Friday, March 27, 2020
ערב ש׳׳ק ״וְכִפֶּ֨ר עָלָ֧יו הַכֹּהֵ֛ן לִפְנֵ֥י ה׳ וְנִסְלַ֣ח ל֑וֹ״ וגו׳
Dear Anshe Sholom,

This week we ushered in the month of Nissan, a season in which our ancestors were redeemed from Egypt and, our Sages teach, the season of our future redemption. For the duration of the month, and not just the eight days of Passover, “Tahanun” supplicatory prayers are omitted each morning and afternoon and eulogies are omitted from funerals. The entire month is meant to take on the festive spirit of Passover and the emergence of spring.

Several individuals asked me this week whether or not I thought it was appropriate to continue reciting Tahanun this year given the dire circumstances faced by nearly every human being and every significant Jewish community among them. My response was that it was not appropriate to recite Tahanun even during a Nissan such as this one (and I was gratified to discover that some of my own teachers agreed with this judgement when this question was posed to them). Nissan is not a month in which only good things happen and Pesach is not a holiday in which freedom is given to us willy nilly. The redemptive potential of Nissan hovers above and beyond the observable reality. Our choice to treat the month as a special time reinforces its unique character, and that in turn prepares us to see ourselves on Passover night “as if” we personally left Egypt.

When we choose to see ourselves “as if” we personally left Egypt, we already have the tools to free ourselves, spiritually, from the other constraints that bind us even today.

In my recent phone calls with members of the community and when I encounter you on various online forums, I am so frequently moved and inspired by the generosity and commitment and resilience that so many of you have displayed in countless ways. In particular, the professionalism, courage, and ethical integrity that I have witnessed through my interactions with those providing medical care at this time has been a source of inspiration to me. 

Each of us, in some way, has the potential to demonstrate in these weeks the ways that we see ourselves “as if” we left Egypt. We do this by taking actions of social-responsibility such as remaining at home to keep others healthy. We do this by finding creative ways to support the well-being of our friends and neighbors. We do this by prioritizing moments of prayer, introspection, and Torah study, even in a world turned upside down. These actions demonstrate our belief in a redeemed world that exists just over the horizon and that, with God’s help, we can instantiate, first gradually, and then with increasing vibrancy.

None of this is easy. And all of this grows more difficult over time. Please remember that the resources of the shul, my own time and attention among them, remain ready to offer support and assistance for pragmatic and other needs that may arise. Attached here is a collection of Spiritual Resources and Responses to COVID-19 Pandemic and advice on Combating Loneliness on Shabbat & Yom Tov that I hope will be useful to you in the coming days and weeks.

The mitzvot of Pesach are numerous, demanding, and detailed even under the easiest circumstances. The choice to celebrate Pesach and to observe its mitzvot this year is a special act of spiritual courage and a demonstration of faith. In this way, the halakhic questions that I have received regarding Pesach observance have been a further source of inspiration to me. I remain available to provide support as you each prepare for Pesach. I hope my support can be useful to you; it has certainly been sustaining and inspiring to me to witness the community’s enduring dedication to the Torah and its Mitzvot.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi David Wolkenfeld
Click here to access the e-bulletin for Shabbat Parshat Vayikra.

Watch a pre-Shabbat message from Rabbi Wolkenfeld on Sefaria or on YouTube .
The Jack Strulowitz Lakefront Eruv is up!
To stay updated on the status of the Eruv, visit our Twitter or Facebook pages. May our Eruv join us all together for a Shabbat filled with peace and unity.
Friday Candle Lighting: 6:54 PM
Saturday Havdalah: 7:55 PM
Celebrate Shabbat with ASBI!
Erev Shabbat L'Chaim & Ruach Zoom Dance Party
Today at 5:15 PM
Adults - join Rabbanit Sarna and Rabbi Wolkenfeld for a L'Chaim at 5:15 PM, followed by a virtual Erev Shabbat Dance Party from 5:30 - 6:00 PM - open to everyone! Join via Zoom at

Kabbalat Shabbat
Today at 6:25 PM
Join us for Kabbalat Shabbat, led by David Eisenstein. Join at

To join by phone dial 312-626-6799 (Meeting ID: 924 897 9279)

Motzei Shabbat Havdala with Skokie Valley
Saturday, March 28, 8:10 PM
Join other ASBI Members and our friends at Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob for a joint Havdala over Zoom! Join at

To join by phone dial 312-626-6799 (Meeting ID: 924 897 9279)

Virtual Kiddush
Sunday, March 29, 8:00 PM
Missing that casual social time where you can meet and greet and chat with all the diverse members of our shul? Join us for an experimental Zoom Kiddush on Sunday night—who knows, maybe you’ll make a new friend! BYO Kiddush! Join at
Shabbat Message Poster Activity!
Post a Shabbat Shalom message poster from you and your family on your window or the door of your apartment so that ASBI members taking walks on Shabbat can read your message and feel connected.

Feel free to use this document as a template, and either way don't forget to add #ASBInspiring to your poster. Take a picture before Shabbat and send it to so we can share them all!
Since we can't distribute printed copies, please enjoy the following digests online instead:

Shabbat Shalom from ASBI!