The Westchester Jewish Council's
Community Connection

December 2, 2021 28 Kislev 5782


Good morning and welcome to the first week of December. There are only 29 days left in this calendar year, but more than enough programs from our Council member organizations to fill up each day of your calendar.

It is also the 5th night of Hanukkah this evening which has a special meaning. It is a significant night because it is the first night of Hanukah where the majority of the candles are lit. As we are now in the darkest month of the year (in the Northern hemisphere) may the light of the Hanukiyah overpower any darkness in our lives and bring us joy.

The 39th Annual Westchester Senior Hall of Fame is taking place this Friday, December 3rd. We are so proud to share that Donald J. Fleishaker, an Honorary Council Board Member, will be inducted. He joins other Council past recipients including Irwin Davison, Barry Effron, Betsy Landis, Lester Millman and Harriet Zeller. Details can be found below about how to view this event. Mazel Tov to all the inductees and especially to Don!

One last note, we welcome a new business partner to the Council, Falafel Place. There are two locations in Westchester - 204 Westchester Avenue, White Plains, NY and 2219 Central Park Avenue, Yonkers, NY. Read below to learn more about this local kosher Mediterranean restaurant.

May the dreidels keep spinning and the latkes keep cooking as you enjoy these last few days of Hanukkah! Shabbat Shalom.
William H. Schrag, President
Lori Kurlander, Communications Manager
Elliot Forchheimer, CEO

(The Council is financially supported by donations from individuals,
dues from 132 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.
2022 Julian Y. Bernstein Distinguished Service Award -
Nominations Being Accepted
The Westchester Jewish Council is now accepting nominations from its member organizations for the prestigious Julian Y. Bernstein Distinguished Service Award. This year’s award celebration will be held on Tuesday May 10, 2022 at Temple Israel Center, 280 Old Mamaroneck Rd, White Plains, NY.

Each year the Council honors approximately 18 volunteers for their exceptional, dedicated volunteer efforts. You may have volunteers who have worked tirelessly for years. You may also have someone who has stepped up during the pandemic or afterwards with distinguished efforts you would like to recognize. This is your chance!
Nominations are due by Wednesday, December 15, 2021 and must be submitted using this form. A decision by the Award committee will be made in January 2022.

Statement by President Joe Biden on Hanukkah
NOVEMBER 28, 2021
Over these eight nights, Jews in the United States, Israel, and around the globe will proudly celebrate Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. They will light the menorah, spin the dreidel, eat latkes, and tell of how the Maccabees, guided by an abiding belief in their Creator and an inextinguishable commitment to their faith, prevailed against all odds.
At its core, Hanukkah recounts a story at the heart of the human spirit – one that is inherently Jewish and undeniably American. It commemorates how even the most fragile flame can sustain a tradition and nourish the soul of a people. It teaches us that even a little bit of light, wherever it is found, can dispel the darkness and illuminate a path forward. And it reminds us that whether it is the Holy Temple in Jerusalem or the temple of our democracy, nothing broken or profaned is beyond repair.
Much like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah is a holiday dedicated to the expression of gratitude for the blessings and miracles in our lives – big and small, seen and unseen, from ancient times until the present day.
From our family to yours, and from the People’s House to your own homes, Jill and I wish you and your loved ones a Chanukah Sameach, a Happy Hanukkah!
UJA Covid-19 Impact Study: A Presentation for the Westchester Jewish Community
Tuesday, December 7, 2021 12:00 – 1:00 pm Virtual

From February to May 2021, UJA conducted an examination of the economic and social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the New York Jewish community.
Please join us to hear insights into the current Westchester landscape and better understand the trends and issues facing the Jewish community as we plan for our future.
We also encourage you to visit our interactive web-based tool that offers direct access to a variety of economic and emotional measures. There's also a reports page with links to topics, including poverty, mental health, housing insecurity, and Jewish life and experiences during Covid-19.

Questions? Contact us at    
visit the full Community Calendar at

Join Temple Israel of New Rochelle for their Shabbat/Chanukah celebration.

Families who attend will also receive a Chanukah activity bag.

Bet Am Shalom looks forward to welcoming you for their Singles & Young(ish) Professionals Chanukah Party & Game Night on December 4th at 7:30 PM.

Tour of Essex Market
Thursday, December 9, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM 
Meet cheesemongers, bakers, baristas, grocers, and restaurateurs on this virtual tour of the Essex Market on Manhattan's Lower East Side. This historic market was opened in 1940 as part of Mayor LaGuardia's citywide program to build new wholesale and retail food markets, and get pushcarts off the streets. In 2019, the market moved into a beautiful new facility on the south side of Delancey Street that boasts over 40 purveyors of prepared foods, specialty items, and grocery staples. We'll learn about the market's history and go live to Essex Market to visit with a diverse range of small businesses that call the market home today. Led by Andrew Gustafson, Cindy VandenBosch, and Amanda Adler Brenna of Turnstile Tours
To register and receive the link, please click: Essex Market
Virtual Nativ Info Session
with Nativ Director, Sara Miriam Liben

December 12th at 2pm
Learn all about the benefits of taking a gap year and learning why the Nativ College Leadership Program is the perfect option for you!

The Young Israel of Scarsdale & the Tikvah Fund proudly present:

Raising Courageous Jews: A Guide Through the Cultural Minefield
featuring Liel Leibovitz (Tablet), Jonathan Silver (Mosaic) and Eric Cohen (Tikvah)

Monday, December 13, 2021, at 8:00 PM
at the Young Israel of Scarsdale, 1313 Weaver St, Scarsdale, NY 10583

**Join in person or via zoom.**

Please register here.
Our workplaces and communities are at their best when they are able to call on and develop the talents of a diverse team, and when they celebrate and are responsive to a wide variety of perspectives and lived experiences among their staff and leadership. Extensive work has been done in researching and developing tools to develop gender equity in the workplace, but too often this work does not address the unique concerns of transgender and nonbinary staff and leaders.
In this workshop we will explore some of the systemic barriers and biases impacting equity for trans and nonbinary staff in Jewish educational settings, as well as suggested tools and action steps to increase gender equity for all. This workshop is geared towards congregational educators, youth professionals, clergy, executive directors, and other synagogue professionals. We welcome professionals who work in all kinds of Jewish settings to be a part of this learning.
Date and Time: Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, 12:30-2:00 pm EST  
Cost: FREE, thanks to the generous support of the SRE Network 

Click here to register or contact Hillary Gardenswartz at  
December 26-30, 2021

The twice-yearly Pardes Learning Seminar brings together community leaders, professionals and lifelong learners, who wish to study classical Jewish sources either online or within the landscape of Israel. Participants grapple with ancient texts and current issues, visit historical sites (either in person or virtually) and learn from the best educators in Israel.

To learn more and to register, please click here.
January 9, 2022,
11:00 am - 5:15 pm

The Power of Purpose: Empower Women to speak up and speak out.
A Day of Inspiring and Empowering Women
Want to strengthen your purpose, exchange ideas with like-minded women, and expand your impact? Join us for The Power of Purpose, a one-day conference designed to inspire and guide women on how to use their power for good. We’ll bring together a roster of inspiring change-makers – women effecting change everywhere from women’s health to advocacy, from entrepreneurs to entertainers, politicians to power-makers to pop culture icons. Attendees will learn and be inspired by our diverse lineup of powerful women leaders, some of whom have broken the glass ceiling – in the Jewish world, in the United States, in Israel, and beyond.

Register here.
January 20, 2022 at 7:30pm via zoom
Have you ever wondered what’s Jewish about 
beignets, jazz, and Sazeracs?
If so, you’re invited to join Hadassah Westchester on a virtual tour of “La Nouvelle Orleans,” the colony established in the 18th century on the shores of the Mississippi River. The first Jews arrived, knowing they were unwelcome, yet determined to make New Orleans their home. They sought out opportunities in this tiny backwater inhabited by French, Spanish, Germans, Native Americans, and enslaved Africans and immersed themselves in the local culture, music, and architecture of the city we know and love today. In the process they changed the city forever. “The Big Easy” awaits!
Our tour will be conducted by Julie Schwartz, 
a member of Hadassah from New Orleans!
Registration: $20 
CLICK HERE to register online.
OR send a check payable to HADASSAH to Hadassah Metro, 
300 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange, NJ 07052, 
with “Jewish New Orleans” and your email address in the memo line.
Rabbi Yitz Greenberg began thinking and teaching about the Jewish value of human dignity and the image of God in the late 1950s. These theological ideas transformed the landscape of Jewish thought, helping to pave the way for contemporary notions of egalitarianism, social justice, and tikkun olam in the Jewish community. In this new video series, you are invited to sit with R. Greenberg as he reflects on some of the biggest questions about Judaism in modern times. Watch Conversations with Rabbi Yitz Greenberg on YouTube.

We welcome a new Business Partner, Falafel Place with locations in White Plains and Yonkers (and their NYC location, Hummus Place on the Upper West Side). They serve vegan/gluten free Mediterranean food. Please check out their website to learn more. Kosher certified.
Pleasantville Synagogue’s Rabbi Navigates Two Congregations, Difficult Times
The Examiner News

Rabbi Shoshana Leis, who became Pleasantville Community Synagogue’s part-time rabbi in September, also holds a similar role at the Hebrew Congregation of Somers. Read more about Rabbi Leis in this article.
Don't forget to tune in to the Westchester County Senior Citizens Hall of Fame 39th Annual Induction & Awards on December 3rd at 11:30am.
Click to view the ceremony.
Check out these Chanukah resources at provided to us by Areyvut, a Member organization of the Council.
JCPA 2021 Virtual Benefit
Moving Forward

December 14th at 7pm

To learn more and to register, please click here.
Celebrating Hanukkah at the Council office
l to r: Margo Lampert, Pam Goldstein, Lori Kurlander, Debra Abrahams Weiner, Elliot Forchheimer, Shachar Liran-Hanan, Lisa Roberts, Paul Warhit, Helene Schonbrun and behind the camera - William H. Schrag.

Rabbi Wilfond of Temple Shaaray Tefila of Westchester on his recent Installation as Senior Rabbi.

Touro College of Dental Medicine on their recent 5th Annual Gala.

Our dear friend Roger Denhoff of Beehive Press and his wife Elizabeth on their son Alec's marriage.

Donald J. Fleishaker, Honorary Council Director, for being inducted into the 39th Annual Westchester Senior Hall of Fame.

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)
Israel Volunteer - Wednesday, December 15th at 7:30pm
Synagogue Presidents +1 - Tuesday, January 11th at 7:45pm
Greening - Wednesday, January 12th at 10:00am

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

Woodlands Community Temple is seeking an experienced, creative individual to serve as our first Executive Director (ED). The ED will oversee the operational and business aspects of our congregation and facilities, supporting our lay leadership and clergy as our community pursues a wide range of initiatives focused on Reform Jewish life and social action. For full details about this position, please click here.
"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 -

Westchester Jewish Council Teen Organizations include:

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 December 9, 2021