The Westchester Jewish Council's
Community Connection

 Your bi-weekly and every so often e-newsletter

April 2, 2020 8 Nisan 5780


Hello everyone.

A Matzah walks into a bar…  Bartender says: Haven’t seen you in a while, where you been?
Matzah says: I’ve had some bad breaks.

While we may all feel like we've had some bad breaks over the past couple of weeks, let's focus on all the good that is taking place within our community. We continue to learn about inspiring stories of every day people connecting with one another in creative ways and helping those in need. T here are so many heroes in the fight against COVID 19. 

We would like to take a moment to thank and honor one of the many groups of unsung heroes. The educators in our community ( teachers, clergy and more) who are remotely teaching and enriching their students of all ages, day and night, often while balancing their teaching with caring for their own families and loved ones. Among the learnings of this pandemic is the dedication and love that exists within our Westchester Jewish community. Thank you all!

We would also like to congratulate our friends at WJCS on their amazing virtual Gala which was held on Tuesday evening and we know that The Jewish Education Project Virtual Gala this evening will be wonderful as well. MAZAL TOV!!!

There is truly so much good going on. Thank you's to: Mike Wagenheim of i24 News who shared his insights on the Israel election at our virtual Westchester Jewish Council Israel Roundtable , our Synagogue and Agency Presidents and Executive Directors who have gathered and shared together via Council sponsored Roundtables, to our Westchester Rabbis who set up an Intro to Judaism class sponsored by the Westchester Board of Rabbis, UJA and the Council (details within about signing up for session two) , to Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz ( Westchester Jewish Center ) , Martine Fleishman ( President of the Jewish Education Project and Council Honorary Director , Audrey Stein, UJA Westchester Regional Director and Shahar Azani, Vice President of the Jewish Broadcasting Service for presenting at the Council's spring board meeting and finally to UJA for our sacred partnership and for arranging for thousands of kosher for Passover meals to be distributed within the needy in our Westchester Jewish community and beyond. Details within.

Indeed in so many ways out of darkness we are seeing goodness.
Shabbat Shalom and wishing you a happy and healthy Passover and a complete healing to those that are suffering

Lisa Roberts, President
Lori Kurlander, Communications Manager
Elliot Forchheimer, CEO

(The Council is financially supported by donations from individuals,
dues from 136 member organizations and 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
visit the full Community Calendar at

Check out this 40-page Interactive Seder Experience from Pardes (a WJC member organization), complete with activities that will help spur conversation about resilience and living through difficult times, C  lick here for more information.
Virtual Kids Passover Song Sessions
Why is this song session different from all other song sessions? Join The Leffell School (a Council member organization) virtually at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesdays, now through Passover, to practice the Ma Nishtana and more! Sign up here to receive the zoom link:
Thank you Bet Am Shalom Synagogue (a Council member synagogue) for sharing their Passover resource page. Please click here for more information.
Passover Resources from
Jewish Theological Seminary

Discover Passover related writings, commentaries and more from a variety of JTS (a Council member organization) clergy and staff.
Areyvut (a Council member organization) has Passover resources available, including interactive game ideas to play at the seders, on their website at Areyvut and you are encouraged to share them, post them to social media and use them at this challenging unprecedented time to meaningfully engage, motivate and inspire others.
Moving Traditions (a Council member organization) is striking a chord with our 2020 Passover seder addition, This Passover, Share Your Story—and Inspire Resilience .

Research shows that children who know family stories of triumph over hardship have much greater well-being , with higher self-esteem and academic and social competence, and fewer behavior problems.

Please share the inspiration— post your family story using the downloadable card on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #SederStory .
Passover Resources from UJA
In this time of intense need,  UJA is here for you. Since so many will be without family for the seders and many more face newfound financial hardships, we’re doing everything we can so that all can partake in the timeless tradition of Passover during this unprecedented time.  
You can check out the resources we’re providing here
Beth El Synagogue Center of New Rochelle (a Council member synagogue) has a variety of programming for Passover that is open for everyone to enjoy including this cooking session on Sunday April 5 at 10am - Passover Cooking Demo with Rabbinic Fellow Jessica Fisher  -  Zoom Link  - dial in to +19294362866, use ID: 661 464 015 and this musical encounter - Sunday April 5 at 8pm - “Awakened Heart” Melodies and Kavanot to enhance your Seder Zoom Link  - dial in to +19294362866, use ID: 396 339 392. For more information, visit
WJCS (a Council member synagogue) shared some of their upcoming Passover activities, along with a meaningful activity for adults residing in assisted living centers.

Shelanu: Passover Discussion with Rabbi Wax April 6, 6:00 PM; Making Matzoh Pizza Demonstration​
Mt.Vernon Senior Program:   “Seder on the Phone” Tuesday, April 7 at 10:45am
Passover Memory Minyan SEIVAH and WJCS  by Zoom for next Tuesday or Wednesday, Check their website for updated zoom information.
Partners in Caring: created a power point of Passover symbols and story with a narrative for adult assisted living centers for staff to read a cartoon of shehechiyanu and a video of making Matza crated for WJCS group homes.
Woodlands Community Temple (a Council member synagogue) will be having a 2nd Night of Passover Community Seder on Thursday, April 9, from 5:00-5:45 pm. Visit Woodland's Community Temple Facebook page at  for more information.
Hadar (a Council member organization) is pleased to share this year's Pesah Reader: a collection of essays and resources on Pesah from Hadar faculty. Pesah celebrates a story of redemption—but what kind of redemption? For whom? Is it a personal or national story? Inclusive or exclusive? How does one get to redemption? What are the decisions and challenges along the way? All these questions and more are discussed in these pages. We hope you use this resource to enrich your experience of Pesah, prompting questions to discuss at your Seder and beyond, helping you see this central holiday in new ways.
Please click here to learn more.
T he Jewish Education Project has many resources and materials for Passover.

Here is the link to their resources page.

in the spirit of global community, we invite you to embrace customs from all over the Jewish world at your already-unconventional Seder, using the JDC ReOrdered Global Passover Toolkit, now available for digital download due to overwhelming demand.
Inside the toolkit, you’ll find:
  • Community cards for eight Jewish communities, including Greece, Argentina, and India.
  •  Recipes to spice up your menu — even if you didn’t intend to play chef! — from Ethiopian soup to Moroccan orange almond flan.
  •  A host guide, to help you introduce a new world of traditions to your virtual Seder table.
Download your digital toolkit here . JDC is a Council member organization.
Welcome to

You can post or attend an online Seder, find featured Haggadot to download, and technical support to organize your family, friends, community all in one place.

To read more about how it works and to sign up to use it, visit
Jewish Federation of North America shared some helpful resources including this one from Sefaria which has virtual mock seder activities that are meant to educate, engage, and connect people around Passover prep and the seder. Each may be used as is, or you can make a copy of the sheet and adapt it for a different setting or audience. 
 Thank you for your help in helping
to make our community continue to feel connected.
Keep your Passover safe and joyful by taking the following precautions:
  • Use sturdy candleholders
  • Keep candles at least 4 feet away from curtains, draperies, etc.
  • Place candles out of reach of small children and pets
  • Do not leave your oven unattended while the oven is on or in the self-cleaning cycle
  • Bedikat Chametz (searching for bread) - keep candle away from all flammable objects
  • Keep Yom Tov, Shabbat and Yarhzeit candles on sideboards, out of reach of small children. If candles are on the table, keep them in the center where they are less likely to be pulled down by a small child

2 Nissan 5780
March 27, 2020

Dear Westchester Jewish Community,

The ongoing mandate to practice social distancing means that we are unable to physically come together to celebrate Passover this year. This year we must stay in our own homes. As much as we embrace our Passover traditions, they are superseded by the commandment of pikuach nefesh , of saving lives.

Therefore, this Passover, the executive committee of the Westchester Board of Rabbis reminds and implores the Jewish community to gather only with the people who live in your home for seder and to forgo attending synagogue services and other public gatherings.

We understand and empathize how hard this will be for many in our community.  More Jews celebrate Passover than any other Jewish holiday. Along with the profound religious messages of the festival, we share special family traditions: recipes for favorite holiday foods, great-grandmother candlesticks, grandpa’s worn and stained haggadot, games to keep the kids amused as we read our sacred tale.

Westchester synagogues have resources and suggestions for how to make Passover as meaningful as possible even with the restrictions of social distancing. Some traditions allow for technology to join congregations and families togethers. Others, whose practice forbids the use of technology on the holiday, have meaningful suggestions for celebrating the spirit of the festival in our own homes. Whether you belong to a congregation or not, please call or email the synagogues near you for resources that will bring joy to your Passover.  You will also find resources on the website of the Westchester Jewish Council at

May this latter-day plague soon pass so that we may once again join with our congregations, friends, and family to celebrate the blessings of our world. And just as we say, “Next year in Jerusalem,” this year we add, “Next year here, in our homes, surrounded by loving friends and families.”

L’Shalom u’Vracha,
With Peace and Blessings,
The Executive Committee of the Westchester Board of Rabbis

Rabbi Adam Baldachin
Rabbi Julie Hilton Danan
Rabbi Howard Goldsmith, Treasurer
Rabbi Daniel Gropper, President
Rabbi Evan Hoffman
Rabbi David Holtz, Immediate Past President
Rabbi Jason Nevarez

Preliminary Results Revealed After Record Number of Ballots Cast in US World Zionist Congress Election
The seven-week US election for the World Zionist Congress garnered over 123,000 votes, more than double the turnout of the last election in 2015 and the highest number of votes since the election began for the entire American Jewish community 30 years ago.

More information can be found at

Thanks to all who attended our virtual Israel roundtable - A Virtual Insider Report from Israel: What’s Really Going on with Elections, Coalitions, Indictments , and to i24 news reporter Mike Wagenheim for presenting on this fascinating topic.
In case you were wondering how matzah is made, here is short video demonstrating the process - Matzah Making
A message from the Bronx Jewish Community Council's (a Council member organization) Niti Minkove : Thank you to the wonderful and very generous Westchester volunteers who helped make it possible for the BJCC to deliver over 350 Project Hope Passover packages to our frightened, elderly, needy and isolated Bronx seniors.
Thank you to our wonderful supporter/partner UJA (in coordination with Foremost Caterers) for coordinating programs to provide Seder meals to thousands in the NY Metro area. And a special thank you to UJA in Westchester for working with Feeding Westchester and the Westchester Jewish Council in coordinating and distributing thousands of Kosher For Passover dinner meals within Westchester. 
During this unprecedented time, join us each morning at 9:00 am on our Facebook page ( with our Scholar in Residence, Rabbi Menachem Creditor,  as he offers our community some words of comfort during this challenging time. Tune in!

Silver Leaf Caterers will be catering for Passover this year. If you are interested in learning more, please email or
call (914)315-7413.

To meet the needs of the community, Foremost Ram Caterers will be offering a TakeOut menu for Pesach 2020. Please click here for the menu and order information.

Please get your Passover Wines at greatly discounted sale prices from Skyview Wines and Spirits , a long time and strong partner of the Westchester Jewish Council. THE STORE IS NOW ONLY OPEN ONLINE or BY PHONE OFFERING Contact Free Delivery & Curbside PICK UP Service Only! Place your order at or call 718-601-8222 or 888-SKY-VINO (769-8466).
Please place your order as early as possible. Wishing you and your family a Healthy and Zissen Pesach!
Just in time for Passover, please click here for The Jewish Week's 10th Annual Kosher Wine Guide . L'chaim!
Westchester Jewish Council
Upcoming C ommunity 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)
We will be hosting our roundtables via Zoom in the coming weeks.

Some Recent and Upcoming Council Roundtables :
Synagogue Executive Director Roundtable, Wednesday April 1
Israel Roundtable, Wednesday April 1

Security Roundtable-Thursday April 2
Virtual Fundraising and Gala Mini Workshop for Executive Directors and Presidents of WJC Member Orgs. - Friday April 3 at 10am
Agency and Synagogue Presidents Roundtable - Monday April 6, 4 PM
Youth Professionals- Wednesday, April 22
MOSAIC LGBTQ - Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 PM
Marketing Roundtable-June TBD

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

Please look out for the most updated schedule of dates in upcoming newsletters and on our website.


Bored and/or Curious? Make the Most of It and Join Us for:


A Nine-Part Weekly Series Led by Rabbis From Throughout the area presented by  The Westchester Board of Rabbis, UJA and The Westchester Jewish Council

Tuesdays, 7-8:30pm beginning Tuesday, March 31 and each Tuesday Night Through May 26th.   

Each session is based upon a chapter in Stephen Wylen's "Settings of Silver: An Introduction to Judaism".  

You may attend as many of the sessions as you choose as each stands alone. No prior knowledge is necessary, just a willingness to learn. Free and open to all

Join us on  Zoom through this link . Password 015243

Please click  here  for the Introduction to Judaism curriculum.
Silver Anniversary
25th Annual Julian Y. Bernstein
Distinguished Service Awards Ceremony
Join us on Tuesday, June 4th at
Temple Israel Center, White Plains at 7:30pm as we honor 22 individuals for their outstanding dedication to the Westchester Jewish community. In recognition of the Silver Anniversary of the awards, we will also be honoring Donald J. Fleishaker who was the recipient of a first DSA Award in 1996.

This event is free and all are welcome. Reservations requested.
Please register here .

If you would like to make a contribution
in honor of one of the evening's honorees, please click here .
Westchester Jewish Council Teen Organizations include:
Thank you to the Jewish Education Project for working so closely with our Teen professionals and volunteers!
If you have a job listing to share, please email .

JBS can be seen live 24/7 on Cablevision (channel 138), Verizon FIOS (channel 798), ROKU and on
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 sometime during Passover.