined it many, many times during the planning phase over the summer months, there is still something incredibly special about it all coming together. Our teachers have recreated our classroom spaces and enabled our students to dwell in our temporary sanctuaries. Each time our students and teachers meet, they are hard at work building community, reconnecting with Shaarei Tikvah, and expanding their Jewish learning.
The words above are recited by Baalam in the Torah. In this story, Baalam is sent to curse the Israelites, but instead offers this blessing. When I think about the planning that went into this year, there were so many things we could anticipate and so much good that unexpectedly resulted. Of course, there were some experiences and challenges we just couldn’t imagine – like the students connecting with nature in new and exciting ways or the back up traffic onto Fox Meadow Road during pick up! Like Balaam we set out on our journey with a clear purpose: to promote Jewish learning in a caring and safe environment creating a strong sense of community and belonging for everyone. And we see evidence of that taking root in the connections and relationships that are building between our students and their teachers and with their peers. But, there have also been unexpected blessings, too. Moreh Brian has filled our hearts with song during pick up and our parking lot has been filled with the imagination of our students as they create artwork with chalk on the black pavement.
During these very unsettling times, perhaps the lesson we can all glean from this story is that blessings can appear in all colors and sounds, sometimes when we least expect it. May we all be granted these “unexpected” blessings each and every day.
Shabbat September 12
Sunday minyan via zoom 9 a.m.
Monday minyan via Zoom 7 a.m.
Friday Kabbalat Shabbat via Zoom 5:45 p.m.
Streamed Shabbat morning service 10 a.m.
Sun. minyan via Zoom 9:00am