The Westchester Jewish Council's
Community Connection
Your almost weekly e-newsletter

August 20, 2020 30 Av 5780


As we hopefully get back on our feet after Hurricane Isaias, we have learned from a community leader of the devastation caused by a powerful storm in Iowa City/Coralville that affected Agudas Achim Synagogue and the surrounding areas including Cedar Rapids, Iowa. There was not much news coverage about this, but the destruction appears to be great. If you are interested in helping and learning more, the synagogue has set up a Community Relief Fund and more information can be obtained at Our thoughts and prayers are with this community as they recover.

On a brighter note, we have many interesting upcoming events and learning opportunities from our member organizations. Please read below for more details. Also, we are continuously updating our community calendar with upcoming events related to the High Holidays and more. If you belong to one of our many member organizations and synagogues, please continue emailing and posting your events and good news. Look out for our September Welcome Edition which will highlight many of these pieces of information.

Finally, tomorrow ushers in the Jewish month of Elul which is the 12th and final month in the Jewish calendar. It is a month that connects the past year with the coming year—a time for reflecting on where we have been and where we will be going.

Wishing you a fulfilling weekend.

Shabbat Shalom.

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 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
We held our Westchester Jewish Council Summer Board meeting last week. Thank you to all who attended and contributed.

pictured: Board member Gary Trachten who spoke on behalf of Westchester County Human Rights Commission.
pictured: Board member Cantor Robin Joseph, President Kol Hazzanim, Cantors of Westchester who shared a Jewish teaching
Thank you to all who attended and participated in the Council's Synagogue President's Roundtable last week. A special shout out to the following for presenting:

Larry Engle, Council Board, Chair of the Council's Synagogue President Roundtable
Sam Berger, Council Board, past President, Beth El Synagogue Center, New Rochelle
Emily Cohen, President, Congregation Emanu-el of Westchester
Audrey Samers, President, Temple Israel Center of White Plains
Jamie Wilson, Council Board Member, past President Temple Beth Abraham
Seth Schafler, President, Westchester Jewish Center
Jeff Kohn, Council Officer and past President, Temple Shaaray Tefila

visit the full Community Calendar at
Pardes (Council member) has introduced a new learning app.
Please click on the image below to learn more.
Examining the Past to Improve Present Care

Virtual Event - Wednesday, September 9, 2020,
1:30 PM to 4:30 PM ET

MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care (Council member) is proud to present Understanding the Impact of Trauma on Holocaust Survivors Facing the End of Life: Examining the Past to Improve Present Care, a free 3-hour virtual event that aims to educate healthcare professionals who work with Holocaust survivors, and other trauma survivors. This immersive online program will address how to recognize and respond to post-traumatic stress symptoms in Holocaust-survivor patients, Second-Generation survivors, and family members of other trauma victims. Attendees will become better informed about the delivery of person-centered, trauma-informed care to persons facing the end of life.

The program will begin with a virtual tour of selected exhibits from the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, in New York City, to establish the historical context and traumatic impact of the Holocaust. The tour is followed by the testimony of a Holocaust survivor, Mrs. Toby Levy. Finally, acclaimed psychologist, Irit Felsen, Ph.D., will lecture on trauma and its effects on elderly patients and their families. Dr. Felsen will also address healthcare provider unintentional reactions to persons with a history of trauma and how they can develop practical strategies to counter negative reactions and ensure empathic, humane care for elderly trauma-survivor patients.  

Join us in strengthening equality, democracy, and a shared society in Israel at the New Israel Fund’s (Council member) virtual gala on Sunday, September 13. Featuring musical performances by Achinoam Nini (Noa), David Broza, and Mira Awad and special guest MK Ayman Odeh, the Guardian of Democracy Gala will be an evening to remember.

For more details and to buy tickets, visit
Integrity First for America (IFA), in partnership with a world-class legal team, is uniquely taking on the neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and hate groups responsible for the “Unite the Right” violence in Charlottesville in 2017. IFA’s lawsuit—scheduled to go to trial in Federal court this fall—is the only current legal effort to take on the broad leadership of the violent white supremacist movement. It details how these extremists conspired, in advance, to orchestrate a weekend of violence and has the potential to fundamentally disrupt this movement by winning devastating financial judgements against these neo-Nazi groups and their leaders.
Taking on, and taking down, these violent extremists is all the more critical as we see them try to exploit recent protests to spread disinformation, hate, fear, and violence.
IFA has been hosting virtual events across the country—cosponsored by synagogues, churches, mosques, and other community organizations—to discuss the case and use it as an opportunity for raising awareness and conversation about the dangers of the white supremacist movement. 

The virtual event in Westchester will take place on
Tuesday, September 22 from 7:00–8:00 pm EST.
Looking for something new and meaningful to read over the holidays this year? Hadar’s High Holiday Reader contains essays from Hadar’s distinguished faculty that discuss the deeper meanings of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and sukkot. This year’s reader explores how individuals find our place both within and without community. Register here for a printed copy of the reader mailed to your home, or request the pdf-printable version. 

2. Project Zug has launched its first-ever Elul Cycle taught by Rabbi Elie Kaunfer! Elul, the last month of the Jewish year, is a period of intentional introspection and repentance in preparation for the High Holidays. During this special Zug cycle, all the learning pairs will learn Unlocking the Mahzor: A Look At Key High Holiday Prayers, over a self-guided four-week period. The course includes two LIVE online lectures with Rabbi Elie Kaunfer. Learn more and sign up here by Friday, August 14.

3. Hadar has a wide range of curated Elul and HHD content online! Explore everything from articles to podcast recordings. 

4. Hadar’s High Holiday D'rashot Teaching Series
Join Hadar’s Faculty for our series of High Holiday Drashot. what we are thinking about as we prepare for the holidays in this strange and difficult year. Each Drasha will be offered the evening before the holiday begins.
·        Monday, August 24 at 8pm: Elul D'rasha (Teaching) - Teshuva - What does Teshuva mean this year?
·        Thursday, September 17 at 8pm: RH D'rasha (Teaching)
·        Thursday, September 24 at 8pm: Shabbat Shuva D'rasha (Teaching)
·        Saturday, September 26 at 8pm: YK D'rasha (Teaching)
·        Thursday, October 1 at 8pm: Sukkot D'rasha

Want to make the most of the ten days of Repentance this year? Sign up to receive a daily message between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur that guides you in a different aspect of teshuva each day, with content for reflection and guidance on practical exercises to make teshuva real.

Get in the mood for Yom Kippur by learning about the themes and prayers of the day, enjoying soulful melodies and excerpts from Yom Kippur liturgy, and engaging in longstanding erev Yom Kippur traditions like making a yahrzeit candle and reciting prayers for loved ones. In ancient times, erev Yom Yippur was a mini-holiday in its own right, known as Ma'al (derived from the Aramaic word for “erev”). Since our actual Yom Kippur this year will be like no other, we have an opportunity to revive the power of the day before. Join for the whole day or tune in for part!  
American Friends of Soroka Medical Center’s (Council member) Desert-in-Bloom Gala will be held virtually on Sunday, Oct 18th,
The gala theme is Desert Chic, honoring Geneticist / Neuroscientist Dr. Michael Hayden and artist Marc Bennett, and will support the bench-to-bedside research programs at Soroka Medical Center in Israel. For more information, please visit
"By failing to prepareyou are preparing to fail" B. Franklin
The annual High Holiday Security Briefing with the County Executive and law enforcement will take place on Thursday September 10th at 10 am. More details to follow.

As always and per protocol, please report any security concerns immediately to your local Police Department and then to the Council for follow up.

Please send any security questions/concerns to
United Hebrew Helps Seniors Stay Safe, Healthy, and Engaged

Throughout the COVID-19 health crisis, United Hebrew of New Rochelle worked around the clock to ensure the health and well-being of their 800 residents, among Westchester’s most vulnerable. Dedicated and heroic staff worked hundreds of extra hours to provide expert and compassionate care to residents of United Hebrew’s skilled nursing, assisted living, and memory care communities on its large campus in New Rochelle.

To date, over 70 patients and residents have been discharged back to their rooms or homes in the community after recovering at our COVID Treatment & Recovery Unit. One such person is 85-year-old Mary Thomas, who was reunited with her daughter, Jaya Kusumalayam, following her 8-week recovery. Jaya is deeply grateful to United Hebrew for taking her mother in, “when no one else would” and credits our compassionate staff with “making a huge difference” in her family’s life. To keep loved ones connected to their families while our campus was closed to visitors, we purchased new iPads to enable virtual visits. Staff adopted creative one-on-one activities to keep residents connected to the activities they loved to do and people they loved to see. Our residents remained engaged physically, emotionally, and socially throughout, thanks to our dedicated staff.
Learn more about United Hebrew of New Rochelle and its array of supportive care services for seniors at


Conference of Presidents Welcomes
Historic Abraham Accord
New York, NY, August 13th, 2020 . . . Arthur Stark, Chairman, William Daroff, CEO, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Vice Chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, issued the following statement:
“We applaud the announcement today by President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and​ Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, which initiates the full normalization of diplomatic relations between the State of Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Abraham Accord, as it is being called, is the most significant diplomatic development in the Middle East since the 1994 peace agreement between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. In taking this historic step, the UAE is paving the way for additional Arab and Muslim states to normalize their ties with Israel, which can help transform the region and enhance the prospects for a true and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This agreement is a bulwark against the forces of extremism and radicalism in the region.

We salute the American, Israeli, and Emirati diplomatic corps for their tireless efforts to make this agreement a reality. We look forward to seeing the exchange of ambassadors and embassies between Israel and the UAE in the coming days, as well as the numerous bilateral agreements on various issues that are to be signed by the two countries."
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is the recognized central coordinating body representing 53 diverse national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern.
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
633 Third Avenue | 21st Floor | New York, NY 10017
(Tel) 212.318.6111

UJA Volunteer Opportunities - Help from Home
 We created a new way to connect with those in need in our local community through our Help from Home initiative. You can also serve our broader community through these service opportunities.
UJA Community Webinars and Events
Join us for free webinars (including a warm, pre-Shabbat community gathering every Friday) and virtual events, for both personal and professional use. 
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)
We will be hosting our roundtables via Zoom until further notice.

Some Upcoming Council Roundtables:

Westchester Youth Professional Roundtable - September 8th at noon (convened with our amazing colleagues at the Jewish Education Project)
Synagogue Executive Directors - weekly
Greening Roundtable - coming soon
Marketing Roundtable - coming in the fall

Contact the Council office at (914) 328-7001 or for information on these and other Roundtables--a key offering of the Westchester Jewish Council.
Volunteer sign-ups for two agencies in New Rochelle have immediately been created by Volunteer New York! to help make this as easy a process for the volunteer. Please see on each link the volunteer days/times/responsibilities. If you are aware of Spanish speakers in your community, this is a real need at this time. There are opportunities for small groups to sign up together for a weekly opportunity. As always, each organization follows all safety guidelines for volunteers. Please be in touch if your institution can help share this out and/or identify volunteers to fill these slots. These organizations are finding themselves having to shift quickly and are not getting the volunteer response they need in this moment.
To sign up individual names, please follow these links below:
HOPE volunteer signups:
Food Pantry Packing & Distribution Team -
New Rochelle Community Action Partnership (CAP) signups:


Last week, in a continuing series of vandalism, a sign reading “Black Lives Matter” was set on fire outside of the Chappaqua Friends Meeting House on Quaker Road. The flames were quickly extinguished and the New Castle Police Department is investigating the fire as a hate crime. The Commission stands with the BIPOC community in New Castle and denounces and rejects these acts of cowardice and hate. The Commission is also following the report of a spray-painted object appearing to be a noose on the road in front of an African-American’s family’s home, also being investigated by the New Castle Police Department.
In this moment in history, with the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racism raging in our country, these acts are reminders that our County is not immune. The Westchester County Human Rights Commission values dignity, safety and mutual respect of all people. We share a responsibility to come together as a community and speak out against all forms of hatred, bigotry and intolerance in our community. The Westchester County Human Rights Commission is organizing a series of discussions on racism and hate. The first program - “Acknowledging Racism and Building a Path Forward” was held last month and panelists Majority Leader NY State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Mayor Shawn Patterson-Howard, Town Councilman S. Ken Jones and noted civil rights attorney, Mayo Bartlett discussed their personal experiences on racism and how to be an ally. The program was taped and can be found here:
The next program in the series will be a discussion between the Commission’s Executive Director Tejash Sanchala and Mayo Bartlett regarding hate crimes and hate incidents.
Please contact the Human Rights Commission at (914) 995-7710 or by email at if you are aware of any instances of hate or discrimination against anyone. If you have any suggestions for programming or ways in which the Commission may be a partner in addressing racism and hate in Westchester, please contact us.
A member of Congregation Sulam Yaakov (Council member) in Larchmont informed us that they have sold their building and will need to relocate the following:
We have the stained glass windows that were on the in interior wall.  The larger ones are approx 39” wide by 132” high (11’).  We would love these to go to a local house of worship. We also have many oak pews that are in pristine condition as well as two candelabras.  These are available to any local house of worship.

Please feel free to pass this on to others. You can contact Karen Greene at (718)824-3881 during business hours.
Mazal Tov to:

Gigi Zeller (Council Board Member) on the marriage of her grandson.

Jane Silverman (Council Board Member) on the engagement of her son.

Neil Rimsky and Marilyn Kneller-Rimsky (Council board member) on the birth of their fourth grandson.
Young Judaea Sprout Westchester: Day Camp Director Position
The Director of Young Judaea Sprout Westchester is a member of the Camp Young Judaea Sprout Camps leadership, and professional team. The position offers an unprecedented opportunity for an innovative, dynamic, charismatic leader to develop a day camp from the ground up. The Director is responsible for building a quality program through the Young Judaea pluralistic model. Director oversees all camp operations, leads the process of camper recruitment, communicates with families, hires and develops the leadership team and counselors, and markets camps’ programs. The director will be expected to manage all fiscal accountability. Candidate should have a minimum of a BA but a MA is preferred, significant experience in camping and passionate connection to their Jewish identity. Postion is full time year round and comes with excellent benefits package. Salary is commensurate with relevant experience but begins at $65,000.
Forward resumes for consideration to:
The JCC Mid-Westchester is looking for a Director of Facilities. The Director of Facilities supervises the daily maintenance of the 75,000 square foot building. This role supervises Maintenance and Housekeeping staff and outside consultants and service providers. It is a member of the Senior Staff Team. 

Please click here for the full job description.
Westchester Jewish Council Teen Organizations include:
Thank you to the Jewish Education Project for working so closely with our Teen professionals and volunteers!
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 on or about September 3, 2020