The Westchester Jewish Council's
Community Connection

September 15, 2021 9 Tishri 5782

Have you ever been curious about the history of the term ‘scapegoat’? It originates with the Yom Kippur service and was first coined in the 16th century to describe the ritual animals that the Jewish community placed their sins onto in preparation for Yom Kippur. While today's customs have slightly changed, we still read of this ancient ritual on Yom Kippur morning which starts at sundown today/Wednesday.

The Jewish holiday season is well underway and on the horizon are a variety of programming including the first of our Israel Connection Series and several Westchester Jewish Council "signature" roundtables. More info below and on the community calendar at

We leave you this week with a video of shofar blowing by Stu Seltzer, a new Council board member, from our 5th Annual Leadership Reception which was held earlier this week. Thank you Stu for serving in this role and joining Mitch Ostrove, as part of our new two person team of expert Shofar blowers.
Stu Seltzer, Westchester Jewish Council board member, blowing the shofar at our Leadership Reception
From all of us at the Westchester Jewish Council, G’mar chatimah tovah - may we all be inscribed for a good year.

William H. Schrag, President
Lori Kurlander, Communications Manager
Elliot Forchheimer, CEO
(The Council is financially supported by donations from individuals,
dues from 130 member organizations and generous grant support from UJA-Federation.)
Please support the work of the Westchester Jewish Council. Your donation makes a difference each and every day. Click here to donate.

This past Monday evening, the leadership of the Westchester Jewish Council member organizations, Council board members and our elected officials gathered in the spacious tent of the JCC Mid-Westchester to welcome in the Jewish new year and to catch up with fellow community leaders. It was overheard more than once how incredible it was to see everyone in person, something that has not happened enough in the last 18 months. We thank everyone who attended and participated including the speakers, Rabbi Howard Goldsmith (Chair of the Westchester Board of Rabbis) County Executive George Latimer, NYS Senator Shelley B. Mayer, NYS Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, US Congressman Jamaal Bowman and JCC President Ellen Reinheimer. We would also like to thank the staff of the JCC and especially Susan Groner for hosting this event.
William H. Schrag, Council President and Ellen Reinheimer, JCC Mid-Westchester Co-President
Rabbi Howard Goldsmith, Westchester Board of Rabbis
Elliot Forchheimer, CEO Westchester Jewish Council
Westchester residents who suffered damage to their homes and property from the remnants of Hurricane Ida may be eligible for financial assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Individual Assistance Program. Please use this link to apply online for FEMA assistance. Here you can find more information about aid for individuals and households. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, or low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses. Small businesses recovering from Ida damage may also qualify for disaster loan assistance from the Small Business Administration.
For information please visit this website or call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY/TDD: 1-800-877-8339)
You may apply online, find links to other resources, or check the status of your application at
You may also get help with your application or apply by phone by calling FEMA at:
  • 1‑800‑621‑3362 (711 and VRS available)
  • TTY 1‑800‑462‑7585
New York State Attorney General Letitia James
Community Gun Buyback
Along with District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah, County Executive George Latimer, and in collaboration with the City of New Rochelle Police Department 

For more information, (914) 422-8755/contact

Between the storm and the pandemic and the start of a new school year, a reminder that HFLS is here to help your clients and community members.
Interest-free General Needs Loans of up to $7,500 can be used for any and every purpose or need. This includes the aftereffects of the recent storm, COVID-related medical expenses or income loss, rent payments, childcare, or anything else.

Detailed information and online applications for all of these programs can be found at
Alma Founder is named to list of
Top 50 Most Influential Jews of 2021
"The woman explaining the Hezbollah threat to the world -
No. 45 on The Jerusalem Post's Top 50 Most Influential Jews of 2021: Lt. Col. (Res.) and founder the Alma Center Sarit Zehavi."
To read the full article from The Jerusalem Post, please click here.
visit the full Community Calendar at

WJCS Parents of College Students: Becoming an “Empty Nester”
September 30, 2021, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Many parents are supporting their college-aged children as they prepare to leave for college. The emotional transition to college, particularly after the challenging year of the pandemic, can bring up many feelings for both parents and students. Please join us for a conversation with other “empty-nester” parents of college-aged students to talk about sending kids off to college with confidence, as well as to discuss strategies about how to arm our children with healthy coping techniques to manage stress, strengthen resilience skills, and prepare to live independently. If interested, please contact: Jennifer Schmelkin, Social Worker:
On Friday, September 10th, Westchester’s first Kosher food pantry was officially dedicated. The pantry, a collaboration between HOPE Community Services, Met Council, Feeding Westchester and UJA is a game-changer for local Westchester kosher residents.
Through grants from UJA, HOPE Community Services has expanded its facility to operate a separate kosher space to carry fresh produce as well as select dairy foods. Individuals and families who struggle all year-round or have been impacted by the pandemic now have a new local resource to bring home nutritious, essential kosher food.
The pantry has been up and running since April and has served over 150 people, supplying them with the kosher food they would not have been able to access without HOPE.
Thank you to all who helped make this vital community resource possible. And thank you to everyone who joined us at the dedication including our local elected officials, clergy from our community, synagogues and day schools, UJA partner agency executives and our most dedicated UJA leaders and donors.
Pictured from l to r:
Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Elliot Forchheimer, CEO of Westchester Jewish Council, Audrey Stein, UJA Westchester Regional Director and NYS Assemblywoman Amy Paulin
The HOPE Community Services Food Pantry, created in partnership with UJA, Met Council and Feeding Westchester provides kosher food, year round and free of charge to Westchester residents in need.
If you are interested in signing up and receiving free Kosher food twice a month, click here.
At the same time, HOPE needs volunteers to help with their operations. If you are interested in volunteering, please sign up on the sign up portal.
Have additional questions? Contact Hope’s pantry manager here.

Westchester Jewish Council
Upcoming Community Roundtables
(The Council thanks the hundreds of people that dedicate time to attend our Roundtables -
a signature initiative of the Council often sponsored with wonderful partners from among our member organizations)

Upcoming Virtual Council Roundtables:

Youth Professionals Roundtable (with the amazing team at the Jewish Education Project) - Thursday, October 14 from 12:00pm - 1:30 pm
Greening Roundtable - October 20th at 10am
Mosaic LGBTQ Roundtable - October 27th at 7:30pm

Contact the Council office at (914) 328-7001 or for information on these and other Roundtables--a key offering of the Westchester Jewish Council.

Our new community shlicha, Shachar Liran-Hanan and shinshinim, Ohad Angel, Gili Blecher, Gilad Grinblat and Noa Shaviv. Thank you to JAFI and Zehava Tesfay for all of their efforts in making this program a part of the Westchester community. If you would like to learn more, please email Shachar at
Picture from l to r:
Gili Blecher, Ohad Angel, Shachar Liran-Hanan, Noa Shaviv and Gilad Grinblat
Sexual Harassment Prevention Training
Under Local Law 96 of 2018, employers with 15 or more employees are required to conduct annual sexual harassment prevention training for all employees. New York State Law requires that employers of one or more employees must conduct sexual harassment prevention training for all employees.

The Commission has developed an online training that will satisfy both the New York State and New York City sexual harassment prevention training requirements. Please click here to learn more -

Ron (former Council President) and Jocelyn Burton and Dan and Jody Burton and all family members on the passing of Barbara Burton z"l.

Rabbi Shoshana Leis, Hebrew Congregation of Somers, on the loss of her father Michael Leis z"l.
Willow Towers Assisted Living is looking for someone to lead services for Jewish Holidays for their residents. If you know of anyone, please contact Deborah King at
"By failing to prepareyou are preparing to fail" B. Franklin
Please be aware of the DA’s Tips Hotline (914-995-TIPS) to help combat hate and bias in Westchester.

If anyone requires help with security grants, please contact
As always and per protocol, please report any security concerns immediately to your local Police Department and then to the Council and to CSI/Bill Hayes for follow up.
Stay alert, prepared and safe.

Please send any security questions/concerns to
We invite teens in the community to represent their agencies and synagogues at our WJC Youth Volunteer Roundtable. We ask our Youth Professionals to recommend a teen(s) to join us at the table. Please send the name and contact and any questions to Donna Bartell - 

Thank you to The Jewish Education Project for working so closely with our Teen professionals and volunteers!

The Youth Volunteer Roundtable created a facebook page for an exchange of information which can be accessed here -
Watch JBS Jewish Broadcasting Service on Optimum 138, Fios 798,
Spectrum 219 and 830, DirecTV 388,
Roku under “educational”, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and streamed on  
For a complete and timely schedule and other television providers, go to 

The Hudson Valley 211 Helpline is Here
Call 211//Text your zipcode to 898211
This is a service of United Way of Westchester and Putnam.

Westchester Jewish Council
925 Westchester Avenue, Suite 200, White Plains, NY 10604
914-328-7001 | |
For information regarding submissions, please contact Lori Kurlander
The next Community Connection will be published on or about September 27, 2021